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Find a Mentor and Become a Mentor—Sharing the Hunt

Mia Anstine


Mia's ElkI'm not only an avid hunter and outdoor writer, I'm also a hunting guide, shooting instructor, hunter-education class instructor, seminar presenter, and all-around mentor. It may come as no surprise that seeing the email about ALPS Mentor program has me excited. We should not only coach, advise or instruct but also continually be ready to learn and look for our own mentors.

I'm lucky enough to have grown up in a hunting family and it's via people I've met over the years that I learned not everyone has these opportunities. In high school and college, I lived in the big city of San Diego. I had many conversations with people who were interested in fishing and hunting. Later, I began teaching these skills to others.

In hunter education class, most would-be hunters are taught five stages of hunting: Shooter Stage, Limiting-Out Stage, Trophy Stage, Method Stage, and Sportsman Stage. In our classes we also teach a sixth stage: The Sportsman Mentor Stage. This is when your passion for hunting is so great that you receive as much joy from helping a new hunter, as from your own hunts.

Mia AnstineIn 2010 my now husband enlisted me to fill in as a hunting guide. After a day in the field, my hunters eyed me typing away in the corner as I emailed my grandfather, telling him about our day's adventures. They asked if I'd start emailing them too. My writing grew and I've used it in a large capacity to inspire others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and savor all life has to offer. Via my articles, presentations, guiding, and classes, I've helped turn thousands of people from non-shooters to skilled, responsible hunters.

The smile on the face of a new hunter as they hear a turkey drumming, elk bugling, or watch their first pheasant fall from the sky is enough to re-live my own first hunts forever. Those expressions and experiences are what make mentoring rewarding.

Learning to hunt is a calling to some and getting involved is seamless if we have family members eager to serve as mentors. But what about those who don't have family who hunt or who are willing to mentor them? For this latter group of individuals that feel the calling, fortunately when there's a will there's a way!

Mia's ElkPeople (primarily kids) who don't have family and friends to teach them the ins and outs of hunting and other outdoor sports will find a surprising array of opportunities to learn, and to hunt, by reaching out to wildlife department offices and conservation organizations.

I've met a few courageous individuals who embarked on hunting in a solo manner. For those who aren't so bold, mentorship programs are ideal places to start. There are plenty of programs that exist to teach new hunters the As-to-Zs of the sport. These programs are always looking for enthusiastic newbies and mentors willing to learn or to share their knowledge. Look for a mentor or become one!