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Petzal: A Strange, Sad Baboon Story

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December 01, 2008

Petzal: A Strange, Sad Baboon Story

By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

In the early 1950s the African professional hunter Alexander Lake wrote about an unsettling experience he had with a troop of baboons. Lake had been shooting them for bounty (they are hell on crops and young animals, and ranchers, farmers, and PHs hate them). Lake found himself unarmed in the middle of a troop of the beasts, face to face with the Alpha baboon who, rather than leading the troop in tearing Lake to pieces, stared into his eyes with, as Lake described it, a strange yearning look.

Then Lake heard a weak squawk, and saw a mother baboon nearby, hovering near her baby, which was limp and obviously near death. It had been poisoned by a farmer. Lake had a canteen filled with strong coffee and forced some into the little beast. It puked up whatever it had eaten and began breathing regularly. The momma baboon grabbed her youngster and the troop faded back into the forest. Lake never forgot that strange, beseeching look in the Alpha baboon’s eyes, and he never shot another one.

Last summer, in South Africa, I found out first hand what Lake was writing about. We’ve all watched the eyes of shot animals as they die. One instant they are bright and seeing and in the next instant they are clouded and unfocused and the life has left them. I had never seen anything different until I shot a big male baboon and walked over to him. As he lay there, his eyes locked into mine and I saw something that might have been incomprehension or recognition or accusation or perhaps all three. I will never know.

In any event, I don’t think I will shoot another baboon, either.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

ElvisWell put. I grew up hunting and hunted all available days every season.After my tour of duty in SE Asia, I just quit hunting for about 25 years. Something different about shooting at animals who can't shoot back and those that do. I still get the rush of taking a big game animal, if I lose that I'll quit. It's the real hunter who can remain steady, take the good shot, and make a clean follow up without pissing himself.I hear you. Most of these slap happy "hunters" have never had a covey of 7.62x39 buzz their little sissy a$$es. I have never known a real ground combat vet to act in that manner or really get buck fever to the point of losing awareness of what is going on around them. I have had hunting partners that lost all composure at the appearance of an elk and could do nothing more than stumble around almost in circles.

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from VanhetHof wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

FYI, a couple of decades ago either Richard Starnes or Bob Brister authored a F&S article about why he would never shoot another elephant. It is a powerful story.SVH

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from Elvis wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Killing those primates was justified becase "they are hell on crops and young animals, and ranchers, farmers". That is good enough for me.As a combat vet who had ordance passed towards me nightly I do respect wildlife. Having been hunted is very humbling. I beleive in killing for food and protection only, not target shooting or some contest. I beleive God gave man dominion over all creatures, but will ask for an accounting of their life blood.In regards to the hunters having some orgasmic reaction when taking wildlife, I say get a life. I do not watch those stupid videos of those fools acting like jackasses. If that kind of stupid behavior turns me off, it must really turn of non-hunters. I worked with one of those idiots. I told him (he was not even a military veteran) to join up and participate in human hunting if he enjoyed killing that much. Needless to say the little coward walked away.

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I've hunted for 63 yrs, killed all types of small game, up to large animals such as Elk. Too this day, I'm never thrilled at the sight of seeing a animal die. I never run to a animal (can't run now)that I just put down, something about seeing the last breaths taken by any game. I nevetr jump, hoop, holler as thoe TV guys are paid to do. I always give a down animal a few minutes befoe I approach and then kinda feel bad that I took his life. I fully understand the time when men hunted for the food, but now most hunt for the HORNS. My greatest pleasure in hunting is seeing the wonderful county the almighty gave us and enjoy seeing the different animals. I will an do take a nice animal when I feel he is fully grown and maybe on the down side. I've often wondered what a Cop feels when he must take another persons life and see his last struggles of life. I hope the good Lord forgives me for any life I've taken and will replenish that animal. I;ve had my success and not success anumals killed and most of the non-kills were my stupidity in not waiting on a fatal sure shot. So far, best as i can recall, I've never left a wounded animal in the woods to die a slow miserable death, as i feel animals are kinda like humans, want to live. I've had successful years and nt, but even those yeas when I ate the tag did I not have a successful year. I enjoy owning teh firearms I own, the enjoyment of preparing for a hunt and then the hunt itself. To sit atop of a Mtn in the Rockies at l2K feet, such an enjoyment to just look all around you and see what;s there to see. Afer 63 ys of hunting, I yet get the wheebies when-ever I seea animal and wonder if that animal is gonna fill my tag. My hunting days are coming to a close, when ,only God knows, but do hope he will fogive me for any wrongful death I have caused. Think again the next time you pull that trigger, do you really want to end that beautiful animal's life. I have many mounts on my Den wall,and each brings back great memories. I have space for one mount left and hopeful I can fill that space with the animal I would like, that being a Elk for the Mtns of N.C. Tnn or KY. But at 73+ few chances to draw those states or slim and almost none. I suppose my Son of 55 and I have shared more (42 ys) Son-Father time hunting than 99% of Sons and Fathers, for that I feel honored. So have fun, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy your Trophy. Before you do, shoot often and shoot straight: The old worn out GunSlinger down South. O, I made C- in spelling and typing.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

gadoc,Lighten up, then go to hell.

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from gadoc wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Gents,I have been in agreement with most of what has been said here, but I diverge when you criticize the "whooping, hollaring and butt-slapping." When dealing with death, much of our behavior could be considered coping. Regardless of the side you're standing on (hunter, hunted, watching the death of a loved one) you are coping. I celebrate when I find a killed game animal. Hand shakes and hugs are par for me, but I don't like the finger pointing at those who choose a more boisterous approach. Ease off the guys that do the Tiger fist pump. Thats just their style, goofy or arrogant as it seems. I'll still drink beer with 'em, though I don't find that behavior necessary for me.As an aside, the grammar in this room is atrocious. I can't learn from what you have to say if I can't understand it. Take 5 seconds and check your post (this includes me). A written language is one of those things that separates us from the baboons.

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from MMM wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Went hunting last mon in Oh. had 3 does running full bore at me and my friend who had never deer hunted before. Up shot of it, they winded us, hit the brakes in cover where we couldn;'t see them, then bounded out to the right where we shot and missed at 40-50 yds. I was shooting sabots and w/o thinking shot over them. My friend shot right over them we think as well. Anyways, after the shots, I looked at him and he was shaking just as much as me. I've big game hunted for 30 yrs, guided for deer, bear, elk, mtn lion for 5 yrs, I'm from COLO. Anyways, we laghed and I had to take alot of ribbing from my buddies for missing because i'd have to say I'm a damn fine shot. Anyways, the day that I don't shake after shooting something or feel remorse for killing is the day I quit hunting

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from Duck Creek Dick wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

A good post, Dave, and thoughtful comments from all of you fellows. You're all welcome at my campfire any time.Like Tom Fowler, I give thanks and do the sprig of heather thing too.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

That is the 'free giveaway site'.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Dr. R,Nice going! Go to proper blog I have something else to say or ask.

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from Chad Love wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph: check the Honest Angler blog. You'll be pleasantly surprised...

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Joe... if I lived in Botswana and baboons were overpopulated and destroying property I believe I would do my civic duty and dispatch as many as possible. I still shoot a whole lot of crows and blackbirds. Just don't look baboons in the eye as they die, doing that with any creature is disturbing. Sure am glad I never went to war...

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from Joe C wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I don't understand all the sympathy for baboons. They are mean and destructive creatures who kill for fun and survival. They do not have feelings and destroy without pity. In 1974 they were classified as vermin in Botswana and after watching them tear a small Impala limb from limb while still alive I made my best effort to put a dent in their population as my ammo would allow. Please do not shed tears for these mindless killers.

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from DB in IL wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

A friend of my dad's once went on safari in Africa. He shot a baboon. When he walked up to the animal, knife in hand (ready to clean the ape), he thought it was dead. When he got up to it, it reached out and grabbed his arm.

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from sarg wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Good post Dave,

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from sarg wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I was never a trophy hunter, if I take a rack I usually make something of the horns. Love hunting, deer,quail,or grouse. Used to squirl hunt a lot, but quit eating them, so I won't shoot them. Don't keep fish but certainly love fishing... I always think about the animal when taking game or cleaning a beef, I know why I do it.

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from Michael wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

When I was younger I thought the European custom of placing a twig or small branch in an animal's mouth (the last bite)after shooting it was ridiculous. Now I understand the honor they were bestowing on an animal.

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from ? wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey all you evolutionists don't you know you great grandaddy was a babboon, And grandma joe was a gorilla, if you want to argue over evelution watch all of the kent hovind movies first.Thomas Age 14

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I cried the first time I killed a bird with a BB gun. I watched it die and was probably 8 years old. Taking a life is no mean feat...Growing up I hunted a lot. Nothing but small game but we didn't eat everything we killed. We shot pheasant and quail and rabbits and ate them all. We also shot pigeons, crows, blackbirds and sparrows because they were a "nuisance". Maybe if they were a little prettier they would be something else. We killed foxes around the chickens and coyotes around the sheep and sometimes it meant staying up in the barn all night. It was a job, killing to protect. Then I moved to Tennessee and there were deer...The first time I killed an animal that weighed more than my wife was an emotional experience. It was weird. I can't even imagine shooting something that has an IQ higher than some mentally challenged human beings and then having it look me in the eye. Baboons are the eighth smartest primates. We are arguably the first.

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from T FORD wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

IT WAS THE LAST HUNT WE THREE BROTHERS WOULD SHARE.TRADITION HAD HELD THAT EACH YEAR BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR WE WOULD HUNT DEER HERE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.THE HUNT MASTER,THE MIDDLE BROTHER,WOULD SET IT UP ON ONE PLANTATION OR ANOTHER WITH THE THE PLANTATION MANAGER.HE KNEW THEM ALL AND WAS CLOSE FRIENDS WITH MANY.I HAD HEARD THE SHOT IN THE EARLY EVENING JUST BEFORE GOOD LIGHT WAS LOST TO TWILIGHT.GETTING DOWN,I THOUGHT ABOUT THE THE BROTHERS' HUNT AND THE END OF THE SEASON.IT WAS PRETTY MUCH HARD DARK BY THE TIME I MET THE TWO OF THEM ON THE SEABOARD FIELD LOOKING FOR THE TRAIL WHERE SHE ENTERED THE WOODS HEADED IN THE DIRECTION OF CRANE POND.THAT SHE HAD BEEN HIT THERE WAS NO DOUBT BUT THE BLOOD TRAIL WAS SCANT.I PICKED UP WHAT LOOKED LIKE A RUNNING TRACK AND A SPOT OF WATERY BLOOD IN THE PINE LITTER.A LITTLE SHORT ON THE COLOR RED IN MY VISION, I CALLED TO THE HUNT MASTER FOR VERIFICATION.HE CAME CUSSING AND IMPATIENT WITH THE OLDEST, SUGGESTING THAT HE SHOULD LEARN HOW TO SHOOT.IT WAS BLOOD, HE HAD A START WHICH WAS ALL HE EVER NEEDED TO RECOVER A WOUNDED DEER IF RECOVERY WERE AT ALL POSSIBLE.HIS SKILLS AT TRACKING WERE SECOND TO NONE. EVEN TO THE MAN WHO HAD TAUGHT HIM.THE HUNT MASTER HAD ,IF YOU WILL,TAKEN IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL,HONED OVER THIRTY YEARS OF INCOMPARABLE SUCCESS.DISTANCE ON A BLOOD TRAIL AT NIGHT IS DECEIVING.IT'S MANY TIMES SLOW GOING, HUNTING FOR THE NEXT SPOT WHILE ONE OF US WOULD STAND ON THE LAST,MOVING ONLY WHEN HE CALLED US FORWARD.HE WAS METHODICAL AND INTOLERANT OF SOMEONE MOVING AHEAD A DISTURBING AN ALREADY DIFFICULT TRAIL.THE TEMPERATURE HAD DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE TIME IT TOOK TO REACH THE POND.SENSING SHE WAS CLOSE, HE WAS QUIET AS HE APPROACHED THE EDGE OF THE WATER NOT WANTING TO JUMP THE DEER AND SEND HER TO THE MIDDLE OF THE POND ONLY TO SINK AND BE LOST.WE HONORED HIS UNSPOKEN COMMAND,NOT UDDERING A WORD AS HE SEARCH THE SHALLOWS WITH HIS FLASHLIGHT.HE EASED INTO THE COLD WATER THAT TOPPED HIS BOOTS AND ADVANCED SLOWLY TOWARD THE THE EYES REFLECTING FROM THE DARKNESS.AS HE REACHED HER HE GRIPPED HER IN ONE POWERFUL HAND,AND SAID,"I'M SORRY,OLD GIRL",AND ENDED HER LIFE.I'LL NEVER FORGET HEARING THOSE WORDS ON THE LAST HUNT WE THREE BROTHERS WOULD SHARE.MY OLDER BROTHER AND I STILL GET TOGETHER EACH YEAR TO HUNT AND ENJOY GOD'S CREATION THAT HAS BEEN SUCH A PART OF ALL OF OUR LIVES.WE STILL ENJOY THE SUCCESSFUL HUNT BUT IT WILL ALWAYS BE BITTER SWEET WHEN WE STAND OVER THE ANIMAL WE HAVE HAVE KILLED AND SAY,"I'M SORRY"

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from Chad Love wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Suburban Bushwacker, thanks for the compliment, this is a bit off-topic (sorry Dave) but I recently read on your most excellent blog a review of the Fallkniven F1.I'm seriously considering purchasing a couple F1 blade blanks, trying my hand at crafting my own scales from various parts of ruthlessly murdered deer antler and eventually giving them to my sons.And if I muck it up, well, I can always gather the pieces and send it all to a real knifemaker.Anyway, I know you like your F1 as a bushcraft knife, but what do you think of it as a do-all general-purpose hunting knife?

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from Thos. B. Fowler wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Writings, and letters like these increases my respect and feeling of comaraderie with my fellow hunters and shooters. I feel that Dave Petzel deserves a pat on the back for bringing up what could be a controversial subject. I have made the same dismal journey that many of you talked about, from youthful exuberance about killing to a more thoughtful kind of hunting. From killing gladly to killing sadly, one could say.As to the baboon...there is a God, and there is a stream of consciousness in this old world, that bespeaks one that is on the way. We need to be thoughtful hunters, all of us, like the Austrians, who are reported to put a sprig of evergren in the deer's mouth, and say a thanks to the deer, and a thanks to God for the life of the deer. It has become my own custom, too.Tom Fowler

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from Greg wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Killing is a necessary part of hunting, and I don't necessarily fault people who get excited when they take an animal's life. I think it is perfectly acceptable to be excited about achieving the goal you have worked for, especially considering the amount of time most of us put into hunting. Just look at the number of dollars most hunters spend, the number of hours scouting, praticing, & sighting in weapons. How about the countless early mornings you get out of a warm bed to go sit in a cold treestand. There are a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into a hunting season so when someone achieves their goal and takes an animal they are proud of i think they have every right to be excited and happy. Hunting not only provides food for the table, it enriches our memories. Hunting without killing is just going for a walk in the woods. If going for a walk in the woods is what makes you happy then that is fine too but i don't think it means that people who still get excited about taking game are wrong. I'm the first to admit that taking an animal's life is rather unpleasent at times, and by no means is it the only thing that is important. Are some of the shows over the top? absolutely they are. But at the same time i'd rather see someone genuinely excited about hunting then someone wracked by guilt for pulling the trigger. I'm sure in a quiet moment, when the camaras are not rolling, Mr. Nugent and the others feel the same twing of remorse for having to take another creature's life. The yelling and high fiving can certainly reach a point where it is distasteful but i think being excited and respecting the animal are mutually exclusive.

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from Craig B wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I thought it was just me who always has a tinge of regret whenever I kill an animal, even though I only kill what I eat. I thought I must be the only hunter who is put off by the high-fiving yahoos who dominate the hunting shows and who can kill an animal and then display near orgasmic reactions when they see the rack on their trophy kills. It's a relief to know from the postings here that I'm not alone.....there's a helluva lot of sportsmen still around.

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from suburbanbushwacker wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Chad Love - spoken like a true gentleman.RegardsSBW

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from Carney wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I passed on a spike buck at 40 yards this past season. It was the only "shooter" I saw all season. I fingered the trigger for about 20 seconds while he was checking me out and then slunk away. I didn't shoot because he just looked way too young and naive...I blogged about taking my first deer last year in an article titled, "Comments on the sobering part of hunting". Please tolerate a few paragraphs:"I was sorry that the deer struggled to live in the last moments. I was the only one to see it die and while I was delighted with the accomplishment and the benefits of the successful hunt, it was for me, a surprisingly "sobering" moment.Having moved from "hunter" to "killer" I can say that there is an honesty in killing an animal to use its body for one's benefit (food, trophy, etc.) that the typical American does not possess. We eat them and wear them; use them for medicines and cosmetics. Yet we don't "kill" them to get these benefits -- we leave the "sobering" part to others. In a very real way I now feel like it's cheating to get the benefits without paying "the sobering price".I can't expect everyone to arrive at this same philosophical destination that I did on Monday, especially when they are not even on the same path; yet my "kill" experience on Monday really taught me a lot about our society and it's detachment from the "sobering realities"; to say nothing of my new awarenes of the "pretended civilization" of anti-hunters."

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from Yohan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Boy Oh Boy ,.. quite the posting list here today ,. this is thefirst time in a long time I have peeked in here three times in one day ,..and I cant dissagree with anyone ,.Still of the last few ,.. find I am very much in agreement with Jim in MoI actually think if,.. hes not right as in correct ,.. generally speaking we are all in one hell of a lot of trouble.To witt: "Most of us can be forgiven our exuberance over a kill as a young man or men".When you think about that, Quite the statement.Which has to be true also as he says,. due to the right of passage that any kill percipitates,. especially the first one.Remember well my first,.. it was a rabbit.Just a lucky shot with a .22 cal crossman pellet gun pumped about 40 times.I was just about to take poke at 3 pound coffe can ( the big ones ) at about 50 yards when rabbit decided to run past.It was nothing more or less than a target of opportunity. As i was shootig not hunting at that minute.But my young mind shifted gears quickly ,.. swinging ahead of Mr Rabbit ,.. elevating the muzzle I let her go ,.. resulting in a solid WHAP !! ,..Coud not friking believe I hit it. Both my brothers were standing there too ,.so when the shock of the hit wore off( 13.75 seconds later yuk yuk ) we went to get it. At our approach it dragged itself under an old trailer bed ,. but it was dieing.A few minuets later we go it out,And I swear,.. Indian war parties didnt jump around hooting and hollering any more thna we did right then,.. keeping in mind the ages of paticipants were if memory serves maybe 11 12 % 13 .This was during "parent teacher conference" in the fall( october)Our mother was raised on a farm and her father hunted small game.So when she leared we had killed a rabbit ,. she said well clean it, and I'll cook it for you. Only trouble was we handnt a clue how to go about it. My father was working and being honest he wasn't what one would call a teacher ,. He woud let you learn by watching of you didnt get in the way,.. but aside from that ,. not much ,..so even then I was learnig to learn on my own or forget it.Long story short we got it gutted and skinned.Think that was about an hour long process,.. then washed out with cold water from the hose .The next day my mother cooked it . ( fried it very slowly ) in a big black iron pan. Th esmell was better than anything I had ever ecountered. And to this day fried rabbit in black iron pan( ai have a whole set just for game cooking) is still way up there on the list of Yohans fsavoites.Stil one big cotton tail is not enough to be sure for three ,. much less 5 ( mother and father) but enough so that we all got a little.We (my brothers and myslf) knew then,. we wanted more rabbit ,.And thats how it started for me ,. exuberant beyond undertanding ,. but as Jim says forgivable,.. i hope.Also I must admit ,. that after well over 100 whitetails and innumerble small game.If i did not get asense of heightened reality ( a rush if you will) I couldnt do it.But now I'am more ,.. how to say ,... present?,.. or concious? Yes maybe they are good words ,..but also repectiful.And on some occasions well,.. approaching ( per Mr. Myles) some state of being which transends that of everyday life.Spiritual comes to mind but not because of the killing ,.. because of the whole thing,..This is very interestiong guys ,. makes one look inward ,And while we may or may not agree with Mr Petzal's taking of a Baboon ,..it is for him to deal with.Which is a weight I am happy not to carry ,.Still so as not place myslef apart from or above him or anyone for that matterReally trust me when I say ,. I specifically as a hunter and most of us I beleive.Have plenty of out own weight to carry .Enough such that we know to not intentionally increase his.I do however believe him when he says that he dosen't think he will kill another one.Damn ,. quite a thinking sessionThank you Mr Petzal.I think I will never shoot one.

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from SD Bob wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Often I wonder if what I am doing (killing animals for fun and food) is right but every damn time I see a dead deer on the highway hit by a car I feel part of me is lost! I firmly believe that animal's life would have been better served if taken by my bullet or arrow instead of being wasted for chemical decomposition. I am a hunter! Its' who and what I am and killing an animal for fun and food is what I do! It's perfectly fine in my eyes if we question that from time to time but the fact remains I/we need meat to live and I am going to eat that deer or turkey or whatever else to prolong my life. My only real question though is why I never feel that way with birds. I've never felt remorse over killing a bird? Maybe because they don't bleed like a furred animal but even when I have to give a cripple the twirl, it's just not the same as the remorse I've felt taking a knife to a deer's throat! I could really do without that but inevitably and unfortunately if you hunt long enough, a bullet or arrow will be off a bit and you'll find yourself in that position.

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from shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

oh...good stuff, dylanh.

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from shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

but with guns, not poison.

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from shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

oh come on. seriously? i mean i sort of feel a twinge of "oh man, i just ended that thing's life," but it never stops me from, or even makes me think twice from ending the next one's life...keep shooting those little bastards. they are getting along a little too well on that tough continent. it freaks me out how well they do. they should be stopped.

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from dartwick wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Im with Dylan H.I have been hunting for a long time now but even as kid never wanted to kill an animal with out a reason.That said reading some of these responses I get the impression you guys are practically crying every time you kill a deer or a bird.I shot a deer today. He drooped where he stood and I hurried up to him. I put a shot into his neck as he wasnt going to expire for a minute or 2. It was a solemn moment and I found myself address the deer as I ended his life.BUT. Over all I felt good. I felt great when I saw the deer drop and I was smiling as took off my coat and pulled up my sleeves to field dress him.When I go hunting taking game is important to me. While I enjoy any day in the field a successful one is best. But on the other hand I dont bother hunting an animals unless Im in agreement with killing it.

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from Shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I always hate it when I retrieve a shot bird and I gotta pop the neck especially doves. Maybe a little less guilty abouty geese but thats just because they crap in my yard. As for tv hunters anyone ever get made when they don't put a follow-up shot in a hit but still standing animal.

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from Wes wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I just shot my first deer the day after Thanksgiving. He fell right where I shot him, and as I walked up I dreaded having to finish him off. My father has told me that the worst part of hunting is that moment when you look into the animal's eyes, sitting there helpless and terrified. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw his chest wasn't moving and his eyes were lifeless.

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from DylanH wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I guess I'm just different then everyone here in some ways. I'm only sixteen and I hunt deer, squirrel, and dove. I've never been the type of hunter who goes into the woods for trophies or just to shoot, I go in the woods because I like being in touch with nature more in this high tech. world and I never kill anything that I wont eat. I don't shoot at everything I see either, if its the right time then I do shoot but if I feel that its just not right then I wont shoot. That's why I hunt, because its a part of me and always have been. I remember when I was four years old putting on some coveralls and going out into the little woods in my back yard and just sitting there for hours and watching animals, at that time I never really wanted to take a gun. I saw many deer birds squirrels chipmunks and anything else you can imagine. Now that I'm older I still will do the same thing just go and sit and watch. Like I said its a part of me.I also hate those hunting shows, I saw one yesterday where this guy was in the Artic hunting polar bears. He saw one like a mile away and sent this dogs after it then when they found his dogs they were circling the bear while it lay spread eagle on the ground and then the guy took a step back and shot it with his bow and got all excited and everything. That just made me sick. Thats not hunting thats running an animal to exhustion and then walking up to it and just shooting it.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I think most of us can be forgiven about our exuberance over a kill as a young man. I still remember my first cottontail I ever shot on my own. Young, dumb and full of whatever. It seemed like a rite of passage. Blame it on testosterone or a misunderstanding of life. Maybe this is why the military wants young men (that and the fact we can't do it) who can kill and move on without thinking. Most of the hunting shows are good but as stated by others, many really are shameful. The animals deserve as much respect at the time of death as when its served at the table. I think thats the difference now we're older and realize there's a time clock ready to be punched than when we were young.

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from John wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

As I've grown older, I find myself becoming more reflective regarding my reasons for going out into the woods to hunt. There was a time when I would grit my teeth at every deer seen and not shot at. Nowadays when I see a deer or any other quarry coming toward my stand, I find myself more focused on the wonder of seeing such a creature, and less concerned with bringing it to bag. As a result, I have stopped taking risky or bad shots, and burn way less ammo than I used to. Despite this, I usually manage to fill a tag or two every season, and enjoy all aspects of the hunt more than ever. I've dumped most of the old hunting friends who viewed the hunt as just an opportunity to kill something, and spend more time hunting solo. I guess our outlooks change as we grow up, and that's not a bad thing. While this may never change an anti's mind about what we do, it sure does sit better on my conscience

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from KJ wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

To me, one of the worst offenders is Ted Nugent. I know he is a great defender of 2nd Amendment freedoms and hunting, but the guy is an assbag who makes hunting look like a glorified bloodbath. He's not the only one, but he is one of the more notable.

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from Bernie Kuntz wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Many of you have said it better than I am able--hunting videos are a scourge on ethical hunting. These morons dressed like commandos, their high-fiving and endless "kill shots" sicken me, and I am certainly not a squeamish sort. When I put myself in the place of a non-hunting viewer, I believe almost every hunting video I ever have seen would have created a disgust for hunting by that viewer.

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from Yohan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Forgot to identify myslef ,..post to Mr Love was Yohan

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Mr Love ,.. I would beg to differ with you on one small point.That being the idea you at one time or another you were stupid.Reading your "stuff" as you have put it in the past.Leads me to believe that would be difficult position to take,. much less prove.I do believe and agree however with Happy Mykes who put it wellAfter a point, many ( but not all)make the passage from "exuberant shooter",.. to that of passionate ( dare I add ) reponsibe hunter.And,.. the idea that transsention goes to achieving a state of grace is well,..just plain intresting,.Especially since some of my most spiritual momenst have occured in the field,.. with a rifle in my hands hunting.IE" waiting to kill.Not certain how or when that occurs ,. but i do now know it does.It also helps to be around people capabile of similar depth and sentiment as it were.So the idea you are or were stupid is as i say dificult for me.Maybe not at that juncture introspective to the extent death and time will ( not all the time but as stated ) many times allow.Again per Mr Myles depending of course on the individule.To close very intersting thoughts here to today ,..Sleep well

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from ricefarm wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

The first time I ever saw a hunting show on TV was when we were visiting someone in another part of the country who happened to have cable, at a time I knew nothing beyond the Big 3 and PBS. 2 guys were stalking a bison and whispering like they were NAVY SEALS which seemed a little odd to me since the buffalo were just eating grass, slowly moving around, oblivious to the hunters. Finally they shot one, it dropped, they did the obligatory whooping and high fives and while they did, you could clearly see a fence in the background. This has only been repeated hundreds of times on TV since and for the life of me I can't see who could find this interesting or entertaining.

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from Happy Myles wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Michael McIntosh wrote in his introduction to a book a collection of Robert Ruark's writings entitled AFRICA of "a transformation that many, though by no means all, hunters achieve, from exuberant shooter to passionate hunter to the curious state of grace in which hunting becomes an exercise of the mind and spirit."

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from Scrap5000 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I'll never forget the way a big doe that got hit by a car and was doomed stared at me as I slit it's throat to help end it's suffering quickly. Still haunts me when I think about it.Primates, well, that I don't think I could pull the trigger on, especially now.

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

As for looking into the fading eyes of an animal brought to bag and feeling uncomfortable... That is what makes us human. It also keeps us in touch with the real world, as the individual who can kill with no feeling would seem lacking as a sentient or moral being. Watching a gentle and loving family dog catch a young rabbit, rip it to shreads, eat it and walk away with no remorse reminds us of what the animal world is all about.I, like most hunters at the beginning, went through a phase where limiting out was the the most important thing. Call it blood lust or competition, I was gulty. I was also proud and braggadocios, quite often leaving the tail gate down...I was also raised on a farm where we knew our meat personally. Cows, hogs and chickens were raised for slaughter and the family dinner table. I would feed and care for these animals daily knowing their ultimate fate. I was frequently the one who would administer the coupe de gras at slaughter, the pistol or ax handed to me by one of my elders. I have also come to realize that my father and grandfather probably felt in thier middle age as now do in mine...I still kill for the table. I kill only what we can use. I find the term "harvest" as used nowdays in reference to hunting nothing more than a politically correct denial of the facts. I find those who have no qualms in buying thier meat on a sterile styrofoam plate, but complain about me killing Bambi the most hypocritical of all.I have no problem taking an animals life for the nourishment of my family. I have no problem with predator control when necessary, no problem with humane trapping for fur. I do have a problem with killing for horns or feathers and leaving the rest to waste.I refer to the current rash of hunting videos as, "killing for cash." I was involved several years ago with helping the 20 something female host of a PBS affiliated hunting & fishing show document a Women Only WMA Hunt. She was ultimately successful at getting a kill (button buck) on camera. Upon returning to the check station and posing for pictures she promply got into her vehicle and left for the next assignment. Leaving her camera crew to clean up the mess so to speak.

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from jstreet wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Chad Love quote:Truth be told I kill as much or more now than I did back then, but sometimes I wonder if the best part of hunting for me has become the thinking about it, that same introspective questioning I used to scorn as a weakness.Chad,It's maturity, pure and simple. Most hunters reach a point in their hunting careers that the actual killing is the least important part of the hunt.Jim

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from rz1234567 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Those dumbasses on TV aren't hunters. They treat it like they are playing a video game. ATVs, Scent Lock, scent attractants, super camo, trail cams, shooting houses, feeders and then they woop it up like they did something and make us all look like jackasses. A simple smile and handshake is all ive ever witnessed in person.

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from Chad Love wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I once fired off an indignant, wise-ass letter to (then) Sports Afield Editor-in-Chief Terry McDonnell mocking a story in which the novelist Thomas McGuane had written (and I'm paraphrasing from memory here so don't quote me) that when he hunted he "didn't exactly feel hunky-dory when game when down." Or something to that effect.I was around 23 or 24 at the time, and of the opinion that self-reflective naval-gazing and emotional conflict was the mark of an effete wussy with inferior predatory instincts who should probably stick to flyfishing and hanging out with Jimmy Buffet.I was pretty stupid back then, even more so than now...Truth be told I kill as much or more now than I did back then, but sometimes I wonder if the best part of hunting for me has become the thinking about it, that same introspective questioning I used to scorn as a weakness.The examination of my motives and feelings as a hunter has added a richness and texture to the experience I was simply too stupid to understand back then.I think most of us turn out that way to some extent.Funny how the worm turns. Now the ones who hunt without any feeling or reflection at all are the ones I don't trust.

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from Yohan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Interestng ,..very interesting.Some number of years aggo (very late sixties) a few sentient beings killed a couple friends of mine rathet badly,.. who were at the time wearing O.D. clothing curtisy of Unlcle Sam.They frankly at that moment seased to be sentiant anything ,..other than charlie ,. who needed killing.That said I have seen bears in the woods and have never had a moment where i wantd to shoot one,.. don't know why either. Think I just kinda like emStill if one attacked me or mine ,.. well ,.the story changes. in a NY second.Thusly most of my pursute of game has been of the "ilk" with tales ,. white tails cotton tails ,bovine tail etc.Have always done my best ( which aint bad if I do say so ) to kill quickly ,. humainly .But there have been I admit a few exceptions which I regret and still pain me greatly.So that said ,.every time ,.. as in every last single time ( well over one hundred times) I have taken a game animals life.There is at once a saddness and at the same time a feeling of elaton ,.also ( I think) a silent acknowledgement ,.. respect I guess at the passng of a noble animal.I have never been able to untangle the two.Once or tiwce a hand shake at a good shot ,.and once slap on the back ( we were group hunting) for shooting three deer with three rounds ( with my 98 Mauser 8 x 57 all running at just under 75 yd) in about as long as it took to cycle the bolt and bring up the gun ,.. but NEVER some juvinile dissrepectfull hi 5 basketbaall court stupid assed kid stuff.Meaning a death just accurred and that is solem stuff.The other thing is that I have never hunted for trohy horns or anters. (Well in he US) To me its all about he hunt the meat and later the respectfull use and consumption. IE: If I couldnt eat it ,.. I for damn sure wont kill it.Thusly a few fat does have fallen right beside a 8 or ten point buck,.. just better meat.Also within all of us who hunt or hopefully most at least . There is way deep in the DNA ,.I believe the "kill it and drag it back to the cave so the tribe czn eat" thing going on .But I agree wih all or most you in that celbarting death is wrong,.. more over the killing of anything for wrong reason is waaaay wrong ,..and momma karma is gonna kick you butt sooner or later for that ,..Or as the old saying in th US goes ,. what goes arond come around,.sometime rather swiftly.Best to all.

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from Robert wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I have had many people ask the question why I choose to participate in an activity that intentionally ends the life of another creature, and how I can consider life precious if I do that. The fact is that until you literally have the blood of another creature on your hands do you really, truly appreciate the gift of life. Hunting keeps me humble for lots of reasons, and it keeps me from feeling that life is cheap.

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from Happy Myles wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

There are baboons pretty much in every hunting area of Africa. But I've never been able to think of shooting one, even in the C.A.R. where huge "dog" baboons are common. They are fierce looking, aggressive, intelligent, live in wild country, but very wary. You seldom see them around better hunting camps. Probably slingshots, and gunfire keep them away.Elsewhere in African parks, I've seen them snatch packages and food from unsuspecting tourists hands. Leap through car windows and escape with whatever they can grab. Occasionally. from the safety of tall trees, they will throw feces at the picture takers below them. This behavior doesn't create a lot of fondness or sympathy for them. But, I can't shoot one.

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from Jay wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

A friend I hunt and fish with made the comment "we are all animals". We were talking about the people we know or know of who do dastardly things and so forth without much regard for good values and acceptable common behavior. To carry this a bit further regarding baboons and other creatures, most animals are unique in their abilities to survive and some are just smarter than a whip. Like the whopper trophy buck I've been trying to bag. We are sensient beings but it sure appears that there are other critters who could be or are capable of a 'state of being' if we had the capability to thoroughly understand it. I think my dog was capable of being smarter than me. (no kidding!) Thanks.

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from NH Philosopher wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I let a solid VA 14 pointer walk on Saturday. I just didn't feel it at the particular moment in time... I could've had a nice trophy as well as a good amount of meat - but I just watched him meander past my stand, looking around. We locked eyes for a few beats, he snorted and just walked away...An amazing experience.I am now, but have not always been, one who contemplates every animal and shot I take. I've got to feel it - the connection that "YES...That's the one I came for." If that feeling isn't eminating from my soul - the animal simply walks away unknowing....Primates and other non-food related game - I care not to hunt, unless the preservation of life and/or limb is at stake.

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from harold wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I'm with the rest of you. I think those hunting shows are a blight on hunting and make us look like murdering idiots to the average non-hunter.

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from dartwick@hotmail.com wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

To be honest I never even understand the morality of killing predators simply as trophies.I have no issue with killing a problem bear, eliminating coyotes as they expand their range, hunting moutain lions in populated areas nor even with trapping for fur. But I really dont get going deep into the wild and killing cats and bears.

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from KJ wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I'm with John C. I don't feel any guilt or remorse for killing an animal, but I don't whoop it up, either. And I don't hunt with guys that do. Killing an animal is a serious thing.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

DittoI have mixed feelings when I take a game animal, too. I sometimes wonder why I did it and not go down to the store for my meat. Then, every fall the urge kick in and I know why I do it. I am a man and a hunter, period. It's what I do and who I am.I am on a high when I take an animal, but not the giddy, giggling, hooting, and slap-ass high fiveing that those idiots do on the hunting shows. The turkey and whitetail shows are the worst.Does anyone you know behave this way or is this just TV crap?Curious.

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from John C. wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Anyone who doesn't question the morality of putting an arrow or bullet into another sentient being doesn't deserve to call themselves a hunter.I have never walked up to an animal and not thought, at least for a second, about whether I was comfortable with what I had just done.It is for these reasons that I don't understand the appeal of the modern outdoor shows, which in my opinion, have become little more than thirty minute advertisements with graphic kill shots interlaced for good measure.Perhaps I grew up in a different environment, but I never witnessed any of my family members or the other people we hunted with high fiving each other after killing an deer or a turkey.

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from Nathan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Killing a Primate is something I dont think I could bring myself to do either.

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from whitetailredneck wrote 3 years 7 weeks ago

i've had that feeling befoe

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

ElvisWell put. I grew up hunting and hunted all available days every season.After my tour of duty in SE Asia, I just quit hunting for about 25 years. Something different about shooting at animals who can't shoot back and those that do. I still get the rush of taking a big game animal, if I lose that I'll quit. It's the real hunter who can remain steady, take the good shot, and make a clean follow up without pissing himself.I hear you. Most of these slap happy "hunters" have never had a covey of 7.62x39 buzz their little sissy a$$es. I have never known a real ground combat vet to act in that manner or really get buck fever to the point of losing awareness of what is going on around them. I have had hunting partners that lost all composure at the appearance of an elk and could do nothing more than stumble around almost in circles.

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from VanhetHof wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

FYI, a couple of decades ago either Richard Starnes or Bob Brister authored a F&S article about why he would never shoot another elephant. It is a powerful story.SVH

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from Elvis wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Killing those primates was justified becase "they are hell on crops and young animals, and ranchers, farmers". That is good enough for me.As a combat vet who had ordance passed towards me nightly I do respect wildlife. Having been hunted is very humbling. I beleive in killing for food and protection only, not target shooting or some contest. I beleive God gave man dominion over all creatures, but will ask for an accounting of their life blood.In regards to the hunters having some orgasmic reaction when taking wildlife, I say get a life. I do not watch those stupid videos of those fools acting like jackasses. If that kind of stupid behavior turns me off, it must really turn of non-hunters. I worked with one of those idiots. I told him (he was not even a military veteran) to join up and participate in human hunting if he enjoyed killing that much. Needless to say the little coward walked away.

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I've hunted for 63 yrs, killed all types of small game, up to large animals such as Elk. Too this day, I'm never thrilled at the sight of seeing a animal die. I never run to a animal (can't run now)that I just put down, something about seeing the last breaths taken by any game. I nevetr jump, hoop, holler as thoe TV guys are paid to do. I always give a down animal a few minutes befoe I approach and then kinda feel bad that I took his life. I fully understand the time when men hunted for the food, but now most hunt for the HORNS. My greatest pleasure in hunting is seeing the wonderful county the almighty gave us and enjoy seeing the different animals. I will an do take a nice animal when I feel he is fully grown and maybe on the down side. I've often wondered what a Cop feels when he must take another persons life and see his last struggles of life. I hope the good Lord forgives me for any life I've taken and will replenish that animal. I;ve had my success and not success anumals killed and most of the non-kills were my stupidity in not waiting on a fatal sure shot. So far, best as i can recall, I've never left a wounded animal in the woods to die a slow miserable death, as i feel animals are kinda like humans, want to live. I've had successful years and nt, but even those yeas when I ate the tag did I not have a successful year. I enjoy owning teh firearms I own, the enjoyment of preparing for a hunt and then the hunt itself. To sit atop of a Mtn in the Rockies at l2K feet, such an enjoyment to just look all around you and see what;s there to see. Afer 63 ys of hunting, I yet get the wheebies when-ever I seea animal and wonder if that animal is gonna fill my tag. My hunting days are coming to a close, when ,only God knows, but do hope he will fogive me for any wrongful death I have caused. Think again the next time you pull that trigger, do you really want to end that beautiful animal's life. I have many mounts on my Den wall,and each brings back great memories. I have space for one mount left and hopeful I can fill that space with the animal I would like, that being a Elk for the Mtns of N.C. Tnn or KY. But at 73+ few chances to draw those states or slim and almost none. I suppose my Son of 55 and I have shared more (42 ys) Son-Father time hunting than 99% of Sons and Fathers, for that I feel honored. So have fun, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy your Trophy. Before you do, shoot often and shoot straight: The old worn out GunSlinger down South. O, I made C- in spelling and typing.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

gadoc,Lighten up, then go to hell.

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from gadoc wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Gents,I have been in agreement with most of what has been said here, but I diverge when you criticize the "whooping, hollaring and butt-slapping." When dealing with death, much of our behavior could be considered coping. Regardless of the side you're standing on (hunter, hunted, watching the death of a loved one) you are coping. I celebrate when I find a killed game animal. Hand shakes and hugs are par for me, but I don't like the finger pointing at those who choose a more boisterous approach. Ease off the guys that do the Tiger fist pump. Thats just their style, goofy or arrogant as it seems. I'll still drink beer with 'em, though I don't find that behavior necessary for me.As an aside, the grammar in this room is atrocious. I can't learn from what you have to say if I can't understand it. Take 5 seconds and check your post (this includes me). A written language is one of those things that separates us from the baboons.

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from MMM wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Went hunting last mon in Oh. had 3 does running full bore at me and my friend who had never deer hunted before. Up shot of it, they winded us, hit the brakes in cover where we couldn;'t see them, then bounded out to the right where we shot and missed at 40-50 yds. I was shooting sabots and w/o thinking shot over them. My friend shot right over them we think as well. Anyways, after the shots, I looked at him and he was shaking just as much as me. I've big game hunted for 30 yrs, guided for deer, bear, elk, mtn lion for 5 yrs, I'm from COLO. Anyways, we laghed and I had to take alot of ribbing from my buddies for missing because i'd have to say I'm a damn fine shot. Anyways, the day that I don't shake after shooting something or feel remorse for killing is the day I quit hunting

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from Duck Creek Dick wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

A good post, Dave, and thoughtful comments from all of you fellows. You're all welcome at my campfire any time.Like Tom Fowler, I give thanks and do the sprig of heather thing too.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

That is the 'free giveaway site'.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Dr. R,Nice going! Go to proper blog I have something else to say or ask.

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from Chad Love wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph: check the Honest Angler blog. You'll be pleasantly surprised...

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Joe... if I lived in Botswana and baboons were overpopulated and destroying property I believe I would do my civic duty and dispatch as many as possible. I still shoot a whole lot of crows and blackbirds. Just don't look baboons in the eye as they die, doing that with any creature is disturbing. Sure am glad I never went to war...

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from Joe C wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I don't understand all the sympathy for baboons. They are mean and destructive creatures who kill for fun and survival. They do not have feelings and destroy without pity. In 1974 they were classified as vermin in Botswana and after watching them tear a small Impala limb from limb while still alive I made my best effort to put a dent in their population as my ammo would allow. Please do not shed tears for these mindless killers.

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from DB in IL wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

A friend of my dad's once went on safari in Africa. He shot a baboon. When he walked up to the animal, knife in hand (ready to clean the ape), he thought it was dead. When he got up to it, it reached out and grabbed his arm.

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from sarg wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Good post Dave,

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from sarg wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I was never a trophy hunter, if I take a rack I usually make something of the horns. Love hunting, deer,quail,or grouse. Used to squirl hunt a lot, but quit eating them, so I won't shoot them. Don't keep fish but certainly love fishing... I always think about the animal when taking game or cleaning a beef, I know why I do it.

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from Michael wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

When I was younger I thought the European custom of placing a twig or small branch in an animal's mouth (the last bite)after shooting it was ridiculous. Now I understand the honor they were bestowing on an animal.

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from ? wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey all you evolutionists don't you know you great grandaddy was a babboon, And grandma joe was a gorilla, if you want to argue over evelution watch all of the kent hovind movies first.Thomas Age 14

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I cried the first time I killed a bird with a BB gun. I watched it die and was probably 8 years old. Taking a life is no mean feat...Growing up I hunted a lot. Nothing but small game but we didn't eat everything we killed. We shot pheasant and quail and rabbits and ate them all. We also shot pigeons, crows, blackbirds and sparrows because they were a "nuisance". Maybe if they were a little prettier they would be something else. We killed foxes around the chickens and coyotes around the sheep and sometimes it meant staying up in the barn all night. It was a job, killing to protect. Then I moved to Tennessee and there were deer...The first time I killed an animal that weighed more than my wife was an emotional experience. It was weird. I can't even imagine shooting something that has an IQ higher than some mentally challenged human beings and then having it look me in the eye. Baboons are the eighth smartest primates. We are arguably the first.

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from T FORD wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

IT WAS THE LAST HUNT WE THREE BROTHERS WOULD SHARE.TRADITION HAD HELD THAT EACH YEAR BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR WE WOULD HUNT DEER HERE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.THE HUNT MASTER,THE MIDDLE BROTHER,WOULD SET IT UP ON ONE PLANTATION OR ANOTHER WITH THE THE PLANTATION MANAGER.HE KNEW THEM ALL AND WAS CLOSE FRIENDS WITH MANY.I HAD HEARD THE SHOT IN THE EARLY EVENING JUST BEFORE GOOD LIGHT WAS LOST TO TWILIGHT.GETTING DOWN,I THOUGHT ABOUT THE THE BROTHERS' HUNT AND THE END OF THE SEASON.IT WAS PRETTY MUCH HARD DARK BY THE TIME I MET THE TWO OF THEM ON THE SEABOARD FIELD LOOKING FOR THE TRAIL WHERE SHE ENTERED THE WOODS HEADED IN THE DIRECTION OF CRANE POND.THAT SHE HAD BEEN HIT THERE WAS NO DOUBT BUT THE BLOOD TRAIL WAS SCANT.I PICKED UP WHAT LOOKED LIKE A RUNNING TRACK AND A SPOT OF WATERY BLOOD IN THE PINE LITTER.A LITTLE SHORT ON THE COLOR RED IN MY VISION, I CALLED TO THE HUNT MASTER FOR VERIFICATION.HE CAME CUSSING AND IMPATIENT WITH THE OLDEST, SUGGESTING THAT HE SHOULD LEARN HOW TO SHOOT.IT WAS BLOOD, HE HAD A START WHICH WAS ALL HE EVER NEEDED TO RECOVER A WOUNDED DEER IF RECOVERY WERE AT ALL POSSIBLE.HIS SKILLS AT TRACKING WERE SECOND TO NONE. EVEN TO THE MAN WHO HAD TAUGHT HIM.THE HUNT MASTER HAD ,IF YOU WILL,TAKEN IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL,HONED OVER THIRTY YEARS OF INCOMPARABLE SUCCESS.DISTANCE ON A BLOOD TRAIL AT NIGHT IS DECEIVING.IT'S MANY TIMES SLOW GOING, HUNTING FOR THE NEXT SPOT WHILE ONE OF US WOULD STAND ON THE LAST,MOVING ONLY WHEN HE CALLED US FORWARD.HE WAS METHODICAL AND INTOLERANT OF SOMEONE MOVING AHEAD A DISTURBING AN ALREADY DIFFICULT TRAIL.THE TEMPERATURE HAD DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE TIME IT TOOK TO REACH THE POND.SENSING SHE WAS CLOSE, HE WAS QUIET AS HE APPROACHED THE EDGE OF THE WATER NOT WANTING TO JUMP THE DEER AND SEND HER TO THE MIDDLE OF THE POND ONLY TO SINK AND BE LOST.WE HONORED HIS UNSPOKEN COMMAND,NOT UDDERING A WORD AS HE SEARCH THE SHALLOWS WITH HIS FLASHLIGHT.HE EASED INTO THE COLD WATER THAT TOPPED HIS BOOTS AND ADVANCED SLOWLY TOWARD THE THE EYES REFLECTING FROM THE DARKNESS.AS HE REACHED HER HE GRIPPED HER IN ONE POWERFUL HAND,AND SAID,"I'M SORRY,OLD GIRL",AND ENDED HER LIFE.I'LL NEVER FORGET HEARING THOSE WORDS ON THE LAST HUNT WE THREE BROTHERS WOULD SHARE.MY OLDER BROTHER AND I STILL GET TOGETHER EACH YEAR TO HUNT AND ENJOY GOD'S CREATION THAT HAS BEEN SUCH A PART OF ALL OF OUR LIVES.WE STILL ENJOY THE SUCCESSFUL HUNT BUT IT WILL ALWAYS BE BITTER SWEET WHEN WE STAND OVER THE ANIMAL WE HAVE HAVE KILLED AND SAY,"I'M SORRY"

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from Chad Love wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Suburban Bushwacker, thanks for the compliment, this is a bit off-topic (sorry Dave) but I recently read on your most excellent blog a review of the Fallkniven F1.I'm seriously considering purchasing a couple F1 blade blanks, trying my hand at crafting my own scales from various parts of ruthlessly murdered deer antler and eventually giving them to my sons.And if I muck it up, well, I can always gather the pieces and send it all to a real knifemaker.Anyway, I know you like your F1 as a bushcraft knife, but what do you think of it as a do-all general-purpose hunting knife?

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from Thos. B. Fowler wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Writings, and letters like these increases my respect and feeling of comaraderie with my fellow hunters and shooters. I feel that Dave Petzel deserves a pat on the back for bringing up what could be a controversial subject. I have made the same dismal journey that many of you talked about, from youthful exuberance about killing to a more thoughtful kind of hunting. From killing gladly to killing sadly, one could say.As to the baboon...there is a God, and there is a stream of consciousness in this old world, that bespeaks one that is on the way. We need to be thoughtful hunters, all of us, like the Austrians, who are reported to put a sprig of evergren in the deer's mouth, and say a thanks to the deer, and a thanks to God for the life of the deer. It has become my own custom, too.Tom Fowler

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from Greg wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Killing is a necessary part of hunting, and I don't necessarily fault people who get excited when they take an animal's life. I think it is perfectly acceptable to be excited about achieving the goal you have worked for, especially considering the amount of time most of us put into hunting. Just look at the number of dollars most hunters spend, the number of hours scouting, praticing, & sighting in weapons. How about the countless early mornings you get out of a warm bed to go sit in a cold treestand. There are a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into a hunting season so when someone achieves their goal and takes an animal they are proud of i think they have every right to be excited and happy. Hunting not only provides food for the table, it enriches our memories. Hunting without killing is just going for a walk in the woods. If going for a walk in the woods is what makes you happy then that is fine too but i don't think it means that people who still get excited about taking game are wrong. I'm the first to admit that taking an animal's life is rather unpleasent at times, and by no means is it the only thing that is important. Are some of the shows over the top? absolutely they are. But at the same time i'd rather see someone genuinely excited about hunting then someone wracked by guilt for pulling the trigger. I'm sure in a quiet moment, when the camaras are not rolling, Mr. Nugent and the others feel the same twing of remorse for having to take another creature's life. The yelling and high fiving can certainly reach a point where it is distasteful but i think being excited and respecting the animal are mutually exclusive.

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from Craig B wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I thought it was just me who always has a tinge of regret whenever I kill an animal, even though I only kill what I eat. I thought I must be the only hunter who is put off by the high-fiving yahoos who dominate the hunting shows and who can kill an animal and then display near orgasmic reactions when they see the rack on their trophy kills. It's a relief to know from the postings here that I'm not alone.....there's a helluva lot of sportsmen still around.

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from suburbanbushwacker wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Chad Love - spoken like a true gentleman.RegardsSBW

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from Carney wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I passed on a spike buck at 40 yards this past season. It was the only "shooter" I saw all season. I fingered the trigger for about 20 seconds while he was checking me out and then slunk away. I didn't shoot because he just looked way too young and naive...I blogged about taking my first deer last year in an article titled, "Comments on the sobering part of hunting". Please tolerate a few paragraphs:"I was sorry that the deer struggled to live in the last moments. I was the only one to see it die and while I was delighted with the accomplishment and the benefits of the successful hunt, it was for me, a surprisingly "sobering" moment.Having moved from "hunter" to "killer" I can say that there is an honesty in killing an animal to use its body for one's benefit (food, trophy, etc.) that the typical American does not possess. We eat them and wear them; use them for medicines and cosmetics. Yet we don't "kill" them to get these benefits -- we leave the "sobering" part to others. In a very real way I now feel like it's cheating to get the benefits without paying "the sobering price".I can't expect everyone to arrive at this same philosophical destination that I did on Monday, especially when they are not even on the same path; yet my "kill" experience on Monday really taught me a lot about our society and it's detachment from the "sobering realities"; to say nothing of my new awarenes of the "pretended civilization" of anti-hunters."

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from Yohan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Boy Oh Boy ,.. quite the posting list here today ,. this is thefirst time in a long time I have peeked in here three times in one day ,..and I cant dissagree with anyone ,.Still of the last few ,.. find I am very much in agreement with Jim in MoI actually think if,.. hes not right as in correct ,.. generally speaking we are all in one hell of a lot of trouble.To witt: "Most of us can be forgiven our exuberance over a kill as a young man or men".When you think about that, Quite the statement.Which has to be true also as he says,. due to the right of passage that any kill percipitates,. especially the first one.Remember well my first,.. it was a rabbit.Just a lucky shot with a .22 cal crossman pellet gun pumped about 40 times.I was just about to take poke at 3 pound coffe can ( the big ones ) at about 50 yards when rabbit decided to run past.It was nothing more or less than a target of opportunity. As i was shootig not hunting at that minute.But my young mind shifted gears quickly ,.. swinging ahead of Mr Rabbit ,.. elevating the muzzle I let her go ,.. resulting in a solid WHAP !! ,..Coud not friking believe I hit it. Both my brothers were standing there too ,.so when the shock of the hit wore off( 13.75 seconds later yuk yuk ) we went to get it. At our approach it dragged itself under an old trailer bed ,. but it was dieing.A few minuets later we go it out,And I swear,.. Indian war parties didnt jump around hooting and hollering any more thna we did right then,.. keeping in mind the ages of paticipants were if memory serves maybe 11 12 % 13 .This was during "parent teacher conference" in the fall( october)Our mother was raised on a farm and her father hunted small game.So when she leared we had killed a rabbit ,. she said well clean it, and I'll cook it for you. Only trouble was we handnt a clue how to go about it. My father was working and being honest he wasn't what one would call a teacher ,. He woud let you learn by watching of you didnt get in the way,.. but aside from that ,. not much ,..so even then I was learnig to learn on my own or forget it.Long story short we got it gutted and skinned.Think that was about an hour long process,.. then washed out with cold water from the hose .The next day my mother cooked it . ( fried it very slowly ) in a big black iron pan. Th esmell was better than anything I had ever ecountered. And to this day fried rabbit in black iron pan( ai have a whole set just for game cooking) is still way up there on the list of Yohans fsavoites.Stil one big cotton tail is not enough to be sure for three ,. much less 5 ( mother and father) but enough so that we all got a little.We (my brothers and myslf) knew then,. we wanted more rabbit ,.And thats how it started for me ,. exuberant beyond undertanding ,. but as Jim says forgivable,.. i hope.Also I must admit ,. that after well over 100 whitetails and innumerble small game.If i did not get asense of heightened reality ( a rush if you will) I couldnt do it.But now I'am more ,.. how to say ,... present?,.. or concious? Yes maybe they are good words ,..but also repectiful.And on some occasions well,.. approaching ( per Mr. Myles) some state of being which transends that of everyday life.Spiritual comes to mind but not because of the killing ,.. because of the whole thing,..This is very interestiong guys ,. makes one look inward ,And while we may or may not agree with Mr Petzal's taking of a Baboon ,..it is for him to deal with.Which is a weight I am happy not to carry ,.Still so as not place myslef apart from or above him or anyone for that matterReally trust me when I say ,. I specifically as a hunter and most of us I beleive.Have plenty of out own weight to carry .Enough such that we know to not intentionally increase his.I do however believe him when he says that he dosen't think he will kill another one.Damn ,. quite a thinking sessionThank you Mr Petzal.I think I will never shoot one.

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from SD Bob wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Often I wonder if what I am doing (killing animals for fun and food) is right but every damn time I see a dead deer on the highway hit by a car I feel part of me is lost! I firmly believe that animal's life would have been better served if taken by my bullet or arrow instead of being wasted for chemical decomposition. I am a hunter! Its' who and what I am and killing an animal for fun and food is what I do! It's perfectly fine in my eyes if we question that from time to time but the fact remains I/we need meat to live and I am going to eat that deer or turkey or whatever else to prolong my life. My only real question though is why I never feel that way with birds. I've never felt remorse over killing a bird? Maybe because they don't bleed like a furred animal but even when I have to give a cripple the twirl, it's just not the same as the remorse I've felt taking a knife to a deer's throat! I could really do without that but inevitably and unfortunately if you hunt long enough, a bullet or arrow will be off a bit and you'll find yourself in that position.

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from shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

oh...good stuff, dylanh.

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from shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

but with guns, not poison.

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from shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

oh come on. seriously? i mean i sort of feel a twinge of "oh man, i just ended that thing's life," but it never stops me from, or even makes me think twice from ending the next one's life...keep shooting those little bastards. they are getting along a little too well on that tough continent. it freaks me out how well they do. they should be stopped.

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from dartwick wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Im with Dylan H.I have been hunting for a long time now but even as kid never wanted to kill an animal with out a reason.That said reading some of these responses I get the impression you guys are practically crying every time you kill a deer or a bird.I shot a deer today. He drooped where he stood and I hurried up to him. I put a shot into his neck as he wasnt going to expire for a minute or 2. It was a solemn moment and I found myself address the deer as I ended his life.BUT. Over all I felt good. I felt great when I saw the deer drop and I was smiling as took off my coat and pulled up my sleeves to field dress him.When I go hunting taking game is important to me. While I enjoy any day in the field a successful one is best. But on the other hand I dont bother hunting an animals unless Im in agreement with killing it.

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from Shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I always hate it when I retrieve a shot bird and I gotta pop the neck especially doves. Maybe a little less guilty abouty geese but thats just because they crap in my yard. As for tv hunters anyone ever get made when they don't put a follow-up shot in a hit but still standing animal.

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from Wes wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I just shot my first deer the day after Thanksgiving. He fell right where I shot him, and as I walked up I dreaded having to finish him off. My father has told me that the worst part of hunting is that moment when you look into the animal's eyes, sitting there helpless and terrified. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw his chest wasn't moving and his eyes were lifeless.

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from DylanH wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I guess I'm just different then everyone here in some ways. I'm only sixteen and I hunt deer, squirrel, and dove. I've never been the type of hunter who goes into the woods for trophies or just to shoot, I go in the woods because I like being in touch with nature more in this high tech. world and I never kill anything that I wont eat. I don't shoot at everything I see either, if its the right time then I do shoot but if I feel that its just not right then I wont shoot. That's why I hunt, because its a part of me and always have been. I remember when I was four years old putting on some coveralls and going out into the little woods in my back yard and just sitting there for hours and watching animals, at that time I never really wanted to take a gun. I saw many deer birds squirrels chipmunks and anything else you can imagine. Now that I'm older I still will do the same thing just go and sit and watch. Like I said its a part of me.I also hate those hunting shows, I saw one yesterday where this guy was in the Artic hunting polar bears. He saw one like a mile away and sent this dogs after it then when they found his dogs they were circling the bear while it lay spread eagle on the ground and then the guy took a step back and shot it with his bow and got all excited and everything. That just made me sick. Thats not hunting thats running an animal to exhustion and then walking up to it and just shooting it.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I think most of us can be forgiven about our exuberance over a kill as a young man. I still remember my first cottontail I ever shot on my own. Young, dumb and full of whatever. It seemed like a rite of passage. Blame it on testosterone or a misunderstanding of life. Maybe this is why the military wants young men (that and the fact we can't do it) who can kill and move on without thinking. Most of the hunting shows are good but as stated by others, many really are shameful. The animals deserve as much respect at the time of death as when its served at the table. I think thats the difference now we're older and realize there's a time clock ready to be punched than when we were young.

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from John wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

As I've grown older, I find myself becoming more reflective regarding my reasons for going out into the woods to hunt. There was a time when I would grit my teeth at every deer seen and not shot at. Nowadays when I see a deer or any other quarry coming toward my stand, I find myself more focused on the wonder of seeing such a creature, and less concerned with bringing it to bag. As a result, I have stopped taking risky or bad shots, and burn way less ammo than I used to. Despite this, I usually manage to fill a tag or two every season, and enjoy all aspects of the hunt more than ever. I've dumped most of the old hunting friends who viewed the hunt as just an opportunity to kill something, and spend more time hunting solo. I guess our outlooks change as we grow up, and that's not a bad thing. While this may never change an anti's mind about what we do, it sure does sit better on my conscience

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from KJ wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

To me, one of the worst offenders is Ted Nugent. I know he is a great defender of 2nd Amendment freedoms and hunting, but the guy is an assbag who makes hunting look like a glorified bloodbath. He's not the only one, but he is one of the more notable.

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from Bernie Kuntz wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Many of you have said it better than I am able--hunting videos are a scourge on ethical hunting. These morons dressed like commandos, their high-fiving and endless "kill shots" sicken me, and I am certainly not a squeamish sort. When I put myself in the place of a non-hunting viewer, I believe almost every hunting video I ever have seen would have created a disgust for hunting by that viewer.

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from Yohan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Forgot to identify myslef ,..post to Mr Love was Yohan

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from Visitor wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Mr Love ,.. I would beg to differ with you on one small point.That being the idea you at one time or another you were stupid.Reading your "stuff" as you have put it in the past.Leads me to believe that would be difficult position to take,. much less prove.I do believe and agree however with Happy Mykes who put it wellAfter a point, many ( but not all)make the passage from "exuberant shooter",.. to that of passionate ( dare I add ) reponsibe hunter.And,.. the idea that transsention goes to achieving a state of grace is well,..just plain intresting,.Especially since some of my most spiritual momenst have occured in the field,.. with a rifle in my hands hunting.IE" waiting to kill.Not certain how or when that occurs ,. but i do now know it does.It also helps to be around people capabile of similar depth and sentiment as it were.So the idea you are or were stupid is as i say dificult for me.Maybe not at that juncture introspective to the extent death and time will ( not all the time but as stated ) many times allow.Again per Mr Myles depending of course on the individule.To close very intersting thoughts here to today ,..Sleep well

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from ricefarm wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

The first time I ever saw a hunting show on TV was when we were visiting someone in another part of the country who happened to have cable, at a time I knew nothing beyond the Big 3 and PBS. 2 guys were stalking a bison and whispering like they were NAVY SEALS which seemed a little odd to me since the buffalo were just eating grass, slowly moving around, oblivious to the hunters. Finally they shot one, it dropped, they did the obligatory whooping and high fives and while they did, you could clearly see a fence in the background. This has only been repeated hundreds of times on TV since and for the life of me I can't see who could find this interesting or entertaining.

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from Happy Myles wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Michael McIntosh wrote in his introduction to a book a collection of Robert Ruark's writings entitled AFRICA of "a transformation that many, though by no means all, hunters achieve, from exuberant shooter to passionate hunter to the curious state of grace in which hunting becomes an exercise of the mind and spirit."

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from Scrap5000 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I'll never forget the way a big doe that got hit by a car and was doomed stared at me as I slit it's throat to help end it's suffering quickly. Still haunts me when I think about it.Primates, well, that I don't think I could pull the trigger on, especially now.

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from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

As for looking into the fading eyes of an animal brought to bag and feeling uncomfortable... That is what makes us human. It also keeps us in touch with the real world, as the individual who can kill with no feeling would seem lacking as a sentient or moral being. Watching a gentle and loving family dog catch a young rabbit, rip it to shreads, eat it and walk away with no remorse reminds us of what the animal world is all about.I, like most hunters at the beginning, went through a phase where limiting out was the the most important thing. Call it blood lust or competition, I was gulty. I was also proud and braggadocios, quite often leaving the tail gate down...I was also raised on a farm where we knew our meat personally. Cows, hogs and chickens were raised for slaughter and the family dinner table. I would feed and care for these animals daily knowing their ultimate fate. I was frequently the one who would administer the coupe de gras at slaughter, the pistol or ax handed to me by one of my elders. I have also come to realize that my father and grandfather probably felt in thier middle age as now do in mine...I still kill for the table. I kill only what we can use. I find the term "harvest" as used nowdays in reference to hunting nothing more than a politically correct denial of the facts. I find those who have no qualms in buying thier meat on a sterile styrofoam plate, but complain about me killing Bambi the most hypocritical of all.I have no problem taking an animals life for the nourishment of my family. I have no problem with predator control when necessary, no problem with humane trapping for fur. I do have a problem with killing for horns or feathers and leaving the rest to waste.I refer to the current rash of hunting videos as, "killing for cash." I was involved several years ago with helping the 20 something female host of a PBS affiliated hunting & fishing show document a Women Only WMA Hunt. She was ultimately successful at getting a kill (button buck) on camera. Upon returning to the check station and posing for pictures she promply got into her vehicle and left for the next assignment. Leaving her camera crew to clean up the mess so to speak.

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from jstreet wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Chad Love quote:Truth be told I kill as much or more now than I did back then, but sometimes I wonder if the best part of hunting for me has become the thinking about it, that same introspective questioning I used to scorn as a weakness.Chad,It's maturity, pure and simple. Most hunters reach a point in their hunting careers that the actual killing is the least important part of the hunt.Jim

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from rz1234567 wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Those dumbasses on TV aren't hunters. They treat it like they are playing a video game. ATVs, Scent Lock, scent attractants, super camo, trail cams, shooting houses, feeders and then they woop it up like they did something and make us all look like jackasses. A simple smile and handshake is all ive ever witnessed in person.

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from Chad Love wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I once fired off an indignant, wise-ass letter to (then) Sports Afield Editor-in-Chief Terry McDonnell mocking a story in which the novelist Thomas McGuane had written (and I'm paraphrasing from memory here so don't quote me) that when he hunted he "didn't exactly feel hunky-dory when game when down." Or something to that effect.I was around 23 or 24 at the time, and of the opinion that self-reflective naval-gazing and emotional conflict was the mark of an effete wussy with inferior predatory instincts who should probably stick to flyfishing and hanging out with Jimmy Buffet.I was pretty stupid back then, even more so than now...Truth be told I kill as much or more now than I did back then, but sometimes I wonder if the best part of hunting for me has become the thinking about it, that same introspective questioning I used to scorn as a weakness.The examination of my motives and feelings as a hunter has added a richness and texture to the experience I was simply too stupid to understand back then.I think most of us turn out that way to some extent.Funny how the worm turns. Now the ones who hunt without any feeling or reflection at all are the ones I don't trust.

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from Yohan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Interestng ,..very interesting.Some number of years aggo (very late sixties) a few sentient beings killed a couple friends of mine rathet badly,.. who were at the time wearing O.D. clothing curtisy of Unlcle Sam.They frankly at that moment seased to be sentiant anything ,..other than charlie ,. who needed killing.That said I have seen bears in the woods and have never had a moment where i wantd to shoot one,.. don't know why either. Think I just kinda like emStill if one attacked me or mine ,.. well ,.the story changes. in a NY second.Thusly most of my pursute of game has been of the "ilk" with tales ,. white tails cotton tails ,bovine tail etc.Have always done my best ( which aint bad if I do say so ) to kill quickly ,. humainly .But there have been I admit a few exceptions which I regret and still pain me greatly.So that said ,.every time ,.. as in every last single time ( well over one hundred times) I have taken a game animals life.There is at once a saddness and at the same time a feeling of elaton ,.also ( I think) a silent acknowledgement ,.. respect I guess at the passng of a noble animal.I have never been able to untangle the two.Once or tiwce a hand shake at a good shot ,.and once slap on the back ( we were group hunting) for shooting three deer with three rounds ( with my 98 Mauser 8 x 57 all running at just under 75 yd) in about as long as it took to cycle the bolt and bring up the gun ,.. but NEVER some juvinile dissrepectfull hi 5 basketbaall court stupid assed kid stuff.Meaning a death just accurred and that is solem stuff.The other thing is that I have never hunted for trohy horns or anters. (Well in he US) To me its all about he hunt the meat and later the respectfull use and consumption. IE: If I couldnt eat it ,.. I for damn sure wont kill it.Thusly a few fat does have fallen right beside a 8 or ten point buck,.. just better meat.Also within all of us who hunt or hopefully most at least . There is way deep in the DNA ,.I believe the "kill it and drag it back to the cave so the tribe czn eat" thing going on .But I agree wih all or most you in that celbarting death is wrong,.. more over the killing of anything for wrong reason is waaaay wrong ,..and momma karma is gonna kick you butt sooner or later for that ,..Or as the old saying in th US goes ,. what goes arond come around,.sometime rather swiftly.Best to all.

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from Robert wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I have had many people ask the question why I choose to participate in an activity that intentionally ends the life of another creature, and how I can consider life precious if I do that. The fact is that until you literally have the blood of another creature on your hands do you really, truly appreciate the gift of life. Hunting keeps me humble for lots of reasons, and it keeps me from feeling that life is cheap.

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from Happy Myles wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

There are baboons pretty much in every hunting area of Africa. But I've never been able to think of shooting one, even in the C.A.R. where huge "dog" baboons are common. They are fierce looking, aggressive, intelligent, live in wild country, but very wary. You seldom see them around better hunting camps. Probably slingshots, and gunfire keep them away.Elsewhere in African parks, I've seen them snatch packages and food from unsuspecting tourists hands. Leap through car windows and escape with whatever they can grab. Occasionally. from the safety of tall trees, they will throw feces at the picture takers below them. This behavior doesn't create a lot of fondness or sympathy for them. But, I can't shoot one.

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from Jay wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

A friend I hunt and fish with made the comment "we are all animals". We were talking about the people we know or know of who do dastardly things and so forth without much regard for good values and acceptable common behavior. To carry this a bit further regarding baboons and other creatures, most animals are unique in their abilities to survive and some are just smarter than a whip. Like the whopper trophy buck I've been trying to bag. We are sensient beings but it sure appears that there are other critters who could be or are capable of a 'state of being' if we had the capability to thoroughly understand it. I think my dog was capable of being smarter than me. (no kidding!) Thanks.

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from NH Philosopher wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I let a solid VA 14 pointer walk on Saturday. I just didn't feel it at the particular moment in time... I could've had a nice trophy as well as a good amount of meat - but I just watched him meander past my stand, looking around. We locked eyes for a few beats, he snorted and just walked away...An amazing experience.I am now, but have not always been, one who contemplates every animal and shot I take. I've got to feel it - the connection that "YES...That's the one I came for." If that feeling isn't eminating from my soul - the animal simply walks away unknowing....Primates and other non-food related game - I care not to hunt, unless the preservation of life and/or limb is at stake.

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from harold wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I'm with the rest of you. I think those hunting shows are a blight on hunting and make us look like murdering idiots to the average non-hunter.

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from dartwick@hotmail.com wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

To be honest I never even understand the morality of killing predators simply as trophies.I have no issue with killing a problem bear, eliminating coyotes as they expand their range, hunting moutain lions in populated areas nor even with trapping for fur. But I really dont get going deep into the wild and killing cats and bears.

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from KJ wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I'm with John C. I don't feel any guilt or remorse for killing an animal, but I don't whoop it up, either. And I don't hunt with guys that do. Killing an animal is a serious thing.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

DittoI have mixed feelings when I take a game animal, too. I sometimes wonder why I did it and not go down to the store for my meat. Then, every fall the urge kick in and I know why I do it. I am a man and a hunter, period. It's what I do and who I am.I am on a high when I take an animal, but not the giddy, giggling, hooting, and slap-ass high fiveing that those idiots do on the hunting shows. The turkey and whitetail shows are the worst.Does anyone you know behave this way or is this just TV crap?Curious.

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from John C. wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Anyone who doesn't question the morality of putting an arrow or bullet into another sentient being doesn't deserve to call themselves a hunter.I have never walked up to an animal and not thought, at least for a second, about whether I was comfortable with what I had just done.It is for these reasons that I don't understand the appeal of the modern outdoor shows, which in my opinion, have become little more than thirty minute advertisements with graphic kill shots interlaced for good measure.Perhaps I grew up in a different environment, but I never witnessed any of my family members or the other people we hunted with high fiving each other after killing an deer or a turkey.

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from Nathan wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Killing a Primate is something I dont think I could bring myself to do either.

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from whitetailredneck wrote 3 years 7 weeks ago

i've had that feeling befoe

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