How Party Hunting Works

Deer hunters drag a four-point buck in Hastings, Michigan.
Deer hunters drag a four-point buck in Hastings, Michigan.
David Nevala/Aurora/Getty Images

Just about everything is more fun when done in a group -- and outdoor activities like hunting and fishing are no exception.

In a sport that requires hours of patience, it can get pretty boring to go it alone. And anything that's fun to do can be even better when you can share the experience with your best friends or family. It seems like group hunting or fishing is a no-brainer. However, a specific type of group hunting, called party hunting, is a very controversial aspect of the sport -- and is even illegal in some states.

Hunting in a group -- anywhere from just you and your best buddy to your entire extended family -- can be fun, thrilling, even bonding. However, even though you're partaking in the hunt with a group, it's still an individual activity. You have the specific deer or fish you killed, and if you hit your limit, you're d­one -- and if you don't, then you go home a little light. In party hunting, however, the group will "help out" a hunter who isn't reaching his limit by killing for him, and counting the extra animals under his limit.

­For example, say you're hunting rabbit. The daily limit is four. You, your father, your sibling and your two cousins go hunting, but no matter how many there are in your group, you can each only take four rabbits for a group total of 20 rabbits. But let's say your sibling is a really bad hunter, and the rabbits are proving too much for your sibling's limited skills. Your sibling only shoots one while the rest of you have each bagged your four. In party hunting, other members of the group would shoot an extra three rabbits to reach the group limit of 20.

Although this is something that is frowned upon by many hunters -- and is illegal in several states, many hunters and anglers have taken part in a party hunt or know someone who has. Read on to find out why some outdoorsmen support party hunting.