I think we can all agree that there is nothing more important today in this crazy culture war world than the recruitment of new sporters for the future of conservation, the shooting sports, outdoor family recreation and the overall outdoor industry that fuels all these quality of life things.
By Ted Nugent
I am thrilled to report how this critical recruitment is moving along quite nicely as more and more individuals, sporting clubs and organizations focus on mentoring new youngsters into this thrilling of lifestyles, and I personally thank and salute each and every one of you who do so. Your efforts and hard work are surely paying off, and I am equally certain that your witnessing the smiles and joys that you bring these new sporters is all the thanks you will ever need. Godbless you all!
Having operated our Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids 501c3 nonprofit charity for 25 years now, I know a thing or two about how to lure, guide, nurture and impact young boys and girls into the fun of archery, firearms, fishing, trapping, slingshotting and all sorts of exciting outdoor activities. I’m not the best there is by a longshot, but I’ve been honored and humbled to witness many volunteers who are, and their special introductory touch is magic to behold and something we can all learn from.
I am bringing this important recruitment/introductory issue up here in my 88th deeranddeerhunting.com NugeBlog because over the years I have witnessed various scenarios where individuals were not only less than adept at these introductory tasks, but also rather frighteningly counterproductive at it.
God knows their goals and efforts were appreciated, but their methodology left much to be desired.
On more than one hunting television show and also in person on numerous hunts, I have witnessed a dad so gung-ho to get junior to be his best hunting buddy that they were blinded by enthusiasm while missing the big picture in a bad, bad way.
One 6-year-old little boy was clearly uncomfortable with his new rifle. The gun didn’t fit the lad by any stretch of the imagination, and dear old dad would load the magazine, work the bolt, then struggle impatiently to get little Billy to find the target in the high magnification sniper scope.
And did I mention his 1st rifle was a .300 Winchester Magnum? I kid you not!
The poor little boy was so nervous, frustrated and downright scared of the gun, it was pure torture.
If the new shooter hasn’t become comfortable with loading, working the action and practicing sufficiently with the basic mechanics of the safety and overall function of the firearm, they sure as hell are not ready to shoot at a living animal.
So, What Can You Do?
Here’s a couple of very important tips that will help determine if the new shooter should in fact become a new shooter.
#1- ears & eyes before they even handle the gun
#2- regardless of age, size, strength or stature, start them with a simple single-shot bolt or break-top action .22 rifle, preferably with subsonic ammo. Have them learn to handle it in a safe manner unloaded numerous times till they become comfortable with the physical dimensions and safety/firing procedures of the arm before actually shooting it.
#3- Have them shoot at highly visible reactive targets at close range till they get the hang of it. Balloons are good and the various targets that show hits are best. For 1st time shotgunners, after imprinting all safe handling functions, have them shoot the lightest possible loads at stationary clay birds on the ground with proper backdrop, not airborne targets.
#4- Of course with archery, bows that they can effortlessly draw back for proper form is imperative, and again, at real close range so they can discover their natural archery hand-eye coordination. Be sure the target is one that the arrows will stick in so the new shooter can revel in the mystical flight of each arrow and how to adjust accordingly.
I could go on and on, but the main point is slow and easy is always best for introductory purposes.
And here’s the clincher; if they remain uninterested, back it down and give it a rest so they feel no pressure to do something until they are ready. Even though this is our cherished, favorite thing in life, it is not necessarily for everyone.
My beloved son Toby was hesitant for many years, but when he became comfortable on his own time table, he developed into one of the best deerhunters in the world and is now my best gungho hunting buddy!
Don’t give up, but baptize the new souls gently into what, if done caringly, will probably be their favorite thing in life.
Ted Nugent is an award-winning musician and writer, with numerous best-seller books including “Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto,” “God, Guns and Rock ‘n Roll,” and “Kill It and Grill It: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish” with his wife, Shemane, among other books. Be sure to check out his website here for more news on his latest music, thoughts and upcoming shows in 2015, and also at World News Daily, Newsmax and Daily Caller for more insights.
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