A has-been?


August 12, 2008, 06:43 PM
As I have gotten older I find myself shooting more and more paper. It's not for a lack of varmints or game. I'm not sure if I've gotten soft in my old age but I find myself just looking at and enjoying the wildlife. In years past I would have had no problem hunting just about anything. Now I would much rather just sit and watch the critters.

My question is this.....Has anyone else found themselves just taking it all in instead of putting it in the freezer? Don't get me wrong, I love to hunt but it isn't as much about the kill anymore as it is about the whole experience.

And on a side note...I was watching some hunting shows this weekend and was disappointed how the hunters reacted when they made their kills. I understand it's tough to bag a trophy but is it really necessary to jump up and down with joy after you've just shot a magnificant animal? It just seems so disrespectful.....I mean these guys are pros. Is there something wrong with me?

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August 12, 2008, 06:50 PM
I think it depends on what you are hunting. I still really enjoy reaching out to touch a sod-poodle at 200+ yards. 'sides which, most of the farmers around here will bring you lunch. :D

August 12, 2008, 06:59 PM
Pat.....I hear ya. Shooting p-dogs is still very high on my list of fun things to do. My sympathy is quite shallow when it comes to vermin. I guess my post is mostly about game I would normally eat.

August 12, 2008, 07:19 PM
With a wife that won't eat venison and a freezer full of the stuff, this November, I'm not planning on taking a deer. When I head out into the woods, I'll be carrying, along with my 30-06, a Canon Rebel XTI with zoom lens (digital camera). One way or another, I hope to "shoot" some nice wildlife. Whether or not a trophy whitetail crosses my path will determine which tool I use to do the shooting with.

August 12, 2008, 07:20 PM
As I have gotten older I find myself shooting more and more paper. It's not for a lack of varmints or game. I'm not sure if I've gotten soft in my old age but I find myself just looking at and enjoying the wildlife. In years past I would have had no problem hunting just about anything. Now I would much rather just sit and watch the critters.
My question is this.....Has anyone else found themselves just taking it all in instead of putting it in the freezer? Is there something wrong with me?

No, I sometimes hunt with a camera. If I can shoot the picture, I could have shot my rifle, the satisfaction is there. No meat in the freezer with the camera, but that's OK, a trip to the market takes care of that. When I look at the pictures of the game I could have shot, I say, "you don't know how lucky you were that day".

August 12, 2008, 07:25 PM
tpaw, too funny, we posted 1 minute apart.

Birds of a feather...

August 12, 2008, 07:31 PM
Last deer season was the first year I didn't harvest one in 17 years of hunting them. I wasn't too disappointed. I don't trophy hunt, I mainly handgun hunt and don't get too far from the road. I'm getting to old and fat for those mile long drags back to the truck. I've learn to enjoy the hunt a lot more in the last few years.
It does give me a solemn feeling to walk up on the animal I just killed, I feel it deserves my respect and reminds me if you wanna eat meat it comes with a price.

August 12, 2008, 07:57 PM
Yeah I feel ya, my urge to kill things has declined since I was about 20.

August 12, 2008, 08:12 PM
I shoot paper, cans and varmints. I have nothing against hunters, but I have no desire to kill anything that isn’t bothering me.

August 12, 2008, 08:25 PM
No horns for me, it's all about the meat. I do feel a certain amount of satisfaction from a well placed shot that results in a swift kill, but I suppose even that's, at least partly, because I'm lazy and don't want to chase after it.

There's a lot of work I don't relish that has be done after the kill. By the time I've gutted, skinned, quartered, boned, cleaned, and sliced it into 3/8" thick strips I probably have about 6 hours into it and I still have to dispose of the carcass, cure and dry the meat in the oven for a few hours, and disinfect SWMBO's kitchen.

About the time I seal up the last bit of the 20+ pounds of the best damn jerky you'll ever taste in your life, I come to realize that it's well worth the trouble. No, I don't see myself relegated to killing paper targets any time soon.

August 12, 2008, 08:38 PM
I quit hunting when I moved to Texas. It's big money to hunt here. Almost no public land.
Anyway, I only hunt for meat or, occasionally, to put down a dangerous or injured animal. Much as I love venison, getting a lease just costs too much.
To cap it off, we keep having extended power outages that spoil whatever's in the freezer. To kill a game animal and then let the meat spoil - that's just wrong.

So until things change for me, I'll just keep punching paper.

August 12, 2008, 08:39 PM
I am 25 and have never shot an animial. I felt bad the one time I cleaned a fish.

August 12, 2008, 08:45 PM
I probably wouldn't shoot a bear or moose for sport but deer/antelope I somehow don't mind as much however I only hunt pests as of now, that may change however

August 12, 2008, 09:05 PM

I understand exactly what you mean; as I get older, the demands of so many other things have taken its toll on my recreational time. And as hunting buddies move away or have less free time like I do, and as prime hunting areas continue to dwindle, I find myself taking more photos than shots at the wildlife. Probably just part of the natural degeneration of the hunter/gatherer in us.

August 12, 2008, 09:24 PM
Hunting is my first love, and really I would love to get out there more often than I do now, but to me it's all about the hunting part of it, which is all done by the time you shoot.

I do like to get a deer into the freezer - our whole family likes venison, but I'm not as driven to hunt as I used to be.

In the past several years, I haven't had much opportunity to deer hunt more than one or two times a season, but last year my son got his first deer - I was in the stand with him and it was the best hunt I've ever been on.

August 12, 2008, 09:34 PM
It is my strong opinion that a spider,mouse,deer,or any animal are all on the same plane.HOWEVER,we need to take into account a bigger picture,such as:What happens if we don't keep their populations in check?Are they beneficial?How much damage do they do?Does my killing them do more harm, or more good?We all have to answer those questions for ourselves.

August 12, 2008, 09:35 PM

I don't know if it's our own realization of our own mortality, or just getting old and tired and a little bit lazy.

I know my dad and my uncles(well past retirement age) not only don't hunt, they don't even shoot their guns. they still like guns. They still have lots of them. They just don't feel the need to shoot them anymore. I suppose it makes sense if you think about it. Once you' ve been there and done it so many times, your urge to do it again gets less and less.

How many times do you feel the need to try out for a football team? Or race a hotrod? Or go to a gym and see how much you can bench press? Odds are, if you are past 30, not very often. But if you are 20, maybe once or twice a day. or more.

August 12, 2008, 09:43 PM
99% of the actual killing I do is deer shot on crop damage permits - maybe 15-20 does in a summer. There is a valid purpose for that. I'll go hunting during the regular deer season and if I see a really fine buck I may shoot it. But I won't care if I don't.

Same with fishing. I lived in Florida on a great Bass lake - I fished a lot and, counting all sizes caught about 200 Bass a year. 7 and 8-pounders were fairly commonplace. I like to use flyfishing equipment and never made a lot of effort to go after "lunkers". My best fish, however, was about two minnows shy of 12 lbs. according to my little scale. After admiring it a few minutes I slipped it back in the water. There was simply no possible, conceivable way in this World I could kill that magnificant creature.


August 13, 2008, 11:09 AM
for me its a protein harvest with some sport and fun built in.
I get great satisfaction form laying out a glorious feast for family and friends. Saturday evening we had a nice tomato and greens salad, wonderful grilled venison, fresh beets, greenbeans, homemade wine, and a berry honey crisp for desert. The butter, salt and pepper was the only store-bought food on the table. Everthing else was grown, picked, harvested, or killed right here.
it tastes great, its healthy, it cost little more than time, and I don't rely on anybody else for it.

Art Eatman
August 13, 2008, 11:28 AM
Sorta hard, nowadays, for me to eat a whole deer. :D

I've read that there is a normal progression through a hunter's years. Young, almost anything from a chee-chee bird through rabbits and on to deer are at risk. Some settling down to serious hunting for a decade or two. Then, more interest in passing along one's knowedge, and less interest in more than the occasional kill "to keep your hand in". Finally, it's mostly about teaching and BSing around a campfire...

Helluva note for me to think I'm normal...


August 13, 2008, 03:27 PM
I used to hunt every chance I got. Now the only hunting I do is hog with black powder rifle. I think many things have added to the current situation. Age, harder to find open hunting lands (especially here in Georgia), and time available to name a few.

August 13, 2008, 03:39 PM
Wow - enough people in my family have either died or quit hunting. The ones who quit still eat venison so they buy extra tags for my dad and I to fill.

Needless to say - every fall is extremely busy for us.

August 13, 2008, 05:54 PM
Thanks for the input guys....It seems I'm in the majority anyway.....I also love to fish........Shawnee, I've tossed back every fish I've caught in the last 15 years or so. Catching them is a thrill.....but eating them isn't my thing....I'm a red meat, chicken and pork kinda' guy.

There is nothing like an early morning on the lake or in the woods. I don't mind not catching or shooting anything at all.

I also understand the conservation aspect of it all. I think hunting is a good way to ensure a healthy animal population. My brothers father-in-law works for the TWRA and our lincense fees pay his income along with supporting conservation. It's money well spent in my book.

August 13, 2008, 08:40 PM
There is nothing like an early morning on the lake or in the woods. I don't mind not catching or shooting anything at all.
Your not alone Damon555, nothing like that privilege of experiencing Mother Nature in an almost religious setting at times. Your senses seem enhanced and on edge. You know what I mean. I killed a lot of animals in my younger days but I won't do it now unless there is no choice. I still live and breathe firearms but just for my own satisfaction and paper punching. I do some amateur gunsmithing and have built a few of my own rifles of late but just to achieve that fleeting perfect group.


August 13, 2008, 08:45 PM
I hear Ya Damon...

Except for Crappies ("Specks" in FL), I've tossed everything back since I don't know when. Crappies are just too good to eat. :)

August 14, 2008, 01:22 AM
As I grow older I have become less interested in harvesting game. i much rather enjoy these years chatting with my dad in the field about my girls and their future. This year my oldest will be six and it is time to pass on our family traditions to her. i look forward to a winter dove hunt watching her bird dog for her grandfather and myself.

The Tourist
August 14, 2008, 01:50 AM
I feel the same way as I have aged.

At our old house we had a number of unique looking squirrels and rabbits. It got to the point that my wife and I named them. We began leaving out nuts and carrots while other neighbors were putting up chicken-wire fences.

At that time I kind of knew that my view of the world was taking a dynamic change. I began selling off my varmint rifles shortly after that.

Don't ever ask if your true feelings are correct. They are correct for you, and that's all that matters. You also reach another point in life where you don't give a crap what people think.

When that feeling arrives, there's a blessed peace. You now longer have to carry the heavy weight of "macho."

Art Eatman
August 14, 2008, 10:37 AM
For me, there was never any "macho" in it. I wuz sorta like Hank, Jr., carrying on an old family tradition--and venison and quail are yummy. It''s just that as I got older, it became just as much fun to help others catch a deer. Same deal as moderating here and in the Rifle forum: Pass along what I've had a lot of fun in learning.

I don't think I'd pass up a bragging buck, though. I wouldn't brag, 'cause, "When your work speaks for itself, let it." :D


August 14, 2008, 10:44 AM
I haven't hunted in years. No bad feelings about it, just haven't had time.

But the fun part of the hunt for me comes in the preparation; the finding of good sign, the track and the stalk.

The very best part comes--for me--if I have the animal centered in the scope and my finger on that trigger. At that instant, you KNOW that you have taken the animal. You can do the same, actually, with a camera. Some call it lens-hunting.

My dad and his folks used to call it counting coup.

And I still do.

The Tourist
August 14, 2008, 11:21 AM
just haven't had time

This phrase seems to pop up many times from many folks on many issues.

Too busy to ride. Too busy to hunt. Too busy to "go out with the boys." Too busy to mow my yard.

The real reason is that either priorities changed, or folks were just sick of playing the game.

My Dad used to mow the yard every Saturday morning. He was a perfectionist. He also used to paint his house like most people would paint the Mona Lisa. When he retired he hired guys. I don't think he ever really cared to begin with. He simply moved to the suburbs where everyone else mowed on Saturday.

In my slice of the world I was known as the compassionate jokester, the skirt chaser/catcher. Now idiots get run over by my Harley. Twice this week I had to chase smokers away from gas pumps with bitter tirades.

Oh, I always was the angry young man. I simply covered the anger with decorum and tact. The movie idea of "No Time For Sergeants" has now become 'no time for idiots.'

So when a man opines that he does not have the time to shave everyday, I begin to wonder what is really the underlying factor. I believe I was shoved into college and I should have never entered. I've been unhappy in that world ever since.

Something makes older guys respond like this. I think they are finally speaking the truth.

August 14, 2008, 01:16 PM
I enjoy the outdoors and walks in the woods. I have not hunted for over 20 years, but still enjoy shooting and reloading. I do carry a pistol during my walks for protection. My family and I still like to go to the range and kill lots of paper.

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