The mentor

Published 9:12 am Friday, October 8, 2010

No matter how much we try to convince everyone that we were born with the natural ability to hunt and fish, we have all had at least one mentor, someone who cared to teach us the right way to be successful.

These mentors shared their time, resources, skills and knowledge. They didn’t pile it all on a table and say “here is everything you need to know about hunting and fishing.” It was given to us a little at a time.

They helped us develop the skills that make us who we are today. Occasionally, they would take us back and review a skill when needed. Usually, they were a member of our immediate family because, let’s face it, some of these skills are so protected that only family members are entitled to them.

My grandfather was my mentor. He would work a double shift and still make it to our house in the morning to take me hunting or fishing. He would have Grandma fix us both a lunch in Grandpa’s fashion with homemade bread, a piece of fruit and a snack of some sort, usually a bag of sugar cookies or something else made by Grandma’s hands.

We would take to the field, and he would rig my line, bait my hooks, cast and tell me when to reel, but I caught the fish! He would get so mad that he wasn’t catching anything, and I was getting all the fish. It was a huge day when I was allowed to navigate the boat for the first time. I have never been so proud.

When it was time for me to start learning to hunt, it was essentially the same routine. Work, wake up, lunch, but I was responsible for my own firearm although he was watching pretty close.

During deer season, we would go to camp. We’d play cards late into the night, drinking so much sugar it is amazing I got any sleep at all. I still have trouble sleeping the night before a big hunt.

When the alarm went off in the morning, the two of us were always the first up, the first out and usually the most successful too. I’m not sure who was more proud the day I harvested my first buck.

My grandfather passed a while back.

It is now my turn to be a mentor. I have passed my skills on to one son, and he is now a man with more skills than me.

I have two more sons, who seem to have the love I have for the sport, and I am still working with them. I was there when they were successful as well as when they had lessons to learn the hard way.