By Alex Comstock
So often, deer hunting becomes a single track activity. There is only one thing on our mind, and that is to kill deer, or hunt mature bucks, and success is directly correlated to whether or not you end up over a expired deer at the end of a blood trail. So much gets lost during the pursuit of these animals, and I think it is important to take time, and remember everything else that makes deer hunting so special.
One thing I like to do is read a ton. Whether it be books, magazines, or researching random material online, I am constantly reading. Throughout my years reading, I have always been fascinated by quotes that stick out in my mind. Whether they be inspiring, get you to think deeply, or bring you back to earth, I think certain quotes can bring a lot of value to us hunters.
I've compiled a list of quotes below that speak to me as a deer hunter, and hopefully they speak to you on some level as well. I encourage you to read these with a certain level of focus, as they can teach you not only a lot about deer hunting, but yourself as well.
"If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it." - Fred Bear
"A hunt based only on the trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be." - Fred Bear
"Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear
"When a hunter is in a treestand with moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." - Fred Bear
*(Side note) - Fred Bear is an iconic figure in my mind, and I highly recommend reading up on any material about him.
"A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact." - Aldo Leopold
"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when doing the wrong thing is legal." - Aldo Leopold
"We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." - Aldo Leopold
"In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination." -Theodore Roosevelt
"Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty." - Theodore Roosevelt
"Through almost all of human existence, huntable land and huntable wildlife have preceded the hunter. They caused the hunter. But in the future this must be reversed. It is the hunter who must cause huntable land and wildlife, and a world worth being young in." - John Madison
"All the sounds of this valley run together into one great echo, a song that is sung by all the spirits of this valley. Only a hunter hears it." - Chaim Potok
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity." - John Muir
"Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium." - Sigurd F. Olson
"To sit in a tree and watch the coming of dawn is a strange thing. As soon as you can see the ground with any detail it seems that you're twice as high as you thought you were. Tree stumps go through brief periods when they look like people. The root wads of overturned trees look like bears. You can't tell whether the trail you're sitting along passes through a large meadow you should have noticed earlier or just a slight opening in the trees that you wouldn't have noticed earlier. But as the light comes up enough to make out the individual leaves on the ground, you realize that you're only as high as you thought you were. The stumps go back to being stumps, the root wads back to root wads. The trail begins to look like how you remembered it." - Steven Rinella
"A true hunter recognizes that experiences are the ultimate hunting trophies; he takes pride in walking the ancient and noble pathway that was laid down by his forebears; and even when he returns from a hunt cold, wet, and empty handed, he does so with a full heart." - Steven Rinella
I hope that you were able to take away something from at least a few of these quotes. If you have any others you like, be sure to leave a comment and let us know what might be one of your favorites!