Show me the big bucks


Is it just me or does anyone else share in the thought that many of the deer hunting shows on television set up an unrealistic expectation of 150-inch deer in every wood lot?

There's a poll around this site somewhere that will ask you: Does television set up unreal expectations for deer hunting or is it just good entertainment?

Don't get me wrong, I like seeing big deer like anyone else. The bigger the rack, the more interest I have. I want to see how they move through the woods, how their body works. A good well-shot scene of a big buck in the woods is a learning experience, on television or in a deer stand.

But I've been in the deer woods for a lot of years. And the opportunities to even see a 150-inch deer are few and far between, let alone the opportunity to take one. Yet, for many deer shows, that is the standard.

Again, I have no real problem with that except in one way: There is a growing expectation that 150-inch deer are the standard, rather than the exception. Everything else is just a "cull" buck.

I'm not aware of any research or data that exists on this, but my guess is 95 percent of the deer hunters in this country will never see a 150-inch deer outside of the television set or photos. So, part of me wants to see more of the deer hunting experience that most of us are accustomed to. The other part worries what we may be saying to our children.

Several years ago, Louisiana did some research that showed our young hunters are shifting away from the hunting that got most of us started decades ago.

Squirrel hunting, for example, is very rarely ever practiced by the youth of today, although there was, and still is, no finer way to learn all the particulars about hunting than slipping from oak to oak trying to stalk a squirrel.

Back in the day, that was where you learned your woodsman skills, gun safety, appreciation for a wood lot that had all the variables needed to sustain wildlife. You got to see them all first hand.

Today, we stick a kid in a wood box or a platform up a tree and have him wait beside a feeder or a food plot, and at the end of the day he's not near the hunter we need him to be. Plus he's sitting up there waiting for that 150-inch deer that in most cases may not even be in the same county.

The problem is how do you make squirrel and rabbit hunting as exciting as seeing a heavy-racked buck slipping through the woods?

Television is entertainment pure and simple. So, you can't blame the show producer for creating shows that will draw in viewers. But there are times when it would be nice to see some hunting that most of us are accustomed to.