I cut my deer hunting teeth on mule deer even though I grew up in Oklahoma where today whitetail deer are like fleas (as they are in many parts of the country). There were no deer around my hometown in the 50s through 70s and to hunt deer we drove 557 miles to Cañon City, Colorado. I was 12 when I went on my first deer hunt and although I was not allowed to carry a rifle the experience stayed with me. Sometimes, when I am tired of seeing my words on this screen, I slip the DVD of home movies into my computer and skip through it until I reach that deer hunt then I sit back to watch and relive it. Twenty-plus years after that hunt, in 1988, I wrote a short story titled “Coming Home” which is about coming home from the Vietnam War in 1969 and being unable to shoot a rabbit. It was another nine years after the rabbit hunt in that story before I could again hunt.
Now I live as close to my hunting as possible and on many of the days I don’t hunt I do something that is, in some way, associated with hunting.
This evening I went whitetail hunting and spent the last 45 minutes of shooting light sitting near a slough some deer call home. I’m hunting for the kitchen not the wall so I’m looking for a big, dry doe but today the only thing I watched was a jackrabbit and a true trophy whitetail buck.
Trophy hunting is an interesting issue. Some people detest it and others are wild about it. If you want to learn about successful trophy whitetail hunts you might want to get a copy of the 2001 book Legendary Whitetails II (Legendary Whitetails II: Stories and Photos of 40 More of the Greatest Bucks of all Time). This is a collection of 40 stories about some of the greatest whitetail bucks ever killed by hunters. The stories are fascinating looks into trophy hunting and the hunters dedicated to it. For many years I loudly opposed trophy hunting until several biologists told me those trophy hunters are important to opening the gene pool and insuring healthy herds of deer, especially in areas where the deer tend to concentrate. Okay, I can buy that argument.
I've even learned a few things from the stories in that book, however, because my deer hunting began with mule deer I have accumulated several shelves of books on whitetail hunting and a book that I actually refer to for sound advice was written by Dave Richey back in 1986 and reprinted by Lyons Press in 2001. Richey’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Deer Hunting (The Ultimate Guide to Deer Hunting: Tips and Tactics for Every Situation), has helped me transition my thinking from only hunting mule deer to successfully hunting whitetail deer. It is just a good good book on deer hunting and it has lasted because it is good.
Both of these books are about big deer—trophy deer. Maybe you don’t agree with the idea of trophy deer hunting and you are like me, hunting for the freezer. On the other hand I’ve never met a hunter who did not stop to marvel at a trophy buck and it isn’t uncommon to see a little green in the eyes of most meat hunters.
Whether you meat or trophy hunt I hope you have a great and safe season.
PS Next Blog I want to talk about lead in venison. I wrote an article on this subject for Whitetails Unlimited magazine and it is worth reading. I have my views and they are not popular with some people in the world of hunting.
9 months ago