While spending 40 years in the outdoors hunting and fishing, and after being a guide off and on for some of those years, I have learned that not all things end well. Taking new hunters is the most important activity I have ever participated in. Most of the times, I remember successful outings of good lessons learned and happiness spread far and wide. However, one disappointing experience that I was a part of still haunts me to this day and I hope that someone can learn something from my recounting of it.
I had offered to take a young man hunting for his first deer which we were both hoping would be a legal buck in the state of Kansas. This young man was 14 years old and had grown up shooting BB guns and was the proud killer of three tom turkeys. He had the right temperament for putting the crosshairs on a deer, and he had a proven that he could mentally handle all of the tasks required for getting the job done to harvest his first buck. I had no worries and I had no doubt that I could make his first hunt a success.
Before we started the hunt, we checked his rifle that he would be hunting with and he was dead on at 100 yards. I had dedicated myself to making sure that he would not have to shoot farther that that distance so all was well. So far, I had a kid with hunting experience, a hunting mentality and a sighted in rifle. I was feeling good about the hunt as I knew we would be hunting out of a box blind that was comfortable and in a great deer area thanks to a great friend of mine who was very generous.
On the first day of the hunt, I noticed that the area that we hope to shoot a deer at had a very brushy and thickly forested backdrop. I did not think much about it, but during the first evening of hunting as it began to get dark, I noticed that seeing a dark deer body against a dark background was not the optimal situation that I wanted a young hunter in. I stubbornly kept us hunting instead of seeking out a better scenario for my young hunter. I had resigned myself into thinking that everything would work out just fine. It was an innocent assumption, but it was a mistake that I will never forget.
As I continue Part Two of this hunting story, I will share about a serious failing and young hunter going home both empty handed and confused.