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Trophy Lost: A Cautionary Tale

By Josh Quick

Josh QuickA friend and I were deer hunting on public land on opening weekend of the 2007 Missouri firearms season. We did not see much on the first day, so we decided to move to a different area, one we hadn’t hunted before.

Entering the area before daylight the next morning, we heard and saw deer moving. We came upon a lake and decided to set up there. I decided to hunt on the east side, and my friend went to southern end of the lake. 

At approximately 7:10 a.m., I spotted one of the largest deer I have ever seen while hunting. I decided to take it, and pulled the trigger. I was fairly confident it was a good shot. The deer sprinted into the woods in the direction of my friend.

I sat until 9:00 a.m. and decided to walk to where my friend was sitting. He had not seen the buck. We returned to the area where the deer been at the shot. Along the way, I spotted the buck’s antlers sticking up off the ground.

I was ecstatic. The 11-point buck is the largest deer I have harvested in many years of archery and firearms hunting.

After loading the deer into the truck, checking it in by phone and grabbing lunch, we decided to return to the woods to hunt for the evening. We were hunting a large area, and decided to try another entrance. It required driving a mile down an abandoned railroad track.

We left the truck at about 2:00 p.m. to return to hunting. Soon, I harvested a doe, and my friend took a button buck.

After we dressed our deer, we made our way back to the truck rejoicing about what a good day it had been, as this was my buddy’s first deer and my first trophy.

When we reached the truck, we were shocked to see that someone had cut off the antlers of my buck at the base of each antler.

I feel lucky to have gotten one picture of the deer in the field. I thought everyone would be able to see the trophy on the wall of my home.

In hindsight, I should have taken an “after” picture of the deer and contacted the local conservation agent. But at the time, I was so disgusted, I did not think there was anything they could do.

I do not share this story for sympathy, but to make other sportsman aware that there are heartless individuals who will deface another hunter’s trophy.

In the future, if I am rewarded with another trophy, I will be sure it does not leave my sight until it reaches the taxidermist.

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