Today I was asked by my someone, who is new to hunting if there is any shame in not hunting for a trophy? He stated he was really only interested in the meat, to me that answered his own question, and I said so.
To understand trophy hunting, one must understand wildlife conservation in Montana.
The Idea of "Sporting Hunting" in the US came to be as a method for preserving animals which were on the verge of extinction.
Sportsman's groups came together and helped to push this Ideal for fair chase and other aspects, to help the population grow.
Now that population has not only recovered, it is at a point where more need to be culled and more hunting involvement is a good thing.
Now mind you, I have never been one for sport hunting as I do not believe that giving a creatures only chance is to not be seen, or for you to be miss, is sporting at all, at least that has always been my mentality.
So as long as I can remember I harvested the first deer that came before me and usually a doe as well, filling my tags my duty was over.
Over the years I was often pressured to leave the young ones and to hunt old ones, by people who pretended to care, who pretended they were hunting for any reason other than bragging rights. I did so for a bit of time, but came to my senses and went back to simply filling my freezer.
Now mind you, I still have trophy's, which are more memories than anything else, I think the hunt itself is something to remember, and most come with a good story.
Above the doorway to my kitchen hands a small rack of a deer that by any standards is anything but a trophy. That deer however was hard to get, he dodged between trees and presented a hard shot, one that I would be proud of. A trophy by book standards he is not, but my Idea of adventure, he is the best trophy of them all.
Make your hunt your own, get out, enjoy yourself, the experience is wonderful and sharing that experience with friends and family can lead to a lifetime of memories.
The US needs animals culled, and by saving your tag year after year for those big ones only, you are not helping keep the animal population where it needs to be.
In the end it really should be about doing your part to eat healthy and understand where your food comes from, and it should truly be about appreciating what you are doing.
I am ok with you not eating what you kill, just so it goes to someone else who will.
"How horrible is it that another living being died to rot in your freezer"~Jennifer Adams