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B. Amish

5 stages of sport hunters

8 posts in this topic

With all the differences in opinion over deer hunting, I thought this might be an interesting read for some.

I think after reading this you can understand pretty quickly where different opinions come from and the mindset behind them.

Quote:
The Five Stages Of A Sport Hunter

by Denny Vasquez

As with all things in life, a hunter’s prospective of his sport changes as time goes by. According to the Hunter’s Education manual used by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, there are Five Stages of a Hunter’s life. They are the Shooter Stage, the Limiting Out stage, the Trophy stage, Method stage and the Sportsman stage.

As the sport of hunting itself changes through the years, so do the factors which are used to determine what “successful hunting” is. Add to this the changes that take place in each hunter’s life and things can get a bit confusing. Some of the factors that can play a part in what kind of hunter we become are, a hunter’s age, hunting companions, role models, personal ethics and years of hunting experience. All of these affect our ideas of “success.” Where a hunter may fit into one of the five groups changes as he progresses in his hunting career. Where are you now? Where would you like to be?

Shooter Stage

A hunter that is in the Shooter Stage talks about satisfaction with hunting being closely tied to being able to “get in some shooting.” Often the beginning duck hunter will relate he had an excellent day if he got in a lot of shooting. The beginning deer hunter will talk about the number of shooting opportunities. Missing game means little to hunters in this phase. A beginning hunter wants to pull the trigger and test the capability of his firearm. A hunter in this stage may be a dangerous hunting partner.

Limiting Out Stage

A hunter that is in the Limiting Out Stage still talks about satisfaction gained from shooting. But what seems more important is measuring success through the killing of game and the number of birds or animals shot. Limiting out, or filling a tag, is the absolute measure. Do not let your desire to limit out be stronger than the need for safe behavior at all times.

Trophy Stage

The satisfaction of a hunter in the Trophy stage is described in terms of selectivity of game. A duck hunter might take only greenheads. A deer hunter looks for one special deer. A hunter might travel far to find a real trophy animal. Shooting opportunity and skills become less important.

Method Stage

When a hunter has reached the Method Stage, he has accumulated all the special equipment that he could possibly need. Hunting has become one of the most important things in his life. Satisfaction comes from the method that enables the hunter to take game. Taking game is important, but second to how it is taken. This hunter will study long and hard how best to pick a blind site, lay out decoys, and call in waterfowl. A deer hunter will go one on one with a white-tailed deer, studying sign, tracking, and the life habits of the deer. Often, the hunter will handicap himself by hunting only with black powder firearms or bow and arrow. Bagging game, or limiting, still is understood as being a necessary part of the hunt during this phase.

Sportsman Stage

Finally, as a hunter ages and after many years of hunting, he tends to “mellow out.” Satisfaction now can be found in the total hunting experience. Being in the field, enjoying the company of friends and family, and seeing nature outweigh the need for taking game.

Not all sport hunters go through all the stages, or go through them in that particular order. It is also possible for hunters who pursue several species of game to be in different stages with regard to each species. Some hunters feel that role models of good sportsmen, training, or reading books or magazines helped them pass more quickly through some stages.

Can you find one of these categories that fits you? Where are you in your hunting career now? Where would you like to be? We each have to make a decision as to what kind of hunter we want to be, and then be the best that we can.

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wow that article made me think about my experiences and the type of hunter I am. I would say somewhere between the method stage and the trophy stage. (for white tail deer). For waterfowl, I am selective, and I enjoy just getting the opportunity to spend time outdoors with friends. I can't wait to hunt with my new dog, It'll be fun watching her make her first retrieves.

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I am in the sportsmans stage. I will take my deer or pheasant or grouse when the opportunity presents itself, but being outside and enjoying the experience with friends and family is what is important to me now.

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I'm still young but consider myself in the method or more towards the sportsman stage. I do not agree it comes with age. I think I have had this view since I started. I taught myself how to to everything from experiences and reading a lot. Many days I will see nothing or not get a bite on the water, but I love every sencond I am outdoors. I take pride in how the ways I hunt and the success that has come from it.

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We teach this concept to our Firearm Safety students but I try and move away from "stages", which implies a chronological order. You can be in more than one stage at any time. However, it does do a good job just understanding some people's motivation. Apply this to the Antler Point restriction thread or any of the "improving MN bucks" threads.

But be careful about putting someone in a stage and closing the lid on them. I am part Method, part Trophy, and part Sportsman in my annual quest for da turdy point buck.

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