Mike: I saw this quote in your BIO and it intrigued me:

“I am finally at that point in life where the killing of an animal has become secondary to the challenge of hunting it.”

Could you please explain?—Paul

Paul, thanks for the question.

When I was in my teens and 20s, it was it was all about shooting as many deer, squirrels, turkeys, whatever as I could. Stack ‘em up. Legal numbers of course. One thing I have never done, even as a kid, is broken a game law.

I think the “if brown it’s down” mentality, that thirst and hunger to kill deer, is natural for young hunters. And within reason I think it’s important. To keep a youngster or teen interested enough to grow and mature into a lifelong hunter, he or she needs to have success at an early age…shoot and see a buck go down and flop and shake as it dies…walk up, gut it, smell it, get that incredibly hot blood on his or her hands… All a part of learning and feeling what blood sport is all about.

By the time I got into my 30s, especially mid to late 30s, the lust to kill deer and all game waned. By then I had killed a lot of deer and got a lot of blood on my hands. There was no doubt that deep inside I knew what exactly what hunting and killing animals was all about. I still wanted to get my buck every year, and I hunted and tried like hell to do it. But if I didn’t, that was strangely okay.

By the time a true hunter hits 40 and then 50, if he or she is going about it right, the killing of a deer becomes secondary to the challenge and experience of being out in the woods and looking for it and trying to trick it. At least that is the way I think it ought to be.

That final stage in a hunter’s life comes as he or she turns 60 and then 70, when studies show that most Baby Boomers have had enough of both the hunting and the killing, and so they hang it up.

From there, I suppose it’s all about memories…the chill of a still morning before sunrise…the reds and golds of an October wood…the way you flinch at the first sight of hide or antler…the elation and then sadness when you shoot it and kill it…the incredible smell and heat of a deer when you open it up and the deep, red blood pours out over your hands.

No matter how old you are, you get it, right?