Dennis Anderson: Mentors keep the chain moving for numbers of young hunters

Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

Connor, a team member, credits his coaches and practice time on the club's trap range for improving his scattergun marksmanship. At Hoffman's cabin last year, he used a shotgun Froehlich loaned him. This year Connor is shouldering a 12 gauge his grandfather gave him.

"Last year I shot one mallard and four teal,'' Connor said. "They came into the decoys pretty good. Fred and I took all the feathers off the birds and cleaned them. Then I took them home and my family and I had them for dinner.''

As a mentor, Froehlich is successful because he knows the joy, friendship and camaraderie that attend the hunting life, and he enthusiastically wants others to share in the fun.

He's also successful because he has a support network consisting of friends and fellow Nicollet Conservation Club members.

But not every mentor or would-be mentor has a similar network to lean on for assistance. To help fill this and similar voids, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) again this fall is sponsoring free webinars that provide expert instruction in everything from waterfowl hunting to bird hunting with pointing dogs.

Each offers an excellent opportunity for mentors and their novice hunting partners to watch, listen and learn together — before or after going afield.


Want to be a mentor but don't have a son, daughter, nephew or niece to introduce to hunting?

Ask the kid down the street, or around the block. Or volunteer as a mentor with Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited or another conservation group or sportsmen's club.

As Froehlich says, expect your efforts to be repaid in smiles.



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