is it all about inches? let’s just whip them out!

My 2010 DIY Arizona Bull is still my biggest at 374 gross, but I never entered him into a record book.

My 2010 DIY (helped by friends and family) Arizona Bull is still my biggest at 374 gross, but I never entered him into a record book.

As I sit here looking at trophy photos coming across my social media feeds, I have a few thoughts…

  1. Congrats, that’s an awesome animal.
  2. I wonder what it scores???
  3. I wonder how hard of a hunt it was?
  4. I need some of my or my clients’  hunting seasons to start!

I am a professional hunting guide and I also consider myself to be a trophy hunter.   I love BIG animals, but I don’t think I get caught up in the inch measuring contest anymore.   I guess that sounds ridiculous, perhaps I am contradicting myself as I scout for the biggest pronghorn antelope in my client’s unit.   I am not sure…

When I was just a quote unquote “diy hunter”, I was worried more about the inches, because I felt like it measured my success.  As I have grown a little older, guide more and hunt more, I have found that I actually don’t care about 1 or 2 inches in a system which was NOT designed to measure the ability of the hunters or guides.

Recently, I read a slew of comments on trophy images and one which stated, ” You should have let him grow another few inches!!!”

I couldn’t help but think, “what the hell have we turned into?”

Really….  

If a buck is 230 vs 240, does it really make a difference?  

Hunting isn’t boxing, baseball, football or any other sport.  Hunting doesn’t have a league, where we crown a National Champion.  I use to think it did, but that was my own ignorance and I hope we as a hunting community will wake up and smell the roses.

I am afraid we (myself included) have it all wrong and it’s leading us down a dark path…

We are competing against other hunters within systems, which are NOT designed to measure a hunter’s skill level.  These systems are designed to measure the animals antler/horn growth for biological data.  They have nothing to do with skill or abilities.

When I hunt, I am not chasing a record in a book, like I did when I was younger, I am chasing my own goals.  When I guide a hunter, I am helping the hunter achieve their goals.  If the  bi-product of our goals is found to be a record within a system, we have simply validated the animal’s horn/antler growth within the system.  This doesn’t mean it’s more of a trophy than any other.

I can’t help but think of Steve Jobs’ description of life when we talk about measuring systems and the adoption of what some call success:

If hunting success is now just reduced to a MALE measuring contest, let’s whip them out and get it over with. 🙂

-Craig Steele

#HuntforMore