Hunting is an enjoyable outdoor activity. It can be a great source of recreation and adventure. During the hunting season, hunters go to the forests and other natural habitat areas to track and hunt animals such as elk, deer, ducks, turkeys, hogs, bears, doves, and geese, among others. However, hunting is not as easy as it appears. And if you are a new hunter, it can be quite frustrating and disappointing when you spend an entire day in the wilderness, only to return home empty-handed. The good news is, you can improve your hunting skills and becoming an elite-level hunter, with the right approach, dedication, and commitment. Here are some tips that will help you to improve your hunting skills and become a better hunter.
Whether you are planning a single-day hunting trip or you are going for an extended hunting excursion, you need to be adequately prepared before you set off for your expedition. First, you need to determine the type of hunting that you intend to do. Animals occupy different habitats at different times. Therefore, you will only find some species in certain areas. Also, different animals have different hunting seasons. You should also note that every state has different hunting regulations and licensing standards. So, you need to ensure you are conversant with the rules and regulations of the area you are planning to go for your hunting trip. You should also ensure you acquire a valid hunting license. Even if you are a first-time hunter or you will be simply tagging along other experienced hunters, never go for a hunting trip without a valid license. And if you will be going for a solo hunting trip, ensure you inform your friends and family where you will be going as well when you expect to be back.
Next, you need to check the condition of the equipment you will be using during your trip. Firearms can sometimes misfire, especially if they are not well maintained. And if that happens, they can lead to serious injuries. You should also find a way of transporting your hunting equipment safely, from your home to the hunting destination. If you will be hunting in a group, make sure that everyone in your team knows how to handle a bow or firearm properly. No one should go hunting with a bow or firearm if they don’t know how to handle such equipment properly and safely.
Carry the Right Gear
If you want to improve your hunting skills and have a successful hunting trip, then you should always carry the right gear. You need to carry the right amount of food, clothing and other accessories that you will need during your trip. Make sure you bring clothes that cover your entire body – from head to toe. Also, you should bring different types of clothes, from wind-proof jackets to safety clothing. Weather is always unpredictable. Therefore, make sure you carry clothing for warm and wet conditions. If it’s freezing cold and you did not carry warm clothing, then it will be almost impossible to focus on the target. Tracking or waiting for an animal can be a long and tiring process – especially if you are hunting deer. Therefore, you might end up spending weeks or even months, trying to track a single animal. While waiting, need to have adequate water and food, to ensure you are calm, relaxed and ready to take your shot, once the animal appears.
Familiarize Yourself with Weather Patterns
Weather conditions can potentially determine whether your hunting trip will be a massive success or an epic fail. Therefore, you need to learn and master different weather patterns as well as how they affect animal behavior. For instance, a single change in weather conditions can trigger increased deer movement, making your hunting trip a success. On the other hand, it might lead to the demise of a carefully planned hunting trip, leading to wasted time and money. The National Weather Service is one of the best places to acquire accurate weather data. While their website might not be fancy, most of their predictions tend to be accurate. Furthermore, the National Weather Service has access to some of the best resources and data, giving them an upper hand when it comes to weather predictions. After hunting for a few seasons, you will eventually learn and master various weather patterns, the best conditions for hunting different animals as well as their migration patterns. Once you master these techniques, you will significantly enhance your hunting skills.
Mask Your Scent
Some hunters assume that as long as they are wearing camouflage clothing, then they can approach deer stealthily, without giving away their location. However, that assumption is wrong. Deer have a strong sense of smell. Even if the odor is faint, there is a high chance that the animal will scamper away to safety, since they see you as a potential threat. Therefore, scent elimination is vital, if you want to increase your hunting success rate. So, how do you mask your scent to ensure you don’t give away your position? Here are some tips:
- Wash Clothes Thoroughly: Before you toss your clothes into the washer, make sure that you rinse the washing machine thoroughly. Rinsing the washing machine beforehand will remove the residual detergents, thus preventing them from contaminating your hunting clothes. If possible, wash your clothes using baking soda and hang them outside. Make sure they air out naturally, away from smoke or unnatural odors. When you are not hunting, you should store your clothes inside an airtight plastic.
- Shower Beforehand: While this might appear obvious, never underestimate the importance of a thorough shower before you embark on your hunting trip. Make sure you use a scent-free shampoo, body wash, and soap. You can purchase some of these supplies from a hunter’s store near you. After your shower, you should only dry yourself using scent-free towels. You also need to apply a scent-free antiperspirant. It’s also advisable to use scent-free mouthwash, or a scent-free toothpaste, to ensure you don’t emit unnatural odors. Some hunters prefer brushing their teeth using peroxide and baking soda during the hunting days. The combination of peroxide will kill bacteria, brighten the teeth and help the hunter to remain scent-free.
- Play the Wind: This is one of the oldest and most effective tricks when it comes to scent masking. In simple terms, if the wind is blowing from east to west, then you should approach the deer or hunt from west to east. With this approach, you will avoid blowing your scent into the deer, thus helping you to get to close to the animal as much as possible. To determine the direction of the wind, you just need to tie a piece of string on your gun or bow. If the wind changes direction, then you should also change direction.
While it’s easy to manage scents coming outside your body, controlling natural human scent is almost impossible. But with the above tips, you can reduce them and increase your chances of bagging a deer.
Refine Your Shooting
Proper shooting techniques will make you a better hunter. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to shooting. It will take countless hours of practice, thorough discipline and plenty of spent ammo, for you to master shooting and enhance your accuracy. The good news is that everyone can improve their shooting skills. There are numerous shooting ranges around the country, which you can use to practice, develop and master proper shooting techniques and improve your accuracy.
Wear Proper Hunting Boots
A good pair of hunting boots is essential every time you go for a hunting trip. Your success will depend on how comfortable your feet are and how far they can carry you. Without the right pair of hunting boots, you might end up with blisters or sores on your feet. And if you were tracking a deer, then you might be forced to abandon your chase halfway. Apart from comfort and support, you also need to consider the season as well as the game you are hunting. For instance, if you are more of an early-season hunter, then you should go for scent-free, lightweight hunting boots. On the other hand, if you prefer hunting during the cold months, then you should purchase a waterproof, insulated boot.
Most hunting boots that you will find on the market, fall under 2 categories – rubber boots and field boots. Field boots feature nylon, mesh or full-grain leather uppers. They provide a balance of durability and breathability. Rubber boots, on the other hand, are scent-free, which means they will not give away your location. Also, rubber boots are waterproof. Therefore, if you will be hunting in areas with plenty of rivers, streams, creeks, marshes or swamps, then rubber boots are ideal for those conditions. However, rubber boots have poor ventilation. Also, they get extremely warm during hot weather. Apart from field boots and rubber boots, you might also come across hunting boots labeled as snake boots. Snake boots come are equipped with specialized features, to protect you against snake bites when you are hunting.
Hunting boots will protect your feet against various elements and keep your feet comfortable. Whether you opt for field boots, rubber boots or snake boots, make sure the type of you choose is compatible with the type of hunting that you are going to do. Also, make sure they are comfortable and fit well. An ill-fitting pair of hunting boots, regardless of how much you purchased them, can ruin your hunting trip completely. On the other hand, if your hunting boots are comfortable, then you will enjoy a worry-free and fun-filled hunting trip.
Hunting can be a frustrating and tough affair, especially if you have never done it before. But with regular practice, adequate preparation, the right equipment, and a positive attitude, you will eventually become a better hunter. With time, your hunting trips will become more successful, enjoyable, and something that you are always looking forward to. Happy hunting!