As I sit here looking at trophy photos coming across my social media feeds, I have a few thoughts…
- Congrats, that’s an awesome animal.
- I wonder what it scores???
- I wonder how hard of a hunt it was?
- 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?”
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. 🙂