Maybe your friends aren’t as nice as you think.
Those of us who love spending time outdoors are an incredibly close knit group; the bond between hunters is incredibly strong, and perhaps no other sport unites such a diverse group of people. There is also no doubt that hunters, more than any other group, are the best at celebrating the successes of fellow hunters.
There are times, however, when we encounter those with whom we’re less than impressed. Whether it’s a newbie to the woods or someone who just never learned better, we’ve all been in that awkward position of interacting with someone who made a less-than-stellar decision or simply got lucky. Not wanting to be rude and discourage their further participation, many hunters have come up with several phrases that seem positive, yet upon further examination are thinly veiled insults.
Here is our list of the top six hunting compliments that are actually insults. Feel free to borrow them if you encounter someone who needs some coaching. Or if you think your hunting buddies aren’t saying what they actually mean.
1. “That’s not a bad one!”
This phrase is normally used when someone harvests a buck or turkey that they should’ve left alone. After all, deer & turkeys (among countless other species) don’t achieve their full potential unless allowed to reach physical maturity, and harvesting them before they do is like dunking a basketball… on a six-foot basket.
While taking the first available shot is great practice for kids or new hunters (or where necessary for herd and land management purposes), veteran outdoorsmen know that the quality of hunting grows as animals are allowed to reach maturity.
Just because it has antlers doesn’t mean you should shoot it, which is what the person who says this is trying to teach you.
2. “At least you’re very persistent.”
If someone mentions your persistence in the woods, what they probably mean to say is, “you’re a terrible hunter.”
Persistence and patience are necessary for every hunter. I, in fact, have been bowhunting for five years and have yet to harvest a deer with a bow. Since persistence is a quality that almost every hunter shares, if someone feels the need to bring it to attention it’s probably because they think it’s the only good outdoor skill you possess.
If someone compliments you on your persistence, take it for what it probably is; a reminder to be constantly striving to develop your outdoor skills.
3. “Thats ok for a first gun/bow.”
Something that varies almost as much as each individual hunter is the equipment we hunt with. From modern rifles, to antique muzzleloaders, to self-defense handguns, to modern compound bows, to traditional recurve and long bows, the diversity among hunting gear is almost as great as the diversity among the people who use it. Beyond the choice of weaponry, many hunters take it even further by customizing their equipment.
Some equipment choices, however, just don’t make sense. Rather than insult you, however, we’ll just assume that you’re a beginner and didn’t know any better. If that’s true, feel free to ask for advice.
If not, then…well, maybe you should have thought this through.
4. “Thats not something I would do, but I guess it worked.”
Hunting strategies vary wildly, from the tried and true to the downright insane. Flexibility is the name of the game in the outdoor world, and hunters must always be ready to adjust their approach.
If a fellow hunter says something like this, however, what they really mean is, “that’s the most idiotic idea I’ve ever heard.” Not all ideas or strategies in the hunting world are created equal, and some are just downright stupid.
Making mistakes is part of learning the outdoors. If a comment like this is directed at you, take it for what it is. A plea to hunt smarter next time.
5. “You must be pretty lucky.”
Unlike the other sayings on this list, this one isn’t automatically an insult. Some hunters do in fact get lucky; after all, most of us know that one person who had a great hunt, even though they had no reason to.
If a comment like this is directed at you, however, there’s a chance that it actually means, “I can’t believe a moron like you harvested a deer, or anything else, for that matter.” While it’s great when a good friend who works hard and hunts smart harvests a great animal, when someone with no outdoor skills and no business being outdoors takes a trophy it’s really annoying.
Don’t hang your hat on being lucky. Instead, let your experiences teach you. The rest of us will appreciate it.
6. “I’m happy for you.”
Many hunters are overjoyed at the success of others in the outdoors. Helping a friend drag out a big buck or taking pictures of your neighbor’s trophy is almost as satisfying as having a successful hunt yourself.
There is always, however, a twinge of jealousy when someone else tags the trophy of a lifetime. While the person who says this to you may in fact be happy for you, there’s probably a small voice in their head saying, “but I wish it had been me.”
Try to understand where they’re coming from and be quick to offer a hand when they need you.
Many hunters are genuinely nice people who want others to succeed in the outdoors. Like with many things in life, however, there are times when there is no substitute for a thinly veiled insult.
You’ve been warned.