Smith And Wesson Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,703 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

by Robert Matthews | Jun 12, 2020 | BIRD HUNTING, HUNTING, Slider
Why Do People Hunt?


We hunt for the same reason that foxes chase mice…because we’re genetically programmed to do it.
Evans Chambers and I were reminiscing the other day, as old men are wont to do. Evans lives in Enid, Oklahoma, and has been affiliated with the Grand National Quail Hunt in various capacities for about a zillion years. We became friends while following a pair of pointers when I went out there for the event a few years ago, and I guess we just “stuck.” If truth be told, our friendship is probably one of the main reasons that I participate in the event every chance I get.

A couple of years ago, at his urging, Sporting Classics published our somewhat immodestly titled tome, The Greatest Quail Hunting Book Ever to highlight Grand National’s 50th anniversary hunt. We were proud of the book at the time and still are, and it has become a cracker-jack seller for us.

By way of background, the book includes a short story that I wrote as the finale for the book. Titled “A Small Southern Tale,” it was born out of one of our previous reminiscences.

The point of the story was to relate to readers how important bobwhite quail were, and are, in the culture of rural America. It also emphasizes how quail hunting was such an inherent part of our lives that the lessons we learned were passed down from generation to generation, and each successive generation was urged to pass along the ethical code that developed around quail hunting.

The story chronicles the life of one bird hunter, June Jones, from the day of his birth until the day of his death. Of course, to do this, it was necessary to include both the preceding and succeeding generations of his family. The latter was his grandson, William, who June called “Willie Boy.” Willie Boy became the perfect emissary to carry the message to the next generation.

One fine fall day, June and Willie Boy were bobbing along in the wake of June’s two pointers, Jim and Joe, when June scratched down a bird, and after it was fetched to hand, he dispatched it in front of the tyke. Of course, Willie Boy had to satisfy his curiosity about the whole process—the living and dying thing, and the hows and whys of killing in general.
In his own way, June did his best to explain…as we all do from time to time. The conversation that followed led to an involved discussion about man’s need to hunt and the consequences of the urge.

People have argued about those points for eons, it seems, but the bottom line appears to be that it’s just hereditary. The product of evolution. We hunt for the same reason that foxes chase mice…because we’re genetically programmed to do it. This programming is stronger in some individuals than in others, but it’s still there. In my own clan, it’s quite strong; in some folks, it seems to be barely discernible, at least on the surface.

On the other hand, Willie Boy and his grandfather may have touched a nerve. And perhaps the genetic urge manifests itself in other ways than the act of hunting for game. The basic urge is to quest. To seek. To search. But it also includes the need to understand.

Said June: “They (predators) have to understand their prey. They have to understand why their prey does what it does. And the more they understand, the better they are as hunters.

“People are the dominant creatures on earth because they have such a powerful need to understand. And that same need to understand everything has made us scientists and explorers, medical researchers and physicists.
“Man is who he is, because of his insatiable need to understand. If we weren’t natural predators, we probably wouldn’t have killed out polio and the plague. And if we didn’t need to seek and to hunt and to understand, we probably wouldn’t have made it to the moon. Every quest of mankind is a result of his hunting instinct.”
That made sense to Willie Boy. It makes sense to me that we wouldn’t have found our way out of Africa to populate the entire planet, either.

We live in a world where those of us who hunt and shoot are regularly excoriated by members of the popular press as perverts and miscreants, as throwbacks to the sub-human and beyond. It’s time we corrected the record.
The gun and bow and the lance and sling are indeed tools of the hunt. But so are the microscope and telescope and the scalpel and computer. I am fond of my guns, in the same way that a carpenter is fond of his favorite hammer, the musician cherishes his violin, and the surgeon appreciates a fine, sharp scalpel.

We recognize there are evildoers in all parts of our society, but it does not justify the slander of all carpenters, or musicians or surgeons because of the actions of a few who share their profession. Scalpels and hammers and, for that matter, tubas and violins could make excellent weapons, given the right circumstances. I once had a 1946 pick-up truck that could have been quite a deadly weapon if I had chosen to use it in that way.

I’m not an aficionado of scalpels or hammers, or tubas or violins, though I do like them. I do find pleasure in shooting a well-made shotgun, because I’m genetically programmed to do so. And that’s the only reason I need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,208 Posts
Like Bob, I enjoy hunting and my walls attest to that. Many mounts. I hunt for animal control, for sport and for meat in the freezer. Nothing tastes better or cooks better than Elk or a whitetail doe. Still have to bag a moose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I hunted for 50 years, to enjoy the Great Outdoors, to harvest top quality meat, to get some exercise, to be alone to think my own thoughts, and to get a break from opposing counsel, judges, clients, my computer, writing legal briefs and arguing in Court in order to refresh my body and mind.

I stopped hunting because I aged out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,208 Posts
I hunted for 50 years, to enjoy the Great Outdoors, to harvest top quality meat, to get some exercise, to be alone to think my own thoughts, and to get a break from opposing counsel, judges, clients, my computer, writing legal briefs and arguing in Court in order to refresh my body and mind.

I stopped hunting because I aged out.
You never 'age out' or become unable. I know of guys who hunt in wheelchairs. My hunting buddy is 80 and had a triple bypass and he still hunts with us every fall / winter and usually 'brings home the bacon' too. We might field dress iot and haul it out but he always helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
This ol' story from back in the day........

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,078 Posts
I never hunted. I've always supported hunting and hunters. I was just never called to it. I see the value in it - just can't pull the trigger, you might say. Dad didn't hunt when I was a kid, but I know he did before the war to put food on the table. The family said so. I don't know if the war in the Pacific had something to do with the fact there were no guns at home. He taught me safe handling of my toy guns, but no real firearms that I know of.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Abby'sDad

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,324 Posts
I have been hunting all my life. My brothers and I started w/ squirrels and rabbits. I then continued with hogs and deer. A little over 50 years later ... I am still hunting ... mostly hogs and deer. I also am known to do a little dove and quail hunting, a little rabbit hunting, and from time to time I shoot whatever varmint that happens to be in season.

I have never felt the need to explain my hunting to anyone. I've had employers who were virulently anti-hunting. I just kept my mouth shut, did my job and went hunting in my off time. I've had church members who graciously provided me places to hunt, etc. I have had church members who did not agree with my hunting. So it goes. This coming deer season I will be carrying a "Waffle Top" Marlin 336 from the 50's given to me by one of my church members (2016). It is a superbly worn heavily used hunting rifle in that eternal caliber ... .30-30 Winchester. My friend is now dead. I hold that rifle while in the woods and I remember wonderful times with him. Sincerely. bruce.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,703 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great way to remember your friend!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,703 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have done the big game thing, especially out West where you have to go after them in their backyard (all 100,000 square miles of it), but now, like my avatar, I prefer a leisurely quail hunt - wild, planted, plantation matters not - with a few good friends and some good dogs working together............It amazes me to watch a pointer hold rock still, even when the cocker is sent in to flush......and then all hell breaks loose!:ROFLMAO:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Keith44Spl

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
34,428 Posts
We both hunt here, in fact the last big hunt my husband wishes he could claim to be the Great White Hunter who bagged the white tail but it was me who got it at 125 yards with the Savage M99 in .250 that my Brother and I share ownership of since it belonged to our Dad! It just depends on who has a hunt planned on who has it during deer season. Hmmmm...venison!
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top