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Shoot Me Down: Stop Namin’ Bucks!

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June 29, 2012

Shoot Me Down: Stop Namin’ Bucks!

By Dave Hurteau

In Christopher Guest’s Best In Show, Harlan Pepper, who used to be able to name all the nuts, tells us that his exasperated mother begged of him: “Stop namin’ nuts!” 

I am begging you: Stop namin’ bucks. (Actually I don’t really care that much. Doesn’t make you a bad person. But….) I don’t understand why people do this. I understand why I don’t. It’s simple: I don’t name things I plan to kill. I name things I plan not to kill. That makes sense to me.

Plus it’s cheap—smacks of false familiarity. All you did was get a trail cam picture of the thing. Hardly gives the right.

Damned cheesy, too. I suppose it’s possible that it just seems cheesy to me because it’s so frequently done by cheeseballs—TV hosts who say things like: “And now let’s join Dave Hurteau in New York and a buck we call Mr. Stickers.”

Nah, it’s cheesy.

And what’s worse, the uninspired names—Big Ten, Wide Eight, Tall Seven—or the ones that try to sound inspired but are really just dumb? I picture a conference room at an outdoor-TV network where “creatives” meet to brainstorm buck names.

In 2009, a popular TV-show host killed a buck he called Mr. Gnarles Barkley.

Imagine you’re a deer. Now imagine the indignity of being named Mr. Gnarles Barkley.

And all this talk about respect for the animal: How respectful is it to name something based on a physical characteristic? Jelly Belly. Aunt Goiter.

Now, I’m absolutely not saying that everyone who names a buck is an ignoramus...not by a long shot. But consider this: There is no getting around the fact that a certain number of bucks this fall will suffer the disgrace of being killed by an ignoramus; is it not doubly demeaning to have been named by him, too?

As Inigo Montoya said, “Humiliations galore.”

So there you have it. I think people should stop namin’ bucks. Stand with me or shoot me down. The reader who makes the best argument pro or con will be invited to fume his own brand of nonsense right here as a guest blogger.

Comments (58)

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from Double D wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

A Best in Show clip and Princess Bride reference in the same post? You set a high bar for the rest of us, Dave.

Oh, and I agree about the ignoramuses (ignorami?).

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from fezzant wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Bunch of Phillistines if you ask me. Down right uncivilied to give it a name, act like it's your pet, pretend to know him well, and hope to put a bullet in him. Might as well start sleeping with your best friend's wife after you steal his truck.

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from Silverback wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

You are an idiot. If you don't like the way TV "SHOWS" are made, I get it, but that's TV. As for naming bucks AND DOES, it is a tool to figure out a plan. It's simple, but maybe you guys don't get simple. When you talk to your buddies about the bucks you see while hunting and scouting, I'm sure you sound like an idiot saying, I saw an 8 and an 8 and an 8. Duh, describe it to me and you say "no way, that's ike naming something I'm going to kill". Idiots

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from msnewc wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I agree with Silverback. It's not so much a name as it is a description to set that particular deer apart from the rest. Little things like this really shouldn't bother anybody. To each their own.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Silverback,
Believe it or not, the reason why I don't care for the naming of bucks is not because I don't understand the practicality of it. I've described plenty of bucks to plenty of hunting buddies, and I don't remember ever having to name one to get my point across. Buy hey, you make an impassioned argument and that's what SMD is for. So, God bless.

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from MICHMAN wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sorry, but I like naming bucks, hunting partners and our various deer stands. It adds to the aura of hunting. "I saw gnarly this morning while hunting the four-tree fortress, and Buckshot saw him from the Pothole Pine stand!"

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I understand, Michman.
I fully expect to be in the minority on this one.

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from mclark94 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Naming a nice buck suggests, or at least hints at ownership. This of course leads to the inevitable disappointment when your neighbor whacks "Drop-tine Charlie" that you were saving for next year. Bad idea all around.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Dave -- I think you're on to something here, particularly as it relates to the TV hunting shows. There's just too much on the screen that cheapens the sport and shows a lack of respect for the animal. I enjoy watching hunting on TV, until I find out they're hunting at fenced ranches, or over a bait pile (often referred to as "attractants"). That's not hunting, and it diminishes what should be a noble pursuit.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet;

Yep, President of the Shakespeare Club in high school.

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from jjas wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I'm not going to shoot you down Dave. I quit watching hunting shows because of these tv clowns naming bucks, using the term "hit list", giggling, fist pumps, jumping up and down and of course....the ever present "give me a minute" everytime a certain old guy kills a deer.

Boring and silly IMHO.......

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Buckhuner,
"I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk-cabbage."
Although I have to concede that Shakespeare trumps Lucy Maud Montgomery....

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from Blue Ox wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I once named a buck 'TwinkleToes'...I still have a small chunk of antler from him- it was all the wolves had left.

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from 2Poppa wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

We usually name bucks we see on trail cams as an easy way to identify within our group of hunters, especially if there are several with the same characteristics. We even name the hollows and particular ridges, again, for quick clarification. It does bother me when "Professional Hunters" do this as I recall the 2009 Gnarles Barkley episode. Most of the time I prefer the word Monster, to the deer I'm pursuing.

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from CABdriver wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Hurteau, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with the bones.”

TV hunting is awesome. I can’t get enough of the fist-bumping, high-fiving, dancing a jig in the treestand and – wait for it – the breathless and unrehearsed realization that it’s Big Buck Down, baby! Then there’s the – wait for it – spontaneous bow of the head, followed by a point to the heavens and, then finally, a thanks to the Almighty Father for the blessings He provides, punctuated with, depending on the talents of the actor, I mean hunter, a tear running down the cheek, or a frog-in-the-throat plea for a minute to compose himself/herself.

Yep, TV hunting is awesome. And naming bucks is the cornerstone of great TV hunting. That and all the useful product information. And all the interviews. I’m kinda slow, so I need ’em to tell me (in order please) what is going to happen, then what is happening, and then what just happened.

When watching TV hunting, it helps to know the names of all the players – hunters and bucks. That way, when the actor says he killed “Jimmy Two Tines” I know he means the buck and not the guy from Goodfellas (I don’t hear so good either).

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I'm with mclark and the naming/ownership connection. Way too many people are getting the idea that deer belong to them.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

CABdriver,
From the grave, I salute you. Best argument so far, for sure.

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from Proverbs wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Mcclark94 has a very good point. People can lose perspective when naming big game.

In 2010 near Hayward, Wisconsin, I took a very nice buck. When I checked it in at the DNR station, some locals asked where I shot it, and when I told them, a couple fellas there went nutso, claiming I must have shot it on their property, and that the buck was "Graynose," a buck they've been monitoring for a few years. Actually, I shot the buck on my uncle's property, which is across the road from the property in question.

The local boys wanted the warden to check the kill site to make sure I hadn't trespassed. The warden told them he has no reason to do that. Back at my uncle's farm, my uncle wisely suggested that we don't even get close to the edge of our own property near the road, "because them boys are angry about that buck, and them boys just ain't right." He thought they might actually take a potshot at me, or another family member in our group. For the next few days until the season was over, these fellas (who lease the property from the owner for hunting rights), kept driving by our place slowly, stopping in front of the lane and looking in with binoculars. Creeps.

Beyond that, I've had enough of the TV hunting sluts talking about deer as though they are pets.

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from vasportsman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I take a different approach to naming personally, we don't see huge bucks where I hunt, so I have only havested does, but I do name the immature bucks that I don't shoot to describe them to my father-in-law later because he is now older and hunts vicariously through me, and quite frankly it is fun for him! That said however, I do name my turkeys, every gobbler I shoot gets a name alphabetically based on which number bird it is I have shot. I.e. my first bird was Abe, second was Bert, third was Carl, etc. and write them down on my hat. But I don't do that for petty reasons, more so I can remember the bird and a little of his character. Abe was honest, Bert was sneaky, and Carl wasn't very bright, and to be honest it is a little motivational. So I guess I am not shooting you down Dave, just using naming a little differently.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Dave, I am with you on the stupidity of naming every buck you see. The stupid names and hits lists those are why I don't watch much hunting TV anymore.

CABdriver I think nailed it as it pertains to an attempt to build drama for TV by having a named target. Ands lets face on on most of those deer "ranches" $4000+ targets is what they are. Actually now that I think about it outfitters having named deer probably makes having a pricelist for clients easier.

Ned Ten Tines - 5200
Big Pappa - 6900
Gnarly Funk Daddy - 10000

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I name every deer I see!
Normally, I just call them the first word that pops into my head. So far, they've all been named "DEER!"

Stand names? Sure! Going to hunt the "Pot Hole" is so much simpler than ; "That pop-up blind that sits 20 yards from where that dry slough crosses over to J.T.'s place."
Nicknames!
I didn't know what my "given" name was until nearly the second grade.
I worked a job for 14 years that if you didn't have a nick name you just didn't fit in.
Blanket, Son, Tooter, Injun, Judge!
Say WE and I know exactly who you're talking about 30 years later.

I did name one deer.
He is the first and only deer I scouted prior to season and killed opening day. …and yes, he's named for an antler attribute. His left main beam has a little dip in it.
He's officially "The Kink Horn" buck.
Sorry Dave, some of us need a little fantasy. After yesterday's SCOTUS announcement, reality officially stinks!

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from huntcamp wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

i do not name deer, but then again I am so bad with names I would forget and shoot Joe buck instead of bob buck and that would just be awkward.

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from MaxPower wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

For the most part, naming bucks (or bulls) is as juvenile as Best In Show is funny. However, there are a few exceptions, case in point - Spider Bull.

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from jpierce1 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I disagree with the idea that naming a buck is in some way demeaning to, or materializing deer you are hunting. I dont necessarily agree with setting out to name every deer that shows up in the corner of a trail cam pic one time two novembers ago, and every 2 yr old that passes through, but I think naming a buck should be something to add to the legendary status of those bucks that are something special on ones farm. For me, it is as much about the history and experiences I have with deer while hunting them, and I feel much more connected when I can recognize deer that I see, and having names for some of them only adds to that connection.

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from jpierce1 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

But I would also never call Dave an idiot for expressing his opinion, (cough cough, silverback.)

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I can't believe that I actually read most of the posts on this thread....

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from Knife Freak wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

The way I look at it is I don't care if you shoot the one you saw on the trail cam or the one that just happened to walk by the meat is what taste good.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I'll shoot you down on this one. Naming bucks is just fine as long as you aren't naming them all. You give a dog a name, you give a cat a name, you give your notable livestock names. But as with things you eat, only some notables get names, not the entire herd. A few of our notables were coco, ghost, sapphire, horney(only one with horns in the herd), and all the bulls had names. The rest had ear tags, and usually bore no mentioning unless it was calving season. So what's wrong with naming the notables? Saying that "Big Papa" is out on the east section is plenty acceptable. having them all named would mean that not just one, but a group of grown men took the time to not only observe, but name, and know them all, that's just a little weird and obsessive there. And when it comes to the topic of eating a named critter, if you can't eat something you've named(livestock only), you've started losing sight of what gives you life at the top of the food chain.

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from elkslayer wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I have always disliked the buck naming and other tv show and hunting article antics. It seems to me that when people name deer they are doing it because they lack a genuine enthusiasm for hunting and they are just trying to be a part of the hype.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I can understand your resentment towards the naming of deer or anything else for that matter. But years and years ago when I was a young man and hunting was pretty much a rite of passage into adulthood the naming of legendary bucks was something to inspire our young minds. for instance the local legend was a buck named "OL IRONSIDES" because he had been shot a number of times but no one ever killed that buck. It seemed that the naming of deer was unique to various areas so I don't think it was detrimental to hunting at all. to say the truth most of those legendary bucks probably never existed but still it gave every young hunter something to aim for.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

you dont name something your going to kill, thats sick....im with you on this one dave!

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from nchunt101 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I have to admit I think its a bit stupid to name a buck. its pretty easy to say that wide 8 etc to describe them. Al i tend to hunt alone and thus am spared having to share info with other people I hunt with.

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from GrandSlamDreamer wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Naming deer is like anything else in hunting, you have people that are going to be completely against it and people that are die-hard namers. Personally, I believe in moderation. I personally name deer for identification purposes. Usually this name has something to do with a distinctive feature on the deer that will allow other hunters on the land easily identify the deer as well. The names are also useful when saving pictures of the deer so that each can have its own file and I can easily tell which one is which without having to open every folder on my computer. Now with that being said, people take too far. I know people that have named a deer when it was a fawn, watch it grow, shoot it, and then put a plaque with its name on it on the wall. (I bought a friend a dog collar with a tag that has the deers name on it as a joke). Overall, I don't have a problem with it. A little moderation is all I ask.

Happy Huntings
GSD

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from coachsjike wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

what about our guns? can we name our guns? i do each one has a name cause of the personality that goes with it.

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from Ace Hunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Wow!!! Havin' a little writer's block are ya?! Couldn't think of an important topic to discuss?

It makes more sense to say, "I saw the same 10 point buck I saw on October 1st, 3rd, 4th, 15th, 20th, and 23rd, and photographed in May, June, July and August.", instead of saying, "I saw Mr. Big again."

You're a real "brain trust". Stick to writing. Allow the rest of us to have a real job.

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I have never bothered to attach a name to a deer or elk or antelope but in the mountains I certainly have changed what I called a few horses and mules after they gave me trouble.

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from Kingsdreamer2u wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I thinks its god strategy to name a Buck your after,Especially if you have two or three you've been watchin for a couple of years,,,just to Identify and Mark for the area you remember them! But also,,,naming the Big ones,,,or the memorable ones is just a way to tell a story! I had a friend that wanted me to show him how to Deer hunt on his land! Well,,,I did,,,and we both got one in a 2 year period,,,and the one I got was huge! Overall body weight was 270lbs,,,field dressed at an even 200lbs,,,,and I named him after the nickname he used to call his wife,,,,uhhh,,,,BIGUN!!! I know I know,,,not a good name,,,uh for his wife!...BUT,,it made for a memorable hunt,,,in alot of ways hahahah!

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from Kingsdreamer2u wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I thinks its god strategy to name a Buck your after,Especially if you have two or three you've been watchin for a couple of years,,,just to Identify and Mark for the area you remember them! But also,,,naming the Big ones,,,or the memorable ones is just a way to tell a story! I had a friend that wanted me to show him how to Deer hunt on his land! Well,,,I did,,,and we both got one in a 2 year period,,,and the one I got was huge! Overall body weight was 270lbs,,,field dressed at an even 200lbs,,,,and I named him after the nickname he used to call his wife,,,,uhhh,,,,BIGUN!!! I know I know,,,not a good name,,,uh for his wife!...BUT,,it made for a memorable hunt,,,in alot of ways hahahah!

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from Walt Smith wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I've got no problem giving a deer a name. just as long as it isn't shooter or stud!

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from MageeCreek wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

First it's food plots, bait piles, and mineral licks. We grow and raise our deer...then we name 'em. Seems par for the course, doesn't it? Pretty soon we'll have them fully domesticated. And, as a previous reader commented, next comes the sense of ownership. Mr. Bucky Buck is my deer. I raised him. I watched him. I've "let him go" the last couple years.

It's a slippery slope. Do they sell vanity plates for "your" deer?

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Regardless of your testimony Mr. Harteau, hunters have always named big bucks for communication purposes. How many times have you referred to the biggest deer in your area as "the big one" or "the monster" or "the giant 10 point." These are unintentional names given to big deer. Why? Because big deer are rare, and hunters can't avoid naming big bucks because we feel the need to distinguish that the caliber of the animal was better the rest. For example, if you're talking about bucks at camp or at the bar, nobody cares if you saw an 8-point buck, because there are lots of 8-point bucks out there. However, everybody's ears perk up if you say you saw "the big 8" and they all know that the name describes a 5.5 year old 8-point with 14in G2s on both sides, a 24in wide spread, and a massive body size that pushes 250lbs.

So Mr. Harteau, that's my argument. Whether you like it or not, big bucks are always going to be named by hunters. Heck, you probably even name a few deer yourself without even knowing it. I'm more of a fan of the "uninspired" names myself because I prefer the name to describe the antler characteristics, but that's just me. To each their own.

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from bowhuntercvv wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

buck behind me on the wall we named august 12 of 2010 killed him nov. 3 2010 just a good way to recognize a buck ps his name was the broke tine buck

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from wisc14 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

i think naming deer is kinda sillys. it always gives some people a feeling of ownership when it comes to the deer. they'll will get pretty pissed when their neighbor shoots "big joe" after they have let him pass the previous years.

however, naming bucks seems to be getting more and more common. hell in northern wisconsin i've heard people naming big muskies!

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from pittrehab wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I don't like to name anything I want to shoot...just my thoughts.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

You let me down, Walt. I was counting on you on this one.

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from ebc187 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I believe the first paragraph of your article says it all, you "don't understand why other people do this." Your lack of understanding doesn't make the activity wrong.

Have you ever hunted one particuliar animal? If so, then you understand the time, energy, scouting and resolve it takes to find out that deer's home range, routine and weaknesses. Given such an investment, its only natural to give a name/identity to your opponent.

In addition, you make some mighty conclusory statments. It's like me saying that all outdoor writers are unoriginal and only recycle previous articles.

We have been naming bucks since before the introduction of trail cameras. We named these deer after we had seen them while pre-season scouting or while on-stand hunting.

In my hunting camp all you have to do is say the name "Sixty-Five" and everyone will be taken back to the experiences they had with that buck. As far as we know, no hunter ever shot that buck. But the mere mention of the name alone lets me reminisce about hunting with my dad.

And, in my opinion, that's what hunting is all about, the memories. If naming a deer allows someone to enjoy hunting a little more and remember spending time with friends and loved ones, who am I to tell them to stop?

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from buckstopper wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Can you imagine the Duck Commander naming the ducks they shoot...Ol Green Head or Yellow Bill, or Smiling Mallard, how bout Orange Toes, Woodie, Hoodie, Daffy(oops that one taken)....Then there's the Rabbit Hunters.....Hoppy, Long ears, Short ears, Swampy, Bugs(that ones taken too!) Any other suggestions.....

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from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

only deer ive ever named was a buck i had history with named BB being the year before i had made a bad shot on BB and figured for sure he was coyote food, to later find out next summer he was alive and well, tho i never got another shot on him,

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from MICHMAN wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Dave: I see that your Whitetail 365 writing partner, Scott Bestul, has a article in the new issue of North American Whitetail where he uses the bucks nickname in the title. I'm referring to the article about Sam Collara, I don't have the magazine with me and do not remember the bucks nickname. I haven't seen a comment posted by Scott, I am curious what his opinion may be.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

ebc187,
Excellent points (except the one about my not understanding what it's like to chase a particular deer, but I'll let that go).
MICHMAN,
Right you are. Scott is an incorrigible buck-namer.
(The buck's name was Shipwreck.) Scott and I have debated this issue many times--all in good fun.

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from ebc187 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Dave Hurteau,

My point about chasing a particuliar deer was meant as a question, not an insult, dig or put down. There is no need for insults during a civilized discussion. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with your work or hunting past, and did not have time to research.

If you have chased a particuliar deer, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It is almost impossible to become that familiar with a particuliar animal and not give him some sort of name/identity. Whether you refer to him as "yard stick" "the big ten" or "the deer i've hunted for the last 3 years" they are all names/identifiers, the rest is just semantics.

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from ebc187 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Dave Hurteau,

My point about chasing a particuliar deer was meant as a question, not an insult, dig or put down. There is no need for insults during a civilized discussion. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with your work or hunting past, and did not have time to research.

If you have chased a particuliar deer, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It is almost impossible to become that familiar with a particuliar animal and not give him some sort of name/identity. Whether you refer to him as "yard stick" "the big ten" or "the deer i've hunted for the last 3 years" they are all names/identifiers, the rest is just semantics.

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from BobGWI wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I'm with FirstBubba on this one, I just usually call them "meat in the freezer"

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from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Stop killing "basket rack" and his peers and we will all do better out there. Cheers.

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from scottbestul wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

michman: I get a kick out of naming bucks, and my only vow this year is to get more creative. "Shipwreck"--the buck I wrote about that my friend shot last year, was named by another hunter after the favorite GI Joe he had as a kid!

Dave has hunted with me enough to know that I never kid myself about "owning" any deer or getting too familiar with any of them. My neighbors and I all love to hunt, and we run trail cams, and its just more efficient--and fun--to talk about "Little Big Man" than "the 2-year old ten point with 3 stickers on his right side."

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from S.A.M. wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

CABdriver's comments re. hunting TV are very interesting, opens my eyes a bit, as I work in hunting TV. I totally appreciated your perspective and it got me thinking.....anyone else have thoughts on hunting & or fishing TV, the good, bad & the ugly, let's hear it.......

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

S.A.M. - Right now, there are 2 deer hunting shows I absolutely love, and they're not even on TV. The first is Growingdeer.tv with Dr. Grant woods, and the second is Deer Scene Investigation (DSI) with Neil Dougherty on the Outdoor Life website. Instead of concentrating on the kill, both of these shows provide something more valuable to hunters...information.

Growingdeer.tv informs hunters about how they can manage their property for big deer, and then it goes a step further to explain hunting strategies, stand locations, and predator management techniques. IMO, it's the best hunting show, hands down.

DSI breaks down every aspect of the harvest of a particular trophy deer. It explains all of the techniques the hunter used to put themselves within range of the animal.

The kill is only a small portion of the story of any hunt. The most important information that should be communicated is everything that went into the hunt to make it a success. Simply watching somebody shoot a big deer...that's boring...it's something we have seen over and over again. But if you explain that you only had 3 days to film the hunt so preliminary scouting was impossible, and then demonstrate how you used maps to identify feeding areas, bedding areas and travel corridors to help choose a stand location. Then show the wind direction in relation to the stand location, and how the hunter entered the stand without alerting deer. Finally, show the entire hunt come together successfully, I might watch that.

What I don't want to see:
-Baiting. I don't care if baiting is legal or not, skilled hunters do not need bait to kill deer. If I see someone on a hunting show hunting over bait or a feeder, I don't watch the show any more. Why? Because any idiot can throw a bag of bait on the ground and attract deer. I watch hunting shows to learn from the experts. If the experts need bait, then they are not experts.

What I would like to see more of:
-Hunting on public land. A hunter that can consistently kill animals on public land is a true expert. Anybody can kill big animals on properties that are managed for big animals, but true experts hunt in the same conditions as the rest of the hunting community and excel at it! That's what I want to see! Last year Jeremy Flinn, a wildlife biologist, did exactly that in his YouTube series called "Public Pursuit" Although the footage wasn't great because it was self-filmed and edited, I still thoroughly enjoyed series.

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from mrhansen9 wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

I'm not a fan of naming, especially on public land. I do acknowledge the need to be able to explain the buck's on your property as to not confuse everyone...but this should be kept to key features, not a "name" so to speak. Anywho, to each their own.

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from mclark94 wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Naming a nice buck suggests, or at least hints at ownership. This of course leads to the inevitable disappointment when your neighbor whacks "Drop-tine Charlie" that you were saving for next year. Bad idea all around.

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from jjas wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I'm not going to shoot you down Dave. I quit watching hunting shows because of these tv clowns naming bucks, using the term "hit list", giggling, fist pumps, jumping up and down and of course....the ever present "give me a minute" everytime a certain old guy kills a deer.

Boring and silly IMHO.......

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from CABdriver wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Hurteau, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with the bones.”

TV hunting is awesome. I can’t get enough of the fist-bumping, high-fiving, dancing a jig in the treestand and – wait for it – the breathless and unrehearsed realization that it’s Big Buck Down, baby! Then there’s the – wait for it – spontaneous bow of the head, followed by a point to the heavens and, then finally, a thanks to the Almighty Father for the blessings He provides, punctuated with, depending on the talents of the actor, I mean hunter, a tear running down the cheek, or a frog-in-the-throat plea for a minute to compose himself/herself.

Yep, TV hunting is awesome. And naming bucks is the cornerstone of great TV hunting. That and all the useful product information. And all the interviews. I’m kinda slow, so I need ’em to tell me (in order please) what is going to happen, then what is happening, and then what just happened.

When watching TV hunting, it helps to know the names of all the players – hunters and bucks. That way, when the actor says he killed “Jimmy Two Tines” I know he means the buck and not the guy from Goodfellas (I don’t hear so good either).

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from Proverbs wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Mcclark94 has a very good point. People can lose perspective when naming big game.

In 2010 near Hayward, Wisconsin, I took a very nice buck. When I checked it in at the DNR station, some locals asked where I shot it, and when I told them, a couple fellas there went nutso, claiming I must have shot it on their property, and that the buck was "Graynose," a buck they've been monitoring for a few years. Actually, I shot the buck on my uncle's property, which is across the road from the property in question.

The local boys wanted the warden to check the kill site to make sure I hadn't trespassed. The warden told them he has no reason to do that. Back at my uncle's farm, my uncle wisely suggested that we don't even get close to the edge of our own property near the road, "because them boys are angry about that buck, and them boys just ain't right." He thought they might actually take a potshot at me, or another family member in our group. For the next few days until the season was over, these fellas (who lease the property from the owner for hunting rights), kept driving by our place slowly, stopping in front of the lane and looking in with binoculars. Creeps.

Beyond that, I've had enough of the TV hunting sluts talking about deer as though they are pets.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I can't believe that I actually read most of the posts on this thread....

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Dave -- I think you're on to something here, particularly as it relates to the TV hunting shows. There's just too much on the screen that cheapens the sport and shows a lack of respect for the animal. I enjoy watching hunting on TV, until I find out they're hunting at fenced ranches, or over a bait pile (often referred to as "attractants"). That's not hunting, and it diminishes what should be a noble pursuit.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet;

Yep, President of the Shakespeare Club in high school.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Buckhuner,
"I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk-cabbage."
Although I have to concede that Shakespeare trumps Lucy Maud Montgomery....

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

CABdriver,
From the grave, I salute you. Best argument so far, for sure.

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from huntcamp wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

i do not name deer, but then again I am so bad with names I would forget and shoot Joe buck instead of bob buck and that would just be awkward.

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from coachsjike wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

what about our guns? can we name our guns? i do each one has a name cause of the personality that goes with it.

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from Double D wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

A Best in Show clip and Princess Bride reference in the same post? You set a high bar for the rest of us, Dave.

Oh, and I agree about the ignoramuses (ignorami?).

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from fezzant wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Bunch of Phillistines if you ask me. Down right uncivilied to give it a name, act like it's your pet, pretend to know him well, and hope to put a bullet in him. Might as well start sleeping with your best friend's wife after you steal his truck.

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from msnewc wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I agree with Silverback. It's not so much a name as it is a description to set that particular deer apart from the rest. Little things like this really shouldn't bother anybody. To each their own.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Silverback,
Believe it or not, the reason why I don't care for the naming of bucks is not because I don't understand the practicality of it. I've described plenty of bucks to plenty of hunting buddies, and I don't remember ever having to name one to get my point across. Buy hey, you make an impassioned argument and that's what SMD is for. So, God bless.

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from MICHMAN wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Sorry, but I like naming bucks, hunting partners and our various deer stands. It adds to the aura of hunting. "I saw gnarly this morning while hunting the four-tree fortress, and Buckshot saw him from the Pothole Pine stand!"

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I understand, Michman.
I fully expect to be in the minority on this one.

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from Blue Ox wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I once named a buck 'TwinkleToes'...I still have a small chunk of antler from him- it was all the wolves had left.

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from 2Poppa wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

We usually name bucks we see on trail cams as an easy way to identify within our group of hunters, especially if there are several with the same characteristics. We even name the hollows and particular ridges, again, for quick clarification. It does bother me when "Professional Hunters" do this as I recall the 2009 Gnarles Barkley episode. Most of the time I prefer the word Monster, to the deer I'm pursuing.

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I'm with mclark and the naming/ownership connection. Way too many people are getting the idea that deer belong to them.

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from vasportsman wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I take a different approach to naming personally, we don't see huge bucks where I hunt, so I have only havested does, but I do name the immature bucks that I don't shoot to describe them to my father-in-law later because he is now older and hunts vicariously through me, and quite frankly it is fun for him! That said however, I do name my turkeys, every gobbler I shoot gets a name alphabetically based on which number bird it is I have shot. I.e. my first bird was Abe, second was Bert, third was Carl, etc. and write them down on my hat. But I don't do that for petty reasons, more so I can remember the bird and a little of his character. Abe was honest, Bert was sneaky, and Carl wasn't very bright, and to be honest it is a little motivational. So I guess I am not shooting you down Dave, just using naming a little differently.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Dave, I am with you on the stupidity of naming every buck you see. The stupid names and hits lists those are why I don't watch much hunting TV anymore.

CABdriver I think nailed it as it pertains to an attempt to build drama for TV by having a named target. Ands lets face on on most of those deer "ranches" $4000+ targets is what they are. Actually now that I think about it outfitters having named deer probably makes having a pricelist for clients easier.

Ned Ten Tines - 5200
Big Pappa - 6900
Gnarly Funk Daddy - 10000

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I name every deer I see!
Normally, I just call them the first word that pops into my head. So far, they've all been named "DEER!"

Stand names? Sure! Going to hunt the "Pot Hole" is so much simpler than ; "That pop-up blind that sits 20 yards from where that dry slough crosses over to J.T.'s place."
Nicknames!
I didn't know what my "given" name was until nearly the second grade.
I worked a job for 14 years that if you didn't have a nick name you just didn't fit in.
Blanket, Son, Tooter, Injun, Judge!
Say WE and I know exactly who you're talking about 30 years later.

I did name one deer.
He is the first and only deer I scouted prior to season and killed opening day. …and yes, he's named for an antler attribute. His left main beam has a little dip in it.
He's officially "The Kink Horn" buck.
Sorry Dave, some of us need a little fantasy. After yesterday's SCOTUS announcement, reality officially stinks!

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from MaxPower wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

For the most part, naming bucks (or bulls) is as juvenile as Best In Show is funny. However, there are a few exceptions, case in point - Spider Bull.

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from jpierce1 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I disagree with the idea that naming a buck is in some way demeaning to, or materializing deer you are hunting. I dont necessarily agree with setting out to name every deer that shows up in the corner of a trail cam pic one time two novembers ago, and every 2 yr old that passes through, but I think naming a buck should be something to add to the legendary status of those bucks that are something special on ones farm. For me, it is as much about the history and experiences I have with deer while hunting them, and I feel much more connected when I can recognize deer that I see, and having names for some of them only adds to that connection.

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from jpierce1 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

But I would also never call Dave an idiot for expressing his opinion, (cough cough, silverback.)

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from Knife Freak wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

The way I look at it is I don't care if you shoot the one you saw on the trail cam or the one that just happened to walk by the meat is what taste good.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I'll shoot you down on this one. Naming bucks is just fine as long as you aren't naming them all. You give a dog a name, you give a cat a name, you give your notable livestock names. But as with things you eat, only some notables get names, not the entire herd. A few of our notables were coco, ghost, sapphire, horney(only one with horns in the herd), and all the bulls had names. The rest had ear tags, and usually bore no mentioning unless it was calving season. So what's wrong with naming the notables? Saying that "Big Papa" is out on the east section is plenty acceptable. having them all named would mean that not just one, but a group of grown men took the time to not only observe, but name, and know them all, that's just a little weird and obsessive there. And when it comes to the topic of eating a named critter, if you can't eat something you've named(livestock only), you've started losing sight of what gives you life at the top of the food chain.

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from elkslayer wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I have always disliked the buck naming and other tv show and hunting article antics. It seems to me that when people name deer they are doing it because they lack a genuine enthusiasm for hunting and they are just trying to be a part of the hype.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I can understand your resentment towards the naming of deer or anything else for that matter. But years and years ago when I was a young man and hunting was pretty much a rite of passage into adulthood the naming of legendary bucks was something to inspire our young minds. for instance the local legend was a buck named "OL IRONSIDES" because he had been shot a number of times but no one ever killed that buck. It seemed that the naming of deer was unique to various areas so I don't think it was detrimental to hunting at all. to say the truth most of those legendary bucks probably never existed but still it gave every young hunter something to aim for.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

you dont name something your going to kill, thats sick....im with you on this one dave!

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from nchunt101 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I have to admit I think its a bit stupid to name a buck. its pretty easy to say that wide 8 etc to describe them. Al i tend to hunt alone and thus am spared having to share info with other people I hunt with.

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from GrandSlamDreamer wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Naming deer is like anything else in hunting, you have people that are going to be completely against it and people that are die-hard namers. Personally, I believe in moderation. I personally name deer for identification purposes. Usually this name has something to do with a distinctive feature on the deer that will allow other hunters on the land easily identify the deer as well. The names are also useful when saving pictures of the deer so that each can have its own file and I can easily tell which one is which without having to open every folder on my computer. Now with that being said, people take too far. I know people that have named a deer when it was a fawn, watch it grow, shoot it, and then put a plaque with its name on it on the wall. (I bought a friend a dog collar with a tag that has the deers name on it as a joke). Overall, I don't have a problem with it. A little moderation is all I ask.

Happy Huntings
GSD

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I have never bothered to attach a name to a deer or elk or antelope but in the mountains I certainly have changed what I called a few horses and mules after they gave me trouble.

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from Kingsdreamer2u wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I thinks its god strategy to name a Buck your after,Especially if you have two or three you've been watchin for a couple of years,,,just to Identify and Mark for the area you remember them! But also,,,naming the Big ones,,,or the memorable ones is just a way to tell a story! I had a friend that wanted me to show him how to Deer hunt on his land! Well,,,I did,,,and we both got one in a 2 year period,,,and the one I got was huge! Overall body weight was 270lbs,,,field dressed at an even 200lbs,,,,and I named him after the nickname he used to call his wife,,,,uhhh,,,,BIGUN!!! I know I know,,,not a good name,,,uh for his wife!...BUT,,it made for a memorable hunt,,,in alot of ways hahahah!

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from Kingsdreamer2u wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I thinks its god strategy to name a Buck your after,Especially if you have two or three you've been watchin for a couple of years,,,just to Identify and Mark for the area you remember them! But also,,,naming the Big ones,,,or the memorable ones is just a way to tell a story! I had a friend that wanted me to show him how to Deer hunt on his land! Well,,,I did,,,and we both got one in a 2 year period,,,and the one I got was huge! Overall body weight was 270lbs,,,field dressed at an even 200lbs,,,,and I named him after the nickname he used to call his wife,,,,uhhh,,,,BIGUN!!! I know I know,,,not a good name,,,uh for his wife!...BUT,,it made for a memorable hunt,,,in alot of ways hahahah!

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from Walt Smith wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I've got no problem giving a deer a name. just as long as it isn't shooter or stud!

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from MageeCreek wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

First it's food plots, bait piles, and mineral licks. We grow and raise our deer...then we name 'em. Seems par for the course, doesn't it? Pretty soon we'll have them fully domesticated. And, as a previous reader commented, next comes the sense of ownership. Mr. Bucky Buck is my deer. I raised him. I watched him. I've "let him go" the last couple years.

It's a slippery slope. Do they sell vanity plates for "your" deer?

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Regardless of your testimony Mr. Harteau, hunters have always named big bucks for communication purposes. How many times have you referred to the biggest deer in your area as "the big one" or "the monster" or "the giant 10 point." These are unintentional names given to big deer. Why? Because big deer are rare, and hunters can't avoid naming big bucks because we feel the need to distinguish that the caliber of the animal was better the rest. For example, if you're talking about bucks at camp or at the bar, nobody cares if you saw an 8-point buck, because there are lots of 8-point bucks out there. However, everybody's ears perk up if you say you saw "the big 8" and they all know that the name describes a 5.5 year old 8-point with 14in G2s on both sides, a 24in wide spread, and a massive body size that pushes 250lbs.

So Mr. Harteau, that's my argument. Whether you like it or not, big bucks are always going to be named by hunters. Heck, you probably even name a few deer yourself without even knowing it. I'm more of a fan of the "uninspired" names myself because I prefer the name to describe the antler characteristics, but that's just me. To each their own.

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from bowhuntercvv wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

buck behind me on the wall we named august 12 of 2010 killed him nov. 3 2010 just a good way to recognize a buck ps his name was the broke tine buck

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from wisc14 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

i think naming deer is kinda sillys. it always gives some people a feeling of ownership when it comes to the deer. they'll will get pretty pissed when their neighbor shoots "big joe" after they have let him pass the previous years.

however, naming bucks seems to be getting more and more common. hell in northern wisconsin i've heard people naming big muskies!

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from pittrehab wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I don't like to name anything I want to shoot...just my thoughts.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

You let me down, Walt. I was counting on you on this one.

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from ebc187 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I believe the first paragraph of your article says it all, you "don't understand why other people do this." Your lack of understanding doesn't make the activity wrong.

Have you ever hunted one particuliar animal? If so, then you understand the time, energy, scouting and resolve it takes to find out that deer's home range, routine and weaknesses. Given such an investment, its only natural to give a name/identity to your opponent.

In addition, you make some mighty conclusory statments. It's like me saying that all outdoor writers are unoriginal and only recycle previous articles.

We have been naming bucks since before the introduction of trail cameras. We named these deer after we had seen them while pre-season scouting or while on-stand hunting.

In my hunting camp all you have to do is say the name "Sixty-Five" and everyone will be taken back to the experiences they had with that buck. As far as we know, no hunter ever shot that buck. But the mere mention of the name alone lets me reminisce about hunting with my dad.

And, in my opinion, that's what hunting is all about, the memories. If naming a deer allows someone to enjoy hunting a little more and remember spending time with friends and loved ones, who am I to tell them to stop?

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from buckstopper wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Can you imagine the Duck Commander naming the ducks they shoot...Ol Green Head or Yellow Bill, or Smiling Mallard, how bout Orange Toes, Woodie, Hoodie, Daffy(oops that one taken)....Then there's the Rabbit Hunters.....Hoppy, Long ears, Short ears, Swampy, Bugs(that ones taken too!) Any other suggestions.....

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from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

only deer ive ever named was a buck i had history with named BB being the year before i had made a bad shot on BB and figured for sure he was coyote food, to later find out next summer he was alive and well, tho i never got another shot on him,

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from MICHMAN wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Dave: I see that your Whitetail 365 writing partner, Scott Bestul, has a article in the new issue of North American Whitetail where he uses the bucks nickname in the title. I'm referring to the article about Sam Collara, I don't have the magazine with me and do not remember the bucks nickname. I haven't seen a comment posted by Scott, I am curious what his opinion may be.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

ebc187,
Excellent points (except the one about my not understanding what it's like to chase a particular deer, but I'll let that go).
MICHMAN,
Right you are. Scott is an incorrigible buck-namer.
(The buck's name was Shipwreck.) Scott and I have debated this issue many times--all in good fun.

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from ebc187 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Dave Hurteau,

My point about chasing a particuliar deer was meant as a question, not an insult, dig or put down. There is no need for insults during a civilized discussion. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with your work or hunting past, and did not have time to research.

If you have chased a particuliar deer, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It is almost impossible to become that familiar with a particuliar animal and not give him some sort of name/identity. Whether you refer to him as "yard stick" "the big ten" or "the deer i've hunted for the last 3 years" they are all names/identifiers, the rest is just semantics.

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from ebc187 wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Dave Hurteau,

My point about chasing a particuliar deer was meant as a question, not an insult, dig or put down. There is no need for insults during a civilized discussion. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with your work or hunting past, and did not have time to research.

If you have chased a particuliar deer, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It is almost impossible to become that familiar with a particuliar animal and not give him some sort of name/identity. Whether you refer to him as "yard stick" "the big ten" or "the deer i've hunted for the last 3 years" they are all names/identifiers, the rest is just semantics.

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from BobGWI wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

I'm with FirstBubba on this one, I just usually call them "meat in the freezer"

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from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Stop killing "basket rack" and his peers and we will all do better out there. Cheers.

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from scottbestul wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

michman: I get a kick out of naming bucks, and my only vow this year is to get more creative. "Shipwreck"--the buck I wrote about that my friend shot last year, was named by another hunter after the favorite GI Joe he had as a kid!

Dave has hunted with me enough to know that I never kid myself about "owning" any deer or getting too familiar with any of them. My neighbors and I all love to hunt, and we run trail cams, and its just more efficient--and fun--to talk about "Little Big Man" than "the 2-year old ten point with 3 stickers on his right side."

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from S.A.M. wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

CABdriver's comments re. hunting TV are very interesting, opens my eyes a bit, as I work in hunting TV. I totally appreciated your perspective and it got me thinking.....anyone else have thoughts on hunting & or fishing TV, the good, bad & the ugly, let's hear it.......

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

S.A.M. - Right now, there are 2 deer hunting shows I absolutely love, and they're not even on TV. The first is Growingdeer.tv with Dr. Grant woods, and the second is Deer Scene Investigation (DSI) with Neil Dougherty on the Outdoor Life website. Instead of concentrating on the kill, both of these shows provide something more valuable to hunters...information.

Growingdeer.tv informs hunters about how they can manage their property for big deer, and then it goes a step further to explain hunting strategies, stand locations, and predator management techniques. IMO, it's the best hunting show, hands down.

DSI breaks down every aspect of the harvest of a particular trophy deer. It explains all of the techniques the hunter used to put themselves within range of the animal.

The kill is only a small portion of the story of any hunt. The most important information that should be communicated is everything that went into the hunt to make it a success. Simply watching somebody shoot a big deer...that's boring...it's something we have seen over and over again. But if you explain that you only had 3 days to film the hunt so preliminary scouting was impossible, and then demonstrate how you used maps to identify feeding areas, bedding areas and travel corridors to help choose a stand location. Then show the wind direction in relation to the stand location, and how the hunter entered the stand without alerting deer. Finally, show the entire hunt come together successfully, I might watch that.

What I don't want to see:
-Baiting. I don't care if baiting is legal or not, skilled hunters do not need bait to kill deer. If I see someone on a hunting show hunting over bait or a feeder, I don't watch the show any more. Why? Because any idiot can throw a bag of bait on the ground and attract deer. I watch hunting shows to learn from the experts. If the experts need bait, then they are not experts.

What I would like to see more of:
-Hunting on public land. A hunter that can consistently kill animals on public land is a true expert. Anybody can kill big animals on properties that are managed for big animals, but true experts hunt in the same conditions as the rest of the hunting community and excel at it! That's what I want to see! Last year Jeremy Flinn, a wildlife biologist, did exactly that in his YouTube series called "Public Pursuit" Although the footage wasn't great because it was self-filmed and edited, I still thoroughly enjoyed series.

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from mrhansen9 wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

I'm not a fan of naming, especially on public land. I do acknowledge the need to be able to explain the buck's on your property as to not confuse everyone...but this should be kept to key features, not a "name" so to speak. Anywho, to each their own.

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from Ace Hunter wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Wow!!! Havin' a little writer's block are ya?! Couldn't think of an important topic to discuss?

It makes more sense to say, "I saw the same 10 point buck I saw on October 1st, 3rd, 4th, 15th, 20th, and 23rd, and photographed in May, June, July and August.", instead of saying, "I saw Mr. Big again."

You're a real "brain trust". Stick to writing. Allow the rest of us to have a real job.

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from Silverback wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

You are an idiot. If you don't like the way TV "SHOWS" are made, I get it, but that's TV. As for naming bucks AND DOES, it is a tool to figure out a plan. It's simple, but maybe you guys don't get simple. When you talk to your buddies about the bucks you see while hunting and scouting, I'm sure you sound like an idiot saying, I saw an 8 and an 8 and an 8. Duh, describe it to me and you say "no way, that's ike naming something I'm going to kill". Idiots

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