I have had quite the year to say the least and it’s only the end of October. In less than 30 days, I have been fortunate to harvest a ND Whitetail that Gross scored 154 1/8 and a MT Elk that should make 260, allowing animals to be registered in the Pope and Young Record Book with those scores. Both Pope and Young kills are firsts for me as an Archery Hunter. What can I say other than I am truly fortunate.
For years, I have driven my truck around with the license plate P&YHNTR. I have had probably hundreds of people ask what that means and I always tell them it’s the record book for animals harvested with a bow and arrow. Just about everyone gives me a blank stare and says “ok”. Perhaps I should have the same blank stare when I think about what the license plate truly means…
Does my experience or enjoyment change at all because the animal I harvested was “large enough” to make a record book? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
As an example, the last few minutes of my ND Whitetail hunt just a little over a month ago is the exact reason why the license plate needs to change. The buck I harvested had grown up on our property, a very humble 90 acres that we bust our tails on and manage for big deer. We have watched this deer for 3 full seasons, passing on him last year because the camera light was poor. He was on our “hit list”. In a matter of a few minutes, I found success with the giant whitetail and the emotions began to flow. Would it have mattered if he scored 124 7/8, right below the minimum 125? Would have mattered if he didn’t make the “book” just like every one of my bucks harvested over the past 23 years? ABSOLUTELY NOT! The story, the experience and the moment outdoors were what made it amazing for me. It was the highlight of my hunting career thus far…
So as I think about how everyone, my WP Crew included, focuses on score, I am hopeful we all at the end of the day or the end of the story, reflect on what we experienced and the enjoyment we had. As my kids, Gus and Lily, enter the sport of hunting, it certainly will be about the experience first and the size of the kill a distant second!
Happy Hunting and measure your score by what you experienced…not by inches on the tape.
by Jeremy Elbert