Mentoring a first-time deer hunter can be a truly exciting and rewarding experience. Whether it's your kid, spouse or the guy down the street, it's up to you to ensure they have a safe and comfortable outing. These five stand setups will increase their chances of success and your odds of gaining a new hunting partner!
A relatively inexpensive and easily transportable pop-up ground blind makes a natural choice for taking a new hunter on his or her first trip. The blind itself provides protection from the elements, while still being easy to relocate based on prevailing wind direction or changes in food sources. This option keeps excess movement hidden and trembling knees firmly planted on the ground. Be sure to choose a blind that offers enough room for both of you to move about and safely shoot your gun or bow.
Give your new hunting buddy the full experience with a dual-ladder stand. These two-person treestands give you the elevated viewpoint of a traditional stand, without the headache of hanging a double-set. They also keep you in close proximity for easy coaching or cuddling (If you're into that kind of thing.) Be sure to model good treestand safety practices and have an extra harness on hand for the new hunter.
The elevated box blind is The Taj Mahal of deer stands. They combine the benefits of the first two options, often with even more stability and comfort. Throw in a small portable heater and a few snacks for the ultimate in luxury. Box blinds can be expensive and tough to transport, but they are a great investment on private land. Warning: These shacks-in-the-sky have been known to induce naps and may not be a good option after two or three bowls of deer camp chili.
Having a successful hunt from a natural ground blind can be one of the most rewarding experiences for rookie and veteran hunters alike. Truly immerse the new hunter in the process by having them assist you in building a ground blind using downed branches, rocks, and natural foliage. Some basic instructions can be found here, but don't be afraid to get creative.
Sometimes you're crunched for time, money or need to have the ability to relocate at a moment's notice. Plenty of deer have been taken by hunters who simply went out and claimed a good spot to sit in the woods. Take advantage of natural structures such as downed trees, old stumps, and rock outcroppings. Be sure to find a place with room for both of you and a comfortable backrest. Don't forget to bring along a portable cushion or swivel bucket seat. A sore rear will end a hunt quicker than forgetting the jerky!
Bringing a new hunter along is all about the experience and adventure. Take care of those two things and success will follow! If you take a first-timer with you this season, be sure to snap a photo and tag us on Facebook or Instagram!