In deer camp hunters blow a lot of smoke and talk a lot of smack, much of it not appropriate for mixed company. That’s okay, it’s camp. But some words and phrases are not okay, anytime, anywhere, not in any hunting camp or situation. Act and talk like you’ve been there, which means avoiding these overused and annoying words and phrases.
Hit list: This term originated in the Midwest and can be traced back more than a decade to the boom of trail-camera usage. Hunters review hundreds and thousands of cam images of deer and begin to assemble a “hit list” of bucks they’d shoot if given the chance later in the season….That big 10 is on the hit list… Well, we are hunters, not hired guns or assassins. Thankfully, I have noticed a discernible decrease in the use of this term on TV and social media recently.
Assassin: Some hunters, relatively few I hope, refer to themselves online as whitetail “assassins” or “snipers.” This might seem fun and innocent, but imagine a non-hunter is surfing the web or tagged in a Facebook post and “deer assassin” pops up. It is not a stretch for this person to think, “Do these guys go out and shoot deer in cold blood or what?” We don’t, but terms like assassin give the wrong impression to people who choose not to hunt. Plus, the people I know who do choose to hunt do not consider themselves assassins. And pet peeve, we don’t “snipe” deer; we shoot them with a rifle.
Rage in the cage: This was a cleaver phrase when it became popular several years ago when the Rage cornered the broadhead market: I put a Rage in the (rib) cage and the buck didn’t go far. This phrase is not derogatory in any way, and it’s still cute, though tired and so yesterday. If you say “rage in the cage” today you’ll sound like a rookie.
He’s down!: If I hear another hunter scream this after he shoots a buck on TV I’m going to scream. I have 2 rules for people who hunt on my TV show: 1) shoot any buck that makes you happy; and 2) do not, I repeat do not, watch him run off and then look into the camera and yell, “He’s down.” I don’t think this term is so derogatory as it is overused. And curiously, it is reflexive for many people who hunt on TV. When a friend or acquaintance of mine goes out with one of our cameramen he knows my rules, but more than half the time when I review the footage, I hear him holler, “He’s down, he’s down…” as the buck runs off and falls. It just seems to pop out in the heat of the moment, or maybe he’s heard it so many times on TV that he just subconsciously blurts it. Whatever, we try to edit it out.
He needs another year: This phrase was made popular by TV people who hunt prime, well-managed farms and ranches with a good number of mature bucks running around. What miffs many viewers is when they see a guy pass on a 4- or 5-year-old 150- or 160-class buck and then whisper nonchalantly, “He needs another year…” The majority of hunters who watch these shows will never get the chance to hunt a private farm like that, and they would damn sure never pass a 150-inch buck in hopes he’ll live another year and put on 15 more inches of antler. There is nothing wrong with passing a 2- or 3-year-old buck, but I try to say something like, “He’s a little young, or he’ll be bigger next year…” With a buck 4 years old or older and pushing 150, I never worry about saying anything because I am too busy trying to kill him.
Do any other overused or inappropriate phrases annoy you?