It all started shortly after I turned 6 years old on my grandparents’ farm, when my Grandpa Bill brought an old BB gun out and asked if I wanted to learn how to shoot it. I, without hesitation, accepted my Grandpa’s proposal. He set up four pop cans, cocked the gun and shot one of the cans. Next, he had me cock the gun and helped me shoot it. I hit a can with the first shot, and I have been hooked on shooting ever since.
Later that fall I was able to go out on my first hunt with my Uncle Larry. He took me grouse hunting, along with one of his buddies. After 2 hours of hunting and a vest full of grouse, I knew one day I would love to go on a hunt of my own.
The next summer, on my 7th birthday, my mom gave me my very own BB gun. It was a spring-loaded Daisy. Soon after I got the gun, my Grandma Lou and Grandpa Bill said I could start taking care of the pesky birds around the farm. (Sometimes I wonder if Grandpa had an ulterior motive for teaching me how to shoot.) Shortly after, I took one of the many sparrows that had been eating corn from the corn crib—it was my first kill. From then on, I was the pest control on the farm. (Don’t worry: I fed the birds to the farm cats.)
The fall after I turned 10 years old, my Uncle Bruce taught me how to shoot his .22 rimfire and took me on my first squirrel hunt. What a blast! I shot a lot of squirrels in the proceeding fall hunt.
Fast-forward to high school. I didn’t start deer hunting until I moved out to Sandpoint, Idaho, with my dad at the age of 16. I also went elk hunting. Even though I never had the opportunity to harvest any big game, I still learned a lot about hunting in the mountains and saw some pretty amazing things.
When I moved back to Minnesota I kept right on hunting. I went on many grouse/small game hunts with my good buddy, Luke, and other friends and family. Deer hunting, however, was a different story. I couldn’t buy so much as a look at a deer my first year back in Minnesota.
The following season I went deer hunting with Uncle Bruce, along with my brother, Ryan, and two cousins, Aaron and Brandon. I learned a ton about hunting deer in Minnesota and was able to harvest my first deer—the biggest buck I have shot to this day. What a rush! I haven’t missed a season since.
I haven’t had nearly as much time to enjoy the outdoors since my boys were born. At one point I was actually getting kind of depressed about it. Amber (my loving wife) said to me, “Why don’t you find a business, job or hobby that will keep you connected to hunting and fishing?”
The next day I heard something on the radio about blogging. I thought to myself, Why not? I’ll see what happens. Well, long story short, I started my blog, Ben G. Outdoors, and my journey began.
People started to like my writing. I started writing for others, interviewing companies in the industry and writing product reviews. At the same time I was learning the ins and outs of social media, as well as the hunting industry as a whole.
Once I realized I enjoyed blogging and loved the hunting/fishing industries, and had a new-found gift of storytelling, my goal became to either make my blogging a full-time job or find a related job within the industry. Well, here I am. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I really achieved my goal in only 2 1/2 years.
All this from a guy who didn’t know he could write, had a drive to learn more about the industry, and wanted to share his experiences with others.
Thanks, and I look forward to sharing more with every one of the members of the North American Hunting Club. Check back regularly for new blogs, but you'll find me every day on the Club Facebook page and Twitter (@nahuntingclub).