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One day every year I would be more excited than normal to bust out of my grade school doors and make the three-block run home. No, it was not summer break. No, it was not my birthday. It was time to leave for our annual hunting trip. Those first years of hunting when my dad would load my brothers and me into the family minivan and head to northern Nebraska to shoot pheasants changed my life forever. It wasn’t about shooting pheasants or reaching a limit. It was spending time outdoors with my family, seeing how big we could get the bonfire, and getting to carry my BB gun through the tall grass, hoping to kick up a pheasant for the old guys.

I start with that story because still to this day I feel the same way about hunting. As soon as I get home from a two-week trip chasing mule deer out west, I am already giddy for the next trip. This is the driving force behind why my brother, Thomas, and I take out new hunters and support hunting mentorship. There are many people who have not had the experience I had being raised in a family of hunters.

Hunting is an intimidating sport to pick-up. Not only do you have to learn how to shoot a firearm or bow, but you also need to be savvy on state regulations, find a place to hunt, and how the heck do you butcher an animal after you kill it?

Last year, Thomas and I wanted to take a big step towards being more hands-on with mentoring new hunters. In the Fall of 2020, we took out 11 new hunters, and this spring we took out five. It has truly been the most rewarding thing we have ever done in the hunting field. Nothing beats seeing the reaction from a new hunter who shot their first animal, or providing support after a long-failed stalk. Not only are we creating new friendships across the country, but we are seeing the fire we have for hunting ignite in these new hunters.

People can read and watch all the hunting content they want, but it will never replace having a mentor in the field answering questions, giving advice, and imparting knowledge.

Not all our mentored hunts finish with filled tags, but that really does not matter. We focus more on the experience, and having fun on the hunt more than filling tags. Mentees are looking for knowledge, and all the new hunters we have taken out were excited to head home, find their next hunt, and share the experience with others. Yeah, you cannot speed through the learning curve of hunting, mistakes must be made to truly learn, but a mentor helps tremendously. There is nothing more satisfying than getting texts of successful hunts from hunters we took out to the field for the first time.

If you are interested in going hunting for your first time, or in sharing the gift of your knowledge, check out and follow Identical Draw on Facebook or Instagram.

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