June 15, 2024
trophy animal


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What constitutes as a trophy animal in your eyes? Is it the amount of measured antlers on that white-tailed buck, Bull Moose or elk or any other antlered animal for that matter? Perhaps it is the size of the beard and spurs on a turkey. Maybe a trophy is the size of the skull on the bear. Does the size or weight of an animal or even fish make it a trophy? The record books are full of all these animals. There is even guidelines and rules to follow before even being considered an entry. But does this mean that only animals fitting within these guidelines and rules are trophy animals? If this is true then why do we not hear about trophy squirrels? We could weigh them and measure the length and “bushiness” of their tails. What about rabbits? We could measure the length of their hind legs and ears as well as weigh them too.

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I say not even close. Don’t get me wrong, if you have the opportunity to harvest such an animal or catch that once in a lifetime fish, then take it. If it ever comes down to it you better believe I am taking my shot. But this still does not mean these are the only trophy animals.

In my opinion, any legal game taken that you have put in the time, effort and thought into harvesting is a trophy.

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Remember we call it hunting and fishing not shopping. Time spent at a job means you earn money. Time spent at home is considered quality family time. That means time spent scouting, preparing and participation in the sport we love is just as valuable.

Do not underestimate the value of time spent deciding where, when and why to hunt and fish. A lot of effort gets put in by us to go hunting and fishing.

Inspecting and preparing gear, ,making necessary repairs, setting up stands and blinds, tending bait piles and food plots all takes our desire and energy. Let’s also not forget about the effort it takes to process of our harvest. A great deal of thought goes into deciding which animal or fish you choose to harvest or keep as well. You may pass up younger and smaller bucks early in the season in hopes for a larger one. Then the season progresses towards the end and nothing better comes along. To put meat in the freezer you make the conscious decision to harvest a doe or smaller buck. What’s wrong with that? Maybe you catch a legal size fish on your first cast and choose to keep it in hopes to “limit out” early so you can get back home to do chores or spend some quality time with your loved ones. Would that be a poor decision?

To me everyone who complains and criticizes individuals for the game they take because it is not a “trophy” only ruins the outdoor sports we enjoy.

It gives those who wish to take away our rights more ammunition to succeed. Yes, pun intended. This kind of thinking also hinders recruitment of younger and new people to carry on the traditions of the great outdoors. Think about it, what youngster or new person in their right mind would want to participate in an activity that mocks them for doing what is legal to do? Without recruitment, hunting and fishing traditions die with us who are getting long in the tooth. Instead, recruit young and new people to hunting and fishing. Teach them the legal and right ways to participate in hunting and fishing. Finally, celebrate every success they have in hunting and fishing. All game taken legally with proper time, effort and thought should be considered trophies. Too many things can go wrong when in the woods, fields and waters that cause us to return empty handed. Let’s give the newcomers and ourselves a little more credit in what we love to do.

Thank you for your time in reading my article and as always, if you enjoyed the read, please share with your friends on social media.

Have a great day and enjoy the outdoors,
Tim Collins.