President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter, hit the nail on the head when he said, “There is delight in the hardy life of the open.” The outdoors relaxes the mind and soothes the soul.
As an 18-year-old, high school senior, I crave being outside and experiencing nature firsthand. However, I’ve run into a bump in the road. Most young outdoorsmen and women grow up in families that revolve around being in the great outdoors. Every weekend they can be found in the woods or on the water. My family isn’t like that. None of them have been actively involved with hunting and fishing, other than the occasional fishing trip. As I was growing up, I discovered I loved to do both, as well as trap. Now I’m continuing to break into outdoor sports, despite having to blaze my own trail.
If you’re interested in hunting and fishing but are in a situation like I was, there’s no better time to start than right now. There is a boatload of resources to help you get started. Numerous websites and magazines are filled with the top tactics to pursue every type of fish and game, with GON being one of the very finest. You may also want to watch outdoor T.V. shows, but it shouldn’t be expected to be as easy as the professionals make it look. Many of them have spent countless hours perfecting their skills.
One of the best sources of information is the local people who know the woods and water very well. Many times they will tell you what the fish are hitting or how well the turkeys are gobbling. Another thing you should do is become familiar with the hunting and fishing regulations. If you are 16 years of age or older, you will need a license. There are different licenses for different adventures. I would also recommend that you complete a hunter’s education course, which you will need before you are 16.
You will also need the proper equipment for your new hobby. As a teenager, I know that money doesn’t grow on trees. You may not be able to find top-of-the-line new products for decent prices. I’d recommend looking at places like pawn shops and yard sales. Many pawn shops sell nice, used guns for reasonable prices. At yard sales, you can often get everything you need for fishing, from rod and reels to lures and nets.
The next hurdle to jump is finding a place to hunt or fish. If an experienced outdoorsman offers you the chance to tag along, jump on it. They can teach you quite a bit in just a few hours. Fortunately for me, I have friends who took me along on trips. I’ve grown up in rural, northern Murray County, so woods and farmland are close by for all sorts of hunting. If I wanted more land to hunt, Cohutta WMA is in my backyard. In Georgia, we’re blessed to have thousands upon thousands of acres that are open to public hunting and fishing. The DNR can give you a full listing of these places. I started fishing in farm ponds and local creeks, mainly Sumac Creek. These types of fisheries provide a ton of fun, as well as a place to practice and perfect many of the skills you’ll need for fishing in years to come.
In conclusion, the outdoors will provide an experience that you won’t ever forget. Even if your family doesn’t have a hunting or fishing background, it’s still possible for you to begin. However, be sure to get your parent’s permission first. There are many people, whether they be from church, school, etc., who would love to help you. It may take a little while for your hard work to pay off, but that happens with the best. The most important thing is that you enjoy it. Cherish the bone-chilling mornings in a tree stand or those windy days while you’re in the middle of a crystal-clear lake. I will promise you that you will not regret it.