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Making of a Trophy…

October 28th, 2006

I have been thinking about this subject lately.  Pick up any deer hunting magazine, and what you will find is picture after picture of monster bucks.  And then you will find story after story about how to kill a trophy buck.  The problem is, most of us don’t really get to hunt those monster bucks!  I, for one, don’t have the thousands of dollars that it takes to be able to pay for a deer like that.  That is what it typically turns out to be.  A hunt on either a high fence ranch, or a piece of property that is so secured it might as well have a high fence.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have about 5,000 acres all to myself on which to grow and manage trophy deer.  Given the opportunity, I would do it in a heartbeat.  But, that is just not a reality for most of us (unless I am really out of touch with reality!)

For most of us, “trophy” is not in the size of the antlers, but rather in the hunt itself.  For example, let me share this picture of a small buck I killed a couple of years ago. Obviously, this was not a “trophy” buck…just a little spike horn.  However, this was the first year my son (just about 1 1/2) was old enough to really know what was going on in deer camp.  Look at that smile on his face.  In my book, that is a trophy!  He has, from that day on, been hooked on deer hunting.  Every time I come in from hunting, he wants to know what I got.  If I didn’t get something, he wants to know what I saw.  He is always facinated by the different animals that I see, or hear while on the deer stand.  I knew, when I pulled the trigger on this little buck, that my little hunting buddy would be thrilled to see it in the back of my truck. 

In our little corner of WV, we don’t have a lot of big bucks.  And, the idea of letting little ones walk is appealing in a lot of ways, but the problem is if we let one walk, then it will just go over the hill and someone else will shoot him.  Such is the problem when you only own a few acres. 

Someday, I may have the opportunity to take Jacob somewhere where to hunt for a big buck.  Until then, I want to instill in him the joy of the hunt.  That can’t be tied to the size of antlers.  There is nothing like sitting in a stand and watching the sun rise…watching a buck walk right under your stand…squeezing the trigger and knowing you made a good, ethical, humane shot.  Folks, that buck is a trophy in the eyes of my little guy, and that is good enough for me.  He is now 3, and the desires for hunting have only grown.  He will be spending a couple of days this year in a hunting blind.  If I see a deer, I will shoot it, no matter how small.  I want him to get the experience of taking one of these beautiful creatures, and learning to take care of the game so that it is preserved for our freezer.  He has a great desire to learn all about it, and I look forward to teaching him!

This week, I was fortunate enough to find myself in a tree stand once again.  About 9 AM, I saw a deer walking toward my stand.  The small spike horn turned and went up over the hill, as I enjoyed watching him eat.  A few minutes later, another small buck came over the hill, and fed right toward my stand.  I debated over whether I wanted to take this small buck or not.  Some of what I have written about in this post was going through my mind.  Finally, when the deer was about 7 yards from me, I decided to go ahead and take him.  I made what I thought was a perfect shot, but the deer ran like crazy.  I ended up tracking him for 400 yards or more.  Unfortunately, he didn’t drop a lot of blood, so it took me a long time to find him.  Upon examination, I found that I had indeed made a very good shot on this deer.  The problem appeared to be that my mechanical broadhead did not open up as it should have.  It seemed as if only one of the 3 blades opened up, and cut the right way.  I was very disappointed in this.  I will be trying the broadheads again, but if I continue to have problems like this, I will definitely go to another brand.  After another test of this broadhead, maybe I will review it here.  The first 2 shots with it were quite effective, one penetrating the spine, the second a pass through in the lung area.  But, this shot was through one lung, and evidently due to the severe angle, under the second lung.  there was no exit hole, as the arrow didn’t penetrate enough.    I will have to report back on this later!

Notice the smile on my son’s face!  He, again, was thrilled to see this deer.  And he didn’t care a bit that the antlers on this deer were much smaller than the one from last week.  I hope he keeps that good attitude!

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