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May 16, 2007

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More Sad Tales of Computer-Age Hunters

After my outfitter friend and I had reviewed the various misfortunes that age brings down on your head, he lit into me.

“You people who make videos and TV shows have screwed up a whole generation of hunters. Every time someone buys something they get a free video, and the problem is, they believe them. They come out here expecting to get a 35-inch mule deer in an hour, because that’s what they see on the video. They don’t like to hunt. What they want is a big head dead on the ground, fast, so they can go to the airport and throw their camo in the dumpster and plug in their I-Pod and get back to their computer. That’s what they enjoy.

“And they’re competitive. I had a husband and wife out here a couple of years ago, and she and I crawled for a half an hour to get a chance at a really nice buck, and she made a very good shot on it. Was her husband pleased? Hell, no. He said he wanted a better god damn deer than his wife’s and he wanted it right now.

“It’s not just those two. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Two friends come out to hunt and one of them gets something better than the other and when they leave they’re not friends any more. The old guys I guided would go the whole hunt, and pass up one deer after another, and if they didn’t see something they really wanted, they’d either not shoot at all or shoot a cull for meat and they’d go away happy. They were hunters. These people aren’t”

I pointed out that I dealt strictly in print, either on paper or in cyberspace, so he agreed that we could go prairie dog shooting in July.


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Dr. Ralph

Same goes for fishing. My kids want to know why we can't catch twenty fish in a half hour like they do on TV. Plus the size of the deer on the hunting shows makes even old men feel inferior... I live in Tennessee, not Canada. Most deer I see weigh less than 150 lbs and 120 is average!

Gerry Haverland

I agree whole heartedly! I like to Hunt and Fish. It is different from catching and killing! I can spend a whole day on a stand or in a boat or on the bank, looking at the Wonderful Creations that we have to enjoy. If I get to harvest something, great! If not, I had a great day! My grandson used to fish with me, and got impatient when he was not catching fish hand over fist. I took him to a place where I knew we would not have much luck. I started showing him what we were there to enjoy. Time together, the beautiful scenery, the sport of what we were doing. Next time we got on fish fairly fast, I noticed him, (at 6) just after catching a fish and releasing it, watching where the fish had swam off. I asked him, "What's wrong?" He said, "Nothing, I am just looking at that fish, and wondering what HE is thinking now." He was taking in, not the moment, but the experience. I hope he NEVER loses that!

Gerry Haverland

An addition for clarity here! My Grandson STILL fishes with me, he just does not get so impatient!

Tom Stanton

Patience is indeed a virtue that is often lost on my generation - I'm 32. Hunting and fishing aside - even in camping - my friends don't want to even deal with finding wood, cutting it, or cooking over it. They'd rather buy firewood at Wal-Mart and pack their gas barbecue in the back of the pickup. Our first child is due in August - you'd better believe I'm going to help my children learn to patient with nature.

Company Shill ;)

(Shameless plug ahead)
That's why they should be watching Cast & Blast on the Outdoor Channel. We shoot at birds and miss birds and on one of our fishing episodes we only caught TWO fish!!! We strive to make TV about what REALLY happens when you're out there. And sometimes, it's a whole lotta not much! So in those instances we tell the story and inject fun where we can find it.

(shameless plug over)

Steve C

The reason that people hunt has changed. And with it, stewardship and tradition has been replaced by making money and raging narcissism.

That pretty much sums up sports in general.


A couple of years ago I was a contestant in an ESPN 2 sponsored "reality show" wherein the contestants hunted and fished while competeing as "Outdoors Hosts".
The shooting schedule was very tight and the pressure to do well, ie. shoot or catch something while the cameras were rolling was tremendous. The final competition was an Axis deer hunt on a ranch where there were literally 2 deer an acre. Taking a good one was like setting up in a barn lot and waiting for a milk cow. No challenge to it. No hunting involved. That particular ranch does quiet well bringing in wanna be hunters putting them in a stand and letting them shoot a deer.
Hunting? No! Instant gratification? Perhaps to some folks. Not me. Might as well go to the grocery store for excitement. They both amount to guaranteed meat.
The sad part of the whole thing is, the TV viewing audience has a short attention span and action is mandatory within a few minutes or the channel will be changed. Sadly many of the people who watch the shows and crave that instant gratification will never really know what the outdoors are really about. Blame on today's lifestyles. Fast food, get-it-in-an-instant anything, 60 hour work weeks and rush to recreate a few hours on the weekends. Harsh and hurried business competition, must win at all cost attitudes.
No wonder these attutudes are spilling into the outdoors scene. As a hunter Ed. instructor, I, and our entire group, try to educate that hunting isn't about the kill. We urge students to enjoy just being outdoors, and to appreciate the harvest, not make it mandatory.


It sounds like Dave's friend is an outfitter or guide. Many people who hunt with guides are not patient folks. They usually have a good amount of money that they have made precisely through being impatient and demanding.

But I agree, everything is done at warp speed today. And that's not how hunting, fishing, eating or making love should be done.


Dave, you've hit on one of my biggest pet peeves.

Hunting is one case that fits the cliche, the journey is more important than the destination. However, it looks like people who have set their expectations based on what they see on the idiot box miss out on that perspective. It's all about bigger, more, and instant gratification. Forget about sitting a stand for a whole season...if you don't have shot opportunities in the first afternoon, the hunt is a failure. That's a guaranteed way for new hunters to lose interest.

I could rail about this for hours (or pages), but that's not very productive. Any fool can point at the problem...how do we solve it?

Chad Love

I think SteveC summed it up quite succintly. Hunting and fishing is no more immune to the corrosive influence of modern American consumer/gratification culture than anything else. Don't we all want to be able to shoot corn-fed photogenic livestock from the comfort of our own hermetically-sealed environmentally-controlled shooting quarters? We can't all be bothered by all that pesky nature, you know.
Here's my own little personal anecdote on the modern American hunter: I pulled up to my local check station one day last gun season to check in a deer. As I was hoisting it up on the scale I noticed the little piles of corn strewn all over the concrete, corn that had fallen from the mouths of bucks shot while munching feeder corn.
Instead of being a spiritual and physical break from the absolute mind-numbing banality and pointlessness of modern American life, hunting has morphed into a perfect extension of it.

JA Demko

No question about it. Everybody younger than you is an ass.

Chad Love

Of course that's not the case, JA. Everybody OTHER than me is an ass, regardless of age...

 PO'ed by smart Assed remarks

Well finally some quality info on what hunting is about. UI;m 72 yrs old, hunted for past 50+. Hunted in most of the western States and here at home. I've eaten more tags than meat, but I set my standards for a certain game and if he don;t show, then I wait another day. Too me, 50 % of the hunting trip is the anticipation or going, packing and re-acking is about 25 % and then once I meet my friends the circle is 99% complete. Yep l% is actual hunting. I have a wonderful time, just meeting, talking, bragging, bull-Sh----g etc. But when hunt is over I;m happy just to have gone. Last here at home never fired a round other than to re-check my 0 from a 3K mile flight. My lifes ambition is to be hunting in some great wood-lot with my rifle in my arms and celebrating my 92nd birthday, doze off and head for the happy hunting grunds up high. (Why 92 I will never know). Hunters of today, have no conception of a great hunt unless taken from a Video. O well, I got 20 more years to see the great outdoors and plan to enjoy every minute of it.

 Disabled/handicapped needs site in Rockies

Any of you guys know of hunting clubs or orginazations who cater to the disabled hunter. ? I can walk say 100 yds maybe a tad more. But usually sit or hunt from a Vehicle. i would like to hunt for Elk and or Mulies in the Rockies My wife or grown Son usually goes along to help with my health needs , so don;t really need a Baby Setter, just an access to hunt.Prefer a area close to a Motel/resturants, better yet a mountain Cabin, which was my lifes ambition prior to my sickness.I'm a good shot with a 30-06 and 25-06 or smaller. Walk with cane or crutch. A great guy to talk hunting/guns with at days end. If you can help, please advise here. to RR in the south


This year will mark my 32nd deer season. No, I have not killed 32 deer. I have not killed half that many.

I pass many shootable deer for a variety of reasons, and find it easier and easier to come up with excuses not to shoot.

This in no way lessens the experience and the thrill of hunting for me. I still get buck fever whenever I see a big buck or bull come into range. Mostly I take meat bucks over horn bucks; But that's just me.

I do not share hunting stories nor do I allow pictures of my kills. Most hunters understand this. Non-hunters never will.

I love deer. I love how they ghost through the woods without making a sound. I love the way they look in the evenings when they come to water. I love the fawns when they lay so still in the shadows. I love everything about them, and always have.

When people ask me how I can hunt something that I love so much, I extend an invitation to come along. That's the only way I know to share the experience.

I can think of no better way to bastardize hunting than to turn it into a competition or a timed event.


I agree many people want instant success. And most will not be hunting very long. And certainly TV plays a big part in all of this. That's the down side. The good news is it does reach an awful lot of people and many will see the great outdoors in its true light. This has and will keep hunting and fishing a live. One other effect, it helps hold in check the anti hunting and fishing crowd.

Larry rayburn

I agree that hunting is different now days, and patience seems to be a lost art, that is why I'm teaching my 12 year old son to hunt and shoot the way my dad taught me. My son has been shooting since he was 4 years old, and he has never fired a pellet rifle. He learned on a .22 single shot marlin chipmonk, open sighted. I am 52 years old, and it is up to our generation to teach the next generation the proper technics to hunting. No matter how many new gizmos are out there, there is no substitute for knowledge and experience.

Larry rayburn

I agree that hunting is different now days, and patience seems to be a lost art, that is why I'm teaching my 12 year old son to hunt and shoot the way my dad taught me. My son has been shooting since he was 4 years old, and he has never fired a pellet rifle. He learned on a .22 single shot marlin chipmonk, open sighted. I am 52 years old, and it is up to our generation to teach the next generation the proper technics to hunting. No matter how many new gizmos are out there, there is no substitute for knowledge and experience.


Ouch! This blog is a sad but true commentary on the hunting sport. Everything in our culture has migrated to the "me, me, me, right now, now, now" mindset. I enjoy hunting with family and friends when harvest and antler score keeping is not the primary objective. The TV hunting shows are not making it any better. Hunting competions, guys and gals running from one spot to another, and always in a rush. Sitting in a dark box blind over a food plot or deer feeder is not my idea of a good hunt. Why do you suppose all forms of "baiting" is still illegal in many states? When the muffler for your ATV or riding in an electric buggy to the blind is paramount to the hunt, something is amiss. I do not condemn the aforementioned hunting styles, but I do think folks are missing out when that is all that they do. Let's not leave the .338 Short Fat Ultra Meatgrinder Super Magnum that far exceeds the owner's shooting ability off the list of clutter in the sport. Caliber selection has become more confusing these days than ordering a cup of coffee at a Seattle espresso stand. Try that sometime.


Yep, it's a sick, sad world, and it's crossed over to the hunting and fishing activities as well. Very disheartenting.

That's why it's called "Hunting" instead of "Shooting" and "Fishing" instead of "Catching". Lots of people don't seem to know there is a difference.


Hunting or fishing is a time to slow down and take a break from the hustle of modern life, not many folks realize that nowdays. And has been said they expect to get whatever it is they want now or sooner!
Personally I'm more of a meat hunter myself, Antlers are a nice bonus but a big Doe that will give me lots of venison is just as greatly appreciated.
This year has been bad around here, hunted for 2 weeks and didn't se anything but hunters! Now if I miss or pass up a shot I can live with that, but not even seeing anything really is depressing! Hoping for a better year next year.


The outfitter is totally correct in every aspect of his comments. Going beyond those thoughts in my almost thirty years living in Wyoming I have seen family members fall into the "competitive hunting" mode as well. I remember one elk hunt when a son left camp absolutely livid that his father had killed a nice 6 x 6 the first day. I was told that the reverse scenario had happened in previous years. Beyond tools that really help us hunt and eliminate wounded game such a superior scopes, rangefinders (hell I was long ago convinced that no one can tell 200 yards from 300 in the mountains), and flat shooting rifles leave the remainder of the high tech gadgets at home with your hangups. ENJOY THE HUNT...every minute of it from struggling up an ice slick hillside to dragging out that massive bull's head or the wonderful stories that you accumulated if you didn't find the bull.


i passed up a nice 8 pt. last season with my bow at 37 yrds, because i had only practiced out to 30 yrds. i was blessed with a nice dow a day later.i couldnt have been more pleased. i am also concerned our instant gratification society could wound our sport...lets not let that happen. take your son, daughter grandchild etc... into the woods, leave the mother in law at home, at all costs...i am old, listen to your elders!


Dave,you are so right. I live in South Texas. Most of the "hunters" I meet are out to get thier trophy and nothing more. I spent over twenty years in the Navy and I hunted up and down the West Coast. Didn't always get what I went after,but, had a great time trying to find it. I can't afford to hunt in my own state of Texas due to the amount they now demand for land, gun, and etc. Still, I do get to go to hunting with long time Navy friends in Whyoming and Montana.

Been there, hope  to again

What has happened to just being out in the God's given wonderland and enjoy it. I've spent many hours just looking at what he has made for us to enjoy. If by chance a nice Elk, Deer, Lope happens by I will take him, as I don;t take un-sure of shots. As the old saying goes, a bad day in thw woods is better than the best day in the office. My only regret to hunting and being outside, was that when I was able to do so, I had to work and support a family. Now I can hunt when I please, wherever I can draw a tag. I would hunt every day if there was a season for me. But, now will begin to prepare for the next season, pratice a lot, trade a gun or two and wish for one of the many new firearms coming out. But, with my 30-06, I can handle what-ever I hunt. You guys with small childred, bless you, take them as often as you can. My father never had the time to take me, or never made the time. I bought a 5 dollar shotgun when I was l0 yrs old, and been hunting now for 62 yrs. just wishing for 20 more. good hunting guys, enjoy the out-doors, lots to see out there, if the game you hunting does not show. Take a disposable camera along, you will be suprised at some of the great snapshots you could be taking. Then buy a Photo Album and when you get old like me, those pictures will be worth their weight in gold.

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