Does Size Really Matter?

James hays

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Does size really matter? Now guys, I’m only talking about hunting trophies. If you like to brag and who doesn’t, getting a trophy in the record books is a great thing. But is it the only thing that matters? For some it does and that’s ok, nothing wrong with that. Should hunting success be measured in inches or the size of the smile on ones face? Many times we hear about the term character when describing an an animal. You can’t measure character, but that’s ok too. I’ve only hunted two times in Africa and wouldn’t know how to judge a trophy on the hoof to save my soul. I leave that job up to the PH. Never, never guide the guide!

SCI, Pope & Young, Boone & Crockett and many more all have record books and different methods of scoring. They are great tools for measuring success. When picking an outfitter, the way their clients trophies score is one of many ways in which to make a decision. Bronze medal, silver medal, gold medal; all terms to measure size of a trophy. When different prices are put on them usually means high fence. Nothing wrong with that either. Business is business. I certainly wouldn’t put up with a guide on open public land that said that one is bronze medal and cost $1,500 and that one is a gold medal and cost $5,000.

So what really matters? I can only speak for myself. My train of thought is, if you think it will look good on your wall, shoot it. My favorite trophy is not the 10 inch warthog I shot in Africa, but the little 4 point buck which was my son’s first deer taken many years ago.

Is your favorite trophy in the record books or is it the smile on an 8 year old?
 
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Pheroze

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Size matters to an extent. Having a dramtic representation of the species is an awesome thing to behold. Finding one would be a great end to a tough hunt. So it certainly enhances the fair chase experience. Outside of a fair chance hunt it is meaningless.

But, my trophies are entirely average. I love them nonetheless, because I earned them.

So, earning that huge trophy is like scoring the winning touchdown - every touchdown is awesome, but pulling off that last minute, drive over the defence to the cheers of the crowd touchdown, well it's better.
 

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.............

Is your favorite trophy in the record books or is it the smile on an 8 year old?

I'd have to do this by year, not all time. Way to many incredible moments and trophies to pick one above them all.
 

James hays

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I'd have to do this by year, not all time. Way to many incredible moments and trophies to pick one above them all.
Mine are like my children, I dare not favor one over the other.
 

Lee M

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James you are spot on. My 2 sons first animals (pronghorn) are some of my favorites. Both are avg. my boys are not big on hunting with all of today’s activities and modern distractions, but the limited time I have spent in the field with them was priceless.

Have to agree with Brickburn as well as well and break into different periods of time as I have had some “more special” surprise successes in the field myself over the past 40 years. The overall experience is what counts and sometimes the horns are big, sometimes not so much.
 

dobber

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on my walls i have a 180", several 140's but my favorite is my dads first deer, a scrub 6 point that hangs alongside of all the others, now i just need to complete that scrub with a field picture of my dad and that smile
 

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Getting record book animals is always nice for me BUT I am happy with ones that look nice on the wall but do not make book also.
I also have hunts that are special to me without anything on the wall because of the time I had in the field and the people I was with. I may have taken just a average or even small animal or I may not have taken any animal. I have several I will always remember even without any photos or game.
 

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I guess I agree with @Pheroze . It can add to an already great experience and trophy but is never the factor that makes or breaks a successful hunt. Several of my most memorable, enjoyable hunts didn’t end with anything on the ground.
But when I told my first PH my main goal was a nice representative Kudu, I really would have been overjoyed with a beautiful, mature 45” to 48” bull. The fact that I got the awesome bull I got made it incredible. And he is in the low to mid 50s, can’t imagine how I would have been if I’d got a 60” monster.
So I believe an inch here or there, or an extra point or two should never be the deciding factor on a great hunt or not. But like everyone, it sure is cool to get the big one!
 

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"It is too big"....is a phrase most hunters will never hear..........................FWB
 

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I would have to say that getting that monster trophy is a great feeling, however I have many memorable hunts when nothing at all was killed. I have been fortunate enough to hunt with my dad and granddad, and now I am getting to hunt with my dad and my son's. For me spending time with my family doing what we love to do is worth way more than a big animal. Don't get me wrong I like having a nice trophy to hang on the wall and have been fortunate enough to take some amazing animals, but what made it even more special was that I was with family when almost all of them where taken.
 

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My greatest hunts have been with my children and grandchildren. There is no greater satisfaction than watching them succeed. My greatest trophies have little to do with score but a lot to do with the effort and woodcraft expended to get them.
 

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I am happy shooting the oldest animals I can find.
 

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I lost my attitude a while back when watching a guy trophy hunt on TV. He was worried about an inch or two. In my opinion just about any of us would have been proud to put that buck on the wall. That's when I realized above a number added value or below a number lost value of the animal. If you are not going to be happy don't pull the trigger. I have had to argue with outfitters not to measure my animal. I mostly hunt public land. So I either choose to shoot or not based on the freezer or a legal bull ect. I emphasize the experience with my kids over the trophy or a kill, and to have respect for the animals. To treat them properly when they are down. I think there is nothing worse than when hunting becomes work.
 

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One of the things I love about African hunting and to some extent game Management from other countries is harvest according to AGE, not inches.
I once shot a smaller horned mtn goat because it’s hair was much better than the bigger billy mine was next to. And have to agree, nothing better than your kids first big game animal-
It bugs me to no end when guys walk into my humble trophy room and they only see the antlers and first question is always “what does he score?” The answer is always “enough that I loved him and wanted him in my basement so I could see and touch him every day and relive the experience, regardless of the score.”
The next question I hate is “how far was the shot?” And the answer “as close as I could possibly get!”
 

Ragman

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I like big antlers as much as the next guy, but they aren't the be all and end all for me. I do however try to get as big a buck as I can. Last year I was after a monster whitetail that never showed himself during daylight when I was there. I never did kill a whitetail in 2017. That being said, one of my all-time favourite whitetails was a buck I shot in 2010. My stepson was 10 years old and loved nothing more than to come out hunting with me. That summer I'd given him a little set of shed antlers and told him to practice rattling. He would do that for hours. One time I knew where a set of deer tracks were and had him rattle there. Afterwards I showed him those tracks and the smile on his face was ear to ear. Fast forward to deer season and I was down to my last day and hadn't gotten it done yet. He was with me and was begging me to let him rattle one in. As is was December 4th, I figured it was too late for rattling to work, but he wanted to try so bad I had to give in. First spot we tried we were unsuccessful and he looked so crestfallen that it killed me. So I went to another spot that I knew always had deer in it. We got all set up and I told him to let'er rip. After only a few minutes of rattling a decent 5x5 came running in and stopped 50 yards away. I dumped him with my .308 where he stood, but poor little Ethan was looking the other way when it all happened and never saw the buck until we walked up to him. But then the huge smile. And the shakes. He asked if we could go get Papa Don before we loaded it so he could see him laying where he rattled him in. Not a big buck, but very nice and the experience was the trophy. That was a priceless day. His mother and I divorced a couple years after that and I haven't been allowed to take him out since, but this fall he will be 18 and hopefully will be able to hunt with me. I've missed it!
2010 Whitetail 006.JPG


2010 Whitetail 007.JPG
 

VonJager

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B&C sucks IMO because the mass of the points has no value, but you get more mass measurements the more points you have on the beam. So a heavier buck with less points can have a smaller mass score than a thin buck with lots of points.

I mount(either shoulder or euro) what I shoot to honor the memory of the animal and the hunt. I don’t really expect others to like my stuff because they weren’t there. They didn’t live the moment. I did.
 

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average birds but one of the best hunts I've ever had! my 14 year old daughter after two failed seasons! two birds with one shot!!! hope there isn't any KFWD people on here,lol

20170402_192411 (1).jpg
 

cls

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Nope, never has never will. It's all about the experience. If I am lucky enough to shoot a large critter then great. I have never measured any of my animals, every critter that I have on the wall is a memory of the hunt and the size of the trophy won't change the memory.
 

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