About the Post

Author Information

TJ Nagel has been involved in the outdoors his entire life. Hunting and fishing at every opportunity!

Trophy Animals… In Their Natural Beauty

how do you determine what is a trophy, how could I not imortalize any of theseEnough-maybe…

I was recently involved in a deep conversation with my son, you know the important things like how many hours can one teenager spend playing PS3 or Xbox, and when was the last time he actually read a book or tried to learn something that would increase his knowledge- of well… anything? All while I was rearranging deer heads, turkey mounts, fish, pheasants and every other type of animal you could imagine in my “trophy room”, when he hit me with the question; “ Dad how many of those things are you going to mount before enough is enough????”

coveted slam shot with archery, all taken in 2006I hadn’t thought about it I guess, but I stopped and looked at the walls, corners, tables, desks basically every nook and cranny and you know what, I might have to admit to being an addict. Are there any 12 step programs available for hunters that love the sport so much that they have forever immortalized their prey for all to see? Well if there is one, I think I could qualify for a charter member of the group.

Including this falls deer that I just received back from the taxidermist, a fine 148” 10 pointer, my collection now includes 17 shoulder mount deer (all 130”or better), 6 full mount turkeys (my first bow kill slam and two other multiple beard toms) a Russian boar, 2 bear, five fish, several pheasants and other game birds, a slew of European skull mounts and dozens of turkey fans and beards and this does not include others that are spread out at my father’s house and on display elsewhere. Please understand that I don’t give this list to brag per say, but to merely point out how extensive my addiction actually is!! And let’s not even discuss the total cost!!!! I know my first house cost less than what I now have in my collection!russian boar

So my question is, where or what should be the break off point? As I first started hunting my requirement was it had to be larger than any deer I had previously taken by bow only, and to date I still have never mounted any deer or turkey that wasn’t taken by archery only!! Not that I don’t hunt with shotgun, muzzleloader or rifle, I just haven’t ever mounted any of the animals taken with guns yet. Not that I haven’t taken some nice animals with guns, I’ve taken a couple deer up to 150”, and a bunch in the 140”s that I’ve put into skull mounts, not full shoulder mounts.

DSC_0160I now look at each animal and the story it tellswhen I decide to mount it or not. Every time I look at each of them I can recount every detail down to the temperature and equipment used to harvest each and every one! No two are ever alike, some are great tails of trials and tribulations to finally score, others are first time luck of the hunt deer that I didn’t even know existed until the arrow was on its way. I’m not going to lie, it’s a great thrill to show them off and recount every one, just ask me, or not I’ll tell you anyway if your there.

I could put a limit on score alone, but is that fair??? I’m blessed to live in Iowa and have the opportunity to see my share of P&Y and maybe a Booner or two each year, but what about that 7 day hunt in Minnesota, Wisconsin or maybe Missouri on public land that has intense pressure? Is it not a huge victory to harvest a 130” hard earned trophy?

So this brings me back to my son and our conversation. I told him” I agree, we may have to look at the holding capacity of the room,” as we may be entering the gaudy side of the decorating world. So I made a promise to him. No more animals on the walls, or tables, desks pedestals or so on. Does that mean I have reached enough, or I have decided upon some secret formula as to determining a cut off size for mounting? Heavens no!!! I said no more, but I never said any less either. We may have to look at culling some of the mounts, OR maybe just maybe I need to build a new game room!  DSC_0161

We all have our weak points, our vices. For some it’s going and hanging out at the bar, or restoring an old classic car, maybe its assembling model railroads or photography to have an image that will stay with you forever, Maybe its shoes for your wife, or jewelry.  For me, its trophy animals, forever fixed in their natural beauty! So when is enough- enough?? Maybe never!! Feel free to share your pictures and your thoughts of how you decide to mount a trophy or not.  For me, I can’t wait until I get to make the decision again after that next great trophy.



Comments are closed.