My grandson, John, who just turned 12 at the beginning of the year and just old enough to start hunting big game, took a week off school to hunt javelina with me here in Arizona. It was quite a trip for him as it was his first time flying alone (he came from Colorado) and his first big game hunt. His prior hunting experience was tagging along on his grandmothers mule deer and antelope hunts with a few dead chipmunks’ of his own thrown in.
The week started out with a storm that brought 3 inches of rain, not totally out of the ordinary but a lot for the Arizona desert none the less. The good thing is that any tracks we would find while hunting would be very fresh.
We started out in a new area, new to me anyways, and covered nearly five miles the first day. We were onto fresh tracks right from the truck. Well five days later we were still following tracks but were never able to catch up the elusive little pigs.
John and I had a great time that week, we discovered a cave, he learned some tracking skills, and we or mostly I napped in some of the most beautiful country to be found. We covered nearly twenty miles that week looking for javelina talking and laughing a lot and just enjoying being out in God’s creation.
I’m sure John was disappointed that he didn’t get to shot at a javelina but I explained to him that is why we call it hunting and that we had a lot of years of hunting ahead and would surely get one next year.
Mentoring the next generation of hunters pays dividends throughout the youngster’s life in that it instills an appreciation for wildlife and conservation of the land they live on. It gets them away from their video games and out of the house for a few hours teaching them skills that have been used since Cain and Abel.
Mentoring is not just for the young hunter, it really does bring joy to us older hunters who take the time to take a youngster out and teach them the necessary skills they need to become sportsmen. Do yourself a favor and take someone new to the sport out hunting.