The recipe for bucks like that is not all that complicated. Nutrition, Genetics and Age. The only thing we can control 100% is age (meaning "we collectively" not individually). We can enhance nutrition to some extent, but deer are browsers by nature. Minerals certainly help, high protein food plots, etc - but no substitute for good natural browse sources and good mast crop. Genetics - tough one , some areas just aren't going to produce P&Y caliber bucks as well as others... Now getting back to the age factor - I will say that the "average" NJ 3.5 year old buck is going to start flirting with P&Y, 125", but most will be between 110-120" by that age. Age 4- if a buck is not 125" or better, he really is genetically or nutritionally challenged. Age 4 bucks are increasingly rare, except in areas with little to no hunting pressure. A 4 year old could be 120 to 160 depending on all those other factors, but more likely 125-135". Now - a buck like this one posted, they don't usually start growing all that excessive junk until age 5 or more... I would guess that buck is 5.5 or 6.5 years old. ... Collectively - we can control it, but we all know that is so unrealistic its barely worth discussing. In zone 5, the last P&Y buck I have a picture of or seen from stand was 11/18/2011, and he's on my wall. Probably a 4.5 year old. For those that "care" about shooting a mature buck, the only way to increase age on average, is to reduce the harvest of button, 1.5 and 2.5 year old bucks. Not enough hunters in this state will ever voluntarily commit to that, and the state has other goals as we all know... So - when a NJ hunter harvests a buck of this caliber such as the one posted - you just can't overrstate the rarity of it, and how truly special it really is. My hope is that when those less experienced see pics like this and desire the same, they will understand what it takes to make such an amazing trophy. Simply put - older bucks only get that way because someone exercised "restraint". There is no way a 6.5 year old buck in NJ made it that far without either being shot at and missed(or hit), or being passed up by someone when he was younger and perhaps both, multiple times. I realize to some of you, this is all BS and you can't eat the horns - so please accept my apologies in advance, for offending you.
Edited by JHbowhunter, 12/11/15 - 12:56 PM.