ORIGINAL: Dan Schmidt
"What did he weigh?" was often the first question asked of a successful hunter. This infatuation hasn't died completely. A buck's hog-dressed weight is still a badge of honor for hunters in the Northeast....
I really enjoyed reading that editorial, Dan. I remember my grandfather talking about how much a buck weighed, and I must say some of those old-timers here in these parts never actually put them on a scale -- and they had a knack for way overestimating the weight of a deer.
Up in Maine, it's different. They routinely weigh their deer. One famous Maine/Vermont hunter we'd all know by name told me a couple of months ago that "What did he weigh?" is another way of asking "How much food did you get?" It's a throwback to the time when a food supply was critical to a family making it through the winter. Hunters who care about the weight of the buck generally don't debate the culinary delicacy of a yearling versus an old buck -- they all taste good. (Nowadays many hunters have never tasted a truly old buck.)
You asked the question, "What is the heaviest buck you've ever killed?" Here in Pennsylvania I've killed a few that field-dressed between 140 and 150. That's not much in a lot of places, but here (especially with our half-century long habit of killing mostly 1½ year old bucks) that's nothing to scoff at, and not bad for a 3½ year old. Now that we're letting most of the young ones walk, more deer are getting mature and I expect to surpass my earlier weights.
In some ways, we've lost something when a deer's weight isn't as important as his antlers. But who knows? They say "What goes around comes around."
When the Everyday Hunter
isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.