Photo by Salt Water New England

Saturday, November 21, 2020

A Reader Question for the Community: Hunting and Shooting?

 

A Reader Question for the Community:

I know that hunting is traditionally a major part of the English sporting lifestyle, many other aspects of which are reflected throughout your blog. But I also realize that public sentiment in regards to hunting has changed over time. I was wondering if any readers hunt or shoot, and if so, how often and where?

 

23 comments:

  1. I shoot sporting clays about once per month. Much more enjoyable than skeet or trap and quite social too. Although banned from travel (can’t take off two weeks) this year, in prior years I usually take a few days to go to Maine or Vermont for upland hunting for woodcock and grouse. Either with friends or a guide. I have also had the pleasure of tower and driven shoots for pheasant. This fall was to be the year I headed England for the big trip of driven shooting, but that has had to wait.

    Good walk up hunting is a lot more about finding your way into some remote areas, wading through small streams, finding the remnants of 18th/19th century foundations on stone walls, and watching the dogs joyfully work, than it is about getting the bird. Although that is a thrill too.

    Like fly fishing, bird hunting takes you beautifully places, helps you find the calm of nature, allows you to do something that is essentially unchanged over time.

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  2. I have been lucky enough to hunt in Ireland (and in Texas!) and shoot grouse in Scotland. I grew up shooting "partridge" over Brittanys on abandoned farmsteads in Maine and and the dense coverts of central Massachusetts, joined quail shoots from mule drawn wagons in Georgia, walked up pheasant in Iowa, shot white wing dove in Mexico and done tower releases at Mashomack and Sandanona. My son was blooded at eight years of age. I enjoy the comradery of these traditional pursuits and cherish the memory of every day I spent in the field.

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  3. Yes! Deer and wild turkeys on the family farm in NC...where at least 5 generations of our family have done the same.

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  4. I’ve been shooting since childhood but never enjoyed killing. That said, I’m not opposed to others doing it and I do enjoy wild game. When I was younger, I shot a few times a week. Now, I get to the club just more than a dozen days a year.

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  5. I have been an avid upland bird hunter most of my life. I hunt over my German Shorthaired Pointer and my hunting partner's Brittany. Watching and appreciating the dogs work and enjoying the outdoors are the main attractions. Upland hunting is a family tradition and, at least once a year, I carry my grandfather's shotgun which was manufactured in 1907 into the field in his honor. Both of my sons enjoy hunting and I hope they will continue the tradition for many years. During the appropriate seasons, I hunt often and, as noted above, cherish each day spent in the field, especially the late afternoons when the sun and temperatures are falling and the dogs are happy and tired.

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    1. Yes, German Shorthaired Pointers are the best, although they are not at all favored in New England. I'm pleased to have relocated to Amish Appalachia where the hunting opportunities are everywhere around us, and our Shorthairs can live the life they were meant to live.

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  6. I am glad to eat the birds my friends shoot, especially dove breast with jalapeno, but I have no interest tromping around the Texas countryside to fill a bag. I prefer the tranquility of fly casting. Shooting skeet is fun.

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  7. My father took me hunting before I was old enough to carry a gun. I grew up hunting ducks, geese, pheasant and deer, (even rats at the the community dump!). I am now seventy and, in fact, am on a week long deer hunting trip in Northern Minnesota. And I try to get in at least one out-of-state hunting trip each year. I live in rural Minnesota where for many of us hunting is a tradition as well as an integral part of life. My son, also a hunter, takes my grandson, age eight, along frequently. I'm pretty sure they don't buy any meat at the grocery store. As his wife recently told me, "We're carnivores here." When I return home I expect to resume following my dogs and hunting pheasants through the end of the year and every year thereafter. A couple years ago I converted some of my farmland to grassland through the Conservation Reserve Program. I am gratified knowing that my hunting license fees, memberships in Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever and donations to these and other conservation groups support my hunting activities but also those of others far into the future. I suppose that hunting is to me what travel or sailing or concerts is to others. It's in the blood....

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  8. Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as playing music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else. After all, the earliest forms of representational art reflect hunters and prey. While the arts were making us spiritually viable, hunting did the heavy lifting of not only keeping us alive, but inspiring us. To abhor hunting is to hate the place from which you came, which is akin to hating yourself in some distant, abstract way.

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    1. As a young man I engaged in hunting (elk in Wyoming, ducks in Wisconsin, etc.) but now think the matter depends on what is hunted and for what purpose. For example, on a 1933 safari Ernest Hemingway took down a running rhino at 300 yards with one shot. Today this story sounds insane, and I'm sure Mr. Hemingway didn't need to do this to keep himself alive.

      I suppose I've mellowed over the years -- and no, I don't hate myself -- but nowadays I just warm my blood with fly fishing and skeet shooting.

      To each his own.

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  9. I have bird hunted since a small child, whether in Maine, or Scotland. My father was a keen sportsman, and always instilled a true respect for nature, and it's gifts! Thank you!

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  10. Living in the UK a few years ago, I had friends on both sides of the foxhunting issue, but I tended to be sympathetic to those who said restrictions on it had led to foxes becoming significant problem, after I encountered a large fox on the grounds of my apartment in the middle of Oxford and stepped in fox droppings in the infield of the running track.

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    1. Oh my trip to London in 2016 I was shocked to be woken up by the most loud fox noises I had ever heard. The middle of London! As a New Yorker, I was shocked.

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    2. Sir Roger Scruton wrote a beautiful book on foxhunting. Unfortunately the book is a bit hard to find but it is well worth it.

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  11. We are not hunters but certainly here in NE GA there are those who do. Those I talk with are adamant that this is not blood sport, but they eat what they shoot. No doubt there are those who do it for the sake of shooting something, but I am encouraged by the level of maturity and sophistication of those I have encountered, and their respect for the animals.

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  12. I haven’t hunted myself but I have friends that do. They mostly hunt deer, turkeys, birds, and rabbits. They rent land in upstate NY. I do hope to one day join them as I have always been attracted to the experience. I am an avid cook and I would like to one day make a meal made entirely of items that I’ve foraged and hunted myself.

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  13. Upland hunter here including dove, ruffed grouse and woodcock. Also used to fox hunt on horseback.

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  14. I have been an avid Bird and Deer Hunter all my life. Here in South Carolina we have the nation's longest deer season start August 15th and ending January 1st. We also run deer with dogs.

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  15. If one is a carnivore, at least once in your life (and we understand once is more than enough for many) you ought to kill, clean, and dress your own meal. Complete the circle of life.

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  16. Shooting clays is a great social activity and fun sport. Hunting game you're willing to eat provides a wonderful connection to our land, family tradition and food. I'd draw the line at trophy hunting. Can't imagine shooting a lion e.g.

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  17. My wife and I love the outdoors and we frequently walk(hike) in the local woods and trails, whatever the weather.We believe there is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices. I also enjoy shooting at my club two or three times a month.I prefer not to hunt as I do not wish to kill any living thing. That said, I am not against others hunting and usually attend my clubs game dinners. I prefer paper targets and simply perfecting my shooting skills, just for fun and recreation.

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  18. I love upland bird hunting but I don't get out nearly often enough!

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  19. I read this blog from Britain. It is interesting - one feels a certain affinity with what I might think of as "WASP" America (if one is still allowed to use that description) - and the differences, in experience and attitude - are fascinating.

    I both hunt and shoot, although the two sports can clash as the seasons are similar. When we lived in a relatively remote part of Scotland, there was no (fox) hunting in the near vicinity and so one had only occasional - perhaps three or four times a season - expeditions to family and friends in England or Ireland, with beds and horses. The regular sport was shooting - driven grouse & driven pheasant mainly, at for a few years about thirty days a year. One shot with friends and had friends back. One of my sons now has our house in Scotland so he has fallen in to that habit.

    When he took over, we moved to Oxfordshire and shoot a little but chiefly hunt, as that was always our first love. Hunting has stopped for the moment (so has driven shooting) because of this covid thing but when things are normal we would expect to hunt once a week. Summer is dull and we fish (salmon in Scotland).

    I suppose all our families and friends do pretty nearly the same as us and so it seems normal. Particularly in England, near cities, one is bothered a bit by animal rights zealots but I can't help thinking they're more interested in class politics that animals. Foxes aren't hunted now and so, as they have to be controlled, more are killed and some die lingering deaths. Shooting isn't so bothered just now - there are many more people involved - but there is minor political hassle. A lot of it seems to be virtue signalling though.

    Boring for you all, I dare say.

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