For many young people, their role models came home with a brace of pheasants or a stringer full of fish, and the story evolved from there.
As we grew up, we began to realize that we also wanted to share our outdoor adventures and knowledge with the younger or less experienced folks in our lives. We wanted to help them garner the same taste for the sporting life that we had and the conservationist attitudes we all share.
Maybe it was an official volunteer mentor that got us started hunting and fishing, and once we began to have success (and our self-esteem went through the roof), we began to realize that we needed to thank them for their efforts.
Whatever the case, here are some good ways to pay it back to the person or people who helped show you your love for hunting and fishing.
Take Them Hunting and Fishing
Remember when you could barely hold onto the rod or lift that first shotgun? It was a mentor, a family member, or other loved one that helped us learn the best way to do it. They helped us find the best way for walking afield or carrying a shotgun or even casting a big bass plug.
Bring your old mentor out for a day in your boat, just like they did for you. Or better yet, a duck, turkey, or dove hunt that you can completely set up, letting them sit back and relax. As we all know, the hunt is never as good as it can be without the simple camaraderie.
Do Some Shooting Together
If you're like the rest of us here, then by now you have a decent collection of all the firearms used for all of our outdoor pursuits, and this usually includes more than one pistol. Target shooting at various ranges and with the various firearms is always a good test of ability, regardless of age.
Sure, some of us need glasses by now, but there is no better equalizer than the shooting sports. Getting on your feet and trying some sporting clays or other style of shooting can really get the blood flowing and help a friend to remember the good old days when they spent time and taught you.
Plan a Camping Trip
Since our outdoor recreation involves more than just hunting and fishing, it stands to reason that a trip planned by you with little for them to do but get in the car and go will go a long ways toward making it fun. When we were young our parents did it all: reserve the campsite, get the camping gear or camper ready, and pack all of the essentials.
Make it so all they have to do is hop in the car.
Plan an Historical Excursion
One great way to "pass it on" is to recreate a next generation outing that includes visiting some of the great places they took you along the way. These can include the amazing national parks such as Yellowstone or Yosemite. Heck, even a trip to such stunning vistas as Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, or the Gulf Coast can get you all talking about what it would be like to hunt or fish there in the past.
New Volunteers Needed
Mentorship in the shooting sports, hunting, or fishing can come in the form of an after school program or community activity. Mentoring relationships generally begin as a family tradition but aren't always exclusive to that.
Maybe you could help or join an outdoor mentor program in your area to support those that still need people to take them out into the field for the first time. Since we were all once a mentee, it stands to reason that we could help someone to explore their love of the outdoors in a way that they may not have been able to without some outside help.
Check in with your state's wildlife management organization to see if there are some community events in your region that involve mentoring activities. Know that it may involve a background check, but it would be well worth the effort!