5 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Getting Into Hunting
At Chasing Food Club we both suffer from AOH, that is, “Adult Onset Hunting.” Because of this, we’ve combed through countless forums, blog posts, YouTube videos and books. Luckily for you fellow AOHers, we’re going to save you the time and money by sharing this information, simplified into easy-to-read guides. The first being 5 qualifying questions you should ask yourself before taking your hunter’s safety.
1. Why are you going to hunt?
Why you would hunt may seem obvious, but there are many motivations for hunters. Some hunters are looking to score big Boone & Crockett numbers, others have a desire to fill their chest freezer, and some purely do it for sport.
We’re of the belief that regardless of what gets you out in the woods, you should always do it with the respect of the animal and land it lives on. Harvest ethically and contribute to conservation, pack out all of the meat (yes—even the heart and liver), and don’t post a grip-and-grin online where you can portray hunting in a bad public spotlight.
Let’s work together to preserve the heritage of hunting, not only to pass on the sport but to have animals available to hunt in the future. Let's not be the one that spoils it for everyone with that bloody photo by being mindful of others peoples views. Focus on being, “dedicated to the hunt and not the hunted.”
2. When are going to hunt?
Consider the hunting seasons that are in your state/province and what time in that season will you be able to sneak away from life. With a typical 9 to 5 job, you’ll likely want to drive out of the city Friday night so that you can have all of Saturday to hunt. If you’re feeling eager, you can also use your yearly vacation time as well.
Most beginners get hyped up to get out there but don't consider how much time they will need to allocate towards training, traveling and stalking. Some folks are three seasons deep and only have 24 hours of actual field time - not the greatest scenario for success. By figuring out how much time you can spare, this will help you determine what type of hunter you would want to become, and ultimately which gear you should invest in first.
3. Where are you going to hunt?
It’s essential you familiarise yourself with your home and neighboring state/province’s fish & wildlife websites to know what hunting zones are available, the logistics of navigating that environment, and how you’ll get there.
Weekend hunts are going to be limited to a ~8-10h drive, any longer and you’ll have to burn that precious vacation time. If you have nearby options, you’ll want to get started with gear that is suitable for that climate. Everything from the backpack to the boot type can change when walking around in an alfalfa field compared to trekking up a mountain.
Knowing where will help you determine your gear list, vehicle type and where you should spend your money first. If it's not apparent already, hunting is not cheap. To save money buy used gear but make sure the warranty is transferable on big-ticket items such as binoculars.
4. What are you going to hunt?
Once you know where you can hunt, you’ll have to determine what lives there, what tags are available, and the logistics around harvesting the animal.
If you’re hunting Moose, for example, you’ll need to go big with everything: bullet caliber (or KE for you bowhunters), vehicle space, and cooler/freezer room. Don’t forget that if you’re in the backcountry, you’ll have to carry the animal out. Higher temperatures also mean less time to process your meat before it spoils. Turkey, on the other hand, doesn’t require as much forethought.
Understanding what you're going after increases your safety and chances of success, makes the pack out more comfortable, and reduces meat waste. Furthermore, by doing this research well in advance, you can also determine if you need to apply for limited entry/lottery tags and not miss any draw deadlines.
5. How are you going to hunt?
When getting started, you’re going to want to select either a bow or rifle. Not that you can’t do both, but it’s best to start small and build up from there. Bowhunting is more difficult in general as you’ll need to get closer to the animal and be able to draw back to fire. The advantage, however, is extended hunting seasons.
Depending on the terrain you’ll want to employ different methods of finding animals. For thick brush, still hunting (quietly walking through the forest) will be the best option if you don’t want to stay stationary (blind or treestand hunting). Open terrain, however, opens up the ability to spot and stalk: using optics from high elevations to “spot” the animal before starting on a “stalk.” The one piece of advice we hear time and time again from our mentors is to practice your shot, and invest in good optics.
We've thrown some weighted questions at you, and you realized with a quick search on the internet there’s an overwhelming amount of information available. The good news is that we will work to expand on each of these questions with collided answers formatted into short easy-to-read articles, checklist, and links. Subscribe to be alerted to new material.
Thank you for reading and supporting CFC.
- Jarid and Jenny