As a new hunter, what is the one thing I wish I’d known before
I started out?

Great question.  One that made me think. 

As a young guy, I got started hunting in earnest around thirteen years of age.  My buddies and I first attacked pheasants, rabbits and squirrels and then ducks followed by geese.  I shot my first deer at fifteen, my first coyote at sixteen.  As I entered adulthood I added hunting antelope and elk, trapped, and discovered turkeys.  As I matured (pronounced “got old”) I have returned to focus on upland birds, ducks and geese. 

To some extent, the birds beseech my attention because their pursuit includes my best hunting buddies; all of whom happen to be Labradors and Setters.

I have enjoyed great experiences in the fields, marshes, and mountains.  I once walked-up-on a mountain lion sitting over a freshly killed mule deer; encountered wild grizzly’s in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, watched a wolf harass some wintering elk, and even looked down at a group of mountain goats (not something many can claim).

I’ve gotten the chance to lie next to my son in a layout blind and coach him on taking the greenhead mallard that had landed six feet in front of his blind on his first youth hunt. 

I got the chance to help my two nieces on their first duck hunt. Explaining to them the fundamental rule of success; just like when they played basketball~if you don’t shoot you can’t score!

But before I was gifted by these aforementioned experiences what do I wish I would have known? 

Perhaps I should have wished I would have recognized that the key to success when hunting or fishing doesn’t lie in the equipment. It lays in the doing.  If you hunt, or for that matter fish a lot, you will have success.  Why?  Because if you are inquisitive, you will learn; you can’t avoid it.  And if you learn, you will succeed.  Maybe what I wish I’d grasped is that regardless of “what” you think you need to be afield, all you really need is to “go afield”.

Or perhaps it is that hunting isn’t about the kill.  It is about the pursuit.  There is great reward in letting a hen mallard fly on because you made a decision to only shoot at the drakes.  Or let that fork horn mule deer walk right past you because you are going to only take a mature deer.  You will leave the field or woods richer even though you “got skunked”.

Conceivably, the one thing I wish I would have realized right away is that hunting, for me, is my devotion time.   I don’t know you, and I would never try to tell you what to believe, but for me … the wonderful love of a glorious creator is best experienced in a lonely place with the sun just beginning to rise.  The presence of my God is so undeniable that I think I must have been purposefully ignorant not to of comprehended it years before I did.  

I wish I would of soaked it up and bathed in the beauty of all my surroundings and accepted that if my God created all of this …… then he really, really loves me~!

Until I see you in the field or marsh, be safe, be good, and BE LUCKY!
David Proffitt is Owner of

​The One Thing I Wish I Would of Known When I Started Out...