First time for a lifetime
Last updated 11/16/2021 at 5:29pm
Ask anyone who hunts or fishes about how they got started in the sport or what was the first thing they caught or killed and I'll bet you they can recite all the details about the experience without hesitation, because that's how important and memorable those times are. I can guarantee you that I shot a coffee can full of pellets into a giant red oak in the back yard of my grandfather's, Olin Mahfouz, house before I killed my first squirrel but I was as proud of that as I would have been if I had taken all of the "Big 5" dangerous game animals of Africa, it was a monumental moment for a kid and a fantastic memory.
As outdoorsmen and outdoor-women it's our duty to pass on that love for the sport and to do it in a way that is both respectful and ethical. At this juncture in my outdoor career I think I actually enjoy seeing other people succeed more than myself, especially kids. There are few things that are as rewarding as being there on the first trip, fishing or hunting that a kid or a beginner makes. Seeing them taking it all in and just falling in love with the whole experience is truly what it's all about and something every outdoor enthusiast should experience at least one time.
I would love to commend anyone out there who has taken time to share the outdoors with a beginner, you should be proud of what you have done and I hope you continue to share your love for the sport every time you get a chance. Taking a young hunter or fishermen out for their first trip requires several things; the most important one is a huge helping of patience. Realizing the day or the trip is all about the new hunter or fishermen is the best place to start, in fact it's the most important place to start. Knowing that the trip you are on could conceivably make or break the new hunter or fisherman's love for the sport adds pressure to the trip but it doesn't have to if you follow some guidelines. Take a new hunter or fisherman on a trip where they are sure to see some game or catch some fish, the opportunity to interact with the outdoors is often times enough to get the new hunters and fishermen to keep coming back. If you take a kid hunting think about going somewhere they will see plenty of animals or birds, same can be said for fishing, keep them interested.
As much as I hate them being used as a "babysitter" the electronic devices like an Ipad have saved many a deer hunt from being a bust because younger folks get bored in a hurry. Always consider weather as a factor as well, nothing ruins a day on the water or in the woods like being too cold or too hot. Snacks and food are high on the list of "must haves" for hunters and fishermen alike, a quality assortment of goodies in the blind bag or tackle bag will go a long way towards keeping young ones happy which leads to staying in the field or on the water longer. Never ever keep a young hunter or fishermen out too long, when they get cold, tired, bored, or anything like that you need to get them out of there so they won't associate going hunting or fishing with an all day affair they can't get away from. More kids get turned off of the outdoors by being forced to stay out there than just about anything, be sure you go prepared and watch for the signs.
Probably the last little piece of advice I might offer would be to use equipment or gear that fits the younger folks. Guns, bows, fishing rods and reels for smaller folks are readily accessible for anyone who wants to look. Many times its just as easy to find someone who has already been down that road and has some gear for younger outdoorsmen that they would be willing to lend. I have seen on several hunting and fishing websites people who share their gear with other parents in order to help out a youngster get started in the sport. Keep all these things in mind when you head out with a new hunter or fishermen because they will truly help you be more successful while introducing the next generation to the outdoors.