Many of our mentors have left their legacy to us to pass on to future generations.
As a child I remember my first fishing trip. It was with my Great Uncle Andy to a family farm pond during a warm sunny summer day. He was the type of angler that would brave any weather to get out fishing. The seed was sown to become a fisherman in my young eyes and heart.
My Great Uncle John and my Great Grandfather Andy were very instrumental in turning that skinny kid towards the woods, creating the crazed outdoorsman that I am today. Tales of hunts and trapping tips from these tough men showed me the ways of the woods.
My head was in the woods from then on and continues to be today.
My Grandmother Ann was a tough Pennsylvania farm girl that taught me how to make homemade slingshots and gave me my first BB gun. She taught me the old ways and we spent many days wandering through the woods. How I wish I could sit with her again and hear great stories of the old farm and her life in a different time. She passed away in 2017 but continues to share my outdoor experiences from her lofty perch in Heaven.
Trips to the local gunshop at age 15 for air rifle pellets made me another new friend and mentor. Karl “Skip” Vieth was the man who owned the shop, and I would be friends with for the next twenty years.
We traded stories, talked of new products, and I bought plenty of gear from him. I always looked forward to talking with him and gaining more knowledge that he always was willing to offer.
He passed away unexpectedly, but he left a major positive impact on my life.
I still enjoy hanging out with what I like to call vintage hunters, target shooters, and outdoorsmen (such as my current old school mentor nicknamed “The Grizz”) that are full of knowledge. They are eager to help out and glad to see a younger generation is interested in their hobbies.
There are many other great mentors that have not been mentioned here but were also instrumental in molding who I am today.
We need to enjoy and honor the past and present outdoor mentors and gain as much information as you can get. In the future it will be our job to hand down the same information that they gave us along with our knowledge to the next generations.
Honor them and keep the spirit of the outdoors alive for years to come.