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July 25, 2008

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Why We Finally Stop Hunting

I have an unnatural fascination with prehistoric man and, like a lot of paleontologists, spend time wondering what killed off the Neanderthals. They were around for 260,000 years in the face of some of the worst weather the earth has experienced, but 2,000 to 10,000 years after Cro-Magnons showed up, they vanished. Neanderthals lived in small family groups, and bit by bit, the groups ceased to exist. Finally, it probably came down to one man or woman, and that must have been the loneliest death imaginable.

I'm sure that last Neanderthal's last thought, just before his (or her) heart stopped was "Screw it. Why bother anymore? There's no one left."

And so it is with hunters. Hunting and shooting are intensely tribal. Only another hunter or shooter can understand what we do, and we tend to hang around with hunters and shooters of our own age. The pissant punks who can't remember before GPS and Gore-Tex and laser rangefinders will never understand how older generations view things.

Eventually, you reach the point  where you look around and there is no one left who remembers the things you do. Unlike the poor damned Neanderthal, you may not decide to die, but you very well may decide to hang up your guns. If you have no one left to share your sport with, why bother anymore?


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Dr. Ralph

Dave you need children or at your age grand children... instill your ideals in them and you will live forever! Their success will make you happier than your own.


I just turned 48 and I am about to attempt my first hunting season ever!
I am as "green" as they come, and I have no mentor, all my knowledge about hunting to this point has come from extensive reading, long(fascinating)hours watching outdoors shows AND,...the gracious tips given over a few blog sites, this one included. My friends who hunt are dispersed widely through out the Country, this Saturday I plan to scout my property for the first time,...I don't even know if I can handle being out in the woods alone, to say the least about my ability to "spot sign". There is nothing that I would like more than to spend time with an "old-timer", to learn from the seasoned veteran, but as it is, I'll have to rely on my wits, my gps,compass,maps,range finder,camera,scent killers,stands/blinds,...and the Grace of God.
I hope everyone here has a "dream season" this year


I agree with Keith. As another member of the "pissant punk" generation, I'd like to point out that one of the reasons I hunt/shoot is to be more like previous generations and less like the pissant punks with rangefinders and video games. Also, I want you all to know that I at times feel like you older adults, in that there is no one to hunt or shoot with. While more and more of my generation and following generations are ruining themselves with video games, television, and other such crap, it becomes harder and harder to find anyone who has shot a gun, been hunting, or even ate deer meat. It's discouraging at times, but what we have going for us is that we are young, and we have years ahead of us (God willing). We have a chance to turn this thing around. I know that myself and a few of my friends are doing our part. We've gotten younger cousins, younger siblings, nephews, and even girlfriends to go hunting. And what's even better is that many of us don't have kids yet, so there are even more opporunities to come. What we, the younger crowd, must understand, is that we are indeed different amongst our peers. We do something that only us and those like us understand. As that may be, we have something to offer to those that will listen. Something that most people never knew they were missing. Thus, we have a calling. We must pass on what we have. Likewise, we have a resonsibility to uphold the image of the outdoorsman, for both those that are outside, and inside, the hunting community. With this in mind, I would hope that we recieve only encouragement from preceding generations. We're gonna need it, because as I see it, we have a long road ahead.

This post kinda took on a life on it's own, and I'm sorry about the length. I just wanted to say to Mr. Petzel, and the rest of the older adults, that we, the youth, are not all lost. Just because we came from the same mill, that doesn't mean that we're all cut from the same cloth.

Dan R.

Well said, AP. It's guys like you that prove that there is a hope for the future of hunting.


To the New Blood: [ aka: puissant snots, kids, wood gatherers….. fresh meat.]

Don’t mistake this blog being the Experience. We Blogger Mouths can hunting only give you a description of the experience….a poor substitute.

Note: Hunting is much different from shooting. Shooting is a fairly easy skill to obtain. Hunting, putting that rifle/shotgun to use, is much different.

I dare write every hunter starts out very green and learns as [s]he goes. The skills you desire aren’t bought or acquired in a lecture hall or on bar stool. Much of the knowledge is beyond description……trancidental: in the old vernacular…so it’s no mistake you get a song and dance from the Old Guard.

I also dare write you’re entering the realm of Mysteries. You are awakening 30,000
years of memory in your genes. A person is never too old to waken these memories.

Enjoy the Journey.

SD Bob

Why is it the older generation always seems to despise the next when advances have made it different? Those of you who look down your nose at gps users and consider them "pissants", look in the mirror! That damn compass was an invention at one time too! Guys before compasses were able to find their way without. Do you suppose they snubbed compass users the way grumpy old men now despise gps users? One thing is certain: I don't think Dave believes what he typed because oppinions like this garner more responses than any other kind he expresses. Case in point....This topic has been out 4 or so hours and there's already a billion responses! Field and Stream must get an advertising kick back for every blog responder which would explain why it seems to be were getting away from rifle talk and more into stuff like this. Enjoy!

Col. C. Askins, Ret.

I'm oooooold! And I'm not happy! And I don't like things now compared to the way they used to be. All this progress -- phooey! In my day, we didn't have these cash machines that would give you money when you needed it. There was only one bank in each state -- it was open only one hour a year.

Col. C. Askins, Ret.

In my day, life was a carnival! We entertained ourselves! We didn't need moooovin' pitchurrrres. In my day, there was only one show in town -- it was called "Stare at the sun!" ...
and that's the way it was and we liked it!

Mike Reeder

I can empathize with what Petzal's getting at, but tend to view things a little differently. For one thing I have a grown son who's a damned fine hunting companion despite my shortcomings as a teacher and I look forward to hunting with him every year. I also am blessed to have a wife who, while she won't pull the trigger herself, actually enjoys spending a day with me on a stand watching wildlife. Maybe most importantly, I've never been one of those people who felt the need to be part of a big group. In fact, I enjoy the solitude of hunting alone or with my dog as my only companion. Always have. Having bumped off my share of game over the years I do find myself more content to let the average ones walk and to take satisfaction in a good day outdoors regardless of whether I ever pull a trigger or not. On the other hand, if the possibility didn't exist of pulling a trigger it just wouldn't be the same. I suppose it's the difference between sitting in the bleachers and playing right field...


As per usual, written as nothing more than the ramblings of a bitter old man.


RedneckinNY, Jim in Mo., RipperIII:

I don't know where you gentlemen/women reside, but I'll give you a few hints that might help break the ice.

First, there are hunting spots out there! It just takes sweat, shoe leather, gas/diesel, and perseverence. The price of a couple of nice pocket knives (something a farmer would use!) is also a minor investment in a hunting area.
Second, knock on doors! We as a society have developed the term "networking". Now, get out there and "network"!
Drive back country roads. If you see Farmer Brown mending a fence, stop and offer assistance. Talk to them. Don't ask about hunting/fishing on first contact. Take your child, (at least 5/6 years of age). Older people like kids. Most of the people they don't allow to hunt, THEY DON'T KNOW! Get to know these folks. I don't mean visit every weekend. Mark spots on a county map where you have gotten to know folks. Ask about the local game. They are out there every day. They see the deer, squirrels, ducks, quail and such. IF they allow you after a time to hunt, AND you are successful, offer to share. And I don't mean a neck roast off that hoary old buck; clean up and process part of a backstrap.
Don't despair, these relationships may take more than a week or so to develope into hunting/trespassing rights. I worked with one gentleman for nearly two years before gaining limited access to his property.
OBEY ANY/ALL RULES the land owner lays out. Leave gates as found, only 1 deer, don't shoot the quail, don't hunt the lower forty (specific area), no camp fires, archery season only. Whatever it takes to get your foot in the door.
RESPECT! Mr. & Mrs., Sir, Ma'am, Thank you! I appreciate it!
Also, when addressing older folks, I'd say 40 or better, NO EARRINGS, tattoos, ragged clothing (work clothing is acceptable) or suits. Don't knock on a door with a lip full of tobacco or a cigarette in your fist. Be polite!
A novel idea, which I've done in my new area, join or attend a small country style church in your area. Not only are the people more acceptable to you, you begin to show them that you really aren't a "pissant"! I have even attended church clad in camo, cutting a turkey hunt short in time for church services!
Show the folks that you are human, that you do care!

Hunting, on private land, is available. At a price, common courtesy!



Might I add:

Don't despair if they only own a few acres. It might just be a "honey hole"!
One of my buddies in E. Texas worked his way into a hunting spot of 5 acres. He could only kill the limit (2 bucks) for deer. The spot lay in a woodlot between two enormous pea fields. The deer used it as travel lane between fields. Kit was able to be very selective and took some really "nice" bucks! He just couldn't take guest. His family counted against his bag limit for the area, but he and his son had a blast. They hunted the same spot for nearly thirty years before it gave out when the family sold the property after the landowners death!



I first met my friend Charlie in 1968 when he invited me to go quail hunting. I knew he was the best bird shot in Dixie according to some. He had polio as a child and it left its toll all his life but never interfered with his hunting. I made a point to visit Charlie and his wife, who was almost blind, every summer when I returned down south from Wyoming. We talked about hunting and guns for hours. Year before last he killed 2 bucks and 2 does by himself which was a record low. Last year he told me that he didn't feel well enough to hunt the previous fall and that it was just as well as all of his old friends and hunting buddies had passed away except for me. I lived to far away for him to visit and leave his wife. He seemed forlorn and I believe depressed. I walked out of his house wondering if it would be the last time I would see him on earth. He died three Sundays ago at the age of 95. If you know an old "Neanderthal" stay in touch with him or her as they probably need you. If you are wise enough to listen you will learn a few things.

Jim in Mo.

I know what you mean, but get anywhere close to big cities and it gets tough. Real tough.
Where I used to live hunting was a walk in the park, just walk outside and hunt. I would have bet my firstborn that couldn't happen here. Where your at, you may not see it in your lifetime but the next gen. will. Hope not.
Also, your advise on courtesy and the willingness to do work to help the landowner goes a long way. A workin man can tell another workin man by more than a smile and handshake.

Bernie Kuntz

I am 59 years old and have been hunting since I was six. I lost my only son when he was 16, but still have a handful of hunting partners ages early 40s to early 70s. My problem is my legs--two hip surgeries last year and now I am debilitating arthritis in my knees. Six years ago I was packing elk quarters on my back; nowadays I hobble around the house on crutches. I hope things improve with the medication but thus far they have not. I'll still be able to hunt whitetails from a stand and maybe shoot a pronghorn over the hood of my pickup, although I am not happy about hunting that way. Pheasant hunting, which is my favorite, will be out of the question unless my joints get better. Thank God for Laurie, my wife and hunting partner of 25+ years. She takes good care of me and still hunts with me too.


I live in a state with wonderful natural resources, and an awful political situation. So far, our State Senate is dominated by upstate republicans, who block almost all of the anti-gun anti-hunting legislation that might come down the pike. We are a precious few seats from having a Democratic Senate, which would rubber-stamp all the NYAGV bills that they want to pass on anti-gun orgy day.

I find as I have just past the 1/2 century mark that more of my time is tied up with various aspects of trying to keep the opportunity to hunt -- and more, that our right to keep and bear arms is preserved, and less time free to go to the woods.

Even so, some of my most precious older friends have called it quits. It breaks my heart to see it.



Hey Bubba, as my name implies, I'm in NY; Long Island to be exact. I've got bowhunting and muzzleloading opportunities here, but it's not the same as the "big woods" up north (Catskills, Adirondacks, etc.) for rifle. The Adirondacks are 8 hours away. I do have two properties lined up on which to hunt south of the Catskills. I just have to get the permission in writing. I'm also looking to purchase 10 acres next year as well. I've done the networking and it's been good so far. It's just that I'd like someone experienced to teach me the finer points of hunting. If not, I'll just have to learn as I go. Thanks for the advice.


Precisely! had an uncle that retired at 70 an his best fishing buddies died before he was 80 and he just gave up. Doctor said he just started eating so little that he starved to death.. Just because he didn't have anything to look forward to.



I know the feeling.
I lived near a large metro area for about 10 years. I did get the opportunity to go hunting a few times. Problem was, I was so near the city, the local farmers had already been accosted by "city slickers" until they wouldn't let anyone hunt. They didn't hunt because neighbors were too close and they didn't have time (according to them) to hunt.
When I did get a spot to hunt, I had to be cautious. The adjoining property, twenty acres, had been leased by SIX metro area firefighters! THEY ALL HUNTED AT THE SAME TIME!!!!
Sad part is, the best buck I saw while living in the area was within the city limits of the metro area! The property belonged to a gravel pit on one side of the road and a landfill on the other side!
If you're just getting started, be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. Never having even been close (Charleston, W. Va.) to New York, I don't have any idea what to tell you except. Hunt the rut when you can. Rise early, be on the stand before sunrise. Be back on stand by 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon and stay until dark. Watch for tracks going to "camp" mornings and back out in the afternoon. You might find out that you need to be on stand in the middle of the day!
A fantastic spot today will be a dud tomorrow, and vice-versa. As the seasons change, they (the deer) change. Pre-rut, rut and post-rut all bring on similar but different behaviors. The monster buck that wanders in and out of certain area will become a ghost opening day of season, or not! What deer do today, they may or may not do tomorrow.
If something isn't working, try something else!
Just don't give up! And "Good Luck!"



The GPS is a tool like so many other things people hunt with. The next time you are caught in a sudden blizzard white out in the mountains it might just get you back to camp alive. That bread crumb feature comes in handy when you can no longer see the tracks you left 3 hours ago when it was dark out. Or is dark because you shot you deer just before sun set. I keep mine tucked in to my shirt hung around my neck. Then turn it off at my blind. I don't always need it but it is there in case I do. That and a old cell phone. I may not be able to call some one on it but 911 works in case something happens. To some one else or my self. Nothing like coming across another hunter with a arrow stuck in his arse because he dropped it out of his tree stand and climbed down to get it or so he said. I guess he got his Christmas Goose early that year.

Tom the Troll


You know Dave, there a lot of young hunters who would love to learn the old ways. I'm one of them. Maybe you should open up a clinic. What do you say Dave, come out of your cave. Ha, that'll be the day. Dave you would be one hell of a man if you weren't such a grump.


Genetics on the Gun Nut Blog ... ponderous man ... just ponderous.


We're grumps because:

No. 1
We've been there, done that! It didn't work then, it won't work now!
No. 2
Instead of aluminum shafts with inserts and razor sharp, screw in broadheads. We had cedar shafts with clunky, glue on, dull as a froe broadheads!
No. 3
You walked to the back side of nowhere, shot your deer with your trusty, rusty (because it was made of REAL ordinance steel!) Mod 94 Winchester in .30-30 Win and iron sights. Attached your buck to a "smoke" pole and made your third trip of the day out of the woods. (one to hunt, one to retrieve your buds for help, one to help tote your deer out!) NO ATV!?
No. 4
All No. 3 activities were performed wearing umpteen layers of Sears Roebuck, JC Penney or Montgomery Ward wool/cotton union suit, overalls, wool/flannel shirt, wool socks, denim coat, etc, etc.... Alternately sweating down, freezing to death, sweating down, freezing to death!
No. 5
You got lost walking to the "Backside of Nowhere". Your map and compass are soaked with swamp water/sweat. Not that it matters, the only way to find land features would be with a 'copter. If you had that, you wouldn't be LOST!!
No. 6 ETC, ETC, ETC......!!!!!

Look, lots of us complain. Lots of us are grumps. Most of the time, it means, "I can't believe we usta do it THAT way! This is so much easier!"
The more I practice the "NEW", the more I remember the "OLD". Sometimes, with the batteries dead, fecal matter occurs. The old way will get you out!!



a map and compas is what has guided me in and out of the woods since i was 12 years old. i do not own a gps, and proabaly never will. same with a range finder. if it is over 2 foot ball feilds away, i simply dont shoot! it's not that difficult. now, i really couldnt do without the scope on my rifles, as the $#@** open sights are just 2 fuzzy anymore. as for the neandertals, they didnt die off, they just mutated into big foots. you just have to go to the northwest wilderness to find them!


There is an entire generation of young men out there, my age (I'm 38) and younger who are "lost boys". These young men have been abandoned by the fathers of the "ME" generation, aka Baby-Boomers. Why do you think magazines like FHM, STUFF, and MAXIM are so popular,(other than the near-naked women, but you can find that anywhere)?
If you’ve never looked through one, check those out next time you are near the newsstand, and your wife isn’t watching.
If you look around (or past) the photo spreads of scantily-clad women, those magazines are chock full of "old man advice" about life, how to do things like land a plane or an interview, grill a steak, or get a really close shave. Stuff guys should have learned about life from their old man, but he was too busy chasing his job, his golf game or his secretary to give those lessons.
I was lucky, blessed really, to have an old man as my Dad. He gave me those life lessons and taught me about hunting and fishing too.
These “lost boys” are wandering through life, looking for someone to mentor them but don’t quite know how to ask. They may only have a perspective on the outdoors from what they’ve seen in the popular culture, and what they know about guns they’ve gotten from video games and movies (scary).
So take one of these young men (or women) hunting, or fishing or hiking next time you go. You might just raise-up an outstanding hunting buddy, who can probably show you how to make that GPS work, or set the time on that clock in your truck.

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