You will hear a lot about how hunting numbers are decreasing, but there are still many people out there who would like to take up hunting, they’re just not sure how. To get healthier and more ethically-sourced protein, to become more independent from the food supply chain, to maintain an old family tradition, or simply because you feel the ancient instinct awaken inside of you, whatever is your personal reason to become a hunter, this post has a few tips on what to begin with.
1. Find the right attitude
Let’s make a couple of assumptions here. Statistically, you’re probably a middle-class professional from an urbanized place, such as New York, just bordering in age from “young” to “new young”. This is the group of people that usually struggle when they want to take up hunting, regardless of whether you’ve gone hunting as a kid but then sort of dropped out, or have zero hunting experience whatsoever.
You’re a successful professional, who’s spent the last ten to twenty years developing a career, and building a strong, healthy family. You’ve got an impressive resume, you’re used to knowing how everything’s done, you’re not used to feeling helpless and incompetent. But there you are: all alone, and fully aware of your lack of knowledge and skills. You don’t know where to go. You don’t know what to hunt. You don’t know how to set up a blind or tree stand, how to shoot, whether you need this or that kind of weapon. It’s like being a newborn, and in fact it’s this feeling of helplessness and insecurity that stops more people from taking up hunting in the middle age than anything else.
The good news is that it is normal. Let’s just slightly change the accents – let’s call it humility. If you don’t know already why humbleness is a virtue and pride is a sin, you’ll quickly understand it as you hunt. No matter how many miles you’ve covered, how many continents you’ve been to, and how many animals you’ve harvested, Nature will find a way to show you that you’re not God-by-Proxy. You’re only a tiny part of the general circle of life; you will have to lay down your pride and play by the rules. And the rules are you can’t always win. In fact, most of the time, you’ve got to lose. Hunting is about learning, all the time, and every moment of it. And those who believe they know it all will never learn.
So, it’s all right to know nothing. Go into the wild and wide world of hunting humbly, recognizing your limits, and don’t be ashamed to admit it, to yourself and to others. You will find an understanding audience in any true hunter.