A Hunter's DNA

By Jeff McKearney

A Hunter's DNAJeff McKearney
Wyoming, 2008, DIY, Public Land

DNA. Life's building blocks - the stuff that determines how we are wired (i.e. eye color, stature, bone density.) This hard wiring is unchangeable. Because of DNA, we are who we are until our lives wind down. After some 35 years spent in the field, I have come to this conclusion: Each of us is also wired with our own unique mix of hunting DNA.

There are meat hunters, tag punchers, big game hunters, upland bird hunters, waterfowl hunters, and countless others, plus hundreds of combinations. However, there is one small band of hunters whose DNA has wired them differently. And taking mature trophy animals is what makes them come alive.

After hunting big game animals with bow and rifle for the last 25 years, I was still not one of them. My DNA pushed me in another direction: Fill as many tags as possible. Volume was king. If it had horns, that was good enough for me. The downside to that kind of mindset is that every season ended the same - limited satisfaction and plenty of unimpressive photos.

To increase the satisfaction level, I moved to hunting with traditional archery equipment. I bought a longbow and even went so far as to make a couple of my own recurve bows, along with countless dozen wooden arrows. I killed plenty of animals and felt I had accomplished something (I’m still in the camp that believes any big game animal with traditional equipment is a trophy.) However, the deer were still sub-par and the photo album not worth pulling out. Enter EHJ and EBJ.

I stumbled upon EHJ and EBJ after moving to Wyoming in the summer of 2002. With five years of Eastmans’ under my belt, I was ready to be rewired. Great stories and trophy animals catalogued with excellent photos gets inside you after a while. The bar was raised. I was determined to be a part of that.

A Hunter's DNA

For a full account of Jeff's adventure, go to page 44 in the August/September 2009 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.