I suppose I have never been on a trophy deer hunt. I've never gone hunting for a trophy animal. I have never paid anyone to help me find a trophy. Maybe that means I'm an under-achiever, or just a cheap-$$$. Maybe there is something missing in me.
I've got a lot of trophies. You saw the latest that just came back from the taxidermist, but just for gratuitous grins, here it is again:
Yep, that's a trophy all right, but I didn't mean to shoot him. That is to say, I thought he was a lot smaller when I shot him-- the dark antlers made him hard to judge. Imagine my surprise when I finally got down to him. I would have been happy that morning with a lot less.
So shaman, why on Earth do you hunt? Is it to fill the freezer? Are you just strange?
Someone asked me one time if I had $10K to blow on a deer hunt, where would I go? I told them I'd probably ask for the $10K, and more time to hunt right where I'm at. Don't get me wrong. I love deer hunting to the point that if you Google "cervid serial killer" you will find me. It is just that I enjoy hunting my deer on my place, and I get almost as much of a gas having an all-afternoon snort-fest with Madge, the scornful doe, as I did putting out the big guy's lights.
You have to understand Madge and me. I think I killed her mother with a muzzleloader back in 2004, and then Moose aced her son back in 2005. Madge was watching close by. When her mom got it, Madge kept trying to wake her up, and she would not leave even after I came down from the stand. Madge has it in for us. She will spend an hour or more hiding in a cedar bush snorting at us up in a stand-- to the point where the other deer think she's an hysteric and go right on eating despite her protestations. I had a shot at her during bow season in 2006, but I muffed it. Since then she's been nothing but a pest. I wouldn't give her up for anything. She's a trophy all right.
Real tangible trophies? Sorry. Okay how about this one. Up on my mantle is a 6 inch section of 2" diameter beech. It has a broadhead embedded in it, my broadhead. One mid-November morning in 1996 I was hunting a creek bottom when the biggest buck I had ever seen came walking past. I shot. I was sure I'd hit him-- I even heard it, but he did not run away. Instead, he took issue with the little beech tree just to his side. I got another arrow nocked up, but this time, he busted me and ran about 20 yards before stopping for a second look. I shot, but it went low and passed under his belly. Later, as I was reconstructing what happened, I found the arrow in the beech tree. I've also blown up a sapling with a 12 GA slug-- exploded the trunk and durn near knocked it over on the deer. Sorry, I don't have that one. Sometimes, some seasons, that's as close as it gets.
Oh well, I had fun. Those sorts of things save me all the trouble of hauling the carcass out. Trophies? Yep, every one of them, and I got a lifetime of them too.