Eye of the Beholder

When we step into the outdoors, we have the privilege of standing in the presence of God as first-hand witnesses of His creation. That makes hunting something more than a sport or a hobby. It’s a calling to something greater. It’s an experience that transforms the places that we stand into something more than just a crop field or a mountain. It makes that place Hallowed Ground.

How many times have you watched a big buck fall on TV and hear either yourself or someone else say, “I’d like to see them come down and kill buck like that on the places that I hunt!” Or on the other side of the coin, offer up criticism when you see a buck harvested that was either younger or smaller than you would have shot personally. The chances are that we have all done it. Even me.

A couple nice bucks off in the thicket

This week’s episode represents the full range of attitudes when it comes to our opinions on deer. On one particular hunt that we captured on film last year, a buck walked to within 15 yards of the stand that Daniel and Brad were hunting and filming out of. When Daniel elected to pass, an argument between him and Brad ensued with the deer basically standing beneath them. The argument ended with one of the slickest swap-offs that I’ve ever seen and Brad harvesting the deer. Daniel went on to kill the caliber of buck that he was looking for later on in the season and in the end, we were all happy for both of them and they were happy for each other. For us, there was something to be learned from both hunts.

Brad Lotz and his buck.

Now, in writing this, I know that there are many out there who want to pass on younger deer and manage for bigger bucks, but have the attitude of, “If I don’t shoot it, he’ll jump the fence and my neighbor will.” Believe me, I feel your pain. Let me suggest a few strategies for you in working with the guy whose mantra is “you can’t eat the horns”.

Daniel Hood and his beautiful buck.

First, respectfully point him to some resources like those offered by QDMA or biologists like Grant Woods of growingdeer.tv, who on his southern Missouri farm (which is a lot of rocks, hills, and timber) has proven that you can grow big deer anywhere. Second, be willing to share information and trail camera pictures. He may think twice before pulling the trigger on a 95” 2 ½ year old if he knows that there’s a few 140 and 150 class bucks running around. But most of all, know that if you and the other guy both have deer tags in your pocket and are doing things legally, you’re both on the same team.

Hallowed Ground airs Wednesday 730AM ET, Friday 6PM ET, and Saturday 6PM ET