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You can't eat the antlers

I remember a recent conversation between a longtime hunting chum and one such hunter who was boasting about letting an 8-pointer walk by because it wasn't worthy of the wall.

"Guess you didn't need the meat," he said.

Amen to that.

Don't get me wrong - I begrudge no one a trophy set of antlers and have taken tremendous pride in dropping several sets of my own.

But that, in my mind, should be the icing on the cake, not what defines the hunt. And no one should be apologetic for filling the freezer - as long as they do it legally and need or enjoy the meat.

I was reminded of this the other day when my cousin Danny entered a small spike horn he shot this season in a "monster rack" competition at a popular local radio station.

He entered it not because it had a chance of winning, but because he shot it after his young son Hudson spied the small buck and pointed it out to his Dad.

It was Hudson's first time hunting and he is now hooked for life, my cousin said.

"Besides," Danny said, "You don't eat the antlers ... they just help stir the stew."

Priceless.

John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsmen. He can be reached at johng@denpubs.com.

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