Now more than ever it is important to have and/or be a good outdoor mentor. Last month I wrote an article that talked about how I started hunting as an adult.
Although I didn’t grow up hunting I was still taught the right way. It is something I cherish to this day.
MY FIRST MENTOR
Like many of the folks who enjoy the outdoors, my father was my first mentor. Coupled with being my scoutmaster for many years he taught me many of the basics.
One of the first things I remember him teaching me was simple. While we were fishing at a local reservoir I noticed a lot of things. Mostly it was the amount of garbage everywhere. Hundreds of feet of fishing line-covered brush. Beer bottles, soda cans, and fast food remnants were scattered everywhere.
Being young I just assumed that when you went fishing, you just left everything behind. It was difficult enough to haul all of the gear from the car to the shore. In my mind, it would be so much easier to just leave the trash.
I was quickly corrected that this was not the right way to do things. One of the best principles an outdoor mentor can teach is to leave an area better than you found it.
Whether it means picking up all of your brass or shells at the local shooting range or hauling a couple of extra soda cans off the shoreline, it’s important. Not only will it keep nature beautiful but it also keeps public land open to the public.
Those of us that love the outdoors already seem to get a bad reputation. For some reason one bad apple makes people think the whole tree is sour. It is time to help curve that incorrect notion and lead by example. Clean up after yourself and teach those around you to do the same.
FINDING A MENTOR AS AN ADULT
One of the most important things I have learned is to forget what I know. At least forget what I think I know. Humility is one of the biggest tools for an adult hunter.
Now before I go hunting I like to do research. I read books by people like Steven Rinella about the species I am pursuing. I get online and read through the experiences of others and even watch a fair share of YouTube.
Whether this gives me any kind of advantage I don’t know, but I feel like it helps me learn. But most importantly I am a hands-on type of learner.
I have been lucky enough to have my in-laws and some close neighbors show me the ropes. Ever heard the phrase “no such thing as a stupid question.”? Well, this is true when hunting. Asking questions is part of learning. It gives great insight into what others have learned over their lifetime.
These things can be as simple as learning how to read deer signs or what cartridge to use for what game. Again, What is important is to realize you have a lot to learn. So go ahead and ask those questions. Learn from multiple people. And perhaps another one of the most important is just simple trial and error.
So go ahead and ask around. Join online hunting groups. Find someone who is willing to teach you the ropes. Recreate responsibly and when you feel comfortable take someone and become their hunting mentor.