Shoot Me Down: You Should Kill and Tell (the Landowner, That Is)

I have a buddy who might have lost a great hunting spot. He thinks he made a big mistake last fall when he showed a big buck he arrowed to the landowner. The farmer took a photo and started waving it in front of his buddies. Before long, word spread and another hunter showed up at the farmer's door, waving a checkbook.

"I should have just snuck that buck out of there and been on my way," my friend lamented. "I'd probably still be hunting there."

When I heard this, I thought of some advice given to me years ago by another friend and hugely successful whitetail hunter. "The quickest way to get booted off a place is to show the farmer the big buck you shot," he warned. "Landowners are funny that way; lots of them are happy to let you hunt. . . . They just don't want you killing anything."

That may be true, but I can't go along. My problem is that it involves sneaking around on the person kind enough to let me hunt. Bottom line, it seems like a deception. Now I may not always go way out of my way to show every deer I kill to a property owner, but I've never gone out of my way not to. If the landowner is handy, I'll stop in and say thanks. If that results in my losing permission, well I won't like it, naturally, but I can live with myself easier. Of course, I may be all wet. You tell me. I say you should show your buck to the landowner. Stand with me or shoot me down. - Scott Bestul