We spend a lot of time talking about hunting like it’s second nature on this site. But if you’re new to the sport, I want to share some tips that could help you jumpstart your hunting career. With hunting season coming up very soon, we’ve compiled a short list of items that you must know before getting out there.
Start with a Hunter’s Safety Course
Type in a search online and you’ll find a few places close to home to take one. Most states require certification to buy a license. Even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea. It will make you safer for yourself and others. You can even take your hunter ed course online. You’ll learn a lot of things to start hunting just from the course.
Get your license
Simple enough. You’ve got to do it, otherwise you could face a multitude of fines.
Find an experienced hunter and tag along
Don’t ask this person to teach you. Just ask if you can come along. Don’t take a gun. Don’t ask to take a shot. Just keep your trap shut and do what he does. Once he sees that you’re respecting his ritual, he’ll let you in on some of his secrets. Find a farmer and see if they know anybody who hunts, they most likely will.
Familiarize yourself with local and state laws and regulations
Nothing will take the wind out of your hunting sails faster than making enemies with the Game Warden. Stay on his good side. Look at your state’s fish and wildlife official website and print out the state laws and regulations.
Learn gun safety
Organized classes are helpful and may be required. Again, they’re a good idea regardless. Learn the rules of gun safety and live by them. And then be a dear and pass them on.
Get comfortable with your firearm/bow/crossbow/spear/whatever you’re going to be taking trophies with. Shooting ranges, tin cans on fence posts, 3-D targets—whatever it takes, don’t EVER let your first shot be in the field. You’ll be nervous enough.
Borrow a gun before you buy.
It will give you the opportunity to find out our personal preferences before you sink big money into something. And if you borrow a firearm, treat it like a prized possession. And return it cleaner than you received it.
Know your surroundings
Talk to local hunters about the landscape, local features, local animal habits, etc. This is where you’ll be hunting. Get familiar.
Gear up—but keep it simple
Gear for a beginner hunter shouldn’t be complicated. Once you get addicted to hunting, it gets really expensive. You’ll start buying better duck decoys, more guns, souped up four wheelers, rv parts for your new camper, shotgun shells, rifle cartridges, etc. You have your whole life to buy crazy gear. Start off by looking at the best hunting blinds. Start slow.
Small game first
Deer hunting seems like the obvious opener. But it’s a complex, difficult and sometimes fruitless hunt. Why not go out with a mentor on a squirrel hunt. It’s a lot of fun and you pick up lots of principles that will be applied to bigger hunts throughout your life.
So if you’re not a hunter, get going on this checklist. We’ll see you in the field!
What other tips do you have for the beginner hunter?