This last week my wife and I had an opportunity to get some close friends that live out-of-town on the water. We had 2 small boats availible so we split up, My wife is a great angler and pretty good bass guide on the water we are on, she got me on some nice fish. So, I took the canoe and Mark. She took Matt, the boat with the motor. I LOVE being in a canoe. I was raised in a canoe, my uncle taught me fishing and lessons on life, memories came flooding back.
My uncle never had a son, so he took me out to fish, which worked out well because my dad never did this stuff with me. He took me out as much as he could. When I knew I was going to go fishing with him I always did extra chores and made sure I did the right things so I wouldn’t spoil the chance on getting out on the water. I will always remember what he taught me and will cherish those memories for as long as I live.
Some people say they hunt and fish, when they do go out I’ve noticed they have little experience or skill set to be successful. Yeah, they could be blessed to bag a nice animal or fish when they do go out, but don’t have the tools to maximize their potentenial.
I call them water coolers because they talk about hunting and fishing but do it very little. I am thankful for these people because there is power in numbers but why are they like this? I started to think long and hard why these people don’t have the same passion as me. Then I thought maybe nobody took the time to teach them the ropes to the outdoors.
In the realm of the outdoor circle it is the hip thing to do is to get new people in the outdoors, to be a mentor. This is a great responsibility. This isn’t a short pet project to feed your ego and make you feel good. You will sacrifice time away from your family and time for you to prepare for your own hunt. When you mentor it can be a life long process. Don’t give them the basics and send them on their way. This it might give us outdoorsman a bad name. They could pick up bad habits, get discouraged, or even maybe injure game, themselves or another person. This could be a good thing for the person doing the teaching also, going over the basics can remind them of some things that they forgot on the never-ending quest of learning the outdoors.
I have no kids but I try to inspire people to get out in the outdoors. A few years ago I helped my friend get more involved in the outdoors, took him out and shown him the ins and outs of what I do, we started a good 6 months before we even stepped in the woods to hunt. He hunted deer before but never got a deer, and was never taught how to prepare for the hunt and the aspects of it. He basically sat in the woods and hoped for the best. When we did go hunting he was at the prime location to get a deer, putting myself in an alternate location. I did this so he had the maximum opportunity give him success. After the hunt I was always in his ear about what and why we did what we did, he also asked a ton of questions.
A couple of years later I got a call on November 20th, he got a deer, a nice 8 point and didn’t know how to gut the deer. I had always planned on showing him but never got the chance so I sat on the phone and went throw on how to dress a deer. It was a little frustrating to try to explain the process over the phone but we did it, laughing and learning together. In the end, I don’t know who was more happy me or him. I know he is ready to be on his own, but I will always be here for him.
If you want to take on the responsiblity of mentoring be prepared to sacrifice your “my time” that you would spend in the woods or water. Teach them everything, guide them like you would a child. Don’t do the Reader’s Digest version, take the War and Peace road. If you do this it will be better for them and the game they are after.
If you’re going to do something do it right. Do it for the right reasons, do it for them, not your ego.
Oh, about the fishing trip, yeah we kicked them in the pants, to my wife’s credit Mark is a better angler than Matt. We had a good time, that is what it is all about.
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Matt … great post. I believe you are right. The outdoor skills tend to be passed on through mentors or families to the next generation. These are skills that are being forgotten in our society. My father passed on the love of hunting and fishing to me, and I’m also passing this on to my son.
I was also in scouting for about 7 years and would like to give a shout out to that organization. That is also an excellent way to get involved with the younger generation and pass on what you know. The outdoors can become one of the greatest classrooms. Not only do you learn about woodmanship, but you learn a lot of life skills that carry into your work ethic, leadership skills and family life.
Thanks for sharing!