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hunter25's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
What defines trophy for you?

I have always been happy filling my tag and rarely pass up too many animals as we just don't see that many.

Most guys talk about the spread more than anything but that really doesn't mean that much.

My widest buck is a 27" crab claw 3x3 with a huge body.

The only buck I ever scored was only 22" wide but gross scored 172 and net 168.

What do you think or does it even matter? I take my pleasure in the hunt and spending time outdoors with the family while filling the freezer.

AlpineClimber's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: North America
Joined: 02/08/2011
Posts: 184
Everyone has different goals.

I like to think of every animal I harvest as a trophy.  My personal goal is achieve my North American 29 by age 55.  Along the way I am trying to get my Grand Slam for Sheep, Moose, Caribou, Elk, Deer and Turkey.  Some of my animals have made it into the record books, many have not.  When I have each of my animals, I will become more "score/trophy" conscious.  I can honestly say a couple of my best hunts brought home no animal all with photos and stories providing more satisfaction than any mount.

Now I have to be hipicritical and say my Mountain Goat hunt this fall will produce a Full Coated Billy over 12 inches or I won't shoot one.  I want the best representative of this animal I can get to look at in a full mount for a long time.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4413
This question has been asked

This question has been asked a hundred times and there are a thousand different answers. 

For me anymore I don't need the meat and will usually give most of the meat that I get each year away to somebody that needs it.  I have also killed my fair share of deer, elk, and antelope with some great heads on them so now I try and better what I have already shot and there are a few years that I just place the unused tags into a shoe box as my trophy.  Now if you count a 14 year old kid that I took elk hunting a few years ago that cow elk that he killed was better than a 400 point bull elk watching him do it.  The neat thing is that he wanted to take care of it himself from start to finish.  He did need a little bit of help cleaning her but he did a fine job.  Then when it came to packing her out he hauled his share of meat back to the truck and even when I could tell that he just wanted to curl up on the front seat he would head back for more.  Now that was a trophy hunt. 

groovy mike's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544
me too

Any day of hunting is better than other days.

Any ethically filled tag is a trophy.

If you can share it with a friend especially a friend who happens to be family, that is all the better. 

WishIWasHunting's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Brighton, CO
Joined: 01/31/2011
Posts: 700
It is entirely circumstantial

For me, it depends entirely upon the situation.  If I am on a new hunt (new area, new weapon, new species, etc.), then the first legal animal I can get a good shot at will probably be my trophy.  If I know I only have a few days or very limited opportunities to fill my tag, then the first good legal shot opportunity will be my idea of a trophy.  The more confidence I have in my ability to fill my tag, the higher my standards seem to climb. 

If we are not hunting simply for meat, I think we all have a preference for animals with a certain appearance (I prefer typical antlers while my brother goes crazy for the non-typical stuff).  However, any animal in your sights out of your typical preference can make that trigger finger really start to itch. 

Finally, I believe that with the vast majority of hunters, the animal that ends up on the ground, in the freezer, and/or on the wall at the end of the hunt is the exact trophy we wanted for that particular hunt. 

JJD's picture
Location: Right Side WA state
Joined: 11/07/2008
Posts: 208
Late entry

Over the years I tryed to explain to my hunter ed students that how you judge a hunt and your personal ethics change with time "IF" you continue to hunt for manyn years.

At the start, a big animal or a limit of game is the end all.  At that time, it's how you judge a hunt.  Granted, even the old timers will rarely pass on a majestic beast in favor of one that would likely be better eating. However, as time passes, much more pleasure is derived from taking game that was taken with the ammo we built ourselves.  A bigger grin is found on my face when my retriever completes a difficult retrieve than when I take a limit of ducks on a average day.  Or experiencing the excitement a youngster expresses when he/she takes their first buck.  The above examples are things that bring me more pleasure that a Boone & Crockett mount in my Rec room.  This is not to say that you can't possibly be having agood time if you don't reload or take a kid hunting.  From my observation, it happens to be a natural progression that occurs within the sport.

Wind at your back . . .


numbnutz's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: portland,oregon
Joined: 09/06/2007
Posts: 3058
For me every and any animal i

For me every and any animal i kill is a trophy, wether its been a doe or a cow all the way up to my best buck. I really dont care about what a buck or bull will score. Now that I'm bow hunting my first bow kill will be my best trophy. I think too many people get wrapped up in scores. To me a I can have the hunt of a lifetime and not even shoot an animal. If someone wants to only shoot those old tough eating deer/elk more power to them. to each there own, I prefer a little more tender meat from my animals. Like critter said this question has been asked a thousand time with ten thousand different answers. I think the the trophy is in the eye of the hunter.

elkkill06's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 2069

What ever animal I take is a trophy to me and they all mean something to me.  I am always trying to find a great animal, but what happens during the hunt is what truely matters for me. Some of my best hunts I have had I either did not take a critter or I got to see someone else get it done.

hunter25's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
I think that's one of the

I think that's one of the unique things about most of us in this sport is the lack of competition among each other. We mostly compete with ourselves for higher goals. Most of us take as much pleasure watching someone elses success even if we don't know them. Many times I have spent the closing minutes of a day helping drag someone elses deer.

The greatest feeling of all is being there to watch your children succeed.

mossbuck35's picture
Joined: 04/29/2010
Posts: 117
What defines trophy for you ?

 For me any deer you can kill is a trophy! When I killed my first deer a ''forky'' I think I was about the happiest kid alive! The years I draw a tag I will not be picky and I will shoot the first legal buck I see. Weither a spike or a trophy it doesnt matter, I would rather have meat in my freezer than not haveing any at all. Eventually one of these years luck will be on my side and I will get a big one. But I guess that is just me, I was grown up to be thankful for whatever animal I got and I was taught to not let any of the animals go to waist. The years I dont get an animal I still will have lots of memories and fun spending time with my family in the outdoors! To me I think thats all that counts  :thumbsup1: 


JSmitty's picture
Location: Eunice, NM
Joined: 09/23/2008
Posts: 313
For me over the years deer

For me over the years deer hunting I have gotten a little more selective, we only have 5 days to hunt so the first 2 or 3 I will be picky but after that I will try my best to put something in the freezer. Elk hunting a trophy is an elk on the ground with my tag on it.

The most fun I have had is with the kids and now the grand kids even though they are to young yet. Just learning to shoot the new bb gun with them and when they hit the trophy bucket in pops pasture you would think it had the best handle on it in the county, of corse I told them there isnt a bigger one around Big smile

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