Always wanted to hunt but too scared to make the leap? Here’s another option.
For those looking to see what hunting is all about, jumping right into the thick of things can be a rude awakening. Not only do many states require some sort of hunting education course before they will issue a hunting license, things don’t exactly become simple or straightforward once the license is attained. A beginning hunter still has to make sure he or she has all of the appropriate gear and at least a basic understanding of the do’s and don’ts of hunting. It’s one thing to read about all of this in a book or online, and another entirely to put it to good practice out in the field. Quite simply, the learning curve for hunting is a difficult one, and it’s not surprising when many prospective hunters are scared away by the amount of work they have to put in to start bagging animals.
Luckily, there are ways to lessen the difficulty of the learning curve, and a big one is apprenticeship. Most states offer hunting apprentice licenses to those older than 12. Such documentation allows a newcomer to try their hand at hunting in the presence of an experienced mentor. For many of us, the apprenticeship period took place in our childhood, when we would get out of school for the opening day of deer hunting season to accompany our fathers, mothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, brothers, or family friends to learn the ropes of hunting. From tracking to shooting, building a blind to baiting a buck, there is a lot to be said about experiencing your first hunting days in the company of someone who is a true expert.
So how can you or your child become a hunting apprentice? You will have to check your state’s licensing guidelines to figure out what the specific rules are for you, but in most states, an apprentice license is issued for one season. During that season, the apprentice can accompany a licensed hunter in the woods to learn all of the basics of hunting, effectively navigating the challenging learning curve that can so easily overwhelm would-be hunters. Once the season is over, the apprentice license expires, and the apprentice has to decide whether or not he or she wishes to continue hunting. If the answer is yes, that person must then go through securing a regular hunting license and taking any sort of prerequisite courses that their state may require. Luckily, with the experience gained from being a hunting apprentice, the course should be a breeze, and those former apprentices will be able to head out and hunt on their own in no time, ready to become experts themselves.