Monday, January 15, 2007

Thinking of taking up hunting?

by Othmar Vohringer
So you want to become a hunter. But unlike most hunters you have no family background experience to draw from. I admire you for the decision you are making, despite the bad rap hunting and hunters get these days in the one-sided politically correct media.
Of course you know that hunters are not primitive Neanderthals, and that is why you press on with your wish. But you have questions, many question. How do I get started? Whom am I going to ask? What will all the equipment needed cost me? And finally but not last, why do we hunt?

I know about the questions you have, because I have heard them often asked myself. I get many emails asking me something like – “how can I become a hunter?” or “what do I need to do before I can go hunting?” It was emails and letters like these that gave me the idea to write this column and answer to everybody that is interested in becoming a hunter but does not know where to turn too.

If you want to become a hunter for the sole reason to shoot with guns and kill something, hunting is not for you. In fact, you never will become a hunter.
I know, I know:
The anti-hunters keep telling everybody that hunting is for feeble minded, drunken slobs that have a perverted joy for killing. If they only would know what a real hunter is all about.

I thought for some time how I am going to write this column and what advice I could possibly pass on. Then it hit me and a thousand light bulbs went off simultaneously in my head. You see, we hunters are all different, some hunt with bow and arrow while others use high-powered rifles, but one thing we all have in common is a deep respect for nature and animals and we all feel privileged to take part in the important task of wildlife and nature stewardship.

Hunters for the most part are a friendly and outgoing bunch. This comes from being close to nature - the root of our very existence - and understanding our place within it. We love to sit together by the campfire exchanging knowledge, experiences and yes, sometimes telling tall tales too. With this in mind I thought, “Why not enlist the help of other hunters in providing some of the answers?” So, I posted a topic on the BCHunting Forum and my own SHS Hunting Chat Forum asking for some input on the subject from my fellow hunters.

So if you’re thinking of getting into hunting it would be worth your while to stop in at the HuntingBC and the SHS Hunting Chat Forum. Better yet, register as a member. You will need to choose a user name. If you are looking for me, I go by the user name of “Huntwriter” at HuntingBC forum and by my first name “Othmar” at SHS Hunting Chat Forum. Both of these forums have a special section dedicated to the newcomers, both young and old. You’ll meet many hunters and huntresses willing to share their knowledge with a newcomer (and plenty of strong opinions too.)

Such forums are great places where you will find topics on just about any issue concerning hunting, such as different game species hunting, different styles of hunting methods, hunting politics and much more. Like I said, we talk about every issue that concerns our sport. Look around on the forums and you’re bound to find members from your area. Many lasting friendships are formed between hunters this way by the sharing of our common interest.

What follows now are some thoughtful and knowledgeable quotes from a variety of experienced hunters that I received when I posted this question: “What is your advice on getting into hunting?”

416: “My first question would be how does the perspective hunter feel about being responsible for taking the life of an animal. Everything else is secondary in terms of what you use, seasons, species etc.
I understand my place on the big wheel of life and its a fact that l need nourishment to survive and that usually come at the expense of something else. How a person makes peace with himself over this issue has a lot to with how enjoyable the total experience is perceived. Personally, if l have done everything l can to make the harvest as quick and humane as possible, it’s good…”

Rod: “While starting small can be a benefit it certainly isn't necessary, choose what interests you and give the animal the respect it deserves regardless of size. If you are not going to put it to use then don't kill it PERIOD…”

Vadim: “I would say that it would probably be a good idea for a person who thinks that they would like to go hunting, to go out with an experienced hunter to see weather or not it really is for them…”

Gatehouse: “Internet sites like this help as well, as hunters tend to be a pretty good bunch, and many new hunters have been taken out by more experienced ones that they meet here. I've taken out several (I think 5) new hunters that I met on one site or another…”

Bsa 30-60: “When I first started hunting I know I asked the same questions over and over and to many different people and always got different answers. Once I had these answers I was able to decide what was best for me…”

Bushman: “…I think that besides hammering the point of the importance of safety at all times, the best advice I could give an up-and-coming hunter would be to obtain books (perhaps from the library if you can't afford to buy them) written on each and every animal or bird they intend to pursue…”

Sideofbarn: “…I hunted with a friend who was at my level for a time, and I cherish those experiences as we found things out together…”

Phil: “…New hunters should spend time with the people who inspire them to hunt. Hunting is contagious and eventually family friends become interested in it. The excitement of a new hunter makes hunting new again for experienced hunters…”

Fisher101: “I think you should always start by asking a lot of questions from older hunter or at least hunters that have been hunting for a while…”

Retiredmedic: “First, I would let a new hunter use one of my weapons on his first hunt. Some people state they don't know if they can harvest a animal and to buy a weapon and find it's not for them is a waste of cash…”

Tobybenoit: “It is important to learn the basics of the hunt, i.e. when and when not to move, sitting quiet and still, looking, listening, and basic safety…”

So there you have it. Lots of good points have been made and more can be read on the forums. Why not introduce yourself, and perhaps a friend too, to hunting by joining a forum and get involved. Make some friends, have fun and become part of an important heritage. As I said before, hunting is part of human nature. The only difference is, some deny and suppress it and others enjoy it.

Here are the links to the forums mentioned in this column. HuntingBC and SHS Hunting Chat Forum.

Note: I have created a new blog, "My Stand" where I will post bi-weekly outdoor activity related columns.


Matt Coughlin said...

Great topic, and some great tips from experienced hunters.

I decided to start hunting rather late in life--my late 20s--and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I say without hestitation that hunting has helped me mature and made me a better person.

My advice to anyone getting into hunting now: take your time; be patient; it's never wrong to not shoot; eat what you kill. Savor every moment of the hunt and every bite of the game!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks Matt for the good advice you give here to newcomers to the sport.

-Othmar Vohringer-

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