The debate about the so called “Trophy Hunter” is both a public myth and hunting misunderstanding.

We must all think for a moment if we know someone who is a trophy hunter but first, let’s stop and dissect this question for a moment. The term trophy hunter, as high jacked by mainstream media, is someone who hunts for a trophy and nothing else. The antlers, skull, fur, or whatever it maybe is the driving force of why that hunter has stepped in the woods making them a “Trophy Hunter”.

Let us stop there before we fill this myth any further about the trophy hunter. Now we must ask ourselves this. Do we know any whitetail hunter that does not utilize the meat? The answer is that the vast majority of all whitetail hunters make sure that meat is used. In fact we would be hard pressed to find the few isolated cases that may exist otherwise.

The truth in this whole debate is that, although there maybe people out there set on trophy class whitetails it is really just a high standard of meat hunting. Some of us may choose to pass a first year deer, some of us may not. So does that make one better than the other or one method wrong? It does not. That is because there is no such thing as a trophy hunter, only meat hunters with prerequisites for a harvest.

Now we can take this to an even further extreme. Into the highly charged debate of hunting Africa, a place where, from firsthand experience, I will tell everyone nothing goes to waste. The giraffes, the Cape Buffalo, and all the other exotic animals including the elephant are eaten to a level that resembles old depictions of Native Americans utilizing all of an America Bison. Maybe the hunters themselves have some questionable motives but to spread the false notion that these animals are not used is selling a false vision.

For years I spent countless hours pursuing “trophy” whitetails and have, more than once, been accused of being a trophy hunter. As far as I recall though, the process never changed. I can remember making Italian sausage from my biggest buck to date. Venison Carpaccio from the back straps of each of my “trophy” whitetails. All the while, marveling at Mother Nature’s beautiful art work in the form of white-tailed deer antlers.

Those back straps tasted the same as each doe or young buck. The only constant in all of this being that we are in fact all meat hunters, just some with very specific goals in mind when we fill our freezer. Maybe it is time to remember there is truly no such thing as a trophy hunter and question the way we interpret the actual facts.

About The Author A.J. DeRosa

A.J. DeRosa is an American film maker and outdoor writer. He is considered a pioneer in the modern era of hunting. From the amazon best selling deer hunting book ‘The Urban Deer Complex‘ to his critically acclaimed film series 'Project Upland'. He continues to push the boundaries in outdoor media, including niche market regions and unique cultures to the mass market.

comments (1)

  • I too think that the word “trophy hunter” comes with a quite negative denotation. When people hear trophy hunter, they think about people killing lions or rhinos or some endangered species in Africa. Why? Because pictures of those hunters posing over those dead animals get spread all over Facebook and without any background information it actually looks pretty questionable. If people would know that every single bit of that animal gets used for something I am sure their opinions would change quickly.

    Kind of funny that people buy meat in stores from animals that never saw the day light having a miserable life and at the same time criticize hunters that go after animals that spend their whole life in nature up to that point, where they have a quick death and feeding a hungry family afterwards.

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