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The way they hunt
They hunt all throughout their thrilling lives, when they are young and when they are old. What’s the point? Why are they hunting? What is hunting? According to Google, hunting is the pursuit and killing of a wild animal for either food or sport. However, before pursuing an animal, they must first be safe.The way that new or young hunters hunt can be broken down into five stages, and these stages work to make a hunter a true sportsman. Each stage is full of new and exciting opportunities that leads people to become the great hunters they were meant to be.
Before trying to obtain all these different stages of hunting, new or young hunters should begin by first taking a hunters safety course. That way there not a danger to themselves or to anyone else. Hunter’s safety is a course that only lasts for a couple of days. It is designed to expose young or new hunters to proper safety measures, such as, teaching them the right way to handle firearms and being able to deal with difficult situations that could come up when in the field. It teaches them the right way to ask permission from a landowner if they can hunt their property. Overall, it takes an average Joe and makes him into a safe and ethical hunter. Now they have their hunter’s safety. From here, there are five directions that they can go. Each one a little more different from the last, but just as rewarding. These five stages are the shooting stage, limiting-out stage, trophy stage, method stage, and the sportsman stage.
“Every successful hunter has to be a “shooter” sometime.” - Huntershooter solution
New or young hunters start off by seeing someone shooting on TV, in a video game or from a family member, and they instantly think, “That is something I want to do.” They think that it would be so cool to kill something and to eat it. They believe that it will be so easy. All they need to do is get a gun and start shooting at some deer.
People in this stage are just getting interested in hunting and are even more interested in shooting a gun. They love to lay down cover fire. At this point it doesn’t matter what they hit, they just want to pull the trigger. Take for example, this kid named Beau who is taking a hunting class. According to John Overstake, an instructor at a shotgun station for a youth hunter education challenge, he knew it was Beau’s first time shooting a shotgun at clay birds. Mr. Overstake went through the proper safety measures that must be followed at the range, and finally it was time to shoot. Beau got up to the shooting spot calling for the first bird -- BANG. A miss. Beau continued to miss that whole day as he called for the birds. Beau wanted to pull the trigger so much that he didn’t take his time to aim. He just fired.
Shooters at this stage can be seen as a high risk because they aren’t concerned with what they are shooting at. They just want to pull the trigger as fast as they can. Missing a shot at an animal happens to even the best shooters, but when they repeatedly miss and won’t take the proper steps to sight in a firearm, they become a risk to both themselves and others. When hunting an animal, the death should be as quick as possible, that way the animal doesn’t have to suffer.
“Success is determined by bagging the limit. In extreme cases, this need to limit out also can cause hunters to take unsafe shots.” - Real Hunter
Hunters have moved out of the last stage where they just wanted to shoot a ton, and now all the shooting doesn’t get the hunter excited. Now they have to get a return out of their shots, which means that they have to fill all their tags. Take for example, duck hunters. Brent Buech, a licensed taxidermy and welder at his father's welding shop states, “Them duck hunters love to lay down some shot.” Buech talked about how he loves to hunt, but those duck hunters put him on edge because they just got to get them birds.
At this stage hunters will go hunting and try to fill all their tags even if it means taking a young not mature animal because all they are focused on is limiting out. They can be seen as a risk as well because they want to get that animal and will continue to shoot until they do. Shooting like this can be dangerous since the hunter isn’t worried about where the bullets are flying. They just want that animal so they can fill their tags. However, when hunting with other mature hunters this type of dangerous hunting can be resolved over time, and then the hunter will be ready for the next stage.
“The satisfaction of a hunter in the Trophy stage is described in terms of selectivity of game.” –Firearmuser
Hunters at this stage have matured from the first two stages. Instead of being impulsive shooters, who want to pull the trigger at anything that moves to get that rush and fill tags, they are now patient and ethical hunters who only want the biggest and most mature animals. They pick and choose what they want, which could be an animal that scores the most or a big animal that offers a lot of food. Take for example, Nathan Kilburg, a sheet metal worker who helps install metal roofs and trim, he likes to do deer home butchers, making the meat just the way that he likes it. When Nathan goes hunting, he looks for exactly what he wants, whether that be a deer with a huge rack or one that has a ton of meat on it.
Hunters at the trophy stage usually want to score a trophy animal; that way they feel like they have a sense of accomplishment and have something to be proud of. Hunters at this point are so much safer than hunters in the first two stages because they are taking their time to get the perfect shot, so they then know exactly what they are shooting at. They identify which animal they want to take. Then in a safe manner they proceed to take the best shot to ensure that they get that animal.
“The process and challenge of hunting becomes the primary focus of the hunter.” – Texas parks and wildlife
By this point, the hunter is mature and safe in their practices, but the hunter has become bored with the same old same old. Therefore, the hunter decides to challenge their own abilities by making the hunts more difficult. One way that they could do this is by shooting a bow, muzzleloader, or even by not using a blind when hunting. An example of this stage can be seen when I hunt. Rather than taking my Mossberg 500, which is a pump-action shotgun, I instead take a single shot. When I am out turkey hunting, I only have one tag, which means that I only need one shot to take down that one bird.
At the fourth stage the hunter is now challenging themselves to the true art of hunting, and by doing so the wildlife being hunted has a better chance in surviving. By making this harder on the hunter, animals have a greater opportunity of getting away from a hunter that has not yet mastered this stage. Since the animal got away, it will then motivate the hunter to try even harder which will in turn make them a better hunter.
“The hunter begins to place the emphasis on the total hunting experience.” – Bass Pro
At this point the hunter has done as much as they can and now seeks to be with friends, family, and out in nature. They have had many years out in the field and don’t really care if they get anything because it is more about the experience and the memories made than actually killing something. They wish to share their knowledge that they have gained over the years with hunters, so that they too can become the best sportsman that they can be. An example is Loren Zaruba, a Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) instructor who has over 40 years of experience as a hunter. Zaruba is the lead instructor of the Clinton County YHEC program and has been involved with YHEC for 26 years. Zaruba loves to hunt, but even more than that, he loves to teach new/young hunters something new and make them a better hunter.
At this final stage, the hunter is striving to teach others about knowledge they have gained from many years of experience. The sportsman is extremely safe when it comes to taking a shot in the field. They always knows their surroundings, and the animal that they are shooting at. They care more about the experience and being safe, than trying to shoot a gun to kill an animal.