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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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Peter H.

I dont remember who wrote it...but ..they were talking about how alot of younge people were probobably like him in his teens and early twenties ........broke.....LOL..ya man...im there. So even if i wanted to buy some nice stuff.....i couldn't...


Gun nuts: shotgun nuts, rifle nuts, handgun nuts, bb gun nuts, are we. Hunters and beer drinkers and whiskey drinkers and tobacconists etc., etc., etc... Neanderthals we are, however, not. We are "smarter than the average bear." To quote a classic, Boo Boo.
I, for one will never give up. I will never leave a man down, either. Dave, you worry me. Will someone close to him please smack him one, give him a stiff drink, and drag him back to the fire, please!

hillbilly hunter.

The way I feel, if you don't like to use a GPS or RangeFinder, then don't use your modern firearm or compound bow....Make your self a stone axe or club.. or do you only want to use the Technology you see fit. Everyone else has gone HOG WILD with this modern stuff... What, smokeless powder?, How could you even think of such stull, Really.


I hunted a lot with my Dad (mostly quail, rabbits and doves) while growing up on the farm in central Illinois. I went to college, got married, moved away and concentrated on my own family and career. About the only time I went hunting or shooting for that matter was when we would go back to Illinois to visit family once or twice a year.

Now that I am retired, I look for every opportunity to hunt upland game. Two friends have taken me deer and turkey hunting a few times (haven't killed any yet) and some other friends (all younger than I) have invited me to go duck and goose hunting on several occasions.

Thankfully, my duck hunting friend has a GPS, because the last time we went duck hunting using his boat blind on Back Bay in Southeastern VA, dense fog rolled in. Without his GPS, who knows how long it would have taken us to find our way back to the dock.


Last winter, I had an opportunity to go quail hunting on my Dad's farm in cental Illinois where I grew up. Things have changed a lot in that area of Illinois over the past 50 years. Mostly loss of habitat with neighboring farmers taking down fences, pushing out osage orange hedge rows and small stands of timber. It was only the 2nd time in the past 30 years that I'd hunted on the farm and was not sure if there was any game left. However, a double hedge row that always held at least one covy of quail 50 years ago was still standing and it still had a covy of quail in it! What a thrill!

Dad (now 91) doesn't hunt quail any more (too difficult to walk the fields for hours), but he still enjoys dove hunting and shooting an occcasional round of skeet or trap. His hands shake so bad that you can't read his writing, but put a gun in those hads and he still does pretty well. Last year, on his 90th birthday, he hit 18/25 skeet with his 28 ga. Beretta O/U using his reloaded shells with 1/2 oz of shot instead of the standard 3/4 oz loads. He was a little irratated that he didn't do better. I'm 65 and I just hope I am able to hold a gun at 91.


Jim in MO;
Visit this link, it's just "electriccitygun" and then add a dot-com to the end of it.
Contact my brother, he runs a small gun store, he does stock repair, and he has a stock duplicating machine. He can make you a new one, just like the old one. As long as the pieces can still be glued together or missing pieces simulated with Bondo.
Alaskan Exile

Ralph the Rifleman

Stop hunting? NEVER!!!

Dr. Ralph

We interbred with the Neanderthals? Wow Matt that explains a lot... Bill Heavey and most Democrats are fine examples.

I'm not about to quit hunting. EVER... My dad grew up during the depression and had to hunt as a very small child just to provide meat for the table. His father had polio and was unable to walk more than about fifty yards. You would think being forced to kill to survive would make it a job but it turned into his lifelong passion. Often he hunted alone as our town had no jobs and all his children moved away, plus his best hunting buddy was in an accident that left his arm paralyzed. If anything he hunted more. He was not a quitter and if hunting to you is sitting around a camp shooting the bull go to a bar... you don't understand what hunting really means.

Jim in Mo.

Thanks, I'm going to go to web address you gave after I google Numrich and call Rem. tomorrow.
This guns not much to look at anymore but with a very slightly bent barrel and the front sight tapped 1/4 inch to right I haven't shot a .22 that can beat it. Now that I've got extra money (unlike 5-6 yr ago) its time to get her back in the woods.

Bernie Kuntz

Jim in Mo.--another option is to check with Show-Me Gunstocks in Warsaw, MO. I am sure they'd fix you up.



Give you dad a pat on the back for all of us as no doubt his is our kind of guy. I wish I could shoot 18/25 with my 28 ga now at age 60. Well maybe on a good day, maybe...


BarkeyVA, My point exactly when I posted earlier about the GPS with a bread crumb feature. I have been out in the woods and had fog and snow fill in. During the daylight hours it is not bad but come night fall it is downright spooky not to be able to see 10 foot in front of you. My big down fall is that I hunt alone and I would not be missed at Deer Camp if I did not show up.

Tom the Troll


I know what you mean, Dave, and share your sentiments, Brother. But I want you to know that as long as the two of us are alive, you're more than welcome to share a fire, a hunt, and days afield with me. I'm 52, and have been blessed to have had a foot in both worlds, it seems. Yonder years where intangibles were embraced call much to my heart and mind. I, too, yearn for them... I met you a few years ago at the Harrisburg, PA, Eastern Outdoor Sports Show (or something like that). You put on a seminar, and I not only thoroughly enjoyed it, but knew I'd met a kindred spirit, just by listening to you. I've kept up with your writings, ever since, and have enjoyed this sight as well. I wish that I had taken notes on what you said during the seminar. You basically told us to get a rifle along the lines of a 7-08 and shoot it, and a .22LR weapon, alot. You gave advice on which targets to use and ranges at which to shoot them. Good stuff! Do you think that you can do an article here on it? Just wishing... Keep up the good work, Brother-hunter! I'm proud to know you!

WA Mtnhunter

There is more to life than hunting (or so I'm told..).

Never leave a man down behind. A lifelong principal to live by. (Scott's post above)


Back in medival(sp?) times, some "black smith" came up with the idea of a cross bow. It might not have been as quick to reload as a long bow, but penetration was unbelieveable. Then some Chinaman mixed carcoal, sulphur and nitrate together and "BOOM"! Gunpowder was born. Somebody decided that if they could put some "BOOM" in a pipe, a projectile in front of it, the projectile could be directed in a specific direction. Armour soon became irrelavent. The next gunsmith decided that making the projectile spiral in flight, it became more stable and more apt to contact the target. Then came sights, flint locks replaced matchlocks, then here came breech loaders which soon gave way to bolts, revolvers, pumps and autos.
Our entire world has been developed by "change".
Change happens!
I'll take the Timberline hiking boots over my clunky Monkey Ward brogans any day. Bibs beat union suits hands down. Were I younger and in better physical condition, I'd have a GPS and go places I'd never dreamed of in the past.
Change is good, but I don't have to embrace it if I prefer the old way!


Jim in Mo.

That was a 'blast from the past'. I was a child the last time I heard the term Monkey Ward. Are they even in business today?

Peter H.

I dont see really any trouble with the new technology...like GPS...or say...a rangefinder..but...where does it stop and start. Maybe in the future they will just have a trail camera with a built in gun...then you program what kind of animal you want it to shoot....and it does all the work for you.

Its always fun to handle the new toys. Weather its a new gun(my personal weakness) or the latest bow or trail camera or whatever.....but just so long as hunting remains ...well ...hunting...so that we dont forget our woodsman skills and instead rely upon technolgy to do all the work for us.

Peter H.

Mr. Petzal,

Coming from a young adult....I just wanted to say YOU ROCK. And if I had a campfire ..you would be welcome around it:-)


I just wanted to share an incident with all of you that happened to me today. I went out to shoot with my son in law and his best friend ( both in their low 30's) in northern Mi. near a college town. We were shooting in an open area and a car pulled up with out of state plates and a group of upper teen agers came over to us. One with piercings and tatoos everywhere, two guys looking fairly normal and an Asian decent gal in a mini skirt! They very politely asked if they could shoot in the same area we were and of course we said certainly. I watched them for a bit and they were having trouble throwing the clay pigeons so I went and showed them how to use there thrower. They had several guns with them so I went back and offered to let them shoot one of our handguns which they were all over. I helped them with how to use it and safety precautions etc. and they had a ball! Turned out thay were a great bunch of kids trying something new and enjoying themselves. The gal was the first to shoot the handgun and hit the tin can she was aiming at the first shot, one of the other guys said she had never shot a gun before. As for me, I was very happy to be out and share my knowledge and equipment with these "pissant punks" as well as spend time with a couple of the new shooters which I have helped into the sport. Share your knowledge, give your time, it is your legacy!

dale freeman

I'm 68 yrs. old and enjoy the
outdoors as much, if not more,
than ever.
I must admit that it is getting smaller as we speak.
I must admit that my companions
are gettin younger and fewer.
However, the outdoors is not the only thing in change.
I started to look for a new
270 remington fiberglass and
was shocked.
They look like space guns.
I feel like remington has forsaken the old timers and
No wonder old farts say "enough
is enough.


Ishawooa, Thank you for your nice comment about my Dad. I think he (now 91) is an amazing guy. When we were visiting him last January, I got to talking about his various varmit rifles. I asked him how his mauser-action rifle that had been re-bored to .257 Roberts shot. He said that it shoots pretty good. He said he had shot a 5/8" group with 5 shots at 100 yds with it. I said, "You have got to be kidding"!

He proceeded to take out an old tattered notebook from a desk drawer. Leafing through the pages he found an entry that identified the gun, type and weight of the bullet, type and amount powder, etc.that used to reload the shells. Included was a notation, "5 shots, 5/8" circle, 100 yds." The year? 1991! (when he was 74!) He also retired from farming at 74, but still lives on the farm today.


Jim in Mo.

I think so, except there is no longer a catalogue dept. You must visit their store to make a purchase!



"We interbred with the Neanderthals? Wow Matt that explains a lot... Bill Heavey and most Democrats are fine examples."

I was thinking along the lines of Michael Moore, specifically, but I degress... :) That is one of the thories offered by science to explain their extinction, but as any semi-educated zoologist, naturalist, etc will tell you, subspecies rarely if ever interbreed naturally.

bill heavey

ungentle readers,
you should know that DEP was born old, as this incident shows. many, many decades ago, when he was just a toddler, dave's mother found him looking very dejected and morose (even for him).

"what's the matter, sweetie?" she asked.

dave looked up from the "1886 Shooter's Bible: The World's Standard Firearm Reference Book," fresh from the mailbox, with tears in his eyes. "i just read that they've invented a smokeless gunpowder," he said.

"it's going to be the ruination of the shooting sports. you mark my word."

DEP complaining is our best living gun writer hitting on all cylinders. even his blogs have a heft seldom seen elsewhere, in newsprint or glossy magazine. enjoy him while you can, guys. and hope, as i do, that he lasts another 30 years.

WA Mtnhunter

Hell, Heavey. I hope that I last another 30 years! That Petzal feller is one of the best Yankee's I have read.

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