Hunting is sport that takes strategy and patience. We asked several seasoned hunters for tips/advice for people who are new to the sport. Here’s what they told us:
- Use Camouflage
Camouflage is necessary and varies based on game, season and location. Once you’ve decided what game you’re pursuing, the location and season be sure to head to your local hunting outfitter to get the right camouflage.
- Dress for the Season
The biggest mistake novice hunters make is wearing gear that is too warm or not warm enough. Understand the weather conditions during the season you’re hunting, and dress appropriately. There’s no easier way to scare off an animal than constantly rustling about because you’re too hot or too cold.
- Pack Extra Clothing
Be comfortable! Wear the right shoes and carry extra socks, a shirt and other small clothing items in case you get wet going through a stream or some unforeseen circumstance. However, you don’t want to be too weighted down, so think light and pack smart!
- You’re in the Wild – Be Ready!
Know your surroundings. The drawback to being in nature is just that – you’re in the middle of the woods and there’s no easy access for ambulances. Be cautious and plan for all possible accidents. Having a cell phone (on silent, of course) can be the difference between life and death. Also, MAKE SURE others know where you are and when you are expected back.
- Safety First
Wear reflective gear. This is to prevent you from getting shot. Even though you’re on private land (making it less likely you will be shot by another hunter) you will likely be out with friends, and it’s better to be safe than sorry! Don’t worry – the gear won’t scare away the animals. Be sure to visit your hunting outfitter to get the right safety equipment.
- Batman has a Tool Belt – So Should You
Consider the game you’re after and plan accordingly. Maybe a decoy or scenting agent will give you an advantage. Having a gun and binoculars isn’t everything, stack the deck in your favor!
- Insects Suck
Get bug spray and any other type of repellant for these insidious bastards. Many hunters report good hunts being ruined by insects. In the woods, there are many more insects than in urban or suburban areas.
- Stand Around and Do Nothing… Or Something
You may wait 10 minutes for 6 hours before you see the game you’re after. Have something to occupy your mind during the time. Read a book or simply enjoy the surroundings. Many hunters keep journals of interesting plants and other animals they don’t normally see. Have a plan for the idle time.
- A Growling Stomach Can Be Heard
The key here is don’t have food that has heavy scents. Animals have well-developed senses of smell. Again, a visit to the hunting outfitter is in order as they’ll have the right snacks to keep hunger at bay while not compromising your hunt. Also, make sure you stay hydrated! Water and Gatorade are key.
- Leave the Cologne at Home
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many first-time hunters mess this one up! Do NOT splash the cologne (or scented lotion) before hunting, unless you don’t want to bag anything! Animals’ well-developed sense of smell is keen for anything that is awry. Try to use unscented soap for showering and unscented laundry soap for your clothes. Basically, anything that isn’t scented is good. Also, be sure to hunt downwind from your prey. That helps immensely.
- Position Yourself for Success
Tree stands, blinds and other positioning tools help you get the edge you need to bag game. Be sure to use concealment tools that help you not only hide from your game, but also keep you more comfortable in the process. Use blinds and stands safely and have them set up for optimal success on your hunt.
- Know Where to Go
Maybe you’re old school and think GPS is for wussies. Then use a compass. Whatever you do, have some navigational tool available. Even experienced hunters get lost from time to time, and there’s nothing scarier than being lost in the woods.
- Mr. Clean
A hunter should always leave nature as found or better. Don’t leave wrappers or any other types of debris. Also, if you use a stand or blind, clean it up for the next person. Have items like trash bags or bio-degradable items.
- Be Ready for Anything
Hunting itself isn’t dangerous, but lots of dangerous stuff happens. Have a first aid kit, and other types of emergency items. A good first aid kit isn’t bulky, but it has everything needed in case of nuisance items like a bug bite all the way to gear that will help save your life.
Do you have tips for people who are just getting into hunting? Share them with us! Happy Hunting.