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Its All About The Experience
Just Why Is It That We Love To Hunt?

DuckBuckGoose - PHJ ProStaff - Cincinnati, OH

I live in the city. Not downtown among the central business buildings, but in the city nonetheless. It is not really my preference. My preference would be to have a small farm in the country with a freestanding workshop, a pond full of bass, a clear running creek and plenty of food and cover to hold a healthy deer herd. Pic of shotgun butt

As a "city dweller" in Cincinnati, Ohio, I live among people who don't understand hunting, my personal passion for it, or the "country" way of life.  As a boy, I was raised in the country - surrounded by mature hardwoods, rolling hills, and cornfields. When I was not in school, I would spend the better part of my days exploring the 25 square miles of the county owned nature preserve just across the road our home. Other days you might find me fishing in the neighbor's pond, or hunting squirrels with my Daisy 880.

My family has country roots. Mom and Dad moved to Ohio from Southeast Iowa, just before they had my sister and I. So we would head back there for family trips several times per year. My grandparents and a few other relatives owned farms that were thick with pheasants, rabbits and even a few pockets of quail. As a boy, I looked forward to our trips there because they afforded me the opportunity to do some upland hunting that I could not do at home.

I don't know if it is "nature" or "nurture" that has given me a passion for hunting. But I do know that several generations on both sides of the family, were hunters and sportsman before me - so maybe it truly is in my blood? Whatever it is. Wherever it comes from, my hunting obsession is there for good. And that is OK by me.

But why do I love to hunt?

I've been asked that question several times by friends and co-workers who don't really understand hunting, the appeal of it, or why it consumes me. To be honest, it was difficult for me to wrap my own head around the answer to that question at first. Probably because there isn't one, two or even five things I can point to as the reasons why I love to hunt. Rather there are hundreds of things I could list and still not be able to explain the gravitational pull that this sport has over me. So when asked, I usually just tell people that it is all about the experience of being in the outdoors and spending time with family and friends. That explanation is completely true, but it merely scratches the surface of why I love the hunting experience. As a sort of mental exercise, I wanted to list some of the other reasons also, and to see if any of you can relate or might be willing to share some reasons of your own. So let's see...some of the things I love about hunting experience include:

  • The anticipation of an opening day hunt, and the fact that it still keeps me awake at night, like a kid on Christmas Eve.
  • I love spending time with my Dad in a duck blind. We are both perfectly "in our element" and don't need to talk at all to know just what the other is feeling.
  • I enjoy organizing my gear, and making sure everything is in its place the night before the hunt.
  • I actually enjoy washing my deer hunting clothes to ensure they are scent free. And I don't care much at all for doing laundry otherwise.
  • I love the using the equipment of hunting, awaiting the catalogues that sell it, and making an occasional trip to the store to buy a new piece of gear.
  • I love the distinctive taste and aroma of the gas station coffee we get on our way to the hunting spot.
  • I love the stillness and silence of the early morning woods as I navigate the darkness and hike in to my stand.
  • I love being all settled in before the sun rises and listening to the woods wake up.
  • I love the sound of twigs breaking beneath a deer's hooves.
  • I love the whistling of ducks' wings as they buzz over my decoy spread in the dark, before legal shooting time.
  • I love the cackle of a rooster pheasant as he blows up out of the brush when I least expect it.
  • I love the smell of gunpowder floating through air after we take our first shots at decoying ducks.
  • I love having a hearty breakfast with my buddies and "tellin' lies" about what happened in the field that day, or in days past.
  • I love the many colors of the sky, and the way the light changes the look of the landscape throughout the day.
  • I love learning new things from other hunters who are willing to share.
  • I love cleaning my shotguns, building a new set of arrows, and repairing the old ones.
  • I love taking someone out for their first hunt, and seeing their reaction as the first flight of ducks works the decoys.
  • I love the boat ride in the darkness out to the duck blind. The feel of the cold, crisp wind on my face. The sight of pre-dawn shooting stars flying across the clear winter sky.
  • I love practice shooting my bow, and the way life's stresses seem to disappear as my focus turns towards a simple spot on a target.
  • I love the way hunting gives me time to pray, a real sense of connection to the outdoors, and how it strengthens my faith in God.

I truly could go on and on about the reasons I love the hunting experience. Perhaps an easier question to answer would have been "what DON'T you love about hunting?". If you were to ask me that question it would be a much, much shorter list.

How about you? Why do you hunt? What drives you? Just what is it you love about the experience? Have you ever really stopped to think about it? If not, I believe it is an exercise that just might make you appreciate this sport even more.

Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section below.


Posted 10/10/2009
Great article! I'm with you on the list, I could go on for hours about the things that I love about hunting. To put it in a nutshell though, it's the primitiveness of it, especially bow hunting.
Trophy Room
Joined: 9/10/2009
Posted 10/16/2009
I love that moments right before I release an arrow or pull the trigger on a whitetail. Knowing that the climax of my hunt is upon me!
The Old Scoots
Trophy Room
Joined: 8/18/2008
Posted 10/26/2009
i agree with all these reasons. not being able to sleep tne night before opening morn. seeing the first deer of the season and getting that adrenaline rush. if i ever lose that feeling, i guess it will be time to quit. only a couple more weeks and... cant wait.
thumper 300
Trophy Room
Joined: 10/25/2009
Posted 2/4/2010
All excellent points. I to work in the city and long for the woods. I love the silence, the calmness, no hustle and bustle that belongs to everyday life. I love spending the best times ever with my two sons. What an excellent time to bond with them. I love sitting in my stand and seeing wildlife close up. Maybe a bird three feet from your stand or a squirrel. Or a couple of doe and small fawns that walk directly under you. The beauty of the setting sun. The opportunity to talk to God, there is no more of a peaceful place than the woods. I love hunting in the rain, its so relaxing. And if you have an incredible day, a big buck may stop by. What a rush when your able harvest a mature buck, something you can’t explain, you have to experience. I love studying the habits of wildlife nad understanding how they have many of the same habits as man. I love experiencing the woods coming alive early in the morning. I love working hard for the payoff that we all long for, the trophy. I to, have many people that I work with that ask me the same questions. I always respond with the same thing, "I can't explain it in a way that you would understand, you have to experience it".
Trophy Room
Joined: 1/16/2010
Posted 2/23/2010
I agree with everyone that there are so many reasons for why we love to hunt but I have to say that for me the experience, family and friends (that usually started out as strangers) are the most important to me. I don't have to bring anything home but just being around the camp and enjoying the comradery and seeing the things you just don't see in the city people helping others not because they have to but because you probably were there once too. Thats what makes hunting so great for me.

Forever learning
Never forgetting
Always helping the next hunter
Trophy Room
Joined: 1/28/2010
Posted 3/16/2010
All i can think about some times is hunting i wish that every one could under stand and love it like me. I hope that no one will ever try to take that right away from me or my future kids. Around my parts we have a saying kids that hunt and fish don't steal and deal.
Trophy Room
Joined: 3/16/2010
Posted 5/3/2010
I have been hunting for only about 2 years now. I thought about it but never tried it before. But now I have hunting on the mind 24/7.I love sitting in the woods in the dark, wating and watching dawn breaking and the sun start to rise and listening to the woods awakening. This is my stress reliever. More importantly it is my opportunity to pray strengthening my belief in God watching all his creature come to life.
Trophy Room
Joined: 5/3/2010
Posted 6/16/2010
Deer Camp!!! The best place on earth!
Trophy Room
Joined: 5/26/2010
Posted 7/14/2010
I love being with my dad, brother, uncle and friends ..... my vacations are to a beach on the edge of a walleye lake, in a frozen cornfield, or in the mountains ..... the only thing i miss is a cheezy T-shirt or 2, but hell i got plenty of those .... in mossy oak seasons.
Trophy Room
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posted 10/7/2010
I love that calm followed by "that sense" that deer are in the area and not sure knowing how you knew.
Trophy Room
Joined: 10/2/2010
Posted 10/24/2010
I've never had the chance to feel the rush of duck hunting in northern ky, but all the points you made for the love of hunting were spot on!
Trophy Room
Joined: 10/20/2009
Posted 10/26/2010
For me it's the absolute solitude of it all. Just you, that buck and Jesus. No other hunters around. Completely alone. When I was a teenager I forced myself to get lost in the woods... so lost I had absolutely no idea where I was or where to go. When it was time to leave, I nervously followed my compass out and since then, I focus on nothing but the hunt in front of me. And the sense of clarity is unbelievable. All of a sudden you see things the way they're supposed to be. No thoughts of negativity. Just a simple, clear, focused, day in the woods. Then I do it again tomorrow.
I also love the awakening of the woods as previously mentioned. Fascinating!
Trophy Room
Joined: 10/20/2010
Posted 2/16/2011
There is not a real hunter out there that doesn't connect with every single item on that list. True words brother, true words.
Trophy Room
Joined: 2/16/2011
Posted 8/19/2011
Everything above is accurate for me. The most important, for me, is the friendships, keeping family ties strong, telling stories of the hunt, and general fun associated with getting together with fellow hunters at dinner following the day's hunt. Seeing younger generations in the family pick up the sport and know that they are carrying on the tradition is awsome, too. One thing that I originally thought I would like, but have now realized that I don't, is how deer can be checked in over the phone and internet. Deer check stations are no longer necessary in KY and OH. They still can be utilized, but not required. This is a great convenience for hunters who live far away from a check station. However, it was always fun taking a deer there, seeing what other hunters tagged, swaping stories w/ others, getting to know other hunters in the area and the results they are having.
Trophy Room
Joined: 7/8/2011
Posted 10/20/2011
I thought about this the other day and looked at it from a "non-hunters" point of view. They must look at me and see a man that cant wait to get of work on a summer afternoon just to drive an hour out into the middle of nowhere only to check a camera that has sat in the woods all week. They must think we are all crazy to get up at 4:30 a.m. to go sit in the top of a tree, while the temperature sits well below freezing, not being able to move a muscle or speak a word and do all of this just in hopes that "today might be my lucky day". To think of this logically or from an outsider's point of view I would probably have to agree that we must all look like we lose our minds every October-January, year after year. But you really cant explain the feelings that come over you when you have put in the hard work and you are finally rewarded as that "lucky day" pays its respects to you and you look out from your treestand and see the "big boy" you've been after making his way into shooting range. Often times I catch myself telling another hunter that "my hunt today was unsuccessful" but I am not correct by saying that. Although my ultimate goal is to bag a trophy, watching a hawk swoop down and pick up a field mouse right before my eyes or having a grass bird land on my arrow or hearing the leaves crunch beneath my stand before light and praying that whatever is down there stays long enough to let me catch a glimpse of it is everything that makes it an adventure each and everytime I choose to roll out of bed to prepare for the hunt. The definition of a hunter cannot be put solely into words. We experience things that most other's will never be able to see or appreciate and are often overtaken with emotions and feelings that are only common to us. It's these experience's that tie us together as hunters and allows us to see a world that others will never understand. Sharing these feelings makes only us able to understand why we do it even though we might not be able to put in to exact words the reasons we love hunting ourselves. Basically, I've come to accept the fact that I will never be able to fully understand why I am so obsessed with hunting, I think there's a lot of us out there who would agree. Its something that you cant exactly put your finger on, but we all know it's there and that it is very much alive.
Trophy Room
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posted 6/27/2013
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Trophy Room
Joined: 6/27/2013
Posted 9/22/2013
Just being in the great outdoors, no noise other than that of the woods , a time to sit and think and take in natures beauty . For me it is such a huge calling for me its what I'm about
Trophy Room
Joined: 9/22/2013

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