Mentors can learn from novice hunters

Wisconsin’s learn-to-hunt programs for turkeys, deer, pheasants and a variety of other game animals are not a one-way street. Granted, most of the learning is done by the new hunter, but sometimes that new hunter shows a great deal of enthusiasm, so much so that the mentor is shocked by what transpires.

I talked with 12-year-old Asher, a home-schooled boy from Dane County who participated in a recent turkey learn-to-hunt session with a dozen other youngsters. By the time we were through going over his turkey hunt, which ended with a tom turkey for his five-member family, I was so impressed that I thought about telling the next conservation club looking for a banquet speaker to give Asher a call.

“Well, before you go hunting, you have to do a two-hour class, not as long as the hunter education class, but long enough to learn about calling, blinds, camouflage,” Asher told me. “And camouflage is important, too, even when in a blind.”

Asher kept leading me into a discussion about his trophies.

“I’m all about trophies,” he said.

I was thinking long spurs, big antlers, weighty squirrels and the like. No, Asher corrected me, “You can put a squirrel tail in a dryer for a couple hours or a pheasant wing overnight and have a fine trophy for your room.”

Trophies to Asher are about remembering the hunt with a symbol from the hunt – not the biggest but the success of bringing home meat.

“I’m going to get a rabbit foot mounted and if it works out, I’ll definitely be talking to you again,” he said.

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