Money or time, which do you have more of? I am about puked out on this story of the Spider Bull, the new world record elk taken a year ago in Utah. For just slightly more than $150,000.00 you too can be on the cover of national magazines with your trophy and more than likely everyone will agree that the animal truly is a trophy, so quit whining. Now, if you don’t have a spare $150K you may just have to settle for the rag horns and brush racks until you can save up all of your pennies, so quit blowing all your money on things like food, mortgage and utilities, there is a new world record out there with your name on it.
Something I think trophy hunters quickly realize is how subjective the word “trophy” can be. If you have $150K it’s a spider bull, if you have $150 and a bunch of time, it may be a nice 5×5. Once you start pursuing the prestige of only harvesting trophies you start to see the price tags that show up to get the land access or the work involved to nurture your own along. Trophy hunting and collection hunting has really become an elitist sport, with situations like this massive elk. Ask anyone who has ever harvested a North American Sheep Grand Slam what the cost of that collection was, I would venture you will hear a number in excess of a quarter million dollars, do you have that kind of money? When I sat on the board of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Society in Denver, our auction tag sold for $93,000.00. That allowed the hunter to take one of the four heads needed for the collection, not counting guides and all other expenses. The special privileges given to these winning bidders is not consistent with what everyone else has to do to hunt their animal, yet there they sit smiling and the book clubs accept the entry. Are you really okay with this?
Additionally, these “clubs” that are supported by sportsmen dollars are made up of primarily folks who cannot and will not afford such a hunt, and have only a few members that have the resources (cash) to pull off these super trips. So I guess we have no one to blame but ourselves when we look at the publications they produce and see them placating these people and massive animals they get to harvest and do or say nothing about it. A lot of your membership money goes to supporting their staffers who show up in every issue with another not only successful, but wildly successful hunt. As well as their “teams” of the same people that they drag all over the continent filming hunts that you may only ever be able to afford once in your life, and guess what, you’re paying for the trip for them. It’s just one of the eight or nine trips they have booked for the season though, you’ll see more in the next episode. You get the occasional bone thrown by putting your submitted picture or story in their publication, but only if they have room for it. Again, we have enabled the situation and later spend time on the blogs complaining about how unfair it can be.
Well interestingly enough, this may be a great year to turn the tables. With so many people affected by the unemployment rates, there may be some folks with a lot of extra time on their hands this season who can put a lot more pressure on the pursuit and take some of these animals before they can be corralled and held for the rich and famous. The only response that can be given to counter this pressure is for the folks down at fish and game to allow the premiers access during closed seasons, and if this starts happening (and it does) you have two choices, either watch and wish you had the money to be so privileged or show up with about a thousand friends, who may also have some extra time, at the next commissioners meeting and raise hell.
Hunting is not all about the people who have all the money; it’s about the people who put in the time. Every one of these super trophies were pursued vigorously, watched, studied and patterned for the hunt. Only the legwork wasn’t done by the person making the kill it was done by someone with the time and desire to do it or was paid to do it.
So if you do find yourself with some of this extra time this fall and money is scarcer than normal, head out before your scheduled season and take advantage of having more time than money, do some serious scouting and take some of these trophies that only the resourceful can normally afford to have brought before them. A trophy truly is in the eye of the beholder, so be proud of what you accomplish with what resources you have, even if it does not hit the books, and remind these folks it’s the animals head that needs measured. Good luck, now about the new issue:
Thank you for stopping by to check out the September issue of the magazine. We have a lot of really cool things to share and we hope you enjoy them. We have a review on a very cool and inexpensive bow that shoots like the pricy ones, a story about the mishaps and consequences of willy nilly froggin’, some tips about keeping harmony on the trail by not over-expecting what people can do and a new column addition covering field testing . We open the column with a field report on a reliable and easy to use elk bugle, just in time for the season.
We are working on forming a small and reliable group of folks who can review products in different environments and can communicate about the experience in writing. This to support our field test area with a wider array of the products we think you should know about. As well, we may even do some time honored gear that you may have never heard of, but it’s not new to the rest of the world. If this sounds like you, email me and let’s have a discussion.
Enjoy the issue, it was fun to work on and a special thanks to the Authors for their contributions.