Enhance someone’s life by helping them “catch the fever” and experience a practice as old as mankind.  As deep and mysterious as this sounds, it’s as easy as taking him or her hunting.  Whether a son, daughter, niece, nephew, friend or colleague, allowing a non-hunter to “catch the hunting fever” can be life-altering. The folks at The Hunting Page have started a #CatchTheFever campaign, and want you to get involved for a chance to win a huge grand prize, just for voting! They have selected 6 videos that were submitted by teams of turkey hunters, each showing a new hunter with an experienced hunter. They need you to vote on your favorite video. Each voter will have a chance to win a prize package of more than $1,000 in turkey hunting gear: a Pointer Semi-Auto Shogun, ALPS  Impact Vest, 4 boxes of Hornady’s Heavy Mag Turkey Ammo and a Truglo Fiber Optic Sight. Go to http://www.thehuntingpage.com/catchthefever to vote and enter your name for a chance to win!

Couples who hunt always have something to talk about.

Introducing a newbie to the hunting fever is as simple as an invitation and you don’t need to climb a tree stand, build a blind, or buy a license. Think of it as similar to golf. If you invited a friend to try the sport on an active course, he or she will quickly be overwhelmed. Instead, begin with miniature golf, play a video golfing game, or chip in a backyard or park.  For children or grandchildren, just tagging along is great motivation. These same steps work for hunting, and several outdoor companies have teed off — pun intended — on a campaign to help prospective hunters take their first steps.

Recruiting New Hunters

In the last century many people grew up in rural communities where hunting was a popular pastime.  Nimrods learned woodsmanship while stalking small game like squirrels in the fall and groundhogs in the summer.  Today, our country is much more urban-centered and lots of young men and women are curious about hunting, but don’t have a mentor to walk them through the first steps.

These companies, in conjunction with TheHuntingPage.com, have launched the #CatchTheFever contest that promotes the involvement of first-time hunters.  Participants are asked to submit a video of the event, with winners getting a host of terrific outdoor products.  The first contest has concluded, but you can help select the winner by visiting http://www.thehuntingpage.com/catchthefever. If you’re interested in participating, your next opportunity will be this fall during deer season. There will be another huge giveaway package geared toward deer hunting with 15 chances to win!

Alps Outdoorz, Hornady, Pointer Shotguns, GSM Outdoors, and TruGlo recognized the importance of recruiting new hunters into our ranks and actively supported the #CatchTheFever program that’s designed to recruit on a personal level.  If “each one recruited one,” the number of hunters would double in a single year, greatly increasing involvement and revenues for wildlife management, law enforcement, and wildlife in general.

To kick off this campaign and celebrate getting new hunters in the field, ALPS Outdoors is offering a First Hunt Discount! Use the Promo Code FIRSTHUNT for 50% off your first purchase. This offer ends July 31, just in time for preseason! Visit http://www.alpsoutdoorz.com/ to check out the fantastic hunting gear.

Hunting is Adventure

Hunters often are reluctant to invite a new person to join the hunting ranks because they fear failure.  Perhaps the person won’t like the experience, or they won’t bag any game.  Ironically, that “unknown” can be its greatest appeal.

I had the good fortune to be in a turkey camp when Blake Shelby, an executive at Precision Shooting Equipment Inc., brought his 15-year-old daughter on a South Dakota turkey hunt.  When dad and daughter left their Louisiana home, local weather was hot and muggy with temperatures in the 80s.

Their first morning of the hunt, they left the cabin to six inches of crunchy snow and the duo wore every stitch of clothing they’d brought.  Despite tramping through snow drifts in bone-chilling weather, Blake called in a gobbler for his daughter and she used her 20-gauge to down a beautiful tom.  “This was the first time I’ve seen snow,” said the enthusiastic high school cheerleader whose smile outshined the spring snow.

Young women and men need a mentor to teach outdoor skills.

 Begin with Nature

I was fortunate enough to be born into a hunting family that was infatuated with nature.  My father took an ornithology class in college, and his ability to identify birds by sight and sound was always a fascination.  We weren’t formal “birders,” yet he identified any bird we saw, and I quickly learned both the craft and the love of feathered creatures.

Today, learning birds, mammals, and other wild creatures is just an internet search away.  Some see internet websites as the antithesis of a hunting culture, yet the two can have a symbiotic relationship.  Photography also is an enjoyable hunting enabler, especially with trail cameras.  Posting a camera near a rub line, scrape, fox den, birds nest, or a fresh pile of bear dung will bring out the forensic scientist in even the most homebound youngster.

Take Small Steps

Hunting usually involves some type of shooting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a high-powered rifle. If you have access to rural areas, nothing beats the fun of bursting soda cans with a .22. Buy a case of off-brand soda to save money, recycle to help save the planet, and use shooting muffs and safety glasses while reinforcing the rules of gun safety.

A crossbow is a great way to teach shooting skills and safety without a formal shooting range.

A crossbow is a great way to teach shooting skills and safety without a formal shooting range. If you don’t have a rural setting, consider a bow and arrow or crossbow. If you need immediate gratification to involve your newbie, try popping balloons with the crossbow from various ranges.  If you ultimately have a rifle hunting in mind, you can teach most of the elements of marksmanship with a crossbow.  New shooters can learn shooting positions, trigger and breath control, and safety precautions.  If they like the ability to sling arrows at will, a compound of appropriate weight may the best path to shooting proficiency.

Most importantly, have fun. Hunting is environmentally inviting, exciting, challenging, and a host of other superlative feelings, but a new participant won’t progress without enjoyment.  Keep first hunts short, exciting, comfortable, and engaging. An ancient proverb states, “A 1,000-mile journey begins with a single step.” Help make that first stride happen and walk along side by side.