My father used to hunt when he was a kid. My grandfather was an avid shooter, both in competition (CMP High Power M1 Garand) and as a hunter. He passed away before I had a chance to know him. My mother was so anti-gun I wasn’t allowed to have squirt guns growing up. Since I started shooting, my father has started sharing hunting stories from his youth. But I get the feeling that he tries to keep the best ones tucked away so as not to annoy my mother. And so a family tradition of hunting abruptly ended before I came along . . .

I’m now in my mid-twenties. I’ve only shot paper targets. Not because I don’t want to go hunting. I do. But I’ve never had someone to teach me the ropes. With target shooting there are set facilities where you go and practice. The learning curve is nice and gentle. Hunting seems to have a much steeper learning curve and hunter education classes apper to stop short of teaching you the tricks of the trade.

What I needed was a guide, someone to help me figure out what I needed and how to get out there and make those first kills. I needed Tyler Kee.

Tyler has graciously invited me down to Texas to stay at his ranch and teach me how to hunt, and The Boss (RF) has taken care of the logistics. I’ll be flying down to Texas in December to take my first shots at a live target and I’ll be blogging about the entire experience, starting (this week) with hunter education courses and firearms choice. Hopefully my experience will help some of you who have been on the fence about hunting to get started, and it will give us one more person on staff who can post articles about hunting.

Stay tuned.

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24 Responses to The First Time Hunter: A New TTAG Series

  1. Hal-le frickin’ lu-jah.

    I’m smack dab in the middle of “Gun Culture 2.)”, and transitioning back to hunting, aka Gun Culture 1.0 is almost impossible. Glad to see someone’s helping out, and I’ll be ready this series with GREAT interest.

  2. When I was just a wee lad, I used to hunt and enjoyed it. What I didn’t enjoy was butchering the game. Fortunately, the neighborhood butcher was happy to pitch in for a share of the meat.

    Nowadays, I do most of my hunting in bars. Nick and Tyler are welcome to join me any time they want. I recommend a fly-in trip to New York City. It’s less messy than being in the woods and not as cold, but it might be way more dangerous. And please, no jokes about the racks, okay? That would be just tacky.

  3. It’ll be interesting, hunting and reading of your experience.

    Nobody in my family hunted and I always had an itch to give it a shot. Some years ago moved to a rural area and a lot of hunting goes on here. Finally at over twice your age started hunting three years ago.

    Can’t wait till next Saturday, Nov.12 for the beginning of pheasant season.

  4. Great news! Mr Kee has been putting out great hunting posts. It will great to have a protege of his writing as well.

  5. Welcome,

    You are about to enter a world that is hard to describe. You will either be in out. You are a hunter or not. It is like being a parent. Until you have a child, you won’t understand.

    I wish you the best. If it clicks, it will be an addiction unlike any other.

  6. I’ve always thought about getting into hunting; but upon the basis of a few unfortunate incidents with my car, I’ve come to the conclusion that animals look far worse on the inside.

    Yeah, that pretty much keeps from hunting. I’d enjoy traipsing through the woods, and sighting in gun(s), and lying to my buddies about “the one that got away”; but in my head it kinda goes downhill once the trigger gets pulled.

    But this could be an interesting series. Will have to read.

  7. I’m looking forward to this series, Nick.

    If Mexico weren’t so darn dangerous, I’d recommend a side-trip south of the border – Nuevo Laredo used to be a great place to visit.

    In any event, Welcome to Texas.

  8. I’m in pretty much the same boat s you Nick. Never got to go hunting as a kid, but always wanted to…hopefully this series can serve as a point of entry for other folks who just don’t know how to get into the world of hunting. I’m greatly looking forward to reading the series

  9. Looking forward to reading your stories. I had a cousin who hunted with a bow. I’ve never hunted but have certainly wanted to give it a go. Good luck.

  10. Nick, good luck afield from a fellow that has been blessed to be able to hunt for 40 years. Being out spending time in God’s creation is what its all about.

  11. Here’s something you must do.

    You must eat a meal of lightly grilled venison backstrap that was walking around earlier that same day or only the day before.

    It is so easy to overcook venison. It is so lean and delicate compared to beef. But slice that fresh backstrap into some steaks, grill over a wood fire, and enjoy with a fresh salad or maybe a baked potato, and if you partake, a nice red wine.

    And with every bite you take, reflect on a moment that it is meat that you, yourself sought out, killed, and prepared, that lived wild and free, that is made out of the landscape where you killed it.

    That this animal wasn’t butchered anonymously in a commercial slaughterhouse somewhere by somebody, wasn’t led helplessly to its demise down a system of metal gates and chutes, but was hunted, fairly, in its own native environment where it had all the advantages of speed, agility, superior sense of smell, and all the awareness that wild prey animals must have to simply remain alive.

    Mmmmmmm…………..

    And the side pieces, and chunks of meat that come off the neck and farther down the legs? Those make the best stew or chili in the world. Don’t let any edible part of this magnificent creature go to waste. Eat it all.

    One bite of fresh venison, properly prepared, and you will immediately understand mountain lions a lot better.

  12. I’ll be interested to see how this turns out also. I never got to go hunting as a kid, now my son (12) and I have gotten licenses, rifles, shotguns, books, etc. It’s hard to get into as an adult, especially in a state I didn’t grow up in.

  13. Sorry, but I don’t understand the appeal of hunting. Sure, if I needed the food I’d have no problem killing an animal, just like if it was for self defense I’d have no problem killing a person if it was necessary. However, killing an animal just for fun rubs me the wrong way.

    • I personally want to hunt to feel more connected to my food. I read omnivore’s dilemma, and it completely changed the way I look at eating…after that I was totally hooked on the idea of eating a meal that was gathered, grown, or hunted entirely by me.

      It seems that it would be a lot harder to waste food if you had to look a beast in the eye and take it’s life yourself

      • “It seems that it would be a lot harder to waste food if you had to look a beast in the eye and take it’s life yourself”

        Not only that but the respect to life.

        My wife hates that I took up hunting, but she has no problem buying dead animal meat wrapped up in the grocery store. How much respect can a person who never killed an animal for food when the closest to nirvana is a Big Mac?

        Paying someone else to kill your sirloin is somehow more morally superior to obtaining ones own meat.

  14. All I can say is, “Thank God for uncles (and one aunt).” My dad stopped hunting when I was about two or three, but thankfully they still did, and led me down the best road.

  15. I just helped with a commercial small farm turkey slaughter and it was enlightening to see where and how our food comes in to the freezer aisle.

    I am signed up to go for my first quail hunt some time this winter.

    Looking forward to your reports.

  16. Like others here, I always wanted to hunt as a kid. Dad was in the Navy and was out to sea a LOT. Mom was terrified of guns. The cousins I had that did hunt made me nervous in the way they handled their weapons.

    In my adult years I have grown fond of firearms. As a child and teen I always wanted to shoot, but the aforementioned mother issue, made it impossible. I practice at least once a month…every weekend if finances allow. I never shot more than paper targets and wondered how I would feel about taking a life, even if I knew it would put food on the table.

    Now at 35 I have started my first season. A longtime friend agreed to mentor me after I decided that I finally wanted to give it a go. The thing that finally sucked me into it was having my first few wild meats. Boar, deer, gator, and goose. Once I tasted what “real” meat was, I swore I would never eat grocer trash as long as I can avoid it.

    Here in SC we can do a lot that other areas of the country will not allow. Our season is August 15th till January 1st. We can bait our deer. We can hunt with (almost) any weapon we choose. The deer here are small, but there are so many of them.

    My mentor is a home builder and has connections with a few local land owners. He secured rights to hunt in a few different areas. Through the summer we picked the trees that gave us the best vantage and cleared away anything that might ruin a shot, and set up feeders and cob piles. The amount of sweat and time I put into hunting (not to mention money for gear) was immense. Most of the investment is a one time purchase, so next season will be much better financially.

    My first kill was on October 8th. 150lb doe. After weeks of sitting in a climber stand I finally cut the ribbon on my new favorite past time. I have been working on calls, scents, positioning (repositioning after scouting missed opportunities), and most of all…enjoying being outdoors. Without a doubt, this has been the best therapy I could ever ask for. I am more at peace when the stress levels rise. I have a profound respect for my ancestors and how they managed to survive.

    I have begun forming opinions on different styles of hunting. Dog hunting gets the least respect from me. I cannot fathom what is so great about scaring the hell out of your prey before you kill it. Still hunting is a test of planning, patience, and perseverance. I find this to be the most enjoyable so far. I have not hunted large enough areas to really “stalk” a deer. This seems to be an especially skilled form of hunting. I still have many years to go before I can elaborate any deeper.

    IMHO hunting wakes up a part of your brain that has been repressed by society in recent decades. You get a sense of how we as a species fit into the natural order of things. We are predators, born with our eyes forward. Embrace it, but respect it in the same turn.

    My writing skills are lacking or I would articulate my take on this amazing experience better.

    I wish you the best on your trip and will be awaiting the news of your experience.

  17. I have been blessed to be born into a family that has been hunting for as many generations as can be remembered. But, dont stop at just the four-legged game. Be sure to try out wing shooting as well. There is no way to describe the sight of having a group of 15-20 mallards cyclone into your spread, wings flared and feet shining bright orange, out stretched to the water. The thrill of having 30-40 teal buzz your decoys a foot off the water. The sound of your heartbeat in your ears as that ole Tom in full strut steps out from behind that pine in his full glory. Or even the simple things like seeing a sunrise spread above the horizon, its rays reflected by both the water and the clouds above it. All things that everyone no matter age or affiliation should be able to experience. God bless you for trying this ages old profession and those around you for giving you the oppurtunity to experience it.

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