How To Hunt: A Guide for Beginners

man in camouflage aiming with rifle

Hunting builds hundreds of memories. More than 11 million Americans hunt at least once per year. They take in incredible natural landscapes, watch beautiful animals, and eat delicious meats. 

But 11 million hunters account for only a small amount of people who are interested in hunting. Many people want to hunt, but they don't know how to hunt. They are too scared to shoot a gun or trudge through the grass. 

Hunting requires a lot of tools and skills. Start with the basics, then you can work your way to more complicated activities. Here is your quick hunting guide. 

Buying a Gun 

You do not have to hunt with a gun. Some people do continue to hunt with a bow and arrow, which works for large and small game.

If you have archery experience, you would do well to continue with a bow and arrow. Archery season also lasts longer than gun hunting seasons. Many archers go deer hunting during the entirety of September, while gun hunters hunt deer for just a few days. 

If you are just learning to hunt, you should try out a gun. For big game, you can pick a rifle or a muzzleloader. Rifles are good to strike animals from a distance, while muzzleloaders work best up close. 

For smaller targets, you can use a shotgun. Handguns and revolvers are not generally recommended. 

Talk to hunters you know about guns that work for them. See if you can test guns out at ranges. 

When you test out your guns, make sure you test out accessories as well. You should examine holsters and flashlights. Read this PHLster Pro Holster review and others to get a good sense of your options. 

Getting Your Gear

There are many tools you need in addition to a gun. Though it is customary to wear camouflage, it's not a requirement.

You want to wear clothing that conceals your profile. You don't want clothes that will make noise or tear when caught on objects. You should wear layers that you can take off or add on. 

Check out different hunting shoes. Leather resists wear and tear, especially with steel toes. If you are in a swampy area, you should select knee-high rubber boots. 

If you need to climb trees in order to hunt, you should wear a safety harness. You should also get a stand or platform you can shoot from. 

Essential tools include binoculars and wind indicators. If you are going to be hunting for a while, you should have a backpack with food and water. You should also bring camping gear if you plan on staying overnight. 

Selecting Animals

What animals you want to hunt depends on why you want to hunt. You may need to hunt for food, or you may want to hunt just for the thrill. 

If you are looking for food, you want to hunt medium game. If your targets are too small, you won't have enough meat to sustain yourself. But if your targets are too big, you won't be able to carry your load away. 

Start with birds like turkeys. Then work your way up to hogs and antelope. 

Keep in mind that you will need to butcher animals as soon as you kill them. In addition to the previously mentioned tools, you are going to need knives and butchering equipment. 

If you are hunting for the thrill, then you can kill anything you want. Bigger animals present a bigger target, so you may have better luck hunting them. 

You should also think about animals that live in environments you are comfortable in. If you like prairie grasses, hunt pheasants and upland birds.

Learning In the Field 

The best way to learn about hunting is to hunt. But all states require licenses to own guns and hunt. 

Most states ask or require applicants to complete hunter safety certification. You can take classes on gun safety, outdoor skills, and regulations. 

Try to find at least one mentor you can learn from. This is someone with experience who is willing to go out and hunt with you. Try shadowing them to learn about hunting techniques. 

Once you have your hunting license, buy your gear. You can find nearly everything you need at outdoor stores. 

Check your state and municipalities for hunting regulations. You should find minimal ones for public lands, but some parks ban firearms on their premises. You may need to go to an adjoining state, and you need a license from that state. 

Hunting employs several essential life skills. The most important may be self-discipline. 

You will need to remain in place without making noise for several hours. You need to sneak up on animals, laying low or climbing high into trees. 

You must be patient, athletic, and durable. This may take time to cultivate. You may leave the hunting range without a single animal. 

Keep at it. Read more hunting tips and focus on the positives. You are becoming a good hunter, even if you don't notice it yet. 

How to Hunt

The basics of how to hunt are straightforward. Decide whether you want to use a gun or a bow. Then test out weapons at a range. 

Buy all gear you need, including for overnight camping. If you need food, you should hunt medium targets like turkey. You need to be able to butcher, which you can't do with massive game. 

Get your license from your state. Then head out into the field and learn through experience. Be patient and you will develop your skills. 

The great outdoors is calling for you. Learn more how-to nature guides by following our coverage. 

 

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