Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



Fish & Game

The Stages of Hunting  

Along the way, the thrill of the hunt changes from shooting to sharing.

Hunting is a lifelong pastime for many Texans, a family tradition carried on by old teaching young. Not everyone is lucky enough to start hunting early in life, so beginning hunters come in all ages. 

Perhaps it’s better to think of hunting in “stages” instead of ages.

In the mid-1970s, Wisconsin university and natural resources staff defined these stages by observing and interviewing hunters to find patterns of satisfaction, motivation and behaviors. I added another stage that demonstrates what I’ve often witnessed in experienced hunters: giving back to the hunting community.

Where do you fit into these stages of hunting? 

Shooter Stage

Satisfaction is closely tied to “getting shots” and being able to pull the trigger. A good day for you has plenty of shooting opportunities. 

Limiting Out Stage

Satisfaction comes from filling your tag or taking a limit of ducks. While it’s great to get the shots, good aim and good shot selection are also important to ensure a good day’s work.   

Trophy Stage

Hunters get passionate about select game, hoping to harvest something worthy of a trip to the taxidermist as well as something tasty for the table.

Method Stage

This intense hunter is easy to spot, with all the latest, specialized equipment, often trying more challenging methods such as bows or muzzleloaders. Hunting is life.

Sportsman Stage

Ah, the “mellowing out” stage. Every experience is satisfying, whether game is taken or not. Companionship, a good cup of coffee, a campfire … that’s all you need.

Give Back Stage

Many parents, friends, instructors, guides and mentors find satisfaction by “hunting through someone else’s eyes” or teaching a new hunter.

 Steve Hall

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