View Full Version : Who was your hunting mentor...?

May 4, 2005, 08:40 PM
Who was your hunting mentor, and what were the most important things that he or she taught you?

May 4, 2005, 08:59 PM
My father, who drilled muzzle control in particular and weapons safety in general into me, so we could have a good time in the field.

Art Eatman
May 5, 2005, 09:45 PM
Me, mostly, just from observation and a lot of mistakes. And the writings of Ernest Thompson Seton. Of course, starting out to be the Intrepid Hunter at age seven might have had something to do with it.

From ETS, mostly it was "Be still!" Lots and lots of other stuff, but learning to imitate a stump is indeed a Good Thing.

:), Art

May 5, 2005, 11:49 PM
My father was... Still is at times - the guy has forgotten more about game and hunting than most ever learn. I'll forever be learning to catch up... And now he's retired and has even MORE time to devote afeild! :cool:

novus collectus
May 5, 2005, 11:53 PM
Never been hunting and I am trying to hunt next season. Anyone want to lend me their father to be my hunting mentor?

May 6, 2005, 01:44 AM
I found it very helpful to read many, many issues of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Sports Afield, Petersen's Hunting etc... Some libraries stock several years of back issues to take out and the issues from Sept.-Feb. usually have a lot of hunting related articles. It took me a long time to start to become successful at small game, but once I did, it paid dividends in deer hunting.

Quickdraw Limpsalot
May 6, 2005, 06:07 AM
My Father, my Grandfather, Mother Nature, and Murphy's Law.

May 6, 2005, 08:38 AM
My Father and Father-in-Law to begin with, along with uncles and friends.
Rule #1 my Dad taught me was that if you want to be a good hunter, first thing is to get out in the woods!

May 6, 2005, 04:58 PM
My Father and My grandfather. My Father is the best hunter I've ever known. No question. I've learned to emulate him and as a result I've gotten tons better. He has unbelievable eyes. Actually my vision is better than his but he has amazing eyes if you know what I mean.

Art Eatman
May 8, 2005, 12:40 PM
Luthier, the mistake a lot of folks make is to look for a whole deer. Better to look for an ear, an antler, a rump, etc.

My father was out hunting one time with another guy. "Hey, Mr. Willie! There's a big buck!" They go through the routine of look up the mountain, see the white rock, see the green bush to the left; the deer is just above that bush. About that time the buck flicked an ear and my father spotted him, some 300 or 350 yards away.

"How the heck did you see that deer?"

"Oh, I saw his eye."

:), Art

May 8, 2005, 03:23 PM
My Grandfather taught me to hunt and taught me conservation. He was an original West Virginia Hillbilly from way back in the deep woods and up in the mountains. He learned to hunt for food, not for sport, and with a muzzle loader at that. He would have been learning to hunt around 1910 or so. What he killed went directly onto the table. Powder and ball were not cheap and he was taught by a very strict Father to make every shot count.

Additionally he was a natural conservationist way before it was a cool thing to be He believed that if you took a shot, you had to be in a position to need only one shot, and to make a clean kill with it. He absolutely hated wounding an animal and have it escape to die. He had land, and on that land he made sure to leave cover for the wildlife, and regardless of the official hunting seasons we never hunted during the time when the animals were pregnant thru their having raised their young to full self sufficiency. So we didn't hunt from late winter until early summer for the most part.

We also only shot what we were willing to eat - and I have as a result eaten some rather unusual things. He taught us boys to hunt with that philosophy. When I was only eight years old I was allowed to borrow any firearm of his from a .22 rifle/pistol to a 12 gauge double barrel shotgun and go hunting completely alone - often being gone from sunup to sundown. My Grandfather had drilled and drilled and drilled us in gun safety. I guarantee you that we were far safer with those guns than 99% of most adults ever thought of being.

We could also take as many shells as we wanted to for the day, but he counted them out first. When we returned home, we had to have something to eat for every shell missing, or we took a severe spanking for having missed and/or wounded. That was a separate spanking for each miss, not just one spanking for the day. So the way I learned to hunt was First and Foremost - Never shoot unless 100% positive of a one shot clean kill, which meant that we didn't do much bird hunting. Although there was once that I shot a buzzard because I was curious and wanted to see one up close - that was a pre-planned whipping and was almost worth it.

Over the years of hunting that I did around other folks I have come to realize that the way I was taught was extremely rare. Most people will take low percentage shots just to be shooting, and very often missing and too often wounding without killing immediately. That is not fair to the game, and in my opinion makes you a poor hunter. If you are not 100% sure you can kill it with one shot, then don't take the shot. Wing shooting of course is different, but even then you shouldn't be pulling on the trigger if you aren't sure you have the proper lead and point of aim.

I used to hunt and hunt and hunt and hunt. Slowly over the years I lost the urge to kill and a few years back conciously made the decision to quit killing, although I still like to go out on hunting/camping trips with people who do still enjoy it. The reasons I stopped are personal, but that doesn't mean that I am against hunting because I am very pro-hunter indeed. This is and should be the natural progression of hunting I think, that over time you should become less and less fond of the killing part of hunting.

I suppose that because of the way I was raised I really do not understand trophy hunting, and never have. Of all the animals out there to kill it seems counter-intuitive to kill the biggest and best of them. I don't condemn it, I just don't personally see it as something worthwile, and from a management point of view it seems to be backwards. If for instance you kill no spike bucks in an area, then it would seem that you would eventually be over run with spike bucks. Like natures natural selection in reverse.

I like the camping and camraderie part of the hun now far better than the killing part. Old age I guess (52). I make a great camp cook nowadays. And then there is the whole thing here in Texas about deer hunting from stands over automated feeders - which is so wrong as to be absolutely incredible to me that anyone considers that to be "sport" and yet is the dominant form of deer "hunting" practiced in this state.

May 8, 2005, 05:09 PM
old english hunters are my mentors. hunting big game in africa with nothing smaller than a .470 :eek:
i learned that a .470 is a good all round rifle... works on everything.
they even preffered it because of its 'light' recoil

Fred Hansen
May 8, 2005, 06:28 PM
My dad.

May 8, 2005, 06:35 PM
My father and uncle.My uncle Bill taught me to believe my father,my father taught everything else,usually by telling a story about how my uncle Bill did it. Then he would show me the right way to do it.

May 8, 2005, 10:32 PM

Indeed. I did that when I first started hunting, but I've really gotten better. I think it is mainly a matter of training/experience ..basically just being out there. Turkey hunting for the first time REALLY helped my eyes. I have really started picking up on just brief flashes out of my perphial vision, and such.

May 9, 2005, 03:22 AM
My father taught me the basics of shooting - but hunting was me, myself and I. Trial and error, and the writings of others for the most part.

May 9, 2005, 08:02 AM
Vern is a retired neighbor I first came into contact with about 10 years ago. I was looking at a small 20 acre parcel in northern Michigan. He was the land owner to the east of this nice wooded parcel. It looked nice on a topo map so I went and checked it out. Funny, when we first talked he was on his side of a fence and I on the other. The first few encounters with Vern was not all too pleasant. I think he figured I was just another of many younger guys whom were thinking we knew it all. I am happy to say as we grew to know each other and swap stories we are best of friends.
When I go up to hunt or work on the cabin or puttz around the place we always come into contact. I would say it is a given, he invites me over for 75% of the meals I eat. You can't turn him down and wouldn't want to. So many good advice talks and stories are heard at the table in his old farm house. Vern just happened to be a police officer so we share a lot of related stories about some of those days. He also instucted the firearms training so safety and knowlege of everything from ballistics to scope mounts I learn. He has offered many days for myself and my son to hunt his 640 acres. I was as happy last year in bear season when Vern took a nice Blackie from a 10' tower I built on my little thick woods. He is a real master on bear and whitetails. Well, I went on plenty long enough but my hunting teacher and mentor is just a great older neighbor. His 69 years have been filled with learning that he is glad to share with a few younger guys...... :)

May 9, 2005, 08:29 AM
OJT. Had to teach myself. Read alot of hunting magazines. Should have seen me on my first few deer hunts. :confused: I'm sure the deer were out there, but they had too be laughing at this idiot dressed in Army clothes walking on the pathways jumping behind each tree. :eek: Many years later and still making some mistakes, I've been lucky to have some buck kills; mostly due to the articles written be hunting professionals.

May 9, 2005, 08:08 PM

Your predicament is understandable; I was in an identical one some years ago. There were no gunners in my family to teach me how to hunt, and I had no idea where to start.

Seeking advice, I voiced my concerns in a letter to the late Gene Hill, stating:

"With Fall quickly approaching I've begun to think about seeking out someone to teach me the art of hunting. Someone like your Judge Landis, Ruark's Old Man, or MacQuarrie's Mr. President. Have you ever heard of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)? I wish that there was an equivalent organization for retired hunters because that's where I would begin my search.

"Oh, yes, I do know several "hunters" that are my age, give or take a year or two, but I don't care to emulate them. They all seem to be in a hurry, relying too much on technology, and too little on knowledge and skill. They want to enter the woods with a back-pocket full of aces rather than playing the cards that nature deals them.

"What's a feller to do, then? How do I find a suitable teacher? I may have to resort to running one of those personal ads. In its unabridged version it would read as follows:


A man over sixty years of age who: knows how, and why, to hunt deer, upland birds, and waterfowl; who likes his coffee black and his steaks well-done; who likes old pick-up trucks; who smokes a pipe not because he has to, but because he enjoys it; who can identify trees and flowers and birds, and is willing to share his knowledge; who is well-read; who likes small-town diners and cafes; who can tell a story; who knows how to listen; who is satisfied with life, but always curious about what is over the next hill or around the next bend in the stream; who likes all kinds of music; who loves puppies and dogs, kittens and cats, and small children; who has an eye for pretty women, but is faithful; who likes chili and spicy foods; who likes campfires and knows how to build one; who takes as much care of his boots as he does all his other gear; who isn't afraid to talk with strangers; who, in all things, exercises moderation; who likes rain and thunderstorms; who is content to sometimes just sit and think; who hasn't lost the capacity to experience wonder; who appreciates the old and the new; who regards learning as a never-ending process; who, when practical, would rather make than buy; for whom sharing, good manners, and sportsmanship are fibers of his being; and who measures the results of each day by quality and not quantity.

"If I decide to run this I'll probably have to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay for it, but there it is."

Did I ever find this idealized, pipe-smoking sage? No, he died (too young) at age 69 in a hospital in Arizona.

So, who taught me? An acquaintance who is a physician, a man who at first glance I would have never guessed to be a hunter, but who turned out to be as passionate about the sport as am I.

Keep looking, Novus! I'm certain that you will find your mentor, too.

Good luck, and good shooting!

May 10, 2005, 01:13 AM
A couple of friends got me into bird and big game hunting. They're great guys. Still learning all I can from them, on just about every subject related to hunting or the outdoors (I was born a city kid). And I've had more than my fair share of Murphy's Law (or Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives).

May 10, 2005, 02:51 AM
my dad. oddly enough, i was talking to mom the other day about how dad never hunt's anymore. she says "he never liked hunting. after he came back from vietnam he told me he'd never kill anything again. the only reason he went was to spend time with you." reminds me, i need to thank him for that.

May 10, 2005, 04:59 AM
My dad and his dad. They are two of the most respectful and knowledgeable hunters i have ever known. More recently a friend of mine from college and his dad, they are very similar to me and my dad and therefore i have a great respect for both of them, as hunters and as friends.

Fat White Boy
May 19, 2005, 01:15 AM
My dad got me started, taking me rabbit and dove hunting from about age 5. I hunted off and on until after I got out of the service. I took about 5 years off then met a guy who has become a great friend who lit the fire in me again. Our boys have become best friends and hunting buddies...