5 Stages Of A Hunter

TROPHY DESTINATIONS

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South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe
1. Shooter Stage
Hunters at this stage simply want to do a lot of shooting, be it doves, ducks, squirrels, rabbits or even deer (in which case shooting opportunities are acceptable too). They want to test their shooting abilities, as well as that of their rifle or shotgun. These hunters are beginners and are often young as well.


2. Limiting-Out Stage
Eventually, simply burning through a lot of ammunition is no longer sufficient. Hunters at this stage still gain a lot of satisfaction from shooting, but now the number of birds or animals bagged becomes important too, and limiting-out, or filling a tag, is the gold standard.


3. Trophy Stage
Eventually the weight of the game bag becomes less important and the emphasis shifts from quantity to quality. Hunters at this stage gain satisfaction from being selective in taking game, such as a duck hunter who shoots only green-heads, a turkey hunter who only shoots long beards, or a deer hunter who takes only mature bucks. These hunters often travel long distances to hunt trophy animals.


4. Method Stage
For this hunter, taking game is still important, but more important is how that game is taken. True satisfaction comes from the method used to take game, with particular emphasis on more challenging methods such as archery or muzzleloading. This hunter will spend a lot of time scouting and using trail cameras, studying their quarry and practicing hunting skills such as calling and, in the case of a deer hunter, may even choose to target one specific animal.


5. Sportsman Stage
After many years in the field, the hunter begins to place the emphasis on the total hunting experience. Being in the outdoors, enjoying the company of friends and family, and seeing nature in all its beauty, now outweigh the need for taking game. These hunters often turn to mentoring other younger hunters for ultimate satisfaction.


None of these stages are bad or wrong, but just my observation of the natural progression and evolution of hunters throughout their lives!


What does the community think? Do you agree or have you witnessed different stages and progressions?
 
Possibly add “Outlaw Stage” for a few persons here in North America?

Disregarding game laws, bag limits, methods of take, etc…
 
1. Shooter Stage
Hunters at this stage simply want to do a lot of shooting, be it doves, ducks, squirrels, rabbits or even deer (in which case shooting opportunities are acceptable too). They want to test their shooting abilities, as well as that of their rifle or shotgun. These hunters are beginners and are often young as well.


2. Limiting-Out Stage
Eventually, simply burning through a lot of ammunition is no longer sufficient. Hunters at this stage still gain a lot of satisfaction from shooting, but now the number of birds or animals bagged becomes important too, and limiting-out, or filling a tag, is the gold standard.


3. Trophy Stage
Eventually the weight of the game bag becomes less important and the emphasis shifts from quantity to quality. Hunters at this stage gain satisfaction from being selective in taking game, such as a duck hunter who shoots only green-heads, a turkey hunter who only shoots long beards, or a deer hunter who takes only mature bucks. These hunters often travel long distances to hunt trophy animals.


4. Method Stage
For this hunter, taking game is still important, but more important is how that game is taken. True satisfaction comes from the method used to take game, with particular emphasis on more challenging methods such as archery or muzzleloading. This hunter will spend a lot of time scouting and using trail cameras, studying their quarry and practicing hunting skills such as calling and, in the case of a deer hunter, may even choose to target one specific animal.


5. Sportsman Stage
After many years in the field, the hunter begins to place the emphasis on the total hunting experience. Being in the outdoors, enjoying the company of friends and family, and seeing nature in all its beauty, now outweigh the need for taking game. These hunters often turn to mentoring other younger hunters for ultimate satisfaction.


None of these stages are bad or wrong, but just my observation of the natural progression and evolution of hunters throughout their lives!


What does the community think? Do you agree or have you witnessed different stages and progressions?
Did you come up with those thesis all on your own? I think it is pure genius and it hits the nail "smack square on the head"!. Note: I'm at 4.5 to 5.0 right now.
 
Did you come up with those thesis all on your own? I think it is pure genius and it hits the nail "smack square on the head"!. Note: I'm at 4.5 to 5.0 right now.
I saw it somewhere and, after spending many many long nights around campfires with friend and clients all over the world, saw that it was very valid. I had this laying around a long time, so I honestly can't remember exactly where I first saw it. I just thought it would be a fun thing to post on here and see peoples comments thoughts!
 
Possibly add “Outlaw Stage” for a few persons here in North America?

Disregarding game laws, bag limits, methods of take, etc…
Not only North America unfortunately. All over the world there are hunters who have no regarding for the laws and bag limits etc.
 
1. Shooter Stage
Hunters at this stage simply want to do a lot of shooting, be it doves, ducks, squirrels, rabbits or even deer (in which case shooting opportunities are acceptable too). They want to test their shooting abilities, as well as that of their rifle or shotgun. These hunters are beginners and are often young as well.


2. Limiting-Out Stage
Eventually, simply burning through a lot of ammunition is no longer sufficient. Hunters at this stage still gain a lot of satisfaction from shooting, but now the number of birds or animals bagged becomes important too, and limiting-out, or filling a tag, is the gold standard.


3. Trophy Stage
Eventually the weight of the game bag becomes less important and the emphasis shifts from quantity to quality. Hunters at this stage gain satisfaction from being selective in taking game, such as a duck hunter who shoots only green-heads, a turkey hunter who only shoots long beards, or a deer hunter who takes only mature bucks. These hunters often travel long distances to hunt trophy animals.


4. Method Stage
For this hunter, taking game is still important, but more important is how that game is taken. True satisfaction comes from the method used to take game, with particular emphasis on more challenging methods such as archery or muzzleloading. This hunter will spend a lot of time scouting and using trail cameras, studying their quarry and practicing hunting skills such as calling and, in the case of a deer hunter, may even choose to target one specific animal.


5. Sportsman Stage
After many years in the field, the hunter begins to place the emphasis on the total hunting experience. Being in the outdoors, enjoying the company of friends and family, and seeing nature in all its beauty, now outweigh the need for taking game. These hunters often turn to mentoring other younger hunters for ultimate satisfaction.


None of these stages are bad or wrong, but just my observation of the natural progression and evolution of hunters throughout their lives!


What does the community think? Do you agree or have you witnessed different stages and progressions?
Trophy, I generally agree with your list of how some Hunters “progress” and have read similar abbreviated versions. I think there is a great deal of truth & accuracy in each of your categories and your definitions are well thought out and clearly articulated.
Having hunted with many people over the last 50 years I can see traits in some Men where these Stages “over lap” vs being contained in a specific one. For many Hunters I know (myself included) - I’m partially in ALL these stages and will remain so: I love to shoot and while shooting a “limit” of doves or ducks is never “required” to have a good hunt — it Never ”detracts” from a good hunt…..I would say my most memorable bird hunts are a mix of “limits” and “lower volume” results. What made so many Hunts “Great” were the Guys I hunted with, the extreme weather, good dog work, boat failures, and sometimes exceptional results,,,, all these factors made “the Adventure” and lasting memories. Guys that say “I don’t care if I shoot a limit” may be truthful (or they just can’t shoot!) but they are Never UNhappy when they do. Regarding Doves - nobody goes to Argentina to shoot a few doves and enjoy the scenery - they want to shoot a few thousand AND enjoy the Scenery, I think it’s ok to want to do both. Big Game - yes you’re spot on, I am very selective in what I will take and happy to pass younger animals and “wait” for a trophy-to-me or go home empty….although I will sometimes take a “meat animal” also carefully selected. I also adjust my standards based on hunting method ie: Bow = modest quality, Firearm = higher standard, on My own Property = best of ‘what’s there’, Guided Paid Hunts = Highest standard “what I can’t get where I live”. I don’t know any Big Game Hunters that ever completely stop looking for a Trophy and think that stage can last forever - does Not mean they don’t enjoy all aspects of the Hunt - they often choose to pass up lesser animals and go home “empty” if they cannot find an animal that meets their qualifications. Mentoring New Hunters? Nothing I’ve ever done exceeds the Joy I had taking my Children hunting and especially seeing each take their first game bird/animal — that’s a Thrill burned into my brain and just recalling it Now makes me SMILE !
 
Trophy, I generally agree with your list of how some Hunters “progress” and have read similar abbreviated versions. I think there is a great deal of truth & accuracy in each of your categories and your definitions are well thought out and clearly articulated.
Having hunted with many people over the last 50 years I can see traits in some Men where these Stages “over lap” vs being contained in a specific one. For many Hunters I know (myself included) - I’m partially in ALL these stages and will remain so: I love to shoot and while shooting a “limit” of doves or ducks is never “required” to have a good hunt — it Never ”detracts” from a good hunt…..I would say my most memorable bird hunts are a mix of “limits” and “lower volume” results. What made so many Hunts “Great” were the Guys I hunted with, the extreme weather, good dog work, boat failures, and sometimes exceptional results,,,, all these factors made “the Adventure” and lasting memories. Guys that say “I don’t care if I shoot a limit” may be truthful (or they just can’t shoot!) but they are Never UNhappy when they do. Regarding Doves - nobody goes to Argentina to shoot a few doves and enjoy the scenery - they want to shoot a few thousand AND enjoy the Scenery, I think it’s ok to want to do both. Big Game - yes you’re spot on, I am very selective in what I will take and happy to pass younger animals and “wait” for a trophy-to-me or go home empty….although I will sometimes take a “meat animal” also carefully selected. I also adjust my standards based on hunting method ie: Bow = modest quality, Firearm = higher standard, on My own Property = best of ‘what’s there’, Guided Paid Hunts = Highest standard “what I can’t get where I live”. I don’t know any Big Game Hunters that ever completely stop looking for a Trophy and think that stage can last forever - does Not mean they don’t enjoy all aspects of the Hunt - they often choose to pass up lesser animals and go home “empty” if they cannot find an animal that meets their qualifications. Mentoring New Hunters? Nothing I’ve ever done exceeds the Joy I had taking my Children hunting and especially seeing each take their first game bird/animal — that’s a Thrill burned into my brain and just recalling it Now makes me SMILE !

Great response! And very valid points! I very much enjoyed reading this post!
 
In no way corresponds to myself.

As a teenager, I liked shooting at targets but never had the desire to shoot animals. I have lived in big cities and there was no hunting tradition in the family. I always liked being in the wild, so at some point hunting was part of it, but I was already around mid-twenties at the time. For this reason, I rarely hunted in my country, but often abroad worldwide. As a shooter above all, I have a preference for nice rifles, especially hunting rifles of Magnum and bigger calibers, and for this reason among other things, I like to hunt big game in Africa with big bore rifles. The trophy always played a role because it was the souvenir of the action and/or the use of a particular rifle, although size and appearance of it did not play the main role. Some of my trophies are neither displayed nor fully assembled. The amount of game shot was and still is not important. Also no mentoring because in my family or circle of friends nobody is interested in hunting.
 
grand veneur: Also no mentoring because in my family or circle of friends nobody is interested in hunting.


That is truly unfortunate, both for you and the possible ones who you could mentor. I guess it is all about choices.
 
I believe personal economics may have something to do with many hunters' mindsets. I think most will start hunting small game, birds, and squirrels as a young person due to economics. A lot of young hunters say they would like to be trophy hunters but cannot afford the high cost of big game hunting. So, we do what we can afford.

As our bank account grows and our children leave home, we progress to bigger game and a different way of hunting. My first trip to Africa I was very anxious to get all my trophies back because I didn't have the means to go again. But that changed and so did my mindset and now on my 5th trip if I don't get my trophies back, I don't really care much.

Often, hunters will say I am a meat hunter, or I only try to shoot representative animals, or I am in it for the experience but if they are honest, they will say I cannot afford to go to Zambia or Tanzania. This is a generalization and will not apply to everyone, but economics drive a lot of our hunting choices. So, I am not critical of those who can afford a full bag in Tanzania or those who hunt only small game locally but it will most likely be driven by their means.

I used to say I would never want to hunt Rhino, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Lions, or Leopards. My economic situation changed and now I am planning some more dangerous game hunts. So, my theory is that these stages are affected by our economic situation.
 
Seems pretty spot on.
 
I don't believe that I've been on the "Limiting-out stage or Trophy stage". I've never shot beyond my own personal limit; I would never shoot more than can be consumed within a year. Trophy stage, well, everything that I've shot is my trophy. My trophies are exactly that, my trophies. I don't measure anything, and I don't input anything into the books. I measure the quality of the hunt, by the memories made during the hunt with friends and family.

My first kudu hunted in South Africa is small (47"), and that's because my PH measured everything for his records. However, it is especial because my wife is the one who spotted this kudu. Not the PH, or the driver, my wife. Oh, and the story of her spotting this kudu is funny too. LOL!!! Great memories.
 
I don't believe that I've been on the "Limiting-out stage or Trophy stage". I've never shot beyond my own personal limit; I would never shoot more than can be consumed within a year. Trophy stage, well, everything that I've shot is my trophy. My trophies are exactly that, my trophies. I don't measure anything, and I don't input anything into the books. I measure the quality of the hunt, by the memories made during the hunt with friends and family.

My first kudu hunted in South Africa is small (47"), and that's because my PH measured everything for his records. However, it is especial because my wife is the one who spotted this kudu. Not the PH, or the driver, my wife. Oh, and the story of her spotting this kudu is funny too. LOL!!! Great memories.
A great attitude to have!
 
I also think our choice of tools (rifles, shotguns, bows) changes with our economic situation which matches well with these stages. If we are honest, most would love to own museum quality double riffles from famous makers and travel to Tanzania on a full bag hunt. I would but I cannot afford to hunt Africa and buy an expensive double rifle. But, if things change, I will buy a double and head to Tanzania! Of course, it would be for the experience.
 
Did you come up with those thesis all on your own? I think it is pure genius and it hits the nail "smack square on the head"!. Note: I'm at 4.5 to 5.0 right now.
There are number of similar elaborates on internet, and with different hunting associations.
I posted similar thing some time ago on this forum, found it on some national hunting web site.
Here is one, I found randomly
 

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  • 6 Stages of a Hunter | BCTMO Conservation Club.pdf
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Agree pretty spot on really. Though some of the stages I think people tend to make "sexy" such as the meat hunting stage and the stage where the equipment used is overly ranked now this is just my own opinion but these stages when pronouced at a such a high level through social media and youtube might take away something form someone just starting beacvsue they feel they need to fit in, when in the end we are all hunters. We might have difrent taste for things but I believe these stages are very accurate just some people seem to use them to paint a diffrent picture.,
 
I believe personal economics may have something to do with many hunters' mindsets. I think most will start hunting small game, birds, and squirrels as a young person due to economics. A lot of young hunters say they would like to be trophy hunters but cannot afford the high cost of big game hunting. So, we do what we can afford.

As our bank account grows and our children leave home, we progress to bigger game and a different way of hunting. My first trip to Africa I was very anxious to get all my trophies back because I didn't have the means to go again. But that changed and so did my mindset and now on my 5th trip if I don't get my trophies back, I don't really care much.

Often, hunters will say I am a meat hunter, or I only try to shoot representative animals, or I am in it for the experience but if they are honest, they will say I cannot afford to go to Zambia or Tanzania. This is a generalization and will not apply to everyone, but economics drive a lot of our hunting choices. So, I am not critical of those who can afford a full bag in Tanzania or those who hunt only small game locally but it will most likely be driven by their means.

I used to say I would never want to hunt Rhino, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Lions, or Leopards. My economic situation changed and now I am planning some more dangerous game hunts. So, my theory is that these stages are affected by our economic situation.
Just Ryan: Agree Africa and many Guided Hunts are a “cost factor” and can be a BIG cost. However, big game Hunting in North America can almost always be a DIY hunt - most states have both Big Game (Deer & Bear) and Public Land you can hunt. It may require a drive and there is often hunting pressure but you can certainly take Deer (some nice ones) on Public land. In NJ, Va, PA - you can find better Public Land Deer hunting then you can rabbit or wild upland birds — good rabbit hunting is now hard to find and wild quail or pheasant East of the Mississippi are RARE….even grouse are fewer. I had No $$$ in the 1980s for guided hunts or even far away DIY hunts but always managed to get a few deer on Public land
 
I‘m 72 and have always loved doing the hunting myself. Never really cared about the quantities of game taken, or even about the qualities of the trophies. As a matter of fact, by 1980… I had already stopped collecting trophies of my hunts, completely (that said, I do own a few very nice ones). I hunt purely because I enjoy the entire experience.
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Even when I was young, I was never really competitive about hunting at all.
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But I also mentor younger hunters very happily. It helps that my children and grandchildren all love hunting.

During a hunt, if there is only scope for one shot at game… then, I’ll happily allow my guest or the younger hunter to take it.
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I‘m 72 and have always loved doing the hunting myself. Never really cared about the quantities of game taken, or even about the qualities of the trophies. As a matter of fact, by 1980… I had already stopped collecting trophies of my hunts, completely (that said, I do own a few very nice ones). I hunt purely because I enjoy the entire experience.
View attachment 594614
Even when I was young, I was never really competitive about hunting at all.
View attachment 594619View attachment 594620
But I also mentor younger hunters very happily. It helps that my children and grandchildren all love hunting.

During a hunt, if there is only scope for one shot at game… then, I’ll happily allow my guest or the younger hunter to take it.
View attachment 594615View attachment 594616View attachment 594617View attachment 594618

Some amazing pictures! Well done sir. And a great attitude to the lifestyle that we all love!
 

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