Participants go deer hunting

The culmination of most learn-to-deer-hunt programs is an actual deer hunt. In most cases, the hunt last two days, over a weekend, but this is highly variable depending on the program. In some situations, multiple hunting opportunities are provided.

The hunt should be designed as a learning experience that continues to add to the lessons learned during the classroom and field experiences. It is an opportunity for the participants to bring all of the lessons into focus and apply them in a real hunting situation.

It should be more than a “guided hunt.” The participants should participate in making decisions under a watchful eye of their mentor/guide. The role of the mentor/guide is to assist participants in making decisions, offer suggestions, and ensure that it is a safe experience.

Because the participants will not likely come from a hunting culture, they will likely need additional coaching and support. This may mean calming them down or reducing their anxiety.

Ample time should be allocated to answer questions and provide explanations on items to consider as situations arise. Above all it should be a low-pressure, fun experience where the outcome is measured in continued learning, and not in the number of deer taken.

These outcomes should be clearly communicated to both the participants and mentors/guides as part of the pre-hunt orientation.  

Resources

Mule Deer Hunting Mistakes: Our First Season

It all started at the dinner table. Nick's aunt and uncle's dinner table, to be more exact. It was the summer of 2013 and we were in the midst of an epic 3 week road trip. On our travels we had the chance to visit some of Nick's family members that live in more remote areas of the west.

About a day into our visit we finally got around to explaining to his aunt and uncle the finer details of our food ethics preferences. Offers to pull bighorn sheep and deer meat from the freezer quickly followed. Up to this point, Nick and I had been hunting small game only.

Coping with Hunting Failure

If I could give only one piece of advice to novice hunters, it would be this: Prepare for failure. This is not the most uplifting way to start an article, I know. No one likes to fail. Indeed, most hunting articles, including those I write, focus on how to be successful. But coming home empty handed is inevitable in the pursuit of wild game. Keeping your spirits up through the process of trial an error is a vital, though often unspoken aspect of learning to hunt.