Hunting Antlers vs Meat: What’s Your Trophy?
One of the biggest conversations we hear in hunting is “Antlers vs. Meat”. In this article, the Pure Instinct Hunting crew takes a look at the reasons why we hunt. Is it for the mind blowing mature rack that you’ve been snapping pictures of for years, watching him flourish into the muy grande of your dreams? …Or is it the fact that we are instinctively designed as humans to feed our families on a primitive level? As we look at this paradigm, we will see how, for most hunters, it is a combination of both. We will also explore what the definition of a trophy is for each individual.
Growing up in East Texas hunting with family and friends, I never really considered the idea of a trophy. I was hunting because it was something I watched my elders do with such conviction and purpose. As a youth hunter, I felt as if I were doing what every other young boy in the world was doing, nothing special. Just fulfilling a duty I watched my older brother, father and grandfather carry out. Little did I know how wrong I was. Hunting was a dying practice among families and youth country wide.
As I got older, and had more hunts under my belt, I started to understand what it meant to go after a trophy. I have put a lot of thought into it over the years. Was it an idea that was solely feeding my ego, or was it the bigger challenge? The thought of putting the smack down on an old, wise 7 or 8 year old buck that had been many man’s ghost, was an obsession I couldn’t ignore. However, in saying that, I rarely start my season, or hunts, off with that mentality. Let me give you a specific example. This last Texas Whitetail season we had the entire PIH staff at our ranch in Northwest Texas for the opening of rifle season. I had been watching a nice 10pt, 150″ deer for some time on the game cam, and felt I was on the perfect set to make something happen. Well, that was before I got into my stand…shortly after a herd of nine doe came strolling through the field. At that point, I had a decision to make: fill the freezer with some succulent doe meat (and possibly run big boy out of the area), or smack a doe, or two, and feed the fam. Well, I decided to go for filling the freezer. I “hammered down” on one doe at 212yrd, and ended up taking a second one from 197yrd. Not to mention that my fellow PIH staff member, and trophy hunter extraordinaire, Derek Grey smacked one more doe from the same herd. What an event filled opening morning for a bunch of ole does. Looking back on that experience, I believe I had more of an exciting time smoking those does with my good buddy Derek, than I would have passing to wait for the glory of big boy. At the end of the day, I had a ton of fun, and was able to bring home some prime time deer meat to feed the family with our favorite recipes.
The “Random House Webster’s College Dictionary” defines a “trophy” as: anything taken in war, hunting, competition, etc., esp. when preserved as a memento; spoil, prize, or award. That being said I believe everyone’s idea of a trophy looks a little different. For some, it may be their one and only hunt scoring a button buck. Or, it could be my buddy Derek harvesting a huge 184″ whitetail last season, and now can’t wait to head out this year to track one even bigger. Whatever the hunting circumstance is, we all have our personal trophies, and shouldn’t let the hunting networks, internet, or any other source, dictate certain ideas of what a trophy, or just hunting in general, is for you. We hunt because it’s our God-given right and purpose. We have an obligation to teach our youth as much as we can, never letting the heritage die. Personally, I don’t like to inject the trophy idea in my sons’ heads. I believe that is something they will naturally grow into because it’s a personal quest, not an ego fulfilling journey to out-do their buddies. In conclusion, I suppose the hunt for me is more about the experiences shared with family and friends, along with tapping into the ancestral connection that comes with a hunter hunting its prey.
What about you? What’s your trophy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We would love to hear your ideas on this controversial topic. Hammer Down PIH nation!