Pictured above: Kendall and Jenna Hankins with a dollar from a previous season. Pictured right: Kendall with one of her award-winning turkeys.
Local hunter Kendall Hankins hasn’t touched a dollar for a few years – despite hunting every day of rifle season in 2020. He’s got his eyes on a dollar he’s been watching grow for the past few years, but it doesn’t prioritize getting one. himself this year either. This year he is focusing on mentoring a new hunter, whom he helped get his first turkey last spring.
“My goal isn’t necessarily for me, it’s to guide him,” Hankins said of the 13-year-old he and his wife are mentoring. “He’s super grateful and I can’t forget how well-behaved he is.”
Hankins grew up in the woods with his parents, Jim and Bev Hankins, who both hunt. His wife, Jenna, became another of his hunting partners during their years together. She got eight points early last week.
Hankins says their first priority when going hunting is safety. Second, ethics. They want to make sure they use their tools correctly and protect the environment in which they hunt so that they – and other hunters – can continue to enjoy them for years to come.
“Some people don’t respect other people’s hunting rights or privileges and it upsets me when this happens to me, so I try not to do anything to someone else that I wouldn’t want to be done to me.” Hankins said of sharing hunting grounds with other hunters.
Hunting is a way to escape the stresses and pressures of everyday life, whatever the season. Hankins thinks this is a way of “absolutely disconnecting” from everything that is going on in the world.
He pointed out how many young people today have not had the opportunity to experience the world without the Internet and smartphones, and he thinks the world outside of the electronic devices that we regularly use is beautiful.
“There is a time and place for (cell phones), but to be able to put this down and see what I think God has done so that we can enjoy it – it doesn’t get much better. Nothing better to relax and unwind.
There is often a lot of preparation before the hunters’ days in the woods.
“It’s not just going out into the woods for a few days a year to sit and relax,” Hankins said. “It takes you a year to get here with the preparation. Talent and luck play a part, but preparation helps you succeed.
Hankins says he explained to the teenager he teaches, “If you kill a deer that is small it will never grow. So you don’t have to go look for the first thing you see. Let it grow, give it a few years.
Hankins is following his own advice now, hoping he will be lucky enough to get the money he has seen growing up in recent seasons.
Hankins is serving his first term as County Commissioner. He works for REMC in Southeast Indiana and teaches at Ivy Tech. He also helps run hunter education courses in Friendship.
While Hankins helps this young local to learn the tools and the trade, he asks the young man only one thing in return: to pay to the next.