Introducing Newbies to the Outdoors – Creating a Positive Experience
by G. Black
I am very fortunate because I was raised in the outdoors. By the time I was 10 years old, I had shot my first deer (a Coues whitetail) from the San Carlos Apache Reservation, and an elk from the White Mountain Apache Reservation. At 11 years old, I experienced my first trip to Alaska to fish and harvest a caribou and black bear.
When I was even younger (5 years old), I got up at the crack of dawn and walked to the creek near where we lived in Colorado to fish. I don’t remember how the outdoors was introduced to me by my parents, but it must have been mostly positive because I am still obsessed with the outdoors to this day.
Over the last 15 years or so, I have had the pleasure of introducing my wife to the outdoors and now she has become as obsessed with it as I am. In many ways, her abilities have exceeded mine, and we still have years to go.
Here is what I have learned through this process about introducing a newbie to the outdoors.
I have watched people who are with newbies hand them a fishing pole and pretty much leave them on their own, and they are often without a clue of what to do. That is the surest way to make them lose interest.
Make sure the person has some positive experiences very early in the process. In our case, I took Lisa to places like Black River, Arizona, where she caught dozens of fish. I also took her to the Guadalupe River in the Hill Country of Texas, where she had a 90+ fish day. With a few days like that under her belt, she was very patient on the days when the fishing was not quite as good.
The first time she went hunting, it was an antelope hunt in Wyoming. Within an hour of when we started hunting, she had a 100-yard shot at a nice buck and put it down with the first shot. We have that beautiful animal hanging on the wall of our game room. The second year she hunted deer in Colorado, she shot a nice little buck at about 75 yards, and again put it down with one shot. We had the horns mounted and they are in our living room.
If her first few experiences would have been unsuccessful, it would have been difficult to keep her (or anyone’s) attention.
Be Understanding, Kind, and Helpful