Over the past few years, I have written a variety of articles for Utah Stories that have largely characterized me as a local modern-day hunter/gatherer.
My most recent article attempted to characterize today’s North American hunters, describing them in a continuum between more elitist/trophy hunters and those like myself who primarily hunt to harvest wild meat for the table.
Our current pandemic has caused many Westerners to literally flood to the mountains this year, partly to help isolate from each other, but also to escape the West’s record-breaking heat.
With folk either losing their jobs or laid off many more Utahans considered either returning to hunting or fishing or taking up the sport for the first time.
For example, typically under-purchased bull elk permits normally sold over the counter from July through the hunt in October sold out in mere hours, instead of months.
Obviously, many new hunters thought they might be able to put meat on the table.
Unfortunately, many of these mostly younger folk had not been previously introduced to the sport by their parents nor friends, especially when they were kids.
Many visited local big box sporting goods stores to get their advice and to purchase equipment mostly made in China.
I suspect that many of these inexperienced hunters likely had very poor success, and, might not return to hunting next year as they might be re-employed and catching up on families and friends.
I just hope that they have not wasted too much money on less effective hunting stuff
For those who decide to hunt again for meat or trophies, I recommend moving to higher quality advice and equipment to help make your future hunts more productive.
Since the whole world seems to be going to online info and sales, I can recommend Hunting Mark for more information.
Unlike other gun-oriented sites, Hunting Mark focuses on providing recommendations on the best, time-tested equipment with their reviews by real-world experts of firearms and other related hunting gear. I especially benefit from the articles by its founder, Loyal Brezny.
Like everything, when stuff wears out, I take great care to replace it with the best I can find at the most reasonable cost. Plus, there are always new technologies arising.
The advent of range finders, red dot scopes. laser sights and new bullet and shot materials and designs have essentially revolutionized hunting over the years since I first started.
Anything that helps to ensure a more efficient and effective kill, even at greater distances is of importance to me, especially if I can ensure the most meat to eat.
My most valuable recommendations are to research good hunting locations for the critters you wish to hunt and then learn those areas relative to the behaviors of those animals.
I recommend that beginners start hunting non-game animals like jackrabbits or collared dove to “earn” the experience of stalking critters and safely using smaller firearms, instead of starting with much more challenging larger animals with high-powered rifles.
The less successful hunters always seem to be looking for the “greener grass on the other side”.
I have essentially hunted the same areas for the same critters using the same guns and scopes, etc. for decades.
Learning an area well enough to call it my own has always been my secret to hunting success, and Utah is still full of great opportunities to put wild food on the table!