Whether for food or sport, hunting is a popular outdoor activity, especially in the US. It’s an opportunity for you to bond with friends or family while at the same time being one with nature. However, hunting isn’t for the faint of heart. There is a lot to learn about it, especially if this is your first time doing it.
In game hunting, everything matters: moving slowly and precisely to avoid rattling your prey; packing the right gear, especially when the temperature drops; understanding the behavior of your game; and even learning deer calls and other animal calls. Everything has to be done a sure way to ensure you bag your first kill.
If you’re a beginner, follow these tips to enjoy your first hunting trip:
- Observe Safety Precautions
Indeed, it goes without saying that safety should always be your top priority, whether you’re hunting or not. Always consider the fact that you are in your prey’s territory. As a rule of thumb, be as alert as your prey in case danger arises. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and check for any hazards along the way, like falling debris, traps, etc.
Make sure you’re practicing gun safety at all times. Never point your gun at anyone, not even yourself, even when it’s not loaded. It’s best practice always to treat firearms as if they were loaded—keep your finger away from the trigger and point your rifle towards the ground all the time.
- Prepare Essential Equipment
If you want to make your hunting trip a success, be sure to pack these hunting essentials:
- Medical Supplies. Being miles away from any hospital, you need to be prepared for any illness or injuries. Make sure that your first aid kit is stocked with bandages, band-aids, pain relievers, antihistamines, etc.
- Orange Hunting Vest. Always wear an orange hunting vest. This allows other hunters to recognize you as a human and not a game. Don’t skip on these. Many hunting-related accidents occur when hunters don’t wear their vests.
- GPS. It can be very easy to get lost in the woods. But, having a GPS can help you locate exactly where you are.
There are a variety of hunting essentials you will carry depending on the kind of game you are hunting, but, regardless of the kind of game you are hunting or where you are hunting, you should have the above with you anytime you are out hunting.
- Exercise Patience
In hunting, you’ll be surprised how much waiting is necessary. Often, you’ll find yourself on the ground or sitting on a tree for hours, waiting for a deer to enter your crosshairs. There will also be times when you’ll go days without even seeing any animal. When things like this happen, don’t lose hope.
Patience is a must in hunting. It’s not only needed in waiting for the game to arrive, but also in the way you move. Because making minimal noise is necessary for hunting, you need to be very slow and precise with your movements. There’s a lot of standing still that will take place to avoid disturbing your potential prey.
- Minimize Noise
Speaking of minimal noise. Animals are so much more sensitive to sound than humans. The sound of a snapping twig coming from afar could easily rattle them and eventually run away to safety. That said, try to minimize the sound you make during your hunt.
Make sure that your hunting gear does not make any unnecessary noise as you move along. Learn how to stay perfectly still for a long time as this will be useful when you accidentally make a sound. When that happens, stay still and observe your target. Wait until they’ve put their guard down and return to feeding.
- Have a Hunting Companion
If you’re a beginner and hunting for the first time, it would be better to have a companion join you—even better if they have hunting experience.
Hunting with a companion helps you cover more ground when driving deer, and it makes navigating through the woods much more manageable. It’s also convenient in case of an emergency if either one of you gets injured.
If you have prior hunting experience and want to fly solo, make sure to inform at least one person regarding your whereabouts. Let them know when you leave, where you’re heading, and how long you will be gone.
- Obtain a Better Vantage Point
Believe it or not, some hunters prefer climbing up a tree or using a tree stand when hunting. Being on higher territory gives them a better vantage point. Being in a more elevated position also provides for a great hiding place from the game as their sense of smell could inform them of your presence when on the ground.
While on top of the tree, make sure to harness yourself first securely. Check your surroundings for possible obstruction as you shoot.
If you ask a handful of the 15 million hunters in America, they’ll tell you that hunting is a lot of fun, but it certainly is no child’s game. If you’re new to it, it’s perfectly fine not to bag your first kill on your first try. Hunting requires time and experience. The more you go outdoors and experience you get, the better you’ll get at it.