Learning To Hunt On Your Own Is Rewarding

Opinion by Brandon Butler

Learning Youth Kid Child Hunter Hunting img Brandon Butler
Learning to hunt on your own builds lifelong interest and passion. img Brandon Butler

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- You have a couple of weeks before deer season. If you’re like me, you’re going to spend opening day in a familiar spot full of memories from past successful hunts. If you’re new to hunting, or maybe you have never hunted but have thought to yourself it’s something you’d be interested in giving a try, then know you can do it. You just have to have realistic expectations.

When I started hunting, I was fortunate to have two uncles that would each take me a few times a season. But by the time I was 14 and had become the proud owner of a 4-wheeler, I was out on my own. Back then gaining permission on private property was easier. Before the widespread adoption of leasing land took away most hunter’s ability to secure a good place to hunt based on a handshake a little sweat equity. The number of mistakes I made, and the challenges I faced learning to hunt on my own, is what I attribute to the lifelong passion I have for hunting.

Hunting is a learned skill. One I’ll never perfect. I just hope to continuously evolve throughout my life.

There were no youth seasons back then. No one was trying to set us up for success. There was no R3 efforts, and conversation organizations weren’t tripping all over themselves to take youth out for mentored-opportunities. All of these advancements are great. I’m a huge fan. They get people out in the woods and often build hunters. And just as importantly supporters of hunting. Yet, when we make an experience unnaturally easy, we run the risk of diluting the actual experience.

I’ve taken a number of people on their first deer and turkey hunts. More often than not, the hunters I was mentoring shot a deer or turkey, sometimes within the first hour of their first hunt. I can’t imagine how easy hunting must seem to them. How unfilled they were by shooting something with such minimal effort invested in learning about their quarry. The habitats they call home and the habits they possess which lead hunters to plan for success based on knowledge of how and why. Having someone else sit you in a tree and say the buck will come from that direction is still hunting, and again, it’s great that person is hunting, but how deep is the learning? How thorough is the understanding? How lasting is the experience?

If you are new to hunting, forget about killing big bucks. That’s not what hunting is about. Please don’t look to “influencers” on Facebook and Instagram. This new influencer world we live in has had an incredibly negative effect on the merits of hunting, at least in my opinion.

What you want to focus on is learning. And to learn, you need to be out there. The more time you spend where deer live, the more you will begin to understand why they do what they do. The puzzle-hunting is will become clearer until one day, you have most of the pieces put together. That’s when you can elevate your game to pursuing older, harder to kill animals. Until then, get some experience under your belt. Hike ridges and look for sign, like rubs and scrapes. Don’t know what those are? Look it up. There is a wealth of information out there for you online, in books, and magazines. There are even a few television and web shows worth watching. Not many, but a few.

You don’t need someone else to take you hunting. You have access to public lands all around. What you must have in a desire to hunt to procure meat for your table. Patience to learn how to be a good hunter. Ethics to follow the game laws. And the sort of persistent attitude that will drive forward after you encounter numerous failures. Like all things in life, the reward is sweeter when effort is maximized.

See you down the trail…

For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast on www.driftwoodoutdoors.com or anywhere podcasts are streamed.

Driftwood Outdoors

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I bought my first gun after the arrival of the beer virus, now I have fallen in love with the culture and I am excited and looking forward to exploring its many facets, including hunting.
Never in my life did I imagine guns would be a passion for me, but at 58 I am ready to explore this new world.
It didn’t ocurr to me until I read this article to go hunting by myself, but I am contemplating it now…any advise, tips, and/or ideas as to how to proceed?

Dave in Fairfax

Marmen, A lot of this depends on where you are. Do a search on shooting ranges and gun clubs in your area. Ask at you local shooting range. Do you know any people who shoot or hunt? Go to your state’s Dept of Natural Resources, or whatever it’s called there, and ask them if they have any suggestions about people local to you who help new hunters. Do a search on hunting Mentors in your area. If you have a local Citizens Defense League, look them up and see what they have to say…might want to join them at the… Read more »


Marmen, I’m a self taught hunter and it is a wonderful activity. You are right: the best people can be met in the woods. I suggest starting out bird hunting for upland game or wildfowl with a guide, or at a game preserve. You will have strong opportunities to get shots right away, and can learn how to field dress game birds. Its tough to just pull up to a public hunting area and just walk around. But it can be done. The articles’ best advice is to just spend maximum time in the woods, talking to other hunters, read… Read more »


I have many memories of taking my son hunting with me and my partners taking their sons as well. My stepdad took my son trapping with him many times and instilled in him how to trap and simply added to his knowledge of how to survive. My one grandson has taken that knowledge to heart and has learned how to trap successfully and hunt with a bow and rifle. By the time he was 15 he had taken deer, elk and bear and is death on coyotes. My son has a small farm that at one time was plagued by… Read more »