I have friends and clients who spend all year waiting for October 1st so they can climb in a stand to bow hunt. They go as many times as possible until that Saturday rolls around where primitive weapon season opens. They are faithful to be in their stands early and late with the primitive weapon until the 1st Saturday of rifle season. You guessed it...they pick up their bolt action with 4x12 optics and hunt hard until the end of the season. They'll kill deer in each of those weapon-specific parts of the season, too.
Sounds great! But what if I told you that they used a crossbow, instead of a compound? And during primitive weapon season they used a center-fire 45-70, not a muzzle loader. Oh, by the way, they made each and every hunt sitting in stands over looking shooting lanes where corn and / or rice bran had been poured every week looking for the big bucks they had captured on their game cameras that have run since August. How do you feel about that? You probably have an opinion about some or all aspects of these hunters' methods. Most of us do.
Heck, I tease them mercilessly about using using their "sissy bows" instead of a compound like I use. My sweet, diplomatic wife is an avid bow hunter and she even gives them grief over the sissy bow. What do you think?
The crossbow versus compound (and even the recurve), muzzle loader versus primitive center fire calibers; to feed or not to feed, game cameras versus hunting blind, mojo decoys, electronic predator calls and many more can dominate camp conversations. We all have different opinions and positions on the issues that seem the most important to us. My wife and I feel strongly about using a compound bow exclusively instead of a bow with a mechanical release fitted with high-end optics. The reason for us is that we want to kill Pope & Young bucks and cross bow kills are not accepted.there. The point is we all have opinions about what's right and wrong in these areas and we all probably have good reasons for those opinions.
There's not a thing wrong with having spirited debates over topics we are passionate about. There's nothing wrong with having strong opinions about how you may choose to pursue and kill game during various hunting seasons. As you encounter these situations where your hunting beliefs are challenged, consider these three principles I believe trump our personal opinions. In my case, I'm willing to give able-bodied sissy bow hunters (sorry...had to get in one more gig!) a pass from my stubborn opinions if they can meet me at these places:
1. If it's a legal and ethical method of hunting, then it's not about right or wrong, it's about what we prefer.
2. Do you leave the land and the wildlife better than you found it? Hunting in the United States is a privilege we should should guard, preserve and enhance every way we can. Land ownership is a bedrock of our freedom. You and I know that hunting - and the lifestyle surrounding it - is about way more than what we kill or how we kill it.
3. Is the next generation of hunters and landowners learning the right things by being around us and seeing what we do and how we do it when we're planting food plots in the summer, making a shot in mid-November and cleaning and cooking the game at the camp?
Yep...we've got opinions. I'm willing to give you yours and be happy for the way you enjoy your season hunting. Let's just be sure we're majoring on the majors and making our sport, passions and lifestyles something that will live on.
- Pat Porter, RecLand ProStaff Founder...but you won't see him on TV!