Your right. I’m learning from some of the real old timers over here about Friday deer, they are the ones that you shoot if you are going home on Saturday.The greatly increased numbers of opportunities you are experiencing will continue to add to your skills. But as far as reminding yourself not to shoot "the first big deer you see," it will also certainly happen in coming seasons that you will pass on an early opportunity or two in search of something bigger, and then bad weather or injury or something will occur and you will end up thinking regretfully about the earlier chance that was passed.
It has been written about by many sporting writers over the decades. In the 1950's when I began hunting as a lad I read a hunting story by Jack O'Connor in which he passed up a nice buck on the first afternoon of a hunt, hoping for better and not wanting the hunt to end too soon, and then never saw another buck even close in quality during the rest of a week of hunting.
His conclusion was that he was from that time forward going to follow the basic principle of never passing up an opportunity to take an animal that he would be glad to get a shot at on the last day of the hunt, if it presented itself even on the first day. And he racked up a whole museum of mounts following that rule for a bunch of years.
One time I dropped an antelope from the edge of a herd, and at the sound of the shot the herd scattered and a much bigger buck, unseen by us during the entire stalk because of being behind some brush, ran in a panic right by us within five yards. My guide was apologetic at the missed opportunity but I was fine with the one that I had dropped. It is a good feeling to know that somewhere out there is always going to be a worthy opponent, better than anything you have ever seen before. And there is always next year.
Your right I should have stuck to my game plan and held out for a big whitetail like I wanted originally but when that 28 inch 4x4 mule deer I had to take him. I’m relatively new to living in Montana and after living in Washington state for 65 years where you shot the first buck you seen it’s hard. Just got back from the senior center where my wife and I donated about 100 lbs of venison and elk,what a good feeling.After reading your end of the season post and Tally I would say that I disagree with that choice. You obviously are not gonna miss out on a few extra venison steaks if you don't shoot a big buck. Personaly I would hold out for a bruiser if I knew i had that many tag opportunities and the ability to fill my freezer so easily