Fostering Achievement-Oriented Hunters
I believe a better system would be to encourage those folks who already possess a strong drive to excel. They would likely prove to be our most effective promoters. You can tell someone all about marksmanship, but you can’t make them care. The Achievement oriented already care and should be encouraged. They wouldn’t need German-style hunter’s education because they are already motivated to become educated on their own. Furthermore, these dedicated folks will encourage others to do the same. Courses and programs beyond basic hunter’s ed. should be readily available and widely promoted but completely voluntary.
The best way to encourage the Achievement-oriented is to provide a forum that simulates hunting and is available all year long. This would allow these hunter-shooters to test new skills with virtually no risk to themselves or anything else. They can also demonstrate their skills to their friends and the general public 365 days a year. As a bonus, a simulation can be used to isolate specific problems and let them be corrected before the hunt begins. New hunters choosing to attend can learn at their own pace. Plus, this forum automatically indicates who the best potential mentors are. Just check the score board. Consider pro sports. I’ll use golf as an example. Golf can be conducted without restriction all year long. The most Achievement-oriented players can join a pro tour, win hundreds of thousands of dollars and garner the respect of millions. The major events are televised in their entirety and the results reported in the news. Winning pro golfers are international celebrities. New golfers can easily tell who can “walk the walk” and know who to learn from. Of course, new golfers are allowed to learn golf at their own pace. Golfers have established systems for learning top-notch play. One cannot learn to be a great golfer by simply playing the occasional round. Playing 18 holes without a game plan may be an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon (that is, if you can stomach the idea of golfing when you could be at the range shooting…) but it won’t lead to much improvement. The smart golfer will analyze his game. Where is the score lagging? That will show what needs work. Let’s say our Tiger Woods wannabe finds he is wasting a lot of strokes because he has problems driving. If he simply goes out next time and plays another round he won’t improve much, if at all. Instead, he should spend the time working specifically on his driving skills. Golfers realize this. Their publications are filled with ideas for improving specific parts of a person’s game. They build and are willing to pay for specialized training facilities in addition to golf courses, such as driving ranges, just to work on one part of their game. This work will be done long before “opening day” of a tournament.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of hunters have not yet become this sophisticated. This situation is even more appalling when you consider that the golfer stands to injure nothing but pride by playing without properly preparing. A hunter is planning to invade another living creature’s home turf with the intention of killing it. A mistake can cripple or lead to a slow, painful death. That may sound like a bunch of anti-hunter drivel, but it is essentially true and I say it only to make a point. Hunting should not be approached casually. We are literally discussing a life and death issue for both the prey and the hunter. Carelessness will hurt! The hunter should have developed and proved his skill before taking the field. Anything else is unethical and possibly dangerous. Hunting live animals should be the basic execution of skills already obtained; not a proving or testing ground. The proper proving and testing ground is the range. By using a proper format Achievement-oriented hunters can test all they want, and demonstrate to all interested parties at the same time.