What is Trophy Hunting?
When one hears the term trophy hunter, what comes to mind? Personally, when I hear the term, trophy hunter, I think of someone with a strict standard on the animal that they will or will not harvest, a person that is after big mature animals, or a hunter that holds out for an older animal for conservation reasons. Most people would probably think of a person that just wants to mount a big set of antlers on their wall. Trust me I get it. You have waited 15 years to draw an early bull elk tag in a premium unit. The last thing that you want to do is come home with a spike. A person wants to get their 15 years worth because, they might never get to go on that hunt again in their life. This is a totally understandable situation.
In order to be able to capitalize on that premium tag that you have drawn though, you need to put in your time. When I say put in your time, I don’t mean on that actual premium hunt. I mean just time spent in the woods building your skill level just as the quarry you seek built theirs over the years. Those mature animals have gotten to be the age they are for a reason. They are smart and have learned lessons over the years on how to stay alive. Deer and elk aren’t just hunted during “hunting season.” These animals are hunted on a very regular basis. We humans are not the only hunters in the woods. Let’s not forget about mountain lions. Predators like mountain lions don’t just emerge and start killing deer and elk. They learn from trial and error and eventually become extremely proficient hunters.
I cannot say that I myself am a trophy hunter. Not in the sense that you think I am saying it at least. For me, it boils down to one thing. Did I harvest an animal? Any animal that I take will be honored in my home just as much as any other. It is the journey that is the real trophy for me. Does that mean that I am against big antlers on the wall? No way! I would consider it a disservice to the animal to not display that. That animal gave it’s life for me and provided for my family. The mount would serve as a reminder of what hard work got me.
At this point in my hunting, I am not focused on tagging big mature animals. I will be focused on bettering my skills and getting to the point where I might, so to say, deserve one of those big antlered bulls or bucks. Getting some notches on the belt will bring more and more knowledge and with knowledge will come more and better opportunities. If you think you are just going to pick up your bow and go walk into the woods with the end result being you hauling out quarters and a big rack, you will probably be disappointed. Are you a trophy hunter?