Shooting with the Mann: Bragging About the Wrong Things


If you’re sitting around the campfire or maybe in a bar with a bunch of hunters, one thing’s for sure — there’s going to be a lot of storytelling, lying and bragging. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s part of hunting. Hunters like to tell stories. They like to stretch the truth, and they like to brag about their accomplishments.

There are three parts of any adventure: planning, execution, and recollection. Hunters spend more time doing the last part than the other two.

Professional hunters are called that because they can work their clients into a position that gives them an opportunity for a sure — not a long — shot.

The current trend is not hunters bragging about the size of the animal they shot, or which record book it will go in, it’s about how far the hunter could get away from it before they shot it.

This seems somewhat odd; a hunter — by nature — is supposed to be capable of getting close to his or her quarry. Bragging about shooting your deer at 652 yards is essentially the same as saying you don’t possess the hunting skill to get within a distance guaranteeing a successful outcome. (Only a fool thinks a shot at 652 yards is the equivalent of a guaranteed successful outcome.)

You would think that free-range oryx in open country would require long-range shooting. Not if you can hunt. This bull was taken at less than 50 yards after a 2-hour stalk. That’s worth bragging about.

Hunting is an exercise of skill, one honored throughout history. Someone who can become one with nature, close the distance on an animal, and bring home the bacon, is someone to be revered. Great hunters are things legends are made of.

A great marksman is — and should be — respected as well. But, shooting feats are to be displayed on the range. Hunters work to make their shots easy and sure, marksmen are exhibitionists, and a rifleman finds the balance between both.

If you’re a hunter, don’t brag to me about how far the shot was; brag to me about how sure it was, then I’ll buy you a drink.

Editor’s note: OutdoorHub Managing Editor agrees 100 percent with Richard Mann, and explains as much in his recent article, “3 Things I Love about SHOT Show, and 1 Thing I Hate.” Check it out.

Hunting is all about the shot, but not just making the shot; it’s also and mostly about getting a shot that’s sure.
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