Dennis Dezendorf

If you are the kind of person who reads this article, then you know the feelings that base this column. The wonder of an autumn morning, the colors and sights and smells of everything that goes with the outdoors. You also know the stillness of the woods, when the light is just right and the sights settle on the game. You know the pleasant exhaustion of a day afield and how the meal tastes when it is cooked over an open fire and shared with friends.

You have probably spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on equipment, licences, ammunition and clothing. You have also experienced the frustration of not being able to find a hunting buddy from time to time. You probably have an old 20 gauge or .410 stuck in a closet somewhere that isn't being used.

If you are the kind of person who reads The Frugal Outdoorsman, you owe it to yourself and to our sport to introduce a new hunter to the joy and exhilaration of the hunt. And with October upon us, it is time to think about passing on the great tradition of squirrel hunting. It is great fun to turn a new hunter loose in a woods filled with scampering squirrels. To turn him or her loose with a small bore shotgun, a handful of shells, and tell them to go get supper.

My two best pieces of woods for introducing a new hunter had all the ingredients to insure a successful hunt. They were almost impossible to get lost in; they were an easy walk from the parking spot; they were chock-full of squirrels. The first was creek bottom through a white-oak flat. If the new hunter would stay on the creek, he or she could walk downstream to hunt and upstream to get back to the truck. The other piece of woods is a ridgeline on my place. It is about four acres, always has six or eight squirrels in residence, and as long as the novice doesn't cross any fences he can find his way home.

Take a kid hunting this fall. If you don't have a son or daughter to introduce to the sport, find a niece or nephew, or a neighbor kid. Take them out somewhere beforehand and go over basic gun safety. Better yet, enroll them in a hunter education course. You will become a hero in their eyes. You will become the trusted uncle or grandfather who showed them a whole new world. You will again see the squirrel woods through the eyes of a new hunter. You will find memories flooding back to you so thick you will have to brush them away from your eyes.

And you will have a home-grown hunting buddy.


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