One time I guided a young man named Jimmy who made a fine shot a nice buck. As the deer wobbled and pitched over dead, he looked at me and started hollering and shaking his fist, “He’s down, he’s down…!”
Yes, I can see that.
As we walked up to the deer, Jimmy strutted round and round, pumping his fist and screaming, “Yeah, yeah, hell yeah!” Like he was performing an end zone dance in a football game. I thought he might spike his rifle any minute.
Okay, now that is enough. I took the gun from Jimmy and double checked that it was unloaded.
Jimmy is a good “kid,” 20 something, but he had watched too many hunting shows and videos. He was emulating “celebrities” he’d seen shoot a buck and then jump up and down and laugh and shout and fist pump like they just scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Celebrity or average Joe, strutting around and hollering over a dead animal is not a good look for any hunter, and does not portray our blood sport in a positive way.
When you shoot the life out of a deer, calm down and show some respect. You are excited and happy, I get that, and you should be. But no need to throw a celebration. No need to bark, “He’s down!” like some hunters still do on TV, though I cannot imagine why. You didn’t just slay the giant you killed a deer. Show respect!
What you should do is walk to your buck and look him over. What a magnificent animal! Kneel and smooth his still warm coat; wrap your hands around those wonderful antlers. Smile. If you feel a tinge of sadness, maybe even feel a tear well up, that is okay. That is the ultimate respect and how hunting is supposed to feel.