Hunting is definitely one of the sports with the most practical uses — not to mention the manliest one. Nevertheless, knowing where to begin is not always easy. In order to do some truly professional hunting, you need to know what you’re doing and you have to prepare well. With that in mind, we’ve decided to provide you with a short guide on how to start deer hunting as a beginner!
Deer Hunting in the US
Hunting wild deer is an activity that people have performed for literally thousands of years. In general, hunting is one of the oldest sports on the planet; so honoring the traditions of our ancestors and the passion that appears in the battle between man and nature is important. From the Germanic forests of Europe to the Native American hunting grounds — most cultures are positively riddled with detailed accounts on deer hunting with bows and arrows.
This is an especially important tradition for the United States, as the Plymouth Rock pilgrims wrote about venison from deer that they hunted near their first settlements. Explorers were often faced with the prospect of having to hunt for their meals — and deer was one of the most nutritious options in the newly charted forests.
Today, the United States has managed to stabilize the local deer population — some states even have issues with overpopulation by deers. Ethical hunting is a crucial part of population management for wildlife across the country.
Preparation and Licensing
There are quite a few things you need to do before you set your foot on a deer hunting ground. Contrary to what you see in pop culture, hunting is both extensively planned and heavily regulated. The first thing you need to do is get yourself a gun and have enough practice with it to be a productive hunter.
When you’re certain of your skills, you need to get licensing and certification from your local hunting authorities. These are usually found in state departments for the natural conservation and wildlife preservation agencies. The specific regulations are different depending on your state.
However, a majority of states require that you attend a safety course for hunters before you’re legally allowed to hunt in their jurisdictions. This course is not uniform across the country, so you should inform yourself about its structure before you go out to hunt.
In most cases, this means a course that lasts at least 4 hours with a written exam in the end. There is literature for preparing this exam to be found online, and you’ll probably get a booklet with more detailed information by the course organizers.
When you feel like you’re ready, you can register for the class in person with the local authorities or online. In most cases, these classes don’t cost anything — but the hunting permits you’ll be getting afterward need to be paid for.
Hunting regulations aren’t exactly the Constitution — they change often, almost seasonally; so it’s important that you keep yourself up to date regularly. And that’s especially true before you go out to hunt.
Finding the Right Equipment
Once you’ve dealt with the legal technicalities, you can start equipping yourself for the actual hunt. This means obtaining the right gear, specialized for deer hunting. While this choice is important, you mustn’t allow yourself to spend too much time and get lost in all of the camos and scents, as well as other secondary products that hunting gear manufacturers will offer you.
Especially if you’re not dealing with an unlimited budget (and most people aren’t), you need to remember that the basics are all you really need. Before you set out on your first hunting trip, you don’t need much more than:
● Your weapon
● Orange vest and hat for signaling and protection
● Your ammunition
● Sharpened knife
● Rubber gloves
● Your hunting license and permit
Where To Hunt
With all of your essentials in hand, the only thing left is to decide where you’re going to hunt. Of course, landowners with huge estates may even have the game on their land — which means you only need to save the date for when hunting season begins. Otherwise, you will have to settle for public hunting grounds. Wherever you go, however, there’s one thing you need to remember — only hunt in areas where you’ve been permitted to. If someone lets you hunt on their property, try to maintain a friendship with them and give something in return.
Once you’ve picked a good region for hunting, you need to position yourself more precisely. There are two choices here; you can head to a heavily wooded area where all kinds of animals go by quickly — or pick to station yourself at the edge of a large opening.
In many cases, scouting the area before the hunting season actually begins is a good idea. Newbie hunters would do well to remain on the ground level while hunting, as there are fewer external environmental factors to account for.
If you do choose to climb up onto a stand, pick one that you’re sure is stable enough. Also, the climb itself mustn’t be too difficult for you, because you’ve got a lot of gear and a hefty rifle with you.
Whatever you pick, the precise area should obviously be somewhere where your targets go through frequently. Picking a path that deer don’t pass by is not going to yield for a successful hunt. Also, think about how comfortable your hunting spot is for you. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time there. For someone who’s not that good at long shots, a wooded area is a better choice compared to an open plain. You’ll probably have more luck with closer shots in the woods themselves.
Once all of the preparations have been made, the only thing left is to arrive at your location of choice. Make sure you come a few hours before dusk or dawn so that your presence does not disturb your targets during the day. Most of all, make sure you’re staying safe. We hope this guide was of use to you; have a good one, folks!