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Thread: A Winter (Bored) Question

  1. #1
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default A Winter (Bored) Question

    This takes a while to get to the actual question but bear with me. Not only that but it isn't very controversial.

    Re-reading many Jack O'Conner stories got me thinking again. Especially the story about predators in which he shoots a hawk. If I understand correctly - now illegal in all 50 states. I too, was raised in the era where the only good predator was a dead predator and I still support predator control in spite of the fact that I haven't shot a hawk or owl in over 50 years. However, Yes, I have shot a few predatory birds back in my early youth (say the late 40s).

    So life (and hunting and Alaska) changes. For a while we change with it. Then, at some point (at least for me) we stop changing. It now appears that all the music I really like has the work "classic" in front of it - like Classic Rock or Classic Country & Western.

    So here are my questions:

    1. How many years have you been hunting?

    2. Have you stopped changing and, if so, where did you stop?

    For some of my older (now dead) friends - it was between iron sights and fixed power scopes.

    And I will answer those questions so others can do the same (if they wish).

    1. I have hunted for 60+ years.

    2. I have sort of stopped. Rifles, optics, & electronics - I'm still open to new ideas. Same for hunting ethics (well, that is sort of controversial). For clothing? I've stopped somewhere between GoreTex (and I know it has some serious limitations in Alaska) and scentloc. I don't, and don't plan on ever owning any scentloc clothing. IMO, catalogs have become so confusing I can't understand anything about the myriad of options in clothing, boots, etc.

    So there you have it - at least for me. How about you??

    Phil Stewart

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default

    Well....I'm 38 years old and bagged my first big game (nice double shovel caribou) at 13 so I guess 25 years.

    Lately I find myself much more into "meat" hunting since I have 4 little rug rats running around. I am moving back into archery hunting since I took my first moose with a bow this last year and re-kindled my interest. My father in law and I are going to target black bear this spring with the bows since we both have taken a few with a rifle.

    The "change" is interesting....I too am enjoying the "classic" music I grew up with as well (mainly '70s country/bluegrass and soft rock).

    Good thread!
    AKmud
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  3. #3
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Shot my first big game at 10 yr old, so 21 years.....

    No haven't stopped changing yet....

    I'm varible power scope guy, iron back ups. enjoy plinkin' with irons though.
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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  4. #4
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Shot my first big game at 10 (both a ewe and a bull caribou that fall), so 20 years of hunting for me.

    I can't say that I've stopped changing, but I do find myself rolling my eyes at many newer gadgets. I don't see a need for scent lock clothing, either, nor do I need a laser rangefinder for hunting with a rifle. That being said, I do have a new compound bow with the latest technology, an alpacka raft that wasn't around 5 years ago, and I sure do appreciate my feather-light gear that holds up in the stiffest storm. Generally speaking, I buy new gear when it wears out, not when the latest and greatest shows up on the showroom floor.

  5. #5
    Member muskeg's Avatar
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    Default changes

    I have been at it for over 60 years. Got pics to prove it ..... first one is Aunt Lois giving me my first gun lesson in Oklahoma. Second one is my Brother holding up for a ride on a big Lake Tahoe Blackie.

    Seen lots of changes and I'm still picking up on the current action. Just had my 45/70 worked on not long ago ... Kevlar stock and fiber optic front sight ... new technology is great.
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Default Maybe I'm regressing?

    I've been at it for about 25 years or so with a couple of hiatuses in the middle for whatever reason or another.

    I find that I'm still changing but rather I'm going backwards... Going back to wool/ canvas clothes, fixed power scopes, iron sights. I guess that all the technology applied to hunting has sort of triggered a gag reflex of sorts and I'm going the other way... I find I really enjoy more "traditional" hunting although that term is probably pretty meaningless as I'm comfortable stuck somewhere between the advent of variable power scopes and the demise muzzleloaders. I'm making an effort to simplify my outdoors endeavors.

    Good post and an intriguing topic by the way...

  7. #7

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    Been hunting for 19 years, 15 in the AK. First rifle I had was iron sights, w/ a fixed power scope on it. I never had a range finder, nor a GPS, or a digital camera in the early years. For me one of the greatest advancements in technology is the Sat phone! I remember "DAYS" waiting near the drop off point to be picked up. I love the fact that with a quick call I know if I need to break camp down or I have another day to play! I agree that Cabelas has a wide range of clothing & boots! But I like to look & see what they have. Good bathroom reading. The new SITKA stuff is nice, but I feel it is over priced. To be ownest most of my base layers come from REI. My low land big game rifle has iron sights still, but w/ a quick release scope. Have had the same old ATV now for 10 years. It goes forward & back, just doesn't have the 800cc motor w/ power steering or the BLING BLING rims! As for the music I will listen to new stuff, but what I grew up with is all CLASSIC! I think I am still changing, adapting, & willing to try something new if it works better, makes life easier, is lighter, & resonably priced for my wallet. I hope when I hit 60 my grandkids do not look @ me like I walked out of a time warp.

  8. #8
    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    I have been hunting for 13 years, mainly on the East Coast. My biggest change was having to put all my old deer hunting gear in a storage tote in the garage and buy "Alaska" gear. It sure is a huge difference going from flat cornfields and hardwoods to these beautiful mountains. While I dont have nearly as much experience as some of you guys, one big change I have seen over the years in the hunting industry is the advertising on different hunting shows on outdoor networks. I used to get really excited waiting for the new seasons of monster bucks or mossy oak hunting etc. Now I almost refuse to watch them because even while they are hunting they are pulling out gear and trying to sell products. Realtree even has their own line of hunting food now! Same beef patties or water bottles that are in stores but sold for more because they have camo packaging! Pretty rediculous if you ask me.

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    Since I can remember, as a child with my grandpa,who had the time, later with my mom more than my dad,(workaholic) and almost any day possible with my step dad,that hunting fool, then on my own since I moved out at 16.
    Been at it stedy as either my fulltime "work" or when I catch a seasonal job(mostly mining, 90 day season) then as a major supplemnet, but its been 9 years since I worked a summer in a mine.
    Im 39.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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  10. #10
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    Default only change when needed

    I started hunting in Michigan when I was 11, so that would be 26 yrs. Archery whitetail, rabbits, pheasants, doves, squirrels. I have hunted in Michigan, North Carolina, Washington state, and now Alaska. The only changes have been those needed to hunt in the respective areas and for available game. I have purchased gear for needs not wants.

  11. #11
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    Default De-evolution

    I've been hunting in one capacity or another since I started shooting chipmunks when they popped their heads out of their holes when I got my first El Gamo pellet rifle for my sixth birthday. So I guess that means (as of tomorrow) I will have been hunting for 22 years. Holy @#$!!! I never quantified that number. It seems like everytime I got out I am starting all over again... Have I stopped changing? Hmm...No. But I think I have changed in the opposite direction for the majority of my endeavours. Instead of following the trends in things like clothing (Prima-loft, Gore Tex etc) I have continued to change but backwards. I bought a complete outer wool set this year and a down jacket. They worked for my dad, his dad and my great grandpa (who I had the priviledge of knowing until I was eight). The best coverup scent is simple: be in the woods long enough and you will smell like the woods. So yeah, I suppose I continue to change, I think we all do, perhaps only subtly be we all do. Just another Michiganders ramblings....

  12. #12
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    I was raised by my mother in a single parent home. We lived in southern Florida and most of my family were poor and made their living by commercial fishing. As a young child I found myself mostly unsupervised roaming the cane fields and canals that surrounded my home. I had no father or mentor to get me into hunting, however I always seemed to have had the desire to pursue game. Started by chasing swamp rabbits, cottontails with slingshots. After a summer of mowing yards in the Florida heat, I finally had the money to buy an old Ted Williams sears shotgun. With my new scattergun I added dove, quail and other small game to our table fare.

    At 19 I joined the Army and found myself stationed at Fort Polk. While there I met Rich, we became friends. Rich was an accomplished deer hunter and was kind enough to share his craft with me. Rich was a bowhunter, so I learned to hunt whitetails using only my bow. For the next 18 years I chased whitetails all over the southern states. During the early years I struggled with being successful, having many failures that almost made me want to quit. As I matured as both a man and bowhunter, I started to hone my skills and started seeing and taking deer each season. I progressed as most hunters do, started by taking any legal deer to being obsessed by limiting out and then to the trophy hunter phase. I learned that most times you have to let a few pass to have opportunity at a mature animal.

    At 45yo now Iíve been hunting for 30+ years now and still at it. I find that these days that I hunt for different reasons. I cherish just being out in the great outdoors, I love to be up at daylight and witness the start of the day, full of anticipation of what the day will bring. As I get more seasons behind me than I have ahead, I find that Iím not as quick to pull the trigger as I once was. I still enjoy both the hunt and the kill, I have just became more selective and no longer define a successful hunt as one in which I harvest game. I have come to find great joy in helping others discover hunting and the outdoors, to me my finest hunting memories are the hunts and first kills that I have shared with my wife. I can remember how proud I was of my first deer, a small doe that maybe weighed 45lbs. That is how Iíve changed, I now hunt harder for others than I do for myself. Iím happy to just be in the field and share a campfire with like minded folks. As long as I bring home most of my gear and make it home safe I had a successful hunt.

    Steve
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  13. #13
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Default Good thread, Phil. Interesting to think about.

    Letís see Ė Iím 26 now, so I started hunting around 20 years ago Ė chasing ground squirrels and the occasional rabbit with my bow or trusty Red Rider BB gun. Stepped up to a 22 and 20 gauge around 8 or 9 yrs old. Started hunting big game as soon as theyíd let me (14 at the time).

    As far as change Ė typically Iím the type of guy who sticks with something if it works when it comes to gear. Been shooting the same rifle (model 700 30/06) and shotguns (model 870s in 12 & 20) that I started with a decade plus ago. Had to upsize my bow a couple of times as Iíve got bigger, but thatís been constant now for about 7 years, although I will probably go to a lighter bow one of these days, especially if I draw a sheep tag. Mostly I just added to gear over the years as necessary (spotting scope, GPS, duck decoys, waders, daypack, new boots, etc), got the best quality I could afford, and just made due from then on out.

    What I consider ďsuccessĒ has definitely changed. Growing up I killed anything and everything I could Ė and although I ate pretty much everything (my poor parents cooked so many pine squirrels) Ė Iím glad to say that Iíve moved beyond that. I went through the need to fill every tag, and now feel Iím in a good place where I can be happy if I get a trophy animal, happy if I put meat in the freezer, and happy if I come home empty handed. As Steve said above, just getting home in one piece from an outing is a success in my book.

    The biggest changes have been ďforcedĒ upon me since moving to Alaska. Change in clothes to synthetics from cotton. (The wool and Carhartts got to stay.) Never been impressed with scentlok Ė just hunt smart and stay down wind. Donít cook bacon in my hunting duds. Some of the new stuff is nice, and as I have to upgrade/add to my gear, itís nice to have options. Goretex has had its uses. I finally tossed out the old K-mart pack frame (it hauled a lot of meat in its day) and got something with the capacity for a multiday backpack hunt. That said, I think a lot of it has gotten way out of hand, especially the ďnewĒ gear thatís just there to make a buck. I canít hardly stand hunting shows and magazines anymore Ė just too commercial.

    The logistics of hunting and the access issues have been the biggest changes Iíve had to come to terms with. I came from a situation where I had it better than maybe I ever understood as far as easy opportunity. Every year Iíd hunt elk, mule deer, pronghorn, predators, ducks, geese, pheasants, quail, grouse, turkeys, rabbits Ė and Iíd hunt them all within an hour or two driving time from my house. AK has been an eye opener and a bit overwhelming to say the least. But Iím adjusting.

    This is the oldest hunting picture of myself I could round up. Iím happy to say that my ďgearĒ has changed a bit since then, although the moonboots were pretty sweet.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  14. #14
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default End

    Well, it looks like we are about to the end of this thread.

    The large majority of the respondents are in their 30s. Very few of us "old geezers" (actually 2 of us).

    No one has stopped changing and yet I see some regression toward the "old ways" of doing things.

    It has been intereting for me to read all of the responses - THANKS.

    Phil

    ps. To WYO - Is that picture someplace near Centennial??

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Ive been stompin around the woods since I was a kid but the first opportunity for big game didn't come til I was 20, took a 58" bull out on the Koyukuk with my dad. More weekend whittier trips than anythin else. I like the new tech these days. Alows me to be somewhat in shape and carry less weight with the same results.

    I'm almost 30, and between then and now I became a dad, been away from woods and water but it's pickin up. Got a permit this year and have high hopes.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member icb12's Avatar
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    Well someone from the millenium children need to speak up.
    Im only 21. Long as I can remember I've been hunting, though high school sports killed it for 4 years. Mom has a picture of me buck naked except for my old mans xtra tufs and tin hat, holding a plastic play knife I heisted from the neighbors daughter, standing over the other neighbors black lab. Apparently I was "skinning the 'bar mom".

    I haven't stopped changing. Mostly Im just too broke to change though

  17. #17
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icb12 View Post
    I haven't stopped changing. Mostly Im just too broke to change though
    Thats part of the no-hunt era. It's not cheap to enjoy a good hunt these days. Im just now getting to the point where I can buy high $$ gear without the guilt lol
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  18. #18

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    Been Hunting 43 years Sparrows to Elk

    Haven't really stopped changing but reverted back to some old habits. Back to shooting a long bow and recurve, got rid of the benelli and went back to the 870. Just kind of cirlced back to what i started with.

    What I have stopped as mentioned above. Hunting and the Marketing of Hunting makes it difficult to really make choices because there are some many. So going with what got me here, keep it simple, keep your nose into the wind and Hunt HARD!

    Good Thread, been a long Winter.

  19. #19
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    Default A winter question

    Iím 61, if you count black birds and BB guns, Iíve been hunting since about 1956, that makes it about 53 years. I got my first rifle, a single shot 22 from Sears, when I was 13 and I used it for squirrels and rabbits. I got my first shotgun, a single shot 12 gauge Winchester M37, when I was 14, that got me started on pheasants, ducks and geese. I went off to college in 1966 and then marriage and work and only hunted sporadically until about 1998 when a former hunting/fishing/trapping buddy from high school (and my best friend) who had moved to Anchorage in the mid-70ís, called to say he was going pheasant hunting in S. Dakota and would I like to join him. I went and Iíve been hunting steadily ever since then, almost exclusively upland game pheasants, quail, grouse and doves. I even bought a hunting dog, a golden retriever flushing dog. Iíve tried duck and geese hunting, but canít stand sitting all day in a blind (plus I donít like how they taste). If I ever move to Alaska (thatís a long ongoing story with a lousy ending that has yet to play out) Iíll most certainly be hunting moose and other large game, more for food then anything else.
    I prefer to shoot light weight SXSís, both suppository and muzzle loading.
    FWIW I wear whatever clothing is appropriate to the weather conditions, I never found the need for the hi-tech wear and camo that some guys seem to thrive on.
    Steve

  20. #20
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    Default Hunting history

    I was raised a suburbia kid on the east coast by non-hunting parents. I always wanted a gun but they never relented. Once I moved west the desire to hunt increased so I started hunting when I was 26 (22 years ago). I went with a friend and his dad chasing mule deer in northern Colorado. No luck but the next year I shot a raghorn bull elk and Iíve been hooked since.
    Iím not a great hunter but any excuse to get outside gets me fired up. I started bow hunting 3 years ago and almost got my first bull moose this fall with my 4 y.o boy sitting nearby, but it didnít quite work out. Next year!
    Both my (now) 5 y. o. boy and his 3 y. o. sister want to hunt so I take them out when I can. Their Mom and I do all we can to get them outdoors and hope hunting will be a good part of that.
    As far as changing, I still shoot the same Remington Model 78 .270 I bought in 1986, and just upgraded the scope about 5 years ago. I bought a new compound bow 3 summers ago and much prefer bow hunting over rifle hunting. I still hope to get a muzzleloader in the next year or so. I like the look and limits of the traditional muzzleloaders but the safety of the in-lines. Who knows what Iíll end up with.
    Iím hooked on fleece, synthetic underwear, and other modern clothing materials.
    I am usually disgusted at all the hunting TV shows and videos that go from one slob hunt to the next with all the raucous celebrating in between, and the advertisements. I see most of these as displays of shooting an animal and feeding egos, not hunting, and am seriously turned off. It seems like it requires no personal skill to get out there anymore, if you choose that route. I donít own a snow machine or an ATV and feel that once I leave the maintained road, I can do the rest under my own power.

    Blair

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