Who taught you how to hunt, and when?

When I was 6 months old, an couple that lived by my parents started babysitting me. Mom and dad both worked, and it was convenient.

The short version is that my parents were both estranged from their parents = no influence from or access to real/biological grandparents. That couple that babysat me? They became my grandparents. By later elementary I was calling them grandma and grandpa. Much of my childhood, it was they that raised me.

Specific to your question, my grandpa taught me how to hunt, shoot, fish, and trap. He was a semi-retired mechanic (he had a small engine shop in his garage) and he had all the time in the world for me. For a kid interested in the outdoors? It was a pretty sweet set-up. Maybe the only story by Patrick McManus that ever brought tears to my eyes was 'The Theory and Application of Old Men" because it reminded me of my grandpa.

To this day, he was the best person I ever knew. I never once heard him raise his voice, and yet there was no one on this earth I was more afraid of letting down. I tell people - and I mean it - that every day I am chasing the man that he was. I cannot imagine what my life would have been without him (certainly less), and I am damn glad I don't have to.

I don't make it back to KS often anymore, but when I do, if I can, I try to go by his grave and listen to a Royals game on radio with him.

Joseph Lewis Root ~ June 20, 1911 - June 13, 1999

A photo of him and grandma, sometime just before coming into my life, and the other three are my kids. The other photo... that's me. He used to pack me on his back when he'd wade the river to fish for catfish, until I was old enough to do it myself.

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An awesome tribute to a great man TT!
 
I am probably an outlier, but I taught myself how to hunt, and it was well into adulthood. Growing up, I had no immediate family who hunted, though lots of friends and acquaintances did. I gradually warmed to the idea and then went for it. In the modern world there are so many resources at one's fingertips.
+1 on sort of self taught to hunt and trap. I started my outdoor adventures at around 7 or 8 years old.

By sort of, I watched and learned from a variety of TV shows: westerns, hunting, and outdoors. Reading magazines and books like: Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Peterson Hunting, Cub Scout Handbooks and books on Native American life and early frontier America on hunting, tracking and trapping.

Since the only big game in Ohio was deer and deer were like non existent back then. It was small game mainly rabbits, squirrels, quail, and pheasant were the menu for wild game.

We startedout with sling shots, then archery, and steadily progressed.
 
I'm pretty much self taught. I had to find out the hard way about scope eye as no one taught me how to shoot a rifle. My dad hunted rabbits and small game as a kid and I still have his .410 single shot in my gun safe. But he grew out of it. After my freshman year in college, my buddy I grew up with took a hiatus from his college career while I was in a co-op program working for IBM on naval sonar systems. We were bored and poor, but we managed to get a squirrel hunt going.

I was living in Maryland at the time and had to take a hunter's safety course before getting my license. I did and my buddy and I went squirrel hunting and even gave deer a go. I used his roommate's 20 gauge for the squirrels. This was 1986 and I came into possession of that Ithaca 20 few years ago ironically enough when my buddy's roommate and I reconnected with him also living in Phoenix at the time.

Well I killed my first squirrel and I was hooked. Eventually buying my first rifle after college, a perfectly awful Remington 7400 semi-auto in .270. It was truly an awful rifle that routinely did not eject properly leading to a jam when it tried to feed a live round with a spent case in the way. But I managed to kill my first deer with it along with two wild pigs somewhere not far from Killeen, TX on a friend's brother's ranch.

That rifle went down the road and I bought a Rem 700 BDL in 7mm Magnum. This is the rifle I opened up a proper wound on my forehead with and bled all over the range I was at. That was Alpine Shooting range near Forth Worth, TX for those of you from the area.

That rifle ended up killing a number of mule deer in Idaho which is really where I learned to hunt. A few tips along the way to be certain, but it was those years there that my normally bad luck started to turn.

Add any number of ducks, geese, grouse, pheasants and doves to the list.

My time in Arizona has taught me about the elusive Coues deer which is just a totally different game. It's also here that I feel I truly learned how to get close to elk. As much as I love hunting in Africa, I'll put a September bow hunt for elk up against anything else I've hunted, DG in Africa not withstanding.

As to why I became a hunter, I can only chalk it up to a recessive gene that runs on my dad's side of the family. My uncle Dale, dad's brother had it too. No one else I know of in my family has ever been quite so enamored with hunting. I loved Dale dearly and he was a great hunter. He killed a number of huge, and I mean huge Iowa whitetails. About the time I finally got to a financial position to afford to go out of state to go hunting, I unfortunately lost my Uncle Dale. I so wish I could've introduced him to hunting Africa.
 
One of my earliest memories is of my Grandpa supporting his 22 so I could shoot a fence post. Dad had us shooting a BB gun in the basement when I was 5. My brothers and I received a Remington 22 from our Grandparents for Christmas when I was 6. Ground squirrels and birds were fair game by the age of 8. Dad took the 3 of us boys deer hunting for the first time when I was 10; saw several deer, no bucks to shoot though. I was Dad's bird dog dove hunting in Yuma, where I learned you better watch them hit the ground if you wanted to find it.
When we moved to TN, Dad quit hunting, but I discovered squirrels you could eat! Our dog & I spent a lot of time in the woods just down the street. That dog wouldn't turn her head for another dog or a cat, but she loved treeing squirrels. I learned to just find a good rest as Peanut would move around the tree barking. When she got to the far side, the squirrel would move around to my side. Made clean head shots easy as they were focused on the dog.
Didn't shoot my first big game animal until I was 22 and moved to Colorado. Took 9 shots from my 250-3000 Savage to kill that antelope. Nobody told me how small they were, so I kept shooting over him until I finally saw some dirt kicked up way beyond him. I'd been holding just over his back when he was only 150 yards away, lol. Thought he was well over 300 yards away. That buck is also how I learned how bad an antelope stinks, lol.
Dad gave us a good start in hunting and I am very thankful. While one of my brothers still hunts a little bit, I'm the only one that spends most of the fall chasing something. My son has been hunting with me since he was 6 months old and we still hunt together every year. I've introduced all but two of my Grandkids to hunting; I'm hoping the older ones get back into it at some point as school and life has kept them from hunting the last few years. The other two are 5 & 2, so the BB gun is what they will get introduced to soon.
 
Some truly amazing stories! It is amazing how everyone comes from such different backgrounds and stories, and somehow this passion for the hunt (and this amazing forum!) have united us all!
 
My grandfather was a hunter by necessity…but he also loved it. He was a bird hunter.
In those days everyone in Georgia knew that meant quail.
A traveling photographer/writer team from some NY magazine took a picture of my grandfather and his pointer Sam as they crossed a split rail fence…it was taken during the depression years I think.
Anyway, the photo ended up on the cover of the magazine and I have an enlarged version on the wall. Papa was wearing a pair of knee-length JC Higgins pants with laces at the knee over his high top leather boots. I have those pants in a drawer under his picture.
My first years of hunting were all quail and dove hunting…with a little squirrel and rabbit mixed in for fun. I went from a single shot .410 to an Ithaca 20 gauge pump at 12 or so.
Then at 16 years old I talked my uncle out of one of his magnificent Browning A-5’s!
For over 20 years that lightweight 12 followed me from Georgia to Pennsylvania (pheasants) and then Maryland (waterfowl) to then to Texas, Kansas and Arizona for lots of quail.
Only the Benelli Black Eagle retired the A-5 In the mid 90’s.
I have no idea how many quail have hit the ground in front of me over the years…but it’s a big number lol. And the dogs were a big part of that experience.
I got hooked on deer hunting because my uncle Jack took me to deer camp starting at about age 11 or 12…he lent me his Marlin 30/30 and I killed my first deer.
That led to a lifetime of hunting everything from whitetail monsters in Kansas, mule deer all over the West, antelope and elk in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.
I have hunted (and fished) in dozens of states, numerous countries and three continents now.
Yes, it’s a passion that I’m passing down to some of my sons (and daughters).
Sorry for the long trip down memory lane…there is so much more (like the outdoor television show) but I’ll save that for another time.
 
My dad. I grew up in the woods. Fishing since before I could remember. Hunting with my dad when I was 4-5 years old. I got my first squirrel when I was 8. I head shot it out of the top of big old northern red oak behind the house. Got my first deer a little button buck with my bow at 8 yards when I was 13. Dad showed me the basics and turned me loose on our property to figure it out on my own. I killed a lot of whitetail deer in my teen years with rifle, bow and muzzleloader. Moved out to Colorado from home in Michigan when I was 21 and had just finished college. Started hunting elk and mule deer and antelope. Got married to a Texas girl and started hunting in Texas for axis, aoudad, Catalina, hogs, etc. all in all I’ve probably shot 150+ head of big game from coues deer in the deserts of the southwest, bear in Alaska, whitetails in the Midwest, exotics in the Texas hill country, antelope on the plains of Wyoming, elk on 13,000’ peaks in Colorado and now in less than two months I’ll be headed for my first safari to South Africa.
 
Dad fished but never hunted. Parents made the mistake of turning me and my brother loose with BB guns--we were hell on wheels with those! Later my uncle took me squirrel hunting and the rest came as surely as grass catching fire in a wind. Ended up with a Cape buffalo hunt in Zim followed by 2 cape buff in Tanzania with Michel Mantheakis safaris. Plains game came later plus one botched leopard hunt in Namibia. I still have more on my bucket list to hunt than I will ever get to, or be able to afford. I still enjoy birds--pheasant, doves, quail, ducks enough that it would be hard to choose between them and ONE MORE African hunt if it came to that. (You get to pull the trigger a lot on small game, plus, the rush of a cock pheasant is addictive!) Hunting, and additionally gun collecting, has been a pleasant madness. I thank God I was able to hunt in a lot of places before the lease price madness set in with a vengeance in Texas!
My advice is to take nothing for granted, pony up even though it sometimes seems like highway robbery, and GO HUNT while you can.
 
I really had three men teach me to hunt. First and foremost was my father, Dr John Plumb he taught me my ethics that have stuck with me for a lifetime. My first memories of hunting are being carried on his back to backwater sloughs on the Mississippi River in Minnesota to jump shoot ducks. He taught me small game hunting, deer hunting and most bird hunting. Patience was one of his great attributes. The next would be one of my father’s colleagues in the fisheries department at Auburn, Dr Bill Rogers,he was a keen trapper which he also taught me but he taught me predator hunting along with turkey hunting and the last would be a man named Marlin Hutchison. My father taught me how to read water and approach it to jump shoot ducks but Marlin taught me to decoy ducks and that grew to be my great passion. Without these 3 men I probably would have grown up golfing or some other ridiculous hobby so I can’t thank them enough. Dr Rogers and Marlin are gone now so every time I visit my dad I thank him for his guidance and mentor ship.
I would have loved to hunt with my grandfather but he was in poor health by the time I was old enough to hunt.
 
Largely self taught - which probably explains my skill level :ROFLMAO:
 
Friends Dad’s in middle school took me for the first time. Took a hunter safety course when I was 12-13 IIRC. I hunted on my own through most of high school.

Read books and magazines. Watched the old Saturday morning hunting shows.

Pretty much self taught… I had a lot of unsuccessful years early on.

You guys getting into in on your own these days have it relatively easy.
 
I am a self-taught hunter from an urban background, which is probably why I suck at it!

None of my family are into hunting or shooting really, but my father was willing to indulge my interest by buying me a couple air rifles from age 10 and letting me shoot in the back garden.

After that, I spent several years reading various air gun related magazines, which although generally fairly poor quality publications did have a couple contributors who wrote on pest control, rabbit stalking and the like.

My mother had a horse at the time, so I was lucky to get shooting permission on the livery yard and spent a lot of time culling rabbits over my evenings and weekends from 14-17.

I got into 'proper guns' through my secondary school, which had a clay pigeon shooting team, so I joined that, learned to shoot clays, got my UK shotgun certificate and picked up some shotguns. At the same time, the husband of my piano teacher happened to mention that he went beating on a couple of local driven pheasant shoots and invited me along. I did that a few years and was duly invited to shoot on beaters days from age 15 or so.

I then went to Uni where I founded a clay pigeon shooting society. I needed someone local willing to store my clay shotgun as UK laws wouldn't allow it to be stored in shared student accommodation and I met a friend who happened to be local to my University through a shooting forum.

We met in person, got on well and he was willing to store my shotgun. It turned out that he shot full bore rifle at the local rifle club and did some deer stalking. I joined the club, learnt how to shoot rifles and got my UK firearm certificate. My friend then invited me along on a couple trips to Scotland after the hinds, very kind of him as I was a student at the time and such things were not otherwise in budget.

That brings me to here. A couple lucky breaks, a couple of very kind folks willing to take the time to help me along, a lot of patience, and now I can at least pretend to be a hunter!
 
My dad and I spent at least 1 day of every weekend of every hunting season in a duck blind, chasing upland birds, or deer hunting.
I used to hike up the hill behind the town were we lived and always took either my pellet gun or .22 and later my shotgun. In high school my friend and I were always duck hunting before school on Wednesdays. (Season was weekends & Wednesdays)
After I graduated from high school, I still went home every weekend of hunting season for the first couple of years.
I wouldn’t trade spending that time hunting for anything….
 
The Army taught me to shoot. I taught myself to hunt with a .54 caliber flintlock that I hand carved from a block of walnut, and the barrel I hand swamped with a big file. Did all this over one winter when I think I was about 20, and then succesfully hunted my first buck with it. I remember when I pulled the trigger there was so much smoke that I didn't know if I'd hit it. But there it was laying on the ground right where it had been standing.

IMG_3759.jpg
 
Born and raised on a working cattle and horse ranch in the Big Empty of central Oregon.
It all started when my dad taught me to shoot with a single-shot .22 rimfire with a tiny wedge of wood under the rear sight to get the sights aligned at 50 yards.

My hunting education began when my dad handed me a single round for the .22 and told me to bring him a Magpie (look it up). Over and over again I'd come back empty handed, and he'd set me down and ask me questions like, where was the sun on your approach? which way was the wind blowing? what cover did you use? did you get close enough? how did you call your shot?

Soon enough I learned to apply those lessons, and when I had begun to bring him a Magpie regular like, then he started handing me two rounds with the ask for 2 ground squirrels. Then the lessons would start again and be added to the ones I'd already learned.

When the ground squirrel population was suitably diminished my dad decided it was time for me to be introduced to centerfire rifles, and in the form of a M1 Garand. I was 12 or 13 years old by then. I learned to shoot that M1 out to 400 yards. Out to 100 yards off-hand, from the knee out to 200 yards. sitting out to 300 yards, and prone out to 400 yards. When I asked him once "how about 500 yards?" he just looked at me and said, "learn to get closer. 400 yards will do". Now finding a rifle range on a working ranch in the high desert is pretty easy; you can look in any direction and simply step it off. First it was porcupine, then coyotes, then Mule Deer, and finally Pronghorn Antelope. You know, those animals with binoculars for eyes. And the same routine was applied; first a single round of .30-06, then more as the lessons of stalking big game were learned.

Oh, I almost forgot - all of this was done by my lonesome. It was simply expected if I can go into the hills on my own, then I can find my way back on my own. I learned to read the terrain during the day, and the stars at night. Funny how a place was found for me when Uncle Sam came calling.

But that's a different story.
 
My grandfather taught me to shoot. He was hunter, but by the time I grew up enough for hunting he was too old to hunt.
But he planted the bug in me.
Then I joined shooting club.
Then I joined hunting club.
So, I was, influenced by grandpa, and learning through socializing in the club, and by trial and error.
 
Dad, 1964, ducks. My brother and I shot our first birds the same day. His was banded. My hand was in a cast from hitting him in the head the week before. Dad passed in June 1999 a few days after Tundra Tiger's dad died. My brother and I are now in our seventies and still hunt together every year.
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