Whether you’re having an issue with feral hogs on your property or you want to start providing your family with fresh meat, it’s never too late to learn how to start hunting. Hunting used to be a main part of most families’ lives. Before grocery stores were easily accessible and affordable, many people turned to hunting, gathering, gardening, and foraging to feed their families. Nowadays, most towns have at least one store where groceries are available and if they don’t, it’s usually just a short drive to the nearest market.
There are several things that go into learning how to hunt. It all starts with education. Beginning with a hunter’s safety course, there is a lot of info you’ll need to learn before you can head out on your first hunting trip. You’ll also need to learn gun safety, get your necessary permits, and acquire some gear.
Where to Start
As a beginner, it can be hard to navigate. Getting started is easier than you think! As long as you don’t try to take on too much at once, you should have no problems.
Hunter’s Safety Card
Most states require a Hunter Safety Card to prove that you have taken and passed a certified hunter education course. Safety is the number 1 rule in hunting and the best way to learn everything you need to know to keep yourself and others safe is to take the proper classes. One of the best things about your Hunter Safety Card is that it is valid in any state the requires the card, meaning you won’t have to get recertified if you move to another location or go on an extended hunting trip with friends or family. You can even take the class online.
If you are going to be using a rifle as your weapon of choice, learning gun safety is of utmost importance. Many gun ranges offer training and classes so you learn both gun safety and how to shoot. Anyone that will be around your firearms should be aware of gun safety rules, including children.
Beyond taking a couple of classes, one of the best ways to learn more about hunting is by talking to people that are experienced hunters, as well as reading various books that teach you more about hunting. Getting to know people in your local hunting community is beneficial because they may be able to suggest good hunting spots. They may even be willing to let you tag along on a hunting trip!
Another thing you should read up on is local hunting laws. There are certain times of the year that various game can be hunted and you do not want to hunt outside of the approved timeframes. You may even run into restrictions that are specific to which weapons are allowed at various times.
The best way to get better at something is to practice. Heading to the local shooting range for target practice in a controlled environment is a great way to get better with your aim. If you live out in the country and have your own property, you can set up targets at home for practice. A target on a hay bale or a plinking set up are both really easy and affordable ways to set up a DIY shooting practice area at home.
When you’re getting into a new hobby, it is very tempting to just go out and drop a bunch of money on brand new fun gear. Don’t be so quick to take that shopping spree just yet! When it comes to buying your hunting supplies as a beginner, less is more. You don’t need the best deer stand and fanciest rifle. You are still learning so you are going to want to try out a lot of different things to find the right tools for you. Start out by hitting your local pawn shops, as they are usually filled with hunting rifles, crossbows, and more. You can even get storage cases for your guns and bows.
As far as clothes, it’s not necessary to get head to toe camo. This may be what you see in shows and on YouTube, but this isn’t realistic for everyone. You probably already have an outfit in your closet you can wear.
Here are some tips for picking your hunting outfit:
- Avoid bright colors.
- Go with medium to dark shades and try to wear neutral colors if possible.
- Dress for the weather. If it’s chilly, jeans and a hoodie is fine. If it’s warm, you can wear shorts and a t-shirt.
Do’s And Don’ts of Hunting
With so much information floating around, knowing what advice is good and what isn’t can be challenging. It can be especially hard if you’re learning how to hunt on your own and don’t have any friends or family you can turn to for help and advice.
Here are some things that will make your journey into hunting much easier and more enjoyable.
- Go Where the Deer Are – A populated area ensures you will get something.
- Safety First – Always take things slow to avoid dangers.
- Have a Backup Plan – Accidents happen. Know what to do in case of an emergency.
- Write a Hunting Plan – Make sure a trusted friend or relative has a copy of your hunting plan so law enforcement can find you if necessary.
Here are a few things to avoid so that your hunting trips are a success.
- Hunt With Un-Ethical Hunters – If they aren’t following good ethical practices, they are best to be avoided.
- Ignore Safety Rules and Guidelines – When it comes to safety, the rules are there for a reason.
- Rely on Organized Hunting Trips to Learn – Your best bet is to get out into your local scene and learn on your own or from other local hunters.
There is no such things as being too old to learn how to start hunting. If you grew up in a city or just didn’t come from a hunting family, you can still jump in and learn how to hunt! Being able to protect your property and family as well as being able to put fresh meat on the table is an invaluable skill that you can pass on through the generations.