Different hunters use different methods to accomplish their objective of creating an opportunity. Some use a variety of methods while others are more faithful to a particular tactic or technique, and the latter sometimes look down on those who choose alternative methods. Does the end justify the means, or is there a proper procedure for procuring prey?

Deer hunting offers a few examples. Some hunters slip stealthily through the woods, stopping frequently to peer ahead for any sign of a deer: the flick of an ear, a patch of brown or white or the horizontal line of a back. Others merely stroll along, hoping a deer might saunter by or leap from its bed and offer a shot. The former clearly takes more effort and concentration and probably offers better odds, but if the latter provides an occasional opportunity, is it not also effective?

The classic north woods deer hunt involves finding a fresh track in the snow and following it until you hopefully catch up to its maker. However, far more deer hunters take a sedentary approach, scouting out a prime intercept point and waiting for the deer to come to them. Is the wolf that runs down its prey a better hunter than the lion that lies in wait to ambush it?

Even the stationary hunters sometimes differ in their tactics. In olden times, and to this day, some simply sit on a stump, a stonewall or at the base of a tree. Others prefer a more elevated position, which offers a better view and concealment from watchful eyes and sensitive noses. Those perches range from a basic platform and seat to a fully-enclosed shooting house with windows and perhaps even a heater. Is a more comfortable hunter not still a hunter?

Choice of weapons can sometimes spur debate among various factions. The bowhunter who must create an opportunity then wait until game is close at hand may consider their methods more sporting than using a high-powered rifle with magnified sights. Both are considered legal and ethical in their respective seasons. Early muzzleloader seasons were sometimes called primitive weapons seasons and limited hunters to using caplock or flintlock muskets and rifles with open sights. Most hunters now use rifles with more reliable in-line ignition systems with pelletized powder and glass optics.

A classic upland bird hunt involves using dogs to locate and hold birds until the hunters approach, flush the birds and shoot them on the wing. A more traditional method in the north woods is to ride the dirt roads looking for birds that come out to pick gravel, then pot them on the ground. If the birds refuse to fly, are they not still fair game?

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Some turkey hunters use decoys while others prefer only a call. The classic spring turkey hunt involves calling a randy tom in range, but if they’re not responding to the calls, patiently waiting to ambush a passer-by can still produce the desired result.

As the old saying goes: different strokes for different folks. Some hunters may lack the stamina or physical ability to track down a rangy mountain buck. Others simply prefer sitting over an abandoned orchard or a well-manicured food plot that will provide food for all the deer and many other wild creatures as well. Which method or methods a hunter chooses, or whether a person chooses to hunt at all is ultimately a personal decision that should be understood and respected.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and Registered Maine Guide who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

[email protected]


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