Mentoring a young or even just a new hunter is the best way to pass on the sport and the best practices of the sport.
We’ve broken up the off-season preparations into a few categories.
First up, is SAFETY & LICENSING.
Now, during the off season, is the best time to start training and most importantly, encourage your mentee to get their hunting license. The tests usually take a few days to complete, so it’s better to do them in the off-time.
Each state will have their own tests, some online, some in person, so check your state outdoors website to learn how to take the test.
After your mentee gets their hunting license, you can start training them on handling weapons like guns and bows. It’s important to ensure that they fully understand the safety aspects and features of each weapon. For guns, it’s the safety button and ensuring that they’re fully unloaded when not shooting the weapon.
For bows, it can be about understanding the dangers of dry-firing (firing without an arrow in), practicing safety when others are around, and understanding the safety features of various releases.
Next, you’ll want to teach your mentee about STRATEGY.
You should begin with teaching your mentee how to start scouting the land and prepping the land, when applicable. If you have a private place to hunt, this can mean planting food plots, placing stands around the property, and scouting to see what animals you have on the property.
However, many hunters hunt on public land, and it’s important to begin teaching your mentee how to learn navigation tools, like OnX, to scout public land. When scouting, keep a log of what animals you see, and you’ll start to get an idea of what to expect in the fall and spring.
Be sure to teach your mentee hunting practices, like checking wind direction, keeping still, practicing firing while sitting, and ranging distances.
During the off-season, baby animals are being born and nurtured, so be wary of messing with or moving any nests, fawns, or other baby animals you see. The mother is always on the way back, and human scent can often deter the mother.
Finally, you should focus on EQUIPMENT.
Your mentee will need some basic equipment to get started. Namely, hunting clothes from head to toe—hat, neck gator, shirt, jacket, pants, and boots. To get started on a hunting outfit for your new hunter, check out the Mossy Oak Store.
Next, your mentee will need a weapon, a blind, a tree stand, binoculars, a range-finder, ammunition, calls (like a turkey call or grunt call), a backpack or pack, and smaller tools like knives and flashlights. Check out Mossy Oak’s Gear Drop page to see what’s available in Mossy Oak camouflage patterns.
Once you’ve covered safety and licensing, strategy, and equipment, your hunter should be ready come time. It’s best practice to go with your new hunter until they feel very comfortable on their own.