Dallas Safari Club Hunt for life poster (courtesy ammoland.com)
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I’m pro-hunting. As the Dallas Safari Club asserts in its big ass billboard defending its January convention, hunting preserves endangered species. (Yes, even lions!) And there’s no doubt that hunting helps conserve natural habitats. But I don’t hunt. Don’t get me wrong . . .

I’m not PC, squeamish or sentimental. I’d have no problem perforating Bambi, Porky or Mufassa with hot lead. In theory. In practice, I’ve never stared down my sights at a living creature. So I can’t say that for shizzle. And I don’t know how to hunt, exactly.

Not that it seems particularly difficult. As Jon Wayne Taylor instructed me on my one and only hunt, “see pig, shoot pig.” Which ended pigless. And required an endless dead-of-the-night schlep across Texas in Jon’s Tundra and an early morning hike that left me tired, bored and hungry.

JWT keeps threatening to break my hunting cherry. Meanwhile I keep working my ass off behind a desk. But enough about me, now about you . . .

Do you hunt? If so, why? If not, why not? For those who do, when did you start? What do you hunt? What firearm(s) and ammunition do you use?

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  1. I don’t hunt because I don’t care for the taste of wild game. And, as I was taught when growing up, if you are not going to eat it, don’t shoot it.

    • LTTP: This is what I was taught as well. However, I don’t hunt edible game anymore – I am currently only hunting invasive species and find it more enjoyable than the meat hunting days of my youth, and I feel it offers me a chance to have a similar positive conservationist impact. Although I think most people refer to this as “varmiting” and not hunting.

  2. I did a caged hunt once. Boar in a fenced in lot. Set the hook for wanting to try a proper stalk and hunt session.

    Domestic tranquility, and nothing reasonable (price or location) to me prevents me trying for more meat.

  3. No. I probably would if I had my own land. Public ranges are scary enough. Hunting on public land with everyone else? Nuh-uh!!!

  4. Yes, I prefer the taste of venison jerky over beef jerky and I usually save a back strap for Christmas dinner. As far as hunting big game or trophy hunt, no. The few bucks I have turned into venison have had a strong game taste and I much prefer a young doe.

  5. I had elk blackstrap for dinner last night. It had marinated for 3 days before hitting the traeger.
    I’ve got some deer jerky sitting in my work bench to enjoy through the day.
    This weekend, I think I’ll make some pheasant phajitas.
    Yes. I hunt.

  6. Yes I hunt.
    1: tradition in my family
    2. Population control
    3. Fun and practicing all at the same time

    I only hunt private land so if I didn’t have the opportunity I probably wouldn’t hunt public land. Too many idiots. And game wardens

  7. Hunting helped feed me through my college years – while my roommates and I were feasting on venison, salmon, and other wild delicacies, all our friends were stuck with dorm food. Later, living in Wyoming, did some antelope hunting on a friend’s ranch.

    It’s been years since hunting to that extent, though. Harvested a pig in Texas when I traveled there for a business conference (used a Ruger Gunsite Scout in .308) a couple years ago. Hard to find good hunting locally where I live now, although my wife and I were just watching a forked horn buck eating the leaves off her rose bushes this morning – but that would be a little like eating a pet.

  8. No, not me. My husband is from the country in Alabama, where he hunted all the time. But, now, health problems and the lack of private land have kept him from hunting.

  9. Nope. No problem at all with ethical hunting, but I don’t need or desire to do it myself.

    Although I did enjoy the fruits of my extended family’s hunting habits back in the day — venison was my main protein source for a whole semester in college, thanks to my uncle’s generosity.

  10. For the record, I ask RF to go hunting all the time. But he has stupid shit going on in his life, like taking care of his family and working. If those are your priorities man, you’re not going to spend much time in the field.

  11. Yes. As often as possible. I hunt public land here in CA. It can be productive, you just have to work a little harder.

    As a kid my dad would hand me a single shot smoothbore and a hand full of shells and point to the fields and woods around the house and tell me he wanted rabbit/squirrel/grouse, etc. for dinner. There’s a photo of me with a shotgun where the gun is taller than me.

    I live in the heart of the bay area. I have to get up at 3-4 am and drive for at least an hour and a half to be on the grounds. I do it gladly. It gets me out of ‘civilization’ and where a man belongs.

    • There’s supposed to be some good hog hunting down by you. I’d make that drive if I could find some public land to do it on.

      Any clues?

        • Its a pity that they charge you for a tag to hunt an invasive pest that destroys crops, but hey that’s California logic.

  12. I used to hunt. But killing things that don’t need killing just doesn’t sit well with me anymore.

    I still bought a tag and went out into the woods to stalk game while I was physically able, even though I had no inclination to actually fill said tags. I enjoyed going out for nostalgia’s sake; because it was always satisfying to sneak up on deer, and I loved watching non-game wildlife. I just let fam/friends think I was being blanked out of bad luck, rather than try explaining why I let a huge buck wander off for someone else to shoot.

    Pigs though….. are a different story. They get no such amnesty when I’m out & about. Eliminating wild hogs is doing everyone a solid, besides me just hating them.

  13. If you’re going to get into hunting, get used to what it was like that one time you went. Because that’s what it’s like a lot of the time. I’ve hunted all my life and I’d say 80% of the time or more I go home empty handed. That’s just how it is. Now certain species like pigs, or birds, typically yield a slightly higher success rate I’ve noticed. Anytime I go bird hunting I can ussually manage to go home with something.

  14. No. I can’t really handle cutting into things and messing with their innards, and it seems like it would be rather rude to go to my hunting friends and say, “Hey, let’s hunt together, but you have to do all the work of cleaning and dressing anything we get.”

  15. It is called hunting, not killing. MANY hunts will end up fruitless. That is simply part of it. REAL HUNTERS use public land. PRETEND HUNTERS use private property. What you see on tv is 99% pretend hunting. Most of those guys wouldn’t find shit if it weren’t for private land. If your natural meat tastes too “gamey”, your cooking it wrong. The key is to cook it along with pork fat. I’ve fed countless people hamburgers, tamales, tacos etc that we’re elk, deer, rabbit and they all thought it was beef.

      • I’m sorry was that supposed to be some form of rebuttal? Or insult? Either way, it landed wayyyyy short. I guess I should clarify a lil. If your hunting on private land with the idea of putting food on the table, you might as well go to the store. Most property owners who offer hunts are usually feeding the animals a store bought product meant to make them bigger ( you know, growth hormones). THAT meat is no more natural than your grocery store. They also purposely feed in certain areas so that the animals will go to that certain area, so the client has a better chance. That’s not hunting.
        If you use a guide, your not a hunter. Your a weekend warrior. Just like the office guys who buy a Harley..with a Harley jacket, Harley chaps, Harley helmet etc and only ride weekends when the weather is fair..who try to act like they’re bikers.
        If you use a stand, your not a hunter. Your just a blind squirrel who happened to find a nut. God forbid you might have to get off your ass and stalk a few miles.
        You see these guys all decked out in Camo like it makes a difference. The only animals that MIGHT require Camo is turkey and yote. Great gran pappy didn’t have a hard time in his blue jeans and plaid red jacket.

        • The ignorance is strong with this one…

          So how do people like me fit into your narrow, closed minded view?

          I live in remote Alaska, and quite literally shoot big game off my own front porch. Last year I shot my moose and two black bears on my property, and passed on several shots on grizzly.

        • Dhfksndmc, there was so much phenomenal stupidity in that comment I don’t know where to begin.
          Nobody has time to deal with that much dumb.
          But, it sounds like you don’t actually like the taste of wild game. You don’t have to eat it if you don’t like it. But at least stop telling people how to ruin their food.

        • TL;DR version:
          “If you don’t do exactly what I do, the exact way I do it, the exact place I do it, then you’re not a real hunter.”


  16. I’m passionate about hunting and fishing, and it’s a 365 proposition for me. I was raised in the woods and on the water, my father was a helluvan outdoorsmen and instilled in me the love of being out in nature. The “why” of it has changed since i’ve gotten older, especially since i’ve owned my own rural acreage. I have always enjoyed grubbing fish and wild game, raised on fried rabbits, largemouth bass and crappie, and squirrel and dumplings. As the whitetails and turkey have come back in Tennessee over the past 40 years (thanks to hunters and TWRA), those two species have become my primary quarry. Over the years, it’s become less about the harvest and more about beating them at their own game (bow, muzzle, rifle, back to bow), coming into their world and, increasingly, creating habitat that allows game and other wildlife to thrive. Tree time is my church, proof of intelligent design. This season in particular I’ve realized i enjoy the habitat improvement as much or maybe more than the actual hunting, or should i say harvesting. CAn’t wait to get back on the tractor even with three more weeks of hunting left. I used to shoot the first decent buck i saw, now I let three-year-old eight-pointers walk, even if it means not getting a buck for the season. Doe management keeps the freezer full, and i’ll have great mature bucks the following season. I’m enjoying all of this—property management, patterning, cracking the code, food plots—more than i ever have. For example, i’ve never done a better job of putting myself in the right place at the right time than this season, yet i’ve let decent bucks walk knowing their core area is also mine.

  17. don’t hunt, but I do perforate critters that ravage my backyard garden. Many a opossum has met his maker from garden misadventure.

  18. I do not hunt. I know plenty of people that do, and I have no issues with. It is just that I really don’t want to put that much effort into getting food.

  19. Yes, I hunt.
    I started later in life than most of you – I was the oldest person in my hunter safety class.
    This was the first year that my son joined me as a hunter also. The time spent in the woods and the comaderie with friends/relatives are as valued as the hunt itself.

  20. I’ve gone hunting about 25-30 times, but I have reverse buck fever. I always think of a reason not to take the shot and I don’t even try much to get the shot in the first place. I am building a new rifle for my new digs above Dubois WY. I intend to actually take a game creature of some sort, but once again, not until I have spent at least a year tweaking the rifle and perhaps even longer working up loads way past what is necessary. It is compulsive behavior I suppose. I do realize that I could just buy perfectly adequate ammunition for a small fraction of what I spend making my own.

  21. I hunted until about 20 years ago – even if I didn’t get anything, it was fun being out in the woods with my flintlock smoothbore thinking what it was like a couple hundred years ago, seeing the occasional eagle, and enjoying my solitude. These days I live in the zoo of Northern Virginia. I also have a heart condition that physically limits me. Additionally, the over-development of land almost out to the Blue Ridge means that if I did want to hunt, I’d have to know somebody (private land) or drive for a couple of hours to reach the National Forests out in the Shenandoah Valley.

  22. Will hunt anything for meat (on an as-needed basis). I’ve always had issue with hunting predator species, though. Call me crazy, but something about the respect for a fellow hunter (even if it is another species).

    Plus, if you’ve ever watched a big cat hunt, it’s seriously impressive, and one hell of a cool thing to see.

  23. Yes. Mainly squirrels, some rabbits, quail, and dove.

    Varmits are not hunting to me. I wait for them to come to me.

    Armadillos, raccoons, poisonous snakes, wild pigs and such.

  24. Nope…but I’m pro-hunting. Now I’m old and have bad knees. But I’d hunt if I had a buddy to go with(I do but he’s waaaay hardcore-calls himself Duckman online. Sells vintage decoys and antiques).

  25. No. Born and raised in Chicago, I never learned, and frankly growing up I only knew one person who hunted. My father was born and raised in backwoods Pennsylvania, in a town where damn near everyone hunts, but if he did, he never once mentioned it. My brother got the bug, probably from his Air Force friends. For a number of years he’d go to South Dakota for a pheasant hunt (delicious jerky), and every year goes for a turkey. He has hunted doves in South America with his eldest son. He did go deer hunting one year, got a buck, but didn’t enjoy the experience and did not repeat it.

    There is plenty of hunting here, mostly water birds since we are on a migration route, but I have never been handy with a shotgun, nor have had the time and money to participate. There are a few pigs and not a lot of deer. Only buck hunting is allowed, and most hunting ground is very steep. My back can’t tolerate climbing the hills in San Francisco, so trying to hike vertical mountains just isn’t in the cards.

  26. I hunt occasionally here in PA – deer, geese, doves, rabbits, and squirrels. This January I’ll be giving ducks a try in Arkansas. Most times I have no luck, and I don’t get out as often as I’d like to because of distractions (call then obligations if you want) like family and work. Besides limited free time, made worse by the PGC’s stupid Sunday hunting ban, there’s also the problem of limited available private and public land here in SE PA.

  27. Yes I hunt. Finally have some acreage in a remote part of my state that’s full of game animals. Deer, elk, cougar, bear, pheasant, turkey, grouse, quail, geese, ducks, you name it.

    With big game, gutting immediately and getting the hide off as quick as possible (cool the animal off), along with a quick clean kill has prevented that “gamey” flavor nobody cares for. My venison and elk roasts taste like lean beef, backstrap and tenderloin as well. The less desirable cuts can have a little sharp flavor but not too bad.

    You get high quality meat and gain valuable skills. What’s not to like?

    • “With big game, gutting immediately and getting the hide off as quick as possible (cool the animal off), along with a quick clean kill has prevented that “gamey” flavor nobody cares for.”

      Exactly! Most people who try my venison steaks and roasts have an extremely difficult time noticing any difference from beef.

  28. No. Because people told me you have to yank out their insides out their butthole. And my friend told me how he shot a coyote and he watched through his scope as it attack its own entrails before dying. And endless stories of dads, uncles, and grandpa’s yelling at them to not talk.

    Sounds grim and not fun to me.

    • You don’t yank their insides out their butthole. Whoever told you that was Fucking with you. Coyotes are certainly unpleasant creatures but I highly doubt one would attack its own insides after being shot. I think someone’s filling you full of shit.

  29. Been hunting since I was 8 years old. More than 50 years now. That’s where I was taught about firearms by my father. Learned to never waste ammo and not to shoot it unless you plan on eating it. Grew up dirt poor and hunted for much of the food we ate along with the food we raised. So hunting was and continues to be a part of my life. Although I’m no longer poor.

  30. I hunt, though generally that entails taking my bow or a rifle for a nice stroll in the woods. If I wanted to just harvest game, which is fine if that’s what you do, I would be very successful just opening my door and downing one of the deer on the property. I prefer to spot and stalk, though, and only harvest if I really need the meat.

  31. Yes I hunt and on private land and I have no,idea what dh guy is talking about .
    Its called a farm , there are no fences , and nobody certinly is feeding them , they roam miles off the farm in search of does .

    • This. They’re wild ass deer and turkey, they pattern you just like you pattern them, if you let them. The mature bucks and ol’ toms are not easy to hunt. I’d like to see this guy spot and stalk in Tennessee hill country, he’d never get in the same zip code as the deer at my place.

  32. Yes I hunt. I believe if I am going to eat meat, I should be the person who ethically performs the kill. I don’t need someone else to do my killing for me.

  33. Except for an annual pheasant hunt in SD, not since high school. Too many gun-totin’ people wandering around in the woods that don’t have any business being there. Unsafe (muzzle direction? what’s that? Bush moved? Blast it.), unethical (shoot at anything/everything without regard to laws. Yeah, I know. The King shouldn’t tell us what/when we can/cant shoot, blah, blah, blah). Have a few beers before going out? Sure, why not? (each one of those descriptions is from personal observation) I like to shoot. Clays are always in season and there’s no bag limit. Plate racks can be re-set multiple times. The ring of a 200 yard steel target can be exciting. I have friends who hunt religiously. Heck, one just gave me a bag full of venison from his trip to Texas last week. More power to him. Do it safely and ethically? More power to you. I’ll be out at the rifle range when you get back. I’ll stop off at the butcher’s on the way back and pick us up a couple of nice t-bones.

  34. I hunt off and on. Mainly I just like checking out the critters. Big money clubs are buying up most of the land. When I was a kid we didn’t have that, back then I hunted and trapped miles of swamp, timber, the river too Saw other traps once in awhile, boot prints here n there. Damn I miss those times and my dog’s. Now it’s all private big money clubs.. Used to fish the gravel bar,but the owner wants 350 two day stay. I fish the bayou now. Everybody cashes in on a good thing, us poor river rats ain’t got that kinda money.

  35. Hunter education needs to be redefined. The public needs to learn it’s better to cull the herd than let 80 to 90 people a year be killed and eaten by APex predators. Thats what happens in India when tigers, leopards, and other big cats kill humans every year.

    The number of people attacked and killed by APex predators in the USA is going up.

  36. Deer, turkey, ducks, coyotes, and occasionally hogs. Each offers its own unique draw, and all but the coyotes eat *in Cousin Eddie voice* “Reeeeeeeeeeaaaaalll good”.

  37. I have hunted a fair amount, especially the last 9 years although I don’t think I will get out this year. I pretty much stick to deer hunting and started when I was 16 years old.

    I hunt for four reasons:
    (1) Rejuvination (Getting out in the forest is good for the soul.)
    (2) Acquiring high-quality, truly organic meat
    (3) Improving my woods-craft
    (4) Honing my marksmanship skills

    I use all manner of tools to hunt. Compound bow. Crossbow. Shotgun (with slugs for deer). Rifle (.270 Winchester shooting 150 grain softpoint bullets). Muzzleloader (with 295 grain, .50 caliber bullets). And I even use a .44 Magnum revolver (with an 8-inch barrel) as well as a .44 Magnum rifle for deer hunting. All of them are extremely potent if I do my job correctly.

  38. i have not hunted in years but where i am you need a 4WD to get into most of the hunting spots as you cant carry a rifle on a bike on the road. has to be locked away in a vehicle. yes this is nanny state f%&#$@g Australia, the land of the good little slaves that as soon as anyone tries to put their head above the parapet their own try to shoot them down with ridicule. i now have a 4WD just need to get some more work done on it before i head out so i know it will get me there and back again 🙂 cant wait Roo steaks and Jerky

  39. Several family members, including my wife, are hunters. But not me. I guess I’m too pragmatic, or lazy, or both. Too much boredom and work on either side of the momentary adrenaline rush. And the cost of a guided hunt in some distant locale is money I would rather spend on something else.

    Game meat is ok if it’s cooked right, but I was raised on corn-fed beef and pork and it suits me just fine.

    • lol i dont count it as boredom. i love being out in nature so there is no boredom for me. as for the work, again to me being out in nature is relaxing. sitting in front of the Tel lie Vision is stressful to me. but there again each to their own 🙂 and not assuming it is sitting in front of the TV that you do either. it is just what a lot of people like to do

  40. I hunt every year, Most years I do not shoot anything, but it’s not about the killing, I enjoy hiking through the woods. Enjoyable being around other like minded hunters at hunting camp for a week. I have had many chances to take my limit, but I am picky about what animal I take. Many of the places I go are not accessible by vehicles.

    Some people go to church, I hunt.

  41. There is plenty to not like about New York (taxes, over regulation, gun laws etc.) but when I step across the road from my house (pretty far Upstate) I am on 76,000 acres of public land. In May I can hunt turkey, hike miles of trails and fish for trout on the same day without getting into a vehicle. It was 5 degrees above two days ago with a foot and a half of snow on the ground. While cross country skiing I found a couple of spots to watch for deer next fall. Hunt some, fish some, all good.

  42. Like you, I am pro-hunting, even though having never hunted before. My grandparents did, and took my older brothers, but by the time I came along they were too old to take me; my parents didn’t hunt, and my brothers didn’t take it up beyond going out with Grandma and Grandpa.

    I really want to learn, though, if nothing else to have the skills necessary to fend for myself and my family, for when the SHTF (_One_Second_After style is what I’m guessing will happen). And I have no friends I’m close enough with that hunt who could take and teach me. 🙁

    • i never had anyone to teach me either. it is not hard to learn. practice your shooting and get the book “the SAS guide to tracking” which i have found to be excellent though i taught myself many years before i had that resource. every animal and human leaves marks of their passing if you look


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