When I started hunting, which was approximately 40 years ago, it was a rare occurrence to see anyone wearing camo. If you did it was the basic military woodland camo. Trail cameras were not yet on the market, the gun of choice for deer was probably a lever action or a basic bolt action and we didn’t sit in our tree stand checking our email from our phones. As I recall, compound bows had just started to come on the scene and in some areas hunting was still some what of a necessity for food procurement rather than a sport for tagging a trophy.
Here we are in 2015 and there are more gismos and gadgets, more camo patterns than I can count, rifles that can look like they were designed for a Sci-Fi movie and a hunting industry that has sprung up to provide any flavor or variety of just about anything you could imagine for use in the hunting fields. But I’ve noticed something over the last couple of years. There is a growing number of people who seem to be coming full circle back to how hunting use to be. But more than that, is that it’s also being combined with the activity of bushcraft / woodcraft / primitive camping or classic camping. Whatever you want to call it, more and more people are losing the latest and greatest hunting gear and opting for the more traditional gear of the past. Even though it may be a modern twist on a particular piece of gear, it still has the flavor of days gone by. Myself included. Wilderness survival expert Dave Canterbury call’s it the “21st Century Longhunter”
Many folks are choosing the more traditional flint-lock or cap-lock muzzleloader with a patched round ball as opposed to a modern day in-line “sniper” muzzleloader. Wool plaids rather than the latest synthetic camo material. Longbows rather than compounds or crossbows. Hand forged carbon steel knives over the latest high tech stainless steels. Classic lever guns and wheel guns instead of AR’s and Glocks. And the list goes on but you get the point.
Being the nostalgic guy that I am, who grew up on John Wayne and Jeremiah Johnson, I’m loving every minute of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of all the latest and greatest firearms and other hunting gear. But there’s just something about heading out into the woods dressed in wool and carrying a rifle that was designed 100 or 200 years ago. And to set up a primitive camp rather than staying in a hunting lodge or hotel or even coming from home is becoming the norm with this group and a part of the whole experience. And the taking of game is more about providing meat for camp and home rather than a trophy to hang on your wall.
All that said, do I think this movement back to a more traditional way of doing things will cause the total collapse of today’s modern hunting industry? No, not likely. And that’s okay. But as for me, the older I get, the more I love the simplicity of the things of the past. So, I think I’ll stick with it. What are your thoughts?