new hunter

What to Tell a New Hunter When You're Getting Skunked

Don't give up on introducing a new generation of hunters to the sport.

We've all been there. You're out in the woods, sitting in a blind or walking the trails, taking in the sunrise and enjoying that brisk air, when the stillness is broken by a pained sigh. Maybe it's your significant other, maybe it's your kid, or maybe it's just a friend who wanted to try this hunting thing out, but no matter what, your new hunter doesn't seem to be in the right mindset for a hunt.

It seems like they thought hunting was going to be one non-stop exercise in killing animals, and now you're stuck with them for the next few hours. Don't worry, though, we know exactly how to quiet them down.

Show them the beauty of nature

Hey, it's where you were a moment ago. Ask them to take a good look at the sun cresting the forest and the wind whistling through the trees. Out here, you can see things the folks who spend their lives in cities can't dream about.

Point out the large numbers of animals you aren't hunting

It never fails that if they aren't in season, you can't walk for tripping over turkeys, or deer, or elk, or whatever happens to be a few days away from being legal. Be sure to make a big deal about how you've never seen this many of them out before, and next weekend you'll have your choice. We know it's a lie, but they don't, yet.

Show them some trail sign

It's always helpful to learn a little woodcraft, and teaching your new hunter about footprints and droppings can help them see the woods as alive with nature instead of completely devoid of anything they can shoot. As an added bonus, showing them that a herd of deer moved through yesterday will instill them with false hope.

Let them use the calls

Rattling antlers or blowing calls gets them invested in whether or not the game will deign to show itself. They'll probably even get a kick out of the noises they get to make. In a pinch, just let them play whatever calls you have along. The ducks never scare off an Elk, after all.

Give them your snacks

Alright, this is almost the most desperate you can be. I know this is extreme, but if you dragged your new hunter through brush and brambles for a mile or so to get to the perfect spot, and they're starting to complain up a storm, this might be the only way to get their mouth closed.

Next time, let them bring their book

It's okay if your friends or family don't love hunting as much as you do. They still cared enough about you to come out there with you. If they're still willing to come sit in the morning mist with you for hours on end in the freezing cold, let them do it their way. As long as they aren't scaring the game away, y'all can enjoy each other's company, and next time there will be less complaining.