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Is this a bad time to be looking for a mentor

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Is this a bad time to be looking for a mentor

Old 04-16-2020, 12:51 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Question Is this a bad time to be looking for a mentor

Near the end of last year, I hit the big 4-0 and decided that my decade b-day present to myself was going to be to finally learn to hunt. I've been interested for a while, but never got off my butt to do anything about it. I've been researching and learning independently for a while now, just to see if I would maintain the interest and get some basic knowledge under my belt. My plan was to wait until spring hit to start looking for a mentor (I'm not originally from this area and don't know any hunters currently) so that by the time the next season hits, I should be good to try my hand at it. I figured the spring time is when hunters are doing all the scouting, tree stand maintenance, and other grunt work to prep for the season, so working with a mentor starting then would help me develop a stronger foundation for the actual season.

However, with everything being shut down (I'm in SE Penn.), I can't start networking at my local sporting goods store. I can't take hunter safety in person and meet people there. All I would be able to do is post around here or reddit seeking a mentor in my area. Though, I'm not sure if anyone would be interested in mentoring at this time with everything going on.

Granted, I could just wait for all this to pass, but I think that I've reached the limits to what I can do with my youtube/internet-based research and now I'm just sitting around wasting time. Is it worth trying to find a mentor at this time, or is there anything I can be doing on my own this time that's constructive? Thanks!
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:57 PM
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Better now than in the fall.
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Old 04-16-2020, 02:55 PM
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never too late to start hunting if you have the desire to do so
you can also try contacting your local warden by phone , same with gun shops and or shooting ranges and hunting clubs and asking if anyone there would help you, one things calm down .
in the mean time you can always get outdoors and start walking the local forests near you, pay attention to things as you go, tracks, and other things, and then try finding game your interested in hunting.
no one says you have to be carrying a gun to be hunting, and practice and woodsman ship is something that takes time to learn and develop, and nothing beats feet on the ground , eye's and ears in play as your in the great outdoors
and even now, it can be done, as the forest are big and pretty much wide open right now to explore and learn , JUST pay attention to the up coming Turkey season, wear some hunter orange if you go out in the woods during it!

wildlife lives outside 24/7/365, so there is no better time than NOW to start being outdoors learning where they live, what they eat, where they like to sleep and wander, and all this can be done without a MENTOR, just get out there and do it!

you can also, watch a lot of videos on shooting safety and learn some gun side of things too, just remember some videos online are not all correct, pick and choose one';s to watch and head advice with a grain of salt on most!


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Old 04-16-2020, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mrbb View Post
wildlife lives outside 24/7/365, so there is no better time than NOW to start being outdoors learning where they live, what they eat, where they like to sleep and wander, and all this can be done without a MENTOR, just get out there and do it!

you can also, watch a lot of videos on shooting safety and learn some gun side of things too, just remember some videos online are not all correct, pick and choose one';s to watch and head advice with a grain of salt on most!
I'm not sure how I would do this without a mentor, though. While I'm an experienced hiker, woodsmanship is a whole other level. I wouldn't trust myself to stray much from the trails, and wouldn't really know what to look for other than rubs. Really, I'd just be some dummy aimlessly wandering around the woods.

I do have a fair amount of firearms experience, but I'm not even worried about that yet. Since the shops are closed, I couldn't even buy a rifle to take the the range and start brushing up. However, my impression is that there are tons of skills to learn aside from shooting a gun when it comes to this, so I figure I could learn these skills in the meantime.
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:16 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Kneller View Post
I'm not sure how I would do this without a mentor, though. While I'm an experienced hiker, woodsmanship is a whole other level. I wouldn't trust myself to stray much from the trails, and wouldn't really know what to look for other than rubs. Really, I'd just be some dummy aimlessly wandering around the woods.

I do have a fair amount of firearms experience, but I'm not even worried about that yet. Since the shops are closed, I couldn't even buy a rifle to take the the range and start brushing up. However, my impression is that there are tons of skills to learn aside from shooting a gun when it comes to this, so I figure I could learn these skills in the meantime.
well as they say again, nothing beats putting feet on the ground, , and this is a basic in learning anything

to learn all you have to do is BE outside in the woods and forests, and pay attention to things,
look for deer tracks, there droppings, look at things they eat, you can for sure look up what typs of things they eat, then go outside and wander about and find like foods and look for things like ends of plants being chewed off, or again, deer tracks, well work in the ground paths, where they travel more often, stand out pretty easy,
maybe take you a little while to see the difference, but you only gain this experience by doing it

if your scared of getting lost, BUY a hand held GPS unit, tons out there and tons of videos on how they work and how to use them
or again, pay attention as you walk, at first DON"T go far off a trail, till you feel more comfortable, a mentor really isn;t going to help you here a LOT ,(as odds are you will end up following them and counting on them to get you in and out and not paying as close as attention to things as if your on your own) venturing farther off into the wilds, it comes with confidence you build as you learn and again learning, means doing!

I am a 100% self taught hunter, grew up in a non hunting shooting family, no family friends hunted or shot, I learned it all myself, mostly by reading for yrs before I was old enough to go and do things on my own!
but long before I was hunting, I was wandering woods, following and tracking game, learning(by reading, NO video's back then() how and why and where animals like to be
it was all about desire to learn something, the more you want it, the harder you will work at something,. if you want it bad enough, and have health on your side, you can do it!

very very few places in PA< left, that you cannot walk and sooner or later find a paved road, and cell service is almost every where,
so no better time to get out side and start learning IMO
a compass has been about for a LONG time, to guide folks in and out of places!!
a mentor is nice to have, I agree, but there NOT needed, if your willing to do more work yourself


and being in the SE part of PA< a lot of the game lands are smaller in size and closer to homes and such, so, starting in them will keep you feeling safer or a way out!

but again, tons of good books that tell what deer sign looks like and what they eat, where they typically like to be in forests and farms and so on

from there, again, go walk, look for them sign's
tracks, stand out in softer ground
streams edges, you can always walk UP stream or down stream and follow it back out, many streams wader thru many of PA's forested lands!
the more time you spend in the woods, the more you will learn and more comfortable you will become
you DON"T have to walk miles either
go walk a hundred yards, SIT for 15-30 minutes quietly and listen , watch what happens and move one and repeat
stay in site at first of trails, you will, find DEER will walk right down trails, so you don't need to be miles into the woods to find deer or deer sign
almost every Game land in PA , has roads that run thru them, you can walk the roads, and find things right from the roads, like state planted food plots, that draw all sorts of wildlife as they grow!
finding them sitting and watching them, will get you to VIEW wildlife in the wilds, again, watch and learn!
invest in a decent pair of binoculars, to help view tings better( IMO< something in the 10x40 range is good for this and prices can be from fair to HIGH as you like, you DON"T need top of line, but I also recommend not buying the cheapest you can find either)), or BUY a good camera with a good zoom lens, and pretend thats a gun, and try and take pictures of things, and as you get more experience,. try getting closer and closer to deer while doing so!

like I said, there is a ton of things you can do right now without a mentor if your willing and want to! and then when you do find one, you will be WAY better off , or maybe come to find you don't even need one at all!
all info today is a screen away more or less, but experience , comes from being out there and trying and doing!





Last edited by mrbb; 04-16-2020 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 04-17-2020, 03:26 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Kneller View Post
I'm not sure how I would do this without a mentor, though. While I'm an experienced hiker, woodsmanship is a whole other level. I wouldn't trust myself to stray much from the trails, and wouldn't really know what to look for other than rubs. Really, I'd just be some dummy aimlessly wandering around the woods.

I do have a fair amount of firearms experience, but I'm not even worried about that yet. Since the shops are closed, I couldn't even buy a rifle to take the the range and start brushing up. However, my impression is that there are tons of skills to learn aside from shooting a gun when it comes to this, so I figure I could learn these skills in the meantime.

Instead of standing around thinking of reasons why you cannot do something, you would be better served thinking of ways that you can do it. With your thought process, you will fail before you ever start. Get a map and a compass, or even easier, download a GPS on your smart phone if you are worried about getting lost. You can get out now and scout, look for places to hunt and look for sign so when you go you will at least know where there are deer. The gun shops are not closed in my state and many other states so you can probably buy a rifle or bow or crossbow. Check around and find a sportsman's club that has what you will need. You can google them, most have a contact phone number and they may have a way to get you an application and vote on you even if they are not holding physical meetings. My club has held some conference call meeting for the officers and board members. Some states have their hunter education course online so you do not have to go to a brick and mortar classroom, perfect for these times. One thing is for sure, it is easier to sit on your butt and think of reason why you cannot do something than putting on you big boy pants and take the first step, however, the second and third steps etc are easier once you get some momentum going. Hunting takes effort to learn and be good at it. If you aren't willing to put in the effort you should probably not do it. Every journey starts with the first step. You can get off the porch and run with the big dogs, or sit on the swing and watch.
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Old 04-17-2020, 04:08 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
Instead of standing around thinking of reasons why you cannot do something, you would be better served thinking of ways that you can do it. With your thought process, you will fail before you ever start. Get a map and a compass, or even easier, download a GPS on your smart phone if you are worried about getting lost. .....
I'm going to second the Oldtimr this, especially on the smart phone GPS.

But my deer hunting experience is that this is the time to get a deer rifle, scope and get to the range.
We do our shooting house cleaning, lane clearing, bush hogging, planting and scouting in Sept/Oct.
This is also the time of year that many deer leases are looking for new members.
Seek and keep an alert for these lease- Member meeting are a good place to seek mentors,
as are shooting ranges and hunter safety classes.




Last edited by RaySendero; 04-17-2020 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 04-17-2020, 04:16 AM
  #8  
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Get in the woods!

Get a pair of binoculars and start going and watching deer. You can do this from your car even. Take a drive in the evening on country roads until you see some deer. Stop the car and watch them. Start learning what they do, where they do it, when they do it, then start trying to figure out why they do it.

Get in the woods and walk around. Pay attention to trails, tracks. Follow those and see where they go. Then you'll start to figure out why they go there. Then you'll start being able to look at an area and predict if deer will be there or not-based on the things you're learning.

There is no "easy button". It takes time and effort. Allot of time and effort. A mentor can shorten the curve.... But they can also prevent you from learning.....

EX you may find a mentor with nice land, stands set up, etc. You may go out with him this spring and help clear shooting lanes, trails, do stand maintenance etc. Then come fall you might sit in those stands and have a great year and kill some deer.

But really, all you learned was how to clear trails and maintain stands. Yes you'd also learn some hunting tactics and woodsmanship as you go. But not as much as if you get out there now and start learning.

It's the perfect time. Everything else is closed down. Time in the woods.

I also encourage finding a mentor. But don't let that be the deciding factor. Get out there and get started learning. And you'll meet people along the way.

-Jake
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Old 04-21-2020, 01:44 PM
  #9  
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You might explore the internet to see if there is a PA based hunting forum....Up here in NY we have a NY exclusive. Try a number of different searches...PA hunting forum, sportsmans forum, etc. You might also look into if you have a local gun club to join, It doesn't just give you a place to shoot, go to the meetings and meet people.
On your own, inquire with the PA game department (not sure what it is called down there) and see if they have information on public lands near you to explore. Walk the east west ridges, funnel points, woods/field edges for sign. The deer are out there year round. If you have access to private land, do the same but nowadays a game camera is a great tool to use to find out if a likely looking area may pan out.
Yep, there can be a lot to learn, but we lifetime hunters forget that we learned to hunt over a Looooooooooooong time.., so have patience.
First, patience. 2nd, learn how to be still...and warm! You can even go to nature centers, county parks, etc. just to practice looking. Good luck.
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Old 04-23-2020, 01:49 AM
  #10  
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As they said go and be a "deer watcher" in areas where you might be able to public hunt. Get a climbing stand and learn to use it and a safety harness and climbing rope. Watch where they move and learn to pick better trees for your stand. You'll start to learn how to notice deer trails after you are out observing more. Learn to walk farther on public land as most people won't and you'll see more deer during the season.

Get yourself a compound bow and learn to shoot it. Being a newb in rifle season, without help, would be overwhelming and maybe dangerous. I would imagine deer get chased off state lands in PA as I know they do in MD. We have a few mountain state lands near me and it looks like orange dots on the hill rom the road. No way, I would want to be out there during rifle as it is too many shooters and that many hunters and the deer aren't there.

Don't worry about shooting a buck and take what ever game the state allows ar first. You can define your ethics of game choice after you know what you are doing and have killed some and learned some. Don't let people define your choice for you.

Hunter safety class are just canceled right now and will be back when the craziness ends.
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