Thoughts for the Beginning Bird Hunter

Almost every hunter owes their initiation into the outdoors to another hunter. Passing on hunting to a new hunter is as traditional as hunting itself. We, as hunters, have an obligation to share our knowledge with others and helping out a fledgling outdoorsman is one of the great selfless acts that we can all afford to sacrifice. It only requires some spare time and a sincere desire to make a difference in a young hunter’s life. For setting up new bird hunters for success, you will need to cover a few bases.

Shotguns can be intimidating to new hunters. They are loud, long and sometimes heavy, but fitting a shotgun to a newbie is very important factor that can either keep a hunter interested or cause him/her to quit in discomfort. 

There are tons of youth-sized shotguns available now, but even adults need to make sure their shotgun fits well. The length-of-pull is the measurement from the back of the recoil pad to the trigger. If this measurement is too small, it could cause the shooter to extend the shotgun off of the shoulder which could allow a harsher than normal recoil. If the length-of-pull is too long, it can cause neck strain or get caught in the arm pit during the aiming process.

Selecting a lower gauge shotgun might not be a bad idea either for a new hunter, regardless of the hunter’s age or size. There is nothing wrong with starting with a .20 or .16 gauge shotgun before moving up to the popular .12 gauge models. Many birds have been taken with the even smaller .410 shotgun.

Besides the shotgun and a willing mentor, new hunters can benefit from other educational materials. There are hundreds of bird hunting and shooting shows on TV now, and there are many more DVD’s and older videos available that anyone can learn from. Watching videos or DVDs can educate and entertain while keeping a new hunter engaged and focused on the possibilities that hunting can offer. 

Another useful tool that is underrated is to attend local shooting contests or seminars. You will not only find like-minded individuals at these events, but you could find future hunting partners or contacts that you can trade hunting intel with in the future. Although hunting is an individual endeavor, all hunters share a common bond with each other.