droptine buckDeer hunters evolve. First, they want to harvest a deer, any deer. Then they want to tag a lot of deer. Now they gravitate toward shooting a BIG BUCK. Finally, their skills have prepared them to hunt a specific buck!

Not all deer are created equal. Every rack is unique and different. A deer’s behavior and patterns are also different. BIG BUCKS don’t get BIG by being stupid. They have survived and learned from encounters with predators, including man. The right food sources, habitat, and genetics also factor into growing great bucks.

Some hunting scenarios require that the hunter is a big game manager. Specific deer may need to be culled from the herd. If there are too many does, then they become the target. A well-timed doe hunt can be effective to  maintain a healthy deer population, that the ecosystem can support. If there are issues with disease, certain critters may need to be removed. Some bucks may have antlers that are not the quality you want to breed with the does in your herd.

Targeting specific deer makes hunters better hunters. The final outcome is to not shoot just any, first, big, antlered, deer but to shoot just one, certain critter. The hunter must stay afield longer, and become familiar, with just one deer. During the hunt, hunters will be surrounded by other deer that they may not harvest. Hunter attitude, and excitement changes. Now the hunter can relax and observe deer in a relaxed manner.

If you are hunting on a game farm, you can target a specific deer as well. Removal of a certain deer will impact the herd. “Cull Deer”, can be one option. These deer may not be of the quality a client desires. Prime bucks with heavy, large, non-typical, or unique racks are in more demand.

Once you identify the specific deer you are looking for, the excitement level grows even more. The moment you have waited for is often the result of an extensive hunt or hunts. You have learned so much about this one, specific deer. Respectfully, you must now harvest it with your one best shot. Make sure that your hunting,and shooting skills, are at their apex.

The part I hate most about deer hunting is killing them. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the hunt, meat, shooting, butchering, beauty, and every other aspect of the hunt. In fishing, you can catch and release. I wish that were the case for hunting. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a coupon for groceries, and antlers, after you tagged your critter, but the critter did not die.

The sadness I feel when tagging a harvested critter is important. Especially after hunting a specific deer, that I have become so familiar with. If I felt nothing, then I would be worried. This moment becomes an opportunity for a ritual. As hunters, we are closer to the land than others. I always say a prayer of thanks. If I am leaving the butchered carcass, as in elk hunting, I face it to the setting sun. A sprig of grass is placed into the deer’s mouth. I cover the carcass with branches and leave it for the other creatures of nature. Life is a natural cycle and one day, hunters also become part of the cycle. If I remove the whole deer, then it is treated respectfully and with care. Now it will become food. The antlers will become a memorial.

There are one or two more levels that hunters evolve too. Currently, I have discovered that teaching others how to hunt safely, successfully, and ethically, is the next step in the hunter evolution. The next step may be putting down the rifle, bow, black powder, and other guns, to tag my critters with a camera. My trophy room would be a gallery of close and unique shots of specific deer that I hunted.

Whatever level of hunting you are at, or strive for, hunt honestly and be a sportsman. Your example is important and impacts all hunters. Deer hunters love deer. Treat them with the respect they deserve.

Hunt safely and ethically,
Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.