As more baby boomers get older and leave hunting, wildlife managers are calling on experienced hunters to become mentors. The goal is to teach new and inexperienced hunters (young and old) the finer points of small and big game, hoping they become lifelong hunters. How you mentor is more important than being a mentor. The best mentor focuses on the pupil’s needs and makes a commitment to him or her beyond a single day afield. Think about how nervous you were, and how little you knew, when you started hunting. Hunting can be intimidating and, for the novice, has a substantial learning curve. Consider adopting a new hunter for an entire hunting season, which will likely be as rewarding for you as for your pupil. Wise mentors limit expectations and assure students that frustration (missing a shot, etc.) is just part of hunting and no big deal. The best mentors provide a nurturing (and fun) learning environment, encourage questions, and are patient teachers.

Tori McCormick