All My Hunts are Trophy Hunts

Here’s a classic African trophy mount from my trip to South Africa in July 2007. It hangs in my family room.

When you look up the definition of trophy, you will find something like, “A prize or memento held in remembrance  of winning a competitive event.”

If you do some research, you’ll find various definitions of trophy hunting that go something like this: “Trophy hunting is hunting with the intent of retaining some type of trophy associated with the successful kill of an animal, typically a big game animal.”

Recently I made a claim that I prefer plain hunting to trophy hunting. My companion replied, “That’s because you like to harvest an animal.”

I replied yes, but besides killing the animal, I also like the preparation for the hunt, looking for suitable game, excitement of the stalk, anticipation of the shot, tracking, dressing out, sharing with others, creating food products, eating the meat, observing my animal mounts, etc.

The reason I made the statement about plain vs. trophy hunting was to point out that many people hunt to reach trophy standards created by others. When you hunt by this standard, you pass up opportunities to bag animals because others don’t consider them a trophy – even if you do.

I was pleased with my 2011 muzzleloader buck, a small trophy.

After reflecting a little longer, I replied that the most exciting part of the hunt for me is right after I make the decision to kill something. That’s when my predator adrenaline kicks in – when I realize that the critter I’m looking at is possibly going home with me as my trophy.

Although I wanted to bring home some venison from my 2011 Nevada mule deer hunt, I wasn’t inclined to kill one of these small bucks which, stood around about 100 yards from me and my ATV.

There’s a difference between looking at a deer and looking at a deer you intend to shoot. Every deer is an easy target until you decide you want to take it home. Once killing a specific animal becomes your objective, the hunt takes on a new perspective.

There’s a big difference between photographing a deer and shooting at it. I never get nervous while photographing a deer, but shooting a deer is a completely different experience. And, I get excited every time I shoot an animal. That’s because I only shoot animals that excite me. I guess you could also call them “plain”trophies.

Here  is Lola with one of my most recent trophies. The breast meat is in my fridge and the tail feathers decorate my family room.

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