Some people fish. Some people hunt. Many people fish and hunt. And you know what? There’s big differences when we talk about one or the other depending whether you’re hunting or fishing.
My first experience hunting was when I about 8 years old. Dad had bought me a J. C. Higgins (Sears Roebuck & Co.) single shot break breach shotgun with a bead sight. After the requisite safety training and some practice in a field far from our farmhouse Dad thought I was ready. So he called Uncle Lloyd.
Uncle Lloyd was my Dad’s oldest brother and had a reputation as not only an outdoorsman, but a proficient hunter who always put meat on the table. Squirrel season had just come in and Uncle Lloyd had agreed to take me and his grandson (my cousin) Kenny squirrel hunting.
Dad rousted me out of bed at about 3 AM and we loaded our guns and other “hunting stuff” into the car for the 40 mile drive to my uncle’s house. My breakfast was a bottle of Coke and some cookies Dad and I requisitioned from Mom’s cookie jar.
As we pulled up to Uncle Lloyd’s he met us in the drive with my cousin Kenny. “Load your stuff in my truck bed. You boys can sit back in the bed”, Uncle Lloyd explained. Obviously this was before that practice was deemed “unsafe”.
Dad loaded the gear into the bed, Kenny and I climbed back there as well. Just as Dad was about to get in the cab of the old pickup Uncle Lloyd let out a “Whoa”.
“Tommy, is that a shotgun?”, he asked.
“Yes sir”, I answered immediately. “Dad bought it for me last month.”
“Well son, that just won’t do”, he informed all concerned.
Now Uncle Lloyd was a hunter as much out of necessity as sport. He and Aunt Edna depended on what he brought back for food. He quickly explained to me that there was nothing worse than taking a bite of fried squirrel served with milk gravy and biscuits only to have to spit out some buckshot. Nope, that just wasn’t the plan.
Uncle Lloyd went back into the house and carried out an old 22 short rifle along with the three other 22’s that would be used by Dad, Kenny, and himself.
“You shoot squirrels with a 22 short. That way there’s no buckshot and if you miss you don’t spook every squirrel for miles around,” he exclaimed with the confidence of an experienced (and to me belligerent) hunter.
Dad smiled sheepishly and nodded in agreement, perhaps somewhat embarrassed that he had forgotten one of Uncle Lloyd’s absolute rules of squirrel hunting.
We got to the woods and I was positioned on a tree stump with instructions to “keep my eyes peeled” for movement and only take a shot when I was sure I could get a kill. Safe to say my introduction to squirrel hunting was less than what I had expected. So was my success. Thankfully my older cousin, Dad, and Uncle Lloyd were more successful and by noon there was a fine mess of country fried squirrel, homemade biscuits, milk gravy, and all the fixins on Aunt Edna’s table.
It was probably during that summer that I realized that hunters’ lingo was far different from that of fishermen. I had been fishing since I could walk, so this was somewhat of an epiphany. Here’s what I learned…
Fishermen can fish all day and if they don’t catch a mess of fish they talk about trying all sorts of lures and methods. “Why I threw spinnerbaits, top water, crankbaits, buss baits, you name it and they just wouldn’t hit anything.”
Hunters just don’t do that. They talk about game being “out of range” or “picking the wrong spot” or “something spooked the damn squirrels (or deer or rabbits or quail or…) if they talk at all. Failure is not something to be bragged about or, for that matter, acknowledged only grudgingly.
I take a lot of pride in catch and release. That’s basically impossible when hunting!
I seldom hear fishermen explain lack of success because their gear messed up. Hunters, not so much so. “Damn gun jammed” or “had a bad round” or “that arrow must have been slightly crooked” are far more common.
Fishermen can fish all day and be content with small fish that really aren’t worth keeping. Most hunters I know want trophies. Big bucks or fat rabbits or a decent covey of quail all count as respectable. Does or smaller rabbits or squirrels just aren’t on their radar.
I know a lot more hunters who come home empty handed than I do fishermen. And fishermen are far better liars! The one that broke off or threw a lure are usually trophy class and worth a story that always includes at least some exaggeration. Just don’t see much of that from hunters, especially if they do in fact get a kill.
In my opinion hunters have a far better time in deer (bear, elk, moose, etc.) camp. Yes, fishermen enjoy the fishing lodge or camp, but admittedly it’s a slightly different dynamic. And far different hours of activity vs. downtime.
I like both. They’re fun, but they are different. The stories are different. The “quest” similar, but different as well. And the tools – you can go fishing for under $100. With today’s complex bows and super technical arrows and gear it’s a far more expensive pursuit. But both are tons of fun and both remarkable satisfying. Whether you hunt, fish, or do both we’re all lucky to live in this great country where we can still pursue both great sports with freedom and safety that is, in my opinion, unmatched anywhere else in the world.
Most of you know by now that ALFC has expanded into hunting gear. We did indeed listen to you and are systematically adding some great hunting gear to our product offerings. Over the next few weeks you will continue to see this expansion manifested on our web site. The same great service and dedication to our customer’s needs will never change, but now with this expansion we plan to have you covered year round, whether you fish, hunt, or do both!
This issue we have to tell you about the perfect fly fishing combo, the used rod and reel blowout (updated), and many other fantastic products that we have available.
Thank you for your wonderful friendship and support. All of us here at American Legacy Fishing truly appreciate your continued loyalty. We are so fortunate to have so many friends who share our joy and obsession for two of the world’s greatest sports. Thank you once again for all you do!
Leave a Reply