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When Is A Hunter Too Old?

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When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby Swede » 05 01, 2018 •  [Post 1]

I suppose there are a lot of different ideas on this, but I too have a perspective. I feel I am getting close.
I am not impressed with all of the new fangled contraptions being sold to hunters. Blue jeans and a plaid shirt and coat, plus a good pair of logging boots were hunting attire when I started. A two wheel drive pickup with an AM radio was as good as it got. My first one was two wheel drive, but never had a radio. I could not afford it, so if I wanted some music, I sang something I remembered. Most likely it was a favorite hymn. My first rifles. which I still own, never had a scope sight. My bow was a recurve. It had no sight and had a felt pad for a rest. The quiver was slipped on my regular belt. Camp was a used tent, a white gas lantern, surplus army sleeping bag and the groceries placed in a good wooden box. You made a sandwich and wrapped it in waxed paper. Dinner was cooked in a cast iron frying pan or a pot. Back in the day I wished I could afford a good tarp to cover things if it rained. Fortunately I did not have much to place in the tent.
I can just see it is getting close to the end for me now. I will know my time has arrived when I see bullets and/or arrows come with heat seeking or other guidance devices so it will perfectly hit a animal at 2,000+ yards when shot by a total novice. Guys, I feel it coming soon. It is getting close.
Any other ideas on when it is time to move on?
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby pointysticks » 05 02, 2018 •  [Post 2]

nope. feeling too old to me has ZERO to do with the gear. i'm never gonna be one of those, "i had to walk uphill in the snow, both ways you young whippersnapper" kinda old guy. hell no.

i get guys telling me they used to hunt in jeans and a flannel jacket "back in the day" sure. i get it. you couldnt do a pack raft trip down the brooks range, or backpack hunt elk in oregon rainforest with that. you would die if you were not smart enough to head home. hunts like that were not on the general populations radar.

that's just what the modern world has given us. information..information provides the spark to ignite the passion that got us off our farms and onto an airplane to land on some alpine lake in Alaska. that same information gave manufactures the data to create gear that made it easier and possible to do things.

we are different, the world is different..and what we hunt, how we hunt and why we hunt is different. that gear (and i include the internet) gets us there.

i have MAD respect for the older generations. take my parents. they raised 3 hellion kids (dad died when i was 13)..then my mom SOLO raised us to be productive adults. i make way more money than they did..granted life was less expensive back then, but they got it done! i look back and am am so grateful i have a great life..some of the greatness comes from the gear i have.

now feeling older? yea. last year, sprinting up a hill to beat the setting sun to get into position to shoot a monster mulie..i felt old. that was the first hill, i technically didnt make it up. it was soul crushing. we didnt get the deer either.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby Tigger » 05 02, 2018 •  [Post 3]

Nobody makes us use new gear, to each his own. I have hunted in jeans before many times, but now I have found something better. A better tool for the job. Do people still use handsaws instead of circular saws or sawsalls? Nope, we found a better tool for the job. as I grow older and have more disposable income, I appreciate better gear even more. When I go hunting with someone who gets wet or cold and I don't....I appreciate my quality gear....I don't wish I could be cold with old stuff! Is my experience somehow diminished because I am not cold or wet? No way. In fact, I am probably out there longer which enhances my experience.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby Swede » 05 02, 2018 •  [Post 4]

Sticks: back in the late 50s and early 60s no one I know could afford a trip to the Brooks range. There really was no need to backpack into the rain forests of Oregon. There were fewer deer and elk back there than around the recent logging clear-cuts. Besides those old wood frame canvas backed Trapper Nelson packs with an attached sack were not something you wanted to pack equipment and meat out a long way on.
Back in the early 60 there were still Forest Service trails that could be followed for miles, but they were mostly used by the Boy Scouts in the Summer. A couple of times I hunted out them, but they were not as good as the areas opened up and producing good forage. They had good scenery. Right now the Cascade elk hunters are having about 3%-5% success rate because the Forest Service has quit logging. The good forage is gone. The deer and elk populations are way down, and the hunting is off Forest.
The truth is I have no plan to quit hunting. This is just a conversation. Hunting has changed a lot. If you grew up hunting in the 50s and early 60s, some of this modern equipment is anathema to what hunting should be. Some of it I really like. If you grew up in the 1990s or later, things are different. I get it.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby pointysticks » 05 02, 2018 •  [Post 5]

that's just it Swede.

today, people - complete strangers can tell each other hunting stories. some guy raft floating the Brookes Range, with a GoPro Camera and great digital camera paints a picture for the rest of us. when i was a tiny kid..i didnt even KNOW about the Brookes Range. now, just because someone else did it, documented it..makes me want to try it.

for example: i have penciled in Juneau AK for next May. all because a saw a TV show with some dude traipsing thru a rain soak forest shooting sooty grouse with a .22 rifle. it looks like a BLAST!! my brother and i agreed to to go in the spring. i think AK is the only state that lets you hunt them during the spring. it's new, it's different..it's adventure.

in general, we dont need to hunt for the meat to survive anymore. (some do) i'm glad i dont, i would be a vegetarian with my sucky hunting skills. and my gardening skills are an abomination..i would starve. :D

great discussion!!
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby scubohuntr » 05 02, 2018 •  [Post 6]

There's a difference between "old" and "too old". I'm definitely feeling old. I don't apply for sheep tags any more. As the years go on, I can see my hunting areas moving closer to the road and lower in elevation. Eventually I'll probably be limited to predation hunts and whitetails in the river bottoms. I'll keep going, though. Moving slower and not as far as I used to, but as long as I have the eyesight and strength to hunt safely, I'll be out there somewhere.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby ishy » 05 02, 2018 •  [Post 7]

I had a patient few years ago in February when I asked how he was doing he responded, "wish I was elk huntin". He was 95! He said the previous fall he had a shot at a 5 point across a canyon and decided to pass due to only having an '06. He said after the season he went straight to Cabelas and bought a new 300 win mag to be ready for next year. I've seen enough in my short time to know we never know what tomorrow holds for each of us. We all only have so many seasons left, but seeing him gave me some hope, that God willing I have lots and lots of seasons left.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby saddlesore » 05 03, 2018 •  [Post 8]

Needless to say, I am probably one of the oldest hunters here.I went from a a pack string of 3-4 mules,packing in wall tents, wood stoves,full camps and gear, sometimes making three 9 mile trips in to get it all in.That got to be a lot of work as I aged.So I switched to making a camp in my 20 foot gooseneck stock trailer that included a bed, wood stove ,etc at a trial head. That got to be more work than I wanted to do.Then I sold the gooseneck,and bought a used short bed pop up slide in camper and tongue pull 3 horse trailer and camped at trail heads.That was about the ultimate.All this as technology progressed making my hunting life easier.

The problem now is that where I elk hunt, the elk have moved further back into more rugged areas and I spend 2-3 hours riding into them and another 2-3 hours coming back out. Then coming back to the trail heads where ignorant SOB's think they have the right to run their generators all night long.

So this coming year, I am replacing some gear with light weight backpack gear to get the weight of my panniers down and make less trips into the hunt area, packing everything on one mule and riding another. My entire camp will weigh less than 20 pounds.New technology has made this possible, so I don't begrudge that at all.

I don't worry about being too old. I'll stop when I can't do it anymore physically,but I am real close to that now.My new shoulder isn't doing real good, but I am hoping by September it will be at least usable. I liken it to putting a new Mercedes ball joint in a 53 Chevy when the rest of it doesn't work too well.

What concerns me most is the complete lack of courteousness and ethics that I see in today's younger hunters.They think nothing of walking right thru your stand, making a lot of noise,setting up camp a few feet from you and then staying up all night drinking, screaming, playing loud music. Then if you are able to get back in a ways, you find camps set up right in the middle of prime elk habitat. The OTC units in Colorado are so crowded and full of those type of modern day hunters that Idon't have the big desire to participate in those hunts. Those are the factors that might nudge me into the feeling that I am too old to hunt.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby Deanmac » 05 03, 2018 •  [Post 9]

[quote="saddlesore"
What concerns me most is the complete lack of courteousness and ethics that I see in today's younger hunters.They think nothing of walking right thru your stand, making a lot of noise,setting up camp a few feet from you and then staying up all night drinking, screaming, playing loud music. Then if you are able to get back in a ways, you find camps set up right in the middle of prime elk habitat. The OTC units in Colorado are so crowded and full of those type of modern day hunters that Idon't have the big desire to participate in those hunts. Those are the factors that might nudge me into the feeling that I am too old to hunt.[/quote]

So SAD!!!

In my limited three years in elk country, I have seen some of the above. This year I have elected to stay home.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby Swede » 05 03, 2018 •  [Post 10]

I have seen some disrespectful "hunters". Most are local yokels. They drive around and try to get an elk on a drive by shooting. Most are too lazy to get far from the road, so that is easy, but they can be noisy, especially at night.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby scubohuntr » 05 03, 2018 •  [Post 11]

A lot of it is the current culture. Young people today never get the chance to just be silent. They are bombarded by constant stimuli, youtube, streaming music, facebook, and whatever else. You rarely see one without headphones or earbuds, and never without a cellphone. They are not comfortable being disconnected from all of it, or with just soaking in the wilderness. Maybe we ought to all make the effort of taking a young person hunting; not elk hunting to your top secret honey holes, but a weekend deer or pronghorn hunt on public land. Take the time to watch chipmunks, track a rabbit, turn your spotting scope on the stars at night. Tell stories around a campfire. Make a point of running a "dry" camp with no electricity. I'm betting that some of them would change how they do things pretty radically. Some would just dismiss the "old coot" with the Daniel Boone fetish and go right back to rowdy party camping, but maybe they would at least get some idea of why that kind of behavior makes them unpopular with their fellow hunters.

When I was just starting out, I saved up to buy a Bear Grizzly and half a dozen wood arrows. I'd pore over the Kittredge Bow Hut catalog all summer to find a few gadgets for the next hunting season, and finally spend about six dollars of gopher trapping money on a bunch of, well, crap. I rarely did overnight hunting trips, as I had deer, grouse, and rabbits within walking distance of home. But when I went out, I had well under a hundred bucks into everything I was wearing or carrying. The first time I went elk hunting, I drove my 1972 Roadrunner out to the West Elk Wilderness in Colorado, armed with a borrowed military Mauser rifle in 8X57, Tasco binoculars, and army surplus camping gear. I didn't see an elk, but I had a great trip.

These days, though, kids have bought into the consumer lifestyle big time. Most of the young hunters I see have far better gear than I do, and a lot more of it. Every young hunter out there seems to think all his hunts have to go on youtube, and pictures on facebook. There are a lot of people getting into hunting without a family history of it, so the only mentoring they get is the morons on Team Realtree or Duck Dynasty. The television "hunters" are all about "extreme" this and "ultimate" that, high fives and screaming. So that's what the people watching them think hunting is all about. The concept of waiting, or doing without, is all but forgotten. Teenaged hunters with big fancy 4X4s, ATVs, high-dollar rifles and optics, and state-of-the-art camping gear have a hard time waiting for anything. All their heroes drop record-book elk in 20 minutes, with commercials, every week. That's how it ought to be, right?

I'm not against technology; far from it. I carry a laser rangefinder, and I have topo maps downloaded on my cell phone. My gear is better than it used to be. I do a lot of scouting on Google Earth and other services. My bow is 30 years old, but it is a compound, and I shoot carbon arrows. I like technology, I just really regret what our society seems to have given up to get it.
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Re: When Is A Hunter Too Old?

Postby Swede » 05 03, 2018 •  [Post 12]

scubohuntr wrote: I like technology, I just really regret what our society seems to have given up to get it.


Well said. Very well said.
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