photo by Deer & Deer Hunting Editor Dan Schmidt
Not all of my whitetail racks are these clean and neat. In fact, my collection of deer antlers is strewn about several locations. I have some European mounts, like this one, on my desk at the office. I have some of my full shoulder mounts there as well. Of course, my favorite mounts are at home. As are many more skulls and racks mounted to oak boards. Then there’s the several dozen racks that are screwed to the walls of the garage.
Although some of the racks hold more prominent display areas, they are all equally appreciated. the way I look at it, I can always stop what I’m doing, look at a particular rack, and instantly relive the day I took that deer home. To me, the size of the antlers doesn’t matter; it’s all about the memory.
My favorite memories are hearing about deer hunts from other people as they show me their antler collections. I guess that stems from my upbringing, because my dad always used to relive his hunts for us when we’d gather in our garage. That’s where he kept all of his racks. He had each one nailed to the walls — everything from a spike he killed in the late 1950s to a huge 12-pointer he killed in 1967. We would just stand by the warm woodstove and listen intently to every detail of every hunt (even though we already knew the details). Every time we heard the stories, it was like we were right there in the woods with him as the hunt was unfolding.
So, this winter, my goal is to make sure I retrieve some of my misplaced antlers and make sure they all make it to a wall, a shelf or a bookcase. I also need to put the finishing touches on some of the European mounts. You can bet this is going to be a fun project. I can’t wait to relive those memories again. And again.