A hunter’s first trip is an exciting time, but it pays to slow down and prepare for it. There are a lot of things that a hunter needs to know in order to be both successful and responsible when they are in the field. Most of the information is fairly simple, so it will not take too long to get a good grasp of it. That means that is is certainly worth the effort of learning about it in order to ensure that your first hunting trip is a good one.
1- Basic Safety
Safety should always come first when it comes to handling firearms. Basic gun safety is a vital skill. It includes never pointing a gun at something that you do not intend to kill, treating all guns as though they are loaded at all times, and keeping the safety on until you are ready to fire. It can be a little difficult to follow all of these rules when you are hauling a rifle through the woods or trying to climb over a log to get to your destination but lapses in these safety procedures can lead to terrible accidents.
Hunters also need to deal with a few extra safety precautions. It is vital for them to know what sort of terrain is behind their target. A missed shot, or one that penetrates all the way through the animal, runs the risk of colliding with other things in the area. If the animal is in front of a path or other populated area, that can easily lead to accidents. Hunters also need to be sure that they are visible, to make sure that nobody else in the area mistakes them for a prey animal. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution. It’s much better to pass up a chance at taking down a prey animal than it is to put yourself or another hunter at risk.
2- Rules and Regulations
Most jurisdictions regulate hunting quite heavily. These laws exist to protect hunters and to make sure that the ecosystem remains in balance. Breaking the rules can lead to stiff penalties, so every hunter should understand them to make sure that they do not run into any trouble once they head out into the field.
At the most basic level, that means getting the right type of hunting license or permit to take your prey. Most licenses will be limited to a specific number of kills, which can also be restricted by the type or sex of the animal. Hunters usually get a specific number of tags that they can attach to a carcass to mark it as a legal kill, and they should always make it a priority to tag their kills as soon as they get them. That will ensure that all of the game wardens know that it was a legal kill, and failure to follow this rule can lead to accusations of illegal or excessive hunting.
Many hunters are also restricted to hunting at specific times. Those tend to be times when the animals are most active, so following this rule is easy, but it does pay to keep a good watch with you when hunting to make sure that you do not accidentally stay out past the deadline.
3- Animal Behavior
Understanding the behavior of prey animals makes the difference between success and failure when hunting. After all, it is impossible to have a successful hunting trip if you cannot find the animals for which you are hunting!
The most important thing to understand is where those animals can be found. If you aren’t sure, you can usually find a few good hunting spots by asking other local hunters for advice. Some local governments will also be able to help, especially those that allow hunting in local parks.
You should also try to understand the things that you can do to attract the animals. Depending on the local laws, you may be allowed to use decoys or other forms of bait to help attract animals. Similarly, you should learn to cover your scent and avoid doing anything that might scare the targets away. If you can do that, all that remains is being patient and waiting for the animals to show up.