Like every other new adventure hunting, shotgunning or ranging comes with its share of expectations, assumption, and challenges. But you sure do not intend to set out hunting without having a clear picture of what to expect. These 10 tips for new hunters is a sure must-have guide before making the first move.
Gaming is an interesting past time or profession for so many across the world. From Europe to the Americas, Asia and the continent of Africa hunting has provided a source income or sports – leisure for many. In many cultures, hunting is a tradition and the first kill is a rite of passage. But getting that first kill could be an enormous task for the even the best sportsmen or hunters.
Now, let’s explore these 10 tips for new hunters to help you hone your skills.
- Learn from others
You can never take the value out of working with a veteran when it comes to bowhunting or rifle season. Hunting goes beyond just targeting an animal for the kill. It is a skill. And working with an experienced hand helps you tap from their wealth of experience. It helps you understand the conditions of the environment, timing, species and best moves to make when hunting. An experienced hand understands the terrain, the tools, and techniques to survive that terrain. It always pays to start hunting experiences with a team for exposure and safety.
- Get a hunting license
Whether an occasional hunter, sports lover or pursuing a profession in hunting it pays to get licensed. There are laws governing hunting in most states. And law enforcement officials can ask for your permit at any time in the wild. Of course, this is not the case in some areas with relaxed laws on hunting but be sure before you head out. Your guide should be in a position to advise you. Also, keep your license in a safe, sealed bag plus read the hunting regulation properly.
- Get the Right Tools
Acquiring the right tool is vital to your success as a hunter. However, you must also know how to use the tool. Whatever hunting tool, bow or rifle you are to use for hunting must align with your body, stature, and nature of hunting. The environment or location can also determine the tools to use as well as regulations.
Bows must align based on the game, draw weight and length to succeed. Your weapon should feel comfortable to hold and draw or aim without much movement. For instance, using field point arrowheads would be considered illegal in most territories. It could cause minimal injury to the game leaving it to an agonizing death even if it escapes. But broad-point arrowheads can give a broader cut and better for achieving your overall goal.
- Get your bag pack
Besides the shooting equipment, there are other tools to aid a successful shooting experience when game hunting. You need items such as camouflage, hunting gear, and clothes, body odor concealer, safety harness, bow hanger, hunting shoes, etc. consider the weather, do you need rain gear? Take something to keep warm for yourself and other family members if going in a group.
Do not forget to carry enough water for the length of time you intend spending, hours or days. Carry enough food, snacks, & jerky. Also, throw in some treats to keep it exciting while waiting for the kill.
Practice increases your chances of success. Though there is nothing as good as going afield. But you need to have a clear understanding of your weapon, how it works and how to use it effectively. You could also practice in the field with an experienced guide. Practice shooting with shotguns, rifles, crossbows, bows, to avoid becoming a security risk to yourself and others.
Practicing should be over a lengthy period of time and not a one-off thing. Even experienced hands still need to practice or hone their skills. Part of your training includes reading books, online guides like the huge resources you would find on this website and more. There are also programs on television on hunting trends and news.
- Plan your day
Don’t start your day without revising your plan. Yes, I assume you had your plan laid out before embarking on the journey? It would be disastrous if you didn’t. Because if you forgot anything due to not planning ahead, men, it might turn out a huge waste of time!
An experienced hunter or veteran understands the need to gear up and ensure his team is ready physically and psychologically for the big day. So, check your emotions, be prepared! What likely physical or mental constraints do you experience and how can you mitigate them now? For newbies, the tendency is to be fidgety and lose composure. At this point, set milestones; create small achievable scenarios based on your shooting experience. Start with smaller milestones to reduce the chances of failure. Don’t jump at big opportunities immediately as sudden failures can dampen your spirit. If you are in a team, let every member of the team know the plan and mode of operations.
Keep your bow hanger screwed to a tree as you cannot carry your hunting materials all through. It is a time-consuming exercise and you need the freedom to aim and take a shot. Also, remember to wear your hunting camo, clothes, gloves and face mask. Some animals such as the deer can pick your body odor from afar so make use of cover scents to mask the odor.
- Taking your first shot
The first shot is very important while hunting. Scout your intended location adequately. Be sure your location works well for hunting your prey. Do not focus on a location that is ideal for you but what gets you geared up for success – strategic location; excellent shot!
Aiming or siting a bow for a kill is a skill and it takes a lot of practice to get it right. That practice you should have done for long hours and days before the ‘D’ day. Learn to adjust your view to your shooting range. Patience is a virtue when it comes to hunting. Look at the patterns you create whenever targeting a prey, it will help you get better shots. Take advantage of the wind when trying to take a shot but look for where sensitive organs are before shooting.
Depends on your training and strategy you can opt for either the traditional or mechanical arrow release strategy but get it right. Traditional shooting involves holding the arrows to the bowstring until the release time. All the while you keep your eyes locked on the target – take aim. Mechanical involves using a release aid to set off or trigger the bow. A lot of hunters make use of the mechanical bow release aid today. The mechanical is a lot easier to use.
Be relaxed, exhale or hold your breathe on the release to avoid panic and ensure sturdiness when making the release. Calculate the distance before attempting. Use your gaming skill and check for clearance.
Hunting is not like playing a game of car racing. It is not like a one-meter dash, it is about the destination. It is about your ultimate goal and you don’t want to get there too soon or too late. And that means, attacking before or after the game arrives. Just because you sight a game does not mean it’s time to take a shot, wait for the perfect timing and angle.
- Safety first
The security of your team plus those within the environment should be a major focus for you. Also, ensure your firearm and bows are in order. Do not shoot or fire aimlessly to avoid accidents. Always ensure your body or rifle is on safe mode by staying off the trigger or lowering when not in use. Only fire when the target is within range.
- Keep Memories
Always keeps precious memories of each milestone set and achieved as you would need them. Snap as many photos as possible, celebrate yourself and achievement.
Being a successful newbie hunter is not about the size of the animal but the smile that erupts after the first kill. Your first kill, your first prize! Getting every other prize afterward comes with continuous practice, reading, learning and mentoring. You also need to understand that every environment and species comes with their peculiarities when hunting. You must get more information about an environment and their games before launching out. Please leave a comment or share this article with friends if you find it helpful. Happy gaming!