8 Things Hunters Want Non-Hunters to Know

(Image: © Russ Chastain)

(Image: © Russ Chastain)

Hunters are an interesting bunch… and we are often misunderstood. Many’s the awkward moment between hunters and non-hunters, but hopefully this will lead to a better understanding of hunters.

Hunters are pretty much just like you.

Just about anyone can become a hunter. As nice as it is to believe we hunters are “a breed apart” or whatever, hunting is in fact one of the most inclusive activities, period. Women, men, teens, and younger kids can all enjoy hunting — and often do.

Hunters are regular folks who enjoy nature, love spending time outdoors, and appreciate knowing where our food comes from. That’s not so weird.

Hunters are animal lovers.

To many, this may seem impossible because hunters kill animals, but it’s true. We love critters!

Many (if not most) hunters have pets which they love. Some also raise livestock for which they care and protect. And we have a deep love for wildlife and wild animals.


Where will you find another group that pays extra taxes on their gear and supplies, simply to protect and manage wildlife and provide things like hunter education and public shooting ranges? This is done through the Pittman-Robertson Act and its whopping 11% excise tax on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, etc.

The large amounts of money generated by these taxes have allowed many previously-threatened wildlife species to recover and even thrive. And hunters are happy to do it, because we love wildlife.

Hunters are not cold-blooded killers.

We do not hunt to kill; we kill in order to have hunted. This is paraphrased from Jose Ortega y Gasset’s “Meditations on Hunting,” and it’s generally true. Here’s a more complete version, according to Classic Quotes:

One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted…If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job.

Yes, we kill. But that’s not the only reason we hunt, and most hunting days don’t include a kill. The experience of being outdoors and spending time observing nature is the main thing.

The kill is an essential part of the hunt.

Without a kill, it’s not hunting. So even though most “sport” hunters (meaning those who could feed themselves and their families from a grocery store) are content to spend most hunting days without firing a shot, if you’re not hunting to kill then you’re simply not hunting.

Spending time in the woods to take photographs of wildlife is an excellent pastime and I’ve done it myself (see the photo above), but it’s just not the same as hunting.

We don’t look down on non-hunters and we know hunting isn’t for everyone.

While hunting is accessible to people of all ages, we realize that not everyone should be a hunter. That’s okay with us; most hunters want to be left alone to do our thing, and they won’t interfere with you doing your thing.

We don’t force anyone to hunt, and nobody should attempt to force us to stop hunting.

We love introducing others to hunting.

While we’re good with folks who don’t hunt, hunters love to share the peace and joy of hunting with other people. It’s pretty wonderful, and it would be selfish to keep it all to ourselves. So if you know any hunters and you’d like to try hunting, ask them about it. Chances are, they’ll be willing and able to help you out.

If you try hunting and don’t enjoy it, that’s okay.

We’re not going to berate anyone just because he or she isn’t a hunter — especially if that person has given it an honest try. And it definitely gives both parties a better understanding of one another.

We really like eating organic wild meat.

Wild game is as organic as it gets. It eats natural food and pretty much roams according to its whim… and it has a much better chance to live a natural life and die of old age than any farm-raised livestock.

Wild game hasn’t been fed weird stuff or injected with hormones, and when you kill and butcher your own game, you know exactly what has happened to that meat from the time of the kill until it lands on your plate. And there sure isn’t anything wrong with that.

Anything else?

Hunters, what did I forget or leave out? Please comment below. In these divisive days, let us find common ground and mutual respect for one another.

Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started… [Learn More]


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