ESCANABA - With all the emphasis on mentoring young hunters, there is at least one generation of adult hunters that could use a little mentoring themselves.
It would be one of those teach the teachers phases that could make the difference in whether or not those of easy influence will stay with the sport.
While deer hunting remains the primary focus of hunting in Michigan, the interest generated in the pursuit of the wily whitetail can broaden into other game species and techniques of hunting if the fundamentals are laid down from the beginning.
In many cases it is the elder sportsman who is referred to for the wisdom he or she possesses from years of experience, to answer questions or advise the novice hunter towards success.
Next year Michigan will utilize a new law that leaves the determination of when a youngster may begin to hunt in the hands of parents. It will not change the necessity of being with a youngster (present requirements are to be in immediate control of any hunter less than 17 years of age) but will make their participation legal.
They'll be able to pull the trigger when the decision is made on taking game.
Fortunately, I've had a good reference journal to go back to time after time when confused about a situation I've experienced or been presented with that pretty much covers every consideration.
At least I thought it did until a new version came out and then it too was replaced twice more.
I'm referring to the book "Deer Hunting" now in its fourth edition and authored by well known outdoors writer/photographer Richard P. Smith from Marquette.
Spanning 28 chapters over 426 pages, the fourth edition expands coverage to include each discipline of hunting. Those include not only the technical side, but types of seasons and varied hunts as well.
Readers will be able to appreciate where to hunt and what to look for in selecting a spot. You'll also discover what is in your best interest to intercept a deer or lure them off the beaten path in front of your sights.
Guys like Richard P. Smith live their lives outdoors and hunting equipment manufacturers go to them to field test new devices to see if they enhance the enjoyment outdoors.
The information he provides will help determine if your best outerwear should be like the old timers wore versus the latest sweat wicking, scent blocking material developed.
Smith also provides comparisons of results of deer hunted under contemporary management philosophies whether they are inside or outside a fenced enclosure.
In reading the information from book four, selection of hunting equipment is narrowed down to help determine the bang for the buck (pardon the pun).
Firearms today include the contemporary center-fire gun to advanced muzzleloaders, archery and crossbow selection.
My favorite chapter is the last chapter. "Success without Success" will bring anecdotal scenes of nature observed while hunting.
In reading it, I found myself going back in time when an owl flew into my line of view from a blind and stealthily perched on a tree branch awaiting prey. While it scanned the ground in front, I mused at a ruffed grouse that tactically inched its way behind it across an opening into thicker cover.
I didn't see a deer that afternoon but the amusement of watching wildlife in a truly natural setting was as good a day as I could of have hoped.
In all, this book combines every possible experience deer hunting and is complemented with almost 300 photographs.
Speaking of which you will also be advised on selection and use of cameras (Chapter 15). It truly has it all.
Deer Hunting the 4th Edition is published through Stackpole Books and can be purchased on line at www.stackpolebooks.com. It lists for $29.95 and will provide countless hours of entertaining education to all who read it.
I can't think of a better gift for a growing hunting family, especially the leader of the group who will now be able to advance the knowledge of the group based on straight forward facts from Richard P. Smith.
You can also obtain a copy of the book at Book World in Escanaba's Delta Plaza. An even better incentive to buy is that Richard P. Smith will be on hand Sunday from 1-4 p.m. (EST) at Book World to personally sign your book.
You'll also be able to ask questions and invest in the many other publications he has available.
If you have a question, he'll answer your e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can give him a call in Marquette (906-225-1002).