17-year-old Tanner Sanderson from El Paso, Texas is an Eagle Scout with a cause. Together with his brother and family, he takes Boy Scouts shooting and hunting for the first time in their lives. “If you don’t try it, you can’t hate it, and if you try it, you’re gonna like it.”

Tanner and family share their ranch in the fall with as many as 13 Boy Scouts who get to shoot rifles from .22 up to .30-06 and shotguns ranging to 12 gauge. “Of the 13 Scouts we host each year, three or four of them are typically drawn to shoot their first whitetail deer. The others get to sit in a blind next to the shooter and can experience and share in the thrill of the hunt.” Tanner goes on to say that all of the Scouts get to participate in gun-safety demonstrations, shooting practice, tracking- skills training, proper gun cleaning, and care and transport of a harvested deer. “The guys just love it and can’t wait to get home and share the experience with their families and friends. It’s our way of sharing what we love to do with someone who’s never shot or hunted. It’s all about having fun…safely,” says Tanner. He admires his father and grandfather as they exhibit humility and forgiveness and he hopes to possess the same characteristics when he shares his passion of hunting with those who do it for the first time.

Tanner’s a junior in high school and would like to explore the possibility of a wildlife or conservation degree when he heads off to college. He loves the state of Texas and would prefer to stay in state for his studies. He admits, however, that while he’s a native Texan, he likes to follow the LSU football team…sorry about that, Tanner. He’s a self-described fun-loving and hard-working son, brother, and student and one who loves spending as much time outdoors as he can. Too, he’s an avid bow hunter. “I would love it one day when I return to Africa to hunt just with a bow. It’d be cool to take a kudu, nyala, and wildebeest. I learn so much about animals when I hunt with a bow because I have to be careful with wind direction and always mindful of yardage.” Tanner’s first Africa trip in 2008 was all rifle hunting, and he boasts the 50th largest bushbuck ever taken. He was able to share this trip with his mom, dad, and brother, and it resides as his fondest hunting memory.

Tanner’s an SCI Outstanding Youth Hunter and travels with his family every year to Washington, DC to lobby for the rights of all hunters. He works closely with SCI to ensure a future for all kids who hunt and shoot. His mantra is to be the best he can be with the time that he’s given and to practice patience in all that he does. “I’m a much better hunter and person because I let things come and try not to get too excited and over the top about them.” Pretty sage insight from a great young man from Texas