that achievement. Each autumn I see hundreds, if not thousands, of hero shots depicting happy hunters showing off their fallen prize. Within the hunting culture this triumphant gesture is both acceptable and expected. If you’re a deer hunter it’s within our common interest and curiosity to look upon someone's conquest and learn of the details. With that said, where, and better yet, why does the line get crossed that causes hunters to go from simple admiration to an all-out fascination with another man’s accomplishments? Mark Twain opined in his autobiography that: “Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely we find that this standard is a very simple one, and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are men who do things which we recognize, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.” To take that a step further, Tony Evans writes in Kingdom Man, “Men fantasize about greatness. We crave significance, influence, and impact… we want to feel the rush of the chase. Not only do we long to be great, but we also desire to be recognized as great.” And when that doesn’t materialize for one reason or another, the default mode immediately reverts to either envy of what another has accomplished or living vicariously through someone else. What many who watch hunting programs fail to realize is what they are seeing being played out in a 30-minute show might well have taken days, weeks, months and in some instances years to accomplish. We cannot base our own experiences on what we see on TV. Nor should we become frustrated or feel inferior to the hunting celebrities.
Conclusion Deer hunting is, at this point in history, primarily a recreational sport. To some it would undoubtedly be classified a sport of the finest kind. Like any other activity there will always be those that excel beyond the norm due chiefly to desire, talent and perseverance. And when they do, rest assured, despite the hype and marketing, they are not superior nor are they super heroes; after all there is nothing heroic about killing a deer and certainly nothing heroic in whatever the manner the hunt was undertaken. Keep in mind, we’re not slaying dragons here. But we do indeed need celebrities that go the extra mile to ensure they are above reproach. These ambassadors of the sport will be the ones that don’t have to kill something on film at any cost to make the program worth watching — those are the iconic figures that are worth following. The endearing part about deer hunting is that it’s parlayed on an equal playing field. While some may have distinct advantages derived from the region they hunt, privilege or wealth, the animal is still wild and free ranging, offering opportunity for whomever the bell tolls. Hunting whitetails has been and continues to be a game of predator vs. prey, where the outcome is always questionable and has no guarantees — may it always be so. Let’s leave the “super heroes” to Saturday morning television. We still need the uncertainty. ^ For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute
Vol. 26, No. 3 /
WHITETAIL NEWS 53
Wtn Vol 26.3