Remember: Hunting is Fun


Somehow we have forgotten that hunting today is about being outdoors, perhaps companionship, enjoying nature.

There are some in the hunting fraternity that believe going a season without bringing anything home is a disaster. Really? When did that law pass? And what governor signed it?

It’s okay to smile and shake your head when someone asks, did you get your elk?

Look, most of us are not going to find a cure for cancer, bat cleanup for a major league baseball team or walk on Mars. So why not enjoy the little victories life offers.

Victories like hunting with a good friend.

Like seeing the sunset gleam on a silent, snow-covered prairie.

Like teaching a youngster the safe, ethical way to hunt.

Let’s not be corny here – oh forget it, here’s corn:

When I was much (much!) younger and ready to solve all the world’s ills, a relative told me there’s nothing wrong with settling down and just being a good citizen.

adult and child dragging a deer

Teaching a youngster the safe, ethical way to hunt can be one of life’s little victories. Photo courtesy of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.

Transferring that sentiment to hunting, it’s great to take home a huge bull elk or trophy mule deer. But what’s wrong with spending the day taking your gun for a walk?

Every hunting season, the stories that make the news are shoot outs at elk herds, trespassing hunters and landowners with closed gates. Unfortunately, those stories are taken up as universal gospel by non-hunters. Believe me, I’ve heard them.

Call me naïve, but I’m convinced those actions represent the minority of hunters. The vast majority are just good citizens, doing the right thing and enjoying themselves.

Hunting is leisure time not a competitive sport, despite those big buck contests you sometimes see in other states.

To quote the over-quoted Aldo Leopold, father of modern wildlife management: “The man who cannot enjoy his leisure is ignorant, though his degrees exhaust the alphabet, and the man who does enjoy his leisure is to some extent educated, though he has never seen the inside of a school.”

Modern hunting for most is not about subsistence living. It’s been proven time and again that the money spent on hunting, to include everything such as guns, ammunition, clothing, four-wheel-drive pickups, could easily be spent on food at the grocery store.

Hunting today is a hobby. It’s fine to be serious, even passionate, about your hobby, just remember a hobby is a gamble. It can result in a freezer full of game or not, but either way it’s time well spent, one of life’s little victories.

Of course the opposite of life’s little victories are life’s little mistakes.

Like having a big buck walk up on you, then spook and run off when you turn around to see what the noise is.

Like realizing you brought the wrong ammunition after you got up before dawn, drove two hours, and walked up a mountain.

Like finding the elk you shot in a deep ravine and knowing you are going to have a long day of dragging uphill.

Mistakes happen, it’s human.

More important, it’s hunting.