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When do Bird Hunters hit their “Prime?”

The profile of a bird hunter in his prime at age 37.

Professional athletes’ ages are frequently part of the conversation when talking about the best players in a country’s major sports.  With millions at stake, team owners want to make sure they are signing contracts when a player is entering his prime, rather than when they are headed to the “back nine” of their career. 

NFL players’ careers average only three years (according to NFL Players Association), so most point toward the mid-twenties as the age of a football player’s prime years.  Baseball players tend to reach their prime a little older.  Perhaps it’s the blend of physical ability mixed with experience and intellect that leads baseball experts to circle 28 and 29 as the prime years for an MLBer. 

This is the line of thinking that has me wondering when a bird hunter reaches his or her prime age.  When does a person’s physical ability intersect with hunting experience and intellect in the moment of peak bird hunting performance? 

As a 37-year old guy, I’m biased in my perspective on today’s question.  I believe bird hunters experience their best seasons in their mid-to-late thirties when they are physically capable of walking hard all day, while also being “seasoned” just enough to have the patience and knowledge to recognize the signs of an upcoming flush before the bird busts from cover. To blend two clichés, “This ain’t my first rodeo and I’m no longer a bull in a China shop.” 

However, I haven’t reached my 40s, 50s, or 60s yet.  So I must ask the more seasoned readers, “does bird hunting get better for me in the coming years, or am I truly hitting the ‘salad days’ now?”  And for all you 20-somethings reading this; you still don’t know what you don’t know.  Your best bird hunting days are definitely still to come – guaranteed!

On a related note, bird dogs are often considered to be in their prime at the age of 5.  If we take the dog to human year equation of multiplying the dog’s age by 7 years, then a 5-year old bird dog equates to a 35-year old human; further supporting my theory of the bird hunter’s prime age being in the mid-thirties.

In your opinion, at what age is a bird hunter at their all-time best? 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

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4 Responses to “When do Bird Hunters hit their “Prime?””

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  1. Jim Brueggemann says:

    Prime age for a bird hunter is when you hit the age where you can enjoy the cold, the rain, the heat, the snow, the sleet, the good dogs, the bad dogs, the days with good birds, the days with no birds, the guns that can’t miss, the opinions of fellow hunters, the opinions of your dogs, and at the end of the day absolutely believe that it was the best day in the field. Life is good. Enjoy it with a good dog.

  2. Robert Miller says:

    I think a bird hunter is at his all time best when he is hunting with his 12 year old granddaughter and watches her down her first pheasant over her young golden retriever and your 14 year old lab. This was my experience last winter. That is just about as good as it gets.

  3. Jeremy Lies says:

    I am the twenty something….months away from the thirty something….Good to know that I am coming into the best years. I grew up in KS and had good years, now in MN and hunted ND for several years….All have been great. Good Dogs, bad dogs, good hunting partners (defined as it is all about the experience), bad hunting partners (defined as it is all about the killing). I believe the best days are ahead….my kids are 3 and 1 yrs old. Can’t wait for them to have the experience……
    Some of the question may not be clear….I play baseball…since 5 yrs old. I would say the 28-29 is close….but that has come with 14 yrs of experience….So if you are lucky you were in the field as a kid…Started when I was 5 or so first bird at about 9. So twenty years later I am still learning. But if you are one of the unlucky people that did not have the early start, you may be still learning at 50. So……No matter how old you are….I think the best years are in front…First is your first bird, next your kids first bird, next your grand kids first bird…Then sitting in the old recliner remembering all the greatness in life.

  4. victor says:

    I agree! !! As long as your having fun you are always in your prime!!!! And yes enjoy it with your family and dogs!!!! I love just being out there in any kind of weather my kids and my dogs have never complained :)

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