Editors Blog

It’s Not ‘Your’ Deer…Is It?

What should be perhaps this year’s best feel-good deer hunting story has turned into one of the most gut-wrenching.

It happened when a 12-year-old Wisconsin boy shot an incredible buck while hunting in a special youth-only gun-hunting season in October (click here to see the photo). The mainframe 10-pointer also sports several kicker points and easily surpasses Boone and Crockett  record-book standards.

We’d love to tell the heart-pounding story and show you more photos of it, but, unfortunately, the family now almost wishes the buck never made an appearance that day.

Why? Well, it seems as though some folks in that community, who are apparently avid bow-hunters, aren’t sharing any of the joy. They are allegedly jealous to the point of being peeved.

“We don’t know if we even want to tell the story anymore,” the father said during a phone interview with D&DH’s Jake Edson.

It seems there is jealously and anger in the community over the fact that the boy was able to shoot this deer during a special youth hunt where kids were allowed to use firearms.

When I heard the report, my jaw hit the ground. How in the world could someone be jealous of a kid shooting a big buck? It happens every year, and those are the best deer hunting stories, in my opinion, because they embody everything that hunting should be about: excitement, luck and unbridled enthusiasm.

After doing some more background work on this story, we learned that at least one of the jealous hunters was upset because the boy shot what he considered to be “his” deer. The guy apparently had been holding out for this buck for several seasons and, in the process, had obtained several trail camera photos of the deer on his property.

After discussing this sad story with another friend of mine, we concluded that as our epiphany moment in trying to understand the mindset.

“That is so typical,” my friend said. “A guy gets a trail-cam picture, and now it’s ‘his’ deer.”
All I can say is, “wow” — and not in an excited, gosh-that-is-so-cool tone, but rather in utter disbelief.

Wow … really … has deer hunting gotten this far off track? This twisted? This self-centered?  What happened to our common-ground hunting kinship? Can we not extend our hand to a youngster in congratulations on his first buck?

Do people honestly believe that free-ranging whitetails — products and property of the public domain — are truly theirs merely because they planted a food plot that the deer ate from or hung a camera that happened to snap a photo of the animal as it walked about freely within its several-square-mile home range?

Gosh, I hope not.

Would someone please tell me I’m wrong?