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SCOTT RALL COLUMN: Beauty is in the eye of the deer holder

WORTHINGTON -- So what does the most beautiful woman in the world look like?

I certainly can't tell you. The definition of most beautiful is different depending on which guy you ask. Some guys love blondes and some love brunettes. Others yet think redheads are the most beautiful.

So in the end, who is right?

They are all right from their own perspective.

The Beach Boys said you had to be a California girl to make it on their list. I don't know any California girls. My wife is a redhead with blond low lights. I know I like that the very best. I didn't even know you could have low lights.

Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes and all are beautiful. So what does this have to do with the outdoors? Just like a beautiful woman is in the eye of the beholder, what constitutes a really nice deer is also in the eye of the beholder.

What is the definition of a trophy deer?

Those who have hunted deer for decades will most likely tell you that a true trophy has antlers that measure a certain minimum size. They will have to be typical (very uniform) or non-typical (horns that go in every which direction) in order to be considered a trophy. Which side of this camp you are in will be decided by the impressions and experiences of the individual hunter.

Some hunters will say the exact same deer taken by bow hunting is a better trophy than the same one taken with a firearm or muzzle loader. A trophy deer in Minnesota might be an "also ran" in Canada.

In horse racing, the top three spots are win, place and show and every other horse in the race is referred to as an "also ran." So, where the deer is taken can have an effect on whether it is a trophy or not. A big deer taken in a state with many big deer is not as impressive as a big deer taken in southwest Minnesota, where they are very few and far between.

Did the deer have a really big body? Big-bodied deer are considered better than the same antler size with less body mass. This comparison of deer characteristics could go on forever when considering every aspect of a deer.

What I want you to consider for a moment is this:

Do you think, when you see a 12-year-old in a picture with his or her very first deer, that he or she believes their deer is not a trophy? Every deer is a trophy depending on who harvested it and under what conditions it was taken. I am more grateful for the success of a young hunter with an "also ran" deer than I am with the big shots who hunt in 40 states and can't remember how many deer they have even shot.

It matters very little if the antlers are big or small and in many cases whether it has antlers at all. What does matter is if you are out in the field and not at home on the couch.

Most of my deer hunting efforts are helping to get new hunters into their first deer picture. Mentoring a new deer hunter is much like the commercial where the guy on TV does something really clumsy and the announcer comes on and says "a foster child doesn't care if you are the best foster parent in the world, they just care that you are a foster parent."

I am sure any kid you take hunting will think the same way. There are far better deer hunters in my state than me. In fact, almost all of them are better than me. It is another outdoor pursuit I enjoy. The discussion of whether this deer or that deer is a trophy or not, or why aren't there more trophy deer around, all seems a little off track to me.

The discussion should center more on the joy of hunting and less on the size of deer hunted. I would like to see more deer in certain areas and less in others, but overall we need more opportunities for new and novice hunters. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing big deer, but southwest Minnesota is never going to be the big deer hot spot in our state.

What we can offer in this area is a quality deer hunt, public land hunting opportunities, cooperative private landowners and an adult deer hunting population that appreciates the resource and helps others get a foothold on this great lifelong outdoor passion.

I once was involved in helping Les Johnson help a 90-plus-year-old guy harvest a deer. I think he was the oldest deer hunter in the state at the time.

The smile on this guy's face will a yearling buck could rival that of any 12-year-old anytime. These times are what deer hunting is all about. Planning the hunt, anticipating the hunt, experiencing the hunt and retelling the stories of the hunt are all as good at the actual hunt.

The firearms season started last Saturday and multiple seasons continue for the next several weeks. Have a successful and safe hunt and at the end of the day remember that every deer is a trophy if you look through the broad picture lenses of a true sportsman/sportswoman.

Scott Rall is the Daily Globe's outdoors columnist. His column can also be read weekly at