Keeping Older Hunters Interested. How can it be done?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Hokkmike, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. WisBorn

    WisBorn Member

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    I'm so happy to say/see my 81year old father joining me out bow hunting today.
    He hasn't bow hunted the last couple of years. I made it a little easier for him by giving him my Ten Point crossbow to use. After I few practice shots he is confident and excited about being out.
     
  2. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I am 65, but this took place 25 years ago.

    I was on a large lease, usually 15-20 in hunting camp.

    They all got up at 5am, moving around camp, talking, drinking coffee and banging through the woods, headed to their stands at 5:30.
    At 9:00, they all got their stand and came to camp for breakfast. Then, heading back to the stand at 3:00.

    For the 7 years I was on this lease; I would sleep in, have a hot, leisurely breakfast, clean up camp and be ready to slip out of camp, as the others were coming in. Several of them commenting on my spending "all day" on stand.

    I took 17 deer on that lease. Every one of them between 11:00 and 1:00.

    Rarely was a deer taken early or late in the day.


    As to the OP, I BELIEVE there isn't a loss of interest, but a loss of confidence, security, ability, mobility, cognitive and physical skill.

    Many days, I want to go fishing. Being alone, on muddy bank, concerns me enough, I don't go.

    Back around '84, we had got on a new duck lease. The 4 of us arrive opening morning and find 2 older gentlemen sitting around a small fire pit. Mr. Parker was 92 and had cancer. His friend / neighbor, Jim was 78 and had brought him out " to watch the ducks, one last time. "

    From the camp to the lake was around 600 yards and water could not be seen.

    I asked them if they wanted to sit at the lake?
    They declined, that it was too far for Mr Parker.

    I explained that I was driving to our blind, dropping everything and driving back to camp.
    While I walked to the blind, the others worked on blind and put out decoys.

    They decided to join us. Though, neither had brought a gun.

    The ducks were flying good. My dog was working to perfection. I asked Mr. Parker if he wanted to shoot? He was hesitant, being small of stature and sick. My son gave up his 20ga 3" 870 and I gave Mr. Jim my 12ga.

    Working the calls, they each had 3-4 ducks, in about 30 minutes.

    Finished the hunt, got my truck and delivered them to camp. We cooked duck and rice for lunch. Took a nap. Repeated the morning, that afternoon.

    They left that evening, grinning and exhausted.

    Two weeks later, we arrived to find Mr Jim. He told us how they had seen 10 others come through, before us. Nobody had spoken or acknowledged their presence. They were discussing leaving, when we arrived. He talked of Mr. Parker's excitement, watching the ducks respond to our calls, the dog working, and how happy he was that we had our sons with us. He then told us, Mr. Parker had passed yesterday. He thanked, with tears in his eyes, for making one last great memory for his friend.

    Do they/we lose interest? I don't think so. We lose those willing to accommodate us.
     
  3. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    ^^^
    Thank you for sharing that story. You guys did a VERY Good thing... :thumbup:
     
  4. hps1

    hps1 Member

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    DITTO Well played @ Seedy Character!

    It's been too many years ago for me to remember the names, but 40-50 years ago one of our members brought an elderly gentleman in his 90's who was confined to assisted living to the deer lease as a guest. He gleefully joined in that evening in the customary domino game in the cook shack and next morning at breakfast, couldn't say enough how much he enjoyed the comradery. He talked about his enjoyment all the way to the blind that morning.

    He was dropped off at a blind about 100 yards from the corner of a pasture and his host chose another blind right around the corner so he could be near his guest.

    About mid-morning, the member shot a buck and walked around the corner to check on his guest. As he told his guest of his deer, another buck stepped out and stood in the sendero. The member told his guest to shoot the buck, but the guest was unable to hold steady enough until the member knelt down and the guest rested his rifle on member's shoulder. At the shot, the buck dropped and before the member could stand up, he felt the rifle slide off his shoulder. Long story short, the guest had had a massive heart attack.

    The member rushed the guest to nearest hospital but he was DOA.
    It was a very sad moment, but after the rest of the members picked up and field dressed the two bucks and learned that our guest had not survived, we all agreed that, if we had a choice, that is a great way to check out. At 85, I don't get out nearly as much as I would like, but go every chance I do get, and still agree, what a way to go!

    Regards,
    hps
     
  5. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I can think of worse ways to go.

    My hope is that enough "youngsters" see these stories.

    There have been State sponsored programs, asking to "take a kid hunting/fishing/shooting";
    Well, take a Senior, too.

    You might learn a trick or two and I promise you, the blessing you receive is greater than gold.
     
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  6. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I guess I am one of those older hunters that have lost interest. The things that used to be fun and easy have gotten difficult for me to do. Like whats been said, a warm bed, comfortable restroom and a comfortable recliner all compete with a cold deer stand. I can't walk and stalk anymore and sitting on a lean-up ladder stand or a climbing stand is uncomfortable, plus they are hard for me to get into. So I have built 2 new stands that are more comfortable and easier to enter. I have another that I plan to replace the tubing ladder with stairs. I closed it in last year and added windows. The plastic buckets have been replaced with chairs. They have shelves in them for my binoculars and coffee cup and hooks to hang my sling and lense covers on. Hopefully this will entice me to get out of bed!

    Years ago, when I could walk and stalk I built a lightweight rifle. The rifle never shot really well, about an inch at 100 yards. But it was good enough to kill Deer is several different States and a few different Countries. The new build will be my version of a short barrel tactical rifle. A fluted Krieger barrel, synthetic stock, Jewell Trigger, Badger Rings and rail and a Nightforce Scope on a stainless 40X action. Hopefully this will revive my interest!

    But my main motivation are younger hunters. I've sat on a Dove field with my oldest Granddaughter when She saw Her first Sunrise. I've sat on the same Dove field and in a Deer stand with my oldest Grandson. I gave him the rifle that He hunts with and just recently a nice custom knife. My other Granddaughter painted a couple of those stands that we built.
     
  7. lightman

    lightman Member

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    That was a great story! Good on you for being that considerate and accommodating.
     
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  8. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

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    JMHO- from the things I see in my area,
    the antler bragging rights competition has
    ruined deer hunting for a lot of long time
    hunters. I've got some old 50 year plus
    racks from my father's deer, and many in
    2021 would scoff or be po'ed to see how
    "small " they are, even though they were
    mature deer. There's way too many people
    worrying about what the other guy is
    shooting with, and if the scope used cost
    enough, or was the person wearing the
    appropriate expensive "hunting" apparel,
    and so on, etc. etc.
    I'm of the opinion that if someone shoots
    a deer of whatever age or rack size or
    whatever, as long as it's all legal that the
    rest of the world shouldn't worry about it
    in the least and go about their own business

    Hunt your own hunt and let me hunt mine
     
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  9. 1eyeedshooter

    1eyeedshooter Member

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    As i said i am 75 season opens in two days and i can't sleep at night, the hunting fever will never leave me ever !!!
     
  10. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

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    ^ ^ ^ this ^ ^ ^
    If the day ever came that I didn't get the
    adrenaline rush, I'd stay at home.
    That's why I've never understood those
    people that say they " get bored "
    I can't understand anybody being " bored "
    when hunting, fishing, or camping.
    They're going about it all wrong
     
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  11. jmuv

    jmuv Member

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    Opening day of duck season on the Louisiana coast today. My college roommate and I made our annual opening morning again. We both know that any morning we could wake up to the fact that one of us will never sit in the old blind again. Thankfully that time hasn’t come yet. We shot 7 ducks, watching a beautiful sunrise and reminisced about our younger days and those who are no longer with us. I am fond of saying that “ I am just not as mad as I used to be at the ducks.” Killing the ducks is secondary to spending time with great friends and enjoying God’s great outdoors.
     
  12. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

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    That's ^ ^ the way I've been looking at each
    hunting or fishing trip I get to make for some years now. It really hits home laying in the
    hospital bed, or the doctor's waiting room.
    I give thanks for every sunrise I get to see,
    every fish pulling on my line, every bird
    or animal when I first touch it, for every
    unblemished star filled night sky I get to see
     
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  13. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    A couple years ago my Dad (age 72 now) showed up at the house in the early morning wanting me to go hunting with him. We spent the morning on top of a hill in a blind when this fair size buck comes walking up towards the ditch. Dad aimed his rifle then... whistled... Of course the buck looked our way for 3 seconds then was gone. Now keep in mind I had just spent several hours in the cold freezing my good temper off and I snapped at him asking what the <redacted> he thought he was doing. He looked me in the eye and with that insufferable calm voice of his said simply - I just didn't feel hungry...

    On the way home it hit me, he has a son and two son in laws (not to mention a daughter he refuses to acknowledge is a girl) to harvest the venison. He's passed the responsibility of keeping food on the table to the next generation. He can sit in the blind and watch the deer go past or stay home and drink his coffee because he has paid his dues and a good father never lets his children forget how the world works.
     
  14. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I went on a goose hunt with oldest son and 3 grandsons.

    The youngest grandson was 12 and did not have a shotgun.

    After getting our decoys out and blinds set up, i told oldest grandson to give his gun to his brother. I have my shotgun and shells to him.

    I spent the morning calling, watching them all get shoot and taking pics.

    Best hunt is ever went on.
     
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  15. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    I don't think is loss of interest so much as it's lack of ability to participate in the hunting.
    Even at my age I have found it's getting hard to make myself get up early in the morning from a warm bed to sit in the cold for a chance that a deer just may come by. If there were more deer it would be a little more chance of seeing something. I figure it's a successful hunt just to see deer anymore, much less get a shot off or harvest an animal.
    I have been noticing that my hunts are getting less & less deep into the woods. There used to be cuts made through the woods for pipes or electric poles with lines running through them that would make it easy to walk, but the last ten years or so the state doesn't keep these lanes open. Most all of the easy walk lanes have grown over & it hard for older hunter to get through without tripping.
    The insurance co has pushed the state to keep less & less deer population that most don't think it is worth the effort to keep up with the hunting experience. The states are allowing so many deer to be harvested that now I see more deer in the suburbs & city edges than the hunting woods.
     
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  16. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Well this year is the first year I hunted deer in about 5-6 years, thanks entirely to my oldest son who prepared me for the hunt of a lifetime as I'm 74, and not in the best of health any more. We stayed in his trailer he had parked on his property ( quite a while ago) the night before the hunt. The afternoon before the hunt we went and set up a portable blind with a portable heater, as well as a comfortable chair for me to sit in with my rifle. The night before we went and slept in his trailer, and woke up at 4:00AM to coffee and breakfast burritos he had heated up. Shortly after that we had an additional cup of coffee, and at about quarter to 6:00AM headed out to the hunting area by a side X side . He made sure I got into the blind OK, and then let me know where abouts he was going to be, and made sure my cell phone was on mute with only the vibrator working so as not to scare any of the game, He also told me about where the deer would be coming from. Just about day break, in fact less than a 1/2hour into the new season, low and behold, a nice 10 point buck came my way taking his sweet time. Naturally my eye-sight is still good as well as my shooting ability, so just one shot from my newly acquired Ruger 6.5 Creedmoor I downed him with one shot. That deer is definitely not a trophy deer but he is to me and so will be in my memory bank for a good many years.
     
  17. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    OUTSTANDING!!!
     
  18. longbeard92

    longbeard92 Member

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    Shot a buck this morning. It took two hours to get it out of the woods alone. Funny, there were only a couple comments above about wanting to hunt to get venison for the freezer. My wife almost never buys beef. We eat venison. That’s why at 71 I’m still hunting. Oh, and next Saturday is the Wisconsin gun opener and I look forward to being in deer camp with my two sons and my 13 year-old grandson. I thank my Lord for the strength to still do this, but, man, I hurt tonight!
     
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  19. 27hand

    27hand Member

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    Ahhhh, Hunting season.
    I was lucky enough to shoot a small doe this past Saturday so, I'm still interested.
    I hunted thru most of the early archery season 20 feet above the ground in my cantilevered tree platform.
    All the deer I had seen in late summer crawled into a hole with the exception of a few young 5 points and a small 8.

    Come rifle season, I was in Tionesta where we had a couple inches of snow each day. Man does snow make a difference just in the feel of being in the woods.
    I didn't see many deer but did have a 4 point come past at 15 yards. I always have a revolver on my weak side for the deer coming in from my blind side. I pulled the gun and aimed at the young 4 and could easily have shot it had it been legal.

    No deer from there, we moved the last part of the week to another area about a half hour from home.
    I was snuggled behind a fallen log and got busted by 2 doe. We stared at each other and I never got the pistol into position. I think I heard laughter as they ran away. They stopped at the crest of a hill but it was a no shoot presentation.

    I moved about 75 yards and saw a doe running that had been spooked from below. I found her in the scope on 3X as she slowed to a walk and stopped.
    I could not see her head, front or back legs from trees she was behind but she did leave me the sweet spot behind the shoulder exposed.

    I placed the reticle of the Leupold VX5Hd at the right spot and pressed off a round. She went down like a Hammer hit her. The Tikka T3x in .300 WM was loaded with 166 gr Hammer Hunters over RL23.
    Over kill for doe, yes but I wanted to see how my elk rifle would do.

    I used this load.
    51620044680_f56e157d63_k.jpg 2021-10-22_04-04-53 by poofy27, on Flickr

    And ended up with this.
    51730715280_590635ebbd_k.jpg 2021-12-06_06-36-45 by poofy27, on Flickr

    Ahhh, I could taste the tenders just looking at her. Ha.
    The drag was only about 500 yards but the new knee and the old one were both not liking me.

    A few days later on Tuesday, I opted for my tree stand behind my house. Twas a bit chilly the first 3 hours so I called it and went 90 feet to my house to warm up.
    At about 3, I went back up.
    At 4ish, a small 8 point with a doe following came in to about 50 yards. I glassed them and saw the 8 was legal (we need 3 points up without the brow to be legal).
    I put the binoc down, watched them come in, flipped the safety off the Ten Point Wicked Ridge Stealth FX4 at 30 yards. He stopped. Not sure if he saw movement or scented me but stood just about broadside for 20 seconds.
    I pressed the trigger and sent a bolt to a happy spot.
    The Spitfire 100s mechanical opened up just right.
    It was strange to see him basically drop to his chest, kick his hind legs 3 or 4 times to the edge of a steep hill and slide 50 yards to the bottom.

    I watched him for about 15 min to make sure he was done done.
    I got out of the tree and took most of my gear to my garage.
    i got in my truck, drove around to the bottom of the hill and cleaned him.
    He ended up about 50 feet from where I parked.

    51732254668_ce36a29e58_k.jpg 2021-12-07_07-29-05 by poofy27, on Flickr

    Both deer were small but at 72, small is good.

    The Hammer Hunter bullet I used for the doe had a really big exit wound.

    51729831121_87a0cda50d_k.jpg 2021-12-06_06-36-34 by poofy27, on Flickr

    Only one of my friends did good so far.
    The other 3 are minimalists and only hunt a few days here and there.

    I'm still motivated to get out there even though some days are tough.
    I suppose it's because I love being out there, successful or not.

    I watched gray herrons, sparrow hawks, turkey, squirrels, chippies andbirds, just loving the out doors.

    This older hunter is still interested.
     
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  20. longbeard92

    longbeard92 Member

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    Good story, 27hand. I can’t imagine yet not getting out there. But I agree, it is getting harder.
    Yum…chops and onions, mushrooms and gravy.
     
  21. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    Well I had to "tap out" this rifle season cause I ended up with a very tenacious version of a cold that's been going around. (Yes just a cold, I've been tested...) Bow season still goes on and there's an antlerless season after New Years so still have a chance.
     
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  22. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    Sorry to hear you were under the weather.

    The KS late doe season (at work we call it "loser week") is my favorite season. No question about waiting for a bigger rack, just how bad of a drag will it be. My personal philosophy is not to shoot hard to drag out does. My boy's coming back from school and will hunt, so it's sitting in a heated box blind sipping hot chocolate waiting for him to shoot one, then pick it up with the tractor.

    Late doe really takes the "pressure" off the regular season knowing there's 9 days of "fill the freezer" in JAN. By then my back-door does have fattened up on apple flavored corn and have had time to recover from the general rifle season pressure. The antler chasing guys are done, and I've got free reign on my neighbors place to boot.
     
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  23. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    "Loser week" sounds kinda harsh... o_O
    I like to think of it as "Plan B". :)
    ;)
     
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  24. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    That's the fort for ya, it's a tough business with an abundance of type "A" personalities:D.

    Everybody's looking for a record book rack...until it's over and on to "Plan B"!
     
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  25. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I used to love it when PA had a separate doe season after the 2 week buck season. It was only 2 or 3 days long, but you knew you were going to get some shooting, which got my adrenalin flowing as soon as I loaded my rifle. I used to hunt with my Dad and we generated many good hunting stories, and almost always filled a freezer.

    I got a nice doe in archery season this year, which took the pressure off in rifle season. I probably only hunted 5 or 6 hours then. Sitting in the woods one afternoon I had ticks crawling all over me. I've never seen it as bad as it is this year.
     
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