Hunt: The result is the same no matter how it is done

Different hunters use different methods to achieve their goal of creating an opportunity. Some use a variety of methods while others are more loyal to a particular tactic or technique, and the latter sometimes look down on those who choose alternative methods. Does the end justify the means or is there a proper procedure for procuring prey?

Deer hunting offers a few examples. Some hunters sneak through the woods, stopping frequently to look ahead for any sign of a deer: an ear bang, a brown or white spot, or the horizontal line of a back. Others just wander around, hoping a deer will pass or jump out of bed and offer a shot. The former clearly requires more effort and focus and probably offers better odds, but if the latter offers the occasional opportunity, isn’t it just as effective?

The classic northern woodland deer hunt is all about finding a fresh trail in the snow and following it until you hopefully catch up with its creator. However, many more deer hunters take a sedentary approach, seeking out a preferred intercept point and waiting for the deer to come to them. Is the wolf swooping down its prey a better hunter than the lion lying in wait to ambush it?

Even stationary hunters sometimes differ in their tactics. In the past, and still today, some simply sat on a stump, a stone wall or at the foot of a tree. Others prefer a higher position, which provides a better view and concealment from watchful eyes and sensitive noses. These perches range from a basic platform and seat to a fully enclosed shooting house with windows and maybe even a heater. Isn’t a more comfortable hunter always a hunter?

The choice of weapons can sometimes cause debates between various factions. The bowhunter who must create an opportunity and then wait for game to be within reach may consider his methods more sporting than using a high-powered rifle with enlarged sights. Both are considered legal and ethical in their respective seasons. Early muzzleloading seasons were sometimes called primitive weapon seasons and limited hunters to the use of hooded or flintlock muskets and open sight rifles. Most hunters now use rifles with more reliable in-line ignition systems with pelleted powder and glass optics.

A classic upland bird hunt involves using dogs to locate and hold birds until hunters approach, chase the birds, and shoot them in flight. A more traditional method in the northern woods is to scour the dirt roads for birds that come out to collect gravel, then pot them on the ground. If the birds refuse to fly, aren’t they still game?

Some turkey hunters use decoys while others just prefer a call. The classic spring turkey hunt involves calling an excited tom within range, but if they don’t respond to the calls, waiting patiently to ambush a passerby can still produce the desired result.

As the old saying goes: different strokes for different people. Some hunters may lack the stamina or physical ability to track down a lanky mountain deer. Others just prefer to sit above an abandoned orchard or a well-maintained food patch that will provide food for all the deer and many other wild creatures. Which method(s) a hunter chooses, or whether a person chooses to hunt, is ultimately a personal decision that must be understood and respected.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and registered guide from Maine who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

[email protected]


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