Embarking on your first hunting expedition can feel like going on a maiden date. You never really know what to expect until you get there. As such, adequate preparation is paramount.
This article walks you through the seven things to keep in mind while going on your first hunting trip.
1. Choose the Right Weaponry
It would be a sheer absurdity to embark on a hunting trip without the right weaponry. Now, several factors will determine the type of weapons you bring on a hunt. Notable ones include your experience level, the type of game you’re hunting, and the weather.
For instance, a bow and arrow are recommended for skilled hunters. These weapons also work best for short-range hunting. Besides, they’re limited in terms of the position from which you can use them. Most accurate arrow shots can only be nailed while standing up.
A rifle, on the other hand, is a lot more accurate. You can fire the weapon from virtually any position – standing up, lying down, crouching, or even sitting. What’s more – a rifle is a preferable option for long-range hunting.
A Ksg 25 from reputable dealers like CLB Guns is particularly recommended for shot gun hunters. Although the ammo is most effective at short to medium ranges, its low power prevents it from destroying the meat. And that explains its popularity among seasoned hunters.
2. Assemble Proper Hunting Gear
Putting together proper hunting gear can often be a daunting process. But it needs not to be.
Start by choosing perfectly camouflaged clothes. These are typically clothing that blends seamlessly into the thickets or undergrowth. Jungle green is a top recommendation here. You could also consider other duller shades of green, such as sage green. Black and gray might also work.
Still, on clothing, be sure to dress for the weather. Warm, snugly-fitting clothing would serve you best if winter hunting, while loose clothing would be excellent if hunting in the dead of summer.
Other essential items you might consider adding to your hunting gear include a boot, helmet, trekking poles, a watch, and a rangefinder.
3. The Weather Can Be Your Ally or Foe
The weather can play a crucial role in determining the success of your hunting trip. Therefore, it’s essential to know what constitutes favorable and unfavorable weather.
Most importantly, understand what you can do to turn foul weather to your advantage.
Many hunters would shy away from hunting in muddy fields. However, wearing anti-skid boots could turn the equation in your favor and give you an upper hand over many terrestrial quarries.
Similarly, it would help to understand the wind dynamics of your hunting ground. You’ll have a better chance of hunting downwind of most prey as the wind blows straight into your face, carrying your scent away from the animal.
4. Learn the Lay of the Land
It’s prudent to understand the kind of terrain to expect on your hunt. This knowledge will be instrumental in picking the correct hunting gear. It will also help you prepare physically for the trip and ensure you never lose your bearing in the middle of nowhere.
One way to learn the lay of the land is to arrange a reconnaissance, but one in which you don’t venture deep into the hunting ground. Instead, choose a vantage point and observe the terrain for insights into any expected challenges.
You could also consider talking to locals. However, this option would be unideal for non-human-inhabited hunting grounds.
And oh, don’t forget your navigation equipment. These include a topographic map, compass, and GPS tracker.
5. Pick One Prey
Hunting is undeniably a thrill-inspiring experience. But that excitement could easily have you going after multiple quarries at the same time. But true to the old saying, a jack of all trades is a master of none.’
It’s, therefore, imperative to pick one specific animal and focus on its kind.
As already indicated, the type of prey to target will influence the weaponry and even gear that you bring to the trip. A bow and arrow could work best while hunting deer at close range, while potentially dangerous animals like bison would be better hunted using a rifle.
However, it also pays to consider aspects like bulkiness. It’s one thing to nail a bison or elk. But hauling it out of the woods is a completely different task. Remember that the longer the carcass remains unsecured, the higher the chances of it attracting other predators.
6. Bring a Friend with You
It’s possible to pull a successful hunt if you know your prey and understand the lay of the land. But for your first hunting trip, experts recommend inviting a friend or family member along.
First off, an extra pair of hands can help double the fun. One of you could be doing active hunting while the other person documents the whole experience.
A friend can also act as your extra pair of eyes. They may provide an additional layer of security in the event you run into potentially dangerous encounters. Their quick action could save you from a rear attack by stalkers like cougars or slithering serpents.
Besides, two minds working together are twice more likely to make better hunting decisions than a solitary mind. You’ll have better luck determining the places to venture into and those to avoid.
7. Check Local Hunting Regulations
One terrible mistake you can make as a first-time hunter is to hit the trails armed with your complete hunting gear when hunting is illegal in your locality.
Illegal hunting poses the biggest threat to endangered animal species. As such, nations around the world do everything in their capacity to protect all threatened animals within their borders.
As a general rule, avoid hunting in protected parks and wildlife conservancies. It’s also best to keep off private ranches.
Most importantly, check your local hunting laws before hitting the woods. Even if hunting is permitted, pay attention to where and when it’s legal to hunt. You’d also want to know the species that you cannot hunt.
Hunting can be a fun or treacherous experience. It all comes down to adequate preparation. Implementing the above-listed tips can go a long way in elevating your experience on your maiden hunting trip and every hunt.
As a parting shot, remember that things have a way of going contrary to expectations despite how meticulously planned. Therefore, you’ll need to rely on your hunch while making certain critical decisions.
To know more, read our articles What time in the morning is best for turkey hunting? and Why is hunting morally wrong?