This is the first part of an ongoing series documenting an epic quest to become a hunter. Fellow Reno Dads Blog author David and I are in the process of preparing for our first hunt. I’ve decided to share what we learn along the way for any other would-be hunters out there.
Several years ago, I decided I wanted to hunt. Animals. Four legged ones. Not because I have a hatred toward mammals and want to shoot them. I’m interested in the experience. Getting outdoors, away from civilization, spending nights in the wilderness, stalking and scouting game, using strategy, and bringing home delicious meat to feed my family. The only problem was that I had no idea where to get started. And my modest gun collection was designed around home defense, not hunting big game. It was an aspiration that soon withered and died. Or so I thought.
A year or so later, I got the itch again. A buddy of mine took me out to hunt coyotes, which you don’t need a license for in Nevada. My gun collection had increased, but I was dragging along my 9+ lbs Springfield M1A Scout Squad; a rifle best suited for the range or anywhere you don’t need to walk very far. It was either that or a Ruger 10/22. I wasn’t planning on running into any squirrel sized coyotes, so I opted for the scout rifle. We didn’t find anything, but the experience inspired me to take my first official step toward becoming a hunter: taking a really boring online course. I needed a hunting license.
I enrolled in online hunter safety education; a prerequisite for taking the in-person course that awards you with your right to buy a hunting license. I was excited. I already knew a lot about guns, so I was going to fly through the first few chapters. Or so I thought. Each page in the lesson requires you to spend a minimum amount of time before clicking “next page.” I quickly tired of reading a section of test and watching a timer count down to allow the average Nevada educated reader to stumble over the word “predation” six or seven times before finishing the section. So I closed it out and probably started playing a video game or binge watching the new season of Daredevil.
Six months later I stumbled upon a TV show on Netflix called “Meat Eater.” If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend you check it out. It explains perfectly why I want to hunt. The experience is appealing to me in a way nothing else is. It awakens a primitive human nature that I’ve decided not to ignore any longer. After watching a few episodes, I decided to log into my online hunter safety course. Much to my surprise, my progress was saved. I was half-way through the course. I finished it while binge watching my newly found favorite reality show. This is truly the only way to make that page timer bearable, and provided constant motivation, like an aspiring body-builder taping a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger on their mirror. Toward the end of the class, I texted David something along the lines of, “Want to go hunting this year?” I directed him to https://www.hunter-ed.com/nevada/, which is where you need to go to begin the licensing process in Nevada.
Thus began our journey. I don’t know that we did anything in the right order. I don’t know if there is a right order. We decided to start with picking out our rifles and scopes, which will be the topic of “The Hunt to Hunt: Part II.”
I have high hopes. In all reality, after a day of hiking and a night of sleeping on a thermarest, I’ll end up like this guy.