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Petzal: The Conflicted Hunter

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October 16, 2009

Petzal: The Conflicted Hunter

By David E. Petzal

Finn Aagaard, who was a hugely popular writer on guns and hunting and who left us, much too early, in 1999, was a great storyteller as well. Not long before his death, he sat down with a tape recorder and recounted his early days in Kenya, as a kid, in the bitter campaign against the Mau Mau, and as a professional hunter.

Aagaard, who loved to hunt, and was responsible either directly or indirectly for the death of who knows how many animals, imposed strict limitations on himself about pulling the trigger. He did not hunt predators for himself, either in Africa or later when he moved to the U.S. He did not allow shooting to see something die. By the time he recorded the tape, as he says, he simply was not interested in seeing anything more dead animals on the ground.

But it was elephant that really pulled him in two directions. He says, flatly, that the jumbo is the greatest big-game animal on earth, and that he loved to hunt them. But he also states that killing an elephant is “…bloody close to murder.” He refused to shoot elephants on control as so many PHs have done, because it meant wiping out a herd—bulls, calves, and cows—and he had no heart for that. I think that many of us share those same feelings, if not for elephants, then for other game.

The three-disc set on which this can be heard is titled “Finn Aagaard on Kenya,” and it is notable not just for what is on it, but for the joy with which Finn recounts his life and doings. Remember as you listen to it that he has only a little while to live, and knows it. It runs for 3 hours, and you can order it for $24.95 from safaripress.com

Comments (60)

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from bluecollarkid wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Regarding African hunting, for the ignorant among us (namely me), what does,

"He refused to shoot elephants on control as so many PHs have done, because it meant wiping out a herd—bulls, calves, and cows—and he had no heart for that. I think that many of us share those same feelings, if not for elephants, then for other game,"

mean? Thanks.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

No offense, bluecollarkid, but if it has to be explained, you still wouldn't understand.

-18 Good Comment? | | Report
from nicoletfan wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I completely understand Mr. Aagaard's feelings. As a youngster I used to love hunting (and of course shooting) rabbits and squirrels. Now, since I do not care to eat either of those animals I can't think of any good reason to shoot one...so I don't, prefering to just watch them when I am in the woods. Same is true of deer. Here in Wisconsin I hunt in the CWD area and Earn a Buck rules still apply. I haven't shot an anterless deer in several years of hunting because I refuse to shoot one animal just to earn the right to shoot another (even if there are too many deer -- and that's questionable also). It may sound crazy but I slow and honk for gray squirrels that run across the street in front of me.

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from wgp wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

The comment I most recall from reading Aagaard was in an article he wrote about a smaller-caliber rifle, in which he mentioned that he no longer was interested in seeing how small a rifle he could kill a big-game animal with. That struck a chord with me and has had an effect on my choice of calibers ever since.

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from davidpetzal wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

To Bluecollarkid: Control hunting in Africa has long been a game management tool in Africa, used against large critters such as elephant and buffalo. It means,simply, sending a squad of professional hunters into a herd with lots of ammunition and wiping it out, down to the last animal. I've known several PHs who have hunted on control, and none of them liked it.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

As you know, there is many point of views I can factually come up with from Africa to Kaibab and for respect for Sir Finn Aagaard, I’m going to pass on this one for respecting those of greatness and to honor those who have had a positive roll.

Several years ago, I was accused of trying to throw a test off because I answered a question differently than the one may think. The question was, “Would you go Lion hunting?” and I answered the question “NO” and the test examiner had a fit!

Perhaps it leads back to one of my stories,

I've been asked how many bears have I taken. I had hundreds of chances. I had my crosshairs on many with a round in the chamber of my 338 Win Mag with Nosler 250 grain partitions loaded at 2800 fps and a harvest ticket in my backpack. An easy one shot clean kill everyone. I never pulled the trigger though.

Why you ask?

The beauty and respect of one a Hunter to the other (the bear) perhaps? Most of all the cost of having it mounted I couldn't afford and I knew in the back of my mind that if I did pull the trigger, the hunt was over.

And for that,

My most utmost respect in and for Sir Finn Aagaard and I’ll leave it as that

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I am not a PH, but would not participate in a Control hunt, save a few nuiscence animals. Yes i know i spelled that wrong. Generally i will not shoot what i don't intend to eat. Having had bear meat on a couple occassions, i'm no longer a bear hunter.
Mr. Petzal, thankyou for clarifying that, both for the kid, and myself. I can see how a hunter could have a bit of remorse after harvesting such a grand animal. I have a bit of bittersweet remorse after harvesting any animal, as i know what fate lies ahead for me as well.

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from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Up front, I’ll state I’ve never had a problem shooting vermin and nuisance animals, or animals turned killers. When I hunt I mean to draw blood, not take a photo.

It is also a correct of me to write nowadays I find excuses not to hunt or blast squirrels that eat out of the bird feeders. I always have a reason not to shoot rabbits, or those deer that raid the garden, or the curious female fox .that sits in the driveway watching me clear a fire lane in the hedge row. As a result I’ve created social welfare state in my immediate back five-acres.

I gotta do something about it…..later….next week…if I have time.

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from hal herring wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Good story. And I can't wait to get the tape set.

I recently have stopped hunting bigger bucks, or applying for those buck tags and, for now, am strictly a meat hunter, because I have a family and we don't like to buy commercial meat. I kill quite a few animals every season- four deer or more, an elk (if I am lucky enough to get one), two antelope (or as many as i can get tags for).
It equals a lot of hunting, a lot of killing, too. I'm comnpletely happy with it, happy and not conflicted with my relationship to the land and the animals that I am hunting.

For me, the subsistence part of the hunt takes the conflict out of it. It's the old adage, eat what you kill, or don't kill it. It still works for me.

I don't know how I'd feel about those control hunts, or cull hunts. I still shoot gophers every spring, too, using the excuse that I really need to practice my rifle skills. But I've never eaten a gopher. Life has a few shades of gray in it, no?

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I don't think any hunter with any amount of conscience doesn't get conflicted in some way. I strongly identify with Mark-1's comments, and the 'control' ones as well. However, as time goes on I have to honestly say I am less conflicted about taking an animal, dressing it and making a meal of it, than I am thoroughly repulsed by anti's that have no big-picture macro grasp of the world that other non-bongwater-drinking, non-tofu-eating people live in.

I want to be a good steward of the very small space I occupy. I wonder if the hunters that put the pictures of their hunts on the cave walls ever realized things would get so complicated?

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from bluecollarkid wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal thanks for clearing that up. DuckCreekDick no thanks to you. As for moral conflicts and hunting, I'm with hal herring on this. Eat what you kill or don't shoot it. However, I will have to add a caveat regarding bears because they make a great rug and I donate the meat to the local homeless shelter where I live.

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

The man finally got to the point where he no longer enjoyed killing animals, only hunting them. Nothing wrong with that-- it will happen to all of us should we live that long. If you do enough of it (killing) you will get tired of it eventually is what he's saying.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

+ for Bluecollar just because.

Here's how I see it. I don't get to hunt near enough. So when I'm doing it, it's more about the doing than the killing. Although I'm always more satisfied having shot game for food, I've never been unsatisfied for not having done so.

It's hard for me to identify with Aagard here. Maybe after you've shot everything that can possibly be hunted several times it all seems like the same old same old so to speak.

My day job involves desk work. And a microscope. Day after day. Endlessly. For years. Followed by intervals of statistical analysis. Pure rational empiricism and nothing much else. Hunting is just the opposite. It's all sensate -- vision, hearing, smell, and colors, and tactile -- the breeze, the heat of the sun or coolness when a cloud covers it up, the differen feel of sand, leaf litte, thick grass, or rocky terrain underfoot, and of course the sacrifice made to the acacia thorns and the nefarious chainfruit cholla.

So I don't see myself ever getting tired of hunting.

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I have just ordered Mr. Aagaards discs. Like him, I love to hunt elephant and am very conflicted by doing so. Recent years, I have avoided shooting these magnificent animals, being satisfied with obervation. It may appear from my writing that I shoot too much. Those who hunt with me are surprised at how little I do, compared to my opportunities As the decades roll by, hunting becomes more a way of life, rather than a roll as an exuberant shooter.

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I have long noticed how older hunters are less eager to bag a lot of game. For all the reasons above, but also knowing you have to clean it!!

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from JD wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

As I have grown older,(or well-aged as I say) I also find myself passing on shots I used to take sometimes. Yes, I still marvel at the thrill of the hunt, the excitement of a good stalk or the hard work of a loyal dog in my cornfields! Being a veteran hunter I have seen the big buck, the turkey that scored well and such in my sights over the years, now I am more like Hal, I eat what I shoot and shoot what I eat as needed. Each kill I make sustains me. I appreciate the wild game and having enjoyed many meals from it, perhaps a a part of these animals lives on inside of me in spirit as I see life from their point of view as well as my own now. Knowing that my own time is also limited I can appreciate what they do to survive.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Sheesh! What part of "no offense" do we not understand? I simply meant to say that running down a herd of elephants and hosing them down with FAL's is as distasteful to me as it was to Mr. Aagaard. Taking an animals' life should be done with a little respect, like I hope to do in two weeks when deer season opens.
Sorry for any ruffled feathers, fellow nimrods.

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from KJ wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I've always enjoyed reading Aagard's stories, and my esteem of him grows. Like others, when I hunt I don't shy away from the killing, but I find more and more that there are those times I pass on pulling the trigger, because I just don't need to. It's a personal thing, and when I do kill I have my personal reasons for it. But I've always had a tinge of sadness, too, at taking a life. I detest the TV shows where the hunter whoops and hollers over the death of the animal.

And duckcreekdick, the bluecollarkid asked a reasonable question. You didn't answer it; you insulted him. Responses like yours keep people from asking questions and learning.

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from shane wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Even though I'm not all that old and haven't killed nearly as many head of big game as some, I'm at a point where my motivation to bag something is much lower. It's still there, be sure, but it's almost been replaced by my desire to see others that haven't done it much, if at all, do it. I can never have my first hunt or first animal taken, or my first "big trophy". I can never have my first up close and personal bow kill which also happened to be my biggest whitetail at the time. It will never be that sweet again, there is no topping that. But others can, and I can see the reaction it gives them. The satisfaction is huge.

When I have said - "Why shoot so far? There's no reason. Get closer or go home" - I get the response that well, it might be your only chance on the last light of the last day of the season and you haven't filled your tag, so it's the shot you have and the one you take. I don't buy into that.

Filling the tag and getting the trophy isn't the be all end all.

If it's your last chance and that trophy is still way out there, well, the animal wins, you lose, eat tag stew. That's hunting. You still had the incredible experience, and now you know what you need to do to get closer sooner next season. Can't complain there, but many will endlessly.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Dave,
About a year ago you had a post concerning Britt Aagaards release of a new book with the stories (articles) Finn had published in magazines after they moved to the U.S., (Aagaard Selected Works). I posted that I love his books but was afraid that there would be repeat stories. You posted and assured me there were none, and you were correct. I ordered it through Safari Press and loved it. I'm going to order this CD release again on your word.
I hope Ms. Aagaard (formerly) is doing well.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

P.S.
I meant to also post about a cull hunt.
In my life, as much as I'd love to hunt Africa, I don't think I'd ever want to be in on a cull hunt unless it was semi-scientific such as the one Jim Carmichael wrote of about veterinarians culling cape buffalo and doing autopsies.
Elephant have always been off my list of animals to kill unless it was a rogue elephant, gone crazy as people do, and was tearing up crops and killing the natives trying to run it off. Then I would help.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

My apologies, It's Berit.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

It's a mortality thing I suppose? While I hope to take my last breath on this Earth taking a shot at a nice wall hanger of an Elk...some don't. I am not passing judgement here, because I agree hunting-aka killing-an animal can be a moral conflict at times. I am sure "on control" culling of an animal herd would have a lasting inpresssion on most of us. Mr. Aagaard seemed like a very interesting man.
I do hunt bear here in Michigan, and would hunt Lion in Africa if given the chance...fyi

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from bluecollarkid wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Well DuckCreekDick its not that I was offended but that your response was not helpful and came across as condescending. Remember the old adage, "If you don't have something nice (or otherwise informative to say)..." No hard feelings buddy. :-)

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

In the Army, I learned that killing anything, while it may be necessary for food, is not something that man comes by naturally. In Basic Training in 1971, we had to stand around the Drill Sergeant with upheld fixed bayonets and respond to his "What is the purpose of the bayonet?" with a yelled response of "To kill,Drill Sergeant, to kill!" Man is seemingly reluctant to start. Maybe Finn just reached his limit, naturally.

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from elmer f. wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

taking an animals life is always a serious proposition, at least once you have reached adulthood. i remember shooting uncounted number of what my buddy and i called "shi*birds", which were sparrows, grecles, chickadees, blackbirds, basicly anything that was not a gamebird or protected species. once you realize what you are doing, and that you are directly responsible whether something lives or dies, it is much harder to pull the trigger. sometimes, i really want for those days of innocence. others, i am glad that i am mature. i still hunt, i doubt that i will as long as i can get around in the woods, i will ever give it up. now, i have a son and daughter that i will be bringing into this sport. i have to and want to teach them the ethics, and responsibility of shooting, and killing a living creature for something other than self-defense. it is a serious buisness, something that can not be taken lightly. i have no problem with someone who hunts and chooses to pass up a small animal in hopes for a trophy, AS LONG AS they take the whole animal, and not just the rack. if you are not going to eat what you kill, then donate it (sportsmen against hunger) or find someone who needs the meat before you hunt. to kill an animal and leave the meat to rot is horrid, and should be completely illegal. anyone who kills for "fun" has something wrong with them. it would be a very small step from killing an animal to killing humans from there. after all, we are animals also. the fun, is in the hunt. in my opinion, the fun stops, and the work (and accountability) starts once you pull the trigger.

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Elmer F:
Donating to organizations that forward the meat to the truly needy is a good deal. Glad that such groups exist. Of course, the anti-hunters seem to sorta forget that this charitable activity goes on. I guess that the New York Times hasn't printed the story, yet.

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from Bella wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Hunting for me is often merely a long walk in the woods with my favorite firearm of the moment. It is just as enjoyable whether I see game or not as well as whether shoot game or not. Any excuse for the woods and being out amidst the greensong, in the Real World, as opposed to the artificial worlds we create for ourselves.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Once I get enough venison and pheasant that will fill the freezer I quit. No sense in killing more than you need.

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from WyoTom wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

There must be recognition of the fact that almost any wild animal of the defenceless type, if its multiplication were unchecked while its natural enemies, the dangerous carnivores, were killed, would by its simple increase crowd man off the planet; and of the further fact that, far short such increase, a time speedily comes when the existence of too much game is incompatible with the interests, or indeed the existence, of the cultivator. As in most other matters, it is only the happy mean which is healthy and rational. There should be certain sanctuaries and nurseries where game can live and breed absolutely unmolested; and elsewhere the laws should so far as possible provide for the continued existence of the game in sufficient numbers to allow a reasonable amount of hunting on fair terms to any hardy and vigorous man fond of the sport, and yet not in sufficient numbers to jeopard the interests of the actual settler and the tiller of the soil, the man whose well-being should be the prime object to be kept in mind by every statesman. Game butchery is as objectionable as any other form of wanton cruelty or barbarity; but to protest against all hunting of game is a sign of softness of head, not of soundness of heart.

—Theodore Roosevelt,
African Game Trails

Re elephant control: Selective shooting does not work for elephants. Shooting matriarchal cows alone causes profound disruption in the social order of herds and leads to worse problems of depredation. Long, sad experience has taught game departments in Africa that to control elephants, EVERY elephant in the herd, young or old, male or female, has to be shot. Elephants have no other predators than humans, and left to themselves in the terribly shrunken natural environment of Africa (with less true wilderness than North America), they would in short order denude the landscape, as they famously did in Tsavo in Kenya, as documented by Peter Beard. Rather than going all wobbly about killing, or suddenly discovering a "heart," hunters should consider striking some sort of medal for PHs who choose to be involved in control work. This, by the way, is no reflection on Aagard, whom I knew and admired, and even more, liked.

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from stick500 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

very interesting responses from thoughtful readers- I can relate to many of the topics (I was a sh*&bird hunter as a kid, too- BTW, it's illegal to kill any native non-game bird with the exception of the english sparrow, european starling and pidgeons).

If anyone is interested in topics similar to this, there is an excellent book called "The Hunter's Heart" which relates many stories about how hunting evolved differently in many hunters lives

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from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

bluecollarkid: Thanks for getting things cleared up and I'll try to be more helpful in future posts. If you enjoy reading, I might recommend "Fair Chase With Alaskan Guides" by Hal Waugh and "Meditations on Hunting" by Jose Ortega y Gasset. Both books get into the ethics of hunting and the idea of placing self-imposed limits of behavior on hunting. Like several people here who have already stated, the older one gets and the more critters you kill, the more likely you are to mellow out a little and be satisfied with less game hunted right, rather than full limits done any way possible.
Can I get out from under the pile now? LOL

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

All:

I have many conflicted feelings about killing.

On the one hand, when I see yet another gopher tearing up my yard (or even my gravel driveway), I feel a savage primitive joy when I am able to sneak up on the little terrorist and dispatch him straight to gopher hell with my 10-22. It feels even better when I do it with my 12-gauge.

On the other hand, when I was a kid I went on many deer hunts and could never pull the trigger. In fact, I only took my first deer last year, a doe that had been horribly wounded and forsaken by a bow hunter. My stepfather, a WWII D-Day veteran and deadly and proficient killer right up until the last few years of his long life, never said a negative word to me about this, nor did he even excessively grumble about the wasted (and very precious) money the family had spent on a tag which was never used. I was always very grateful that he did not condemn me for failing to take a shot during the many hunting trips I took with him. I still remember an incident, however, where a young man went on a hunt with us, and successfully took a small whitetail buck, though it took him three shots (and fifteen minutes) to put the animal down because he was sloppy and careless with his shooting. The young man was loudly whooping and hollering about his kill, and was going on and on and on about what a great hunter he was, when I saw a grimace cross my stepfather's face. He walked up to the young man and tapped him on the shoulder with a forefinger. From personal experience, I knew this was similar in effect to getting hit with a sledgehammer. The young man winced. My stepfather glared into his face from about 10 inches away--which I also knew from personal experience was a horribly unpleasant event--and quietly growled, "You've got nothing to brag about. This animal suffered because of you. That's unsat. Now shut up." (The young man, who was intelligent and who had a keen sense for his own survival, was totally silent for about the next two days.)

Despite my near chronic inability to pull the trigger on any beautiful animal, I have little problem hunting the wild pigs in my area. There are thousands of them, likely hundreds of thousands of them. They are a plague. They are everywhere. Their meat goes to a local tiger refuge always in need of fresh meat, to food kitchens in town, and sometimes a small bit into my freezer. It does bother me that I am killing an animal that is clearly intelligent, that clearly thinks and feels and loves--for I have stalked wild pigs and have successfully slipped into herds deep in the woods and swamps and have observed relaxed wild pigs for hours on end at close range. You learn a lot when you do this. But the widespread damage and havoc the pigs cause to the local environment outweighes my guilt about killing them. They shouldn't be here at all.

Elephants. I doubt very much I could ever "harvest" (a term I despise) an elephant unless one was literally about to stomp me (or a loved one) to pieces. These magnificent animals think. They have families. They love. They grieve. They experience joy. And sadness. They live as long, or longer, than we do. And we are the intruders on their turf, not the other way around.

There is a very prominient hunter/gunwriter who spins out article after article for a major gun magazine about his many hunts and kills all over the world, including the several elephants he has taken. I don't like the man because his life seems to be an endless act of needless, senseless killing, of destroying beautiful animals in their prime, in their native habitat, for no apparent reason other than to claim yet another trophy, brag about another kill, and get a bigger paycheck. I don't "get" this. I would never do this. My stepfather didn't either.

TWD

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from Hobob wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I think supassing the need to kill an animal is the pinnacle pf maturity in a hunter. It is also when we should pass on the tradition to others if we can. I got this idea from men who grew up in a time when racks were small and the men were large. It was before we hunters started keeping score.

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from Drew YoungeDyke wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I think all of us hunters have our own set of morals and limitations that we put on ourselves regarding killing another living animal. Feeling some sympathy for our prey makes us human; pulling the trigger in full recognition of that is part of being a hunter. The moral set by which we abide - our concepts of fair chase and permissable game - distinguishes us from killers. I'm thankful to hunters like Mr. Aagaard for recording their thoughts on the subject, because it makes the rest of us examine our own concepts of fair chase, mortality and what it means to be a hunter. I look forward to hearing what he had to say.

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from focusfront wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Mike Diehl:

As I am in the same life situation you are in, your words on hunting ring true for me, too. For me at the place in life I'm in now, hunting is a rare treat. Well spoken.

From what I read, control hunting is little different than butchery. You find a small group of elephants that is relatively isolated, stalk close, identify and kill the matriarch, and while the other elephants are running in circles without a leader, gun down the rest of them. Once the matriarch is down, the rest is just killing, not hunting, and few of us like to kill; if we did we'd all be steer sluggers rather than hunters. The accounts I've read have the PHs using their regular elephant rifles on control, not 'hosing them down with FALs' (imagine how dangerous shooting elephants with .308s would be, unless you had an whole lot of help!). As Beard and Boddington have written, it is a job that absolutely has to be done. And it is dangerous, because elephants are dangerous. But I can understand how shooting whole family groups down to the calves would get very old, very quick. A bit too much blood on the ground at one time, I guess.

As for Aagaard, he was one of the best gun writers who ever lived. I admit I first joined the NRA mostly to get his column in American Rifleman. No one tests guns the way he did, or if they do they don't report on it the way he did. There are many excellent gun writers out there, but nobody has really taken Aagaard's place.

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Some of my most rewarding hunts and fish were the ones i chose to pass on. Maybe i'll catch'm another day, maybe not.

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from Paul Wilke wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

To get away from all this serous discussion:
many years ago, when I was first introduced to hunting and cooking I fixed supper for my favorite aunt. Just spaghetti with meat sauce. She loved it, especially the little chunks of meat.
However she has never forgiven me for feeding her all those English Sparrow hearts.
Took me all day to collect the meat for that meal.
Any recipe for gopher?

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I would not shoot an elephant, nor would I shoot a lion, or rino. If ever I get to go to Africa to hunt, I would hunt buffalo, leopard, and plains game. Mbogo because he is
considered the most dangerous of the Big Five, and Chui because he is considered the most challenging. The antelopes are not endangered, and are edible.
The rest, I would shoot only with a camera. I can well understand Mr. Aagaard's reluctance to shoot elephant, as I find that I only shoot deer that are old does, and what the guide considers "cull" bucks. If it is not for meat, I don't shoot it. I probably would make an exception for a big grizzly, one time.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I grew up in Rural America on a Tobacco farm and hunted rabbits, squirels often to eat, never just for the spor ot killing. Now at age 74 I yet enjoy hunting, about all I realy enjoy with all my health problems. However, we proces and eat the deer o Elk I kill. Elk by far better than beef. But, mostly I enjoy the prep for the long trip west, the talk, the BS,checking firearms, plane fares, OUtfitter in the Rockies. Once I;m in the Rockies, I;'m near Heaven at l2K feet. The view is out of this world. Now, Yes I would and do enjoy taking a mature Elk/Mulie but if i eat my tag I've still had a wonderful adventure.My only Son and I have spent many days hunting, that otherwise we would not have done, that I am thankful. Now with poor health and a ripe old age of 74 just being able to get out ther and sit and look at what God made for us to enjoy is a thrill in itself. I hope and pray my health will improve by next hunting season ( not so for this year) so I may get to the Rockies again. I dearly love to hear the big old Bull Bugle , sends spikes thru my soul.AS for teh samll game, I own a small place, and have many squirels, and a few rabbis that the foxes and coyotes have not gotten and we enjoy watching them play and fill their cupboard for the winter. This change in my thinking occured l9 yrs ago after near death. I had to sit insie for 5 months between more surgery and my easy chair was next to the large window in my Den.I live in the woods and the squires keep me entertained for many hours. Now I;m going thru the same problems and again enjoy watching the critters. Hopefully in 4 weeks when our Deer Season opens here I can hunt a few hours in a griund blind for a nice Buck that we have been watching for 3 ys. Hes mate now and heeaded downward, it's time for him to retire. He may not be good eating as a youngr deer, but let the new generation add new genes to the deer herds arund my place. Good hunting guys.Shoot-um-straight and often. Matter not what caliber, brand of type gun you shoot, just use enough to kill your target instantly. No doubt I could kill a deer with a 22, but why???? would i try. I will use my 270's/ or 06's and know they will end the life quickly. Last year my Son and I found 6 deer in one pile on back side of my property that only 2 were small bucks and the only thing taken was someone sawed off the horns at the skull and left all 6 deer to rot, that kinda get undr my skin and plan to take steps to stop it from taking place again. Flat tires work well to help cease this operation now that all the property is all posted.

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Gunslinger- A nice little chat with your local game warden will often go a long way, they frown on activities like you described, and that will keep you out of harms way-legally also.

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

To Paul Wilke . . .

Outstanding post. Very amusing.

I don't have any recipes for home-cooked gopher, but I'd be happy to send you a few fresh gopher carcasses from time to time--mind you, they're a bit tattered from close range 12-gauge OO or multiple .22 rounds--if you're interested. You can experiment until you get a recipe you think is just right.

To Bella, Moishe and Hobob and Steve182 . . .

Your respective posts are well said. And Hobob, somehow I thought I heard my stepfather's voice in your post . . . remarkable, since he's been gone for a few years. Thank you.

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from sjsmarais@gmail.com wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

The above article and the comments on it give me hope, I was starting to feel that we live in a 'all or nothing' world, where you are either into killing everything or a 'Peta wacko'. Thank goodness a good amount of hunters can deal with shades of gray.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Mr. Smith: We ahve tried for many seasons to get help from the game Warden, to no avail. My county only has one officer and he must cover the entire country. Distance across is about 50 miles and no way can he cover it all.We even got teh Highway Patrol riding by, most of the killing is done late at night or very early in AM. We have gotten to see the vehicle, but they caggy, the driver drops them off and picks them up later a long ways from dropsoff.These people are coming from as far away as 5o-60 miles, as word is out that some nice Bucks in this area. All the property is now posted, both mine and joining property. THese duds are smart, the know the crossing area and thats where they hid and wait. We've shot over their heads with shotguns, but does not faze them, back in a day or so. I just hope to catch them on my property long before dark some time, and I will stop the poaching,.They not huntig for meat, they just killing for the fun of seeing something die. I was taught, if you kill it, you eat it.With excsptions of some critters not eatable.The old house on my farm haws in good condition, but now they have broken all the windows and torn off the doors and stolen the cabinets. This property is off the main drag and they can wait us out. But this year I plan to make this their last poaching job.The OUtfitters in the Rockies will pull the same stuff on us NR. They will try to bluff that the property we on (BLM ) is theirs and we know better. I reported to the Warden, did no good, same thing the remainder of our 2 week hunt,. A few loads of shot in the A-- might do some good, but doubt it. Do you recall the guy who kiled SAMPSON the Bull Elk in Estes Park??????, C0? It did not stop the poaching near the park. Too many low-lifes and not enough enforcers unless you legalize more hunters to make arrest for such.

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Gunslinger . . .

I deeply sympathize with your situation and your justifiable anger. When I was a kid, I lived in a rural area of a very large county. Some of the families that had been there for many generations believed this long-term residential status gave them the right to hunt and poach wherever and whenever they pleased. We resisted this idea.

A range war ensued. Much was lost. Fire was exchanged. In our case, however, my stepfather was able to recruit the assistance of game wardens in the area, as well as other law enforcement agents. The final battle between the poachers and ourselves (with one of the game wardens present and participating) occurred at an ambush site--via a bait we created which we knew the poachers would not be able to resist. They came. We sprang the ambush. Their arrests immediately followed.

I suggest you follow the same strategy against your enemy poachers/property destroyers. Create a bait they won't be able to resist--such as a bright, shiny shed they'll want to tear down, or a bright, shiny tough-looking gate they'll want to cut to pieces. Choose a site that discretely favors you and your friends and your cameras rather than your enemy. Put up game cameras in the area of your bait as well as likely ingress/egress paths to and from the ambush site. Include a camera or two in the areas where you believe the poachers/property destroyers are dropped off. If you have friends in the area, get them to help you create the bait, and hide them discretely in the area of your bait when you believe the poachers/property destroyers are most likely to strike. Tell law enforcement what you're doing and ask for assistance--and if law enforcement won't help, then conduct press interviews and make waves until your newspapers and news stations broadcast stories about how worthless your local law enforcement is.

When the poachers/property destroyers come again, helplessly drawn to the bait you've left for them, capture them on film. If possible, you and your friends may wish to jump the poachers/property destroyers, stop them, and detain them to be turned over to the police. If you are unable to jump them, simply turn copies of your films over to the police and the press and demand immediate action--the faces of the bad guys all over the evening news and in the newspapers for a few days, and perhaps a licence plate of their drop-off vehicle in the news, too, will almost certainly result in their arrests. But do not--and this is imperative if you value your freedom--do not spring any ambush or create any bait that injures a bad guy. In fact, do not injure a bad guy unless he opens fire on you or one of your men--which would be self defense, or defense of another--all of which should be legal in any state in the USA (but check the laws in your area first and comply with them). Be advised that most states also permit a property owner to use "reasonable force" to stop a bad guy from destroying one's property--particularly if the bad guy is already committing criminal trespass on one's property, and almost certainly if the bad guy is armed. Always be the valiant property owner defending one's own. Never be a gone-loopy vigilante.

Good luck and good fortune.

TWD

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from Joel Panian wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

This is a great subject. I havn't been able to hunt much the past few years of school, and what I miss the most is being out in the woods, learning from my uncle. I never had an second thoughts about shooting any of the animals I did, because I had utmost respect for them and ate the meat. But I am sure that animals feel and certainly have individual personalities just like us, and I hate those people who do not see this and kill just to kill. I guess I just don't see how that could be ethically acceptable.

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

As I have gotten older I don't pull the trigger as often nor as easy as I once did, especially on big game animals. Limiting out doesn't mean much anymore either. Method means a great deal to me now days, as I often hunt with traditional blackpowder arms. I also gain a great deal of pleasure from giving back, or from introducing someone to the great outdoors, be it a young person or someone who finds hunting late in life. I also enjoy new places and new experiences.

I have always enjoyed watching animals, much of what I've learned has come from observation. I enjoy that more than ever now. Last year I didn't kill a deer. The freezer was still full of venison and I enjoyed just looking. I saw lots of deer and even a few nice bucks. My friends couldn't understand why I didn't kill. I just smiled and told them I didn't need to...

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Am presently reading the TR book "African Game Trails." Very well written and he speaks of the philosophy of hunting often. I'd recommend everyone read it.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"They will try to bluff that the property we on (BLM ) is theirs and we know better."

Notwithstanding their night time hunting and other poaching habits, if I understand you to say that the property belongs to the BLM, they have the right to hunt it using legal methods during legal hours.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

BTW laws for entrance and egress of Federal property incl BLM land are basically as follows: lessee has the right to exclude public entry to any building and to bar entrance to private property either within or surrounding Federal land. But if there is any public easement they can't block access to Federal land via the easement, nor can they exclude entrance into leased land from other adjacent lands.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

The upshot of that is you can't detain them for entering BLM land even if you lease it. Was you to do so, you could be charged with felony assault at the least if not kidnapping.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

But of course you can document it if they cut fences, enter a building, damage improvements, poach, etc. Which I would do if I could do it. There's a cattle tank on local State Trust Land that yahoos break into and trash. They cut the fence and gate fairly regular, and drive all hell on it using quads. One of them is a big fan of Bud Light and given the intervals I find his cans spaced out along forest roads it's clear he drinks while driving. He trashes the hell out of every place he stops, leaving cans, bottles, and shot up junk all over the place. I'd LOOOOVE for someone to catch this guy on a trail cam or web cam or something so he could be prosecuted. I'm always picking up the stuff he leaves behind. One year the dimwit shot up a cylinder head that I hauled out of the cattle tank, and some computer monitors. Don't know why some people have to prove to the world that they're aggessive aXXwholes.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I don;t plan to got to jail over some Idiot killing game on my property, but do intend to stop them someway. A Baited situation with a nice Buck would help, but need teh Warden in on it. Saw this work in C0 once. As for Outfittes out West. They try that bluff stuff on us NR on BLM,stating they have a lease to hunt it and in some cases even have no hunting signs up.We dble checked and knew it was BLM for anyone to use. We did not give in after a few days of this bull and hunted our area, but the outfitters drug logs across the paths so prevent our going in by Vehicles. The Game warden put a stop to that and let us know he would watch for us. But by now our time was almost up and the hunt was ruined and our money wasted. Was teh worst year I ever spent in C0. Thats when I decided other states also had Elk and deer and liked our $$ as well. No problems with the other states with outfittrs, just a few mis-fits trying to gt our game. They parked wher they could use a spoting scope adn search our mtn side, when they sw us they they looked for game we jumped or ran off. They did get a nice 5 x 5 that ws to be mine. Now the guy can;t hunt that area for 5 yrs. So hopefully our problem solved for a few ys bt have my doubts, as they will interfer anyway they can on our drives and especially the roadway and switchbacks with large bolders. About to the point to Hell with them and keep my $ at home and hunt here, as my place has many deer but no Elk. The Western states about priced themselves out of us NR from coming out. There are 5 of us and we will spend about 3K rach for a 10 day hunt. O well, not going this year as health gone down hill. Howevere at 74 would love to make one more trip for Elk in teh Rockies. I love to hear and see the Bulls during the Rut and their great music. Plus nothingnlike a camp in the wilderness at l0-12K feet and a reat fire going with roast cooking and tall tales being told. Kinda makes a fellow forgt all the headaches at home for a few days and that is what its all about. Love the Mtns and have eaten my share of tags. Made many friends over the pst 20 odd years and look forward to vist with them each fall for the annual hunt. O, and my wife loved the Cougar she saw at 20 steps last . Many around and many Wolf tracks that us hunters need to take care of,. God Hunting, Shoot-um-straight and often. PS. I got a 8mm Custom Mauser i want rechambered, what would be a good caliber from this gun that ammo was easy to find. BBl is 26 " and gun has a solid rib and dble set triggers, with beautiful wood, I just don;t like a 8 mm.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

OK I got it. You were on BLM land and they tried to tell you they had exclusive access. Right you are. They were full of baloney. It's regrettable that they sabotaged your hunt meanin of course I'm sorry it happened to you. It sounds like you got some revenge though so good on you.

I'd keep trying. If they do it again a cease and desist can put them in a real tight bind. If they get convicted of anything, an admin judge can declare them persona non gratis on BLM land. Nig Fine if they violate that order. It'd serve them right.

It took me a minute to figure NR is "non-resident."

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Shd be Big Fine.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Bella & T.W

Your posts were insightful and right on the mark!

TW
I know which jerk hunter/writer you refer to. I will refrain from hijacking the thread railing on him like I have in the past.

Back to elk hunting. Just logged on in town to check the global warming forecast for NW Colorado.

Good day,
WMH

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from etexan wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Finn was one of the best gun writers of the last 40 years. Don't know how the Rifleman got him but he was all that made the magazine worthwhile for the years he had a column there.

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from Tim Platt wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Thanks for the question bluecollarkid I was right there with you. I couldn't kill an elephant. They are much too intelligent and besides I'm a Republican and have statues of them all over my house! However I can murder blackbirds, starlings, crows, and sparrows without a twinge of guilt. To each his own.

I have noticed that the older I get and the more my own mortality stares me in the face I am much more selective in my killing. I am no longer a headstrong child I am a thinking man. It becomes harder to kill when you face death yourself.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Ruckweiler,
I read that book this past year, wish I hadn't wasted my money. To say he was a pompous ass would be an understatement. You would have thought he discovered Africa single handedly. He had no care of people except the 'upper crust' like him. Whom he boasted of them being thrilled with his visits. I got tired of him pontificating how Africa would and will be a better place when enough white men get there to put his ideas in place. I thought this was going to be strictly a book on his hunting adventures. Well, there was hunting if you can call it that. More like a slaughter to me, and that's just the animals the blind bastard could hit. The untold wounded disappeared to die without much condolence from TR.
'African Game Trails' literally sickened me.

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Jim in MO:
The book was written in a different era when hunting was viewed in a different light. Regardless of your views on TR the man, the book details Africa and the habits of these animals in a way that few others can match. Remember, he was sent to Africa in 1909 by the Smithsonian to collect these animals.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Ruckweiler,
Your point is well taken.
I'm still not so sure if the Smithsonian petitioned him or vice verse.

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from davidpetzal wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

To Bluecollarkid: Control hunting in Africa has long been a game management tool in Africa, used against large critters such as elephant and buffalo. It means,simply, sending a squad of professional hunters into a herd with lots of ammunition and wiping it out, down to the last animal. I've known several PHs who have hunted on control, and none of them liked it.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

+ for Bluecollar just because.

Here's how I see it. I don't get to hunt near enough. So when I'm doing it, it's more about the doing than the killing. Although I'm always more satisfied having shot game for food, I've never been unsatisfied for not having done so.

It's hard for me to identify with Aagard here. Maybe after you've shot everything that can possibly be hunted several times it all seems like the same old same old so to speak.

My day job involves desk work. And a microscope. Day after day. Endlessly. For years. Followed by intervals of statistical analysis. Pure rational empiricism and nothing much else. Hunting is just the opposite. It's all sensate -- vision, hearing, smell, and colors, and tactile -- the breeze, the heat of the sun or coolness when a cloud covers it up, the differen feel of sand, leaf litte, thick grass, or rocky terrain underfoot, and of course the sacrifice made to the acacia thorns and the nefarious chainfruit cholla.

So I don't see myself ever getting tired of hunting.

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

All:

I have many conflicted feelings about killing.

On the one hand, when I see yet another gopher tearing up my yard (or even my gravel driveway), I feel a savage primitive joy when I am able to sneak up on the little terrorist and dispatch him straight to gopher hell with my 10-22. It feels even better when I do it with my 12-gauge.

On the other hand, when I was a kid I went on many deer hunts and could never pull the trigger. In fact, I only took my first deer last year, a doe that had been horribly wounded and forsaken by a bow hunter. My stepfather, a WWII D-Day veteran and deadly and proficient killer right up until the last few years of his long life, never said a negative word to me about this, nor did he even excessively grumble about the wasted (and very precious) money the family had spent on a tag which was never used. I was always very grateful that he did not condemn me for failing to take a shot during the many hunting trips I took with him. I still remember an incident, however, where a young man went on a hunt with us, and successfully took a small whitetail buck, though it took him three shots (and fifteen minutes) to put the animal down because he was sloppy and careless with his shooting. The young man was loudly whooping and hollering about his kill, and was going on and on and on about what a great hunter he was, when I saw a grimace cross my stepfather's face. He walked up to the young man and tapped him on the shoulder with a forefinger. From personal experience, I knew this was similar in effect to getting hit with a sledgehammer. The young man winced. My stepfather glared into his face from about 10 inches away--which I also knew from personal experience was a horribly unpleasant event--and quietly growled, "You've got nothing to brag about. This animal suffered because of you. That's unsat. Now shut up." (The young man, who was intelligent and who had a keen sense for his own survival, was totally silent for about the next two days.)

Despite my near chronic inability to pull the trigger on any beautiful animal, I have little problem hunting the wild pigs in my area. There are thousands of them, likely hundreds of thousands of them. They are a plague. They are everywhere. Their meat goes to a local tiger refuge always in need of fresh meat, to food kitchens in town, and sometimes a small bit into my freezer. It does bother me that I am killing an animal that is clearly intelligent, that clearly thinks and feels and loves--for I have stalked wild pigs and have successfully slipped into herds deep in the woods and swamps and have observed relaxed wild pigs for hours on end at close range. You learn a lot when you do this. But the widespread damage and havoc the pigs cause to the local environment outweighes my guilt about killing them. They shouldn't be here at all.

Elephants. I doubt very much I could ever "harvest" (a term I despise) an elephant unless one was literally about to stomp me (or a loved one) to pieces. These magnificent animals think. They have families. They love. They grieve. They experience joy. And sadness. They live as long, or longer, than we do. And we are the intruders on their turf, not the other way around.

There is a very prominient hunter/gunwriter who spins out article after article for a major gun magazine about his many hunts and kills all over the world, including the several elephants he has taken. I don't like the man because his life seems to be an endless act of needless, senseless killing, of destroying beautiful animals in their prime, in their native habitat, for no apparent reason other than to claim yet another trophy, brag about another kill, and get a bigger paycheck. I don't "get" this. I would never do this. My stepfather didn't either.

TWD

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I have just ordered Mr. Aagaards discs. Like him, I love to hunt elephant and am very conflicted by doing so. Recent years, I have avoided shooting these magnificent animals, being satisfied with obervation. It may appear from my writing that I shoot too much. Those who hunt with me are surprised at how little I do, compared to my opportunities As the decades roll by, hunting becomes more a way of life, rather than a roll as an exuberant shooter.

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from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Up front, I’ll state I’ve never had a problem shooting vermin and nuisance animals, or animals turned killers. When I hunt I mean to draw blood, not take a photo.

It is also a correct of me to write nowadays I find excuses not to hunt or blast squirrels that eat out of the bird feeders. I always have a reason not to shoot rabbits, or those deer that raid the garden, or the curious female fox .that sits in the driveway watching me clear a fire lane in the hedge row. As a result I’ve created social welfare state in my immediate back five-acres.

I gotta do something about it…..later….next week…if I have time.

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I have long noticed how older hunters are less eager to bag a lot of game. For all the reasons above, but also knowing you have to clean it!!

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from Bella wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Hunting for me is often merely a long walk in the woods with my favorite firearm of the moment. It is just as enjoyable whether I see game or not as well as whether shoot game or not. Any excuse for the woods and being out amidst the greensong, in the Real World, as opposed to the artificial worlds we create for ourselves.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I grew up in Rural America on a Tobacco farm and hunted rabbits, squirels often to eat, never just for the spor ot killing. Now at age 74 I yet enjoy hunting, about all I realy enjoy with all my health problems. However, we proces and eat the deer o Elk I kill. Elk by far better than beef. But, mostly I enjoy the prep for the long trip west, the talk, the BS,checking firearms, plane fares, OUtfitter in the Rockies. Once I;m in the Rockies, I;'m near Heaven at l2K feet. The view is out of this world. Now, Yes I would and do enjoy taking a mature Elk/Mulie but if i eat my tag I've still had a wonderful adventure.My only Son and I have spent many days hunting, that otherwise we would not have done, that I am thankful. Now with poor health and a ripe old age of 74 just being able to get out ther and sit and look at what God made for us to enjoy is a thrill in itself. I hope and pray my health will improve by next hunting season ( not so for this year) so I may get to the Rockies again. I dearly love to hear the big old Bull Bugle , sends spikes thru my soul.AS for teh samll game, I own a small place, and have many squirels, and a few rabbis that the foxes and coyotes have not gotten and we enjoy watching them play and fill their cupboard for the winter. This change in my thinking occured l9 yrs ago after near death. I had to sit insie for 5 months between more surgery and my easy chair was next to the large window in my Den.I live in the woods and the squires keep me entertained for many hours. Now I;m going thru the same problems and again enjoy watching the critters. Hopefully in 4 weeks when our Deer Season opens here I can hunt a few hours in a griund blind for a nice Buck that we have been watching for 3 ys. Hes mate now and heeaded downward, it's time for him to retire. He may not be good eating as a youngr deer, but let the new generation add new genes to the deer herds arund my place. Good hunting guys.Shoot-um-straight and often. Matter not what caliber, brand of type gun you shoot, just use enough to kill your target instantly. No doubt I could kill a deer with a 22, but why???? would i try. I will use my 270's/ or 06's and know they will end the life quickly. Last year my Son and I found 6 deer in one pile on back side of my property that only 2 were small bucks and the only thing taken was someone sawed off the horns at the skull and left all 6 deer to rot, that kinda get undr my skin and plan to take steps to stop it from taking place again. Flat tires work well to help cease this operation now that all the property is all posted.

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from bluecollarkid wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Regarding African hunting, for the ignorant among us (namely me), what does,

"He refused to shoot elephants on control as so many PHs have done, because it meant wiping out a herd—bulls, calves, and cows—and he had no heart for that. I think that many of us share those same feelings, if not for elephants, then for other game,"

mean? Thanks.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

As you know, there is many point of views I can factually come up with from Africa to Kaibab and for respect for Sir Finn Aagaard, I’m going to pass on this one for respecting those of greatness and to honor those who have had a positive roll.

Several years ago, I was accused of trying to throw a test off because I answered a question differently than the one may think. The question was, “Would you go Lion hunting?” and I answered the question “NO” and the test examiner had a fit!

Perhaps it leads back to one of my stories,

I've been asked how many bears have I taken. I had hundreds of chances. I had my crosshairs on many with a round in the chamber of my 338 Win Mag with Nosler 250 grain partitions loaded at 2800 fps and a harvest ticket in my backpack. An easy one shot clean kill everyone. I never pulled the trigger though.

Why you ask?

The beauty and respect of one a Hunter to the other (the bear) perhaps? Most of all the cost of having it mounted I couldn't afford and I knew in the back of my mind that if I did pull the trigger, the hunt was over.

And for that,

My most utmost respect in and for Sir Finn Aagaard and I’ll leave it as that

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from hal herring wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Good story. And I can't wait to get the tape set.

I recently have stopped hunting bigger bucks, or applying for those buck tags and, for now, am strictly a meat hunter, because I have a family and we don't like to buy commercial meat. I kill quite a few animals every season- four deer or more, an elk (if I am lucky enough to get one), two antelope (or as many as i can get tags for).
It equals a lot of hunting, a lot of killing, too. I'm comnpletely happy with it, happy and not conflicted with my relationship to the land and the animals that I am hunting.

For me, the subsistence part of the hunt takes the conflict out of it. It's the old adage, eat what you kill, or don't kill it. It still works for me.

I don't know how I'd feel about those control hunts, or cull hunts. I still shoot gophers every spring, too, using the excuse that I really need to practice my rifle skills. But I've never eaten a gopher. Life has a few shades of gray in it, no?

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

The man finally got to the point where he no longer enjoyed killing animals, only hunting them. Nothing wrong with that-- it will happen to all of us should we live that long. If you do enough of it (killing) you will get tired of it eventually is what he's saying.

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from wgp wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

The comment I most recall from reading Aagaard was in an article he wrote about a smaller-caliber rifle, in which he mentioned that he no longer was interested in seeing how small a rifle he could kill a big-game animal with. That struck a chord with me and has had an effect on my choice of calibers ever since.

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I don't think any hunter with any amount of conscience doesn't get conflicted in some way. I strongly identify with Mark-1's comments, and the 'control' ones as well. However, as time goes on I have to honestly say I am less conflicted about taking an animal, dressing it and making a meal of it, than I am thoroughly repulsed by anti's that have no big-picture macro grasp of the world that other non-bongwater-drinking, non-tofu-eating people live in.

I want to be a good steward of the very small space I occupy. I wonder if the hunters that put the pictures of their hunts on the cave walls ever realized things would get so complicated?

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from JD wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

As I have grown older,(or well-aged as I say) I also find myself passing on shots I used to take sometimes. Yes, I still marvel at the thrill of the hunt, the excitement of a good stalk or the hard work of a loyal dog in my cornfields! Being a veteran hunter I have seen the big buck, the turkey that scored well and such in my sights over the years, now I am more like Hal, I eat what I shoot and shoot what I eat as needed. Each kill I make sustains me. I appreciate the wild game and having enjoyed many meals from it, perhaps a a part of these animals lives on inside of me in spirit as I see life from their point of view as well as my own now. Knowing that my own time is also limited I can appreciate what they do to survive.

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from shane wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Even though I'm not all that old and haven't killed nearly as many head of big game as some, I'm at a point where my motivation to bag something is much lower. It's still there, be sure, but it's almost been replaced by my desire to see others that haven't done it much, if at all, do it. I can never have my first hunt or first animal taken, or my first "big trophy". I can never have my first up close and personal bow kill which also happened to be my biggest whitetail at the time. It will never be that sweet again, there is no topping that. But others can, and I can see the reaction it gives them. The satisfaction is huge.

When I have said - "Why shoot so far? There's no reason. Get closer or go home" - I get the response that well, it might be your only chance on the last light of the last day of the season and you haven't filled your tag, so it's the shot you have and the one you take. I don't buy into that.

Filling the tag and getting the trophy isn't the be all end all.

If it's your last chance and that trophy is still way out there, well, the animal wins, you lose, eat tag stew. That's hunting. You still had the incredible experience, and now you know what you need to do to get closer sooner next season. Can't complain there, but many will endlessly.

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from elmer f. wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

taking an animals life is always a serious proposition, at least once you have reached adulthood. i remember shooting uncounted number of what my buddy and i called "shi*birds", which were sparrows, grecles, chickadees, blackbirds, basicly anything that was not a gamebird or protected species. once you realize what you are doing, and that you are directly responsible whether something lives or dies, it is much harder to pull the trigger. sometimes, i really want for those days of innocence. others, i am glad that i am mature. i still hunt, i doubt that i will as long as i can get around in the woods, i will ever give it up. now, i have a son and daughter that i will be bringing into this sport. i have to and want to teach them the ethics, and responsibility of shooting, and killing a living creature for something other than self-defense. it is a serious buisness, something that can not be taken lightly. i have no problem with someone who hunts and chooses to pass up a small animal in hopes for a trophy, AS LONG AS they take the whole animal, and not just the rack. if you are not going to eat what you kill, then donate it (sportsmen against hunger) or find someone who needs the meat before you hunt. to kill an animal and leave the meat to rot is horrid, and should be completely illegal. anyone who kills for "fun" has something wrong with them. it would be a very small step from killing an animal to killing humans from there. after all, we are animals also. the fun, is in the hunt. in my opinion, the fun stops, and the work (and accountability) starts once you pull the trigger.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

bluecollarkid: Thanks for getting things cleared up and I'll try to be more helpful in future posts. If you enjoy reading, I might recommend "Fair Chase With Alaskan Guides" by Hal Waugh and "Meditations on Hunting" by Jose Ortega y Gasset. Both books get into the ethics of hunting and the idea of placing self-imposed limits of behavior on hunting. Like several people here who have already stated, the older one gets and the more critters you kill, the more likely you are to mellow out a little and be satisfied with less game hunted right, rather than full limits done any way possible.
Can I get out from under the pile now? LOL

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from Hobob wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I think supassing the need to kill an animal is the pinnacle pf maturity in a hunter. It is also when we should pass on the tradition to others if we can. I got this idea from men who grew up in a time when racks were small and the men were large. It was before we hunters started keeping score.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I would not shoot an elephant, nor would I shoot a lion, or rino. If ever I get to go to Africa to hunt, I would hunt buffalo, leopard, and plains game. Mbogo because he is
considered the most dangerous of the Big Five, and Chui because he is considered the most challenging. The antelopes are not endangered, and are edible.
The rest, I would shoot only with a camera. I can well understand Mr. Aagaard's reluctance to shoot elephant, as I find that I only shoot deer that are old does, and what the guide considers "cull" bucks. If it is not for meat, I don't shoot it. I probably would make an exception for a big grizzly, one time.

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from nicoletfan wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I completely understand Mr. Aagaard's feelings. As a youngster I used to love hunting (and of course shooting) rabbits and squirrels. Now, since I do not care to eat either of those animals I can't think of any good reason to shoot one...so I don't, prefering to just watch them when I am in the woods. Same is true of deer. Here in Wisconsin I hunt in the CWD area and Earn a Buck rules still apply. I haven't shot an anterless deer in several years of hunting because I refuse to shoot one animal just to earn the right to shoot another (even if there are too many deer -- and that's questionable also). It may sound crazy but I slow and honk for gray squirrels that run across the street in front of me.

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I am not a PH, but would not participate in a Control hunt, save a few nuiscence animals. Yes i know i spelled that wrong. Generally i will not shoot what i don't intend to eat. Having had bear meat on a couple occassions, i'm no longer a bear hunter.
Mr. Petzal, thankyou for clarifying that, both for the kid, and myself. I can see how a hunter could have a bit of remorse after harvesting such a grand animal. I have a bit of bittersweet remorse after harvesting any animal, as i know what fate lies ahead for me as well.

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from bluecollarkid wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal thanks for clearing that up. DuckCreekDick no thanks to you. As for moral conflicts and hunting, I'm with hal herring on this. Eat what you kill or don't shoot it. However, I will have to add a caveat regarding bears because they make a great rug and I donate the meat to the local homeless shelter where I live.

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

In the Army, I learned that killing anything, while it may be necessary for food, is not something that man comes by naturally. In Basic Training in 1971, we had to stand around the Drill Sergeant with upheld fixed bayonets and respond to his "What is the purpose of the bayonet?" with a yelled response of "To kill,Drill Sergeant, to kill!" Man is seemingly reluctant to start. Maybe Finn just reached his limit, naturally.

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from focusfront wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Mike Diehl:

As I am in the same life situation you are in, your words on hunting ring true for me, too. For me at the place in life I'm in now, hunting is a rare treat. Well spoken.

From what I read, control hunting is little different than butchery. You find a small group of elephants that is relatively isolated, stalk close, identify and kill the matriarch, and while the other elephants are running in circles without a leader, gun down the rest of them. Once the matriarch is down, the rest is just killing, not hunting, and few of us like to kill; if we did we'd all be steer sluggers rather than hunters. The accounts I've read have the PHs using their regular elephant rifles on control, not 'hosing them down with FALs' (imagine how dangerous shooting elephants with .308s would be, unless you had an whole lot of help!). As Beard and Boddington have written, it is a job that absolutely has to be done. And it is dangerous, because elephants are dangerous. But I can understand how shooting whole family groups down to the calves would get very old, very quick. A bit too much blood on the ground at one time, I guess.

As for Aagaard, he was one of the best gun writers who ever lived. I admit I first joined the NRA mostly to get his column in American Rifleman. No one tests guns the way he did, or if they do they don't report on it the way he did. There are many excellent gun writers out there, but nobody has really taken Aagaard's place.

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from Paul Wilke wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

To get away from all this serous discussion:
many years ago, when I was first introduced to hunting and cooking I fixed supper for my favorite aunt. Just spaghetti with meat sauce. She loved it, especially the little chunks of meat.
However she has never forgiven me for feeding her all those English Sparrow hearts.
Took me all day to collect the meat for that meal.
Any recipe for gopher?

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Gunslinger- A nice little chat with your local game warden will often go a long way, they frown on activities like you described, and that will keep you out of harms way-legally also.

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from sjsmarais@gmail.com wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

The above article and the comments on it give me hope, I was starting to feel that we live in a 'all or nothing' world, where you are either into killing everything or a 'Peta wacko'. Thank goodness a good amount of hunters can deal with shades of gray.

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from KJ wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I've always enjoyed reading Aagard's stories, and my esteem of him grows. Like others, when I hunt I don't shy away from the killing, but I find more and more that there are those times I pass on pulling the trigger, because I just don't need to. It's a personal thing, and when I do kill I have my personal reasons for it. But I've always had a tinge of sadness, too, at taking a life. I detest the TV shows where the hunter whoops and hollers over the death of the animal.

And duckcreekdick, the bluecollarkid asked a reasonable question. You didn't answer it; you insulted him. Responses like yours keep people from asking questions and learning.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Dave,
About a year ago you had a post concerning Britt Aagaards release of a new book with the stories (articles) Finn had published in magazines after they moved to the U.S., (Aagaard Selected Works). I posted that I love his books but was afraid that there would be repeat stories. You posted and assured me there were none, and you were correct. I ordered it through Safari Press and loved it. I'm going to order this CD release again on your word.
I hope Ms. Aagaard (formerly) is doing well.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

P.S.
I meant to also post about a cull hunt.
In my life, as much as I'd love to hunt Africa, I don't think I'd ever want to be in on a cull hunt unless it was semi-scientific such as the one Jim Carmichael wrote of about veterinarians culling cape buffalo and doing autopsies.
Elephant have always been off my list of animals to kill unless it was a rogue elephant, gone crazy as people do, and was tearing up crops and killing the natives trying to run it off. Then I would help.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

It's a mortality thing I suppose? While I hope to take my last breath on this Earth taking a shot at a nice wall hanger of an Elk...some don't. I am not passing judgement here, because I agree hunting-aka killing-an animal can be a moral conflict at times. I am sure "on control" culling of an animal herd would have a lasting inpresssion on most of us. Mr. Aagaard seemed like a very interesting man.
I do hunt bear here in Michigan, and would hunt Lion in Africa if given the chance...fyi

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from bluecollarkid wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Well DuckCreekDick its not that I was offended but that your response was not helpful and came across as condescending. Remember the old adage, "If you don't have something nice (or otherwise informative to say)..." No hard feelings buddy. :-)

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Elmer F:
Donating to organizations that forward the meat to the truly needy is a good deal. Glad that such groups exist. Of course, the anti-hunters seem to sorta forget that this charitable activity goes on. I guess that the New York Times hasn't printed the story, yet.

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from WyoTom wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

There must be recognition of the fact that almost any wild animal of the defenceless type, if its multiplication were unchecked while its natural enemies, the dangerous carnivores, were killed, would by its simple increase crowd man off the planet; and of the further fact that, far short such increase, a time speedily comes when the existence of too much game is incompatible with the interests, or indeed the existence, of the cultivator. As in most other matters, it is only the happy mean which is healthy and rational. There should be certain sanctuaries and nurseries where game can live and breed absolutely unmolested; and elsewhere the laws should so far as possible provide for the continued existence of the game in sufficient numbers to allow a reasonable amount of hunting on fair terms to any hardy and vigorous man fond of the sport, and yet not in sufficient numbers to jeopard the interests of the actual settler and the tiller of the soil, the man whose well-being should be the prime object to be kept in mind by every statesman. Game butchery is as objectionable as any other form of wanton cruelty or barbarity; but to protest against all hunting of game is a sign of softness of head, not of soundness of heart.

—Theodore Roosevelt,
African Game Trails

Re elephant control: Selective shooting does not work for elephants. Shooting matriarchal cows alone causes profound disruption in the social order of herds and leads to worse problems of depredation. Long, sad experience has taught game departments in Africa that to control elephants, EVERY elephant in the herd, young or old, male or female, has to be shot. Elephants have no other predators than humans, and left to themselves in the terribly shrunken natural environment of Africa (with less true wilderness than North America), they would in short order denude the landscape, as they famously did in Tsavo in Kenya, as documented by Peter Beard. Rather than going all wobbly about killing, or suddenly discovering a "heart," hunters should consider striking some sort of medal for PHs who choose to be involved in control work. This, by the way, is no reflection on Aagard, whom I knew and admired, and even more, liked.

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from stick500 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

very interesting responses from thoughtful readers- I can relate to many of the topics (I was a sh*&bird hunter as a kid, too- BTW, it's illegal to kill any native non-game bird with the exception of the english sparrow, european starling and pidgeons).

If anyone is interested in topics similar to this, there is an excellent book called "The Hunter's Heart" which relates many stories about how hunting evolved differently in many hunters lives

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from Drew YoungeDyke wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I think all of us hunters have our own set of morals and limitations that we put on ourselves regarding killing another living animal. Feeling some sympathy for our prey makes us human; pulling the trigger in full recognition of that is part of being a hunter. The moral set by which we abide - our concepts of fair chase and permissable game - distinguishes us from killers. I'm thankful to hunters like Mr. Aagaard for recording their thoughts on the subject, because it makes the rest of us examine our own concepts of fair chase, mortality and what it means to be a hunter. I look forward to hearing what he had to say.

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Some of my most rewarding hunts and fish were the ones i chose to pass on. Maybe i'll catch'm another day, maybe not.

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

To Paul Wilke . . .

Outstanding post. Very amusing.

I don't have any recipes for home-cooked gopher, but I'd be happy to send you a few fresh gopher carcasses from time to time--mind you, they're a bit tattered from close range 12-gauge OO or multiple .22 rounds--if you're interested. You can experiment until you get a recipe you think is just right.

To Bella, Moishe and Hobob and Steve182 . . .

Your respective posts are well said. And Hobob, somehow I thought I heard my stepfather's voice in your post . . . remarkable, since he's been gone for a few years. Thank you.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Mr. Smith: We ahve tried for many seasons to get help from the game Warden, to no avail. My county only has one officer and he must cover the entire country. Distance across is about 50 miles and no way can he cover it all.We even got teh Highway Patrol riding by, most of the killing is done late at night or very early in AM. We have gotten to see the vehicle, but they caggy, the driver drops them off and picks them up later a long ways from dropsoff.These people are coming from as far away as 5o-60 miles, as word is out that some nice Bucks in this area. All the property is now posted, both mine and joining property. THese duds are smart, the know the crossing area and thats where they hid and wait. We've shot over their heads with shotguns, but does not faze them, back in a day or so. I just hope to catch them on my property long before dark some time, and I will stop the poaching,.They not huntig for meat, they just killing for the fun of seeing something die. I was taught, if you kill it, you eat it.With excsptions of some critters not eatable.The old house on my farm haws in good condition, but now they have broken all the windows and torn off the doors and stolen the cabinets. This property is off the main drag and they can wait us out. But this year I plan to make this their last poaching job.The OUtfitters in the Rockies will pull the same stuff on us NR. They will try to bluff that the property we on (BLM ) is theirs and we know better. I reported to the Warden, did no good, same thing the remainder of our 2 week hunt,. A few loads of shot in the A-- might do some good, but doubt it. Do you recall the guy who kiled SAMPSON the Bull Elk in Estes Park??????, C0? It did not stop the poaching near the park. Too many low-lifes and not enough enforcers unless you legalize more hunters to make arrest for such.

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Gunslinger . . .

I deeply sympathize with your situation and your justifiable anger. When I was a kid, I lived in a rural area of a very large county. Some of the families that had been there for many generations believed this long-term residential status gave them the right to hunt and poach wherever and whenever they pleased. We resisted this idea.

A range war ensued. Much was lost. Fire was exchanged. In our case, however, my stepfather was able to recruit the assistance of game wardens in the area, as well as other law enforcement agents. The final battle between the poachers and ourselves (with one of the game wardens present and participating) occurred at an ambush site--via a bait we created which we knew the poachers would not be able to resist. They came. We sprang the ambush. Their arrests immediately followed.

I suggest you follow the same strategy against your enemy poachers/property destroyers. Create a bait they won't be able to resist--such as a bright, shiny shed they'll want to tear down, or a bright, shiny tough-looking gate they'll want to cut to pieces. Choose a site that discretely favors you and your friends and your cameras rather than your enemy. Put up game cameras in the area of your bait as well as likely ingress/egress paths to and from the ambush site. Include a camera or two in the areas where you believe the poachers/property destroyers are dropped off. If you have friends in the area, get them to help you create the bait, and hide them discretely in the area of your bait when you believe the poachers/property destroyers are most likely to strike. Tell law enforcement what you're doing and ask for assistance--and if law enforcement won't help, then conduct press interviews and make waves until your newspapers and news stations broadcast stories about how worthless your local law enforcement is.

When the poachers/property destroyers come again, helplessly drawn to the bait you've left for them, capture them on film. If possible, you and your friends may wish to jump the poachers/property destroyers, stop them, and detain them to be turned over to the police. If you are unable to jump them, simply turn copies of your films over to the police and the press and demand immediate action--the faces of the bad guys all over the evening news and in the newspapers for a few days, and perhaps a licence plate of their drop-off vehicle in the news, too, will almost certainly result in their arrests. But do not--and this is imperative if you value your freedom--do not spring any ambush or create any bait that injures a bad guy. In fact, do not injure a bad guy unless he opens fire on you or one of your men--which would be self defense, or defense of another--all of which should be legal in any state in the USA (but check the laws in your area first and comply with them). Be advised that most states also permit a property owner to use "reasonable force" to stop a bad guy from destroying one's property--particularly if the bad guy is already committing criminal trespass on one's property, and almost certainly if the bad guy is armed. Always be the valiant property owner defending one's own. Never be a gone-loopy vigilante.

Good luck and good fortune.

TWD

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from Joel Panian wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

This is a great subject. I havn't been able to hunt much the past few years of school, and what I miss the most is being out in the woods, learning from my uncle. I never had an second thoughts about shooting any of the animals I did, because I had utmost respect for them and ate the meat. But I am sure that animals feel and certainly have individual personalities just like us, and I hate those people who do not see this and kill just to kill. I guess I just don't see how that could be ethically acceptable.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"They will try to bluff that the property we on (BLM ) is theirs and we know better."

Notwithstanding their night time hunting and other poaching habits, if I understand you to say that the property belongs to the BLM, they have the right to hunt it using legal methods during legal hours.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

The upshot of that is you can't detain them for entering BLM land even if you lease it. Was you to do so, you could be charged with felony assault at the least if not kidnapping.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

But of course you can document it if they cut fences, enter a building, damage improvements, poach, etc. Which I would do if I could do it. There's a cattle tank on local State Trust Land that yahoos break into and trash. They cut the fence and gate fairly regular, and drive all hell on it using quads. One of them is a big fan of Bud Light and given the intervals I find his cans spaced out along forest roads it's clear he drinks while driving. He trashes the hell out of every place he stops, leaving cans, bottles, and shot up junk all over the place. I'd LOOOOVE for someone to catch this guy on a trail cam or web cam or something so he could be prosecuted. I'm always picking up the stuff he leaves behind. One year the dimwit shot up a cylinder head that I hauled out of the cattle tank, and some computer monitors. Don't know why some people have to prove to the world that they're aggessive aXXwholes.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Sheesh! What part of "no offense" do we not understand? I simply meant to say that running down a herd of elephants and hosing them down with FAL's is as distasteful to me as it was to Mr. Aagaard. Taking an animals' life should be done with a little respect, like I hope to do in two weeks when deer season opens.
Sorry for any ruffled feathers, fellow nimrods.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

My apologies, It's Berit.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Once I get enough venison and pheasant that will fill the freezer I quit. No sense in killing more than you need.

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

As I have gotten older I don't pull the trigger as often nor as easy as I once did, especially on big game animals. Limiting out doesn't mean much anymore either. Method means a great deal to me now days, as I often hunt with traditional blackpowder arms. I also gain a great deal of pleasure from giving back, or from introducing someone to the great outdoors, be it a young person or someone who finds hunting late in life. I also enjoy new places and new experiences.

I have always enjoyed watching animals, much of what I've learned has come from observation. I enjoy that more than ever now. Last year I didn't kill a deer. The freezer was still full of venison and I enjoyed just looking. I saw lots of deer and even a few nice bucks. My friends couldn't understand why I didn't kill. I just smiled and told them I didn't need to...

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Am presently reading the TR book "African Game Trails." Very well written and he speaks of the philosophy of hunting often. I'd recommend everyone read it.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

BTW laws for entrance and egress of Federal property incl BLM land are basically as follows: lessee has the right to exclude public entry to any building and to bar entrance to private property either within or surrounding Federal land. But if there is any public easement they can't block access to Federal land via the easement, nor can they exclude entrance into leased land from other adjacent lands.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Bella & T.W

Your posts were insightful and right on the mark!

TW
I know which jerk hunter/writer you refer to. I will refrain from hijacking the thread railing on him like I have in the past.

Back to elk hunting. Just logged on in town to check the global warming forecast for NW Colorado.

Good day,
WMH

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from etexan wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Finn was one of the best gun writers of the last 40 years. Don't know how the Rifleman got him but he was all that made the magazine worthwhile for the years he had a column there.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I don;t plan to got to jail over some Idiot killing game on my property, but do intend to stop them someway. A Baited situation with a nice Buck would help, but need teh Warden in on it. Saw this work in C0 once. As for Outfittes out West. They try that bluff stuff on us NR on BLM,stating they have a lease to hunt it and in some cases even have no hunting signs up.We dble checked and knew it was BLM for anyone to use. We did not give in after a few days of this bull and hunted our area, but the outfitters drug logs across the paths so prevent our going in by Vehicles. The Game warden put a stop to that and let us know he would watch for us. But by now our time was almost up and the hunt was ruined and our money wasted. Was teh worst year I ever spent in C0. Thats when I decided other states also had Elk and deer and liked our $$ as well. No problems with the other states with outfittrs, just a few mis-fits trying to gt our game. They parked wher they could use a spoting scope adn search our mtn side, when they sw us they they looked for game we jumped or ran off. They did get a nice 5 x 5 that ws to be mine. Now the guy can;t hunt that area for 5 yrs. So hopefully our problem solved for a few ys bt have my doubts, as they will interfer anyway they can on our drives and especially the roadway and switchbacks with large bolders. About to the point to Hell with them and keep my $ at home and hunt here, as my place has many deer but no Elk. The Western states about priced themselves out of us NR from coming out. There are 5 of us and we will spend about 3K rach for a 10 day hunt. O well, not going this year as health gone down hill. Howevere at 74 would love to make one more trip for Elk in teh Rockies. I love to hear and see the Bulls during the Rut and their great music. Plus nothingnlike a camp in the wilderness at l0-12K feet and a reat fire going with roast cooking and tall tales being told. Kinda makes a fellow forgt all the headaches at home for a few days and that is what its all about. Love the Mtns and have eaten my share of tags. Made many friends over the pst 20 odd years and look forward to vist with them each fall for the annual hunt. O, and my wife loved the Cougar she saw at 20 steps last . Many around and many Wolf tracks that us hunters need to take care of,. God Hunting, Shoot-um-straight and often. PS. I got a 8mm Custom Mauser i want rechambered, what would be a good caliber from this gun that ammo was easy to find. BBl is 26 " and gun has a solid rib and dble set triggers, with beautiful wood, I just don;t like a 8 mm.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

OK I got it. You were on BLM land and they tried to tell you they had exclusive access. Right you are. They were full of baloney. It's regrettable that they sabotaged your hunt meanin of course I'm sorry it happened to you. It sounds like you got some revenge though so good on you.

I'd keep trying. If they do it again a cease and desist can put them in a real tight bind. If they get convicted of anything, an admin judge can declare them persona non gratis on BLM land. Nig Fine if they violate that order. It'd serve them right.

It took me a minute to figure NR is "non-resident."

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Shd be Big Fine.

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Jim in MO:
The book was written in a different era when hunting was viewed in a different light. Regardless of your views on TR the man, the book details Africa and the habits of these animals in a way that few others can match. Remember, he was sent to Africa in 1909 by the Smithsonian to collect these animals.

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from Tim Platt wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Thanks for the question bluecollarkid I was right there with you. I couldn't kill an elephant. They are much too intelligent and besides I'm a Republican and have statues of them all over my house! However I can murder blackbirds, starlings, crows, and sparrows without a twinge of guilt. To each his own.

I have noticed that the older I get and the more my own mortality stares me in the face I am much more selective in my killing. I am no longer a headstrong child I am a thinking man. It becomes harder to kill when you face death yourself.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Ruckweiler,
I read that book this past year, wish I hadn't wasted my money. To say he was a pompous ass would be an understatement. You would have thought he discovered Africa single handedly. He had no care of people except the 'upper crust' like him. Whom he boasted of them being thrilled with his visits. I got tired of him pontificating how Africa would and will be a better place when enough white men get there to put his ideas in place. I thought this was going to be strictly a book on his hunting adventures. Well, there was hunting if you can call it that. More like a slaughter to me, and that's just the animals the blind bastard could hit. The untold wounded disappeared to die without much condolence from TR.
'African Game Trails' literally sickened me.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Ruckweiler,
Your point is well taken.
I'm still not so sure if the Smithsonian petitioned him or vice verse.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

No offense, bluecollarkid, but if it has to be explained, you still wouldn't understand.

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