Though often labeled as a barbaric pastime, hunting is actually a sport played by gentlemen. There is more etiquette observed in this sport that is bound by a code of conduct which its players must adhere to so that the regal nature of the hobby would be preserved. Hunting is more than just the shooting of wild animals and birds… it is an indulgence in the thrill of the hunt, and believe it or not, is actually a celebration of life.
If we are to trace the roots of hunting as a sport, we would be taken to the days of yore when the males of each family would go out to the wilds to hunt down some wild beasts or birds which would provide some sumptuous meals for the family. Eventually, it became a favorite activity of nobles and royalty in the Middle Ages. They transformed what was supposed to be a process to provide for sustenance into a process that provided for enjoyment. These nobles, however, established a code of conduct that they strictly adhered to. Some of the salient provisions of this code are still being observed to this very date, in one form or another. The most prominent of these prescribed conducts are:
• The hunter should afford his prey a fair chance of escape.
• Once the hunter wounds the prey, it his solemn duty to pursue the same, and thereafter kill it. This is meant to prevent undue suffering on the part of the prey.
• Hunting should be differentiated from an ambush. Hunting involves a positive act: to hunt. Hence, the hunter should not sit around and wait for the hapless prey to pass by.
These days, hunting has preserved some of the rules above. The wild animal is now called a game, and a bird is called a bird game. The object of hunting in modern times is to take on these games with a firearm or a bow, and sometimes, even with the aid of a hound dog. To hunt is to pursue, and game hunting today is all about that.
There are six methods comprising modern day game hunting: stalking, still-hunting, tracking, driving, sitting up, and calling. But these methods cannot be practiced in just one hunt. Ideally, the hunter should choose only one or two of these methods to observe per session. Also, the size of the game plays an important role in the selection of method to use. A large game, such as an elephant or a giraffe for example, cannot be stalked nor still-hunted.
Today, game hunting is subjected to a number of federal and state laws. The reason is quite necessary. There are a great variety of species in the wilds that are fast approaching extinction, and it is our duty to help them preserve their existence. As such, hunters are expected to keep away from areas that have been consider off-limits for hunting, as well as refrain from gunning or shooting preys that are on the endangered species list.
These rules should pose no problems for the hunters of today. As we have discussed above, hunting is a gentlemen’s sport. And gentlemen always understand the sanctity of things outside their own domain.
Game hunting continues to be an enjoyable pastime for many, many people. It’s one of the reasons why the great outdoors have continued to be desirable destinations during appropriate seasons. Few experiences are as exhilarating as the thrills that can be derived from this sport.
Indeed, the nobility of game hunting has been the stuff of legends throughout the years. There is no reason why this regal sport will not endure for many more years to come.