By Doug Gilmer
I am going old school hunting…
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- I recently finished another SHOT Show and was again inundated with new gun & hunting products.
Some of these products are essential and noteworthy; new wool blends in socks to keep feet warm and dry, products to keep your guns clean and in working order, and advancements in bullet technology allowing efficient performance at ranges near and far.
However, there seems to be steady stream of new hunting technology being developed for problems which either don’t exist or, in my opinion, are designed for lazy hunters. I am going old school hunting…
I had this conversation with several writers at SHOT this year. While praising capitalism and innovation we discussed the overwhelming amount of new technology in the hunting industry for both gun and bow hunters.
One well known writer commented, “I would give anything to go deer hunting again wearing a red and black plaid wool jacket and carrying an open sighted 30-30.”
There is something to be said for “simple.”
I made the decision before the 2015 deer season started I was going back to hunting the way I remembered before getting into the outdoor industry, the way I hunted the cedar swamps of northern Michigan as a kid. We didn’t have camo back then unless it was military surplus and blaze orange was a necessity unless you were bowhunting. There were no treestands to speak of either. I bow hunted as I did with a gun, from the ground. No range finders, no electronic scent elimination products, or performance fabrics like we have today. Wool was king, we wore Sorel Boots, and hunted the wind.
We hunted for food and tradition, not for score. If lucky, you made a trip to the buck pole. If you weren’t fortunate enough to shoot a buck, you still went to the pole to congratulate those who were.
For hunting season 2015 I didn’t wear big company camouflage. I relied on my Carhartt Duck Bib Overalls and old school wool and fleece to keep me warm and dry. I am a dedicated handgun hunter and I only hunt using cartridges designed for handguns such as the 41 and 44 Magnums and the 10mm. Gun hunting for me, like bow hunting, is a short range affair. A treestand is an obvious advantage but hunting from the ground is more of a challenge, and as I’ve learned, more fun. Undoubtedly, I could have hunted with one of my lever action rifles in 30-30, 32 Winchester Special, or 44 Magnum and maintained the same feeling of nostalgia. My trusty Buck 110 Folding Knife rode in a sheath on my belt while my equally “game capable” Three-Blade Stockman sat comfortably in my front pocket. A handkerchief, compass, extra cartridges, a length of rope, some jerky and a Snickers rounded out my hunting compliment.
I could tell you I shot a huge buck this year but I’d be lying. This was a tough deer season but I did manage to put meat in the freezer. A careful stalk on a mature doe ended with a 35 yard shot through the woods and a big bore slug placed perfectly through the heart and lungs. More than a punched tag, however, I saw numerous turkeys and four black bears, one of which came so close his shadow was cast on me.
Leaving technology at home meant I had to be even more careful and observant, but it made me a better hunter. Fancy gear didn’t make me successful, old school hunting did.
The experience of going old school reconnected me with something I had been missing. Leather, wool, wooden grips, a nostalgic knife, and a return to the techniques taught by hunting mentors have a way of bringing one back to simpler times. Success is subjective.
I’m not against camouflage, rangefinders, or other tools designed to make us more effective, efficient, and ethical hunters. I have simply become disenchanted with tools which tend to make us lazy hunters. I’m sure I will wear camouflage again. I will also most definitely use tools to help me make better shots on the game I pursue. What I won’t do again, is lose my connection to they way I learned to hunt and the challenge it creates.
While I didn’t fill as many tags, I had more fun hunting this year than I have had in a long time. Maybe next year, instead of seeing how far away you can shoot a deer, focus on seeing how close you can get. Is hunting getting old and predictable? Then go old school hunting, the way grandpa did when he was a kid. Grab the old 30-30 gathering dust in the cabinet, get on the ground and hunt the wind.
Have fun, remember success is what you determine it to be, and at the end of the day, the experience matters most.
About Doug Gilmer,
Doug Gilmer is a law enforcement and military veteran with over 25 years of experience and assignments operating throughout the United States and around the world in a variety of investigative, protective, tactical and direct action roles. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fly-fishing, hunting with a handgun, backcountry adventures, and volunteering with various outdoor themed wounded warrior events. He has been a frequent contributor to outdoor media for for several years with numerous articles and photos published in a number of media channels. He is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association as well as a former board member and executive officer.