Here's the Scoop: November 28, 2012
New breed of hunters
Some things never change. Apparently, hunting doesn’t fall into this category.
Talk to any old-timer and they’ll recall a day when the Big Game hunting season in the Catskill Region was a huge event, where the nimrods practically outnumbered the trees. The hills were alive with the sound of gunshots, as the song goes.
It’s no secret that the popularity of hunting has dropped significantly in recent decades. There are lots of reasons cited for the decline in the popularity of hunting, but the lack of interest in the sport by younger hunters is always near the top of the list. It seems that kids these days have many entertainment options that don’t involve fresh air and doe urine. Who knew?
I’m not here to place blame for the decline of hunting, but I think it’s fair to examine the dedication of some members of the “older generation” of hunters, to see if they are doing their part for the sport.
For instance, I asked a not-so-veteran hunter the other day if he had bagged a deer yet.
“I’m too old to get up that early,” growled the 27-year-old.
A few days later, I questioned a much more experienced hunter about how his pursuit of game was going.
“Hmmm…nothing yet,” he responded. “But, I have been getting a lot reading done on my Kindle while sitting in the woods.”
No one would ever mistake me for an avid hunter, but I do have respect for the sport and the participants who pursue game the right way. I was pretty sure I misheard this longtime hunter.
“Ha, for a second, I thought you said you brought a Kindle into the woods while hunting!” I laughed.
“I did,” he replied with a straight face.
I was stunned. While never very good at the part of hunting that involves pulling the trigger and ripping out guts, I love the “pursuit” of game. Hitting the woods before dawn. Waiting for hours. Sitting still, straining one’s senses while waiting for the slightest sight or sound of approaching game.
“I thought you were a dedicated outdoorsman?” I responded. “Obviously, you’ve started a new chapter in your hunting career.”
My friend was obviously a bit disturbed by me poking fun at him for bringing this electronic reading device into the woods. I couldn’t help it — I was stunned by this admission.
After pausing for further consideration, I asked, “Whatever happened to good old-fashioned hunting etiquette like taking a nap in the woods? Or ‘accidentally’ shooting your hunting partner and marrying his wife two weeks later? Don’t hunters still perform these acts of sportsmanship?”
The formerly dedicated hunter took his time to consider my question.
“I’m sure they do,” he finally responded. “I’ll let you know after the weekend. I just downloaded a new Hunting App and I’ll likely have plenty of hours in the woods to read up on how hunting used to be.”
— Brian Sweeney