It's like this: I really don't want to shoot an animal; watch him stagger and die. That said, I usually hunt with a longbow. Pretty much gave up on rifle hunting (I'm a former SEAL sniper, to give you an idea of skill level) and switched to the stick some years ago. 3 seasons ago I took a beautiful 6X6 elk in Idaho, but did use my rifle there. Even though he was dead before he knew it, sitting beside him still brought some tears. It's not that "high five" moment I've seen on videos. I've had shots that were a certainty if I were to release that arrow, and chose not to. In fact, my most memorable hunt was like that, with a really nice mulie standing broadside 20 yards from me. I had him cold, at full draw, and would not have missed the shot. And he knew it. After a few seconds holding 57lbs at full draw, I let down, and he was gone. I have no problem whatsoever taking grouse with either a bow or the scattergun. Am I just "going soft" or going overboard on sentimentality here?
When I was a kid, I had a pellet gun everywhere I went and even had a bounty my dad paid me on ground squirrels. Early in my big game hunting, I HAD to fill every tag. As I've grown older and am now even a grandpa, my desire to make the "kill" an animal is noticeably waining, but I still love the hunt. I am now getting more involved in helping my wife (who has just started hunting), my sons, and my daughter who will start hunting this year.
BTW...thank you for your service to our country!
Last edited by Umpqua Hunter; 06-26-2013 at 09:35 PM.
Grand Slam #1005 + 2: Dall (1986 Yukon), Fannin/Stone (1987 Yukon), Bighorn (1988 Colorado Unit S-26), Stone (1995 British Columbia), Desert (2001 Nevada Unit 161), Bighorn (2009 Wyoming Unit 5)
When you stop feeling sympathy for an animal you kill, you are no longer hunting for the right reasons. Every animal I kill, I am extremely excited, then followed by some remorse for killing such a magnificent animal. Most non-hunters believe hunters don't love wildlife. They just don't understand.
I will say I have not been able to pull the trigger on a doe Antelope or doe Deer, though I have shot a cow elk. Every year I say on the last day of general deer ill shoot a doe, and every year I have an opportunity but can't do it.
Last edited by ssliger; 06-26-2013 at 05:36 PM.
You are not the only one with this issue, I can guarantee that. I am very similar in many ways (except the SEAL part... thank you for your service by the way). I have trouble justifying a kill just to kill. I don't really hunt for the rack, though I really love seeing them and if they have a big one, even better! I grew up eating wild game, but my wife didn't, so we don't eat too much wild game at the house anymore unless I cook it just right (getting better at this). For this reason, I have trouble taking game. I respect these animals too much to kill an animal just because of its rack or just to say I did. I kill for a reason and that is to eat. If we have meat in the freezer, I may still go hunting, but its more watching than hunting. I wouldn't say you are "going soft". I talked to my dad about this once and he said it is just becoming more respectful of the game. It is becoming more understanding that hunting is not about the kill, but instead is about being with family and friends, getting outdoors, having a good time, and lastly being lucky enough to harvest game. Like you, I too have more interesting and memorable hunting trips where I came home empty handed (on purpose or not) than when I have been successful.
P.S. I don't have any issue taking small game either. Coyote and below not a problem with any weapon. It is mainly the deer sized game and larger that I notice the issues.
Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.
Genesis 27:3 (NKJV)
I've lost the adrenalin rush from pulling the trigger on the rifle/release. I blame it on all the spraying & praying at hogs with no real concern on the location of their decomposition, just as long as they do. Feel worse about deer I've watched 4-6 years that I finally kill, that'll be the last time I get to wake up and go look for him.
I've always had mixed emotions over killing an animal. It is not a small thing to end a life, especially when you don't really need the meat.
Mainly I hunt just to be in the outdoors but just hiking with the backpackers doesn't do it for me. I need the challenge. That's why I mostly bowhunt.
I knew a hunter once who just lived to kill stuff. He even told me he would buy goats and turn them loose so he could shoot and kill them. I worried about that guy and thought he was strange.
Hunting is not really about killing, it's about enjoying the outdoors and the challenge pf the hunt, and for a lot of people, its about good friends and family.
"I knew a hunter once who just lived to kill stuff. He even told me he would buy goats and turn them loose so he could shoot and kill them. I worried about that guy and thought he was strange."
That guy is more than weird and the kind where it would not surprise me if some day he would kill a person just to see what it felt like!
Kind of what I was thinking (although that's what folks do down here with pen raised exotics)
On another forum a couple months ago someone posted "why do you kill?" Some people had one liners some took it to heart and gave the question some thought. Its not a question you typically ask yourself but I enjoy those types of questions.
(Sidenote)Ex. I was having dinner with a man several years ago and talking business, I had no clue what I wanted or what was going on at that time in my life. But I would work all day everyday. 10, 20, 50 bucks an hour I was there. 96 hour weeks I was in. And I never slowed down to think about why until he asked this question. " what do you want in life?" I quickly responded. " to be successful" his response was as fast as mine. " what is successful to you?" Now that threw me into a whirlwind. After all these years of running and gunning blood sweat and tears I had no response. I was chasing a dream I never truly dreamt. Its was quite the life changing question.
Here is the response I posted on the other forum about why I kill.
"For me its a rush to reward factor. There are many ways I get my kicks. Im an adrenaline junky and a perfectionist. That combination culminates into a strong urge to push myself into failure and overcome both physically and mentally in order to receive the reward. I Have yet to find a more challenging sport that offers blissful lifetime memories of the reward.
(The word "sport" is not to be removed from context. All humans in todays modern society can simply work and buy meat to survive. I choose to work for mine at my own diligence. Along with many other reasons. Its not a "game" although it is "sport")
And not to leave out the addiction of feeling true primal instinct take place. A feeling that I believe is different with every circumstance. The longer alone in the hills and the closer the stalk the more you are uncontrollably and usually unnoticeably sucked into a mind frame that is unachievable in any other circumstance. Once the hunt is over and your back to reality its not conceivable to replace that mindset or replicate it in any form. Ever."
I think the entire hunting world is a bit commercialized and people tend to redevelop why there out there. Its in our genetic make up to hunt. But has been absolutely twisted by fist pumps and sponsorships to a point where sometimes we forget we are there to make memories, spend time with friends and family away from technology, utilize our instincts and skill as the smartest animal on the planet. also enjoy a truly organic fuel and feeling for our bodies. regardless of horn size and how light you were able to get your pack before heading out.
Sorry if I got a bit off the subject just my .02 cents.
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It is said that hunters go thru several stages in their life. When I was in my teens and twenties, I did not consider a hunt successful unless I killed something. As I matured and starting having kids my perspective changed. When my kids were young, I considered my time hunting as a break and did not care as much about killing something. Just enjoyed my time in the woods. Now that I'm in my forties, I enjoy taking my kids out and teaching them what my father taught me. I enjoy them taking animals more then myself. Don't get me wrong, I still get a thrill at watching my arrow double lung a buck or watch an antelope drop after a shot. If I didn't; I would stop hunting. Its just that I don't judge a hunt based solely on a kill.