How A New Hunter Changed My Perspective On Hunting – Part One
Welcome to part one of our dual-perspective hunting series. I will be writing from the perspective of a experienced hunter, and my co-worker will be writing from the stand point of the new hunter. We will both be writing about similar aspects of the hunt and how that particular part of the hunting experience affected us. We hope to highlight some of the major differences between seasoned hunters and those new to the sport, so that everyone has a new and exciting look into how different, yet how similar, hunting experiences will be.
I have been in the woods as long as I can remember, riding horses, hunting for mushrooms with Grandpa, and just playing on downed trees. I can’t remember a time in my life when I was not outside. When I was 8 years old I started hunting with my dad and grandpa (my first experience can be found here). I have always had a passion for the outdoors and loved to share my enthusiasm. Many people have spent long hours in the woods with me sharing their passion for the outdoors and educating me growing up, and therefore I jump at any opportunity to share my passion with others!
I was ecstatic and scared to death when Courtney my co-worker and awesome friend shared that she was interested in deer hunting this year! I had listened to her stories of her fruitless hunts and was amped to say the least to get her in the woods and get her adrenaline pumping when a white-tailed deer walked into a shooting path! What I did not expect was this to be such a stressful (in a good way), and hardest hunt to date I have ever had. I had such high hopes of getting her a deer and making sure everything was perfect for her first hunt!
I had taken other guys into the woods for the first time, but the excitement Courtney had was so different than any other hunter I have ever taken out. I asked her and Steve (her Fiancé) to meet me at my house the week prior so they could get the lay of the woods and so we could set out our ground blind we would be using for the week. I remember them pulling in and me sitting on the front porch with the Primos ground blind in my lap so excited to show them where we would be hunting from! I started in on how the deer where moving, when they were moving, and how the weather should hold out for us Monday morning.
I normally overlook our small 7 acre wood lot, and head south to Licking County to hunt on one of my grandparents farms (both over 30 acres) that are always teeming with deer. But due to life (aka. Work) neither of us could take the time to drive and hunt in my favorite spots. I was nervous that we wouldn’t see anything but I had been riding through our woods pretty often looking at sign and seeing lots of deer…. There was a good chance that during gun season the deer would be coming to the feed in the freshly harvested bean field on the west side of our woods.
I walked quickly and in my Carrhart bibs didn’t think twice of the briars I was cutting through, as I looked back both Courtney and Steve where sidestepping the briar patches and watching their steps. I slowed for them and apologized it was second nature for me to trudge through the woods. I showed them both some fresh rubs and explained how big I thought the deer was in relation to the rub and in which direction the buck was heading when he made it. The smile and expression on Courtney’s face lit me up, she reminded me so much of me at a younger age and how excited I was to spot a rub before my grandpa and tell him all of the info I had just shared with her so he would know I was paying attention. Those are priceless little moments and ones I will never forget!
As we got to the edge of the woods where I wanted to set the blind I explained the patterns of the deer thus far this season but tried to stress how these patterns might go out the window during shotgun season. We found a spot set the blind, and headed to the local The Silver Dollar Sportsman’s Club to sight in Courtney’s gun she had borrowed from our boss. I had the same gun and was excited for her to try the Savage 220.
When we got to the range, it became apparent the gun felt awkward to her. It could have been using the hood of my truck as a rest, the slick mud under her feet, Steve and I watching with anticipation, or the fact that she had never shot a slug gun before, but after the first box of shells and the patterning not getting any better I stepped in. I told her about her breathing, showed her a different way of holding the gun, and shot it twice to help get it sighted in faster. By the end of the second box she was shooting on target and getting comfortable! I felt confident in her shooting ability and that the gun was sighted in correctly. We were ready for opening morning!