Let's End the Dissension
It's not uncommon to hear gun hunters and bowhunters argue. I don't condone this behavior. It's about as useful as udders on a boar hog (or something like that). The back-and-forth banter doesn't achieve anything but dissension.
Not all hunters act this way, but sadly, some do. It's time to look in the mirror and set things straight. We are all hunters. We are all on the same team. So let's quit arguing about these six things:
1. Bowhunters Discredit Firearm Success
I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say, Well...uh, he killed it with a gun. That doesn't really count.
Pretty sure it does. The deer is dead. The tag is filled. Sounds count-worthy to me.
My firearm buck from 2013 generated a similar response. A diehard bowhunter I know (also a friend of mine) commented on a social media post I made, asking what I shot it with. That was it. No atta boy. No congratulations. Just a subtle, I shot mine with a bow, and you didn't.
2. Gun Hunters Usually Hunt During the Rut
Kentucky, Indiana, and a whole pile of other states have gun seasons during the rut. That rubs a lot of bowhunters the wrong way. They think pulling gun seasons out of the rut will increase deer populations and improve age structure. That's probably true. But who can (in their right mind) tell a gun hunter they have no right to experience the rut...but a bowhunter does? Think about it from both sides.
3. Bowhunters Question Gun Hunters' Intelligence
Those with stick and string spend a lot of time honing their craft. They spend hours learning, tuning, and shooting their bows. They spend even more time learning about whitetail behavior. Trust me, I'm one of them.
Some argue that gun hunters don't have to learn or prepare as much to be successful. They can plop down just about anywhere and wait for a big one to step out. Some bowhunters act out on this by questioning gun hunters' deer-hunting intelligence.
Those bowhunters are wrong for doing that. Just because it may be easier to kill a deer with a gun doesn't quantify that bowhunters know more.
4. Gun Hunters Cover More Ground
Bring the thunderstick, and you're king of the cornfields. With the right gun, you can cover a lot of ground. That has the potential to make bowhunters' blood boil. It shouldn't. But I've seen cases where it has.
This seems to be more of an issue when bowhunters and gun hunters hunt in close proximity to one another. Public land and small private land tracts are more apt to produce this situation.
Archery hunters need to get over it. Stick-and-string seasons generally run much longer anyway. They've had their day, or will have.
5. Bowhunters Get to Hunt First
Most states turn archery hunters loose first. That burns a lot of firearm hunters. South Carolina is one of the few states (I know of) that has it the other way around.
My advice: Learn to shoot a bow if you don't like it. Don't take it out on bowhunters.
6. Gun Hunters Spend Less Money
Obviously, this isn't always true. But, on the average, bowhunters spend more money than gun hunters do. At least, that's been my experience as both a bowhunter and gun hunter. I spend way more money on bowhunting than gun hunting. Archery tags alone are almost always more expensive.
I've heard many a bowhunter make bitter remarks (upon seeing a successful gun hunter) about how they put more time and money into hunting than gun hunters. Don't do that. Be happy for fellow hunters.
I don't expect to round everybody up under the same umbrella. I won't unite all hunters. My goal is to encourage hunters to reflect on themselves to make sure we all walk the straight and narrow.
And remember, have fun in the deer woods.
Editor's note: This Realtree.com blog post was first published Sept. 29, 2015.