October 2, 2023

Hunting For Meat or Hunting For Trophies?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Are you a meat hunter or a trophy hunter? Perhaps you fall somewhere in the middle, meaning that you go out intending to shoot that illusive trophy buck and end up settling for something smaller to fill the freezer.

This seems to have been the norm for decades all across America. You talk to a deer hunter from any state and ultimately they are going to tell you they go out with good intentions and more times than not come home with meat. Oh, there are exceptions. I personally know hunters who are diciplined and determined enough that they would not settle for anything other than a big buck. They have their reasons and I can respect that.

Me, I’m a meat hunter mostly, although early in the season I would probably pass on a small deer but the trend in this country seems to be changing. The demand from hunters is more bigger bucks. This appears to be where the money is coming from as well. It is no secret that hunters nationwide spent millions of dollars each year to hunt. The number of wealthy hunters willing to spend more dollars for chances at trophy deer seems to be on the increase as well.

Texas is an example of one state that seems to be changing their rules for buck harvesting. Whether these changes are coming as a result of the discovery of better quality deer management or giving in to the demands of the bigger buck seeker, remains to be seen. Their rule changes prohibits the taking of bucks until their antler spread exceeds 13 inches. This combined with permit allocations for antlerless deer, officials hope to not only manage deer population but produce more bigger male deer.

Quality Deer Management Association is an organization of about 40,000 members nationwide and growing. Growth rate runs about 30% annually. Their goal is similar to what Texas has undertaken. They believe that managing the deer herd numbers isn’t enough. They think it also needs to be done to produce quality deer. In other words, bigger bucks.

With a trend toward this kind of deer management, time will tell if it will be in the best interest of the deer. If science proves that managing deer in this manner can produce a higher quality of deer and at the same time management numbers and keep hunters happy, then it will be a good thing. If not, then money once again will win out.

Tom Remington