Yeti

Evolving as a hunter over time

nick87

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Went out tonight we have a three day late gun season today through sunday. Told the wife I was going to kill a doe if I saw one and had full intention to. Sat out there and was pretty cold, passed on 5 smaller bucks (none of which I would of shot anyway) and had 6 different does pass by between 70 and 10 yards. Never even reached over for my gun. Not real sure why? maybe I just wanted to watch them, maybe I just wanted to come back Sunday and freeze again or maybe I'm just getting soft and didn't want to shoot a doe. Seems like I catch myself doing this all the time. I get the stink eye in the duck blind for not calling a shot on birds we definitely could of killed but usually unless there feet down in the decoys up close and personal I'm not calling it. I guess I've entered that stage of a hunter where the "how" you fill your tag/limit is more important than how big of a deer etc. they are or how many limits of you can shoot. Years ago it didn't matter how I got it done it was about how big the buck was or how many birds u could shoot or whatever. Sure is a good feeling to be out there and know that I haven't a damn thing to prove or show anyone. Your doing it all for you. Not that I've ever done it for attention or anyone else. But there's always been a little competitive push amongst others. Can't say I feel that anymore. Anyhow, anyone else know what I'm talking about?
 
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Doublecluck

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Oh yea started 15 years ago on waterfowl, transferred over to elk to the point I sometimes call in 15-20 6 point bulls a year without sticking one. Some of its the game, some of its not wanting it to be over, some of its just the love of the hunt and the outdoors. Always fun when I got some out of state friends in town and we got a couple thousand birds in the decoys and were like ahh let’s just watch em.. lol. Don’t gotta kill everything.
 

mtmuley

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Oh yea started 15 years ago on waterfowl, transferred over to elk to the point I sometimes call in 15-20 6 point bulls a year without sticking one. Some of its the game, some of its not wanting it to be over, some of its just the love of the hunt and the outdoors .
So 15 years of birds and then 20 six point bulls? Jesus. mtmuley
 

Nutrioso

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Reid Bryant has a new episode of the Orvis Hunting and Shooting podcast in which he interviews Ben O. Williams, the legendary upland bird hunter, dog trainer and writer. After more than 60 years of hunting, Williams says he still runs the dogs, carries a shotgun, but just says “bang” at the flush. He reached the stage where killing another partridge isn’t important to him anymore. I’m not there yet, but hope to live long enough and hunt long enough to get there.
 

OntarioHunter

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Yes, the adventure is more important as I have aged, even if it's just the drunk singing to himself at the truck stop when I'm gassing up. Seeing and experiencing as much as possible becomes more of a focus as I'm heading towards the final roundup. There's this back of the mind warning about having wasted too much of life. I don't think one can ever experience enough. I gave it a helluva run though but still feel dissatisfied. If it takes all day to shoot a bird I'm okay with that. What better way to spend my time?

Edit: Just to be clear, I'm not drunk at a truck stop. Only observed one while fueling. Actually, it was a memorable performance. Quite the tenor. Not what I expected in the middle of the night at Harlem, MT.
 
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madtom

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I know what you’re talking about, but if anything I went the opposite way this year since having a new born kid at home. I used to purposely drag season out and be pickier than I should because I liked being out there. This year, I felt a little bummed and weird being away from the baby, and found myself trying to fill the tags and get back home quickly.

The kid has made me soft.
 

OntarioHunter

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I know what you’re talking about, but if anything I went the opposite way this year since having a new born kid at home. I used to purposely drag season out and be pickier than I should because I liked being out there. This year, I felt a little bummed and weird being away from the baby, and found myself trying to fill the tags and get back home quickly.

The kid has made me soft.
That will change when the kid starts school and gets a life of his/her own.
 

nick87

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Reid Bryant has a new episode of the Orvis Hunting and Shooting podcast in which he interviews Ben O. Williams, the legendary upland bird hunter, dog trainer and writer. After more than 60 years of hunting, Williams says he still runs the dogs, carries a shotgun, but just says “bang” at the flush. He reached the stage where killing another partridge isn’t important to him anymore. I’m not there yet, but hope to live long enough and hunt long enough to get there.
A local bowhunter I grew up around. He actually hunted the farm next to my grandma's and kinda took me under his wing and taught me a lot about bowhunting whitetails. His wall of whitetails is pretty impressive. He still hunts a ton but hasn't shot a deer in quite a few years. I'm quite sure it's not because he hasn't had the opportunity. I ll bump onto him walking out down the road from where we both hunt now and ask him if he's killed any. Nah don't need to is usuall his response. Speaking of which I need to get over to see him before he's not around to reminisce with anymore.
 
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Corn king 60

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It’s been like that for me for a few years now. It’s more about a quality time out doors. Funny this topic comes up, just last month December 11 pa,s last day of regular gun season I’m out with 2 doe tags. With about two hours to go I’m actually praying I don’t any deer come my way. I killed my buck in archery and was perfectly fine with just watching the last light fade away. I actually said to myself I have the power to not harvest if the deer showed ( I did see 2) knowing I could have was good enough for me that day. Plus it left me with those two tags for our late flintlock season which I have not filled yet. 🤣🤷‍♂️
 

recon6036

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Can’t count how many times I’ve come home from deer hunting and the conversation with my wife goes like this: “did you see anything?”, I reply “yes”, she says “did you shoot one?”, I reply “no”, she says “how come?” I reply “I don’t know”
Guess, everything has to feel right at the right time.
 
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Southern Elk

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My last 10 years of whitetail hunting, I didn’t shoot anything but mature bucks. Literally passed hundreds of deer. I always say I’m going to shoot a cow elk with my bow, but given the opportunity, I never do. Saw a bear this year during archery season and didn’t draw my bow. I just like to watch them. My favorite thing these days is mule deer and antelope hunting because I get to see a lot of animals before deciding which one to shoot.

My 11 year old son, on the other hand is bloodthirsty. It’s fun to watch him. He got his first deer and squirrels this year. He’s looking forward to antelope and elk next year. I enjoy his enthusiasm. I’ll probably let him do most of the shooting from now on.
 

nick87

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At some point it became about the climb rather than simply reaching the peak. I’d rather have a great adventure with my brother and kill nothing, than fall into a big buck or bull off the side of the road.
Few years ago my brother and I were mule deer hunting Wyoming he killed his on I believe day 2 and mine on day 3 I want to say. We were quartering my buck and I remember telling him "well this kind of sucks, it's over". He just nodded and replied "yup".
 

Salmonchaser

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The last three years I hunted Montana for deer after I had killed a bull in Oregon. Had days I saw as many as 17 bucks, but none were spectacular and I didn’t have to pack them out. Had a great hunt, plenty of meat in the freezer.
 

BucksnDucks

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I can relate to lots of sentiment on this thread, especially when it comes to birds. The how you get em is much more important than the number at the end of the day. Deer hits me different because I've gotten pretty serious about the food/processing aspect. I find myself not really caring all that much about antler size, but I do feel the need to put one in the walk-in. When it comes to Elk I'm in extreme envy over Doublecluck and his 20 or so bulls. I do believe I would be letting an arrow fly at the first six pointer coming into range.
 

SO7mm

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I definitely feel the same on waterfowl. I pass on calling a lot of shots that end up getting me some grumbles. Part of it is hating sending away a cripple, and part of is it loving the whole process especially getting the birds to commit and come right in. I'm fine with letting big game but I need to have some in the freezer to do it.
 

MTelkHuntress

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"You're doing it all for you" I think that captures the feeling pretty well.

For the most part, I don't feel that "I gotta get something" feeling anymore.
I kind of fell into the trap of trying to out do myself by getting a bigger animal than my last, but it is nice to just sit and watch nature be nature. I only saw one whitetail buck this year, he was small so I instantly knew I wasn't going to shoot him. He starting walking the same trail that my dad and I were on, almost leading us in a way. He was only 20 yards away and wasn't very afraid. Eventually he walked off and disappeared but it was a neat experience. I'm sure others would have thought we were nuts for passing up the buck, but it was an easy decision.

When I was younger, shooting grouse with my bow was something I always did. I almost never passed up a bird. This year I only shot one and I was happy with that. I'm sure the local grouse population appreciated it 😂

The only time I feel like "I have to get one" now is when I'm elk hunting. I haven't gotten one yet but I've been a bit picky. I want my dad to be there so I often times limit when I can go elk hunting to make sure he is there for it. That added pressure does kind of detract from the fun at times but I'm hoping that eventually gets out of my system.
 

nick87

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The only time I feel like "I have to get one" now is when I'm elk hunting. I haven't gotten one yet but I've been a bit picky.
I agree every situation is different. I've never killed an elk if I draw a cow tag in wyoming this year while hunting with my brother and I see one I'm shooting. I'd like to have an elk to process.
 
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