Photo by CC user Fæ on wikimedia commons and Maslowski Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Are you ready to take to the woods or other surroundings for your first-ever self-guided hunt?
For many hunters, their first experience hunting can be one of their best memories in life down the road.
To make that experience even better, being prepared from start to finish for the hunt is the most important aspect.
With that being the case, are you aiming for your first self-guided hunt?
Be Prepared and Safe
So that your initial self-guided hunting experience stands the best chance of going off without any hitches, make sure you:
- Plan appropriately – How you go about planning your self-guided hunt goes a long way in determining its success. Even if you’re just going to be doing a hunt nearby your residence, don’t go without a plan. Do you have all the necessary hunting equipment? Did you let someone know where you are going and about how long you will be gone? Do you have a first-aid kit with you in the event of an injury that is more than just a little scrape or bruise? Lastly, do you have all your licensing papers in order so that you are not breaking any local laws? When you take the time to plan everything out, there’s less opportunity for trouble to arise;
- Know what you can and can’t hunt – Local and state ordinances where you reside govern what you can hunt, when you can hunt, and where you can hunt. That said make sure you are up to speed on what the regulations state. Hunting for a particular kind of game when it is the “off-season” for that wildlife can lead to a sizable fine if you’re caught hunting. Information on what is in-season is easily available on the Internet or from local officials;
- Respect other hunters – One of the more important facets of hunting is making sure you respect other hunters out in the field. Part of the lure of hunting is the chase, though it is supposed to be relaxing for the most part. Unfortunately, there will be instances where hunters converge without initial intent in the same area, going after the same game. When that happens, temperaments can get a little heated. Always remember that one or more game are not worth getting into an argument over;
- Research your travel plans early – In the event you’re self-guided hunt will mean a fair amount of travel, plan early and accordingly. With any trip of note, getting the jump on others is important. When you book a trip early (be it to a hunting range etc.), you tend to save more money when all is said and done. If your hunting destination is several hours away, you also need to factor in the costs for gas and whether or not you want a hotel for a night (perhaps several nights if staying several days);
- Prepare for the worst – For most people on self-guided hunts, the most drama of the day is whether or not they catch the game they came after in the first place. That said it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Along with the previously mentioned first-aid kit and letting at least one other person know your hunting itinerary, be sure that you can locate the nearest medical facilities to where you will be hunting. In the event you are injured while on your hunt, receiving medical assistance as soon as possible can turn out being critically important. Always know the approximate distance to the closest medical help, along with having your cell phone on you at all times. Yes, there are instances where you will be in a location that cell phone reception is not an option, but still have it on you.
Your first self-guided hunt can be an experience you will one day look back on with many positive memories and even some laughs and smiles.
To make the event what it should be – always plan ahead of time – especially when it comes to your safety.
While your goal of catching your desired game is undoubtedly tops on your list, ending the hunt safely each time outshines anything else.