What are the biggest hunting myths and superstitions?
Whether we are debunking misconceptions regarding the ethicality of our sport, or regaling beginners with some of the more bizarre beliefs shared among our brethren, hunting is an activity shrouded in myth and superstition.
We’ve listed some of our favorite cases of both below, but feel free to share your own hunting rituals or beliefs in the comments.
Hunting is unethical because it represents animal cruelty: Animal rights activists often argue that hunting is wrong because it is, at its core, the practice of humans hurting and killing animals. In reality, most hunters work hard to assure the cleanest and most humane kill possible, not something that animals are always afforded in the natural world. The wilderness is a dangerous place, and human hunters are merely a part of the food chain that stresses survival of the fittest. In other words, deer hunters are no more unethical than the other animal predators who view deer as prey.
Hunters are benefiting from tax-payer dollars: We’re not entirely sure why this misconception exists, but it’s a myth that anti-hunting individuals like to levy against us in an argument. In reality, hunters spend a lot of money to pursue their hobby, and a fair chunk of it goes right back in the government coffer, from taxes on hunting equipment to license and tag fees. In reality, the hunting industry is actually a huge economic boon that probably diminishes the amount tax-payers would otherwise have to expend on certain government wildlife and environmental conservation programs.
Going deer hunting? Eat venison the night before the hunt: Rooted in an old Native American belief, this one spreads the belief that, if you eat meat from the type of animal you are hunting the night before said hunt, you will guarantee yourself success. In other words, if you still have some deer meat left over from last hunting season, eating it for dinner – or just for a jerky snack, perhaps – the night before your next hunt can help you refill your freezer all over again.
Hang onions in or around your duck blind: No, this superstition isn’t because duck hunters or the waterfowl they hunt like the smell of onions. In fact, superstition dictates that onions can help prevent bruises from rifle recoil. Of course, this one probably fits into the “nonsense” category of superstitions, like garlic versus vampires, but it’s still worth a try if you can’t handle your recoil.
Lucky objects: As in any sport, hunters have a number of objects that are supposed to bring luck to their hunting trip. From cliché objects like rabbit’s feet or dream catchers to more specialized items like a lucky duck call, a family heirloom compass, or a favorite hat, hunters can draw luck from virtually anything. Find your own lucky charm and determine the validity of it with a few hunts; there’s only one real way to test it.
Kiss the first bullet: Soldiers used to believe that kissing their last bullet before loading it into the chamber would assure that the shot would find its mark. Many a hunter has adopted a similar belief into their hunting rituals. However, we’ve grown accustomed to kissing the first bullet and hope we never run out of ammo in the field. After all, if you’re using all of your ammo in an afternoon, it probably means one of two things: either you didn’t bring enough bullets or you’ve spooked every deer in the area.