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DaveT

Trophy Hunters, Friend or Foe?

149 posts in this topic

I heard recently that Trophy Hunters are the problem with hunting today, and are giving the anti-hunting crowd fuel for their never ending crusade to end our sport.

The contention is that by getting away from subsistence hunting and trying to kill a large buck, we are showing the antis that we don't need to hunt, and only do it for bragging rights. I've heard that hunting in MN needs to get back to it's roots, and that urging the DNR to change the way they manage our deer is somehow going to ruin our deer hunting, apparently by proving to the antis that we are all a bunch of rich, snobby, pipe smoking hunters in safari hats with giant trophy rooms and snifters of scotch.

Then there is the possibility that we might someday have so many trophy bucks running around that the outfitters will come in and lease up all the land, and we will have nowhere to hunt.

I would like to ask this question. What is a trophy hunter? I try to shoot a couple of does each year for my freezer, then choose to wait for a big buck to put my tag on. Most years, this strategy allows me to hunt until the season ends, as I don't usually tag a buck in MN. I guess this makes me a trophy hunter, but maybe not a very good one.

Is the guy who shoots a basket rack 8 pointer and then mounts it because it's the biggest buck he's ever shot a trophy hunter? He certainly considers his buck a trophy, even if the record books don't.

What if I intend to shoot any buck that walks by, and the first one I see is huge, by shooting it do I become a trophy hunter?

I don't think there are many subsistence hunters left out there. I do believe there are plenty of families who eat a ton of venison every year, but I don't think those same families would be lining up at the soup kitchen if they didn't have venison. I don't believe the average non or anti hunter thinks that we have to hunt to survive either. The average non hunter understands that hunting is a tradition here, and we all have our own reasons for doing it. The average non hunter has even supported our right to do it, as the constitutional amendment wouldn't have passed without quite a few votes from non hunters.

The recent surge in trophy hunting is due in large part to the hunting industry itself, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't buy the Drury's latest video if it promised 20 exciting hunts for the smallest bucks in North America. Everybody who hunts wants to kill a trophy buck, and that is the reason we buy those videos, grunt calls, scents, food plot seeds, etc. Deer hunters as a group are responsible for this new attitude towards managing deer herds for quality bucks, and it is not going to go away.

If we start managing for a more balanced deer herd, will the outfitters or rich hunters come in and take away all of our best land? It's already happening in SE MN, and it will continue to spread. The reason is simple and you learned it in high school. Supply and Demand. There is a market for quality hunting spots, especially in MN, where our deer are managed for quantity, not quality. Hunting is becoming a sport of the haves and have nots, but I don't blame trophy hunters. Try to find a piece of private ground to pheasant hunt on, more than likely you will have to pony up some dollars to hunt there.

So, is trophy hunting ruining our sport? I don't think so, the average guy today knows more about deer behavior than the biologists did 10 years ago. My desire to kill a big buck has resulted in me becoming a better hunter, more patient, smarter, and it has given me a lot more time doing what I love, and during that time, I have witnessed things that I never would have seen if I shot the first buck that came along. All of these things add to my enjoyment, how can that be bad?

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My guess is a anti-hunting group made that up about trophy hunting. The percentage of trophy only hunters to regular deer hunters is nothing which is funny

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hey DaveT i'm with you 110%...i really couldn't of said it any better it's like you took that straight from my brain lol.

me, you, and the like, aren't really trophy hunters...we just want to shoot the biggest bucks we can and not use our tag on a small buck that could someday be a big buck. and why would you want to tag a small buck with all that hunting time left? or shoot that small buck when a big one could of came by 20 minutes later? i think it takes confidence to be able to do what we do..i'm always thinking my buck is coming any minute now....passing on tons of deer in the meantime just thinking if it comes down to it i'll take a doe at the end of the year for some venny...if not i have no problem eating my tag and donating my license money to the whitetail.

but we are still hunters that like to put in the work and spend the time in the outdoors...thats the true tradition and the name of the game...no matter what type of hunter you are it's all about just being out there and seeing things you'd never see unless you were actually out there.

my personal opinion on the only type of hunters i don't care for are the people that will pay the big dollars to go to the ranches, get set in a stand, then shoot a big buck and think they are the ultimate hunters...strictly for the rack and bragging rights...thats the true meaning of a trophy hunter to me.

i mean if your a hardcore hunter and want a dream hunt and get the chance to hunt where there are beasts thats awesome if you get your dream buck.

but for me if i went out and did all the work and got a monster buck all on my own on home turf thats unbeatable.

everytime you get that new toy in your hands wether its a stand, calls,rattle horns/bag,bow, gun, decoy, scents..don't big bucks run through your head? isn't that just natural or i'm i different? i instantly make my own visions of whats gonna happen lol

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DaveT,

I don't argue with your stance or your opinion about only taking larger Bucks. That is your decision. I only disagree when you advocate ramming new regulations down the throats of those of us who chose to hunt deer for the venison, just to further your personal enjoyment at the expense of someone else's personal enjoyment.

I think the way it is set up in Minnesota is very good for all types of hunters. There are good numbers of Deer and laws that favor us meat hunters plus there are still a decent number of larger bucks here in Minnesota. Not as many as there are in other states I know, but there are still opportunities for both practices. I think each individual should be allowed to hunt as they please.

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i'd be happy with just the gun season to be like it is in wiscony....and hope people just start doing alot of big buck management...i know alot of people that are in to that stuff now...passing on smaller bucks and even doing food plots.

i just need a bunch of land and have my neighbors on the same page lol.

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I agree with bd2. Nothing wrong with trophy hunting but when regs are changed for the sole purpose of trophy hunting that is a problem.

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Big Dave, while I respect your opinion, I think you may be missing the point. Managing for a balanced and better quality (ratio and size/age) would NOT be ramming regulations down your throat, and would NOT allow us to further our enjoyment at your expense. We can have both! And, a person can still shoot multiple deer with all the bonus and intensive tags available, without exploiting the archaic party hunting regulations, and he doesn't need to gun hunt during the rut to do so. Speaking of antihunters and nonhunters, I know many people here idolize Ted Nugent. I greatly respect his intelligence on the subjects of hunting, gun control, etc, and his tireless efforts on all our behalves. And he's correct when he states that antihunters don't care if we use terms like harvest instead of kill, they don't want us doing it no matter what we call it. But in the end it will be the majority, the nonhunters, who eventually decide our fate, not antihunters. I just wish he would keep it civil and clean when he represents us in public, and we all need to remember that too when it comes to our sport we cherish so deeply. Whether you see chops and loins in your dreams and I see big antlers doesn't matter, we can both co-exist. But changes need to be made or only one of us will have those dreams.

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I think that we should maybe distinguish between trophy hunters that move from place to place, outfitter to outfitter, guide to guide, lease up land and only hunt leased land, and those trophy hunters like myself that take does for venison but treat that one buck tag like its gold. If I shoot does but wait to shoot a buck that will go on my wall am I still a trophy hunter? Is it terrible that maybe I think there are couple of things that we can do to help increase the age structure of our deer herd. I'm terrible torn on this issue. On one hand, I'd like to see more big bucks, on the other, I don't want to see our private land leased up, if you don't think it would happen, you are all in denial. An outfitter just started up in Wabasha, they surrounded me during the firearm season. In Wabasha for Pete's sake. I think the trophy hunters that I talked about first, they are whats wrong with hunting today. They are doing nothing for our sport. I have nothing against the guy that saves his hard earned money to go and purchase a guided hunt out west or in Alaska, or anywhere else. To me, its the guys with the money that want to pay somebody to put them in a stand and lead the trophy deer up to them so they can shoot it and act like it was a real feat to be able to do that. Cape the deer, ship the meat to a locker plant or food shelf, and then take off on the next trip, or rebook for next year. I'm sorry, if I offend some of you, but that is how I feel.

Think about the hunter and his two young boys that used to hunt that stand the trophy hunters are sitting in, but they got kicked off because because uncle Bill saw the dollar signs and leased his land. The hunter and his two young boys go and try state land, but its not an enjoyable experience, lead flying, can't find a place, somebody tells them they are in their spot. What do you think that guy and his two kids are going to do, they are going to quit hunting. You wonder why hunter numbers are down, just read the stories on this forum of disagreements between hunters over trespass, public land areas, stolen equipment etc... It is not what I envision for my son and I. No wonder people are quitting the sport. Sorry about the rant, guess I just got on a roll.

I would like to see all of us try and co-exist, but in a society where money talks, it is very difficult. The majority that can't afford to buy land, and can't afford to lease, and can't afford to go through an outfitter will have tough times ahead. Wake up people, it is happening right under your noses.

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i hate sell outs...if people were really about great tradition they'd never sell their land..if i owned primo hunting land you couldn't get it out of my cold dead hands.

the thing about wabasha is they realized its only right across the river from buffalo county and there's big bucks on the other side...all that land down there is so spendy now just because of the whitetail potential.

there doesn't even have to be laws about what should and shouldn't be done...if a majority of the hunting population let small bucks walk and shot doe's for meat we'd be loaded with big bucks in just a couple years...thats bigger racks and more meat ...everyone wins!!

kinda like how it isn't against the law to stick it to your buddies gf but you know you just shouldn't do it lol.

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Yes, our area is very good, I am very fortunate and unfortunate all the same. Saw tremendous hunting pressure this year. Never saw or heard much about how the new "outfitter" did, I'm hoping selfishly that they don't do well, or that they didn't see as many nice bucks as I did. I know they never got one, my FIL got him, but there are a few other ones that were running around. The Elba, Whitewater area was got hit really, really hard this year. I'm glad its lottery or the deer would get pretty wiped out. At least I can go out where I bow hunt and stil see does, but the big guys I was chasing all fall for bow season are either in a freezer, or hiding. They were both seen during firearms, but got shot at from about 100 yards away with smoothies. I thanked them for educating him, maybe he'll still be around next year. If he is, he will be very scary indeed.

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Big Dave, while I respect your opinion, I think you may be missing the point. Managing for a balanced and better quality (ratio and size/age) would NOT be ramming regulations down your throat, and would NOT allow us to further our enjoyment at your expense. We can have both! And, a person can still shoot multiple deer with all the bonus and intensive tags available, without exploiting the archaic party hunting regulations, and he doesn't need to gun hunt during the rut to do so. Speaking of antihunters and nonhunters, I know many people here idolize Ted Nugent. I greatly respect his intelligence on the subjects of hunting, gun control, etc, and his tireless efforts on all our behalves. And he's correct when he states that antihunters don't care if we use terms like harvest instead of kill, they don't want us doing it no matter what we call it. But in the end it will be the majority, the nonhunters, who eventually decide our fate, not antihunters. I just wish he would keep it civil and clean when he represents us in public, and we all need to remember that too when it comes to our sport we cherish so deeply. Whether you see chops and loins in your dreams and I see big antlers doesn't matter, we can both co-exist. But changes need to be made or only one of us will have those dreams.

How do you not call it ramming new regulations down our throats if there are new regulations that we are not for? I would not like to see antler restrictions or an end to party hunting, ever.

Plus, I am not sure that antlers will grow that large in all areas just because you let them walk for a couple of years. Sometimes the genetics are just not there to allow that large antler growth. Look at SE Minnesota. Why are they growing large deer? The regulations in that part of the state are the same as the rest of the state. A lot of it has to do with the nutrition and habitat for the deer. I just don't think your ever going to see the same results in northers MN.

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there doesn't even have to be laws about what should and shouldn't be done...if a majority of the hunting population let small bucks walk and shot doe's for meat we'd be loaded with big bucks in just a couple years...thats bigger racks and more meat ...everyone wins!!

So, those of us who hunt in a lottery zone and don't pull a doe tag should just go without harvesting a deer for a couple of years just so you can be happy?

And who's kid happens to be 10 yrs old when these proposed regulations take place? Yours? Mine will be 9 next year so another year and he will be able to hunt with me and it would be a shame if he had a chance to shoot a 4-pointer on his first hunt but winds up with nothing because there are antler restrictions.

Where does it end? One guy thinks 8 pointers are trophys and the next guy only wants to shoot 10 or 12 pointers. Who decides what a trophy is? I believe a trophy is any deer you decide to shoot as long as YOU are proud of it.

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...the average guy today knows more about deer behavior than the biologists did 10 years ago.

Um...ah...yea sure. Where do you think a lot of this "new" info came from? Larry Weishuhn, Dr. James Kroll, C.W. Bill Severinghaus, John J. Ozoga, Kip Adams, Dr. Grant Woods are/were professional biologists. Turn the page of a lot of todays hunting mags and you'll see their names on or in articles. They've been studying everything the general public considers new for many years.

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I really don't think an antler restriction would be that big of a deal. Have it be 4 points on either side, one buck a year. Kids under 16 or first/second year hunters get the green light on anything. If you aren't lucky to draw a doe tag, then it would be a good time to recruit a new hunter.

I don't get all wrapped up in how many "inches" a buck would go but more about getting bucks to a mature age. A 14 inch wide heavy 8 weighing 270lbs is the same to me as some 150 inch 150lb deer. But if you get more bucks to a mature age, some of those will have the right stuff to be giants. And the others will be dandy bucks as well. I know in WI a few years ago it was like 92 % of buck shot were under 1 1/2 years old. If you wiped out 90% of all the sixth graders how many kids would make it to high school.

A healthy deer population means a more balanced age structure/numbers for both does and bucks. The three keys for larger bucks is age, nutrition and genetics. The first one is the only one that everyone can control, the second one they are pretty good on already, and the third is impossible to control in the wild. Heck even those deer farmers with the high fences can't really pin down genetics, they just pump them full of nutrients.

I get excited every time I see a year, buck, doe, fawn, spike doesn't matter. But I can vividly remember nearly every detail each time I saw a real bruiser buck. If more people got to experience that a few more times, they'd be hooked too.

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Antler restrictions would be a big deal!! How many people are able to count points on a deer 100 yards away? I have never been able to count points on a deer standing broad side all you can see is how high above the ear the antler is.

The last thing I would want to worry about when you have a small window of opportunity, is to waste time trying to get a count on points.

If a law like this passed I would give up deer hunting and take up bird watching, and then my kids would most likely not be hunters and their kids and so on.

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Quote:
So, those of us who hunt in a lottery zone and don't pull a doe tag should just go without harvesting a deer for a couple of years just so you can be happy?

I don't agree with any type of restriction in a lottery zone. Lottery areas should be able to party hunt and should not subject to any restrictions on antlers or the like. Nothing should change there until the population comes back up. In intensive harvest areas and even in management areas, I don't think that there is any need for party hunting and would not be totally opposed to antler restrictions or moving the season back 1 week. Zone 3 is tough, lots of deer, two seasons, would take some serious retooling of the system. The problem with part hunting in IH or Managed areas is that it is not used to take another doe anymore, they are used to tag multiple bucks. I think if we could limit everyone in those zones to one buck a year, we would see a huge increase in mature deer, and we wouldn't have to change any rule, just enforce the one that we already have.

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I don't get all wrapped up in how many "inches" a buck would go but more about getting bucks to a mature age. A 14 inch wide heavy 8 weighing 270lbs is the same to me as some 150 inch 150lb deer. But if you get more bucks to a mature age, some of those will have the right stuff to be giants. And the others will be dandy bucks as well. I know in WI a few years ago it was like 92 % of buck shot were under 1 1/2 years old. If you wiped out 90% of all the sixth graders how many kids would make it to high school.

But here is the problem, this is just one more in a large array of opinions on what a trophy deer is. The next guy wants more points, the next guy wants deer to score high, the next guy just wants to put something in the freezer. Who is right?

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I don't think the DNR will ever impose antler restrictions, I just think too many are agaist it, the DNR wants the majority of hunters happy so it is something we will have to live with and I am fine with that.

However, times are changing and more and more people are tired of the same old school deer management. Moving the gun season back and eliminating party hunting are two small steps that are going to save a lot of bucks and help balance the age structure. These two rule changes should keep everyone happy, you can shoot what you want but some of the bucks are given a break. The meat hunters already have everything they could ask for, why not give a little and meet somewhere in the middle.

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Wow DaveT, between this post and your Kansas hunt you sure get people here riled up...I love it! I also mostly agree with everything you have to say.

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Antler restrictions would be a big deal!! How many people are able to count points on a deer 100 yards away? I have never been able to count points on a deer standing broad side all you can see is how high above the ear the antler is.

The last thing I would want to worry about when you have a small window of opportunity, is to waste time trying to get a count on points.

Pesonally, I don't think it would be any harder than trying to figure out if a point is 3" high or not. It is generally pretty easy to distinguish a mature buck at the first glimpse you get. And I'm not talking about those "tv" type hunts with broadside standing deer and wide open fields to shoot. I do think an antler restriction would reduce the "I saw brown" type shooters.

I find it amusing the reluctance that people have to try something new. If you look at it, what are you giving up. For an experienced hunter it's the opportunity to shoot a 1 1/2 year old buck. And that is only for ONE year. In areas that give out antlerless tags, you can still get all the backstraps you want. I'd about bet that the vast majority of hunters see 3+ deer a year in a total deer season. What are the odds that those 3 will all be little bucks, pretty slim. Note, this is only my experience in areas that have a week long plus season.

The main intent isn't to have more "trophy" bucks as one person put it, but a better balanced deer her. It just so happens that a more balanced deer herd will result in having more bucks of an older age.

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If it is not trophy bucks you are looking for, then why the interest in a "more balanced deer herd"? Just wondering what other benefit there is to it?

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I am all favor of ending party hunting and moving the deer season our a few weeks. MN can grow big dear, and it has been proven in areas that receive little hunting pressure or are protected ares with special hunts (ie parks within the metro area)

I am all in favor of hunting for meat. Venison is tasty, and good for you. But, meat hunters have tons of opportunities for killing a deer for meat. Bowhunting, rifle, blackpowder, not too mention special season hunts. Why not have a doe only "meat" license? Then you get your meat? Try hunting a trophy in this state, and it all comes down to hunting pressure on public land or buying as much land as possible and start you own qdm program. I vote for a simple change in party hunting and season any day.

Then we are all happy-

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A more pronounced rut, where the bulk of does come into estrus in a shorter period of time and mature bucks do more of the breeding, vs a trickle rut where does are bred late and smaller bucks and spikes are born later the following year, thus perpetuating the cycle, would be one benefit.

Who moved my cheese? I think that's the main fear here, fear of change. In this case change would be good for all, but because a few like it just the way it is means it's bad. We used to have slavery at one time too, didn't we?

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However, times are changing and more and more people are tired of the same old school deer management. Moving the gun season back and eliminating party hunting are two small steps that are going to save a lot of bucks and help balance the age structure. ......

Why is it all everyone ever talks about is moving the gun season. I'll hunt no matter when it is, BUT if you move the gun season later, you will have less participation. Every season that has a poor weather opener, the hunter numbers are down. If you move it back, to say this week, the DNR would sell a lot less licenses. Also, there are parts of MN that don't hold much, if any deer once the crops are completely harvested or the forage is covered with snow. This leads to more ground being worthless, in turn leading to more pressure on other hunting areas. Lastly, if we are for moving the gun season to protect more bucks, then I say we close the bow season for that time as well. No hunting means the bucks are protected. Moving the gun season sure sounds like catering to the bow hunters to me.

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Well the main benefit of a more managed herd is healthier fawns. First off you get does bred by mature bucks. Ones that have shown they have the right instincts, senses, genetics to survive. It you clip them off when they are young and dumb you will never know if you've got the right one, only the ones that happen to still be alive and available.

The other benefit is it creates a shortened but more intense breeding season. A shortened breeding season means the doe gets bred early, giving the fawn more time to develop and handle winter conditions. If you've got healthier deer to start with you can lessen those boom/bust type years you can have with tough winters.

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