Periodically in passing I’ve thought how hard, if not impossible it’d be to get into hunting if you didn’t grow up in a family that hunted. Hunting/fishing are something that’s passed down from generation to generation. It is almost an inheritance, a family tradition.
I’m totally blessed. I had the coolest dad and mom in the world. I’ve never met a cooler man than my dad. Now as an outdoor writer I get to go on all kinds of cool hunting and fishing trips but to this day, the trips I cherish most are the trips I got to go on with dad. You need to be making those memories with your kids, nephews and nieces.
But what do you do if you don’t come from a hunting family? How do you even break into that world? No doubt, it can be a daunting task. I meet a lot of people moving to Idaho from California that want to jump into the outdoor world. They’re not against hunting. They just don’t have a clue as to how to get in.
I remember 20 years ago when all of the Californians started moving into Idaho a realtor had me write an Outdoor column in his monthly newsletter. I thought that was a smart move. It was to target such newcomers. They knew Idaho was cool and an outdoor state and wanted to partake — but didn’t know how to get started.
I was recently reminded of this crisis when Idaho Press Outdoors editor Jeanne Huff forwarded me a letter from a reader in such straits. Due to that letter she encouraged me to write an article on this topic. I didn’t realize at the time how deep of a topic it would be.
Let’s cover the tough love part first. Don’t have an attitude and demand that someone take you under their wing and teach you everything they know. Let’s put it in your world. If you’re a 16-year-old kid and hire on with Micron or Simplot you don’t walk in the first day and blast into the office of the president and inform him that you’re not going to start at $10/hour and work 30 years to move up to his position. You want him to take you under his arm and speed train you so you can assume his position in three years. Not going to happen, right?
So, you have to be humble and realize that you’re starting out as a teenager. No, actually I got my first BB gun when I was six years old and was hunting doves at 7, using my sister’s shotgun. I was so small that I had to hold the butt under my arm and shoot it like Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies. So you need to go into this learning project with the attitude of a 6 year old. Make sense?
To begin, I’d attend everything outdoors related to speed up your learning curve. Take a Hunter’s Safety course and a Concealed Carry class. Try to get your kids in the Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp. I’ll forewarn you though, this year it filled up with 250 kids in 49 seconds. (More info on the website: scootersyouthhunting.camp.
Attend outdoor seminars at Sportsman’s Warehouse. I’m conducting three at the Nampa SWH this weekend. Read. With the advent of the internet anyone can have a blog. Suddenly there are a million experts. Used to be an article printed had to pass through the hands of an editor. So be discreet in what you read/believe. Here’s a few places to find some good outdoor articles:
1. The Outdoors section in the IP is the best Outdoors section in the country. I have Outdoors columns in newspapers in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. I know what other newspapers are doing. Most of the articles pertain to local activities.
2. AmmolandShootingSportsNews is the largest outdoor website in America. I write a weekly Product Review for them. Read these to learn what gear to buy.
3. Go to gunpowdermagazine.com. I write for them. Check out some of their articles.
5. Check out Ron Spomer’s website and blogs at RonSpomerOutdoors. He’s the best outdoors writer in America and loves to write instructional blogs. We do a lot of YouTube videos together. Look some up and watch a few.
Idaho is an outdoor state. Even your wife’s hairdresser probably owns a rifle and a bass boat so don’t panic. Over time you’ll meet co-workers and people in church who will invite you to go fishing/hunting with them.
I know it’s frustrating but be patient. Imagine you’ve been working a lot of hours and decide to get away and take your family on a camping trip just to be with them. Some bystander blurts out, I want to go with you. I don’t think so Vern, this is a sacred moment. That’s kinda how it is. Don’t expect everyone to drop everything to cater to you. I get up at 5:15 and work until 10. When I get a few free minutes, I want to get outdoors and get away from everything. Most hard-working Americans are in the same boat.
But don’t give up; if you’re persistent, you might just become the next Davy Crockett.