When do Bird Hunters hit their “Prime?”
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?
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