Let's say you're a treestand hunter. You like to settle in, get comfortable, do some glassing, listen to geese honk by overhead, watch the squirrels play in the tree next door, listen to the chickadee chatter, and watch the leaves trickle down to the forest floor atop the crisp autumn air. You like to do it your way. You make them to come to you. It's how you've always done it and always imagined it would happen... the day you look up the trail and see that trophy slowly heading your way with his head low due to the weight of that massive rack, stopping periodically to freshen a scrape just to remind all the locals whose house it really is. You've got your shooting lanes cleared and with an eagle's nest point of view can see for miles in all directions. You have the advantage. It's your favorite tree. It's the perfect setup. You're in your element.
Now lets say you've heard others speak of spot and stalk hunting but you've never understood the appeal. What enjoyment would someone get from crawling around on the ground through the weeds and stickers on your hands and knees hoping first to get close enough, and secondly that you have a clear shot at the animal. No thanks you think to yourself. Not my style. Not to mention, all the money you spent on that new treestand and hunter safety system. And of course all the time you spent trimming out shooting lanes. No, you reassure yourself. I am no spot and stalk hunter. I'm a through and through treestand hunter. It's what I like. It's what I do. It's who I am you proudly tell yourself.
So while sitting in your favorite tree one day you look over to your left and the smallest of movement catches your attention. Not sure what it is, you bring your binos up and upon adjusting the fine focus you are so taken back by what you see your heartrate suddenly jumps as though you just finished running a marathon and the adrenaline coursing through your veins has you shaking like a leaf on a twig. Without even realizing you're speaking and as you're gasping for air you hear yourself mutter "There he is".."There he is"... and suddenly as you get your bearings you realize that lying out in the field is THE trophy buck. The same one you've sat in your stand and pictured coming down that trail hundreds of times. The sequence of events that have played out in your imagination over and over again. And there he is, lying out in the field.
As you continue glassing this magnificent trophy you happen to notice what appears to be a small strip of fireweed approximately 20 yds away from the buck. It looks almost as though the fireweeds are just high enough that with the buck bedded down you could sneak to within 20 yds of the magnificent beast with only his rack sticking above the fireweeds. You're becoming fairly confident that you could in fact stand a real good chance of sneaking to within 20 yds and getting a shot once the beast decided to stand up. The wind is right. The evening sun is still plenty high enough above the horizon. What do you do?? It's the buck that haunts your dreams but you never dreamed about taking him this way. Not off the ground. It's just not the way you have planned and rehearsed it. All the time spent trimming shooting lanes and all the money spent on treestands and climbing equipment.
But on the other hand, you've hunted this tree for years and only dreamed about the buck that's now lying out in the field in front of you. What do you do? You've always said you just enjoy being out here and doing it your way.The hunt has always been just as important to you as the kill. You've always dreamed of shooting this buck from the stand, but never from the ground. If you crawl down and successfully stalk and kill this buck is it going have the same meaning? Are you going to be satisfied with the hunt? With the execution? This definitely isn't the way you planned it. You've never been a spot and stalk hunter. Will the thrill of the kill be overshadowed by the circumstances? Will you be dissapointed that it didn't play out the way you had envisioned it time and time again? Will you regret not waiting it out? Or are you so trophy hungry that all that matters at this point is putting a trophy on the ground, reagardless of how it's done..
So what would you do in this situation??? Is it about the richness of the hunt, or just the trophy on the wall?