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A Project for 2012

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December 28, 2011

A Project for 2012

By David E. Petzal

A little while back I spent an hour at the range helping a friend of mine mount a scope and get a rifle sighted in for his young son. Everything worked, and dad took the boy to Pennsylvania to hunt deer. As it turned out, they didn’t get one, but the father was nice enough to send me a photo of the kid in his stand, and the expression of joy on his face is unmistakable. I e-mailed my friend that whether or not his son goes on to be a serious hunter, that deer hunt will be pure gold for the rest of the boy’s life.

Small contributions like this can make a very big difference. If you are a hunter/shooter with some experience, there is a beginning hunter/shooter out there who can use your help. These are not easy sports to break into; there is an immense amount to learn. Questions lead to other questions, and the number of people who have the answers is shrinking.

Whatever I’ve gained from the shooting sports, I’ve gotten because someone invited me hunting, or gave me a pointer on how to shoot, or invited me into his shop to show me how guns work. I could never repay these people directly, but I’ve done so indirectly by trying to do for others what they did for me. You can do the same.

For 2012, help someone get started.

Have a Happy New Year.

Comments (47)

Top Rated
All Comments
from 007 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, this might be your best work yet, very well put. Well done, good hunting, and a blessed and happy new year to the Petzel clan.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Amen Dave.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

For one thing, this site helps pass around the knowledge that would otherwise be available to the select few.

I have a couple of nephews gearing up for the youth hunt in a week. I hope to pass along what little I know.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JCB wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Pay it forward.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Well done Dave. Pass it on X2.

Happy New Year to All the Gun Nuts.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from M1jhartman wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Outstanding post, Dave.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from critter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal-

I usually do not comment on your posts (but merely sit at my computer shrieking with mirth and causing my wife to cast strange glances in my direction and wonder why she didn't marry a banker) however I felt compelled to express my agreement with you on this post. I've always enjoyed your columns and have followed you since the Endangered Tradition" days. In my late 20's now, I'm getting to the point where I've actually learned a few things that I can pass on to new hunters and shooters, and it's becoming one of my favorite things to do. Sadly, very few of my generation had someone to mentor them in all things outdoors, and I feel immensely sorry for those who missed out. I fondly remember those who mentored me, and I hope someone will say the same of me someday.
On a separate note, you helped get me started in a love affair with the .338 Win. Mag (the Old Suzy Q). A better elk cartridge I have not found. Many thanks, and please keep up the wonderful writings.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from twoforks wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I guess I was a little early. I live in Colorado and was able to get a land owner tag for deer. Took me three years to get it. I gave it to my grandson and he got his first buck, a nice 4x4 mule deer. I hope this will just be the start of a long hunting life.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gman wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

A few years ago, we instituted a "young bucks" weekend the last weekend of deer season in our camp. My boy went when he was 5 and had a good time playing with the other kids around camp. Two years ago the snow was too deep for his little legs and we lit out for burgers with Grandma instead. This year, for the first time, he shouldered the old single-shot 22 bolt action, and hit four targets in a row.

But what really tickled me as his Dad was that he displayed a real sense of responsibility and knowledge that he had a serious tool in his hands. There aren't a lot of other occasions in his life that mandate that. These are powerful lessons, made all the more special because he's doing it in the same spot where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather learned the same things. Thanks for the reminder of what we owe the kids, Dave.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

My son text me a self-portrait of himself today of his first scope cut. It made me laugh out loud when I saw the blood trickle off the end of his nose. Moments later my frantic wife called on the office phone saying she was taking my son to the ER for stitches. Yes, precious moments like these are pure gold.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, a better project or resolution could not have been made.
Happy New Years to all.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, nice piece. I will do my best to pass it on. some of my best hunt's were with youngsters and their success.

Jeff, did he get the deer he was shooting at when he got the scope-bite?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I'd like to add that it's not just kids - adults need our help too, so if you know an adult who's interested in hunting, please reach out. They're not as cute as kids, but on the plus side, you can have a beer with 'em after the hunt's over :-).

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I took one of our family friend's teenage son duck hunting a couple of years ago. That got the younger brother and dad into waterfowl hunting. Now they hunt more than I do and the older son, now a freshman in college, is bringing some of his cronies into shooting sports and hunting. Just shows that a little give-back can pay huge dividends! BTW, the black dawg got my four light geese today, one retrieve was a double.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Steve, He purchased a .308 for himself. I supplied the scope and rings. I warned him about proper eye relief but he didn't listen. It was his first shot while sighting in.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To give him a proper scar, give him a .300 Weatherby to sight in and call 911 first. LOL!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Probably the most important advice that you have given. One of the reasons fewer young people are joining our ranks is the result of the worst land use decision our generations, or any generations, have ever made is allowing the toxic spread of suburbia into the countryside. When I was child in the 30's, I lived in a pretty good sized town, but all I had to do was walk outside the city limits and I was immediately in the countryside, where I could roam and do whatever I wanted. No posted signs either. Few kids can do that these days, when one suburb joins yet another out into the horizon. I had no mentor, but the ease of escape into the natural world eventually led me into a lifelong hunting and fishing adventure. We deliberately made the decision to let our cities go to hell and allow productive countryside become covered with houses and all the crappy development that supports them. We are now paying the price into a cultural transformation away from hunting and the outdoors. I now know how fortunate a child I was. Sad to say, few hunters seem to have objected to this disaster or made any moves to prevent it. How sad and how stupid.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from nc30-06 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, I remember my "gold". It was my dad taking my brother and I squirrel hunting, letting us use his rifle and shotgun, and not having another for himself. He also took me deer hunting and had to borrow a rifle to use. Times I won't ever forget. He taught me so much.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Many people who I talk to that are interested but have never hunted have a picture in their mind of the reflexively right wing anti environmental redneck. Partially this attitude is abetted by the extremely partisan advocacy by the NRA on issues that have nothing to do with hunting, and partially this is abetted by you Dave in your columns with your silly comments about Obama and Pelosi.

It's no secret that the youth of the country trend to the left, do you really want to disuade half the population from taking up hunting Dave? Something to consider.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To All: Thank you for the kind words.

To critter: If you are now in your late 20s and you were reading F&S when I wrote "The Old Suzy Q," you must have started with the magazine when you were about the same age I was. Glad it did some good.

And you won't find a better elk cartridge than the .338.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I actually received a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas -- all is right with the world. My 12 year old daughter tried it in our back yard, and loved it! She may not ever join me deer hunting, but she learned that target shooting can be alot of fun. We'll see where this goes.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Excellent piece, DP. It's in the same club as Gene Hill's '80's Hill Country essay on how difficult it was to get young hunters. Bravo and Well Done!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Excellent advice and hopefully many follow it. I thoroughly enjoy getting my friends hooked on the outdoors. One of my closest friends recently had a child and his wife told him she wants him to be able to teach him outdoors type activities so he doesn't become a "sissy". I got a laugh out of that but I'm glad they both see the positive influence the outdoors can have and I have begun mentoring my friend on much of what I have learned (another late 20-something who has been outdoors since the day I could keep up on pheasant hunts). I gave him one of my old fishing rods, and one of my ice fishing rods. We will be getting a few trips in this winter and I plan on getting him into hunting next fall. He should be well versed by the time his 10 month old is old enough to get excited to hang out with Daddy in the outdoors.

This is one of many of my friends I have influenced to gain an interest in the great outdoors. I don't plan to quit anytime soon.

Belated Merry Christmas and Blessed New Years to all!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RipperIII wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, I'm 51, I started hunting and fishing at the ripe old age of 48.
I knew absolutely nothing about woodsmanship or marksmanship when I started.
I was an aged athlete who's outdoor ramblings were mainly golf.
I grew up in the city and had no opportunities to go hunting or fishing but I always had the desire to do so.
Let me tell those of you who grew up in the outdoors, it is a daunting proposition for a cityboy to jump into the mysterious world of hunting.
I've read dozens of books, watched boat loads of videos and shows, and have been an avid reader of F & S for the last 6-7 years in preparation for my new endeavor.
Nothing replaces the value of time in the woods with an experienced and knowledgeable hunter.
especially if that hunter/shooter is patient enough to handle the myriad of questions posed from the green horn who is genuinely interested in "learning" how to hunt, and not just interested in shooting something.
I have brought several guys just like me into this great adventure called hunting,...there are lots of older guys who have the desire but not the means.
It is a great experience to see the look in the eye, or the expression on the face or hear the wonderment in the story related by a new hunter.
Dave you helped me pick my first rifle...and I haven't looked back, Thanks.
I try to impart what little I know to anyone who'll give me a moment's time, be they kids, or old folks like me.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Seems that for the last 20 years of so I have always had a kid around to take hunting or shooting. A more memorable occassion for me was when I instructed a 12 year old how to manage a pair of 1911s in .45 ACP that I happened to have with me while traveling to a bird hunt. He wholeheartedly wanted to shoot the pistols. Amazingly enough I discovered that he rarely missed hitting pop cans at about 10-30 feet although it was the first time he had ever fired a handgun. A "natural" I suppose. He has hunted ever since although he is now away attending college in South Dakota on a football scholarship.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kristi Pena wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

This was a great piece Dave. I must tell you a little more than a year and a half ago I started dating an avid hunter. I had no clue how amazing it would turn out to be for me never having picked up a gun in my life. He took the time to go step by step and teach me all the details of each gun not to mention allowing me to try multiple rifles and successfully bag a trophy buck. The relationship is over now, but I hope to continue what I've leannlearning more and pass that on to my two boys.successbfuThis whole experience has given me a greater appreciation for the sport and wildlife conservation.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To Rock Rat: A lot of what I write is silly. But you've hit on something interesting. Could you quote me a few of my statements regarding Obama and Pelosi that are factually incorrect as opposed to merely silly?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I'd have to do a search through all your columns, and I'm off to work (finally) but in any case alienating millions isn't a great recruitment tool. I too am extremely interested in the advocacy of hunting, I want my kids to have the opportunity to hunt elk, and my kid's kids.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from DaleM wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Take a page from brother Bourjaily's book and help out with a 4-H Shooting Education program. Seeing the look on the face of the young shooter who achieves some success is all the reward you could ask for. The young shooters learn a LOT more than just shooting and safety. They learn responsibility, how to work with other people, how to deal with temporary setbacks. You get the idea. If there isn't a 4-H Shooting Education program in your area, start one.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

A La et Touche!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To Rock Rat: OK, let's leave it at this.

I think you'll find that, among NRA members, there is far more political diversity than you suspect.

Young people have always leaned left. However, once they find out that the Left is as full of s**t as any other political group, they swing to the center, or the right. Thus the flower children of the 60s now make up the Tea Party.

Hunters--whether they are NRA members or not--have been in the forefront of conservation since the movement began in the early 20th century. Men like Roosevelt and Hornaday are prime examples.

If I could persuade or dissuade millions of people about anything, I would make a hell of a lot more money than I presently do.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from damo450 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, this is great advice and a very honorable resolution indeed. I will try to make you proud. Also, I was wondering if you have an AR-15? Thanks!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kratch wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I took my 3 year old son out bow hunting with me this fall. Sat on the the ground beneath my tree stand, not expecting to see a thing. He was so excited just seeing tracks in the mud and watching me rattle, he still talks about it two months later. Will continue to do so every year until he can hunt on his own. I remember doing this same thing with my dad, and it really had a lasting affect on my love for hunting.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Rat crawl back under your rock on Backlash don.t pollute this too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Kudos Dave, and Happy New Year!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Tom Warner; Your comment sir is dead on. Where I hunted when I was 18 and could borrow my dad's dodge is now a mall. And not a very good one at that.

Urban sprawl. We as a society seem to go for short term profit at the expense of our future.

When the top soil is gone, what are we going to eat?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Rock Rodent thinks EVERYTHING that is not part of the liberal agenda is silly. If he is critical of what you say or do, you must be on the right track!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

In reading this post again I thought about something else. Agreed completely about getting folks started by taking a direct part, but we can also be supportive of others who are. Case in point, if you'll look at my pics, you'll see 8 year old Jesse learning to skin a bear. His dad brings him every chance and I've watched this kid go from just playing around to leading dogs and picking up a knife over the years and most all of us in the gang are totally supportive of him and do all we can to carry that out, ditto the other kids who come along. Teaching hunter safety has also opened my eyes to how many kids AND adults there are out there who have no idea why we do what we do, but they want to learn. I took my flintlock to the last class and the kids were really interested. I guess my point is, there's always something we can do if we just look around for it. Let's roll up our sleeves and get in the game, and DEP, ignore the Rat, he means well, even if he doesn't always know what he's talking about. (couldn't resist that one). Happy new year, all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Trapper Vic wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

My son was 9 when he took the hunter safty course. We still fish from a 1972 sea nymph w/ a 10 hp johnson. He has come a long way in 28 years. At 37 he has havested 4 BC bucks and is now training his 1st German short hair for pheasants. Part of the learning curve has been creating habitat on my 230 acre farm. prior to 2000 I had nerver seen a deer, pheasant or Quail on my property. I converted creek pasture to forest by planting 15000 trees and have also put in: cp 33 along fence rows, waterways, wind breaks and wetlands. If youth today are going to learn to enjoy hunting they must also learn the value of hard work for habitat. As a life member of Pheasants for ever, I try to participate in as many events as possible. We have a youth hunt in February for 50 kids 9 to 16. This includes a safty seminar by our game warden, a round of sporting clays and a pheasant hunt.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RandyMI wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I've always loved sharing the knowledge and insights with others----Instructed Hunter's Safety for several years. Anymore, I'm increasingly careful about who I reach out to to mentor because of the carry-over of responsibility. Whoever I've helped & guided becomes a friend and I sure don't need a 'friend' who goes off the deep end or does something really stupid... :-]

RandyMI

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Here it comes, I sort of agree with Rock Rat;

I don't give to the NRA either. And I am a believer in the 2nd amendment. I just think the NRA has gotten "out of scope" and well beyond their mandate. And thats what is part of the problem in American politics, what started as a great cause, became a business and then a racket. And I once was a member so I know what I am talking about.

Now if you think I don't put my money where my mouth is: I neither Elk hunt nor Turkey hunt; but I am a proud member of both RMEF and the NWTF. My money goes to buy and conserve land, not pay for more evil washington lobbyist,

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

RockySquirrel,

Thanks for your support of the RMEF and NWTF. On the NRA, your points are well taken that sometimes they are a bit over the political top, but extreme circumstances sometimes require extreme measures. Sort of like voting for the lesser of two evils when you don't really agree with either candidate's politics.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from etexan wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I could write an essay on this one but just one recollection ,,,or two. Dave once wrote an insightful article about the difficulty in choosing political affiliation because one espoused gun control and the other advocated completely commwercializing the environment. It points up our need to keep both "out of power". That is a hard balancibg act.

When I was big enough to tagalong, my beloved Dad, who loved to hunt (and loved me, too) began to take me with him when he went to the woods. I learned about responsibility, patience,selflessness life all sorts of things not to be learned anywhere else in the world. I was blessed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from spuddog wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I took my buddy out rabbit hunting for the first time the day after Christmas. I think he'll go again. I'll try to work in another trip before season ends. I try to get folks to go deer hunting with me. My son is at that age where he can't always make it and I have a real hard time finding someone that can go. I went alone this last season; completely alone - even the deer didn't show.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JamesD wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal I always enjoy your articles I think this one really lit it up and with the feedback you get I hope you will expand on this topic in future articles in this coming year. I hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy and prosperous New Year.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dleurquin wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I don't have a lot of memorable moments with my Dad, but the ones I do have were spent fishing with him on White Clay and Kelly Lake, and deer hunting in northeast Wisconsin. I can't thank him enough for the time he spent with me in a boat or in the woods. I hope my kids will have the same kind of memories of me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mh Ripon wrote 47 weeks 6 days ago

Great story about dear hunting. I think hunting is not a easy job. You guys did a challenging task.thanks for experience sharing.
Park City Fly Fishing

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

My son text me a self-portrait of himself today of his first scope cut. It made me laugh out loud when I saw the blood trickle off the end of his nose. Moments later my frantic wife called on the office phone saying she was taking my son to the ER for stitches. Yes, precious moments like these are pure gold.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To Rock Rat: OK, let's leave it at this.

I think you'll find that, among NRA members, there is far more political diversity than you suspect.

Young people have always leaned left. However, once they find out that the Left is as full of s**t as any other political group, they swing to the center, or the right. Thus the flower children of the 60s now make up the Tea Party.

Hunters--whether they are NRA members or not--have been in the forefront of conservation since the movement began in the early 20th century. Men like Roosevelt and Hornaday are prime examples.

If I could persuade or dissuade millions of people about anything, I would make a hell of a lot more money than I presently do.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, this might be your best work yet, very well put. Well done, good hunting, and a blessed and happy new year to the Petzel clan.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I'd like to add that it's not just kids - adults need our help too, so if you know an adult who's interested in hunting, please reach out. They're not as cute as kids, but on the plus side, you can have a beer with 'em after the hunt's over :-).

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To Rock Rat: A lot of what I write is silly. But you've hit on something interesting. Could you quote me a few of my statements regarding Obama and Pelosi that are factually incorrect as opposed to merely silly?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from critter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal-

I usually do not comment on your posts (but merely sit at my computer shrieking with mirth and causing my wife to cast strange glances in my direction and wonder why she didn't marry a banker) however I felt compelled to express my agreement with you on this post. I've always enjoyed your columns and have followed you since the Endangered Tradition" days. In my late 20's now, I'm getting to the point where I've actually learned a few things that I can pass on to new hunters and shooters, and it's becoming one of my favorite things to do. Sadly, very few of my generation had someone to mentor them in all things outdoors, and I feel immensely sorry for those who missed out. I fondly remember those who mentored me, and I hope someone will say the same of me someday.
On a separate note, you helped get me started in a love affair with the .338 Win. Mag (the Old Suzy Q). A better elk cartridge I have not found. Many thanks, and please keep up the wonderful writings.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Probably the most important advice that you have given. One of the reasons fewer young people are joining our ranks is the result of the worst land use decision our generations, or any generations, have ever made is allowing the toxic spread of suburbia into the countryside. When I was child in the 30's, I lived in a pretty good sized town, but all I had to do was walk outside the city limits and I was immediately in the countryside, where I could roam and do whatever I wanted. No posted signs either. Few kids can do that these days, when one suburb joins yet another out into the horizon. I had no mentor, but the ease of escape into the natural world eventually led me into a lifelong hunting and fishing adventure. We deliberately made the decision to let our cities go to hell and allow productive countryside become covered with houses and all the crappy development that supports them. We are now paying the price into a cultural transformation away from hunting and the outdoors. I now know how fortunate a child I was. Sad to say, few hunters seem to have objected to this disaster or made any moves to prevent it. How sad and how stupid.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from nc30-06 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, I remember my "gold". It was my dad taking my brother and I squirrel hunting, letting us use his rifle and shotgun, and not having another for himself. He also took me deer hunting and had to borrow a rifle to use. Times I won't ever forget. He taught me so much.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kristi Pena wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

This was a great piece Dave. I must tell you a little more than a year and a half ago I started dating an avid hunter. I had no clue how amazing it would turn out to be for me never having picked up a gun in my life. He took the time to go step by step and teach me all the details of each gun not to mention allowing me to try multiple rifles and successfully bag a trophy buck. The relationship is over now, but I hope to continue what I've leannlearning more and pass that on to my two boys.successbfuThis whole experience has given me a greater appreciation for the sport and wildlife conservation.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Amen Dave.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

For one thing, this site helps pass around the knowledge that would otherwise be available to the select few.

I have a couple of nephews gearing up for the youth hunt in a week. I hope to pass along what little I know.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JCB wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Pay it forward.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from twoforks wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I guess I was a little early. I live in Colorado and was able to get a land owner tag for deer. Took me three years to get it. I gave it to my grandson and he got his first buck, a nice 4x4 mule deer. I hope this will just be the start of a long hunting life.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gman wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

A few years ago, we instituted a "young bucks" weekend the last weekend of deer season in our camp. My boy went when he was 5 and had a good time playing with the other kids around camp. Two years ago the snow was too deep for his little legs and we lit out for burgers with Grandma instead. This year, for the first time, he shouldered the old single-shot 22 bolt action, and hit four targets in a row.

But what really tickled me as his Dad was that he displayed a real sense of responsibility and knowledge that he had a serious tool in his hands. There aren't a lot of other occasions in his life that mandate that. These are powerful lessons, made all the more special because he's doing it in the same spot where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather learned the same things. Thanks for the reminder of what we owe the kids, Dave.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, a better project or resolution could not have been made.
Happy New Years to all.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I took one of our family friend's teenage son duck hunting a couple of years ago. That got the younger brother and dad into waterfowl hunting. Now they hunt more than I do and the older son, now a freshman in college, is bringing some of his cronies into shooting sports and hunting. Just shows that a little give-back can pay huge dividends! BTW, the black dawg got my four light geese today, one retrieve was a double.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Steve, He purchased a .308 for himself. I supplied the scope and rings. I warned him about proper eye relief but he didn't listen. It was his first shot while sighting in.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I actually received a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas -- all is right with the world. My 12 year old daughter tried it in our back yard, and loved it! She may not ever join me deer hunting, but she learned that target shooting can be alot of fun. We'll see where this goes.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Excellent piece, DP. It's in the same club as Gene Hill's '80's Hill Country essay on how difficult it was to get young hunters. Bravo and Well Done!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Excellent advice and hopefully many follow it. I thoroughly enjoy getting my friends hooked on the outdoors. One of my closest friends recently had a child and his wife told him she wants him to be able to teach him outdoors type activities so he doesn't become a "sissy". I got a laugh out of that but I'm glad they both see the positive influence the outdoors can have and I have begun mentoring my friend on much of what I have learned (another late 20-something who has been outdoors since the day I could keep up on pheasant hunts). I gave him one of my old fishing rods, and one of my ice fishing rods. We will be getting a few trips in this winter and I plan on getting him into hunting next fall. He should be well versed by the time his 10 month old is old enough to get excited to hang out with Daddy in the outdoors.

This is one of many of my friends I have influenced to gain an interest in the great outdoors. I don't plan to quit anytime soon.

Belated Merry Christmas and Blessed New Years to all!

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from RipperIII wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, I'm 51, I started hunting and fishing at the ripe old age of 48.
I knew absolutely nothing about woodsmanship or marksmanship when I started.
I was an aged athlete who's outdoor ramblings were mainly golf.
I grew up in the city and had no opportunities to go hunting or fishing but I always had the desire to do so.
Let me tell those of you who grew up in the outdoors, it is a daunting proposition for a cityboy to jump into the mysterious world of hunting.
I've read dozens of books, watched boat loads of videos and shows, and have been an avid reader of F & S for the last 6-7 years in preparation for my new endeavor.
Nothing replaces the value of time in the woods with an experienced and knowledgeable hunter.
especially if that hunter/shooter is patient enough to handle the myriad of questions posed from the green horn who is genuinely interested in "learning" how to hunt, and not just interested in shooting something.
I have brought several guys just like me into this great adventure called hunting,...there are lots of older guys who have the desire but not the means.
It is a great experience to see the look in the eye, or the expression on the face or hear the wonderment in the story related by a new hunter.
Dave you helped me pick my first rifle...and I haven't looked back, Thanks.
I try to impart what little I know to anyone who'll give me a moment's time, be they kids, or old folks like me.

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from DaleM wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Take a page from brother Bourjaily's book and help out with a 4-H Shooting Education program. Seeing the look on the face of the young shooter who achieves some success is all the reward you could ask for. The young shooters learn a LOT more than just shooting and safety. They learn responsibility, how to work with other people, how to deal with temporary setbacks. You get the idea. If there isn't a 4-H Shooting Education program in your area, start one.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Rat crawl back under your rock on Backlash don.t pollute this too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Kudos Dave, and Happy New Year!

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from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Tom Warner; Your comment sir is dead on. Where I hunted when I was 18 and could borrow my dad's dodge is now a mall. And not a very good one at that.

Urban sprawl. We as a society seem to go for short term profit at the expense of our future.

When the top soil is gone, what are we going to eat?

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from Trapper Vic wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

My son was 9 when he took the hunter safty course. We still fish from a 1972 sea nymph w/ a 10 hp johnson. He has come a long way in 28 years. At 37 he has havested 4 BC bucks and is now training his 1st German short hair for pheasants. Part of the learning curve has been creating habitat on my 230 acre farm. prior to 2000 I had nerver seen a deer, pheasant or Quail on my property. I converted creek pasture to forest by planting 15000 trees and have also put in: cp 33 along fence rows, waterways, wind breaks and wetlands. If youth today are going to learn to enjoy hunting they must also learn the value of hard work for habitat. As a life member of Pheasants for ever, I try to participate in as many events as possible. We have a youth hunt in February for 50 kids 9 to 16. This includes a safty seminar by our game warden, a round of sporting clays and a pheasant hunt.

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from PbHead wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Well done Dave. Pass it on X2.

Happy New Year to All the Gun Nuts.

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from M1jhartman wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Outstanding post, Dave.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, nice piece. I will do my best to pass it on. some of my best hunt's were with youngsters and their success.

Jeff, did he get the deer he was shooting at when he got the scope-bite?

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To All: Thank you for the kind words.

To critter: If you are now in your late 20s and you were reading F&S when I wrote "The Old Suzy Q," you must have started with the magazine when you were about the same age I was. Glad it did some good.

And you won't find a better elk cartridge than the .338.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Seems that for the last 20 years of so I have always had a kid around to take hunting or shooting. A more memorable occassion for me was when I instructed a 12 year old how to manage a pair of 1911s in .45 ACP that I happened to have with me while traveling to a bird hunt. He wholeheartedly wanted to shoot the pistols. Amazingly enough I discovered that he rarely missed hitting pop cans at about 10-30 feet although it was the first time he had ever fired a handgun. A "natural" I suppose. He has hunted ever since although he is now away attending college in South Dakota on a football scholarship.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

A La et Touche!!!

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from damo450 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, this is great advice and a very honorable resolution indeed. I will try to make you proud. Also, I was wondering if you have an AR-15? Thanks!

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from kratch wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I took my 3 year old son out bow hunting with me this fall. Sat on the the ground beneath my tree stand, not expecting to see a thing. He was so excited just seeing tracks in the mud and watching me rattle, he still talks about it two months later. Will continue to do so every year until he can hunt on his own. I remember doing this same thing with my dad, and it really had a lasting affect on my love for hunting.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Rock Rodent thinks EVERYTHING that is not part of the liberal agenda is silly. If he is critical of what you say or do, you must be on the right track!

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from 007 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

In reading this post again I thought about something else. Agreed completely about getting folks started by taking a direct part, but we can also be supportive of others who are. Case in point, if you'll look at my pics, you'll see 8 year old Jesse learning to skin a bear. His dad brings him every chance and I've watched this kid go from just playing around to leading dogs and picking up a knife over the years and most all of us in the gang are totally supportive of him and do all we can to carry that out, ditto the other kids who come along. Teaching hunter safety has also opened my eyes to how many kids AND adults there are out there who have no idea why we do what we do, but they want to learn. I took my flintlock to the last class and the kids were really interested. I guess my point is, there's always something we can do if we just look around for it. Let's roll up our sleeves and get in the game, and DEP, ignore the Rat, he means well, even if he doesn't always know what he's talking about. (couldn't resist that one). Happy new year, all.

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from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Here it comes, I sort of agree with Rock Rat;

I don't give to the NRA either. And I am a believer in the 2nd amendment. I just think the NRA has gotten "out of scope" and well beyond their mandate. And thats what is part of the problem in American politics, what started as a great cause, became a business and then a racket. And I once was a member so I know what I am talking about.

Now if you think I don't put my money where my mouth is: I neither Elk hunt nor Turkey hunt; but I am a proud member of both RMEF and the NWTF. My money goes to buy and conserve land, not pay for more evil washington lobbyist,

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

RockySquirrel,

Thanks for your support of the RMEF and NWTF. On the NRA, your points are well taken that sometimes they are a bit over the political top, but extreme circumstances sometimes require extreme measures. Sort of like voting for the lesser of two evils when you don't really agree with either candidate's politics.

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from etexan wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I could write an essay on this one but just one recollection ,,,or two. Dave once wrote an insightful article about the difficulty in choosing political affiliation because one espoused gun control and the other advocated completely commwercializing the environment. It points up our need to keep both "out of power". That is a hard balancibg act.

When I was big enough to tagalong, my beloved Dad, who loved to hunt (and loved me, too) began to take me with him when he went to the woods. I learned about responsibility, patience,selflessness life all sorts of things not to be learned anywhere else in the world. I was blessed.

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from spuddog wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I took my buddy out rabbit hunting for the first time the day after Christmas. I think he'll go again. I'll try to work in another trip before season ends. I try to get folks to go deer hunting with me. My son is at that age where he can't always make it and I have a real hard time finding someone that can go. I went alone this last season; completely alone - even the deer didn't show.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

To give him a proper scar, give him a .300 Weatherby to sight in and call 911 first. LOL!

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Many people who I talk to that are interested but have never hunted have a picture in their mind of the reflexively right wing anti environmental redneck. Partially this attitude is abetted by the extremely partisan advocacy by the NRA on issues that have nothing to do with hunting, and partially this is abetted by you Dave in your columns with your silly comments about Obama and Pelosi.

It's no secret that the youth of the country trend to the left, do you really want to disuade half the population from taking up hunting Dave? Something to consider.

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from RandyMI wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I've always loved sharing the knowledge and insights with others----Instructed Hunter's Safety for several years. Anymore, I'm increasingly careful about who I reach out to to mentor because of the carry-over of responsibility. Whoever I've helped & guided becomes a friend and I sure don't need a 'friend' who goes off the deep end or does something really stupid... :-]

RandyMI

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from JamesD wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal I always enjoy your articles I think this one really lit it up and with the feedback you get I hope you will expand on this topic in future articles in this coming year. I hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy and prosperous New Year.

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from dleurquin wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

I don't have a lot of memorable moments with my Dad, but the ones I do have were spent fishing with him on White Clay and Kelly Lake, and deer hunting in northeast Wisconsin. I can't thank him enough for the time he spent with me in a boat or in the woods. I hope my kids will have the same kind of memories of me.

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from Mh Ripon wrote 47 weeks 6 days ago

Great story about dear hunting. I think hunting is not a easy job. You guys did a challenging task.thanks for experience sharing.
Park City Fly Fishing

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I'd have to do a search through all your columns, and I'm off to work (finally) but in any case alienating millions isn't a great recruitment tool. I too am extremely interested in the advocacy of hunting, I want my kids to have the opportunity to hunt elk, and my kid's kids.

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