Hunting season varies from state to state. In some places, hunting season has already concluded. In others, it is still going on. If you’re aching to go on a hunt, you can still visit states with an ongoing hunting season. Better yet, find a place where the season has yet to start. This should give you ample time to plan out your trip so you’ll enjoy a safe and successful hunt.
So before you go all gung-ho, do thorough research on everything related to your hunt. Get vital information on the area you’re planning to go to. Study maps of the place. Learn the laws governing the particular hunting grounds. Check the weather forecast on the days you’ll be hunting. Prepare all the gear you’ll need. Read on for a more detailed look at how to fully prepare for hunting season.
Valuable Tips to Fully Prepare for Hunting Season
Pass the Hunter Education Course
New to hunting? Want to give it a try? You should pass the Hunter Education course first. There are traditional and online classes where you can learn about hunting. The course tackles hunting laws and regulations, wildlife identification, conservation, hunting fundamentals, firearms safety, hunting safety tips, first-aid training, and other valuable hunting lessons.
Purchase hunting licenses, tags, and stamps
You can’t just go rampaging through the wild with a hunting rifle in hand. There’s a process you need to follow so you can legally hunt birds, small game, or big game. You need hunting licenses, species tags, migratory bird stamps, state validations, or other documents before you can start stalking your prey. Look for the license dealer where you’ll be hunting. You can also buy them online. For private properties, you need to get permission from the owner before you can go hunting.
Study the local laws
Different states have different hunting laws. Be sure to learn the local rules and regulations before proceeding with the hunt. If you’re not too familiar with the area, it’d be wise to learn some of the local traditions and unwritten rules, too.
Even if you’re a regular at the hunting spot, you should still brush up on the local laws. These laws often change from season to season. Do due diligence to avoid confusion.
Familiarize yourself with the area
Take some time during the off-season to look for the ideal hunting spot. Once you’ve decided on one, scout the area so you can get to know the topography. Check out maps to get a more detailed look at the hunting grounds. Study the trails, roads, boundaries, and waypoints. Pinpoint the places that are not safe so you can avoid them during the hunt. This kind of knowledge or information will not only help you succeed, but it’s also useful when you’re in an emergency.
Prepare your hunting equipment
Take out your hunting gear and check if they’re still up to the task. Ideally, you should do regular maintenance on your gear, particularly your weapons. You’ve probably spent quite a fortune on them so it’s a no-brainer that you should be taking care of them.
Keeping your hunting equipment in good condition is vital to a hunt’s success. Properly maintained rifles are more reliable and accurate. You don’t want your gun to malfunction right when you’ve spotted the perfect target, do you?
Give your rifle, particularly its bore, a thorough pre-hunting season cleaning. You need it in peak performance not only during hunting season but also in emergency situations. Hunting rifles are also effective weapons for self-defense so you want them to fire without a hitch when you need it.
As an avid huntsman, you probably know everything there is to know about gun maintenance. Still, you could enlist the help of a professional, especially if there’s an issue that’s beyond your skills and know-how.
Don’t forget your gun case
One way to keep your hunting rifle in tiptop shape is to store it in a high-quality gun case. If you don’t have one, get a gun case that’s air-tight, water-tight, and dust-proof. Inside, there should be a thick enough layer of foam to protect your equipment from accidental drops and bumps.
Keep your hunting weapons and ammunition, including bows and arrows, in their cases at all times. Well, except when you’re hunting.
Bring a survival kit
You never know what will happen while you’re out on a hunting trip. That’s why you need to pack everything that can help you survive an emergency. Your hunting survival kit should help you last at least a night in the great outdoors.
Make sure you have food and water that’ll last you for a few days. In case you’re lost, stranded, or hurt, you’ll need to stay nourished long enough for rescuers to find you. Shelter is the third basic essential for survival. Bring items that can provide you with warmth and shelter such as a one-person tent, bivvy bag, and tarps.
Speaking of warmth, make sure you have a thermal blanket, sleeping bag, and extra clothes. You should also be able to start a fire so bring waterproof matches, lighters, magnesium fire starters, and tinder.
Aside from your hunting rifle, you will need other tools for self-defense in case you encounter a wild animal that’s not on your hunting list. Pack a survival knife, multi-tool, and maybe even a hatchet. A pepper spray and bear spray may come in handy, too.
Other items that should be in your hunting survival kit (and any other emergency kit, for that matter) include a flashlight, headlamp, collapsible lantern, rope or paracord, whistle, signal mirror, compass, pencil and paper, first aid kit, and a solar charger for your phone and GPS device.
Practice your hunting skills
Your enthusiasm can only take you so far. To be a good hunter, you need lots and lots of practice. A good activity to prepare for hunting season is to hit the gun range and practice your shot. It’d be great if you have or know of a wide enough area where you can practice shooting your rifle, pistol, or crossbow.
Wear the proper hunting attire
You’ll be spending a great deal of time outdoors. Wear proper attire depending on the weather condition. If the forecast is sunny, make sure you have clothes and accessories that will protect you from the harmful effects of the sun. Wear pieces that will also protect you from the cold such as thermal underwear, pants, long-sleeved tops, and insulated jackets.
Wear something orange for your outermost layer. This will make you visible to other hunters in the area. Wearing bright-colored hunting attire will also make it easier to locate you in case you get lost. If you’re bringing a dog along on your hunting trip, give her an orange vest. An orange bandana or leash will also do.
Learn first aid
There are no doctors or hospitals nearby. If you or someone in your hunting party gets hurt, you need to apply first aid immediately. Learn at least the basics of first aid so you can treat any medical emergency.
Basic Hunting Safety Tips to Remember
Be extra careful
Since you’ll be dealing with guns and animals that can potentially get violent, you need to be doubly careful. The fact that you’ll be spending some time outdoors is also a cause for concern. To relieve your worries, you should take every precaution and learn as many hunting safety tips as possible.
Follow the rules
We already talked about laws and regulations. Make sure you are familiar with what’s legal and what’s not in the state where you’ll be spending the hunting season. These laws and regulations may differ from state to state so you really should do your research beforehand. It’s not enough to know these laws, though. You should obey them since they were made with hunters’ safety in mind.
Carry your hunting rifle properly
Always keep your rifle’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Never point it at another person or yourself for Pete’s sake! Even when you’re loading and reloading, the muzzle should be pointing in a safe direction.
Keep the safety “on”
You don’t want your rifle accidentally going off. Always keep the safety on. Move it only when you’re ready to shoot.
Don’t be trigger happy
The feel of a gun in your hands will surely send shivers down your spine. Either you get too nervous or ecstatic. Those are not enough of a reason to fire your hunting rifle indiscriminately. Never discharge your gun in a residential area, developed recreation site, or anywhere with people around. It’s also illegal to shoot across a body of water and into a mine, open shaft, or cave.
There’s a certain thrill that hunting brings. If you want to experience that excitement yourself, you should definitely take up the sport. And if you want your first trip to be a fun and memorable one, you have to prepare for hunting season. Learn more amazing hunting tips over at Gentleman Pirate Club!