Deer hunters facing end to another season – here’s to humble beginnings and endings

When hunters choose to selectively hunt in fair chase, they are engaging in wildlife conservation at its core, the Boone and Crockett Club said.

Another Illinois deer season is on the books, so to speak. Well, actually, the season ends Sunday (Jan. 15). There have been a lot of good bucks taken in the state this season, and there has been a lot of boasting. We’ll talk about the facts and figures in future posts, but I would like to end the season by talking about good hunters and good sports.

I have a good friend who lives and hunts in a county in northern Illinois that seems to grow some serious specimens when it comes to whitetail bucks. The numerous reasons for this undoubtedly include a varied combination of biological, geological, ecological, as well as strategic man-based influences. My friend has killed several giant bucks over the years, any one of which would be “the buck” to most of us.

But to me, killing big bucks isn’t what makes my friend a good hunter. Sure, it’s an incredible feat, and with his family’s support he’s worked diligently for every buck on his wall. What makes him a great hunter is his attitude and humble mindset. It’s this reason why I’m only referring to him as a friend instead of using his full name. He declined my offer to write a story about him recently because he believes that making his hunting successes all about him detracts from the real reasons why he hunts in the first place.

I’ve been hunting for close to 15 years now —  a mere “second in time” compared to other hunters. But even in that short time, as the professional hunting industry becomes more and more impressive, I’ve noticed a severe decline in the number of hunters who own modest convictions like my friend does, especially among those int he 20-something age category. To me, that’s devastating. There isn’t enough room in a treestand or ground blind for jealous, entitled and arrogant mentalities, at least in my humble opinion.

We’ll discuss this more in future posts.

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