Earlier this month, I went on about how while making fellow hunters feel badly about shooting “small” bucks is obviously lame, so is knee-jerk disdain for fellow hunters who focus on big bucks. They are two sides of the same coin–both bad for deer hunting. Among the many excellent comments, my favorites where those by:

-Happy Myles, because it was acutely enlightening to hear from of a self-proclaimed, unabashed trophy hunter, particularly this: “[W]hen I was a poor boy the locals considered me to be an excellent hunter. Now after sixty five years of serious, considerable hunting around the world many feel I must be an amateur who happens to have the funds to hunt.”

-Whackdaddy, because it’s hard not to be swayed by an opinion that so closely mirrors my own. And well said, too.

And our winner:

-WVOtter, who clearly at least minored in psychology, because his main point–that while those who focus on big antlers may not intend to belittle other hunters, their approach is fundamentally such that a slight is easily inferred–is both penetrating and may help explain some hunters’ almost visceral disdain for trophy hunters.

That said, I don’t think it excuses it. If you are inferring something that isn’t implied, that’s at bit of a you problem. WV asks, “When a hunter says he will not shoot a 6-point because it’s not up to his standard, yet you were proud of your 4-point that year, then what?” Then nothing, if you ask me (as long as he’s not throwing it in your face). He’s welcome to his standard, as are you. Have you ever noticed that this is less of a problem among friends?

I have a bunch of buddies who routinely pass bucks I would shoot. I don’t infer a slight because I know each of them well enough to understand that none is implied. Maybe we should work under the assumption that our fellow hunters are friends–until one of them makes some truly stupid remark about your 4-pointer, then by all means call him out on it.

In any case, WVOtter, you are our winner. Congrats! I’ll be contacting you soon with an invitation to spout off as a guest blogger in our next Shoot Me Down.