First Time Hunters – Tips for Beginners
Regardless of your age, there is nothing that brings you more hype than your excitement for your first hunt. No matter if you are going deer hunting, turkey hunting, or whatever seasonal hunting may occur, you think with excitement about the moment you press on that trigger and catch your first game.
However, with great power comes great responsibility – which is why, as a first-time hunter, you might want to be particularly careful. To make sure that no one gets injured – aside from your game – and that you come home victorious, here are a few tips that you might want to keep in mind.
Table of Contents
1. Ensure that Someone Knows Your Location
When you are hunting in the woods, it is very easy to lose your way during a hunt. It may be that your compass mysteriously broke, or because you ventured far deeper into the woods than you expected to. Regardless, there is a reason why there is a big list of lost hunters in the southeast only – some of them still missing to this day.
For this reason, you should always tell someone when you are hunting and where you are hunting. This way, in the event that you get lost, you will at least know that there is someone out there looking for you – and they won’t be searching for a needle in a haystack.
2. Carry a Survival Kit
In the event that you do get lost, you should always carry some sort of survival kit with you. You can never be too certain that you will be rescued in time for nightfall, which is why you should make sure that you have the necessary items to survive.
Make sure that your kit includes some food (some protein and fiber bars should work wonders without taking much space), and always bring some water with you (or at least a way to sterilize water). You should always bring a tool to create a fire, material for shelter, and also a way to give a distress signal when needed.
3. Learn about Gun Safety
When it comes to hunting, gun safety is more important than the actual meat. Many people get injured during a hunting trip – some of them actually being civilians that were shot by hunters. According to the hunting accident rates in the U.S. and Canada, less than 1,000 are accidentally shot, and less than 75 of them actually die – but these incidents do happen. This is why you should practice proper gun safety.
Many states offer courses on gun safety that you might want to take up. This way, you will be able to follow the gun safety rules that keep not only you safe, but those in your vicinity as well.
4. Double-Check the Hunting Laws
Before you set out on your first hunt, make sure that you double – or maybe even triple-check the hunting laws in your area. You can’t just pick up your gun and shoot at whatever animal comes in front of you. And you’ll also be surprised to find out exactly how many hunters are fined or prosecuted every year simply because they failed to follow up.
Make sure that you are using the appropriate weapons for the state that you are in. For example, you might think that it’s easier than it sounds to operate some kind of fancy rifle such as a 308 rifle – but the state that you are in might considerate it too dangerous. You must ensure that it’s legal to handle this type of gun.
5. Borrow a Gun First
As a first-time hunter, you might be tempted to go into the first gun shop and buy your own gun. However, if you end up buying one that you do not feel comfortable with, you might realize that you sank your money into something that you will never use.
This is why you might want to ensure that the firearm of your choice suits your own preferences before you go and make such an investment. It’s an expensive piece – which is why, if you borrow a gun, you should treat it as if it were your own baby. Make sure that you handle it with care.
6. Practice as Much as Possible
When you are hunting, there is no guarantee that you are going to catch anything. You may have the best gear that you can buy with money, and you might have found the richest land to hunt in – but if your hunting skills are not up to par, then it will all be for nothing. You’ll shoot and your game will run away.
This is why you should practice as much as you possibly can. Practice is key when it comes to successful hunting, and just an hour of practice every day will make the difference between watching your target flee and looking down at your trophy buck.
7. Go for Small Game
It might seem like a good idea for you to open up with deer hunting – but in truth, if you are a beginner, this might be more difficult than it sounds. You will need a certain degree of gun shooting skill to catch this kind of game, which is why you might want to think baby steps.
Instead of going for the big deer, you might want to start with squirrels first. Sure, they’re also fast, but they will help you improve your dexterity and shooting skills. This way, after this, you should be able to tackle the big game more efficiently.
Hunting might seem like something very exciting to do – but at the same time, you need to be prepared. It’s called “hunting” and not “killing” for a reason. A good part of it involves your skill and preparation – which is why you need to learn as much as possible before you head out. Hopefully, our article managed to cast some light on what you should do on your first hunt.