A fellow named Jim stopped by to appraise my property. He looked around at all the bucks, elk, bears and other stuffed critters hanging on the walls and scattered on the floor and grinned. He didn’t say anything, didn’t have to. I knew he was a hunter.
Jim, gray and in his mid-50s, opened up and told me he’d gotten into bowhunting a few years ago. “I like it because it’s fun and exciting, even if you don’t kill anything most days. I’ve shot enough deer in my life. Now just being out in the woods is what I like.”
Jim has arrived as a true hunter. He is at the point where the hunting of a buck is more important than the killing of it. When you get there, all the pressure of “getting your buck” every year goes away, as if a gorilla is lifted off your back. Then you can take a deep breath and enjoy the pink sunrises, the frost glimmering on the grass, the dank smell of a scrape a buck pissed in last night, squirrels scampering near your stand and driving you crazy–all the little things that make being out there so cool.
As you’re enjoying the day and all that feel-good stuff, a stick cracks…an 8-pointer or a fat doe comes in…your heart jumps…you raise rifle or bow and shoot it dead, with a tinge of regret. The predator in you has never left and never will.
The morphing into a made hunter is different for everybody, but it generally occurs sometime in a man’s 30s or 40s. (I don’t know about the female hunters, they’re a whole different animal). Thanks to my dad, who dragged me along more days than any pop can possibly find the time to now, I shot a lot of squirrels, deer and other critters when I was young, so I got the blood thirst out of my system pretty early.
BTW, to all you young guys and newbies who have found our sport later on in life, the killing of a good many animals in the formative years is a good thing and a required part of the transformation.
By the time I turned 35 or so I didn’t really care if I got my deer every year. But I still went hard for a buck in the years after, and still do. It’s why we do what we do.
So what about you? Are you still a killer or a made hunter or somewhere in between?
I NEED YOUR HELP! :) My husband is entered in a Buck Photo Contest through a local radio station and is currently in 2nd place!!! He needs votes… I really would love for him to win this because this deer was his very first deer ever. I think that it would make his first buck that much more AWESOME!!!! Please spread the word! You are allowed to vote every couple of hours until DECEMBER 2nd!
http://www.mykisscountry937.com —enter big buck in search engine on that site and sign up to vote for him PLEASE! His name is James Pottorff
Thank you so very much!
I am with dr bones, love to hunt them, still shoot a few, but I would rather see one of our young hunters or my son or daughter in law get em. We have some grand kids and new hunters in camp now and more to come, great to see them get that first deer.
You are right on cue. It is nice to just be able to get into the woods and “enjoy the show”. Love the fact when somebody asks “How many deer have you killed?”, I can answer “I don’t know. I get more kick out of others getting their deer and seeing the sparkle and excitement in their eyes than shooting one myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still hunt em as much as I can but killing them isn’t the highlight at all any more
Hunter I’ve become and more aptly stated, guide. I find as much enjoyment these days at age 46 helping friends shoot their dream bucks. My transition really occurred when each of my kids took their first bucks. Now, we have a wall full and honestly, I don’t want to keep adding shoulder mounts each year of my own. Still the thrill of killing a 150 plus is what keeps me going. Just three days ago my chance this year slipped away with a 35 yard evasion maneuver Barry Sanders would be proud of, shooting from my knees under a cedar tree.
Wow, love the topic Mike an the replies. Came out of the stand about an hour ago….had a rutted up 4 pt come by (boy was he clueless but beautiful) multiple does, squirrels everywhere, hawk screeching overhead and the ever present aroma of scent killer fresh earth formula. At dark, the big boy in my neck of the woods came out. I could see the antlers glistening in the moonlight. The sounds, the smells, the wildlife and ‘big boy’ eating in the moonlight. He knew I was there….and he knew I wouldn’t shoot. It took a while and a few really nice bucks to get me there but yep, at 44, I am a hunter.
We talk about this topic all the time, and in fact have named another type of person, “the Trigger Man”. A “Hunter” can go sit any stand in the woods and when he see’s a animal he wants to shoot that is too far from his stand, he doesn’t think about moving his stand. The “Killer” works all summer long planting food plots, put up new stands, checking cameras, putting out feed and always looking for a new and (possibly) better place to hunt. And will always be thinking of how to move or not move to out smart the animal for a possible shot. The “Trigger Man” is the guy that has someone do all the “Killer’s Work” for him and sits a stand an shoots the animal when it comes in.
Me, I’m a Killer (however, I never feel that I HAVE to shoot something to be successful, even if I am on a trip away from my home state)
I have often thought of this and thought of expressing it in a poem. So, today that is exactly what I did. I think this explains why I hunt, and also kill.
I Am a Hunter (by Dean Weimer)
I’m a hunter, not a killer;
although I’ve killed.
It’s the chase, the pursuit,
the adrenalin thrills.
It’s primal, medieval;
Human, and pure.
It’s obsessive, chronic;
without a cure.
It’s poetry, science;
peace, and therapy.
It’s necessary, needed;
It’s ingrained, entrenched;
deep seeded, innate.
It’s patience; focus;
While you wait.
It’s natural, organic;
The eating of prey.
Hunting IS killing;
For that I pray.
Although I have killed,
I am a hunter.
I believe I’m somewhere in transition. Being 27, I know I don’t have the experience of a 50 year old, but also know that past generations did not act like me in the woods at 27. I want to watch animals. I want to smell the delicious Autumn hardwoods. I want to close my eyes and listen to every leaf crunch and twig snap. If I shoot something, that’s great. If I don’t, I still have an afternoon spent in one of the best places on earth: the deer woods. And as I write this, a have a decent 2 1/2 year old at 43 yards making a scrape. Life is good.
BD and Curt hit it right in the head in my book. I like Curts comments on watching the woods come alive in the morning. Have told my wife that numerous times. I just love it.
I am 66 and have hunted since my folks would let me and fished a few years more. The last deer I killed was a big fat mature doe I “slipped” up on with my home built .50 TC Hawken. One shot and I had venison for my family and two more folks that truly appreciate it. Like BD, whom I have met, and I think just he does- the greatness is being in the woods, and I have finally been able to hunt in my families home range, you might say for the last few years just a stones throw from BD’s camp. I have been to Montana for a beautiful, but -30 deg. F. hunt that will never be forgotten and different spots, locations bring back memories and then I remember more that have been forgotten in the mist of time. Enjoy it all guys, every trip is a memory maker. Mack
Just 2 nights ago I was sitting in my living room looking at all my trophies. My wife walked in and asked me what I was thinking about. I told her that I was just thinking how blessed I am to have killed so many nice animals at a relatively young age. Not too many 33 year olds have elk, caribou, bear, turkey, mule deer and whitetails hanging on their walls. And then I explained that just by looking at each animal I can remember all of the details of each hunt. The weather, the time, the sounds, the excitement, etc. I told her that yes the trophies on the wall are nice, but it is really the memories of each hunt that is what I cherish the most. I was lucky enough to kill a nice deer on opening day of bow season this year. Legally I could kill another buck. But, instead I have been taking my nephew and the neighbor’s son with me. I have realized just this year, that the killing part of hunting isn’t what I crave. It is just being in the woods with all the sights and sounds, and most of all the memories that are made. I am taking my nephew for youth day tomorrow morning and I think I might be more excited than him.
I believe I became a “Hunter” this year.
Big Daddy is pretty close to my view. Except I love the kill part. I know they go hand in hand. But, why else would we shoot groundhogs, coyotes & the like? Because we like it! I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I love sitting in the cold dark waiting for the sun to rise & the woods to come alive. I have tried to explain that feeling to my family, but they are not killers, so they will never go on a hunt because of the intended outcome. They miss so much by being neither a hunter or a killer! Just my 2 cents!
I am 58 and have been a Hunter and a killer since I was old enough to chase the chickens around with a stick. I hunt because I love doing it. Not like I love my wife and children but I do love it. Killing is part of hunting or else I would be a photographer . But unlike my younger years I do not judge a hunt by kill rack behind camp. Also I NEVER judge an animals worth by the inches of antler he is adorned with. BD