November 26, 2012
Mentoring 101: Understanding the Risks
By Dave Hurteau
All hunters have something important to share, and never before has it been more important for us to share it--with our kids, the neighbor’s kids, our nieces and nephews, anyone who wants in. But before you commit to mentoring a new hunter, you should understand that there are certain inherent risks, especially when dealing with the young…and fit.
This summer I outfitted my nephew Jeremy with everything he’d need to hunt deer in the fall. I nagged him to get his hunter-safety certification and to buy his license and tags. I taught him to shoot, etc.
After an exciting bow season, in which he didn’t get anything but had some close encounters, he joined my brother-in-law Geoff and me for our annual Thanksgiving rifle hunt. He saw three deer but couldn’t get a shot. At the end of the day, he got a little turned around, so he called Geoff's cell phone and described where he was.
Geoff explained that he and I were standing in a large, swampy opening about 300 yards due straight east. Then we waited.
Ten minutes later, Jeremy called again, described where he was again, and Geoff explained that we were still about 300 yards away but now due straight south. And again, we waited. Meanwhile I started whistling and grunting loudly on a call, hoping Jer would hear me. Eventually, we spotted his blaze-orange hat bobbing above the alders maybe 50 yards away. We waved to him. He saw us. We motioned for him to come over. And then he disappeared.
We waited. And waited. And were at a complete loss when Geoff's phone rang again.
“Hey Uncle Geoff, it’s Jeremy.”
“What happened to you?” Geoff asked.
“Well, I heard some grunting and walked toward the sound thinking it was you guys. But when I got close, I realized it was two other hunters.”
“Really?” said Geoff. “Let me ask you: Were they a couple of old, fat guys?”
Jeremy thought about this, “Yeah…yeah they were. Do you know them?”
“Of course I know them!” Geoff barked. “It was us! Now get back over here!”