Hunting: Lifestyle, Hobby or Passion

Growing up my knowledge of the hunting industry was a local sporting goods store and the little old store where we checked in our game. Now the outdoor industry has exploded. There are countless companies, products and personalities most of which seem to push toward extremes. Then you feel compelled to feel similarly or hunt the same way.

The internet and outdoor channels are filled with shows and people that will tell you they are passionate about the outdoors. To me, that word is highly overused. I also think it’s often used in place of the word obsessed. Obsession isn’t usually a good thing although it’s easy to do when it comes to hunting. There have been points in my life where I’ve been obsessed with hunting and brushed it off as saying I was ‘passionate’ about it but it was negatively effecting my life. It’s easy to target that one animal or feel like you are missing your best shot at an animal and lose sight of what is truly important in life. The deer will be there next year. The big buck might not, but there will be another. Passion is great as long as you keep it in check. That said you don’t have to be passionate about the outdoors to enjoy it and carry on the tradition.

A hobby is most often defined as something you do often at your leisure, for pleasure. If hunting is a hobby for you, that is great. I think more people should think of hunting as a hobby because they get too caught up in it to enjoy it. I’m guilty of that sometimes myself. When people think of a hobby they tend to think of a guy building model planes that may show signs of overexposure to the toxic glue fumes, which is not the best stereotype. What I’m trying to say is don’t let the hype make you feel like hunting has to be something more than a leisure activity. If you enjoy hunting but don’t feel like doing all the latest trends of setting trail cameras, planting food plots and the like that is great! We need people like that to help grow hunting and continue it! To a non-hunter someone spending 12 months a year either hunting or preparing can seem overwhelming and be a huge turn off. If you don’t fit into the passionate or hobbyist category I think you’ll find you fit well in the next group.

Personally, hunting is a lifestyle for me. Hunting is a huge part of my life but it’s not taking over my life it’s a balanced part of who I am and how I spend my time, (though my wife’s opinion may differ). I set trail cameras and do more than the hobbyist but I’m not afraid of missing quite a few days of hunting to spend time with family and take care of things around the house. I also use hunting as motivation to stay in shape and as an escape from everyday life. It may sound far fetched but I use hunting a way to help keep my life in balance. I spend quite a bit of time working and with the family so prepping for hunting season or checking trail cameras is a time to get out for a hike and take it all in without necessarily obsessing over it.

Where I’m going with this is none of the states above are necessarily wrong but take the time to think about what hunting is and means to you. You don’t have to obsess about hunting day in and day out to be a hunter and help the sport. Also be sure that hunting isn’t taking over your life and effecting those around you negatively. Make sure that hunting is helping bring balance to your life no overtaking it.

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  • Ben Adams

    Great post bud! Makes you put things in perspective. For some folks hunting can take over their life and cause damage to their personal life. Getting your family involved in any hobby makes it more fun no matter if it’s hunting or collecting stamps. They may not like the hunting aspect but if they like being outdoors, checking cams or just getting out and doing some walking is a way for both parties to benefit.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Right on Ben! You’re exactly right my kids don’t love hunting but they do love shed hunting and checking trail cameras.

  • SoleAdventure

    Great post, Will! I, too, have been “obsessed” in the past. And I think you are right – the hunting industry/culture only makes that tendency towards obsession worse.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Thanks Mark! The industry does make you feel like you always need to do more with more stuff.

  • DeerPassion

    Hunting and the outdoors is definitely what helps keep me in check, mentally and physically… There’s something about the fresh air and being intimately connected to nature that allows me to think more clearly and focus on what is truly important in life. Hunting brings a balance to my life that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.. it’s nice to find others who echo such a sentiment without being obsessive.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      I’m glad you can relate! I was worried that people wouldn’t get what I was saying but you summed up that whole post pretty dang well!

  • Al Quackenbush

    Ah yes, the words ‘obsess’ and ‘passionate’ are words I have used, and still do from time to time. I will say that I am a passionate bowhunter. I haven’t picked up a rifle or a shotgun since 2009 by choice. I have a passion for the bow. My wife would lean to obsessed, but that is because she didn’t grow up with it like I did.

    The one part about hunting being a hobby, well that part I have a hard time with. Any time you are actively going out trying to take a life seems much more than a hobby. While I understand your description, to me it will never be a hobby nor will I be able to look at it that way. Hunting is a truly emotional activity for me. Putting model planes together or coin collecting was not. I think your insight is very good, Will. The TV shows and personalities have come out of the woodwork in the past decade. Many just tout sponsors and the ‘kill kill kill’ mentality. Others in the past few years have come out with some great shows like “Meat Eater” and “The Western Hunter”. I think those show that it takes hard work and you may not be able to fill your tag.

    Well written, Will. Good way to get us all thinking about ourselves as hunters. Bravo.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Thanks Al I appreciate your insight! I see what you mean about viewing it as a hobby. Growing up here in Virginia for a long time that’s what it was for us. We didn’t get out a ton and it was very leisurely. More of a tradition than anything. Great point on the TV shows! There are definitely some crews out there doing it right you are on point there with Meat Eater and Western Hunter. Glad I got you thinking buddy!

  • Allan K.

    Good post Will. I classify myself as an avid hunter; one who started out with shotguns and rifles and now is a strictly a bowhunter. Getting outdoors gives me a break from the daily grind and rejuvenates me. The outdoors has been a big part of my life and would consider it part of my lifestyle. However, I’ll admit as the beginning of November approaches, the weather gets a little cooler, and the rut begins I may go into a 2-3 week obsession?

    • TheWilltoHunt

      We’re a lot alike Allan. I started out a casual gun hunter and almost exclusively bowhunt. I think a 2-3 week obsession isn’t too bad. I think no matter who you are that might apply during the rut! LOL

  • Charles Wolf

    Great post Will! Love reading your insights. I am a hunting enthusiest, not hunting for trophys, hunting for food. Give me a shoit at a huge doe or a smaller buck with 13 points and the doe is going down. My son turned 5 this year and I am going to try and get him biting by the bug so that he can enjoy the outdoors and the respect the animals that we eat at the dinner table and what it takes to put them, there.
    Keep it up and I’ll keep reading.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Very Cool Chuck! My son is about the same age and starting to get interested in hunting but loves just being outdoors so he often tags along setting stands, scouting or checking cameras. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  • PushingWildLimits

    Great post, great way to break things down. Your right, we put too much pressure on ourselves sometimes and we don’t need to compare ourselves to the people on tv either.


  • Steven Baker

    Since the age of twelve, i am fond of hunting. I have my “Sako TRG 42 Rifle 338 Lapua RAL8000 Cerakote ” for hunting. I recently purchased vortex “Nightforce C434 NXS 5.5-22×56 Zero Stop MOAR” from online gun Dealer that completes my hunting gear during expedition.

  • Nick Viau

    Nice breakdown Will. Very much a lifestyle for me. Though stickbows aren’t always just about hunting. I’m an archer first. Hunting is a lifestyle, archery is an obsession. lol

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Nice breakdown between archer and hunter! For me at this point pretty much all archery revolves around hunting.