“Trophy” Bucks

Joe Schuster | November 29, 2022

If you’re like me, you have been scrolling through social media every day of deer season to see all of the posts of deer taken. You probably saw the 150-inch, 14-point velvet monster taken on the opening day of bow season in Harris County in the October’s GON. Well, if that didn’t make your eyes bulge a little, certainly the Greene County, 200-inch, 25-point buck taken in early November will do it! I saw it featured on the on my phone while I was in a tree stand. Loaded with abnormals and a huge drop tine, it’s clearly the buck of a lifetime. It’s not uncommon for hunter’s to find something to pass the time by in the deer stand when it seems like nothing is moving. So, I scroll through my social media to see what other hunters are posting. I take great enjoyment seeing the post of a youngster’s first deer and the female hunter harvests. Congrats to all! 

I have to admit, I can’t recall ever seeing so many quality bucks taken. They seem to be everywhere. Everywhere except where I’m hunting! So, it brings up the question, are more big deer being shot this season or does social media just make it appear that way? Regardless of all the “trophy” bucks you see, remember that there are different aspects of what makes up a trophy deer. It’s what makes hunting such a personal pursuit. Someone’s first deer, regardless of size, would be a trophy. I still have the skull plate of a small spike that was my first bow-kill and still remember how excited and proud I was (and still am) of it. 

Many hunter-education courses refer to the five stages of a deer hunter. The first is the “shooting stage,” where the new hunter is inclined to take a shot without really waiting for a better shot placement. The “limiting out stage” refers to the hunter who views success reaching the legal bag limit. In Georgia, with our ample limits, this is a difficult task. Then many will move on to the “trophy stage,” where the hunter only pursues what they have deemed as a worthy trophy. The “method stage” is all about the process. Many hunters place a priority on the process of hunting, such as only hunting for deer with a bow, a pistol or a muzzleloader. Lastly, the “sportsman stage,” where the focus is on appreciating the outdoors. This can include cherishing hunting with others who share the same or maybe even mentoring a first-time hunter. Enjoying the entire process of a successful hunt from the shot, the blood trail, the recovery, field-dressing, skinning, quartering, packaging, cooking and sharing. Regardless of the stage, I hope that you enjoy every minute in the field. Stay safe!

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