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Telling the stories we hold deer

Now that the rifle season for deer is done and the many bow hunters are winding down for the year, I think it is only fair that we acknowledge that we are entering a time that is ground-zero for this year’s crop of new deer hunting stories.

What I mean by this is that this year’s stories are still basically fresh and, perhaps even reasonably accurate. Try to remember them now, because you will not recognize them this time next year.

In my experience four things immediately begin to happen after a deer is tagged. First, the deer you hear about gains approximately 10 to 20 pounds on each anniversary from there on in. Second, if it happens to be a buck, it gains points in inverse proportion to the amount of photos the hunter showed his or her hunting buddies.

Thirdly, the deer gains rank. For those who have never heard of the deer ranking system it goes something like this.

Fawn, big fawn, doe, big doe, boss doe, giant doe, massive doe, biggest doe you have ever seen. For antlered deer it is buck fawn, button buck, huge button buck, spike, huge spike, (fill in the blanks)-point buck, huge (fill in the blanks)-point buck, massive buck, old monarch, and ancient monarch and swamp ghost, unofficial world record, world record.

Again, each deer gains rank each anniversary. And, if you are talking to people who never hunted with you, the doe you shot might even change sexes and gain antlers.

Lastly, the shot and method of taking the deer gets more unbelievable with each minute of passing time.

Many hunters will dispute this and tell you that the memory of a deer stays the same. That’s true, especially after it’s tagged. It is the memory of the hunter that changes.

In our defense this is not something we want to happen. If it was, no one would take photos of their deer.

The reason why it happens is similar to why an arms race happens.  Both sides gather at a table and size each other up. Then one party makes a claim and the other party feeling insecure, one-ups it. Before long both parties will have laid claim to deer that are big enough to beat the current world record. Of course, neither party has them scored because they don’t want to make a big deal of it.

I’m pretty sure that this has been the way of hunters ever since the first pictograms of deer were painted on the cave wall. I’d bet money that, every year, in the middle of the night, some hunter went and painted on additional antler tines or made the deer’s body look bigger.

Again, this is not something that hunters are proud of. In fact, it is a problem that some of us are trying to address by using filters on our Photoshop programs to actually decrease the size and number of points on the bucks and does we take.  Just between us, I have done this to all the deer I have posted on social. This is because I think that every deer taken is something to be proud of and a trophy.

Even that world record I shot in 1982. It was on the run at 300 yards, which isn’t bad for a long bow…

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