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PostPosted: December 15th, 2014, 10:13 pm 
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I joined a lease this year and have really been enjoying hunting relatively undisturbed animals. We only have 5 guys on it and when it comes to bucks you can only kill a "trophy". What I really love about this is it is up to each of us individually to define "trophy". For instance, all of the guys except myself hunt with muzzle loaders and rifles during those seasons, but their idea of a trophy changes slightly depending on what they are hunting with. This allows us to hold out for good deer, but still have hope of killing bucks.

So that leads me to my question. It's really frustrating for me to hear newer hunters who haven't killed any or few deer say things like, "it was only a basket rack" or "it was only a doe". To me, any animal taken cleanly under fair chase is a trophy. I think the commercialization of hunting is so bad for us as hunters on many levels and this is just one of them.

Keep in mind, I'm all about responsible management and conservation but it really seems like sometimes this gets out of hand.

Anyways, I was just curious as to what y'alls thoughts were.

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PostPosted: December 15th, 2014, 10:30 pm 
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I really think the word trophy to me comes from the degree of effort exerted during the entire process.

The most satisfaction I have ever gained from killing a white tail deer was when I killed an old doe that messed with me the entire season. She had my number and would constantly be on the lookout for something that didn't quite look right, then she would stomp, stare, walk all around you until eventually you would twitch, flinch, scratch or something. I mean, it is only possible to stay perfectly still for so long until something has to give. I finally decided I was going to hunt this particular doe and kill her, if not, I would never kill another deer on that particular farm. Now I have killed a few really decent bucks, but when I finally killed that doe, it was the most satisfaction ever gained from shooting a deer. I earned it, she was a true trophy.

A lot of new hunter succumb to the unrealistic criteria that all these pro deer killers place on them. I hold out for bigger bucks, but will kill a smaller one sometimes. I shot what I thought was a smallish buck with Ian a few years ago and all the guys that hunt that property thought it was a big one, lol. It was about 110-115" a respectable young buck--

The only bear I have killed was killed with my recurve after a couple hours of working in close enough to a feeding bear to kill it on the ground. Spotting a bear from a distance that it looked like a dot through 10 power binos and eventually getting a 15 yard shot while on open tundra was a hell of an accomplishment in my book and if I were to shoot a 400# 20" plus bear over bait, from a tree, it wouldn't mean as much to me as the 275-300# fall bear I shot on my terms relying purely on my skills and ability.

P.J.


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PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 12:39 am 
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So you're both saying that the ACCOMPLISHMENT is the trophy? Huh! ;)


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PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 8:06 am 
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What P.J. said x2. The trophy is in the eye of the beholder. Some of us choose to hold out for mature animals while others don't. Doesn't matter. Any animal taken ethically with a bow, in their environment on their terms is a trophy. My best memories are the ones where extreme effort was rewarded with meat in the freezer and maybe some antlers for the wall. Really a lot of my best memories involve just being out in the field and coming oh so close...


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PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 9:16 am 
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My definition would be any animal taken with a traditional bow under fair chase conditions is absolutely worthy of being a "trophy". I'm not knocking other methods, but shooting a deer at 300 yards with rifle does not qualify in my book, those I consider more targets of opportunity. Of course some will argue the point and that's fine, just as we each have our own ideas on what a trophy is, we have our own thoughts on how that trophy is taken.

The intimacy of the encounter has a great deal to do with how one views an animal that they have killed. When I give the overwhelming advantage to an animal, which more often than not lives, I have created a situation where the hunt becomes intimate. It's no longer just an animal that I decide to shoot, but rather one I have a relationship with. I've looked into their eyes, watched them breath and how they react to their senses. Honestly just plain and simple, I don't like the word trophy. I don't have a replacement word, but feel all animals deserve the utmost respect and each in their own right is beautiful living creature, "trophy".

I guess the word trophy has given me a bad taste since they started handing them out to every kid that plays in a youth sports league regardless if their team wins or looses. The bottom line is that most traditional bowhunters view animals in a totally different way, we see all animals as special.

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PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 9:40 am 
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I have often said that it is harder to kill a doe in areas that are hard-hunted than a P&Y buck in some locations where you are on private property, hunting a well-managed deer herd, and hunting pressure is next to nothing.


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PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 3:12 pm 
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I'm probably as guilty as the next guy of misusing the term 'trophy' when it comes to game taken. In recent years my mind has wandered away from referring to any animal (of any size or sex) as a 'trophy'. A trophy is typically thought of as an award/reward for an accomplishment of something difficult...so it does seem entirely logical to (example) call a set of large antlers a trophy. I guess I have finally come around to the point where I no longer hunt for any sort of award or reward that most might call a trophy...that tangible thing we want to have and display. My house has enough taxidermy...more than I really want to be truthful...and I don't really relate well to trophy game displays done to excess. I'm rambling.

What qualifies as a trophy for me now will be an animal that really required as much of me as I had to give, in order to kill it. Whether a multi-hour stalk, a multi-year chess game, an enormous amount of physical and/or emotional expenditure, loads of planning and do-it-yourself work....these are the factors which define it for me now. I like that, because I no longer feel like the only trophies in the woods are the ones with huge skulls, big antlers, long horns, etc.

One more thing. Trophies can be gifts, and sometimes the hunt just gives you a gift. It's not like you did much to earn it, but it's still a gift and maybe a trophy. The main thing is that you appreciate it and understand it...some humility truly helps do that.


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PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 8:58 pm 
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Interesting topic with interesting responses.

I think that folks who hunt for the right reasons, at times struggle with the term trophy when it's used to describe an animal taken regardless of the species, sex or hunting method.

I describe the animals preserved in my home as treasures. I feel like they provide an instant and frequent memory jogger of an experience, that could only be described in one word as a treasure. I might think of a particular buck deer as being a trophy on the hoof but after his death he becomes a treasured memory, much more than the label trophy could describe.

I wouldn't fault anyone for using the term trophy when describing an animal because it is meant as a compliment to the animal. After all, it's an accepted term for exceptional representatives of a given species. It inspires us when we here the prefix trophy associated with the game we're after.

And so the question "What qualifies as a Trophy?"

For me it's the same thing that makes it worthy of becoming a treasure.


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PostPosted: December 17th, 2014, 10:54 pm 
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brings up some good discussion. I have always been disgusted that on these television shows or even in local area that guys take their kids hunting to shoot their first deer and tell them not to shoot a doe even if legal...not to shoot a spike...to wait for a mature buck. I think this is wrong mentality to be honest....especially if their first deer is from a game farm with huge unnaturally large racks and opportunity. It sets the bar too high for their perceived success for rest of their lives....

my nephew is wanting to hunt terribly and wants to hunt with a longbow or recurve. He is 13 and getting much later start than I did but my father was outdoorsman, hunter, shooter, etc....his father is not at all. Got him his first longbow few years ago...then last year on a whim took one of my very nice vintage Brownings (Wasp) off wall and gave it to him to grow into. He is shooting pretty good. Last year took him on first squirrel hunt...too windy but he was able to learn safe gun handling as I had him carry an empty single shot .22 I got when I was 7 years old (Win M67A) and walked behind him and corrected him every time he did something unsafe. Then while eating lunch we set up a little target practice....offering prizes for good safety, good form, and accuracy. He ended up winning a lunch at HOOTERS with me. :)

I took him deer hunting to watch me and we sat a long time and only saw deer too far away or too late in evening...but he was learning patience....to stay attentive....noise control...scent control...and that hunting is what we do...not killing...the kill is almost anti-climatic. He is chomping to go again and will take him a few times over next two weeks. Him being with me if I get another deer is his goal this year...to be close to them, to smell them, to see their wariness especially a doe with yearlings.

My hope is after deer season ends 1 Jan...to go squirrel and rabbit hunting more with him and let him shoot his first animals this year....teach him to process them...how to care for them properly...and how to cook and eat them...and the finality of shooting an animal...hopefully all kills will be swift...but I want him to see it all no matter what. Then we have turkey in March-April....hope to have him in blind with me again....might let him learn to call a little on a pot call...to hear their drumming, purrs, clucks and gobbles....and yes if he is with me...the disappointment of missing but maybe, just maybe, I will change my luck on turkeys with a selfbow/longbow this year. LOL

After a year of shooting guns, bows, shotguns, etc....next year I hope to get him in a ground blind and get a doe or young buck...a friend has 80 acres of farm land that is over run with does....I have counted 4-5 different groups/herds with 5-12 per group in various places...the food allows there to be more deer than natural here....so may need predation permits after season from DNR to thin them...problem is he wont let me bring anyone to help thin the herds....so we have only made a small dent this year.

Anyhow.....I think a young hunter needs to feel the hard work, the patience, the cold, the wet, the heat, the anxiety, the anticipation, the disappointment......so when it all finally comes together that floppy eared doe, that yearling or that spike....is a huge reward...as they have learned the hard work and effort and focus pays off in success and that all the things they have learned went into this success. Yes sometimes is just pure luck...but making your own luck is the real treat. Youth learn by example.....he has seen me overwhelmed and emotional when talking about a doe I lost and did not recover.....of me telling of having to finish that tough powerful wild boar in Georgia last year with my knife...as I could not wait for him to expire on his own though mortally wounded and still trying to fight us. My hope is that his first game animal taken will cause him to reflect on life and death....feel a little remorse mixed with joy and pride...as he learns the thrill of the hunt.

What I dont want is what I heard this weekend as I dropped off a young doe at the processor.... fella in there obviously was successful with young teenage boy holding a carbon shafted arrow with front end broken off. Talking about what was more fun...rifle kills or crossbow kills. Guy said crossbow kills...but not because he had to get closer or he felt more connected. He then start bragging how the deer was gut shot as it was facing him...so he put his 120# crossbow optic on his front shoulder and shot him and it WASNT HIS FAULT THE ARROW BLEW RIGHT THROUGH HIM AND GUT SHOT HIM...then he started laughing.

I was disgusted, embarrassed and saddened. Angry and disgusted with this *#@&&*!%.....embarrassed as many consider what he shot a bow rather than what it really is....and saddened as this young impressionable boy was following along to make his dad or uncle or whatever happy and joining in the banter.....to where he will think any kill is a good kill and shooting a forward facing deer in shoulder is a good shot no matter if it gut shoots him and he suffers or it ruins half the meat. One part wanted to grab him by the throat and teach him to respect the animal more than that tomfoolery.....the other side wanted to just pay and walk away.

Instead I told him congrats....and then told the young boy my nephew is shooting a recurve and hopes to be able to get within 10 yards of a deer next year and shoot a doe broadside for a more humane and high percentage shot. He asked if you can kill a doe with a bow like that as he thought they were just for school archery and were toys. I pointed at a hog head on the wall and told him I shot one of those last year with my longbow and wooden arrows....and it was not gut shot. Then walked away......

Maybe I was wrong....but there is so much more to hunting than trying to impress your friends or even those you dont know. I have exactly two sets of horns on my wall, one hog skull, and one huge fox squirrel. Out of the hundreds of animals shot over my hunting life.....they are a small percentage...some with shotguns, some with rifles, some with blackpowder flintlock, some with bow. All were rewarding....and the challenge of getting close, outwitting their sense of smell-sight-hearing, and knowing you were close enough for a good shot even though it was never offered or taken....is quite the challenge. Especially know how many people have never been within 30 yards of deer much less 5 feet...have never been able to hear them swallow as they chew and eat acorns....never smelled the musky aroma from urine on their hocks...or watched and felt the drumming of a turkey as he struts in front of your blind. Long range shots dont make it personal.... I want my life to be personal..... I want my nephew to know that hunting is personal.....and that the full impact of taking a life is best felt up close and personal and after much effort....then it can truly be respected and appreciated.

At least that is my thoughts....and my hope for every hunt I embark.

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PostPosted: December 21st, 2014, 12:53 pm 
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I don't consider any of the animals that I pursue or that die by my hand 'trophies'. It just seems disrespectful of me to look at them like that. But then, I'm very uncompetitive, don't see my hunting as a sport, don't tell others when or what I kill, take or show pictures, etc. I know... I'm abnormal :^)


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PostPosted: December 28th, 2014, 10:11 am 
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P.J. Petiniot wrote:
I really think the word trophy to me comes from the degree of effort exerted during the entire process.

The most satisfaction I have ever gained from killing a white tail deer was when I killed an old doe that messed with me the entire season. She had my number and would constantly be on the lookout for something that didn't quite look right, then she would stomp, stare, walk all around you until eventually you would twitch, flinch, scratch or something. I mean, it is only possible to stay perfectly still for so long until something has to give. I finally decided I was going to hunt this particular doe and kill her, if not, I would never kill another deer on that particular farm. Now I have killed a few really decent bucks, but when I finally killed that doe, it was the most satisfaction ever gained from shooting a deer. I earned it, she was a true trophy.

A lot of new hunter succumb to the unrealistic criteria that all these pro deer killers place on them. I hold out for bigger bucks, but will kill a smaller one sometimes. I shot what I thought was a smallish buck with Ian a few years ago and all the guys that hunt that property thought it was a big one, lol. It was about 110-115" a respectable young buck--

The only bear I have killed was killed with my recurve after a couple hours of working in close enough to a feeding bear to kill it on the ground. Spotting a bear from a distance that it looked like a dot through 10 power binos and eventually getting a 15 yard shot while on open tundra was a hell of an accomplishment in my book and if I were to shoot a 400# 20" plus bear over bait, from a tree, it wouldn't mean as much to me as the 275-300# fall bear I shot on my terms relying purely on my skills and ability.

P.J.


agree 100% great post !

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