Hunting is a passion for many people. And with the season approaching, there is excitement in the air. Don’t let the hunting season catch you unprepared if you want to enjoy this big occasion.
Doing thorough online research is a great start, but if success is what you are looking for then many months, weeks, and days of training and practice are ahead of you.
Hunters face many difficult situations on a regular basis, so the lack of proper gear can be critical in an emergency or a survival situation.
Adequate preparation is a must, not only to achieve success but also to stay safe and sound.
1. Register and Take a Hunting Safety Course
First of all, do complete the paperwork involved in the process. Register with the relevant authorities.
Hunting is a dangerous sport, and it is not to be taken lightly. Taking a hunting safety course is crucial for preventing accidents and saving lives. In most states, it is possible to take this course online.
The hunting safety education’s goal is to teach the participants about important laws and regulations, safe and responsible firearm handling as well as wildlife identification skills.
To complete the official training program visit HunterEd. It’s mobile-friendly, too.
To get certified in most states it is required to take an in-person follow-up class or a hands-on field day supervised by an evaluation instructor after you pass the online course.
2. Obtain a License
Obtaining a hunting license differs from state to state. The age at which you can purchase it is different as well. This license allows you to acquire hunting tags and enter draws and hunt in a specific area. Tags are necessary to hunt certain animals and birds.
For instance, in the state of California, it is possible to obtain two deer tags per license annually. Applicants for these tags have to be at least 12. In the state of Virginia in addition to a hunting license, another license is required to hunt bear, deer or turkey.
It is required to carry a hunting license when hunting in all states and provinces.
3. Learn the Rules and Get Acquainted With the Environment
After you decide on the hunting season you want to be a part of, check what licenses are required and the boundaries of the area where the hunt will take place. Verify the beginning and end dates of the season too.
To properly prepare, visit the site off-season. Get the right maps and begin scouting. Learn about the environment where you plan to hunt and get used to the terrain.
Research the site to find safe places to hunt and to avoid trespassing private property.
Since things can change quickly, study the area even if you’ve already hunted there.
Also Read: Map and Compass Navigation
4. Check the Condition of Hunting Gear
Testing equipment to make certain it is in proper working condition is vital. Inspect and service your gear, whether archery is your thing or you are more into rifles.
The bow should be clean and strings waxed. Also, check the alignments and make sure the arrows are flying straight. When the gear is ready for practice, go to the next step of preparation for the hunting season.
To hunt responsibly and safely, check barrel and action for obstructions and make sure you are carrying the right ammunition for your firearm.
Also, check the batteries in your headlight, flashlight, GPS and other devices. Bring some spare ones too.
5. Use Your Gear Beforehand
The important hunting gear includes arrows, knives, bows, rifles, and binoculars. When it comes to essential hunting equipment, you can find more info at TheGearHunt.
Get to know your gear well before the hunting season kicks off. This means you have to use your gear prior to getting into the wilderness. Practice shooting regularly, whether it’s a firearm or a bow.
It is important to get comfortable with whatever your weapon of choice is before hunting season starts.
To perfect your shot it is best to practice with clay pigeons at a place where it is legal to target shoot. Actually, practising should be a year-round activity.
6. Physical Preparation
There are many challenges involved in the hunting process. It is important to be in good shape since the terrain you might be crossing may be steep, snowy or difficult to master.
Making long journeys in these conditions can be challenging.
Wearing proper footwear is a good precaution when dealing with difficult terrains and weather conditions. Quality boots are one of the most important pieces of gear, aside from the weapon.
First of all, get to know the terrain you are about to hunt. The best advice you can get is to put your hunting boots on, get out, and train. Jogging across rough terrain can also help you keep your body in good form.
Set realistic goals and start easy. Trying to cover 10 miles on the first day is sure to set you up for failure. For starters, hike for 3 miles with light gear only. Then gradually increase the weight and distance.
Also Read: 5 Ways Being Fit & Strong Help Survival
7. Raise the Bar Even Higher
When you reach your goal distance for the approaching hunting season, try to add even more mileage. Exceeding the anticipated distance will prepare you for the unpredicted days when you will have to put in more miles for some reason.
Bear in mind that tackling greater distances at a faster pace also means more success.
In addition to physical preparation, mental stamina is also significant. Mental strength can help you persevere when things get tough and climb that final steep trail.
Always ensure you are hydrated and your body is fuelled since you are going to burn more calories than usual.
8. Make a List of Essentials for the Expedition
Before leaving for the wilderness, make sure you have everything you may need in the woods. To ensure nothing gets left behind write down a checklist.
Your gear list will need some adjusting, depending on the season, type of hunting, and conditions.
This list has to include all of the essentials for the expedition such as the right clothing and equipment. Check your first aid kit and replace expired medications and fill up whatever is used.
For a comprehensive hunter’s checklist visit the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife website.
The gear you use the most should be placed in exterior pockets or at the top of your pack. This will enable you easy access to snacks, headlights and other items you use often.
9. Buy Appropriate Clothing for the Environment
Due to unexpected changes in the weather, you will need to prepare well. Opt for clothes that will keep you dry, warm and stealthy.
You will need different clothing items for early-season dove hunting and late-season deer hunting.
Jackets, rain gear hats, hunting vests, and gloves are vital pieces of clothing that will keep you warm. Although light-weight clothing is not budget-friendly, it will pay off in the rugged terrain.
If you are on a tight budget, check the Salvation Army, garage sales and flea markets as you may find well-made, light-wear hunting clothing at a fraction of the cost. eBay and Etsy are great online stores to look for a good bargain.
10. Be Aware of the Risks and Take Safety Precautions
Hunting comes with inherent dangers. It cannot be stressed enough how safety is important during the hunt. The risk of injury and even death in this sport is real.
According to a report published in the International Journal of the Care of the Injured, there were about 2,400 firearm-related injuries in hunting per year between 1993 and 2008. This report also cited about 144 fatalities per year.
Most victims are hunters. Some of these injuries are self-inflicted when hunters fall, trip or experience other accidents causing them to shoot themselves.
Hunting parties are another cause of fatalities. Sometimes one hunter accidentally shoots another one.
If handled improperly fire-arms and bows can lead to horrific accidents.
Falling from tree stands is especially dangerous – there are an estimated 6,000 hunting accidents related to tree stands. Some of the falls from an elevated position lead to fatal consequences. According to some estimates, one-third of all hunters will encounter a tree stand fall in some form.
Using a harness can reduce the risk of an accident.
With over 15 million hunting licenses obtained across the USA in 2019, these stats are not as grim, but whenever you head out with a firearm or a bow or use a tree stand it is crucial to take safety precautions. This is especially important for those who are hunting for the first time.
Planning ahead and preparing well can help you this hunting season goes as smoothly as possible. If you start preparing now you are guaranteed to have a positive, injury-free experience.
Bio: Nemanja Marinkoff is the editor-in-chief @ Walkjogrun.net and TheGearHunt.com. He was raised in Srpski Itebej and since then he’s lived in many different countries.You can find him on Twitter.