Are you getting tired of the heat of summer? If so, take heart, because cooler weather is on the way.
As autumn approaches more and more outdoorsmen will be preparing for the upcoming hunting seasons. After all, hunting is one of the great experiences of being human and goes back to when man first walked the earth.
If this is going to be your first hunting experience, you’re in for a treat. Because there’s nothing like spending time in the great outdoors, whether you’re pursuing a trophy buck or small game like rabbits or squirrels. Hunting for beginners might seem a little scary or complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
This article takes a look at some of the key hunting advice you should know, from how to survive in the woods to the important hunting gear for beginners. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on how to make your first hunting season as fun and satisfying as possible.
It’s Never too Late to Start
Everything follows a different path to the hunting lifestyle. Some people start young, having the good fortune of being introduced to the outdoors and the joy of pursuing wildlife by their parents, while others discover hunting at a later age.
The simple truth is that it doesn’t matter what age you are first introduced to the sport of hunting. All that’s important is that you pursue it for the right reasons, have pure motivations, approach the outdoors with respect, and educate yourself regarding hunting laws and safety protocol to prevent injury to yourself or others.
It’s important to keep in mind that even when becoming a hunter as an adult, you can’t skip the basics. This means you need to become a student of the sport and commit yourself to the principles of being a responsible outdoorsman.
Also, keep in mind that every state requires that you complete a hunter’s ed course before purchasing a license. So contact your local sporting goods store or fish and game commission to learn the specifics of what’s required in your area.
Learn to Love the Outdoors
Before you load up on hunting gear and charge into the woods to bag a monster buck, learn to be an outdoorsman first.
What exactly does this mean? If you’re planning to spend time in the woods, you need to be prepared for the experience and know your way around. Nature deserves respect. You can afford to take it for granted. Educate yourself on basic survival skills and become comfortable in the wild.
Take a nature education course. Learn about the plants, trees, insects, and animals that you’ll encounter in the woods.
It’s important to remember that the act of hunting is only part of the experience of being in the woods. You aren’t just there to kill something. You’re there to participate in a tradition that goes back thousands of years, and to learn to appreciate how nature is designed to provide our needs and will continue on long after we are gone.
Preparing for the Hunt
There are many types of hunting. The most popular include deer hunting, waterfowl hunting, and small game hunting.
You’ll have a variety of firearms to choose from, including rifles for deer, shotguns for waterfowl and small game. Or you might be more interested in hunting with a bow and arrow. The key is to educate yourself about your weapon of choice, becoming familiar with how to operate it, and spend plenty of time at a shooting range to become a proficient marksman.
Be patient when starting out. If you weren’t raised around hunting weapons, it could take time to become comfortable handling them or learning to use them safely.
Spend time at a gun shop. Ask lots of questions. This will provide a great opportunity to get expert advice on purchasing the best weapon for you as well as suggestions on how to improve your marksmanship skills.
Once you’ve decided on the type of game you want to hunt, you’ll have a better idea of the gear you’ll need as well as how much prep will be required before you head out into the field for the first time.
Here’s a place to find hunting firearms for sale.
Choosing the Proper Hunting Gear
Next, you’re going to need to get outfitted for the hunt. Choosing the right gear will depend on the type of terrain where you’ll be hunting, the type of weather conditions you can expect to encounter, and the type of game you’re hunting, as well as your budget.
After all, deer hunting is a very different sport than duck hunter.
For example, most people hunt deer in the woods, and you’ll need to blend with your surrounding. You can either hunt on foot or establish a tree above the ground to wait for the deer to come to you. Most duck hunters build a blind at the edge of a body of water or on a boat, set out decoys to attract the waterfowl, and then wait for them to land on the water amidst the decoys.
Both of these sports take place during cold water but typically require somewhat different gear.
The key is to familiarize yourself with the appropriate clothes needed for your sport of choice. Keep in mind that you’ll be hunting during cold weather, so you’ll need to dress warmly. A good rule of thumb is to dress in layers so that you can remove items as you get too warm to avoid sweating, and then put the items back on once the day has cooled off again. The last thing you want to do is start sweating while it’s cold outside because the moist might then freeze beneath your clothing and put you at risk for hypothermia.
Boots and Socks
It’s hard to overstate the importance of good footwear. You’re going to spend a lot of time on your feet on muddy, uneven terrain. So you need warm, insulated, waterproof that can handle the conditions. You’ll also need to invest in insulated socks made of breathable material so that your feet won’t sweat.
You’d be wise to break in your boots during the months leading up to hunting season. Spend time wearing them around the house and while doing chores. This will help prevent new boots from hurting your feet once your out hiking miles at a time during the hunt.
Remaining safe in the field should always be your top priority. Thus you should start taking safety precautions before leaving the house.
First, always let someone know where you plan to hunt, and when you expect to be home. This will tip them off to a possible emergency if you don’t return home by the scheduled day and time. They can then contact the appropriate authorities to send help.
It’s also wise to hunt with a companion. A hunting party of two or more people lowers the odds of a single individual running into trouble and not being able to get help. You can either hunt as a group throughout the day or coordinate the hunt so that you plan to meet back at the truck or camp by a certain time late in the afternoon.
When it comes to gun safety, never transport a loaded weapon in your vehicle. In other words, wait until you’re in the field and ready to begin the hunt before loading the ammunition. This applies to experienced hunters as well as beginners.
Learn to Read a Compass
This one could fall into previous categories, including safety or preparing for the hunt, but deserves its own section for discussion.
The ability to read a compass and understand how to use it could save your life. It’s important to keep in mind that you will be wandering through the woods for hours at a time, and it can be painfully easy to become lost.
After all, you might suddenly turn around and have no idea what direction you came from or the direction you’re headed. A compass can help keep you on track and moving in the right direction.
Imagine that it’s getting dark, you’re hungry, and you’re unable to find your truck because you’ve disoriented. Everything in the forest looks the same, and you might have walked in circles for hours or have walked in the opposite direction from your truck. This could easily spell disaster.
Take the time to learn how to read a compass, because it might be the most important skill you ever acquire.
The important characteristic of a good hunter, regardless of age or experience in the wilderness, is respect for the animals you’re hunting. Many people consider hunting to be a very spiritual quest, and there’s a lot of truth to this.
Never take for granted the fact that an animal is giving its life so that you can even this activity. Hunting is a true privilege, and should always be treated as such.
The Complete Guide to Hunting for Beginners
It will be cold out before you know it. As the leaves turn colors, it’s time to prepare for the best time of the year for sportsmen everywhere. Fortunately, this guide to hunting for beginners will help ensure an enjoyable experience.
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