If you’ve decided that you’d like to take up hunting this season, you might have come across a ton of articles about helping you up your game. Here, we’ll talk about the most basic basics that all beginning hunters should know.
Get familiar with your weapon of choice
Whether you intend to bag your first buck with a bow and arrow or rifle, make sure you’re very comfortable using your weapon before your first hunting trip. Spend as much time as you can practicing shooting. Get comfortable at distances that make sense for your intended expeditions. In other words, if you know you’ll be hunting in heavily wooded areas, you’ll probably be okay gaining proficiency at distances of no more than 50 yards or so. If you’ll be doing more open-field hunting, get comfortable at shorter distances and then work your way up to 200 yards. Practice will help you be better at covering the distances you need to cover and will also help you get to know your weapon well.
Familiarize yourself with your hunting ground
If your intended hunting area is close to home, spend some time getting the lay of the land. Being familiar with your surroundings, especially if you’re scouting expeditions let you observe feeding areas, can help you feel more comfortable and make you less likely to wander off course.
Know what else you’ll need
If you intend to gut your kill in the field, you’ll need a good knife. You might also want a rope that you can use to hang your kill from a tree to drain blood and keep it safe from ground-level scavengers. A small tarp comes in handy for dragging your prey back to camp or your truck with greater ease. A tarp also keeps your kill cleaner and minimizes damage done by rocks and other obstructions in your path.
Dress for the occasion
If the weather’s going to be cold, be sure to dress in clothing that covers as much of your body (including your head and neck) as possible. Freezing your tail off is no fun and makes what should be a great day a miserable experience. Cold hands also have a hard time aiming and firing. If you expect the day to start cold and then warm up, or start warm and cool down, dress in layers that you can readily remove or add. Don’t forget a safety vest or some other eye-catching orange article to help keep you safe from other hunters.
Know the law
Naturally, you need to know when and where hunting for various game is legal. You also want to make sure you’re properly licensed. One thing many new hunters neglect to learn is what, if any, restrictions there are on the size of legal animals and what the limit is on whatever game you’re hunting.
In addition to the above tips, it’s always helpful to get your feet wet with by hunting with experienced hunters. Their knowledge and experience can help you sort through the ins and outs and help you avoid making unnecessary purchases or carrying way too much gear. They’ll also understand that not every hunt is successful, which can make you feel better about coming home empty-handed if that happens. Patience isn’t just a virtue to hunters–it’s a necessity, but every trip can be rewarding in its own way and be another learning experience.