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Freedom of Expression or Are We Poking a Giant

*OPINION- Many of you will disagree with what you’re about to read. That’s ok. I’m not telling you to change the way you’ve been doing things. I’m only asking you to think about  what long-term consequences our actions on social media can have.

The freedom to express ourselves, as individuals, as Americans, as hunters, is something we enjoy in this country. We can get away with saying almost anything these days. That’s especially true when hidden behind a keyboard. You have undoubtedly seen arguments over personal opinion that the owner expressed as a fact, starting an opinion war in forums, blogs, or social media. The great thing about being a human is we are all different, with different opinions and ideas. I see things a little differently; however, when it comes to expressing opinions and gallivanting our hunting heritage for the world full of “antis” to see. Let me explain:

Hunters are less than 6% of the population. Keep that number in your head. Are you aware of what minority opinion groups in this country are doing right now to monuments, outside rallies, and on the lawn of the white house? People have taken freedom to express themselves to a new limit in 2017. “I can do whatever I want, and say whatever I want”, is the current definition to most. If it offends them, they want it gone. What worries me most is when I see hunters have this attitude.

I’ve seen hoards of hunters since the dawn of social media defend their photos and videos that the majority of the remaining 94% of the country may find despicable. “I’m not changing for anyone”. Or, “If they don’t like it they don’t have to look.”  No one is getting politically correct here. I too could not care less what an “anti” thinks about my kill photos. I don’t say harvest, I say kill. I don’t hide the real reason I hunt behind the excuse that, “I only want to provide clean meat for my family.” That’s not why most of us started hunting and its only a nice perk to why I hunt. Let’s just be honest with ourselves. We do it because we love the chase. We love the feeling it gives us. We love being outdoors and we love sharing the experience with our friends. There is nothing wrong with any of that. Continue to be proud of the title ” Bowhunter”. Don’t hide that!

However, what needs to change with hunters, and fisherman alike (PETA doesn’t like fishing either… FYI) is the blatant poking of the majority GIANT, and the neglect of animals in our kill photos that we choose to post online. Remember how many hunters there are? 6% of Americans! We are a tiny percentage of the total population. That alone is what makes our opposition a giant. Not their scare factor or ability to threaten. If they really got fired up enough, lets be honest, there’s not much we could do to stop them. With that being said, I don’t find the PETA profile picture trend cute… at all. It puts our way of life in a light we don’t want it to be in. While I too found it hilarious at first, I am reminded that both they and Facebook are on the same side, which happens to be the opposite of ours. Doing something because you can, and it’s funny doesn’t make it right.

The other instance is being more respectful in our kill photos. Why give the opposition more fuel? Why not be proud of the animal we worked so hard to outsmart, and why not make a lasting memory and nice looking photo? If we didn’t respect the animal we hunt we would not go to such great lengths to chase and ultimately kill them. It’s no secret that they successfully outsmart us most of the time. Why downgrade the instincts, intelligence and beauty of our quarry by leaving them a bloody mess in photos?  Cut the tongue off or tuck it in. Take the photo on the ground, not in the back of your truck. Clean the excessive blood off. This is a blood sport indeed, but there’s just no need to have the animal covered in blood when you take a photo for all the world to see.

I have probably upset some of you with this opinion. That’s ok. I’m not telling you to change the way you’ve been doing things. I’m only asking you to reflect; to think about who sees your photos and what long-term consequences poking the “majority giant” will have on the sport, passion, and way of life we all enjoy and love so dearly. While being a proud hunter, protect and defend hunting. Don’t plaster it in what will surely be taken as negative light for the “antis” to see. The actions of a Louisiana Bowhunter should be a reflection of the evolution we’ve experienced as hunters. We have grown up! We have accepted a tougher challenge, welcomed the handicap of a bow and pursue an animal much more familiar with the turf in which we pursue it. Let our actions reflect the level of hunting we take part in.

Buck For The Recordbooks Taken with Trad Bow

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Yeah… That’s what I said too when I got the text and first laid eyes on the brute taken by LABH Contributor Harmon Carson, of Northwest LA. He sent me trail cam photos of this buck he calls “Jacob” back in the summer months. I’ll be honest, I thought to myself, “That buck didn’t get big by being stupid.” I was probably right. But I underestimated the prowess, and persistence of the “Bayou Bowhunter”. This man is relentless. Just back from a grueling Colorado mule deer hunt where he scored on a gorgeous velvet buck, he comes home and continues the onslaught of his local hog herd, and then brings home the #1 buck on his hit list. After showing me a video and asking about a questionable hit he decided to let the buck lay overnight. A restless miserable night brought forth an even more grueling day that would require over 5 hours of tracking with 2 different dogs; only to find the buck still alive. Harmon had to dispatch the deer with one final arm lifting, God praising shot that put Jacob to rest and began the journey that comes along with shooting a truly MASSIVE Pope & Young Buck in a state that is not necessarily known for bucks of this caliber.

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Harmon hunts with a 54# Hoyt Buffalo Recurve and full length Black Eagle Deep Impact arrows tipped with Simmons Tiger Shark Broadheads. He exclusively uses HCB Strings, out of Monroe, LA.
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The Carson buck unofficially scores 173 7/8″gross. The bases were both 5 2/8″ inches circumferences. It boasted an inside spread of 17 4/8″ and main beams measuring 25″ and 24 4/8″. Maybe most impressive was the right G3 measuring 13 4/8″.

“This was my second chance at this particular buck. I actually shot him last year! It was pretty dark and my arrow deflected off of a limb and ended up sticking him in the back right leg last December. I trailed him for 2 days thinking I had gut shot him. I was disgusted at the thought of wounding an animal, or even worse killing one and not being able to find it. Much to my relief, 3 days later, I got a picture of him checking a scrape. I successfully relocated him in March of this year; watching him shed his velvet on September 4. He disappeared after that and reappeared last Friday”, recalled Carson.

“I set up hunting over acorns on the edge of a swamp. I sat near where a couple of trails come together that he had consistently used during the summer months. I had only been in the stand 30 minutes or so when the action started. A little 5 point walked out of the thicket directly towards me. I recognized him immediately as one of the bucks I had pictures of with “Jacob.” I heard a long deep grunt as I began messing with my camera trying to clean off disk space. I looked up and there he was. Head down, stomping with authority towards the over-cup acorns. I was focused on Jacob at this point and completely forgot about the 5 point. Sure enough, the little guy busted me. After a few minutes of the head bob routine from the young buck he calmed down and commenced eating. Jacob worked his way into 26 yards. He stepped behind a cypress tree allowing me to draw. When he eventually came out from the tree I only had a small window before he walked behind more brush. I rushed the shot. I hit further back than I wanted.  Once I got down and found obvious liver blood I backed out. I came back 3 hours later to begin the search. After 100 yards of trailing we stumbled upon a bed full of blood. I knew then I had to back out for the night and come back with a dog. It took 2 dogs infact. Finally rhe bark I’d been praying for. I started running.” The rest is history!

Harmon asked to leave you with one last word:

“Details make the masterpiece. When you pay attention to the details, the masterpiece will paint itself! When you’re gun hunting, details don’t matter as much. That’s why I’m a Traditional Bowhunter.”

1 year difference in shed to harvested antler.

After deductions from the unofficial gross score this buck will be firmly placed high within the all-time LA Archery Record book.

 

– Justin Lanclos LABH

If you or someone you know has a great kill story or a topic suggestion email us at info@louisianabowhunter.com