I’ve only hunted with my dad, who is a firm believer in eating what we kill. Yesterday, when I told a guy friend I had only shot does, he started making fun of me about what a girl I must be for only killing does and that he passed on a bunch of really big deer last year because they weren’t “shooters.” This has me confused. I watch how people on TV hunting shows won’t shoot certain animals because they aren’t “shooters”. They often pass on animals I’d love to even see, let alone shoot. What’s the deal with the term “shooter?” Can I only use the term “trophy” if I shoot a big buck?
Confused in Concord
I’m going to preface this entire column by noting this debate boils down to personal preference. That being said, I’ve had the same conversation you experienced. It begins with TV kills and ends with hunters focusing on unattainable antler goals, while mocking those who don’t.
Confused, hunting television exists primarily as an outlet for entertainment, not as the standard by which hunters should base their successes. Some shows use the term “shooter” to describe a deer that has big antlers — the type viewers generally enjoy seeing on TV, because they may never hunt one in reality. Utilizing this practice is advantageous for individuals who covet bigger antlers and want to allow their buck herd to mature. However, instead of using the term when applicable, it has taken on a life of its own, supplying ammunition for hunters to berate others for killing small bucks or does. Given these circumstances, it’s difficult to believe you’re doing anything right by not waiting for a “shooter".
For the rest of my response, check out this week's Ask Writing Huntress column on the Women's Outdoor News website!