Last week we published 10 Fishing Tips for Beginners, check it out if you are new to the sport. This week our focus shifts to hunting tips. Hunting is a growing sport but some people find it difficult to get started. Fin & Field has put together this list of hunting tips for beginners and to help you take your hunting adventures to the next level.
The internet is an invaluable tool for learning any new hobby, but especially hunting. You can find out anything you want about hunting on the internet. Start by researching local hunting opportunities, seasons, techniques, and rules. You can use our state resources to find out about hunting laws in every state, make sure you know what game is legal to harvest and how to get the correct license and tag when necessary. You can also use the internet to learn how to be more accurate with your weapon of choice, correct shot placement, finding game, field dressing, and anything else. How to videos are extremely valuable and if you have a smart phone you can watch them at the range, in the field, or anywhere else you choose.
2. Practice Basic Skills
To hunt successfully you need to master basic skills related to operating your weapon safely and accurately, sneaking up on your quarry, and setting up blinds or tree stands. Some of these skills you can practice at home, others you should practice at a range, and still others are best practiced in the field (in or out of season). At home you can practice dry-firing exercises to make sure you are familiar with your gear. At the range you can practice live firing and making sure your point of impact is dialed in and you are familiar with your limits. You never want to risk wounding an animal, as a hunter it is your responsibility to dispatch your game quickly and mercifully. You can also get out into the field to practice moving about quietly, setting up blinds, and setting up tree stands. During an actual hunt is not the time to figure out how your equipment is supposed to work. You will waste time and make a lot of noise while figuring it out. Practice as many skills as possible ahead of time so you are ready to perform when it is finally time to hunt.
3. Know the Weather
Know the weather forecast so you know when it is reasonable to be outdoors. You should also know how your targeted game species will react to changing weather conditions. Weather Underground, Fish Weather, Accuweather, and NOAA are good places to start. You should also get familiar with your local micro weather patterns. Microbursts can be especially violent, it is important to know if you are in an area that is prone to experiencing volatile weather patterns. Advanced Hunting Tips: in addition to the weather pay attention to the moon phase and tides. You might be surprised by the effects that they have on your local game species.
It is pretty obvious you will need to find a place to go hunting. This is where scouting comes in. From your research you should be aware of what public lands are available, but you can also make special arrangements to hunt on private lands. Private land owners often let hunters use their land in exchange for a use fee, a portion of the harvest, or just in exchange for helping with the land management. Before the season starts, figure out where you want to hunt and make all the necessary arrangements. Once you know where you want to hunt you should spend some time scouting for natural food plots, game trails, and where you will set up for your hunt.
5. Keep it Local
Another resource for inexperienced and experiences hunters alike is the local hunting stores. Online research is great, but it has limitations. The best way to tap into the knowledge at local shops is to give them some business and swap a story or two. Let them know you are a beginner and feel free to ask questions. You may even end up with an invitation to hunt or scout with someone who can show you the ropes. It is also a way to get leads on private land that you can hunt. One of the best ways to learn to hunt is to watch someone who has mastered the sport.
6. Get the right Gear
Not every hunting trip is a safari, leave the pith helmet at home. Getting the right gear can be confusing. You don’t need to break the bank on the latest and greatest hunting gear, especially when you are starting out. That said, using guns, ammo, bows, arrows, clothing, stands, etc… that is appropriate for the game and techniques you are using will make a big difference. The right gear will make hunting more enjoyable and safer. Online reviews is a great starting point but so is your local hunting store. Going to your local shop and handling the gear is a great way to get fitted for a rifle or bow and to make sure you purchase gear that feels comfortable in your hands.
7. Care for your Gear
Whatever gear you chose, and even if you don’t go overboard, it represents an important investment in your new hobby. Take care of that investment by taking care of your gear. Beyond the financial investment, if your unting gear isn’t well maintained you cant go hunting (and it isn’t safe)! Make sure you keep up with suggested maintenance on your weapons. Use only highly reguarded or manufacturer recomended oils and cleaners. Your hunting cothes need to be kept scent free. All other gear, including blinds and stands, should be cleaned and checked for appropriate function.
8. Keep it Legal
Every state has its own laws that govern fishing. As a beginner, make sure you know where you can fish, when you can fish, how you can fish, what fish you can keep, and what licenses are needed. Every state has a website you can visit and learn the information for yourself. Fishing with an experienced angler who knows the rules is also a good way to learn. Just remember, ignorance of the laws is not an excuse to be found in violation of fish and game laws, you will be ticketed and find either way. Here is a state by state list of resourcespublished on Fin & Field. Beyond avoiding a ticket, anglers should follow the laws in order to protect our fisheries. Fish and game laws are designed to make sure fishing remains a viable sport for all of the future generations.
9. Safety First
Hunting adventures take place in the wild with deadly weapons. That should NOT scare you away, but it should inspire you to embrace a hunting culture of safety. Hunter safety courses exist in every state and are a great choice for new hunters. In fact, in many states they are required in order to get a hunters license. No matter where your adventures take you, safety is your first priority. It trumps finding your game, having fun, and everything else. Anyone who spends time outdoors should know how to administer basic first aid and have a plan to call for help in the case of an emergency. Be mindful of the weather, wild animals, and risky behavior that may lead to injury. At Fin & Field we are big fans of going on adventures, but we are bigger fans of making it back home!
10. Hunt with a Pro
One way for new hunters to majorly shorten the learning curve is to hire a pro. A professional hunting guide is like an encyclopedia of hunting information and for the most part they love to share with beginners. They will teach you how to hunt and even how to scout around for your own hunting spots. Hiring a local hunting guide is a great way to learn about your local hunting, local laws, improve your skills, learn new techniques, and test out new gear. Fin & Field makes it easy to find, compare, and book a hunting guide. Start your search here!
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Fin & Field is all about finding your next adventure. We’re working hard to provide the most comprehensive listing of services, reviews, and far reaching community available to help you take the guesswork out of planning your next adventure.
We believe in the ethical pursuit of hunting and fishing adventures and support taking from the land only what you can use and leaving it in better shape than you found it.
Tight Lines & Happy Hunting!
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