Respecting the Hunt.

Craig Steele Scouting Arizona Elk

While driving a client/friend to the Airport on Saturday, he turned and said,

“it’s unreal how many people only ask… How big is it?

Just a few days prior, he (Ian Chapel) had just taken his first bull elk while on a guided hunt with us (Exclusive Pursuit Outfitters) in Arizona, so he was getting to read the comments coming across on social media and via text from his buddies.

I just shook my head and said,

“it’s just human nature and it’s how we as a hunting community have grown to define success.”

I have always stated, ” I LOVE BIG ANIMALS!”   I think everyone does, but I often question why I hunt and guide.  Ultimately, it comes down to loving THE HUNT, the challenge of the hunt.  The thought of failing is what drives me to get better and push myself even more.  I know the odds are stacked against me, my clients or my family going into a hunt, thus failure always exists.   Just look at success harvest reports and you will see the reality!

The dogma…

Clients and guides only care about the score of a trophy.

Often this is far from the truth, many of the folks that I have guided love the hunting experience, but I get how the dogma exists.  I just honestly know many of my family and friends are no different than most of my clients, they want to kill big animals.  It’s natural and I completely endorse ethical trophy hunting.  It doesn’t matter if it’s paying clients, family or friends… Trophy hunting is about about the challenge!

Craig Steele & Ryan Homewood with Ryan's 388+ inch Arizona Bull Elk.

Craig Steele & Ryan Homewood with Ryan’s Giant Arizona Late Season Bull Elk.  Ryan hunted twice with Exclusive Pursuit Outfitters before taking his giant Arizona Bull Elk.  Ryan is a veteran hunter and knew he wasn’t entitled to a big bull just because he drew a tag or hired a guide.

Personally, I love hunting with 2 types of clients/hunters, those that are looking for a certain type of trophy animal but know how hard it’s going to be to kill that animal.  As well as those who are newer to hunting and have a bit of virgin like attitude with regards to hunting.  Occasionally, I will run into hunters who are only out for a score and could careless about the actual hunt.  They tend talk about scores like they are the only reason they hunt and tend to have no real grasp on what it takes to find an animal of a certain size, let alone ETHICALLY kill a wild giant.

What’s it score?

When I get the “what’s it score” question from fans, followers, friends and family, I sometimes get bent out-of-shape, because it’s as if that was the ONLY thing that matters.  I understand some of these questions are because we want to get better at field judging and curiosity, but I wish people would think about the CONTEXT of their comments, before typing.  I purposely don’t post the scores on most of the animals we guide or take, because the guiding industry seems to inflate the numbers and over market hype, so I don’t want to FEED the dogma.

It comes back to respecting the hunt.

If the score of an animal solely defined success in hunting, WHY don’t we all put high fences up, set up 200+ t-cams and then drop the hammer when Mr. Big steps down to the feeder at 8am?

I don’t care if you hunt DIY, guided or hunt with your grandma, the score doesn’t solely define your success as a hunter.

-Craig Steele