Case: The 'casual hunter' is important too

Contributed photo / Chuck Loudin poses with his grandsons and their mountain cur dog Crazy Horse. Almost all hunters share a common memory from their younger days of a simple hunt with family, writes "Guns & Cornbread" columnist Larry Case.
Contributed photo / Chuck Loudin poses with his grandsons and their mountain cur dog Crazy Horse. Almost all hunters share a common memory from their younger days of a simple hunt with family, writes "Guns & Cornbread" columnist Larry Case.

Here is a news flash for you. We need hunters — all hunters — to come together and act as if they have some sense.

We need deer hunters (there are more of them than any other), turkey hunters (there are quite a few of those), duck hunters, squirrel hunters, rabbit hunters, big game hunters and whatever else is out there to do this: Stop, take a breath and think about where we are and what is really important.

So where are we?

In my usual not-so-humble opinion, we are in a place, like most of the world, where we are divided, at odds with each other and centered on that old demon that causes so much trouble for much of the human race. We are too self-centered and think only about what is important to us — how we hunt, what we hunt and what we hunt with, and everybody that doesn't do it just like us is suspect.

(READ MORE: Deer hunters, let's help each other this year)

A piece in Outdoor Life by Christine Peterson probably says it better than I ever could. As she relates in the article "Quit Expecting Every Hunter to Be So Hardcore. We Need Casual Hunters, Too", not every hunter needs to be able to proclaim "I hunt 135 days a year, I am scouting when I'm not doing that, I only hunt in the latest and greatest hunting clothes and gear, and because I hunt so hard, my opinion means more than yours does."

To me, this kind of self-centered thinking goes right along with the seemingly endless controversy about the use of crossbows in the deer hunting world. It is, I daresay, a form of elitism.

For years, those who have rallied against the use of crossbows in the field have given the same old tired reason for wanting to stop others from using an implement to take a deer that is perfectly legal in most states: "A person using a crossbow doesn't have to practice or work as hard as those using a traditional stick-and-string bow or even an ultramodern version of a compound bow." So to that I say this: Exactly who was it who either elected these people or anointed them to this high position where they can lord over the rest of us in the unwashed masses of hunters and tell us how we have to hunt? (I must have missed that memo.)

To quote Peterson from the Outdoor Life article, "When did hunting become such an exclusive community?"

(READ MORE: So what happened to deer hunting?)

Whether you are the guy who is applying to go on his third desert sheep hunt (a very expensive venture) and has been to Africa a dozen times, or you are a sometimes rabbit hunter who goes along with your buddies because they have the beagle hounds, you are just as important in the hunting universe.

Causal hunters buy licenses, guns and ammo, the occasional game vest and all else that comes with going afield. The sometimes hunter can go and express opinions on current issues in the hunting and game management world as they come up (and they do every day). I doubt very much if all the high-powered hunters who have developed such a high opinion of themselves and their perceived position in the hunting hierarchy came from that level to begin with.

Somewhere in their past, I am willing to bet there was a time of informal hunts at Granddad's or Uncle Bill's old farm. There were old pickup trucks, dog boxes and a pack of unruly beagles or a couple of rawboned pointers with bloody tails and ears. There were noontime breaks with coffee from a dented thermos, RC Colas, Moon Pies, crackers, cheese and Vienna sausages. They stood and shivered in torn clothing and cheap boots and soaked up every word from the older hunters.

They loved every minute of it and wished this day would never end. They absolutely lived for these days.

So maybe I am just saying, again, let's stop and take account of where we are today. If you have a $10,000 deer lease and have taken multiple 180-inch bucks, well, that is great, congratulations. But I am asking you to please consider making this the year that you finally climb down off that high horse you may have been on and consider the other guys (and girls) who are also your brothers and sisters in camo.

Yes, even the guy with the old truck with a couple of cur dogs in the box and maybe his brother-in-law who only goes twice a year. They are hunters, too, my friend.

Now pass me the crackers and that can of Viennas, please.

"Guns & Cornbread" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at

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