The posts suggest I'm in the minority here, but the poll says otherwise. We're an increasingly small percentage of the population, and America is becoming increasingly urban. Take a drive through the Midwest and see what's happening to Small Town America. Our way of life is slipping further and further away from the mainstream. If we refuse to compromise and accept terminology that the mainstream understands, we're doomed.
Although the term isn't all encompassing, I'd allow that it does, in some respects, describe what we do. And frankly, I think sitting around a campfire telling stories of hunts in the past is pretty darned entertaining.
At first I was going to say "No, it is not a sport." Then I started thinking. I have been losing weight and training since June for a hunt/scouting trip in October. I run three times a week and work with weights five times a week . . . to prepare for a high mountain backpacking/scouting trip. I am in better shape for this trip than 15 years ago when I played tennis pretty often.
The sport makes physical demands on the hunter -- at least some manifestations of the sport. Road hunting for deer in Wisconsin, maybe not; hunting for Elk in a wilderness area at 11,000', definitely. The sport has rules or codes of behavior, it is stylized (I say this because I think this is true of most sports -- I can't climb on my teammates back and stuff the basketball into the hoop).
I must admit that I have missed a big game animal with a rifle. And not only was it a bull elk, it was the largest bull that I have had in my sights with a tag in my hand. But, as with most "missed shot" stories, I have an excuse. Moisture doesn't really ever bode well for hunting equipment. When moisture (either rain or snow) gets into a firearms barrel, nothing good takes place. A couple rain drops down there can change the point of impact drastically and a barrel jammed with snow after a...