by Jon Draper - Monday, June 6, 2016
Gary met up with some good hunting buddies in October, converging on their usual spot deep in Idaho’s wilderness for their annual mule deer hunt. Like in years past, the season lived up to all of the anticipation and rewarded their extensive preparation. They all tagged great bucks, saw amazing scenery and made lifelong memories. Topping it off, the guys all passed on this old fella, allowing Gary to make a clean 810-yard shot with a .338 Edge firing a Cutting Edge bullet. The 7x8 non-typical giant is Gary’s biggest buck to date.
Your photos provide not simply a review of your accomplishments and endeavors over the past year, but a revealing snapshot of a nation full of dedicated American Hunters. Trends emerge, be it in the game pursued or the hunters pursuing it, and the staff here welcomes both the insight and the stories that come with your images.
We received more than 200 entries this year, showcasing squirrels to sable, taken in the back 40 to the backcountry, bagged by youngsters to veterans of the field. The trend that unfolded is not one of monster whitetails or female hunters, though both categories continued to grow. Judging by last season’s photos, it seems readers hunted a larger variety of game than we’ve ever seen in a Members’ Best collection. That means you’re winning.
Despite efforts by those who don’t agree with your pursuits—the despicable social-network slams laid upon hunters undeserving of such hatred, blatant lies and uninformed misconceptions surrounding your contributions as hunters to the most successful wildlife conservation programs the world has ever seen—you are still finding time to travel, to spend with loved ones, to experience adventure and peace in the wild. You are unwavering in your passion, and you are hunting more now than ever. That’s a trend well worth celebrating.
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