I get a lot of customers in the archery shop who ask about equipment they have seen on some of the bowhunting shows on TV. Some of the stuff they ask about is good; some not so much. But what worries me about the shows is how they lead viewers, especially young bowhunters, to believe that there are tons of trophy bucks running around and they make it seem pretty easy to harvest one of these trophies.
I caught the end of a hunting show Monday morning and the host of the show was saying that the shows make hunting look easy, but that viewers don’t see the times when things don’t go well, and a trophy is not taken on film. He said we don’t see how frustrating, grueling and expensive filming hunts can be, and sometimes without reward, but that he always looked forward to his next hunt, and the experiences and memories that would last a lifetime.
I don’t know how many times I have had a parent tell me that their kid wouldn’t shoot a good 8-point buck because they wanted to wait for a bigger one, and I have had guys tell me they had hunted for up to 20 years and never taken a buck because they had not seen one big enough, with their decision made partly by the deer they had seen on TV hunting shows.
The reality is that most of us don’t get the opportunity to go to a managed ranch or lodge in Texas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas or some of the other well-known trophy-producing states — Kentucky included, where you can only harvest a 5 ½-year-old or older buck. And most of us won’t spend the $3,000 to $10,000 or more that it costs to hunt some of these places.
In my opinion, hunting locally, the best we can hope for is to hunt and try to harvest the biggest buck on the property you have permission to hunt on, whether that is a 110-inch buck or whatever, most places just never produce the giant bucks we see on TV and dream about.
The other problem I have noticed on some of the shows; if the hunter is using a mechanical broadhead they lead viewers to believe that even when making a bad shot, it will kill the animal. Don’t believe it!
Mechanical broadheads are not a miracle cure-all for a bad shot. Regardless of what type head you choose, it is our responsibility to practice and be as efficient with our equipment as possible. And for anyone shooting less than 60-pound pull, especially kids and women shooting shorter draw length bows, I know that a good fixed blade broadhead is a much better choice and will give better penetration. Shot placement and penetration are what will put venison in your freezer.
Trail cameras have had a major impact on hunting by providing hunters with photos of the deer that walk in front of their cameras, but unless you have a camera that will rotate 360 degrees or have four cameras facing four different directions at each camera station, a lot of deer won’t show up on camera. A couple of years ago, I was hunting near a trail camera and watched eight deer move by me within 30 yards, but none of them walked by the camera to have their photo taken.
Because of cameras, I have had customers tell me if they don’t have a good buck showing up on their camera that they don’t go hunting. Most of the bucks Eric and I have been lucky enough to harvest had never shown up on a camera. We hunt because we love being in the deer woods and the challenges that bowhunting presents.