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Mar 25th, 2012
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"The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? #6902606
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I read a lot about the driving forces behind hunting, the philosophy of hunting, the ethics of hunting, etc. One mantra that is repeated so often it's almost universally accepted gospel is the "Evolution of a Hunter" or "The 5 Stages of a Hunter", to wit: that hunters progress through 5 various "stages" (shooter, limiting out, trophy, method, and "sportsman") over their lives. I have accepted it as fact without really thinking about it too much.

Upon reflection, I question it. I agree with the first 4 "stages" in general - but not necessarily the last one. The "sportsman" has supposedly "progessed" beyond the need/desire to kill an animal.

Let me explain further: I hear some guys talk about missing an opportunity at a great animal they really wanted to kill by saying it wasn't really important at the end of the day. Phrases like "Well, it was just a privilege to see him" or "The experience alone to be in his presence was worth it", etc., etc.
Also many say that trips/seasons where they don't take an animal are "just as successful as if they had taken a trophy", "the trophy is the experience", etc.
I have even said these things myself as recently as a month ago without much reflection. In fact, I have always felt a little "guilty" that, while I say these things, I don't really feel that way deep down. Trying to "wish" myself to the "sportsman" stage, as it were.

Here's the truth for me: If I miss an opportunity at a great animal or take a long hunting trip without taking an animal I am after - I am disappointed. Bummed. Depressed. Sure, I love and enjoy the outdoors, the country, the experience, the time with family - all of that. And I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. But I still burn with disappointment at some opportunities lost on big animals and trips that were a bust. Especially if some or all of the fault was mine.

I am a hunter. I am hunting. Since the dawn of time, the object of hunting is to kill the animal sought. Period. Otherwise, it's camping or a nature walk. (Caveat: I'm ecstatic if anyone in my family takes an animal even moreso than me. But that's another subject I think.)

So, I'm not sure stage 5 is really a stage of a "hunter" - but perhaps a stage of becoming less of a hunter and becoming something else - maybe even something more passive/less intense like simply a nature lover. In other words, maybe it's BS.

Or, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it really is the pinnacle of a hunter's evolution and I will just never reach it. IDK.

Any thoughts from you guys?


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902612
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I think a lot of it boils down to some form of political correctness that people have conditioned themselves to think

It is a blessing to be able to experience the things we as hunters experience. But at the end of the day people don't want to admit to their selfishness of the desire to kill an animal

I'll admit it. I like to hunt and I like to kill whatever I'm pursuing. I get disappointed if I don't get my quarry


Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902620
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not seeing, not getting a shot, DOES not depress me in the least, always next time.


hold on Newt, we got a runaway
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902621
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When I first started hunting all I wanted was a deer. Didn't matter if it was a buck or doe as long as it was a deer. A kill meant success to me back then.

Few years later it had to be a good buck or it wasn't a success.

About 12 years ago it became more about killing a mature buck and less about what was on their head for me. Out smarting a mature buck meant more to me than a nice rack on their head. I would pass on nicer young bucks just to kill a smaller mature buck.

This year I am at a cross roads. I have a buck on camera that is 14 years old and for our area he is a respectable deer. I have learned enough about him over the last 3 years that I really feel like I could put him on the ground this year if I wanted to. The problem is I aint sure I really want to. He is mature and he is a good buck, but my history with him is so deep I think I would feel bad about taking him down. I don't know what category that puts me in but that's where I am at with my hunting.

Its no longer about the kill, the rack, or how old a buck is for me anymore. There has to be something else but I haven't figured it out yet.

Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: colt45] #6902625
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Originally Posted By: colt45
not seeing, not getting a shot, DOES not depress me in the least, always next time.


That doesn't bother me either - especially deer hunting. But missing an opportunity at an animal I am after or taking a specific trip and not taking an animal does. Maybe because in those cases there may not be a next time?

I still think about certain big deer I was after and either never saw hunting or flubbed an opportunity on. And certain trips I went a long way for and came home empty handed (most I even saw game but not the type animal I was looking for).

Anyway, just ruminating.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: JCB] #6902626
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Originally Posted By: JCB
When I first started hunting all I wanted was a deer. Didn't matter if it was a buck or doe as long as it was a deer. A kill meant success to me back then.

Few years later it had to be a good buck or it wasn't a success.

About 12 years ago it became more about killing a mature buck and less about what was on their head for me. Out smarting a mature buck meant more to me than a nice rack on their head. I would pass on nicer young bucks just to kill a smaller mature buck.

This year I am at a cross roads. I have a buck on camera that is 14 years old and for our area he is a respectable deer. I have learned enough about him over the last 3 years that I really feel like I could put him on the ground this year if I wanted to. The problem is I aint sure I really want to. He is mature and he is a good buck, but my history with him is so deep I think I would feel bad about taking him down. I don't know what category that puts me in but that's where I am at with my hunting.

Its no longer about the kill, the rack, or how old a buck is for me anymore. There has to be something else but I haven't figured it out yet.



Maybe you are entering Stage 5. Here's the deeper question: if you don't desire to kill an animal anymore - are you still "hunting"? IDK. My Dad had quit killing deer when he was the age I am now.

Is that progression? Regression? Neither? Again, IDK. Probably just in the eye of the beholder and what makes each person happy.....


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902644
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
Upon reflection, I question it. I agree with the first 4 "stages" in general - but not necessarily the last one. The "sportsman" has supposedly "progessed" beyond the need/desire to kill an animal.


"I don't hunt to kill but kill to have hunted." Aldo Leopold

The true sportsman places greater value on the challenge than the reward. They are often completely content leaving the woods empty handed after having fully enjoyed the experience.



Dan,

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Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Texas Dan] #6902667
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
Upon reflection, I question it. I agree with the first 4 "stages" in general - but not necessarily the last one. The "sportsman" has supposedly "progessed" beyond the need/desire to kill an animal.


"I don't hunt to kill but kill to have hunted." Aldo Leopold

The true sportsman places greater value on the challenge than the reward. They are often completely content leaving the woods empty handed after having fully enjoyed the experience.



That's the mantra alright.
Maybe I'm not there yet.
But an indispensable part of hunting is killing. Hunting came from the need and desire to kill.

Let's try an analogy:
You love a woman. You desire her.
Is seeking her ultimately enough? Being in her presence? Enjoying her company?
Or is more necessary to truly fulfill one's desire?

Hmmm.....


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902680
09/28/17 11:43 PM
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I'm 65. I've killed deer every year consecutive since I was 22 or so, and a couple before then. I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't kill one at least, because I'm also a carnivore. I've been through all those early stages, probably have killed between 100-150. But I am truly at the stage of loving to stay in camp with a radio, sons in the blinds, meat on the fire, and a nice stool to sit on. My sweet spot these days.


"It's not dyin' I'm talkin' about Woodrow, it's livin'!"
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902694
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie


Maybe you are entering Stage 5. Here's the deeper question: if you don't desire to kill an animal anymore - are you still "hunting"?


The desire to kill an animal is still there, I have just gotten soft on killing certain animals.

I use to kill every hog I see but now days I let probably 30% of them walk away. Only certain ones appeal to me now days.

Same with Foxes. I use to kill every one I see. I probably have seen 50 in the last 8 years and haven't killed any of them.

Last year I climbed up in my tower stand and came face to face with a Ring Tail Cat. My first instinct was to grab my pistol off my hip and shoot him since I had never seen one in my life and it would make a cool mount. Instead I grabbed my IPhone and videoed it at a distance of less than 2'. It was as calm as it could be. Certainly not the man eater I hear about on these internet forums. LOL

I am sure I will kill a deer this year just like dang near every year for the last 20 years. I just aint sure what it is I am looking for to make me want to kill one anymore though. I honestly have more fun taking pictures and video and sharing it with other people that pulling the trigger. Unfortunately pictures and video don't taste good on the grill though.

Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902725
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Working on mldp properties I have killed 250+ deer in the past 10 years. At first I considered it hunting but then it slowly progressed into just killing and hitting the required numbers. The meat did not go to waste and I provided many families with meat that sure needed and appreciated it but my desire to deer hunt had faded. I still enjoyed hog hunting with my dogs, quail hunting and dove hunting with friends and family but last year I did not even go deer hunting instead I had others shoot deer and put that into my freezer. I enjoyed being a butcher and a cook but the desire to kill a deer had vanished.

Earlier this year a friend of mine gave me a bow and I have been practicing with it all summer. This year I have decided to only bow hunt. Also as part of this I have decided to not sit at any feeders but to instead hunt scrapes and trails. Antlers do not matter to me ( or so I like to believe) but instead will be focusing on just hunting mature bucks and does for the main reason of putting meat in the freezer for my family. Now I can't wait until Sunday to go out and put into use this new skill I have acquired.

I don't know where this puts me in the range of hunters and I don't really care. I am just happy the excitement is back. It's a part of my being I have really missed. I think a lot of these labels are politically correct ideas we put on ourselves in an attempt to make non hunters possibly think more of us and to possibly justify some of the bloodthirstiness we felt as younger men. I believe the fact is humans have differing levels of prey drive similar to what we see in different breeds of dogs and that the prey drive can fluctuate at different times of our lives. We are predators but our personalities are not static throughout our lives but different events and experiences change us and mold us throughout. Don't put too much thought into what others may say we need to experience to evolve into but instead focus on what truly makes you happy and the blood surge through your veins in excitement.

If you can go out into the brush and just sit and observe and enjoy nature that is great. I enjoy doing that and am lucky I work and live in an area where I can do that easily. But if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the chase, the shot and the reward of success or the bittersweetness of failure do not let anybody try to tell you that you must evolve past that. It may or may not happen. And if it does it needs to be on your terms.

Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902758
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I met an older gentleman many years ago that was a hunter like I had never seen. He was very well to do and had trophies of all the North American animals that you think of wanting a trophy from, and several of each. We crossed paths again about a year ago. He said "I just am not mad at the animals anymore." His desire to kill had changed with age and he was happy for someone else to do the killing, and just send some meat his way.
It may be that there is a stage after "sportsman" that you become satisfied with the road you have traveled and are happy to not go down that path anymore. You are still a hunter, it is just done through those that you have mentored along the way. Your children, grandchildren, and friends.
I am more that way every year. If there is a big deer to kill, I would be disappointed if I killed it. I would be elated to have my daughter or friend's kid hunt it.



"Man is still a hunter, still a simple searcher after meat..." Robert C. Ruark
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902771
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I definitely want to make the kill and would be disappointed if I didn't. I love when friends and family get a kill, but that doesn't change my desire for the kill at all



Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902777
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Not wanting to kill deer anymore or not being as mad at them doesn't mean one does not enjoy hunting anymore it just means you don't want to hunt deer as much as you used to.

A few years ago I was very into dove hunting. I shot so many whitetail with a rifle from a blind it held very little excitement for me anymore, so I focused my energy on doves and had a blast. Then I started back up bowhunting again and I only dove hunted a few times the past two years...and I don't miss it.

Rifle hunting holds little appeal to me but I'm very much into hunting sheep and mule deer. I love chasing them.


Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902791
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I posted recently about my our new hunting property my wife and I purchased. I'm 63 years ol and have not hunted since 1994. I have a trophy white tail I killed in 1987. Most of the time I hunted for meat. I hunted with my sons and was there when they killed their first deer.

Now I have daughters-in-law, grandsons and a granddaughter. My old st grandson and his mother are taking their hunter safety courses to get their licenses.

I'm doing this so that I can pass along something of value for my family. Yes, my wife and I will hunt and harvest, but if I don't kill anything, as little my as my sons, their wives, and my grandchildren learn all that goes into hunting and respecting the gifts God gave us and make memories for me and my wife it will be worth the effort.

Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902824
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
Let's try an analogy:
You love a woman. You desire her.
Is seeking her ultimately enough? Being in her presence? Enjoying her company?
Or is more necessary to truly fulfill one's desire?

Hmmm.....


No question there are guys who see women in that exact way. Get one to join you in the sac, then on to the next one. Then there are others who are more relationship driven, who just enjoy the company of the opposite sex. If it leads up to something, that's even better. But if it doesn't, it beat the heck out of spending an evening alone.

In much the same way, I enjoy being in the woods. If I get lucky, all the better. If not, it's never time wasted.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 09/29/17 02:36 AM.

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Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Texas Dan] #6902826
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
Let's try an analogy:
You love a woman. You desire her.
Is seeking her ultimately enough? Being in her presence? Enjoying her company?
Or is more necessary to truly fulfill one's desire?

Hmmm.....


No question there are guy who see women in that exact way. Get one to join you in the sac, then on to the next one."


I didn't say a single word about the "sack". I was actually thinking about a relationship and/or marriage.

So take your "holier than thou" act somewhere else.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902829
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
So take your "holier than thou" act somewhere else.


That wasn't my intention. I just took a position and ran with it.

But if the shoe fits, feel free to lace that bitch up and wear it.


Dan,

Spring, Texas
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Texas Dan] #6902845
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
So take your "holier than thou" act somewhere else.


That wasn't my intention. I just took a position and ran with it.

But if the shoe fits, feel free to lace that bitch up and wear it.


Whatever, Dan.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Simple Searcher] #6902847
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I don't mind nature watching, while waiting on something that I'm holding out for, but my patience wears thin at times.

Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902875
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I hunt certain deer and/or certain sized deer. I don't mind passing and don't kill one just to kill one anymore. Most seasons I don't. But I am focused on wanting to take a big deer every season.

And I sure don't like coming home from an out of state/country hunt empty handed.

I guess my point is I'm hunting, and, to me, hunting has the inherent goal of taking an animal that one seeks. And I kinda like it that way. The disappointments suck, but (as with all things in life) they make the successes all the more sweet.

Bottom line: I'm not sure I even want to move to "stage 5".


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902882
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I guess hunters fall into the same categories as people involved in other sports


Some want trophies. Some are happy with participation awards


Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6902920
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Nogales, people peak out at various stages and that's as far as they get. Others run the gamut and continue to evolve. For me it has evolved to conservation efforts that other sportsmen and game animals hopefully benefit from. I've put enough stuff on the ground, and had a heck of a time, but there is not much to prove to myself anymore. Now I get a bigger kick out of trying to put something back for the next generation. In that respect, Teddy Roosevelt was an inspiring sportsman.


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Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: Smokey Bear] #6902951
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Originally Posted By: Smokey Bear
Nogales, people peak out at various stages and that's as far as they get. Others run the gamut and continue to evolve. For me it has evolved to conservation efforts that other sportsmen and game animals hopefully benefit from. I've put enough stuff on the ground, and had a heck of a time, but there is not much to prove to myself anymore. Now I get a bigger kick out of trying to put something back for the next generation. In that respect, Teddy Roosevelt was an inspiring sportsman.


As one guy put it, "I just don't hate them anymore."


Dan,

Spring, Texas
Re: "The Evolution of a Hunter" - Thoughts? [Re: txtrophy85] #6902993
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Originally Posted By: txtrophy85
I guess hunters fall into the same categories as people involved in other sports


Some want trophies. Some are happy with participation awards


I just want that one stud on the ground that completely defies the odds of its environment.

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