Considering getting into the sport of hunting and you’re not sure where to begin?
Here's the good news: there’s no need for you to have grown up in a hunting family to get into it.
Though hunting is steeped in tradition and the skill is often passed down through generations, there's no shortage of information on getting started independently.
In fact, recent wildlife conservation efforts have sparked a whole new breed of amateur hunters who are discovering the pursuit on their own.
Every hunter has to start somewhere. So, if you’re just starting out with your hunting hobby or you’re thinking of trying it out for yourself, check out our 101 guide on hunting for beginners:
Set Your Sights
First things first, you’ll need to decide what type of hunting you’re interested in and factor in some considerations depending on your choices:
Commit to the Investment
- Research the dates of rifle or archery season in your area to confirm that you’ll be able to legally hunt on the days you have free to do so.
- Understand that a hunt (and the preparation to get ready for it) can consume a fair chunk of your weekends.
- Be sure to budget accordingly so you can get the essential gear you need.
- You might intend to hunt birds or small game.
- Or, you may have big game such as deer, elk or wild boar in your crosshairs.
- Next, figure out your weapon.
- Rifles and muzzleloaders come in handy for longer range targets.
- Traditional or compound bows provide a different experience entirely, and require a closer range.
All of these factors will help you zero in on the type of hunting you want to do, and help you acquire the proper equipment to be prepared for the hunt.
Before you get started, it’s advisable to attend a Hunter Safety Education Course. These programs teach you the basics of hunting and gun safety, and many states require a hunter safety license or card in order to hunt without a guide.
Sometimes, you can take this course online, but there are generally public courses offered as well so you can get a hands-on approach to learning.
A test is required at the end in order to obtain your hunter safety card, so study up and you’ll be well prepared when you get out in the field.
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Take Time to Practice
Understand that all new skills take practice to master. Unless you’re a prodigy, you’re probably not going to be perfect the first time you head out on a hunt... But it’s all part of learning through experience.
Getting familiar with the sport means getting out there without any expectations. This not only allows you to practice your shot, but also gives you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with your equipment so you’ll know how each bit of gear works in a variety of settings.
And it’s not all just about the shooting: You’ll get boots-on-the-ground experience getting familiar with the animals and their settings. Study the behaviors of the animal you’re hunting and get to know the surrounding area. That way, each time you return, you’ll have more intel and understanding to draw from.
Trying out different locations is great for variety, but be sure to familiarize yourself with each new area for safety and to rule out any surprises before you line up your shot.
Build On Your Gear
You don’t necessarily need to go out and spend a ton of money on gear straight out the gate, but you do need some basic essentials that will vary depending on your circumstances.
As you get to know your environment and learn the animal behavior, you’ll have the experience to know what new gear will suit you best. And believe me, there’s plenty of hunting gear, attachments and accessories out there that you’ll be sure to put on your must-buy list!
You’ll find your initial setup will require quite a few items, but try to just kit yourself out with the basics until you get a feel for which special equipment will best serve your style of hunting.
Preparing yourself with the basic equipment and safety gear lets you get out there, and puts you in good standing to face any situation.
And don’t forget to create a checklist so you won’t leave any of your essentials behind when you head out!
Enjoy the Journey
Be patient with yourself as you start out. It takes some time to learn the skill, intuition and instinct to be a really successful hunter, but it’s an art that is well worth the investment.
Though you probably won’t come back with a record kill on your first hunt, exercising the patience and focus required to scope out your targets can be a life-changing experience.
Give yourself time and simply enjoy the adventure while you learn and hone your skills.
Don’t forget to read up, watch videos and gather all the information you can as you get ready for your first hunting trip.
Finding a mentor is a great option too, and there’s a passionate and dedicated community who loves sharing their hunting expertise with the world.
With practice, patience and determination, you too can bag the big one. All the best on your first steps out into the wild!
Thank you for reading, stay strong patriots.
Justin | FamTeeWorld
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