As a novice hunter, you can best prepare yourself for hunting season by following a few essential tips. While the sport of hunting is a skill that is honed over a lifetime, you must start somewhere. It is wise to make and follow a plan to avoid frustration and disappointment. By its name, hunting implies the art of seeking and engaging animals. It helps to know where and how to find them.
Education Is Fundamental
If you have not already done so, consider taking a hunter education course, or a hunter safety course. This can be pursued through the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA). You also can check with your state’s wildlife agency. You will need to become apprised of your state’s rules and regulations anyway as there are specific laws in place for your own protection as well as that of the wildlife population. Further, you must be aware of what areas are legal to hunt and how close you can be to neighboring properties and roads.
Attending a hunter education course in person as opposed to simply completing one online affords the opportunity to meet with other people such as yourself. Not only will you encounter interested hunters of all ages, you may have the opportunity to get some shooting in as a part of the course. If these are your first shots fired, why not experience them in a positive atmosphere of camaraderie?
One way to immerse yourself in the field is by finding a mentor. Non-hunters are permitted to accompany licensed hunters to watch them hunt. This gives you a good feel of what it is like to be on a hunt. In some states, you can obtain an apprentice license, which allows you to give hunting a try if you have not completed a hunter education course.
Getting Your Hunting License
Check with your state and determine if you meet the licensing requirements. This will give you direct information on the regulations about the species you are interested in hunting. You should also be aware of how the statewide season may differ from state-controlled wildlife management areas. Unique restrictions may exist on when and what you can hunt or may only apply on private hunting lands. You also can learn what hunting tools are either allowed or restricted.
Consider Trying a Hunting Preserve
For your first hunting experience, it might be a good decision to try a game reservation like Cypress Ridge Hunting Preserve. With a hunting guide along and a certainty of finding game, you will gain both knowledge and valuable experience while engaging your target in a controlled environment. Departing from base camp and trekking a mile or so, you have a better chance of sighting your first animal within far less time than spending an entire day outside alone without finding anything.
Take heart that your introduction to the hunting experience is the beginning of a journey that can be enjoyed through the course of your life. You appreciate how hunting is protected, not only for the game but for future generations to experience the skill and tradition of hunting.