Magazine covers escalate expectations whether its a monster buck on the cover or a beautiful, perfectly groomed female on a magazine marketed toward women. Just as there is a bit of backlash toward models with perfect figure and perfect faces, so too are some hunters becoming disgruntled with the concept of mega-bucks and the quest for them. Not too many years ago, bagging a deer with a bow and arrow was cause for celebration and I can easily remember situations where “any deer with a bow is a trophy.” Perhaps outdoor TV shows have elevated expectations to the point that only a record book deer is big enough. Most shows today not only have minimum expectations beyond what the average hunter can ever expect to see in the wild, but each of these mega-bone animals has a name, usually an extension of their antler configuration such as “Big Y”, “Drop Tine”, “Super wide” and the like. The philosophy of “Quality Deer Management” may also play a part, since one of the tenents of this deer management system is to pass up younger bucks and wait for a mature deer, often
4.5 years or older. Speaking from experience, I have hunted several properties where the minimum antler score is 140 inches with zero success. Vividly, I remember a 125-class 10 point walking toward my stand and the consternation I felt about releasing an arrow. This was a deer that I would have proudly taken and hated the prospect of passing it for a larger buck. No doubt the buck would have been larger the following year (and part of the management plan) yet antler size is well down the list of characteristics of a successful hunt. I scouted the area, selected the stand site and invested my time. Harvesting that buck would have been very gratifying and the venison could have supported my household for the next year. Instead, I watched it walk away because it wasn’t “big enough.”
Over the last decade, the deer hunting world has changed significantly. Bow as well as firearm advancements and accessories have helped a lot, but the massive surge of technology is really the driving force.
Social networks, YouTube, and other sites have made it so easy to share our experiences with each other online. While this is fantastic, it is, in my opinion, also starting to drive down morale between us hunters.