What do you think: are hunters born or made?
Have you ever heard the term natural born hunter? If so, have you ever considered what a natural born hunter really is?
Does that mean hunters are inherently wired for their outdoor pursuits, or is a hunter someone who is taught how to love the sport?
What are you? Do you feel like you were ‘born to hunt’ or did a relative or someone close to you take the time to teach you the love of this amazing sport?
When you think about lifelong hunters, you either think of them as people who were born to love hunting or as those who were brought into the life by mentors at an early age. The thing about lifelong hunters is that most are so passionate about the sport that you can just tell they were made for the woods. However, if you talk to those same hunters, most will tell you they had a childhood mentor that taught them everything they know.
So, which is it? Are hunters born or made? Maybe it’s an intriguing combination of both. Maybe hunters who are passionate enough about the sport to pursue it for a lifetime have the instinct, but a mentor brought it out into the light. If so, how do you classify lifelong hunters one way or the other?
Take a moment to really consider the most successful hunters you know. Can you imagine them doing anything else? Do you think they’re amazing skills and instincts would have floundered and failed if not honed by an experienced mentor somewhere in their past? Of course, that isn’t a question you can definitively answer, but it is one worth considering.
If a hunter’s instinct exists but is never nurtured, what happens to it? The drive and need to pursue may still be there and be turned toward other avenues or sports. Maybe some of the best athletes are hunters that never had the chance to hone their natural hunting skills and were forced to turn their attention to other things.
If our sport is to survive and thrive, it is important to recognize and encourage natural hunters to pick up a weapon and head to the field.
Regardless of whether or not hunters are made or born, the fact remains that young hunters with even the slightest interest in taking to the field should be encouraged to do so. Without the addition of new hunters into our sport, we could begin to lose participation numbers, which leads to fewer licenses purchased, which leads to struggling conservation efforts. Instinctive hunters may have an edge over their ‘made’ counterparts (if there really is a difference), but both types of hunters should have a real chance at a successful hunting career with the right encouragement and upbringing.
Why Does It Matter?
Why does it even matter if a hunter is born or made? The truth is it probably doesn’t. Hunters come in all shapes and sizes and from a variety of backgrounds. Whether born into the life or taught later in life, hunters with a good support system and quality interactions with experienced hunting mentors will generally do well in our sport.
As long as a young hunter is taught how to ethically and responsibly hunt wild game, the origins of their skills aren’t important. However, should a child have the natural instincts without the opportunity to advance his or her skills, that is when the real tragedy occurs.
Young hunters with even a remote interest in hunting should always be encouraged to pursue our sport and be given the chance to either become the best hunter possible or find out hunting really isn’t their thing. Either way, born or made is just the beginning.
It’s what happens next that really counts.