The Art of the Ask
Inviting someone to go hunting for the first time requires a bit of nuance. Here are a few pointers.
It’s easy to ask a hunting buddy to go hunting.
“Hey, man. Teal opens Saturday. You in?”
“You know it!” he replies, as if you’ve questioned his manhood.
Inviting a newcomer to go hunting isn’t so cut-and-dry. Depending on the person—especially someone who didn’t grow up around hunting—the prospect of actually going out for the first time can be intimidating.
That’s because going hunting is not like going to a ball game or playing a round of golf. After all, a hunt might start in the dark and culminate at a strange place in the woods. If everything goes well, there will be gunfire and at least one bird or animal will die.
The new hunter needs specialized gear, and he or she probably doesn’t have a clue what to pack or how to dress. They don’t know if “going hunting” means going out for an hour or for the weekend. They really have no idea how it’ll all go down.
And once you’ve gotten a friend interested in hunting, a hunter education course is a prerequisite. This used to be a significant time commitment but technology has made the process much easier and hunter-ed.com offers state-specific hunter education resources.
Therefore, your invitation to a new hunter should address some of these issues to make him or her feel at ease. It should also convey enthusiasm, and tell them a little bit about what to expect. Maybe something like…
“Say, I’m going duck hunting for a few hours Saturday morning. The weather is supposed to be great—chilly, but not frigid—and I’ve got a great place to go with lots of birds. We’ll have a blast! I’ll even pick you up. What do you say?”
Typically, the invitee will be curious and want to ask more questions, but he won’t want to come across as totally ignorant, so he might respond with something non-committal like…
“Sounds fun, and I appreciate the invite, but I’ll have to see what I’ve got going on Saturday.”
From here, you might have to coax them a bit more.
“Fair enough, but just so you know: I’ve got all the gear you’ll need. I’ll even take you to get your license, or we can get it online. Then, on Saturday, I’ll pick you up about an hour before sunrise. We’ll head to my spot, toss out some decoys, build a blind, drink some coffee, and hopefully bag a few ducks…if we can hit ‘em. I’ll have you back before 11. You’re gonna love it!”
Who could refuse an offer like that?
About the Author: A native Oklahoman, Jeff Johnston is an NRA-certified shotgun, rifle, and handgun instructor, as well as an NRA Distinguished Expert shooter. A lifelong hunter, he’s taken many different species of game, including a few giant whitetails and one rare masked fox squirrel from Georgia of which he’s particularly proud.