Sure do, Mrwizard! “Trophy” size animals most generally are more difficult to get a shot at, therefore, they harder to kill. That self imposed limitation on shooting only certain animals, is a challenge I embrace, and is, to me, the essence of hunting. I certainly utilize the meat from any animal I kill, plus,I also shoot does for meat as well.
Some people are at the point in their hunting life that they want to kill trophy animals, does not mean they do not appreciate both the meat and the trophy. Also everyone has a different standard as what constitutes a trophy. One off most cherished trophys is an ancient doe that I kill 20 plus years ago. She was 10.5 years old and smart as all get out. Took me 3 years to kill her. I did a european mount of her skull. She ate pretty good too! Shawn
I spend a lot of my life on "these forums," and I've never seen anyone ask "should I shoot or pass" this deer? I see a lot of people ask for opinions on it's age and size, but not if they should shoot or pass. Got any links? Are you a hunter?
I am classified as a trophy meat hunter. I very rarely buy beef (less than 5lbs a year) I try to take at least 3-4 does a year strictly for the meat and population control. While doing so, I am holding out for an older age class buck or 2. I hunt 3 states regularly and usually see quite a few bucks during the season and can be choosy in that regard. Different states bring different challenges, experiences, expectations and benefits. That is why I hunted today, in 4 degree weather and had a great time doing it. Monetarily, it's a losing proposition for the most part. But I get to see things in the outdoors that 95% of people don't even know exist unless they see it on Discovery Channel. That, to me, is priceless.
Shooting big something-or-others is a personal thing, an accomplishment you set to achieve for yourself. That being said, don't get hurt when someone doesn't get googlely eyed over what you shot. Remeber, you did it for you. If you're not enough without it, you never will be enough with it.
I say this because I know some people that get emotionally distressed when you don't worship the ground they walk on.
With all the opportunity and species to hunt here in Colorado and including adjacent states plus the fact my young kids like to kill things we have plenty of meat to go around for the year. We actually donate just as much to Denver Rescue Mission as we keep and eat ourselves. It feels good to pull up and drop off 100# of processed, boneless, organic meat 2 days before Thanksgiving every year.
Therefore I usually enjoy waiting for an opportunity at a nice "rack" otherwise I wouldn't know what to do with all the "meat". It's good problem to have and it actually saves a lot of animal's lives which Mrwizard probably likes.
I'm sorry maybe I should've been more specific. I understand if the opportunity comes that if there's a trophy shot of course I would take it! but where I'm from so many people complain about not filling there tag for any big game elk deer bear , so I ask them why they couldn't fill it and they always say they didn't see one big enough or it was only a 3x3 or 3x2 so I was just wondering why people pass it up? And for other questions yes I am a hunter. I'm a retired professional shooter for Martin 25yrs and Bowtech for 2yrs retired in 2014 and I fill my elk and deer every year! Thats last Sept 2017 I get why you want to shoot a trophy it's in any hunters blood but I don't want to go without meat either
"NOOOOO Mr. Wizard....I don`t want to be a crossbow hunter"!!!!....I remember that cartoon well. It`s horns for me....I am in the tail end of my bowhunting career and killing anything other than a mature racked animal is not in the cards for me. When I first started it out I was a killing machine....I would kill everything but small bucks. For newer hunters that`s they way they should go...get proficient at killing with your bow.
Given the context, I understand you better. The way you worded it, you could have been an anti-hunter trying to pick the low-lying fruit of the pure head hunting trophy hunter.
I'm a meat hunter and a trophy hunter and an adventure hunter. Mostly I hunt to satisfy my need to chase. I hold out when the freezer is full and always try for a big animal, but end up killing mostly young/female animals because I'm not that great of a bowhunter and my family eats about 300 lbs of game meat per year.
That said, when I'm trophy hunting, I'm still meat hunting and I'm still a hunter. When I'm meat hunting, my meat is my trophy and I'm no more or less a hunter. I'm a hunter because of my passion to pursue animals, kill them, and eat them or use their fur and body parts as clothes, carpet, or ornaments.
All that muscle that carries around those big racks, well, it's edible!! Best of both worlds.:)
This is not as cut and dry as one may assume. As mentioned above, many hunters get only one tag so they are selective to prolong the experience - a responsible adaptation to contemporary management goals. Most of the people I know in my whitetail circles fill their freezers with does on their way to a trophy buck. And they modulate their shot selection around the rut (i.e. they will kill does early and late but hold off during the pre-rut and rut). Hope that helps.
Some hunters, usually older ones, have made the normal transition. We start out, wanting to just kill something. Usually, that moves to wanting to kill a limit-tag out. Then we become selective or a "trophy" hunter, so to speak. Then, some transition to being selective in that some days they select antlers, some days they select meat.
I am in the latter stage. I am no longer a trophy hunter. On Monday, I may pass 10, smaller bucks. On Tuesday, I may shoot the first spike that comes by. On the last day I hunted in 2017, I let seven bucks between three and 10-points walk. I could have easily killed any of them. The 10, was probably in the 125-130 range and in all probability 3.5-4.5 years old. I could think of no reason to shoot him. Instead, I shot a small doe and two hogs.
So, it is an individual choice and of no concern to anyone except the shooter. If it is legal, shoot whatever you want. Yours is the only opinion that counts.
I like the challenge of shooting a mature animal. I sometimes will shoot a younger buck, but even then, I'll have passed 30+ bucks a season. I'll shoot 5 or 6 does for meat and be looking out for a mature buck. If I killed any buck, I'd have my bucks tags filled at the beginning of a 3 month season and I love hunting the every day I can. I wouldn't be happy to shoot two young bucks and then have to ride out the season with no tags. I also want more bucks to get older for future years!
I am definitely a meat hunter, deer is 95% of the red meat I feed my family. From a simple pragmatic standpoint, it really isn't difficult or terribly time consuming to kill the 2-3 deer I need for my family each year. I could take a gun out once or twice a year and be done with it. But my love of bowhunting and nature goes far beyond that. I cherish my time afield. It is my reset button, my therapy. My state limits us to killing one buck each year, and I like to maximize my hunting time by occassionally passing up younger bucks. To not understand why larger racks are desitable is to not understand basic human nature. I do think it is fair to question if it is ok, or ethical, when the hunt becomes 100% for the bone growing from an animal's skull to the point of disregarding nearly every other aspect of the hunt. That doesn't sit well with me, and I have seen rare instances here where I perceived that to be the case.
I like to shoot a couple does a year for meat if my herd can handle the doe harvest. Then I hunt for a bigger buck. I swore off shooting 1.5 year old bucks many years ago. It doesn't really seem to be helping the age of my deer herd though. Too many other guys are shooting the yearling bucks for meat deer.
I am no trophy hunter, not that good but I am playing cat and mouse with a big 14 pointer by my house, who is with a 6 and a 8. Yep they still have their horns,,,, have till the 31st,,,,, lots of fun,,,,, its all good,,,,,, have deer and bear in the freezer already, so this guy is a challenge
Kill for antlers (sorry, but every buck I shoot is based on antlers and events that make that one special).
Eat everything I shoot. But... between my kids killing deer, ducks, turkey, quail, rabbits, etc. we I don't "need" to add a deer to the freezer. Plus my family raises beef so grocery store meat is non-existent.
So, with that said my frame of mind when I leave the house is never to just go shoot something to butcher. It's to shoot a buck who's antlers make me happy. In the meantime I will enjoy the hell out of every doe, fawn, and small buck that I see.
Absolutely!!! The older animals prove to be the more difficult to kill!! Hunters always have and always will have their own opinions on their own hunts ,which is fine. If I want just elk meat I'll shoot a cow before I shoot a small bull. For many who haven't tried getting in bow range of a mature mule deer it proves to be the most challenging task in my state IMO ! That said the big antlered animals many times carry MORE meat than a younger bull/buck with milk on it's lips! I passed up a total of 13 bulls before arrowing this one ,and countless cows and spikes ! Trying to get into a herd animal is one of the most challenging things to do ,so it really. Puts skills to the test!
Who cares? Everyone should hunt and kill whatever they legally want to.
This trophy Hunter bashing is pointless, just because someone hunts and holds out for a specific antler size? So what! I think those that say they strictly hunt for meat are probably lying, although I find I enjoy the meat more than the antlers, I also get a lot of fun and challenge out of chasing big bucks and Bulls.
More often than not though, I drop the string on forkies and spikes and I have been bashed for doing so by those that feel we should let them grow.
You never know what you'll pass on until it's in bowrange. A raghorn photo on the internet may merit a hard pass. But when it comes in screaming it'll start looking a lot less ragged.
A wise man once told me something along the lines of "most people who 'say' they only hunt for meat have never put their hands on good antlers".
I really like the act and process of hunting. I'll pass on something smaller or younger just to be able to participate in nature and continue chasing wild game for a longer time.
I believe a lot boils down to area though too. I'd be far less likely to pass a small/younger animal if I was in a farther unit, or had to pay a non res fee. In a unit I know well I'd most likely hold out. So many variables. It's all opinion.
"I believe a lot boils down to area though too." x2. I'd love to be in an area where I can shoot "5-6 does" every year,or similar, but where I am many times we can count the opportunities just to release an arrow on one hand and have fingers left over, sometimes five, during a season.
Thanks guys for the input I live in Wa. State where you only get one tag we can't just go shoot a bunch of does then look for a rack. That's why I asked why people pass up meat not because of greed but here in wash you may not get a second chance for meat. The laws here are really tough even for bow hunters. You get 2 weeks for elk and rifle gets the rut so not easy to get elk and then there the late season where 95% of the state is closed so I was wondering why people pass?
Mrwizard, it is tough where there is limited opportunity like you have. We've had similar years in MN after tough winters that reduce the deer herd. We will have one deer limits after those tough winters. The hard part is taking that early opportunity and then being done hunting for the year. I often pass on early opportunities just because I don't want to end my season. If I do shoot something early, I will often leave the state and hunt elsewhere to keep my season going, but I know that isn't an option for everyone.
On the other hand, I guess for me if I had a choice between a not so tasty trophy and a nice tender succulent doe, I'd still take the tough old critter. Those opportunities don't come around often enough and I can get by a year here or there w/o venison. In fact I've eaten so much venison sometimes I need a break from it.
Funny thing about this state is it is loaded with big game and it's very understandable why it's loaded because of the one animal laws but sure would to always get a big rack but I like to feed my family don't get me wrong I've shot plenty of trophies just wanted peoples opinions.
Hunt where I live with a small deer population and you will end up a shoot the first deer or you may not get another chance type of Hunter. I’m not sure trophy bucks are that smart I believe that their are far fewer of them so chances are slimmer that you may bag one. Just like an 8 pound bass is way less common then a 3lber.
I am trophy hunter same as Jaquomo. I want to hunt every day possible but normally shoot a couple of does for meat. Whenever I go on an out of state hunt it is all for a male animal that is a good representative for the area hunted. Tag soup doesn’t bother me in the least. My goal is to spend time with the animals in chosen terrain. Several years ago I shot a bull elk in New Mexico in the last thirty minutes of the last day. That is my ultimate hunt because I hunted every minute of every day and killed a really nice 5x6. I turned down several animals on that hunt and actually felt great satisfaction in doing so. I write this as my wife is preparing venison tacos!
I hunt for big deer and pass on the baby bucks and Does... I did this season and I will try to take one decent doe for the freezer every year, but I alwys hold out for a decent buck, If I get one great, if not, there is next year .... I could have easily tagged on small bucks this season, but that is not what I want and not what I'm after.... to hunt the bigger bucks/older buck you have to know what your doing where I hunt... I'm on a heavily pressured state land/9000 acres and the older bucks there have seen it all and every type of hunter or "supposed" hunter there is, small game bunny hunters/squirrel hunters/poachers/crossgun Elmer Fudd types, waterfowl hunters, gun deer hunters, cigarette and pot smoking deer hunters, etc. ... the few big ones that are there didnt get that way by being dumb.... any one can kill a baby deer, but to get an older deer there, you best know what your doing.... I love the challenge of hunting these older deer.... if all I want is meat, I'll kill a Doe or go to the supermarket .... Ive killed over 120 deer or close to that up to now...my killing for killing sake days are behind me .. I try and take 2 with the bow every year now, I no longer gun hunt for deer... 1 buck, 1 Doe with a BOW .... Ive killed at least one deer every year for the last 30 years and some years 4, 5, 6 or 7 deer, those type of years are behind me now ....... I know what I want, and I'll pass till I get 'em ... ....
Lots of good posts here that perfectly explain my position. My freezer empty, kill the first doe I can, and the second. About the only thing I will pass are young bucks. A buck doesn't have to have a big rack, he just have to be 3.5 or older on most properties I hunt for me to be happy with him. Do I like to kill a big one ! Sure, but I make sure I have a couple deer in the freezer before I worry too much about that.
I can probably shoot deer any time I need to and therefore tend to shoot bigger bucks since I can pass up deer without worrying about not getting any meat. However, I go on one big elk hunt every year and have never killed a big bull. I like the elk meat so much that I have a hard time passing up a shot at an elk. I don't really care if someone shames me about it either as I've had fresh elk meat in the freezer for about 8 years straight now:)
I always find the guys that are meat hunters don't care about the rack until they luck into a "biggun" and then they're bragging it around everywhere. Then it's like "hey what happened to all the can't eat the rack talk?"
You said yourself you'd prefer the animal with the big rack, but always want to fill your tag. Well at some point the gamble that you can still fill your tag AND get a bigger rack (or more mature specimen) is won or lost and a person gambles that they will get another crack and can go home empty handed. That is only one of many different scenarios that can leave a person holding an empty tag at the end of the year.
We have very few deer up here. I scout a lot and key on the area where I know a big buck lives. However if i can get close to a decent deer, I will take a shot because that might be the only shot I get all season. I was still hunting this past fall hoping to run into a huge buck I missed a month earlier when I ran into a buck I did not know was in that area. He wasn't the monster but at 183 pounds I was happy.
Lol I had no idea when I posted this ? That so many states can shoot multiple deer in one season. I've only hunted Washington state where your only allowed 1 deer per yr that's why I asked the ? All i can say is Wow wish I could shoot more deer or I need to move! Lol
Here in Illinois you can shoot two bucks and every antlerless deer you see. Unfortunately because most hunters are unable to limit themselves the herd is spiraling down to oblivion in some areas. I used to have an incredible place which had become mediocre at best. I love the meat but I won’t shoot a doe or small buck to get it.
Hello Mrwizard: Hunting is seeking of something. If you don't plan on taking a shot you are not hunting. If you impose limits for yourself all is good. If you want meat, any meat that is fine too. If you consider yourself a sportsman as most of here do then You will strive for a quick kill and plan to use the meat. If you are hunting solely to survive the rules are relaxed.
I hunt for the meat but don't shoot yearling bucks...that's what doe are for. I like to give myself the opportunity to get at least a 2 YO...and I've gotten several good bucks. Those of you that have the luxury of waiting for a 4, 5 YO and up that's great but not realistic for many guys. How does the saying go? Hunting...90% location, 10% skill.