Hunting is an ancient and fascinating activity which every “man’s man” should attempt at least once. There are all kinds of activities you can enjoy in the great outdoors, but none of them quite compare to tracking, stalking, and finally killing your own food. If you grew up in the city, then understandably you may not have that much experience with hunting. However, if you’d still like to try it out, here’s some valuable advice for your first hunting trip.
It’s not all that uncommon for a first-time hunter to wander into a place that supposedly has a lot of game, spend a whole day out there, and not see a single deer. Very occasionally, this is just extremely poor luck. More often than not, however, it’s down to not understanding scents. Game animals, and animals in general, have a very keen sense of smell. A deer will be able to pick up your scent long before you see it, and as soon as this happens they scatter. Masking your smell properly could mean the difference between a freezer full of meat and coming home empty handed, so get some understanding of scents before you load up your gear and head out. Always try to walk into the wind, rather than with it, keep smoking to a minimum, and consider getting some scent-masking products. If you don’t understand scents in a hunting context, all you’ll do is scare off your game.
Take It Easy with Gear
Obviously, you need some gear before you go out hunting, but don’t go overboard on your first few trips. If you visit a lot of hunting blogs, or even worse online stores, you’re going to be bombarded with ads telling you that this or that piece of kit is “essential”. Remember, hunting has been around for thousands of years. The natives who hunted deer before colonization didn’t even have guns, let alone laser range finders and wind gauges! Keep it simple, and stick to the gear you need to kill your game and stay safe. A reliable gun with quality ammo, some camo clothes, the best hunting backpack you can afford and some emergency medical supplies should be fine for that very first trip.
Double and Triple-Check the Law
Many inexperienced hunters go into the hobby with a blasé attitude to hunting laws, and end up paying dearly for it. Poaching is a serious offense, and every year thousands of people are prosecuted for breaking game and conservation laws. Make sure that you’re using a legal weapon and projectile, and read up on the local area’s licensing, tagging and game reporting laws. Seen as you have internet access, you’ll have no excuse if you’re caught breaking your local hunting laws. Most states will have an online hunter’s guide, provided by the Department of Natural Resources. It may also be worth talking to your local gun vendor about bylaws that could slip through the net. The main point here is to inform yourself, and don’t assume that you won’t get caught. It’s not worth it!