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Skills I Have Learned from Hunting

February and March just seem like the months for reflection.  Maybe Hershy hit the nail on the head when he said February-March were the months for planning…for me it is reflection.   I was born with really only one skill.   Had to learn the others.  Now when I say learn…I use that term loosely because life is full of trial and error.  Some years more error than trial.  When I was 12 I started reloading my own ammo.  I won’t suggest the 44 magnum is the cartridge to start with but it was for me.  Didn’t know you had to crimp the bullet to the case.  Learned that one after the first shot.   Convincing Dad to drive out to the farm to go shooting that day was easy.  Convincing him we were done shooting after the first round was less fun.   Or there was the time my father-in-law locked the keys in the truck on the first morning of a four day fishing trip at Lake Mac.  I heard a big crack and saw a rock fly through truck.  He looked at me and said “now lets get fishing!”  I knew right then and there I was going to marry his daughter as there was a man serious about fishing!  The journey of outdoor skills development has been the journey of a lifetime and it is far from over.


1. Gun safety

2. How to learn about game

3. Proper shooting techniques

4. How to “properly” bottle skunk scent

5. How to read a dog and know when they are laughing – You can’t fool your hunting dog…they know who you are

6. How to stay warm when it is bitter cold

7. How to get out of work/school to go hunting/fishing when the birds are flying or the fish are biting

8. How to remove skunk odor from your dog….and sadly your clothes too…

9. How to gracefully miss a close bird

10. Excuse development when close bird is missed – “I ate too much fried food last night”

11. How to break into your vehicle – sadly I have learned on several vehicles and saved many a hunt in the process

12.  How to get back into your boat wearing a life jacket (don’t ask)

13. How to remove cow manure from your rifle barrel (again don’t ask)

14. How to field dress a deer and still be clean enough to make it to church that morning

15. How to negotiate land access (this works best if you own the land)

16.  How to answer the call of nature while in…well….nature – If you forget TP then this skill becomes less useful

17. Making sausage gravy in a duck blind – believe it or not, coffee can work well in a pinch here should your forget the milk

18. How to sharpen a knife (and actually know when it needs sharpening)

19. How to start a fire

20. Hunter Education/safety skills

21. How to track game – not all tracks are created equal

22. How to justify buying more hunting/fishing equipment – see Hershy’s recent blog…he is a genius on this one!

23. How to hunt all season long without paying for gas -this is where hunting buddies really come in handy

24. How to choose hunting buddies – make sure they have a truck and a job!

25.  How to let a hunting dog choose you

26. How to just enjoy being out there

27. How to match camo patterns to all dress up occasions

28. How to fish

29. How to tell stories

30. How to give back

31. How to get out of dishes at deer camp

32. How to blood trail game

33. How to avoid having to blood trail game

34. Patience

35. How to go in the wild (already mentioned this one but it is so important thought I should mention it again)

Skills lead to kills!

Had to go after this one with a broken foot last year…Those crutches make excellent gun rests!

About jeff rawlinson

Jeff is the Education Manager in the Communications Division with Game and Parks where he has worked for the last 15 years. He oversees the Hunter Education, Boater Education, Hunter Outreach and Shooting Range Development for the Commission and is a devout hunter, angler, wildlife viewer, naturalist, father and husband. He holds a BS and MS from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has been a Hunter Education Instructor for over 20 years, NRA firearms instructor and range officer, National Archery in the Schools Program Archery Instructor Specialist and member of the National NASP Board, sits on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Hunter Recruitment and Retention Committee and Education Committee. Jeff is an avid handgun hunter, loves to chase turkeys in the spring, squirrel hunting enthusiast and philosopher of the outdoors. He is an avid shooter and loves to spend outdoor time with family and friends. He has a passion for exciting others about the outdoors. A history buff, Jeff is a strong supporter of our North American Model of Conservation and tries to spread the message of its importance and relevance every chance he gets.

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