Hunting Buddies Are Hard to Find

Hunting Buddies Are Hard to Find

Finding a wife is easier than finding a good hunting buddy!  When it comes to hunting partners,  we gotta get along if we're gonna share a campfire or a tent. Choosing the wrong woman as a wife can make life miserable, just like picking the wrong hunting buddy. Over the years I've come up with a few criteria for what makes a good hunting buddy.

In no particular order:

Ethics - I want to make sure that anyone I hunt with knows and obeys the laws and regulations.  They should always have the proper hunting licenses and permits.   There are specific rules and regulations for recreating in wilderness areas.  Simple things like how far to camp from a trail or water source, how many consecutive days a person can camp in one spot, or how many people and animals can be in one camp.  Ethics also extends to having a deep respect for wildlife. I want to hunt with someone who has devoted time to becoming a good shot with whatever weapon he is using and does not take risky or careless shots. I always want to ensure a clean, ethical kill so that the animal does not suffer and I need my partners to have this same commitment.

Politics and Religion - The last thing I want to get into an argument about while I am recreating in the backcountry is politics or religion.  However, if the subject does come up, it helps if my hunting buddy and I aren't too far apart on our views.  We don't need to agree on every political point of discussion but it is important that we have enough respect for one another's viewpoints that we don't get hurt feelings that may lead to moral judgments about one another.

Wildlife Knowledge - My hunting buddy should share the same passion as I have for understanding our quarry. I don't mind spending time with friends who are interested in learning about how to hunt or fish, but I want them to demonstrate that they have done some homework. They should not expect me to spend the majority of my time explaining and teaching when they have not put forth the effort.  It's always good when our knowledge is mutually beneficial and we can freely share what we've learned to improve our skills.

Outdoor Skills - The best way to counteract a life or death situation is to not get into one.  My hunting buddy should know how to take care of himself.  They should have skills like knowing how to use a topographical map and compass, using a GPS, obtaining clean drinking water, building a fire or an emergency shelter. . . .  Someone who is not capable of taking care of oneself in an emergency situation not only endangers himself, but endangers others.  I would rather not be part of the lead story on the national news. 

Economics - I do not have the expectation that my hunting buddy and I should be in the same tax bracket. But, we should be able to plan trips within our means.  Money should never be an issue.  My hunting buddy and I should not have to keep track of every dime spent between us.  Even so, I don't want to feel like I am covering the majority of the bills either.  I like it when we lose track of who paid for lunch last.

An Understanding Spouse - I am blessed to have a wife who understands and respects my passion for the outdoors. She wants to see me follow my passion and supports me in it.  I don't have to beg her permission every time I want to spend time in the wilderness.  However, I am careful not to abuse this gift by spending an excessive amount of time away from home.  My hunting buddy should also have the freedom and flexibility to spend time outdoors without guilt or possible marital conflict.

Owning Equines - I generally pack with half a dozen mammoth donkeys.  I put in countless hours of training and untold amounts of money caring for and equipping my pack stock.  If my hunting buddy has the ability to ride and pack it makes things much easier.  I don't mind helping out by packing my buddy's gear; provided I have the room.  However, I don't want to feel like I am a free guide service or spend an excessive amount of time on the trail when I'd rather be hunting.  The logistics of packing in my buddy’s gear or packing out his meat should not become the overriding issue when planning a hunt.  If you own equines, you know it kind of comes with the territory.  I feel like the "prettiest girl at the dance".  It's amazing how many people have a fantastic place to hunt and are glad to take me along as long as I bring my pack string.

I would love to hear your opinion.  If you have additional hunting buddy requirements or would like to offer a few examples, please leave a comment below.


  • Nate Meek

    Great blog, I could not agree more. My guys I hunt with are like minded not just in views or tactics, but equipment as we all are traditional bowhunters so when calling elk or stalking mule deer we all understand one another’s range limitations.

  • Cody Frankum

    I’d say one of the biggest things that has pushed partners away from me is people assuming I am their guide (except for when I do guide, there’s an exception there) and don’t understand that I would like the opportunity to fill my tag too!! In my hunting circle, if a buddy and I go hunting there are a few ways we decide on shooter.
    1. You glass it you stalk it, if you find a big buck you get to put the stalk on it.
    2. Alternate calling sequences, if we are elk hunting, I almost always will suggest my partner get first opportunity, but after that we alternate who is the shooter and who is the caller.

    And a big one is, if we are packing meat, we are all packing meat until it’s getting cooled down in a cooler then we can go back to hunting.

    Good read Eric

  • Sam Scaffidi

    Great read. Especially liked your comment about “ the prettiest girl at the dance”. Amazing how many friends I have come fall.


  • Dan White

    Hunting styles and expectations. You need a partner who understands your hunting style. Some people are ground pounders others are ambush hunters. Don’t hunt with someone who thinks your system is “wrong”. You and your partner need to agree on what happens when someone gets an animal on the ground.

  • Lon Lundberg

    I’d agree with that list, plus I’d add a few issues. Under the outdoor skills, as we hunt sometimes in well-below zero conditions, deep snow, ice, etc. a hunting buddy needs to understand how to take care of himself, know the proper gear to not put himself at risk, be willing to do camp chores (cut firewood, cook, etc), know what is safe & not safe with animals on icy mtn sides, etc. And not be a complainer. Can’t stand complaining or whining. If you’ve chosen to go out and nature gives you nasty conditions, buck up and deal with it. That’s a big part of what I love about the wilderness: knowing I’m at risk and need to be wise in all I do and take good care of myself & my animals. And a hunt buddy needs to be commited to doing whatever it takes to get your downed animal out and not quit early. I’ve had guys leave mid-week — not at all okay. Happy trails…

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