What best defines the modern hunter? I’d argue it’s not really a question of who he or she is, but rather when he or she lived. Every generation has had its rendering of the modern-day hunter, dating back to prehistoric times, when early man embarked on the hunt with primitive weapons in search of food for sustenance, skins for fashioning clothes and bones for making tools.
The generations of hunters who followed walked in those same footsteps, occupying their stitch in time in which — because of intellect and technology that set them apart from other predators — they maintained the top rung on the food chain ladder. Each exploited the resources available to them with the most advanced hunting tools and tactics of the day.
From clubs and spears to primitive bows and flintlock muzzleloaders. From those early hunting tools to compound bows, crossbows, hunting handguns and AR-platform rifles. From beasts of burden to 4-wheel-drive trucks, trail bikes and ATVs. The modern hunter has indeed evolved in many ways while remaining much the same in other respects. The common thread is that each generation of hunters has utilized “modern” technology to pursue its passion for the pursuit.
Like their predecessors, modern-day hunters are foodies, shunning the supermarket meat section and, instead, relishing the wild, organic game they bring to the table to share with their families and friends. And the face of the hunter is changing, too. Many women are no longer content to sit on the sidelines and are now participating in the shooting sports in unprecedented numbers – accounting for 11 percent of all hunters.
And the gear, oh my! Today’s hunter has never had it so good. From high-tech clothing to the latest in firearms and archery technology, to hunting vehicles that get us there and back in style and comfort, to countless high-tech gadgets and gizmos that make us more effective in the field and so much more.
Today’s hunters have also become social animals. Unlike bygone days when they held hunting secrets close to the vest, hunters now freely share information like never before. Facebook, Twitter, Internet chat rooms and other online social media platforms mean that no question goes unanswered, no riddle unsolved. And hunters on the go have smartphones loaded with remarkable native resources. No matter what the scenario: There’s an app for that!
When you take to the field this fall think about what it means to be a modern hunter and what the generations that follow will learn from your example — as you learned from those who came before you. Pay silent homage to those who stood on the same hallowed ground that you now occupy and feel their spirits on the warm autumn breeze. We indeed live in an incredible age. One can only guess what the future might hold.