The Evolution of a Hunter
A hunter's skills, attitude, and outlook on the sport will all change and evolve over time. In their lifetime, most hunters will evolve through five distinct stages of hunter evolution. However, not all hunters will experience these stages in the same order, and some might skip a stage or top-out at a stage.
The Shooting Stage
Typically the shooting stage is reserved for young and beginning hunters. These hunters are happy when they have a chance to shoot their firearm. Taking game is not a very important consideration in their mind... not yet.
The Limiting Stage
Hunters during the limiting stage enjoy taking as much game as possible. Reaching the legal bag limit is the most important factor at this point, though being able to shoot as much as possible is still a high concern in these hunter's minds.
The Trophy Stage
Hunters in the trophy stage care less about firing their firearm or bow. They are more concerned with bagging the "best" game animal possible. They will even pass up certain shots, patiently waiting for the animal they consider their "trophy" animal.
The Technique Stage
Hunters in the technique stage are more interested in the manner in which they take game. The choice of equipment is important to the hunter at this point; you will often see technique-hunters start using more basic equipment such as bows and muzzleloaders. A hunter's skills will greatly improve during this stage.
In the sportsman's mind, taking game is symbolic of the hunting experience, and not essential to enjoying the hunt. To the sportsman, hunting is also about being outdoors with their companions and enjoying nature. The experience of hunting is not truly enjoyed until the hunter reaches this stage.