Celebrating Emergent Hunters: A Note from our Founder

When I first heard the term emergent hunter, I was floored. It’s a simple label, but it jolted me into a new reality that was a long time coming. I’ve been hunting my whole life thanks to a loving father that showed his little 12-year-old boy the way. I’ve also been in the hunting industry for the last 13 years, working alongside some of the best to ever do it.

For years now, I’ve seen the cultural tide in the hunting world rise and recede, bringing with it sometimes uncomfortable, but necessary change. Right now, our community of hunters features a diversity of ideas and approaches like never before. The backgrounds and perspectives available today are varied, far exceeding the stagnation of the past.

Into this landscape has stepped what I used to call “adult onset” hunters. Simply put, these are adults who have no hunting background that decide to take up the pursuit. I’ve always thought this colloquial term needed a change. I think it sets the wrong tone and makes hunting sound like a more of a diagnosis than a discovery.

Enter the term emergent hunter and the many unlikely characters from across this country that fit this description. They’ve gathered around one idea: hunting (and life) is all about connection. This growing movement of hunters aims to brush past dogma and tired traditions to find a community in the outdoors. They want to learn how, but they also care about why.

But these aren’t the trendy urban field-to-table hipsters of the last decade that seem to show up in a New York Times article just about every year.

These emergent hunters want to eat better, sure, but their aim is much more developed. They want to sidestep the modern sedentary lifestyle, learn deeply human skills, punch back at the evils of technology, and change the way they interface with the wild.

I’ve witnessed these sentiments bubbling for some time, but recently I was thrust into a situation I never expected. It gave emergent hunters a whole new meaning.

Enter the term emergent hunter and the many unlikely characters from across this country that fit this description. They’ve gathered around one idea: hunting (and life) is all about connection. This growing movement of hunters aims to brush past dogma and tired traditions to find a community in the outdoors. They want to learn how, but they also care about why.

- Ben O'Brien, Founder

In April of 2021, I aired an episode of The Hunting Collective, a podcast I hosted at the time. That day, as I often did, I read an email from a listener. This listener’s name was Juan Carlos, a hopeful new hunter in the Blue Ridge mountains.

He told an amazing story of connection with the land, but he needed someone to help him get over the many hurdles and frustrations that every new hunter experiences.

The day after that podcast aired I had almost 50 emails in my inbox from hunters in North Carolina and Virginia offering their help as mentors.

This was the spark. A moment that so many of us realized the opportunity we had to make a difference. Soon, more emails flooded in from all around the country and state chapters were formed. This idea bonded strangers together and gave hunting new meaning for those willing to join the group we called The Hunt in Common. Now we’re here and I believe it’s the tip of an iceberg that is bigger than I could have ever imagined.

GET INVOLVED HEREand help us achieve our mission.

Ben O'Brien, Founder

Join a THC Chapter

Volunteer as a mentor or connect with one.