The debate about the trophy hunter is based on a public myth and a categorical misunderstanding.
The term “trophy hunter,” as high-jacked by mainstream media, is someone who hunts for a trophy and nothing else. Whatever it may be—antlers, skull fur—is the driving force of why that hunter has stepped into the woods. And that makes them a trophy hunter.
Let’s just stop right there, before we fill out the picture any further. We need to ask ourselves: do we know any whitetail hunter that does not use the meat? The answer is that the vast majority of all whitetail hunters make sure the meat is used. We would be hard pressed to find any counterexamples.
Meat Hunters With High Standards
Although there may be people out there set on trophy class whitetails, they are really just meat hunters with high standards. Some of us may choose to pass on a first year deer, some of us might not. Does that make one method better and the other worse? No. That is because there is no such thing as a trophy hunter, but there is such a thing as meat hunters with prerequisites for harvest.
We can take this to an even further extreme. I can tell you from firsthand experience that hunters in Africa do not let anything go to waste. The giraffes, Cape buffalos, and all the other exotic animals like elephants are picked as clean as bison were historically by native Americans. Maybe the hunters have questionable motives, but to spread the false notion that these animals are not used casts a false vision.
For years, I spent countless hours pursuing trophy whitetails. More than once, I have been accused of being a trophy hunter. Yet as far as I recall, the process never changed. I can remember making Italian sausage from my biggest buck to date. The back straps of each of my trophy whitetails became venison carpaccio. All the while, I marveled at Mother Nature’s beautiful art work in the form of whitetail deer antlers.
Those back straps taste the same, whether doe or young buck. We are all meat hunters. Some of us just have very specific goals in mind when we fill our freezer. Maybe it is time to say that there is no such thing as a trophy hunter.
Last modified: October 3, 2018