GET SOMEONE STARTED IN HUNTING
A recent Harris Survey showed that nearly 98 million Americans are interested in giving hunting or shooting a try, but many don’t have someone to show them the way.
Whether you are an adult, experienced hunter or a younger, less experienced hunter, introducing someone else—a son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin or friend—to hunting helps them overcome such barriers and is a great way to enjoy outdoor adventure and have fun with family and friends.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation encourages hunters to introduce newcomers to the outdoors and offers the following tips on providing a memorable first experience afield.
1. Instill safety, etiquette and ethics—use what you’ve learned in hunter education.Learning these skills gives newcomers the basics they’ll need to enjoy a lifetime of great hunting.
2. Keep it fun. Don’t get too serious or competitive. There’s no need to turn novices into pros on their first outing. It’s far more important to just have a good time.
3. Start at the beginning. If you learned to hunt when you were young, today you likely perform the whole process automatically. Remember to explain and demonstrate— step-by-step—what newcomers should do, so they will feel comfortable later doing these things on their own.
4. Create instant success. Recognize small accomplishments. Shooting game is always a bonus and helps newcomers appreciate the experience even more. Many also take pride in providing a meal for their family.
5. Be positive. If you build a newcomer’s self-esteem and confidence, it is more likely they’ll enjoy hunting and want to go again. A well-timed compliment can go a long way.
6. Share your love of the outdoors. Help your guests notice things around them. Stop and listen to birdcalls and sounds of a rushing stream. Look for signs of wildlife. Help newcomers understand the important role that hunters play in the conservation of natural resources.
7. Provide appropriate equipment. Make sure equipment is the right size and weight.
8. Hands-on instruction helps. Everyone learns best by doing. Lecture is necessary, but as much as possible, intersperse the talking with doing.
9. Create a feeling of independence. Giving novices new skills and then allowing them the freedom to develop those skills on their own will prove rewarding for you both.
10. Choose the right location. Convenience is a consideration. Whether on public or private land, NSSF offers online resources to find great places to hunt through www.nssf.org/hunting. This Web site is a portal to the hunting and shooting universe and provides links to a vast amount of helpful information, from new hunting and shooting opportunities in every state, to links to a variety of helpful directories and even to a growing collection of instructive videos on hunting and shooting that can be viewed online at www.nssf.org/pullthetrigger. Subscribe to Pull The Trigger at that Web site.
“From local news to searchable databases of hunting and shooting locations in every state, and from the Pull The Trigger newsletter to First Shots, NSSF.org offers hunters and shooters an excellent starting point on the web,” said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the website’s founder.
The site can help you find public hunting lands, shooting ranges, retailers, outfitters, taxidermists and more. New hunters and shooters can find helpful links to get started in hunting and shooting, with excellent text and video tips