By Stacey Sutherlin
I recently read a publication that stated, “Trophy: This is a buck that is awesome! This is one you will hang on a wall with pride.”
While this statement may be true for some hunters this couldn’t be less true for me!
Every single animal I harvest is a trophy for me, not just a buck!
Then I came across this statement on a photo, “A so-called trophy hunter is a hunter who honors the animal she killed by hanging a non-edible piece of it on her wall. It reminds her of the great hunting experience she had and it will bring a smile to her face for a long time after the last piece of meat is eaten.”
Now that is a statement I can relate to!
Let me take a step back.
I have been hunting since I can remember. I started at a young age with my parents and I remember those early cold mornings like it was yesterday.
My family hunted for meat. Plain and simple. The big game meat harvested is what fed us that year until the next hunting season rolled around.
Never was it about getting a bigger buck or bull than the year before or trying to one-up one another or scoring the rack to share with the world. Hunting was about providing clean meat for the family.
A trophy was never part of it or part of the conversation.
Let’s be honest, if a nice mature buck or bull was harvested there was a little more pride shared and a sense of fulfillment but it wasn’t about it being a trophy.
As I have gotten older and hunting has become this big show on social media, tv and much more, I am proud to say I can still hold true to the fact that I am a meat hunter. I hunt to provide for my family, again the cleanest meat possible.
One thing I do want to emphasize is the fact that any animal I harvest big or small, buck or doe, bull or cow is a trophy in my book. A trophy I would be proud to hang on my wall or display in my home with pride!
I don’t say that lightly.
A trophy can only be defined by you! What is a trophy to you may be nothing to someone else but that doesn’t matter. Knowing you take pride in what you call a trophy is solely what does matter.
Each harvest has a story to tell and with that story comes the antlers, skull, beard, fan or other form of mount that in turn becomes your trophy, your pride and your success to share with others.
I know some of you may not relate to this at all or simply have a different opinion which we are all entitled to.
Some hunters are trophy hunters focusing on a larger harvest each year to proudly share and display. Some hunters are focused on that score of the rack after the hunt. Some hunters are focused on making it in the B & C or world record book. Some hunters focus on ensuring they are always harvesting a mature animal rather than just a legal harvest. And some hunters simply are focused on harvesting a legal animal to provide for their family.
Whatever your method of hunting is as long as it works for you, is legal and ethical, is what matters. At the end of the day no matter if you are a meat hunter or a hunter seeking a bigger harvest each year we are all trophy hunters in our own way and we are proud to display our trophies, big or small.
Enjoy your harvest and your trophy proudly and remember a trophy doesn’t have to be that awesome buck or bull but it can also be that doe you got or that hen you shot!