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Okay, I've recently watched a few documentaries on wolves. I've watched them harass, chase, and take down elk. I have nothing against wolves in general and I know nature is a rough, tough, unsympathetic place. But watching the wolves attack the elk gave me a sick feeling. I felt sympathetic toward the elk and found myself wanting to see the elk escape. Maybe it was the fact that it was usually 4 or 5 wolves to 1 elk, I don't know, it just bothered me.

I've also noticed that when I watch a video of a human hunter take down an elk with a rifle or a bow, I get a sick feeling too, but not as bad as I do when I watch wolves kill. With a human killing I get the feeling it is more for sport, pride, and ego. I often find myself wondering if the hunter needs the meat, and that it is a waste of such a majestic animal.

So, if both the wolves and the humans need the meat, killing is okay. I still find myself feeling somewhat sympathetic to the elk. This comes from a person who in their younger years loved to kill. I used to kill tons of Jackrabbits, and fish. I used to trap for fur. I've stopped hunting and trapping for the most part. I practice mostly catch and release when I fish. I love to call coyotes, but don't necessarily care if I shoot one and haven't been out for a few years. I love being out where the hunting takes place. I love to hike and spend time outdoors, I just don't feel like I have to hunt.

Anyway, that is a long lead into the two question I have. Most hunters like to kill. Most hunters don't like the fact that wolves kill. Question one: Do most hunters not like wolves killing because they feel like the wolves are killing something they want to kill? Question two: Are there any other hunters who used to love to kill deciding that it's not all it's cracked up to be, and going through a similar transformation like mine?
 

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I find that the older I get the more it's about the experience and less about what I "kill" or harvest. Harvesting wild game is an important part of wildlife management. If you've ever seen the effects of starvation and die offs of wild game I think you would agree that harvesting game is part of conservation. That being said, I absolutely detest these "hunting" shows on TV where the guys and gals go whooping it up, high fiving and generally acting like 12 years olds playing a video game when they harvest an animal. I've never acted that way and was always taught respect and appreciation to the game I just harvested. Grandpa would have knocked my block off if I had acted like many of those clowns on TV. It just makes me sick to my gut anytime I wound an animal. I've been known to strip down to my boxers and walk out into absolutely freezing water chest deep to recover a downed duck.
 

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this day in age, no hunter "needs" the meat. Hunting is so expensive you'd be better off going to costco for food if you were in true need. I hope most hunters enjoy the meat and if they're like me, I hate a year where I don't have venison in the freezer. Hunting is a conservation tool, a tradition and boy do I love it! But there are definitely times I feel bad about certain hunting shows on tv and what not. I hate seeing trapping shows. It absolutely drives me nuts thinking about an animal suffering in a trap. I love hunting and a quick clean kill and thank the animal for some great meat. But most of all, hunters can truly appreciate what it takes for that meat to reach the table, the sacrifice and work to get it there. I'd rather have the blood on my hands so to speak, than not know what it takes and just always expect it done for me like other city slickers.
 

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I was taught at a young age that taking a life is huge responsibility, and hunting is something we do for food, enjoyment of the Earth's splendor, and camaraderie. Whether I hunt or not, an animal is going to have to die so I can eat meat. I would rather be a part of the process. With that said, the older I get the more I have to curtail the urge to kill for the different reasons. I think it's a combination of the current hunting culture with the natural progression of a hunter to try to "one up" himself. This is easily confused with the urge to "one up" other hunters. Soon it becomes a trophy competition and can change the focus. I'm not saying it's wrong, but I personally don't like the way it makes me feel when I get caught up in it. I do get a feeling of fulfillment, relief, and accomplishment, especially when I kill a "trophy", but I always have to remind myself to do it in a spirit of gratitude and not "ego-tude" or cruelty. I personally believe that cruelty in any form is offensive to God.

We all hunt for different reasons, and we all have to find our own justification for what we do and how we do it. If you can justify it and sleep at night, then that is how you should hunt. However, for me personally, if hunting ever starts to border on cruelty, I'm going to need to rethink things.
 

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this day in age, no hunter "needs" the meat. Hunting is so expensive you'd be better off going to costco for food if you were in true need.
Not even remotely close for me. Some years I spend as little as $5 (gas) to fill my deer tag (beyond license costs).

People that say store's are cheaper are comparing burger prices to deer steaks. A more apt comparison would be steaks to steaks. Price that out sometime.

-DallanC
 

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This kind of sums it up for me.

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. Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting
Spanish philosopher & politician (1883 - 1955)


However, I don't hunt rabbits or coyotes, I eat what I hunt unless it is a predator messing with my livestock or family, but then I kill it I don't hunt it.
 

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Great subject HighNDry. You are not alone at all. I find myself in the exact same boat, and heading on the same path as you. I enjoy hunting for sure - but never have enjoyed the killing part. So like you, my hunting has transitioned. I doubt I'll even buy a tag this year. Instead, I'll go fly fishing. I get to be out during the best time of year in the outdoors and yet not kill things for amusement. My next hunting purchase is going to be a high quality DSLR camera.

Not to overthink the whole wolf thing here - but I would suggest that there are a couple of reasons hunters generally don't like wolves. First, wolves take elk that hunters could take, so they see it as stealing from what they like to do. But second, and this could be a deeper thought - is that there is a VERY fine line between wolves and people as predators. They hunt in groups. They take every advantage they can, they kill for food, and they kill for fun. The only differences is the wolves don't stuff the heads of their kill, nor do they show any restraint. That last one is a big thing though. Human hunters can and do show restraint. But when we face wolves as fellow predators, we also see aspects of ourselves that perhaps we are not prepared, or willing to come to grips with. And that is a harsh realization.
 

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Not even remotely close for me. Some years I spend as little as $5 (gas) to fill my deer tag (beyond license costs).

People that say store's are cheaper are comparing burger prices to deer steaks. A more apt comparison would be steaks to steaks. Price that out sometime.

-DallanC
so five bucks total huh? what year are you in? click on the youtube link haha
 

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So many shows on tv where hunters talk about needing the meat to provide for their family. Meanwhile the hunter is dressed in sitka gear, a pair of danners, brand new bow, range finder, and is hunting while being guided out of state. It cracks me up. I just admit I don't "need" the meat like 99.9 percent of hunters these days. I love hunting, it's a conservation tool and a way to get your own meat and have a better appreciation for it. My friends have no clue what goes into that meat reaching the supermarket or that something died for them to enjoy their barbecues. etc.
 

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..........................................

Anyway, that is a long lead into the two question I have. Most hunters like to kill. Most hunters don't like the fact that wolves kill.

Question one: Do most hunters not like wolves killing because they feel like the wolves are killing something they want to kill? No...uh...wait a minute, my answer might be a double negative.

Question two: Are there any other hunters who used to love to kill deciding that it's not all it's cracked up to be, and going through a similar transformation like mine? Yes

answers in red


.
 
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For me, hunting is primarily about the experience/challenge. Before we had kids that are too young to go with us right now, hunting with my wife was an extremely rewarding experience, and it's one that I really miss. I can barely wait till my young family is out there with me again! hunting with my Dad, Brother, and his boys is still one of the best hunting experiences I've ever had. Steve Rinella explained quality of fun in an interesting way. Something to the effect that there's fun that's fun in the moment but it doesn't require any kind of sacrifice to obtain. That's low quality fun, and it can be forgotten easily. Then there's fun that comes with some sacrifice, sometimes great sacrifice. These are the things that you might be miserable while you're doing them but you'll remember them forever, the things you talk about at camp fires, and the stories people really want to hear when they ask you about hunting. That's hunting for me. Even hunts in the sleet or snow, hunts where we didn't see many animals let alone fill tags, waking up hours before sunrise to be where we wanted as first light made it's appearance; those are experiences that can't be bought with money and don't require killing to enjoy.

But, I'd be lying if I said that the meat doesn't play a large role in why I still hunt. Not that I can't afford "store meat" but I prefer game meat to any domestic animal. I can honestly say I don't like the killing part. Didn't want to pull the trigger several times on some cottontails this last year, but the thought of eating them won me over.

Not even remotely close for me. Some years I spend as little as $5 (gas) to fill my deer tag (beyond license costs).

People that say store's are cheaper are comparing burger prices to deer steaks. A more apt comparison would be steaks to steaks. Price that out sometime.

-DallanC
Don't know about Utah, but down here tubed burger from walmart cost over $4/lb right now. Good steak of similar quality to what you'll get hunting is going to cost over $10/lb. Might not be financially beneficial to some, but it is for me. Then again I hunt the cheap (general) hunts and don't hunt out of state.

Edit: Oh, and I wear cheap clothes (blue jeans or other work pants, $30 base layers, work coats, etc.) when I hunt, reload my own ammo, and process my own game. I also don't count anything that I would do even if I wasn't hunting as a hunting expense. I used to keep track of what it cost per pound to hunt and it usually came out in my favor sometimes not. But again the reason I hunt is not for economy of meat.
 

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so five bucks total huh? what year are you in? click on the youtube link haha
2012, shot a buck opening morning just over 2 miles from my house. Was muzzleloader season, 1 shot burned a whopping 90grns of pyrodex from a bottle I was given 10 years ago. Slug was .18cents if you divide out the $10. And about a gallon of gas. Cut it up myself with my wife. So yea, as low as $5 some years excluding license cost.

Elk tags I get for free so there isn't even a tag cost there. Excluding elk butcher fees (I refuse to cut up my own elk... too big, too much work), Its a rare year we ever spend more than $100 filling 3 deer tags and a elk between me, wife and the boy. The deer we get nearly in the backyard, elk are less than an hour drive.

Some of us can do it on the cheap /shrug.

-DallanC
 

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There have been some interesting statements posted on this thread. I hunt not to kill, but to be in the outdoors and take my part in the natural way of things. To spend time with my family and friends. To appreciate and cherish life in all forms. The kill has little do with the sport, past time or heritage. I enjoy the kill the least of all. I enjoy the pursuit as an evolved and intelligent predator, selected by tens of thousands of years of evolution. We are a hunting and predatory species. We have to kill to survive, whether by our own hands or someone hired to do it for us. I have not bought ANY red meat in my entire life. I have NEVER bought any fish. I enjoy knowing where my food comes from and who processed it (ME). I eat everything that I kill. I prefer it to any beef steak or farm raised fish out there.

As far as wolves are concerned, they are a super predator. I am fine with wolves in areas that ore off limits to natures other super predator (US). Where hunters are allowed to hunt, there can only be ONE super predator. Game can be very effectively managed in those areas by selective harvest. Because sportsmen dollars pay for the management of wildlife, and specifically hunt able game, there is a conflict. Wolves are being allowed to kill the game hunters pay to manage, and hope to harvest. Don't forget that hunters also fund in large potion the management of wolves, whether they like it or not.

Anti hunters say we are not humane or ethical. Obviously they have never watched a wolf or coyote eat a deer or an elk from the back side, inside out while the animal is still alive. That is the most painful thing to watch in the natural world. Humans are the MOST ethical predator that has ever lived.

I dislike wolves for the fact that for every elk or deer they kill, it is one less I MIGHT have the opportunity to pursue, of which my sportsmen dollars help manage.
 

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I think all hunters go through different stages in life when it comes to hunting. They don't always follow these stages and may even skip stages. Their own hunting backgrounds or experiences shape their own hunting views.

The new hunter could care less what they shoot. If they get a big one it's icing.

The next stage seems to have something to prove often hiking miles to take a big buck.

Then comes the money group. Cant hike like a young buck but still likes to get a big ones. This group has more money and will hunt out of state or in state and prefers to restrict others so he can fulfill his selfish desires.

Last stage is been their done that. Likes having a tag in hand but knows the only way to ruin a good hunt is to put something down. They may still shoot something if it's close to easy access but usually it's not a about them. They often enjoy seeing or teaching others to succeed in doing what they enjoy.

What ever stage of hunting I'm in I've always taken pride in the care of the meat. I may not eat all the various guts like Goob but we will eat just about everything else.
 

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"need" is subjective. I won't starve if I eat tag soup, but I will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars if I take an elk.
The correct comparison I believe is price out a full beef some time and then compare that to the cost of a full elk. (especially if you do the butchering).

This last fall we ate game birds at the very least of once a week, its healthier and cost me the price of gas.
 

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Okay, I've recently watched a few documentaries on wolves. I've watched them harass, chase, and take down elk. I have nothing against wolves in general and I know nature is a rough, tough, unsympathetic place. But watching the wolves attack the elk gave me a sick feeling. I felt sympathetic toward the elk and found myself wanting to see the elk escape. Maybe it was the fact that it was usually 4 or 5 wolves to 1 elk, I don't know, it just bothered me.

I've also noticed that when I watch a video of a human hunter take down an elk with a rifle or a bow, I get a sick feeling too, but not as bad as I do when I watch wolves kill. With a human killing I get the feeling it is more for sport, pride, and ego. I often find myself wondering if the hunter needs the meat, and that it is a waste of such a majestic animal.

So, if both the wolves and the humans need the meat, killing is okay. I still find myself feeling somewhat sympathetic to the elk. This comes from a person who in their younger years loved to kill. I used to kill tons of Jackrabbits, and fish. I used to trap for fur. I've stopped hunting and trapping for the most part. I practice mostly catch and release when I fish. I love to call coyotes, but don't necessarily care if I shoot one and haven't been out for a few years. I love being out where the hunting takes place. I love to hike and spend time outdoors, I just don't feel like I have to hunt.

Anyway, that is a long lead into the two question I have. Most hunters like to kill. Most hunters don't like the fact that wolves kill. Question one: Do most hunters not like wolves killing because they feel like the wolves are killing something they want to kill? Question two: Are there any other hunters who used to love to kill deciding that it's not all it's cracked up to be, and going through a similar transformation like mine?
And how do you feel about fishing, considering your avatar? You don't feel a sense of guilt dragging a poor fish around that has been impaled through the mouth with a sharp hook? Removing it from the water while it suffocates? How is that different than trapping? Hunting?

-DallanC
 

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And how do you feel about fishing, considering your avatar? You don't feel a sense of guilt dragging a poor fish around that has been impaled through the mouth with a sharp hook? Removing it from the water while it suffocates? How is that different than trapping? Hunting?

-DallanC
do fish even feel pain from a neuro-physiological standpoint? I thought they didn't and it's completely different from what we consider pain when talking human and animals.
 

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2012, shot a buck opening morning just over 2 miles from my house. Was muzzleloader season, 1 shot burned a whopping 90grns of pyrodex from a bottle I was given 10 years ago. Slug was .18cents if you divide out the $10. And about a gallon of gas. Cut it up myself with my wife. So yea, as low as $5 some years excluding license cost.

Elk tags I get for free so there isn't even a tag cost there. Excluding elk butcher fees (I refuse to cut up my own elk... too big, too much work), Its a rare year we ever spend more than $100 filling 3 deer tags and a elk between me, wife and the boy. The deer we get nearly in the backyard, elk are less than an hour drive.

Some of us can do it on the cheap /shrug.

-DallanC
well I am jealous of where you live. But for 99 percent of people it is cheaper if they are in dire need for food to get it from a store. I am talking food to sustain themselves, not a beef vs vension. Grains/cereals etc...
 

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Hell back when I drank I would cut up an elk for a case of beer:mrgreen:
 
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Lots of thoughts here, but I'll try and keep it simple. But it probably won't be. That's why this is a good topic!

First, nobody "needs" the meat. There are other options for the meat, and you can actually survive without any meat at all. So anyone saying they "need" the meat is not 100% true no matter who says it, at least in the world we in Utah live today. I like the meat. My family is genuinely disappointed I did not kill an elk this year to fill the freezer. I'm down to my last few steaks and packages of burger. It has been nice not buying beef of the last 18 months. But certainly wasn't a "need."

The killing part does not bother me at all. Watching an elk killed by a hunter doesn't bother me at all. Watching an elk killed by a pack of wolves is a little disturbing, just because it is a slow, painful process. I don't like to see anything suffer. I will say that each animal I have killed, I have felt some measure of sorrow when I approached it. But there is not trepidation in pulling the trigger for me. I respect the animal. I respect life. But I understand very clearly hunting is a blood sport, and I'm okay with it.

I've fly fished for 20 years. It's also a blood sport. Not every fish you release lives, no matter how careful you are. You may not see them die, but some of them still die, nonetheless.

I hunt because I like it. I like almost every single part of it. I have been very excited about kills in the past. I have even been one of those that hooted and hollered and offended some of you so badly. I will say this, I was just as excited when I killed my cow elk with my 6 year old there with me as I was when I killed my 34" buck. Again, I enjoy hunting. The kill is the culmination of a lot of time, energy, preparation, and in some cases sacrifice. Why not enjoy it? If that isn't your cup of tea, certainly don't bash others because they actually enjoy what they are out there doing.

I sit and listen to people say that the kill isn't important, then why even have a tag? You can literally get every single other aspect of the hunt by going out into the woods without a tag. I don't buy it. I think too many people try to put this higher pedestal of hunting out there that it is just all about "the experience" and not the killing. Again, there isn't one single aspect of "the experience" that you can't get by simply just going out into the hills without a firearm, bow, tag, etc. That doesn't mean that it is ALL about the kill. And I've had hunts where I didn't fill the tag that I consider a success still. But I can't say I've ever had a tag that went unfilled where I didn't feel some measure of disappointment. Otherwise, like I said...why not just go out and chase them with a camera instead of a tag and a gun? In fact, I plan to do that very thing this year if I don't end up with an elk tag. I will greatly enjoy it, but it won't be hunting. Part of hunting is killing. It's not all about killing, or it would be called killing instead of hunting. But it is part of it, and an important part of it.

Now back to the wolves...I don't mind wolves. I wouldn't even mind them getting a hold in Utah to some extent if the circumstances were right. I don't mind when wolves kill elk. I don't really want to watch it happen, as I said before, it's a little disturbing. What I do mind, nay...despise, is unmitigated wolves. I despise some hippie that has never stepped foot out of California in their life telling Montana that they have to have wolves and there is nothing they can do about it. I don't like saying they are endangered, when they are not. I don't like or appreciate some factions saying we can't hunt them to keep them in check, but we just have to let nature take its course. That is stupid, and irresponsible in my opinion. If we're going to have wolves, manage them the way we do everything else. If we can't manage them, and have to just let them run rampant and wild with no control, then I don't want them.
 
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