Why Mule Deer Hunting is the Pinnacle of Western Big Game
Before I go any further two issues need to be addressed. First, what exactly constitutes a “trophy class” mule deer? Short answer, it is whatever you want it to be. For some, a trophy may be a 4-point regardless of size. For others, a buck must have a Boone and Crockett Score of 200+ inches of antler. For me, age is the trophy. Everyone, myself included, wants that giant set of antlers to memorialize every aspect of the hunt. However, for the average public land hunter, the challenge in locating and harvesting a 5+ year old mature buck is no doubt a trophy regardless of the inches of antler the buck adorns on top of his head.
Second, despite good intentions, trophy hunting is frowned upon and misunderstood by many. The hunt is encapsulated by the trophy, but the trophy is a small sliver of why we hunt. The memories made, the lean organic protein provided, and a closeness with God experiencing His creation are all embodied in the trophy regardless of prowess and size.
The equipment we use has changed dramatically from our great grandfathers time to now, but the basics remain the same. The history and nostalgia of mule deer hunting across the West only adds to the enchantment of a true trophy class buck.
Tie in outside factors of difficult tag acquisition, modern hunting technology, and the increasing associated costs to hunt and the challenge can often seem insurmountable. It is in this challenge that the fire is lit for many hunters to pursue trophy-class mule deer.