I am not trying to pick a fight. This post is not about calling out people who do this and labeling anyone bad. This is merely about an observation I made several months ago, which revealed a part about the concept of a trophy and how we as hunters view a trophy. This situation made me reflect on the trophy concept, which can be such a heated discussion.
Watching pre-season football with friends of a friend, the large living room provided a comfortable atmosphere. To my delight, the people who owned the place had a large seven point whitetail skull, (which had been found dead) on a stand in the corner of their living room. It must have been 18 inches wide, with at least 10 inch G2’s. The front tines swept upward, and a four inch kicker off of the left G2 added to the beauty.
Becoming fixated with the skull, I kept staring and began asking questions. It had been found by a friend and given to the home owner. The owner also showed me another rack which they had placed for decoration in an old bird cage. Fascinated with seeing beautiful antlers in an urban environment, I quickly realized I was looking at part of the concept of a trophy.
Sitting back on the couch, my mind was racing with other questions. Where did these deer live? How old were they? What were they like when they were alive? Where were their hideouts? What brought them down in the end? Being such a formidable specimen, I could not help but feel respect for the old buck who was not just a decoration in my eyes and heart.
Decoration- that was it. This deer was just a decoration now. A visually stimulating piece of wild art. And that is when I realized a key part about the term trophy and the thinking behind those who cherish them.
We as hunters are attacked often for being “trophy hunters”. However, what is unseen is the much deeper connection to the antlers and hides hung on our walls. I look at my family trophy room and we know our mounts are more than just a decoration. They represent and honor the life of the animal. To others, it’s just a decoration. The animals on our walls at home are a reflection of the life and mysterious that particular animal lived with each step. I look at my walls and can feel connected back to the stories and lives of each animal, like I knew them from birth. To others, the antlers are just a decoration. No more, no less. The longer I sat watching the game and looking at the two deer skulls I almost felt sorry that the final resting places of these deer were just for decoration.
Looking at the animals on my walls when I got home, I gave thanks, again. Thanks for their lives, the memories they gave me and my family and the meat which fed us. Remember, mounts and hides hung proudly on any wall are not just decorations, but a remembrance of God’s creation and his incredible glory.
About The Author: Jason Reid is a young writer and business professional from New York. While bow hunting is his greatest passion, he accepts any challenges which forces him to push his limits.