What Is A Cull Buck? The Important Thing A Hunter Should Know

So, what is a cull buck? Why a certain group of bucks are is called "cull" and how you are able to tell the difference between a cull buck and a premium buck?

Cull buck is one of the most common topics in the world of hunting enthusiasts and if you wanted to become a part of it, then you should be well acquainted with this term.

If you are still new to the world of the wilds, then you might probably hear from now and then the words "cull buck".

Well, for starters we all know that a buck is used to address a male animal - more specifically, a male deer. So, we are now left to unravel what the term cull buck connotes in hunting.

The Importance Of Determining The Cull Bucks

During my early years of hunting a white-tailed deer, I encounter a weird looking buck prancing around the woods.

I was hesitant at first to shoot the odd fellow when it walked past my rifle range but I later found out that taking it out at that very moment is the right thing to do.

The reason for my second thoughts was a lame thought of “what ifs”. I was thinking that I better be saving it for the next season in hopes that it will further develop its horns.

Fortunately, I was right and figured out that the oddball buck I saw last season is still young and may encounter some accidents along the way and misshapen its antlers.

However, my next encounter with a buck with crazy looking antlers is another thing. This time it is estimated to be almost five years of age and seems to have fully developed its features.

There is no excuse to save this buck as there won’t be any possibility of it to correct its raggedy looking horns. One of my peers shout at us and utter the phrase which seems new to me.

“This is the start of culling season” he repeats. Well, that’s a foreign phrase for me and I’m not still quite familiar with it.

What is a cull buck?

By spending some time with my peers and doing some research. The term cull buck seems to make sense to me now.

Listening and reading some hunting tales . Spending some time reading informative books about hunting did some wonders to me .

Also expand my knowledge about this hobby and somewhat improve my awareness.

This is a reoccurring term when the favorite targets of the hunters are being talked about. Culling and cull buck are often the words thrown in during the conversations of the hunters and ranchers.

Bucks are often differentiated as management bucks and trophy bucks. Management bucks are those raised in ranches to produce the next generation of healthy deer while the trophy bucks are those auctioned and sought by collectors.

If we will going to check the proper definition of a cull buck, it says that this term, cull buck refers to the inadequate or genetically inferior bucks.

The less desirable bucks are often identified by the hunters or ranchers and those identified are subjected to "culling" or elimination.

In short, cull bucks are the less desirable bucks in the herd and there is a need to remove them if you want to improve the quality of your herd.

This is important since deer antlers are often highly hereditary and you don't want something that will spoil the quality of your harvest.

How are you going to differentiate the cull bucks?

The true meaning behind the term cull bucks differs when you’ll ask a different group of white-tailed hunters’ enthusiast.

Bucks are often hunted because of their antlers. As mentioned earlier, the deer antlers are hereditary and a bad gene will surely be passed on the incoming generations.

In order to prevent this dire event to occur, it is advised to perform culling.

Culling or separating the bucks with less perfect antlers is a precautionary step usually carried out by the hunters or ranchers to maintain the quality of the herd.

No one wants the next generation of your herd full of genetic defects, right?

Differentiating high quality bucks from the cull bucks is not an easy thing to do. The sole criteria for distinguishing cull bucks is still not final.

There is a high chance that you will be getting different answers if you will ask about the certain attributes that healthier bucks should possess.

For example, the buck that we consider having a superior antler quality is deemed as a cull buck by another rancher.

This means that there won’t be a specific cheat list to identify which buck is considered as a cull but there will be certain hints to help you decide which one.

The hints that we are referring here are the common traits that the bucks with good genes often share.

In order to figure out which bucks are considered as “cull”, we need to get first a sample group.

This means that the bucks should belong to the same age range , they must be coming from the same area to avoid bias and other factors that will be detrimental to our final decision.

For example, if a majority of your three-year-old bucks share 9 good attributes of a quality antler then the rest of the bucks that shares lower than 9 attributes should be removed.

The age of the deer is determined by examining its body characteristic. So, you also need to take the age of your bucks into consideration.

Younger bucks that have lesser good attributes are not readily labeled as a cull.

You need first to wait that they will grow older. Bucks that are already three-year-olds will start to show traits if they will be able to develop beautiful and huge antlers.

What Is A Cull Buck?


To help you further, here are the factors that you need to check in order to know if that buck is a cull or not:

 1/ Determine the age of your bucks.

A cull buck is determined after it reaches its third year. Usually, the defects due to bad genes will show around this age.

Culling or elimination is often carried out during this time. Always take note that the age of the buck is one of the most important things you need to consider when figuring which is a cull.

Also, don't forget to make sure that the group you are subjecting to culling belong to the same age range.

 2/Check the tine length.

The longer the tine length, the better. You will hear this often when you will one day join a group of hunters looking for their trophy bucks.

Very short tine lengths are often discarded or avoided since these catches will have a lower value when traded.

 3/Examine if there are missing or defective tines.

A damage or missing tines is not only unattractive to the eyes, it will also greatly affect its market value. You must remember that a less than perfect antlers won’t be attractive to the eyes of the collectors.

Culling is a difficult job. You need first to gain experience and adequate knowledge in order to successfully judge the traits of a buck that have the capability to grow healthy antlers.

You also need to keep in mind that you should let the bucks reached a proper age, in this case – at least three years old, before hunting it down.

Hunting younger bucks will expose you to the higher risk of acquiring a cull buck.

As a hunter, you should not view every animal as a trophy quest. You need to consider the factors that will be beneficial to the improvement of the species and also to your end.

Respect the animals by sparing the younglings that still haven’t reach its full genetic potential. After reaching the certain age, you can now identify the cull bucks or bucks that have inferior genes.

Kristopher M. Samson

"Hello ! My name is Kristopher M. Samson .I'm a firefighter. I love my job and hunting sport. For me , hunting is a sport good for my health . It help me relax after job time"

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments