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?
I guess I don’t watch enough TV shows to let these bother me. I don’t see anything wrong with “hit list” bucks. Most guys have them wether you want to call it hit list or not. Also when you shoot a buck and watch him go down then “he’s down” right ? I don’t really care what people decide to say I guess, to each their own. If it bothers you than maybe you watch to much TV.
Thanks, Mike, for discussing this. I can attest to ur TV rules/actions we know. There is truly so much garbage out there, it’s nice to know someone is thinking about what our next generation is seeing by leading by example- how about “that’s what I’m talking about” and “stick/stuck him”, “monster” Eric. Thanks
If we as hunters have nothing better to do than run down how our fellow hunters talk or how we do or do not celebrate taking an animal then we are no better than the bullies in school. And that is all I have to say about that!
“Not the deer I was looking for”, whispering after an obvious killing shot, & “Mature”.
How many times do shows “Let him have time overnight” when the deer was heart or lung shot. Then they find them 30-40 yds from the spot it was shot-eaten by coyotes.
What is a mature buck? In school, a mature animal is one able to reproduce, and in many habitats, a deer of the year(either sex) can mate and produce offspring. I’d like another more applicable term, age class, the “big one on camera…..
Also, there is as much “genetic potential” in a 2 year old bucks sperm as in the same deer at 5 1/2 and I hear let him grow to enhance his reproductive potential.(other factors excluded) often. Sorry I got on a roll. Shoot straight and spring is coming.
An excellent post, Mike. It re-affirms why Big Deer TV is my favorite hunting show (and the only one I watch and record no matter if it is a new episode or a repeat). and your blog the only one I follow. A great topic, and it sure has generated a lot of comments.
Your final phrase is perhaps the one which hits home the hardest. Hunting should be about the connection with the land, the wildlife, the tradition, spending “quality” time (another overused word perhaps?) with family and friends, being a good steward of the resources we are blessed to have the privilege to enjoy.
Thank you for your focus on doing things the right way.
I dont mind Hitlist amongst friends at camp, in fact I have one. We are a group of 6 managing 750acres and “hitlist” is a perfectly acceptable way for us to discuss which bucks need to be culled, taken, or passed on.
Hunting shows are good! Not all the “professional hunters and TV personalities” are though,. Certainly the “pros” on TV the ones with exposure to the public need to be aware of what they film and put on their shows as the Liberal freaks and tree huggers are watching too… Nothing wrong with my brother and friends to share a hitlist on our private farm and disucss it. at least in my opinion.
Teaching and preaching safety, educating our youth is something I believe should be expressed more from our “tv personalities and professional hunters”
I just try to respect the animal and hunt. I hunt alone and don’t watch shows anymore, so I don’t have to listen to the stupid phrases and names and hit lists. Different strokes for different folks, though.
^ Hahaha That’s such a good point Ian. And with technology these days I can pause the shot and play it forward in super slow motion to see exactly where the hunter hit the deer. Double lunged him is often a liver shot but the pros would never say “I hit him exactly where I was aiming for the liver”.Lol Good post Mike.
What annoys me the most on outdoor TV are guys that make an awful terrible shot and say that smoked, torched drilled , nailed or otherwise hit him perfect when in fact they did not.
I’ve grown up with all the young hunters guilty of these sayings. I’ve said a few myself now and again. They all want to be like the pros but none of them put in the effort. It applies to all parts of their lives. The entitlement of my generation is sickening.
Between the stupid phrases, the ridiculous face paint, the “hit lists” and the phrase “he needs another year” (hearing that makes me want to vomit), I finally reached my limit…….
Not only do I not watch shows like this, I do my best to not purchase any sponsors products as I don’t want to be associated in any way with this garbage.
Well stated Mike! Way too often I’ll be witness to a bunch of 20-30 year old archers clad in the latest camo designs shooting the latest rage in equipment acting as though they are the true authority in the sport. Spouting off about hit lists, etc. as if they would not degrade themselves to kill a 100″ buck. Funny how that changes once the season is in for a week or two. Then it is perfectly OK for “if it’s brown it’s down” mentality.
Dave on Twitter sent 3 more overused terms: “hanging sets,” “smoked him” and “prostaff”; we actually had “smoked him” in our original list