We are all born cold, wet and hungry. That’s why it’s human nature to be a hunter. For those lucky enough to be exposed to white-tailed deer hunting at an early age those first few outdoor experiences can light a fire inside us that lasts a lifetime. It was awesome being a youngster back in the day, waiting with as much anticipation for the opening day of deer season as I did for Christmas, probably even more. It’s still pretty darn exciting.
But hunting was simpler back then. Of course, everything is simple when you’re young and unable or maybe just unwilling to interject the complexities which adults like to bring to situations. I got swept up into chasing critters—dove, quail, ducks, geese, the whole lot—and putting real, organic food on the table at a time when deer management was in its infancy and full-blown guided deer hunting had yet to be. Times have definitely changed, but have hunters?
Source: “If another kid under the age of 10 comes up to me and gives me the Boone & Crockett score of the buck they shot or says something like, “Dad shot a buck last year but it was only a 140” I will scream.
It is perfectly natural for kids or adults to become excited with the prospect of shooting big bucks but the fact is in the state of Texas we have created an unhealthy obsession. Many young hunters are so antler crazy they have zero regard for the deer and measure their hunting experience only by what a tape measure can show them.
The industry itself has not helped matters.
Trophy bucks that cost hunters between $5-$10,000 to shoot are paraded around hunting programs and many outdoors magazines like they are the only measure of a good hunter.
I have nothing against folks with money but what these deer in most cases are is a sign that a hunter could afford to hunt on the right high fenced ranch.
Fishing has not quite reached this level due to far more public access and the fact catching big fish still requires a skill set. These days the only thing required to shoot a monster buck is a monster payday.”
The “hunting industry” takes it’s licks from time to time from hunters and non-hunters alike. But let’s face it, everything is controversial now days. Spoiler alert: The things that get the most attention in big media are actually of little consequence. As a rule, we should not apply the standards of others to our own lives. As hunters, we should not measure the trophies of others against our own. We hunt game, but hunting is not to be gamed.
I think deer hunting is still as simple and pure as we make it. We can improve the habitat found on our lands. We can manage the deer populations that use our properties, whether it be 100 acres or 100,000 acres. Every hunter chooses the conditions under which he or she releases an arrow, pulls a trigger, takes a deer. There’s plenty we could argue about in this world. Each and every deer I’m lucky enough to harvest is still a trophy to me.