Being able to hunt is a valuable skill and an enjoyable hobby for millions of Americans. If you’ve been caught by the hunting bug, then there’s a good chance that you’re probably feeling a little daunted by your next steps. The good news is that it’s never been easier to get into hunting, and with such a wide variety of online forums to help you get started, you could be heading out to the woods sooner than you think. However, if you’re at that stage, here are some tips that might turn your first hunting trip into something that you want to repeat over and over again.
If you’re going into the woods with weapons, then you’re going to have to pay particular attention to your safety awareness. That means more than simple gun safety. You should also:
- Make sure that people know where you are and how long you can be expected to be gone for
- Have a survival kit on your person at all times
- Practice making a fire and a shelter from natural materials long before you head into the wilds
These basic safety tips will mean that you will be significantly safer should you get separated from your group, or if bad weather starts to hinder your ability to get back to your vehicle.
Focus on Scent
The smell is a vital sense for both hunters and their prey. The majority of game animals have a much better sense of smell than we do, so you need to think about scent masking. Being able to cover your natural scent is essential, especially if you’re hunting large animals like deer. Do your research and talk to people who have enjoyed years of successful hunting. They may have tips about scent masking that you won’t find online.
There’s a fine line between packing too much gear for your first hunt and not packing enough. Try to ignore all of the adverts that you’ll see for ‘essential gear’ on every hunting website and forum. Limit your essentials to your weapon, camping supplies, and some good quality Merino wool cold-weather clothing that will keep you much more protected from the elements. Remember, this is only your first hunt. Every time that you return home from a trip, you’ll have more experience regarding what is essential and what isn’t.
Know the Law
Hunting laws are serious business. If you don’t want to be one of the thousands of hunters prosecuted every single year for not having the right licenses, make sure that you are legally compliant and aware of the animals that you’re allowed to hunt. It’s never worth the risk of going hunting without the appropriate paperwork, and you’ll have much more fun knowing that you’re not going to get arrested mid-trip. Do your research. Don’t rely on others to let you know what is needed and what isn’t. Find out exactly what you need, and don’t venture into the woods without all of your paperwork in order.
There’s no guarantee that your first hunting trip will be a successful one. Not everyone can score a buck on their first expedition. Take your time and learn to be patient. A calm hunter will always have a more satisfying experience than a stressed one. Do your prep right, get used to the idea of what hunting can mean to those that love it, and you could find that this is a hobby you’ve been waiting for your entire life.