The long held assumption that hunters made, and make, the best soldiers is perhaps open to debate. However, there have been throughout American history some examples of former public figures making this connection. The American painter Charles Wilson Peale wrote to a friend in 1775:
All the people declare for Liberty or Death. They are much used to hunting and are all good marksmen, even our children. Is it to be supposed that such people thickly settled at least 1400 miles length can be conquered by all the Troops England can send here? No, it is not probable.
After Andrew Jackson returned from the celebrated siege of New Orleans during the War of 1812, at a public entertainment given to him, he said:
We have been taught to use the rifle. Had we not been such good marksmen in our wilds and prairies, we should not have taught our enemies such a severe and so salutary a lesson as we have recently done. I would conjure you, my friends, not to let your rifles rust. They are first-rate instruments for extending your power and consolidating your liberties.
In the Spanish American War, 1898, Field and Steam gave as the reason for victory: All young Americans, practically, are sportsmen. As soon as a boy is big enough and strong enough to bear a gun, he finds business to do, at least for a few weeks of each fall, along the sloughs and fields and marshes. He can make camp, build a fire and do his own cooking. He is a soldier in the rough.
Even some of the victims testified to American prowess. During World War I, Americans with Pershing's expeditionary force recovered a dairy from a dead German soldier and found the following notation within: “God save us from these Americans. They shoot like devils. They kill us like animals. They are the best marksmen in the world.”
When the U.S. went to war in 1941 after Pearl Harbor was bombed, American hunters rose to support the war effort. Joining in the swelling chorus of support for the war were hunting magazines. In February 1942, Hunting and Fishing called on American sportsmen to aid the mobilization and boost home-front morale:
Never before has the sportsman been able to do so much for his country as he is doing today. Everyone can help, but none so much as the man who has kept himself fit through outdoor living, who owns guns and knows how to use them. No other single group can offer as much as that.
The editor of Field and Stream stated: Wars are fought with guns, and a nation of gunners is a strong nation. Hunting is a survival of one of man's earliest instincts. In the first days of the race he had to be a good hunter, or starve. Present-day hunting breeds physical fitness and resourcefulness. It produces a knowledge of firearms, and we have come to see once more the terribly vital importance of such knowledge. A youngster who has grown up with a gun has a tremendous advantage in the field. If he can swing fast enough for a mallard, he can knock down a Messerschmitt. No other sport training has been as valuable as this knowledge of guns.
Another editor said: Finally, there is an obligation that the sportsman has in war which is not material nor is it mawkishly sentimental. It is the deep sentiment, rather, of the man who has slept on mother earth, who has tramped his native hills, and who would rather die than lose his heritage to aliens. We sportsmen are, or ought to be, the soul of this country's manhood.
Today, the soul of this country's manhood is being fought by our boys and girls in uniform, many of them hunters. They all are fighting to preserve this country; we pray for their safe return.