Were things better back in the good ol' days of hunting? Let these photos be the guide.
Times certainly have changed, both for the good and bad alike. These pictures show the differences between hunting then and now pretty well.
We've all heard hunting has changed over the years. With all the new technology in clothing and the plethora of electronics we write about, we can vouch for that statement.
Some of these pictures are quite funny, while others may make you reflect on what we have gained and what we have lost. They're all incredibly engaging.
These good ol' boys at a rustic deer camp are ready for a vigorous Theodore Roosevelt-style hunting experience. There is running water at the creek out back. Waterproof matches lit the wood stove to keep them warm. The bathroom is wherever you make it, just watch where you step.
That was the way it was done up to the early 20th Century. Deer hunters back then were a tougher, more rugged kind of person.
But today deer camps have, in many ways, disappeared all together. Staying at a hotel with all of its soft amenities and hospitality is a lot different than being out in the bush. If you're really up for staying out of the elements and cold at night, what could be better? Your big game hunting license will no longer be the largest bill of the hunt.
Back in the day you had only a paper map, the word of a friend, and your boots on the ground. That's how you got to know the land. A real woodsman knew every inch of his hunting land and was an expert at tracking game. A well trained hunting dog was the only extra help he may have had. Armed with a black powder muzzleloading rifle, he was ready for almost anything.
Now, you can download a map to your smart phone, and study your hunting area from your living room. Instead of reading the land, we peer into tiny screens to find potential game areas. Those very same smart phones could be connected to remote control game cameras as well.
Physical scouting has certainly given way to the capabilities of technology in many cases. It allows us to access the info we need quickly and efficiently. Wildlife management has hit the electronic age.
A good compass was what led explorers and hunters through their adventures for generations upon generations. Add a good map, and any woodsman worth his salt could get from point A to point B reliably well. There was no need for satellites or electronics; they were not even a thought back then.
Now, the modern age of GPS is here for good. Map and compass skills have all but disappeared. GPS units take us far and near with pinpoint precision. But what happens when your battery runs out?
Hunting was a way of life way back when. Hunting dangerous game was a right of passage. A load of meat for winter was a necessity, and the exercise kept the hunter in good shape.
Spending time in the outdoors was the main way to occupy time.
Nowadays people are more likely to hunt imaginary Pokemon characters on their phones. If a bear showed up near this group of modern day "outdoorsmen," no one would even look up. We're all too consumed with our electronic shackles.
A good set of wool hunting clothes in the infamous red plaid color scheme was the way to go. They were warm, and served as good, visible apparel for when you needed other hunters to see you.
And the big thing was, the deer never seemed to mind or notice. Hunters bagged their bucks every year without worrying about being seen.
Have the deer become more sharp eyed than the ones our grandfathers hunted? It's possible, but that adaptation couldn't possibly have moved as fast as the camo market has.
How do we know? Well, it could be argued that today's hunting camouflage blends us in the woods better than military camouflage ever did. These new hunting outfits look stunning and sport lots of modern features and space age materials. The question is, do we even need it?
Years back, the sounds of late summer and early fall included hammers pounding nails into new treestands. These old wooden treestands worked and were comfortable at times, but they were often primitive and sometimes downright dangerous.
When the wind blew the whole contraption squeaked and cracked, but the hunters of yesterday held on and kept hunting.
Today, the modern treestand comes nearly preassembled, and includes virtually zero wood. Lightweight metals make them stronger and more durable. It's become far easier to attach and detach a good treestand than ever before.
With a climbing stand, there's no need to leave your gear out in the woods to be damaged or stolen. It sure is a whole lot safer than the old wooden treestands by a mile.
We've come a long way. Some things aren't headed in the completely wrong direction, but many of us would venture to say we were better off back then.
What's your opinion? If you could chose the era you lived and hunted in, would you want modern times or yesteryear?
Do you like articles about the outdoors? Click here to view more articles by Eric Nestor. You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram. You can view more Nestor Photography photos at Nestor Photography.
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