What is Trophy Hunting?

D_Dubya

Active Member
Aug 8, 2012
371
734
South Texas
The term “trophy hunting” to me means first of all finding a fully mature animal that has reached his peak in body and antler/horn growth. Then a “trophy “ to me is an animal that meets that requirement and has headgear that impresses me - a subjective measure that doesn’t always line up with measured inches of antler.
 

mosquito

Active Member
Nov 1, 2012
285
407
NE ohio
Im not a trophy hunter, just not my thing. At home (ohio ) i or my kids shoot the first does we see for food . When i have enough food then i always wait for a "good" one. Most years that don't happen and my buck tag goes unfulfilled. If the freezer is filled its been a good year. I really feel like there is to much emphasis on Trophy hunting. Granted i always want a big one but thats not whats its about for me.
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,667
1,198
Two Harbors, Minnesota
I don't like the term, and it has gotten a bad connotation for non-hunters. The perception is that we only shoot the biggest critters for their antlers, and let the meat rot. We all would like to shoot the biggest buck in the woods, but in many of the areas that I hunt, if you see a legal buck then you better shoot it if you want to bring some meat home. At this stage of my life I judge a great hunt by how hard I had to work to earn it.
Here's a quote from that great outdoor writer Patrick McManus: "It's not the deer shot or the fish caught that make the outdoor life so memorable, but rather the miseries endured while in pursuit of those endeavors."
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
3,003
1,895
I dont have nor have I ever had IG FB or TW....So I dont really get exposed to a lot of people who judge me externally, nor would I tolerate it.

Worst case scenario is that I post a picture of my deer or whatever on here and to be honest I dont really think there are many on here that would believe that I am stupid enough to leave my elk or deer lying in the woods to rot.

So, a trophy to me is hunting your butt off and being happy with whatever decision you make. Its the hunt thats the trophy, the animal is just a memory.

The Old Montana Doe I shot this year in my eyes was a memory. I hunted in some of the worst conditions I have ever hunted in, passed up many scrub bucks and shot her on the last day last few minutes of my trip and BTW she made excellent summer sausage. The trophy was the memory of the hunt that led up to killing her.
 
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Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
When I was young, the first thing that came to mind when trophies were mentioned, was African hunts. Lots of pictures in magazines of the hunters with their animals. I was pretty young and I really didn't think anything about what was done with the meat. I am sure most non hunters who see pictures like those and the ones showing up on FB and the tv hunting shows, don't have a clue either.

For me the animal or fish itself is the trophy. My early years I was a meat hunter, that's the way I was raised. My Dad was a child of the depression and his whole family hunted and fished for subsistence. My Dad 's rule was everything we took was table fare, no exceptions. Sure if I had my choice between a monster buck or bull and a smaller just legal one, the "monster" would be in my freezer. The only exception made was "varmints"....eg coyotes, prairie dogs, crows, etc.
 

THelms

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting thoughts... I too think the term has developed a negative aura but I also think it's part of the natural progression most hunters go through. First you just want to get something, anything really. You need success to affirm your attempts. Then it usually turns into a numbers game... gotta fill a tag, gotta shoot a limit, etc. From there it seems that a lot of us move toward wanting to find success with a certain method, archery or muzzleloader for example. This step goes hand in glove with wanting to take a certain "class" of animal. Finally, it seems to me a lot of us reach the final stage where we are happy to just go hunting and enjoy the experience. Some of us, myself included, get so we enjoy helping others experience success and measure trophies that way.

The biggest thing I think we all need to keep in mind is that "Trophies" are subjective and should be. That said, I do think it's important for all of us to communicate that Trophy Hunting does not mean leaving meat to rot and only taking heads or hides. Therefore, Trophy Hunting is about selective harvest, regardless of what size or sex animal is taken.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,118
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Gypsum, Co
In the last 25 or so years you could say that I have turned into a "trophy hunter".

I look for the best animal that I can find, it isn't as easy now as it was 25 years ago but I find myself being more selective of what I pull the trigger on. But when meat is needed for the freezer that small buck is just as much of a trophy as the ones that I have hanging on my walls.

Also going along with what CC said about the African trophy hunts, yes most of them are for a trophy and a great animal to hang on your wall. Current regulations prohibit the importation of any of the meat taken from your trophy that you shot there. However like a lot of you know all the meat is utilized. Some of the farms process it in their own processing shed and then give the meat out to those who work on the farm or to other locals who need it. I would like to see more of the African hunting shows show just what happens to the meat of what is killed there. I have seen a couple with elephant's and hippos being cut up by the locals and then having a celebration. More of this would help but those who are opposed to hunting will not admit that it is a good thing.
 

BKC

Very Active Member
Feb 15, 2012
817
149
The high plains of Colorado
I think the term " trophy hunting" is used more by people who don't hunt or don't hunt very much or was raised hunting but don't anymore. People use this term and it has a connotation that the meat is left to rot and the head is on our wall. I think it is used when the term "hunting " is all that is needed. It is a lot like fully semi automatic. It is all about how it is marketed. I don't see that term freely used very much on this forum.
 

Muley bound

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
195
279
Wisconsin
The term ‘Trophy Hunter’ is completely subjective. Generally speaking, ‘trophy hunting’ is seen as killing animal for the horn, antler size, pelt, or big dick swingers, excuse my language. In that perspective, there is no concern with the actual animal, feelings, or consumption. Unfortunately, there are people out for that alone. It’s unfortunate, but that’s what a lot of society and anti hunters see!
Now in my eyes, I’m a trophy hunter....because they are all trophies in my eye!!! Buck, doe, cow, bull, small or big rack. I take pride and enjoy every aspect of it! I appreciate the hunt, the thrill, the kill, the meat, the adventure, the animal. It’s all tied together and part of it to me!
 

Rich M

Active Member
Oct 16, 2012
451
234
I always wanted to shoot a pronghorn and a mule deer- have done both 1 x so far. These were trophy hunts - always wanted to hunt them and did. Shot doe antelope and buck muley. Real memory makers, those hunts were. My normal hunts are ducks and whitetails in the swamps.

Right or wrong, I do see most guys who "trophy hunt" as doing it for antlers, "trophy books", and size comparisons. One of the reasons we have so many deer farms and high fence hunts. The guy who shot one of the more recent monster elk had X number of guides tracking it everywhere and then went and shot it. IMO, might get his name somewhere but it was not in the same ballpark as a simple raghorn some guy earns on his first DIY elk hunt. It was merely purchased and shot.

Know a guy who was given a high fence hunt as a wedding present. Dude and his wife shot some outlandish looking bucks. I'd rather have an 8 pt on the wall than some genetic mutant.

Also can't understand the drive to go kill stuff in Africa.

To each his own. If you wanna go, then go and enjoy yerself.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
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Also can't understand the drive to go kill stuff in Africa.
For Africa it is the experience. No other place can you go and see such a variety of animals that you can hunt. And while a lot of it is high fence hunting you will hike for a very long time across some of these properties before you find the fence. I know that where I was hunting in 2015 they only way that I knew that it was a high fence area was when we rode along the fence one day and the gate that you had to go through to get into the property. Plus if you have never been on a outfitted hunt you would love a hunt in Africa. There they spoil the hunter for just about any other type of outfitted hunt. The food, quarters, and all the rest make a 4 star hotel look like a slum, at least in my eyes.
 

kidoggy

Veteran member
Apr 23, 2016
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idaho
as hunters we probably should talk more about the meat then the bone so we don't offend the easily offended but the plain truth is , those who are offended are going to go out of their way to be offended . regardless what we do .


while I realize it is somewhat silly, I take perverse pleasure in saying ," I killed it", and not " I harvested it ",to avoid offending the easily offended .

if I kill something I am proud I did and do not and will not feel hunter guilt about it. those who are easily offended are offensive to me.
 
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Rich M

Active Member
Oct 16, 2012
451
234
For Africa it is the experience. No other place can you go and see such a variety of animals that you can hunt. And while a lot of it is high fence hunting you will hike for a very long time across some of these properties before you find the fence. I know that where I was hunting in 2015 they only way that I knew that it was a high fence area was when we rode along the fence one day and the gate that you had to go through to get into the property. Plus if you have never been on a outfitted hunt you would love a hunt in Africa. There they spoil the hunter for just about any other type of outfitted hunt. The food, quarters, and all the rest make a 4 star hotel look like a slum, at least in my eyes.
A coworker of mine went w his then GF to S Africa, did a sight seeing safari and absolutely loved every aspect of it.

My cousin was talking about a fishing safari on some river over there. Trying to get his wife and us to consider going.

I'm sure it would be an exceptional trip in every regard.