An eighty two year old man finds the strength and energy to get out of bed on a cold and snowy December morning to deer hunt with his grandson. In the dark he makes his way a few hundred yards across the field and finds his way to the blind. At first light two doe can be seen feeding out in front of them. His Grandson watches and covers his ears as his Grandfather’s muzzleloader explodes and the doe falls.
It is a clean harvest. And a wonderful memory for Grandfather and Grandson to share for the rest of their lives. It did not need to be a ten point buck for the hunting trip to be a success. It did not need to “score” or be a “shooter”. Its picture will not “go viral” on Instagram. Yet this doe is a trophy beyond measure for these two hunters.
How does demographics, geography, economics and other factors determine the value of a harvested deer as a trophy? And why am I delving into this topic to such length at all? The growing interest in hunting and fishing for beginners and the younger generations is on the rise. Social media can form bogus perceptions of hunting in the minds of beginners.
My son harvested his first buck with a bow at the age of fifteen. It was a small buck on which he made a clean pass-through shot while hunting from his tree saddle. His pride, enjoyment, and satisfaction of the harvest was evident and the buck was an accomplishment. A genuine trophy.
Later I learned that he was hesitant to post his picture with the deer on his social media because it was not “big enough”. A young hunters first buck, taken clean with a bow, and he is afraid to post its picture on his social media? This is an example of how beginners and younger hunters form a perception of what is a trophy deer based upon images they see on social media. Images that aggrandize and confuse beginners just coming into the world of hunting.
When you start to see the point I am attempting to make here, you will begin to see why it is not always antlers that determine a deer as a trophy. In fact, in an ethical (and perhaps philosophical way) of looking at deer hunting… Every deer harvested clean, efficient, and legal is a trophy regardless of size or sex. Antlers, in my opinion, do not prove your prowess as a deer hunter.