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How to find a hunting partner

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The following has been adapted from a post at Zero to Hunt:

Some people struggle with whether to hunt alone or with a buddy. We may tell ourselves that we work better alone, and that may be true for some. But at a certain point, we can’t grow anymore without someone else to give us that gentle nudge to improve.

Without new and different ideas or a challenge to push ourselves, we stagnate and fall short of our potential. It’s the same for learning to hunt. Without a hunting partner, we can only get as good as we know how to hunt.

Many hunters grew up with a family hunting tradition and whole community of people behind them, which encouraged their interest and helped them develop their skills. But if you didn’t have that experience, finding a hunting partner is a good way to fill that void.

And although hunting can be a refreshing solo adventure, it’s nice to experience the outdoors with a friend once in a while. Let’s look at some ways you can find a hunting partner by next fall.

Hunting Partner Process

 This is a little like dating before finding the person you want to marry. If you start by sharing stories and asking simple questions, you’re more likely to get a yes from them when the big question comes.

Also realize that not everyone will want to hunt. Don’t take it personally if someone you really like (or even love) says no.

Start the conversation by sharing a story about you and the outdoors. Then invite them along for a scouting trip or shed hunting excursion one day, which is really just a walk in the woods. See if they enjoy being outdoors and especially watch their reaction if you flush an animal from cover. If they are excited by it (even if they’re scared out of their wits), you might have a shot.

Now it’s time to pop the big question. Try saying, “I’m going hunting this weekend. Would you want to come check it out?” Alternatively, try, “I’ve been thinking about going to this hunting seminar this weekend. Would you want to go with?”

This is a good way to phrase the question because it doesn’t require a huge commitment and it’s very informal. If they aren’t comfortable, they can easily say no without feeling bad.

Where to Find a Hunting Partner

First, you need to find someone you trust and who trusts you. It turns out very few people like walking into a remote area with a stranger. Keep hunting safety at the front of your mind at all times and trust your gut.

• Family – Let’s start with family members first, since you probably know and trust them the best. If you didn’t grow up hunting with them, maybe you could be the catalyst that changes that and starts the tradition. Try asking your parents, siblings, cousins, etc. – whoever you think would be a fun hunting buddy.

• Friends – The next group you should try is your existing pool of friends. They might be in the same boat you are. Maybe they’ve been wanting to learn to hunt so they can gather their own wild game meat, but they’ve been too busy or nervous to try it. Or maybe they’ve been waiting to find a community to support them.

Casually bring the subject up one day and gauge their reaction. If they’re interested in the idea, you could propose to go through the whole process together, from taking a firearm safety course to actually getting out in the woods. Everything will seem easier with someone there to back you up. Plus, it’s a nice way to spend time with your friends while also accomplishing something else.

• Co-Workers and Neighbors – Depending on how tight you are with your co-workers or neighbors, they might overlap in the friends category. But as you get to know new ones, share your outdoor stories, passion for eating local food and desire to start hunting. If they’re not directly interested in hunting, they may have siblings or friends who are and be willing to connect you. You’d be surprised who shares your interests.

• Firearm Safety Course – If you have not gone through a hunter education course or firearm safety course yet, you will no doubt find several other people who are in the same boat you are. Whether you hit it off with the other participants, parents of youth participants, volunteers or the instructors themselves, it’s fairly likely you’ll find someone who can at least connect you with a hunting partner.

Keep reading at Zero to Hunt!

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