How To Start Hunting , A Beginners 5 Step Guide

June 27, 2022

So you’ve decided to start hunting but have no idea where to begin? First, let us congratulate you on starting your most expensive legal addiction to date. Many hunters have found themselves in the same position, trying to figure out how to take the first steps into the hunting world. We here at Stadium Rant Outdoors are often asked what tips and tricks we can give for people just starting their outdoor adventures. Here’s all the advice we’ve been given and passed along over the years.

Step 1: Hunter Education

According to the International Hunter Education Association there are an estimated 1,000 hunting accidents in the U.S. and Canada annually. That number may seam like a large amount but when you consider how many hunters are in the woods annually it becomes a fraction of a percent. That being said Hunter Education is still one of the top priorities for everyone if they want to venture into the woods. If you are just starting out with no mentor or guide it is crucial to learn safe hunting practices and hunting laws. In addition to learning safe hunting practices it is also important to learn basic firearm and archery safety depending on what method you plan to use during your hunt. Regulations vary by state, check your local Conservation Department for specific regulations or visit the International Hunter Education Association website.

Step 2: Plan the Hunt

Contrary to popular belief, hunting is more than just sitting in a tree or blind and pulling the trigger. Many hunts take hours upon hours of planning and research before you even set foot in the woods. Planning a hunt requires 3 areas of focus. Researching areas to hunt, scouting out terrain, and selecting the best weather conditions. The best way to start hunting is to find public ground to hunt. A quick Google search will bring up results of public land near where you want to hunt. Next you should scout out the selected tracts you want to hunt to find signs of animals in the area (deer trails, shallow pools for waterfowl, etc…). Remember to plan ahead for busier weekends where more hunters will be on public land closer to metropolitan areas. you should also consider proper weather conditions in your plan for the types of hunting you wish to do.

Step 3: Setting the Stage

By now you should have a rough idea on the when and where aspect of your first hunt. The next step is finding the proper equipment to use. Here’s where things start getting expensive. during your scouting its important to take note of good areas to hunt and their features such as trees and open areas. Based on what terrain is available you should select the proper firearm, bow, tree stand, or blind that will give you the best advantages as well as accompanying gear such as flash lights and a knife. for example you would want a shallow, open pond with vegetation and cover on the banks for a blind set up as well as a shotgun with non toxic shot. Or if you were hunting scrub plains for white-tailed deer you would ideally want a tree stand with open shooting lanes and a short range rifle with a low power optic, or a bow depending on your skill level. Always remember to sight in your rifle, shotgun, or bow before heading to the woods. Proper clothing will be a consideration as well. Base your selection off of weather patterns for the area you will be hunting. As always it is generally a good rule to purchase ammo, arrows, and other consumables during the off season when overstock supplies are easy to find.

Step 4: Execution

Now you’ve gathered all of your gear and the stage has been set for those first steps into the woods. However having the proper gear does not guarantee your success. Having a strategy in place to get you to your stand or blind will always make or break your hunt. First you will want to make sure that you get to your area during less active times of movement (early morning and mid day). Second, the paths you will be using should be clearly marked with reflective tape or trail tacks to ensure you don’t get turned around in the darkness. And third, you should use a cover scent to minimize your detection by other animals. Usually cover scents with a mint or menthol scent work the best to hide human scent. And it would be wise to cover your shoes top and bottom as to not leave a scent trail where you walk. As a rule of safety double check your tree stands and blinds to ensure that they are safe and always wear a harness system if you climb a tree stand.

Step 5: After the Shot

Congratulations your hunt has been a success, or at least we hope it was. Now comes the question of what to do with it. One of the most important things to do is to not let the meat go to waste. Its important to get your animal field dressed and processed quickly to keep it from spoiling. For small game animals such as rabbits or game birds a hunter will typically process it themselves. Personally I recommend referencing online videos, they are a great visual aid on how to process game and you can watch different methods to find what works easiest for you. For larger game contacting a processor is an option. They will process wild game for a fee and ensure that there is no meat gone to waste. Always ensure that you have a plan in place after each hunt to process and store the animal you have taken to ensure that there is no waste.

What to Remember

Hunting is a rewarding pass time to be enjoyed by everyone. It is important to do your due diligence as an outdoor enthusiast and to use safe hunting practices out in the field to prevent harm to yourself or others. Check with local conservation agencies every year for updated hunting and fishing regulations in your area. As always stay safe, stay well, and enjoy the outdoors!