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Making Plans and Making Friends

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As the next deer season continues to creep up on us, most of us are beginning to get outside a bit more.  Scouting out the mature bucks for sure, placing trail cameras and looking for signs from last year’s rut. Quite a few of us are going over our gear, checking to make sure things are as it should be.  Others still are making their lists and checking them twice, readying for a bit of shopping to replenish last year’s supplies; deer pee, Thermocell cartridges, nitrile gloves and such.

One other item needs to be recruited and prepped for the season as well and I hope you all will give this consideration; new hunting buddies.  Now, folks, I’m not at all saying that there’s anything wrong with your old hunting buddies. My goodness, I’ve got a few I haven’t missed a season within many, many years, but rather than us old-timers ganging up again with the same old stories, the same bad coffee, and genuine mutual respect…. invite along a millennial.

No really, not a joke, although it can be quite fun to help them learn all the skills most of us take for granted.  And come on, no one can really have too many hunting buddies, so let’s begin grooming some new ones now. Also, the younger crowd will be right handy to have around to help drag our deer and hogs back to the truck…. Just sayin’.

Mostly, it’s about the preservation of what we all love and passing that love along.  Everybody hears the message, “get the kids involved.” But, what about the kids that slipped through the cracks and never learned.  I firmly believe that these, now young adults, need the lessons learned from time spent in the outdoors more than ever. It teaches them patience, responsibility, accountability and a bit of reliability.  Also, it teaches them to think.

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The outdoors doesn’t tell you what to think, the way TV and video games do.  But rather, it challenges your intellect and encourages problem solving and strategy.  Not skills they’re likely to have encountered during their school years. So do them a favor and pass on an invitation.

Here is the dark truth we need to face as well; we hunters are an aging demographic.  All of the advances in wildlife conservation and land preservation will be lost without our ability to replenish our ranks.  If we are to preserve the heritage and traditions we so love, we’ve got to get off our butts and teach others to love it as we do.  So, how do we include them into our hunt camps?

The first thing we should do is ask.  That nice kid bagging your groceries, the young lady serving your coffee, the ones you see wandering the detergent aisle looking for Tide pods; take a second to engage them.  Try saying hello, introducing yourself and asking them if they hunt or fish. If the answer is no, straight away ask why not. If that answer is because they’ve no interest in it, so be it.  But, if the answer is because they just have never had the opportunity…. well, then offer that opportunity to them. It’s the right thing to do.   

I surely thank you for all of your input and as always, if you have any feedback, give me a shout at 

 [email protected].  God Bless and Good Hunting!

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Leslie Stein
Leslie Stein
Leslie Stein has over 35 years experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist working with neurologically impaired adults. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of South Florida in Speech Pathology.
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