Trophy Hunter vs. Deer Hunter

Trophy hunter posing with a nice buck! Many years ago, when I was a boy, I went on my first Muskie fishing trip with a friend. We fished for eight hours and only had one swirl at a top water lure the entire day! After we loaded up the boat and were in the truck, my friend said, “wasn’t that an awesome day!” I looked at him like he was crazy! He went on to say, “wasn’t that a beautiful sunset, did you see the flock of geese land on the water, how about that swirl?” I am a bass fisherman and was used to having action all day. I realized that mentally I was not a Muskie fisherman at the time.

A trophy whitetail hunter is very similar to a Muskie fisherman. They can go day after day without harvesting a deer, be mentally strong and enjoy the entire experience. A deer hunter is similar to a bass fisherman and needs to see deer to be happy. Trophy hunters can hunt each day, even several days without seeing a deer, knowing that at any time that monster buck could walk by. To better your odds of harvesting a trophy whitetail, you must be willing to adapt to the trophy hunter mentality.

I learned this analogy from watching Joe, one of our dedicated whitetail hunters. He could hunt for nine straight days without seeing a shooter buck, but on the tenth day, he would press the reset button like it was day one all over again. He understood that it wasn’t the accumulation of each day, but rather a new day presenting a new opportunity.

Trophy Hunter Vs. Deer Hunter I harvested the biggest buck of my life because of Joe and the trophy hunter mentality. I hunted this deer all season on my family farm, then after three days straight without seeing the buck I was hunting, I came home discouraged and decided to end my hunting season (deer hunter mentality.) A few days passed. I looked out the window around noon and thought of Joe. Positive Joe would say “it’s a buck killing day” and head to the stand. I used this as motivation, gathered my gear and headed to the stand (trophy hunter mentality.) At 1:15, I thought to myself “what am I doing out here this early? I won’t see anything until 30 minutes before dark” (deer hunter mentality.) Then at approximately 1:35, the buck of my dreams was 15 yards away after a hot doe. By 1:40 I had just shot the biggest deer of my life, a 183” main frame 8 with a small 9th point. I may not have been a 100% trophy hunter at the time, but part of me was converting over and it helped me harvest a buck of a lifetime.

Are you a trophy hunter or a deer hunter?


Gary Harpole

Harpole’s Heartland Lodge


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Last Updated: January 20th, 2022

One thought on “Trophy Hunter vs. Deer Hunter

  1. I can set all day just enjoying the wild life around me. But in my mind and a lot of patience I know what ever happens will. And hopefully a buck of a life time will cross my path and I can shoot straight . Great article. See you this fall I know it will be a hunt of a life time for me to.

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