The Complete Hunting Guide: Tips & Techniques For Hunters
Why do people have to hunt?
Since time immemorial some people have enjoyed hunting while there were also others who clearly opposed the whole idea.
Most of the people opposing compared hunting as an activity similar to war and hence something which should be clearly stopped.
However, the truth still is that hunting as an activity has more benefits than one and can be indulged once in a while.
One is that hunting brings you close to nature a feat which is not achievable in normal circumstances.
Apart from that the desire to create your own food has also been drawing people towards hunting in the wilderness.
The lack of trust with the food items being supplied through retail stores is making people pick up their guns and arrange for the meals on their own.
The ecological system of the world needs to be balanced and the mixing of humans and wild animals kept under control.
Hunting as an activity keeps this balance maintained and once in a while indulgence in the same is absolutely required.
Big Game Hunting - Gears Guide & Techniques
When we hunt for large animals like lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros it is given the name Big game hunting.
Apart from these some other species that are hunted in America and considered Big Game are Kudu, Antelope, hartebeest, moose, elk, caribou, mule deer, bison and white-tailed deer are also considered as Big game items.
Big game hunting which usually signifies the hunting of large animals has different perspectives on it in different regions.
The catalog of animals considered as big game in America clearly depends on the state where you are planning to indulge in the sport.
As an example, the state of Arizona would consider mule deer, antelopes, buffalos, Javelinas, elks, black bears and mountain lions as qualifying under the big game category.
On the other hand in West Virginia deer, wild turkeys, boars, and black bears are the only animals which are considered in the big game hunting category.
Apart from America, South Africa is another region where people enjoy big game hunting. Here the animals hunted include blesbok, giraffes, cheetahs, impala, kudu, tigers and zebras. In addition, Africa also boasts of having five difficult species (The Big Five) which are Lions, African elephants, Cape buffalo, Rhinoceros, and leopards.
Gears That Need For Big Game Hunting
Any type of hunting requires the person to be optimally prepared in terms of the safety gear he is going to use.
This not only provides the hunters with the much-needed protection it also enhances the quality of the game hunted. The Hunting gears used can be divided broadly into three categories.
Gear Require Before The Shot
This includes the following items.
Proper Safety Clothing : It is important to wear the mandatory orange headgear and jacket during your hunting session.
This is an absolute must and is often available at very cheap rates in your nearby retail stores. However, for better comfort and safety, you can buy a slightly expensive safety clothing gear for yourself.
High Quality Optics : Getting high-quality binoculars and spotting scopes for your hunting expedition is something which goes without saying. However, both of them fall in the high priced range and you should consider all aspects before taking a final call.
Apart from that having a tripod makes the hunting process simpler for you. A magnification of about 10X is important to ensure that you are able to view your target optimally.
Good Rangefinder : Though this is an optional item having it ensures that you are able to measure your distance accurately. Using this equipment hunter is able to predict bullet ballistics.
Gear Require During The Shot
Choosing your during shot gear is a crucial part to ensure the success of your hunt.
Rifle : Most of the good hunters carry multiple guns for each of their hunting trips. However, there are also some which make do with only one expensive one which is suitable for different kinds of situations.
Make your choice after careful analysis and whether it is going to suit the ammunition you have purchased or not.
Scope: There are many varieties of scopes available at various price points. However, the price is not reflective of the magnification abilities of the scope.
Shot placement, Environment, Your skill level and the type of animal you are hunting are important factors in deciding the magnification of rifle scope you should pick.
Note : Do not miss our Swarovski Scope Review
Ammunitions: The choice of ammunition is not as important as the placement of the shots. However, it is advisable to pick one basis the effectiveness of its penetration and expansion abilities.
Here lead-free ammunition is advised as there are many animals that would most likely eat the carcasses later on. Lead-free ammunition is also good for your own personal safety.
Supports: Your shooting position would decide how effective your kill is going to be. This is because it is very tough to execute a precise shot while standing.
In such situations, shooting supports make your position steady and also increase the accuracy of the shot. However, this item is an optional purchase and if you think you would like to improve your game otherwise then you can do that as well.
Gear Require After The Shot
Marking tape: This is required to mark the path that the animal is going to take in case it runs away. If there is snow or thick growth all around it would be impossible for you to keep track.
In such a situation bring around 30 feet of marking tape which you can place at positions after tracking where the animal has gone using his blood stains. When the animal is found you can remove the tape from that location.
Cutting tools: Once the animal is retrieved you will have to field dress it. In such circumstances cutting tools are required and can be purchased from any good hunting equipment store.
There are different kinds of knives suitable for the same purpose and you can choose one basis your requirement.
Nitrile gloves: Though field dressing is an interesting task there is also a lot of mess associated with it as the animal’s fur, hair, tissue etc. everything is removed. Wearing gloves ensures that your hands are saved from getting covered up with all the blood and grime.
Game bags: The meat that you take out needs to be stored in bags so that it stays clean, cool and unaffected by the insects around. There are various sizes of such commercial bags available and you can choose some according to the kind of animal you are planning to hunt.
Back-country storage: At times you find an animal hunt it but still want to continue with more hunting. In such situations, you can place your catch in the storage bags and hang it till you come back.
However be sure to check other animal activity like bears as they may have a party with your kill before you come back.
Pack out: It is difficult to store your blood filled meat bags directly into your backpacks. You can then put these bags inside trash compactor bags to ensure that your backpack stays away from getting soiled. In case the place you are hunting has deep snow you can use a sled to transport your kill.
Basic Big Game Hunting Techniques For Successful Hunt
Big game hunting is successful only if you follow certain effective tips and implement them suitably as per your situation. Below are some of the ones which need to be followed for quick success.
Bedding spots : Most animals like deer have frequent bedding spots where you can easily catch them. It is best to identify such spots as it will make it easier for you to identify and catch them.
Whichever hunting territory you select to find out all about such places and make your seating arrangements from there.
Plan your motion: It is important that you monitor the speed of your movement according to how the animal is moving. You can take one or two steps then look around if the speed is correct.
If you notice that the animal you were tracking is running away that means you are moving around too fast. The method is to keep an eye on the target and move around stealthily all this while studying the terrain.
Making turkey calls: Deer are assured by turkey calls that are made by you. Hearing such sounds the deer feels that his nearby area is safe and he can venture out.
Turkeys do not make sounds when they feel endangered hence when deer hear their sounds they are reassured.
Bed down the buck: Supposing the buck track is moving downward and suddenly starts going uphill it means that there is a bedding spot nearby. He will probably look for a thick growth area and settle down there.
To approach him correctly move cautiously around the track and move parallel to it. Carefully analyze the path and then only move ahead on it.
Setting up blinds and hides: If you have the time and patience to wait for your hunt to arrive then you can look around lodges in the wilderness. Here you can store your hunting gear and even some food supplies.
However careful research is required here as setting up your hide in a location where the chances of animals are less is not going to give you best results.
Driving game: Here you can make your hunt move around to a point where the chances of his survival are reduced to minimal. You can drive the hunt to the end of a cliff or in a trap so that it becomes easy for you to overcome him and make your kill.
This you can also accomplish by sending any animal like a dog which can push the hunt towards the direction you want him to move.
Small Game Hunting - Gears Guides & Techniques
In the same manner when we indulge in the hunting of small animals and birds that is known as Small Game hunting. This would include species like migratory birds, squirrels, rabbits, fox, coyotes and reptiles, and amphibians.
The species are divided into protected and unprotected categories and a hunting license is needed for hunting the species in the latter category.
Small game hunting, in other words, is when you are looking at hunting migratory birds, small mammals like squirrel and coyotes and other amphibians and reptiles. Most of the small game animals require licenses to be hunted.
Gears That Need For Small Game Hunting
Just like big game even small game hunting gear requires special gear which needs to be used to increase the chances of success. Here are some basic important ones.
Clothing: If the weather is cold then you would have to wear a base layer and long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts and fleece jacket to stay protected.
As per government regulations you are also supposed to wear an orange vest which can be complemented with cap, hat, and jacket and rain gear but should be of the same color.
Binoculars: These are needed to keep an eye on the exact location of the animal you are tracking. Apart from that, you can also use them to watch the birds in case they are on your radar.
Firearms and ammunition: You will have to buy a specific rifle which is suitable for small game hunting. Try buying a shotgun or rimfire rifle and also choose ammunition shells which would go with it.
Other gear: Apart from the above some plastic bags would be needed to carry your kill home without soiling your backpack. You would also need a knife, flashlight, and map and compass so that you can plan which place is good for hunting small catch.
Basic Small Game Hunting Techniques & Tips For Successful Hunt
For small game hunting, it is important that you implement the following tips to make your hunting easy and convenient.
Practicing: Since small game hunting accuracy is totally dependent on how quickly and correctly you can shoot it is important that you do a lot of practicing in advance. You can pick up cheap pellets and practice in your backyard or maybe even target the rodents in your home.
Headshots: The impact of a headshot leads to a clear and quick kill. If you miss that count your hit as a miss and try to focus better. Air rifle that you have is generally less powerful than a firearm and if you want quick success then headshots are a must.
The caliber of pellets: You will have to make your choice of which caliber of pellets to choose. .22 caliber pellets are easy to find and have the required power that is necessary to execute your killing. It has a good knock down power ratio and you can find them easily on any of the sports stores.
Learn to hide: Since small kill is usually one that would quickly run away at any sound it is important that you learn the art of camouflaging yourself. Pick up a high growth area which is frequented by such animals and cover all parts of your exposed body that is face, hands, and feet.
Moving around carefully: When it comes to small animals you have to very careful so as to not make any noise that can disturb them. Sit silently and minimise any disturbance that can alert the animals and run away. Once you notice a kill nearby make a quick attack as hurting one can quickly make the other ones to get alerted.
Hunting Licenses - Before Go For Hunting
To regulate hunting and avoid any untoward incidents from happening the US government issues licenses to all the hunters. These licenses are of two types.
State licenses: Each US state has separate standards and paperwork to finish in order to get a hunting license. This includes a hunting safety course, harvesting techniques, time periods and distinction between different species. Such licenses go on sale once a year and if you are looking at big game hunting you might even have to purchase some tags for each animal that you are targeting.
Federal licenses: As per the Federal Law if you want to shoot migratory ducks you have to purchase duck stamps. These licenses are provided by the US fish and wildlife service. As per US law, there are some endangered species which you cannot hunt and it is wise you do your research on that.
Hunting Permission Tips - Before Go For Hunting
Often the place where you might want to hunt could be someone’s private property. In that case, you would have to take their permission to use their property for your hunting purposes. Some people may not be so forthcoming in helping and you can use the below tricks to ensure that they cooperate with you.
Networking: If it is possible for any of your friends to refer you to such a person then do so. This ensures credibility and the person would be assured that you are the right person to allow on their property.
Impression: When meeting the property owners for the first time make sure you leave a good impression. Carry all your important documents and licenses and show proofs that you have undergone safety classes.
Address their concerns: It is obvious that if you are using firearms the people may be concerned about their safety. Ask them what their concerns and how you can assure them that nothing untoward is going to happen. If you get the permission for him ensure that you do not leave any garbage of yours on their property. This will increase your chances of coming back again the next year when hunting season starts.
Things To Know About The Hunting Season
Hunting season is the time when you are allowed to hunt and kill any particular species. Each state in the United States has been entrusted the responsibility of taking care of the wildlife that is residing there. State wildlife agencies which also provide licenses can give you an idea about the hunting season of the animal you want to kill.
This is that time of the year when according to the law it is permissible to kill a certain species of animals. The state decides the open season for each and this is a difficult process which involves citizens input, state fish or game agency department and independent game council. Season dates are usually selected depending on what time the population of the animal is at its peak. The peak breeding period when animals mate is avoided as that can harm the reproduction process of animals.
This is the time when you are not allowed to hunt animals. The closed season depends on many factors like peak reproductive activity or breeding season, temperature extremes, shortage of food, low population of the animals and any kind of physical harm to the animals. Any hunting that s carried out during the closed season would be known as poaching and you can be punished for doing so.
Hunting Survival Gear - How To Stay Safe While Hunting
Though most of the hunters are aware of the stuff they should carry when hunting here are some items that are absolutely necessary.
- In case you are suffering from any ailments do carry an extra stock of all your medicines along with you. It is also advisable to carry asthma inhalers and epinephrine pens as a safety measure.
- A cell phone with a full charge and a two-way radio to make your back communication easy.
- Lighters or matchboxes as you might need them a lot.
- A metal cup in which you could boil water.
- An easy to use a headlamp to help you during the night.
- Whistle or any other signaling equipment and blankets.
- Knives, first aid kit and enough of food supplies.
- Map, compass, and GPS for helping you with directions.
- Water purification tablets.
Staying safe is an integral part of your campaign and here are some tips to follow.
- Check all the weather reports before leaving for your expedition.
- Inform your family and friends where exactly you intend to hunt.
- Be aware of the place you want to hunt in and carry a basic survival kit with you. This should include rope, knife, water, matchbox, first aid box, and water.
- Dress properly in hunter’s orange so that other people near you know about the purpose of your being there.
- Check your hunting rifle before use and handle it with care assuming that it is full at all the times.
- Carry rain gear and also a separate pair of dry clothing to avoid any mishaps.
- Be aware of the people near you as there might be some who have just come here to enjoy the place.
Field Dressing Tips After Hunting
Field dressing is the method of removing the internal organs of the animal and cleaning it so that the meat does not get spoiled. Keep the following things in mind while doing so.
Big game hunts like moose, bear, and deer should be cleaned up immediately. This is required to protect the quality of the meat.
If your hunt is lying down in water, mud or debris make sure to move it to a cleaner location before you start the field dressing process.
Roll the animal either on its back or side and keep the head above his rump.
First cut a line from the crotch to his sternum. Try to cut in such a manner that the organs inside are not punctured leading to any bleeding inside.
Free the colon from the anus by cutting around it and then tie a string just around the anus so that any feces if there do not fall into the body cavity.
Next cut around the diaphragm and carefully cut the windpipe and remove the other internal organs by cutting through the tissue through which they are attached to the animal’s backbone.
Pull the windpipe and other organs out on one side. Taker care that intestines, stomach etc. are not ruptured. However, if something like that happens to wipe the blood away with clean towels.
Once you have removed all the entrails turn the animal around. Let the remaining blood drain out completely.
Don’t wash the body of the animal with water sources nearby as that can lead to contamination. Use paper towels to clear the mess and keep the exposed meat as dry as possible.
Keep the body cavity open so that air can circulate freely.
When the weather is warm you should try and remove the skin of the animal. Specially created meat bags would help to keep debris from getting on your meat. On the other hand in cold weather, you can leave the skin on the body until the time you do not reach the camp.
In case you are going to transport the carcass later use a rope to pull it off the ground. This helps in air circulation and cools the meat down.
For birds also the entrails should be removed soon. You can pluck them or skin them using knife and gloves. Cool the birds as that is absolutely essential and maintain it at a temperature not exceeding 40 degree Celsius.
Small games like hares and squirrels should be cleaned with knife and gloves. First, peel the hide and then cut the tail before removing the abdomen and taking out entrails. Remove any meat that is damaged. Cool the carcass and maintain the temperature at 40 degrees Celsius.