Trophy Whitetail Hunting – Is There a Right and Wrong

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For anyone whose been involved hunting clubs or a simple lease, you know the hot button topic At most is what constitutes a trophy buck and the proper way to go about getting it. And I’m quite sure that all of you reading this have a different opinion. It’s hard to say whose right and whose wrong .

Come with me as we talk about this in greater detail in decide what really constitutes trophy whitetail hunting .

Exactly what is a trophy whitetail Buck

The Nexus of this issue is that we are All not the same. To a man or woman who has limited hunting time an opportunity A trophy Buck might mean something completely different to a man or woman who has the time in means To do all that is required, suggest planting food plots, watching a lot of deer walk by, and finishing the season with unfilled tags. I’ve met both types of hunters and I have been both types of hunters. And to be quite honest I don’t think there’s a will cut into find the answer 2 a question of right and wrong .

I’ve spent seasons and more than 2 or 3 consecutive seasons in search of a trophy. But that doesn’t mean that my vision of a trophy is the same as yours or someone else s. My version of a trophy Whitetail buck is simply my next personal best. But another member of my club or lease may see that a number such as a 130 class buck is a trophy, while our mutual buddy Tommy may use his time to get out into the woods and harvest a buck that he is just as proud of that puts meat in the freezer. And in my opinion it’s difficult to argue with a man who enjoys himself and puts food on the table with his effort!

We watch celebrity hunters on Television who harvest “Booners” on a consistent basis and many times, multiple deer of this caliber every year. They tell us about a certain seed blend they used to plant their food plots while they hunt using only a certain camo pattern, while using a specific grunt call, and shooting the best bow or rifle on the market. Miraculously we will see advertisements for those very products sometime during the show, and think “Man I gotta get one of those”.

There’s many great products on the market and there is nothing wrong with using them. Many of them will actually increase your odds of harvesting a buck. That isn’t the issue. The issue is that one of those sponsors of the show is usually the hunting ranch they are making the show from. You or I shouldn’t get upset by that fact! If we watch drag racing on TV it’s a good possibility that we will see ads for Castrol motor oil. Or if we watch a football game broadcast from Fed Ex field we are likely to see advertisements for Fed Ex. T.V. shows aren’t cheap and they have to pay for that time. But are we using what we see as a measuring point of our own time in the outdoors instead of enjoying the results.

I know I can get as excited to see several does and a few yearling bucks as some people get when they see a Pope and Young or Booner buck. That doesn’t make me right and the trophy guy wrong, or vice versa. It just means that we get leve;s of enjoyment from the same place with different results.

What goes into harvesting a trophy whitetail buck?

That’s another loaded question. Because if we knew exactly what it takes to harvest a monster. We would harvest that caliber buck every time out. Instead, many people know a lot of the variables and spend the time, effort and money to have a chance. In fact, I don’t believe anyone knows exactly what goes into it.

Those TV personalities are a good example. If they give you an honest run down of their season you would find that they spend a lot of unfruitful hours sitting and waiting with no luck. While the average Joe who is on his or her first hunting trip, or the guy who hunts 1 or 2 days a year behind his barn takes a monster that breaks the state record. My belief is that it takes a third preparation, a third dedication, and a third luck to take a trophy buck .

So why is everyone not letting every deer walk in search of that buck of a lifetime? That seems to be a dividing line between the 2 types of hunters and it shouldn’t be. A person who follows the law is entitled to hunt the way that makes him or her happy. I’m sure there are people from both camps reading this.

So you want to hunt exclusively for Trophies on your land?

I’m still learning every time I go into the woods, and most people are the same. But there are obvious things that you can do that will increase your opportunities and possibilities to take a trophy. That doesn’t mean you will, but it puts the odds more in your favor than just hunting the same stand year after year because you killed a buck there 10 years ago.

Holding deer is what I and many hunters see as possibly being the biggest step in harvesting trophy deer on your land. Dr James Kroll (A.K.A. Dr Deer) has emphasized the importance of planting seasonal food plots for both nutrition and holding deer on your property. He has been researching and growing monster bucks for many years and knows his stuff. I ‘ve read his reports and watched his videos on planting 50 acre food plots with buck forage oats in the spring and then replanting in the fall witha winter mix to feed, and hold deer while giving them the best nutrition to keep them healthy and grow inches of antler. But one of his online seminars lately really caught my attention.

Dr Kroll emphasized the importance of “doing something”. He pointed out that when we can’t plant 20 acres because we don’t have the land, money, or equipment that most hunters do nothing to enrich their area. He said that if all you do is make mineral licks, at least you are doing something. A bag of no till seed mix can be picked up at your local Wal-Mart or feed and seed for less than $20. You can rake out a spot in the woods, put some lime on it and a couple of months later throw out the seed mix. If you have the time money and equipment by all means do it to the best of your ability! But do something.

Trophy hunting going forward

We have discussed the 2 major issues involved in hunting and harvesting trophy whitetail bucks. No matter what your version of a trophy is every club and Lisa owner can do something to help in the nutrition, holding, and harvesting white tail bucks on your property. Just like doctor James Karl said, “Do something ” Plant No till between rows of Pines, make a couple of mineral licks, And generally spruce up your hunting ground to hold more deer.

The most obvious problem between hunters in their version of hunting trophy deer would be understanding. Try to be more understanding of each other. So your version of a trophy is a buck that meets legal requirements you shouldn’t join a trophy hunting club. If you are a trophy hunting club you should not accept members who do not have the same idea of a trophy as you do. Ask questions. Whether you are the Hunter join a lease or the club looking for a Hunter haven’t honest discussion, be honest with one another then proceeds from there .

As I said earlier I have been on both sides of this fence, and I do not believe one side is right in the others wrong. I believe that our time in the Woods should be enjoyable and we should be able to make fond memories with those experiences. Not argue over whose right and whose wrong. I see this on social media quite often where people who are meat hunters bash the trophy hunters, and the people who are trophy hunters bash the meat hunters for killing smaller deer.

I leave you with this

I’ve listened to these arguments among hunters for years. “That Buck was too small”, or “No wonder you don’t harvest big deer, you don’t have huge food plots”. And this year I have finally figured out the answers! Everyone is right!

I spent the last quarter century hunting with a buddy who happened to be my father-in-law. The past few years I have been after my next biggest buck. He is more along the lines of a “legal hunter”. We have not argued about the difference. We have agreed that in order to have big deer all the young ones can’t be harvested and that worked out great !

Recently my buddy and father-in-law passed away quite unexpectedly, and suddenly the size of a deer doesn’t matter quite as much as it used to. Enjoy every day ! Congratulate your fellow hunters on their accomplishments even if they vary from yours. In the end we all want the same thing, … a trophy.

R.I.P. Thomas Earle Morris

Thank you for reading. If you have comments or questions feel free to post them below.








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  1. Hi Mike and thanks for this exhaustive and very interesting post.

    I’m not a hunter myself but, when I lived in Sweden I followed the countrywide Moose hunt, every fall, with interest and some trepidation.

    I’m a horse rider by nature, and riding was very hazardous in the hunting season lol.

  2. Hi Mike,
    Quite a nice read about hunting trophy white-tail hunting. What I’d like to ask is details of how to go about best practices of planting food plots. Is there a legal age limit for trophy white-tail hunting? Thanks.
    And sorry for losing your friend and father-in-law. I recently lost my grandma who brought me up. It’s not at all an easy season of life.

    1. Thank you for your comment ! I am actually working on a blog post on food plots. I have one expert guy from the Clemson University wildlife department to contribute , and I’m waiting on a reply from James Kroll ( AKA Dr. Deer) I want to address several areas including nutrition, holding deer, and hunting plots. And all three at any budget level. 

      If you have any other comments or questions feel free to let me know .


  3. I never realized how much you needed to know about when getting prepared for the hunt and needing to know even more while you are out on the hunt. There is a lot of stuff that I did not understand in your post because I do not hunt. Like what is a plot?

    1. Thanks Paul ! A food plot is like a garden for the deer. You plant an area in highly nutritious food such as clover, brasicas, Corn, forage oats, kale, and other vegatables that the deer both love and hold them on a piece of property so they don’t have to browse for food. That way they are fed well and healthy and don’t spend too much time on other properties.

      After all if you hunt the game, you should respect the quarry enough to give back.

      Thanks again ! 


  4. Hey Mike, I really enjoyed reading this page and look forward to seeing what other topics you are going to cover.

    I have been an avid hunter for years (ever since I was 13 actually). I’ve always loved the outdoors and look forward to that season of the year where all of my time is devoted to being outdoors with all the creatures. Fall is my favorite time of year and chasing those monster bucks is what I live for.

    Thanks for the read.

    1. Thanks for your comment,
      If you have more questions or anything I can help with, don’t hesitate just let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back ASAP

  5. Hey Mike, I really enjoyed reading this page and look forward to seeing what other topics you are going to cover.

    I have been an avid hunter for years (ever since I was 13 actually). I’ve always loved the outdoors and look forward to that season of the year where all of my time is devoted to being outdoors with all the creatures. Fall is my favorite time of year and chasing those monster bucks is what I live for.

    Thanks for the read.

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