Learn How to Hunt: Hunting Strategies for Beginners
Hunting can be a very rewarding experience. However, if you are new to hunting, it can also be rather overwhelming. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of tips and tricks that seasoned hunters can give to new hunters to help them find success early on.
Know the Area
The first thing that any good hunter does before setting up their stand is to scout the area you are going to be hunting in. The goal here is to make sure that the area you set up in actually has the game you are looking to hunt and that you are in the right area to hunt them.
For deer hunting, many hunters start by just taking a walk through the woods they will be hunting in. During this walk, they look for signs of deer. This includes looking for game trails, feeding areas, travel corridors, bedding sites, and even glimpses of the deer themselves.
To do this, you’ll want to go slowly. Take a few steps and look around and repeat the process. You aren’t going to be able to see all the details you need to if you’re taking your scouting process at a jog.
If you want to get specific, you can keep an eye on specific game. For instance, if you see a big buck, you can watch his habits while you scout. A pair of scouting binoculars helps in hunting scouting.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Another thing to do before hunting season even starts is to get comfortable with your weapon. You might have found the perfect spot to hunt but if you don’t know how to use your bow or fire an accurate shot, you aren’t going to have a successful hunt.
Take plenty of time preseason to practice with your weapon. Learn how to handle the weapon, how to shoot from different distances, and even learn how to account for factors such as wind. To get the most out of your weapon, handling it needs to feel like second nature. Accuracy, knowledge, and confidence are key here.
Look for Cover
As you can imagine, if you are standing in the middle of an open field with a weapon, your game isn’t going to flock to you. Instead, you need to find cover so that you aren’t out in the open as you try to hunt.
At the very least, you will need to find a backdrop of cover. The goal here is to blend in enough with the foliage that the game you are hunting won’t see you as a threat. This is helped by the fact that hunting season for many falls during autumn. This means that you have plenty of fallen foliage to work with.
Get Rid of Underfoot Debris
When you find the spot you’ve decided to hunt from, take a second to clear out any debris underneath you. Remember, the animal you are hunting knows they are natural prey. They are constantly vigilant to any threat. This means that if you are crashing around clumsily or even step on a stray twig, your prey will take note of the sound and be more alert to potential danger, making them harder to hunt.
Take Your Time
WIth the previous note in mind, when you are on the move take the time to go slow and stay quiet as to not alert what you’re hunting. Better yet, make a point to stop as you go along. Maybe you’ll walk a little bit and then stand absolutely still, silent, and vigilant for 5 minutes.
If you do happen to step on a stray twig or crash through a pile of dead leaves: stop. Don’t keep barreling through. Once again, the animals you are hunting are vigilant to any threat that might be posed to them. As such, a snapped twig will put them on alert but if they don’t hear, see, or smell you close to them after that, they’ll probably relax and go back to what they were doing before.
Use Speed Wisely
There are times when speeding up is okay but you have to do so wisely. Animals such as deer are smarter than you might give them credit for. If you walk or jog, they’ll be able to tell that it’s a human following them and they’ll recognize a threat.
Instead, some hunters choose to sprint lightly for several yards and then stop and repeat it a few moments later. This breaks up the pattern of typical human cadence and doesn’t come off as an immediate threat.
Know What Tools to Bring
If you go out into the field with only your primary weapon and then shoot your first deer, you’re going to run into a problem quickly. Now that you have the animal, what do you do? You can’t gut it with your gun or bow and how are you going to get the deer back out of the area you’re hunting in?
There are a few extra tools you’ll need. First, you’ll want to bring a sharp knife with you. This is great to have in a pinch but for hunting specifically, it’s what you’ll use to gut your catch. A rope is also handy to hang game up while you hunt more rather than making trips back and forth. A tarp is another great thing to keep around. This will help you move the catch easier and it’ll help you avoid getting any debris into the body cavity.
Get Out There
Finally, make sure to actually get out there and dedicate time to hunting. A big part of hunting is waiting. Odds are, you aren’t going to bag any game the minute you step outside. The more time you spend out in the field dedicating time to hunting, the more successful you are going to be.