So, you’re interested in hunting but don’t know how to get started. Hunting is a tradition that has its roots in the earliest civilizations. First of all, you’ll need to decide on what kind of hunting interests you. In many areas deer hunting is king. In other areas, small game like duck, quail or pheasant prevail. Get your hands on a hunting guide to familiarize yourself with the basics.
It is easy to get into hunting, but it’s not the kind of sport you just jump into. A few tips will help but skills may take years to master. Having a mentor is the best and safest way to hone your talent. Hunting provides you a spiritual and primordial experience. Killing an animal deserves respect and reverence. There is more to harvesting an animal than just pulling the trigger.
To give the animal a fair chance and to challenge the hunter, local governments regulate weapon usage, laws, and open seasons. All jurisdictions require a hunting license and most require a weapon’s safety course be completed before a license is issued.
A skilled sportsman will understand all aspects of sport hunting. There’s more to hunting than firing a weapon. Understanding the terrain, knowing the habits of the game you’re hunting, and properly tracking animals will enhance the experience. As a beginner, you’ll want to find a weapon that fits you and that you feel comfortable with. You’ll also want to have an appropriate weapon for the game you’ll be hunting. Get to know it. Get comfortable with it. Take a safety course to educate and protect yourself and others. Always respect the animal and its habitat. Disturbing bedding areas and leaving trash behind disrupts the ecosystem. Leave the area as you found it. This ensures that others will be able to enjoy its natural beauty.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Studying safety for beginners can be the difference between success and tragedy. Hit the range with the weapon you’ll be using. Get used to how the trigger feels. Learn to line up the scope for accuracy. Train yourself to get comfortable by target shooting from various distances. Different weapons have varying recoil that will affect accuracy and injury if you’re not ready for it. You should also understand your weapon’s strengths and limitations. In the field, taking low probability shots is counterproductive. It puts others in danger, exposes your location, and lowers your chances of being successful during the hunt.
Where to Hunt
If you’re lucky, your family or friends will have a farm or some land suitable for hunting. To shoot a deer, you’ll have the advantage of scouting the land before the season starts. This will allow you to observe natural animal patterns so you’ll know where to set up your blinds. If not, you’ll have to rely on public land or ask a landowner for permission to use his land. NEVER hunt in non-designated areas.
Dress and Pack for Success
There is some must have gear that every sportsman should pack for a hunt. You’ll need to be prepared to stay put in whatever Mother Nature has in store that day. Dressing in layers and wearing materials that wick moisture will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. In addition, you’ll need some extra ammunition, binoculars, scent blockers, a sharp knife, and tags for claiming your game.
Know the Wind
Hunters need a strategy to be successful. Having your target downwind will alert them to danger. As a hunter, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the land you’ll be hunting. You’ll also want to study animal behavior and biology. Camouflage will only help to keep you hidden from sight. However, animals rely on more than their vision. Their sense of smell is more acute than a human’s. It’s best to use hygiene products that won’t reveal your location. That means using unscented soaps and detergents. You can get away with using mint flavored toothpaste because it grows in the wild and many animals are familiar with it.
After the Kill
So you’ve taken your first animal. First and foremost, tag the animal in accordance with local regulations. Next, it’s time to prepare the carcass. Field dressing is a skill you need to familiarize yourself with–it helps to preserve the quality of the flesh. Removing internal organs lowers the animal’s core temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. If possible, rinse the carcass with clean water and transport on ice. Your game animal is now ready to be taken to a butcher for processing.
Benefits of Hunting
Hunters of all ages wait for Opening Day. They treat it like a festive holiday. It’s a long-running tradition amongst family member and friends alike. Often it is the one time of the year that the whole group is together. There’s a camaraderie. Many hunters are introduced to the sport as youngsters who learn from their parents or grandparents. This sacred “alone time” produces not only a lifelong bond between the group but also a respect for nature.
Hunting also brings you closer to your meal. You’ll understand and respect what’s on your plate. Buying meat at the supermarket is common but very sanitized and clinical. Most people have no idea where their food comes from. They buy steaks or chicken breasts already butchered, wrapped in cellophane, and ready to be seasoned.
Hunting is a process. Learning hunter essentials will take time. Chances are that you won’t be successful your first time out or even in your first season. It will take some time to acclimate yourself and to learn how animals react. Growing as a hunter requires patience. Appropriate clothing and accessories will keep you comfortable and hopefully, increase your odds of being successful. But, you need to realize that running out and buying every gadget or toy won’t make you a better hunter.
Sportsmen use proven strategies for success. Take hunting courses to hone your skills. You’ll also want to study animal behavior and biology. For your enjoyment and to become a proficient hunter, it’s best to hunt smarter not harder.