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Not really sure when it happened to my hobby, scratch that my lifeblood, but I do remember a time when all I was, was a “hunter”. And under such title I got to do it all. Groundhogs, small game, birds, archery, rifle it was all there and had a great possibility in any given Fall of happening and it was all looked forward to with the same zest, not just by me but by the whole group that cycled thru it with me. The bounding of bunnies in front of beagles, the squirrels in the oaks, the cackling of the unexpected hedgerow rooster, the colored leaf indian summer hunts with the bow, the echo of someone’s rifle as you tear thru the tangle for them.

About 10 years into my now 29 year hunting career, for some reason I started to see the need to grab a title and put it in front of “hunter “in order to gain respect with the others that do that particular kind of hunting. If not you could feel unaccpeted to the ranks they represent so proudly and take so serously. I guess it was early in my ego-filled 20’s that really brought forth this need for me to try to define my one true passion in the sport, and be able to have some kind of specialty where I excelled, so I could gain that respect with just mention of the title. “that guy is a diehard grouse hunter, bowhunter, stillhunter, duck hunter, turkey hunter…I mean just fill in the blank , one time or another in that era I gave myself the title, equipped myself to the T for it, buckled down to try to learn the game and specialized in my pursuit of that one or maybe two things.

Was I alone in this need? Well it does not appear to be. Today the category of hunter you are seems to be just as important as the fact that you do hunt. Almost like a political party that via affiliation, you are instantly molded to be “for” or “against” something. This is certainly is seen in the conservation organizations , the shooting clubs, and also what seems to be a growing need for a weapon specific lobby, in addition to those that need to take sides on just how well our sport is being governed by the PAGC.

Changes over the years have changed the face of hunting and will conitnue to do so. Be it the marketing of a product, redefining a season, regulation and harvest changes, or just the increase of other activities that may compete for that one Saturday a week to hunt, oh so many things to take sides on and put your passion behind.

Be that as it may, there is still one common thread in all those titles we give ourselves to define our specialty, “hunter”, It used to be good enough to define us all.

As my boy turns 12 and this lifestyle is passed on and everything gets explored once again , I look forward to becoming once again, just a "hunter" , thinking back that is when I was happiest.

Be well, Enjoy it all. No days are allowed to be done over in the end.

RB
 

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Great post RB! I feel the same way and have noticed it more
over the years. It's not just hunting though, it's all the
outdoor sports..hunting, fishing, and trapping. I enjoy alot
of different types of each of them so it's hard for me to
label myself as any one thing. Just call me a sportsman or
outdoorsman, those would be the most fitting. These days it
seems there is to much division among hunters, it wasn't
that way when I started hunting. When I was 12 all hunters
seemed to get along and respect eachother, everyone was a
hunter, they all hunted small game and big game. Now it
seems most hunters only like those that agree with their
way. It all seemed to start with AR/HR IMO. There is more
division among deer hunters than any group. Deer hunter,
meat hunter, trophy hunter, doe hunter, bow hunter, crossbow
hunter, rifle hunter, flintlock hunter, inline hunter,
ground hunter, treestand hunter, etc. It's ok to label
yourself as one thing but it's the fighting between hunters
that bothers me. I agree the title hunter should be good
enough for us all!
 

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I like to consider myself an "equal oppurtunity hunter" if it makes a track I'll hunt it. Raising hounds,small game,waterfowl,deer hunting,varmints,big game everywhere,...you name it I'm in for any of it. I don't discriminate. Always wondered why some guys are one dimensional. I feel the more types of hunting you do the better hunter you'll become.
 

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Great and well thought out post, RB! Also, excellent analogy in making the comparison to political parties.

I've never understood the need for a being referred to as a specific type hunter. I've always been quite content with just being a "hunter"!
 

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I do not know if what you are saying applies to hunters as a generalization or just to yourself. In either case - a good read and interesting comment and observation. Maybe as we get older, we have a tendancy to fine tune ourselves relative to who we are and what we do. I was just thinking the other day that among the people in my age group, and who I work with, that I am the only one that is not a manager. Also, I am the only one of this group that does not define existance by what I do - for a living.... Maybe as we grow (older, wiser, belt size) it's a natural thing to focus on more specificity as we think of ourselves and what we do?
 

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Great read Rooster!!


It seems their are those different "groups" within the faternity mainly because of how deer hunting has changed so drastically over the years with respect to seasons, methods and weapons, many found themselves moving and attaching themselves with like minded hunters. (only taking deer hunting into consideration here)

The problems seem to arise when we choose not to respect those differences IMO.

But I do agree, we are all hunters, some use different tools and methods.

Really a good point of view though Rooster, I enjoy reading your "Wanderings".
 

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Advancing years has definitely turned me into something very specific as far as hunting is concerned. I've become a "fair weather" hunter. If it is raining, the flintlocks and I stay home!


Great post, Rooster!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks guys for the comments here...I really think I just am progressing thru the 5 stages of a hunter, seems to always come back to that. Charles Alsheimer nailed it...

I am Stage 5, although I hope it is not all "reflecting". . Stages 3 and 4 were reversed for me, in fact I don't remember a trophy stage, or at least no one told the critters about that. I might of just been stage 3 for an extended period.


1. The Shooter Stage: This is when the hunter begins. They need to have some success and be able to have a level of accomplishment.

2. The Limiting Out Stage: From stage one most hunters progress to this stage. In stage two the hunter's goal is to harvest as many animals as is legally possible.

3. The Trophy Stage: In this stage the hunter has enough knowledge of his quarry that he begins to exhibit selectivity in his hunt. Bigger antlers and a keen knowledge of stewarding the whitetail resource begin to take center stage in the deer hunter's life at this point.

4. The Method Stage: By the time a hunter reaches Stage 4 he is beginning to mellow out. With many autumns under his belt he begins to become more interested in how he hunts. Understanding deer behavior also becomes paramount during this stage.

5. The Sportsman Stage: By the time a hunter hits this stage he truly knows who he is. He knows deer behavior, has killed many deer, has probably become involved in the preservation of hunting and makes a conscious effort to see that hunting is passed on to the next generation. This is also the stage when many deer hunters become involved as managers of their own deer hunting properties. I've often viewed this stage as the reflective stage.
 

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I think I've been through most of those stages! But one is missing. #4 sort of touches on it. Hunting isn't always about killing and killing a big one being the end all and be all of the purpose for enjoying the sport. But that doesn't mean I don't still get a big rise when I know a big one is in my hunting area and he comes my way!!!
 

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Rooster, good post. Hunters don't have to be labeled as one type or another. If you only hunt one species or use one method: so be it. But that doesn't make you inferior or superior to the rest.
 
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