It can be difficult to go hunting as an adult, but it’s not impossible. If you’re ready to start hunting, these tips will help you find your way around.
Spring is the perfect time to prepare for the coming fall hunting season. And adults have come hunting in droves in recent years, with women coming as adults in greater numbers than ever before.
I marked my sixth year of hunting in 2020 and it was a life changing decision putting great food on the table and expanding my experience with nature every year. I hunted everything from geese to elk to mule deer. And I’m just about to raise my first bird dog and train it myself!
Warning: once you’ve put your own meat on the table, you may not want to stop. With that in mind, I’ve put together these tips to get you started, as well as resources that can help you guide your hunting training.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published December 2019 and updated for Spring 2021.
Every state has one Hunter-Ed program This is usually required by law before the hunt. It’s a great way to get involved, but a lot of the basic hunter’s job revolves around gun and hunter safety, which – while very important – doesn’t teach you much about the hunt itself.
And it’s important to note that when many states run out of hunters in your state, they will need hunters for everyone. So if you want to go hunting, just take the time to complete the program. It’s worth it.
I also had a great experience in mine Bow hunters ed Class. I think it is valuable for any hunter to learn the tools related to bow hunting, such as shot placement, blood stains, woodworking, and more. If I had attended the class before my first rifle hunt, I would have a much better knowledge base and could have saved myself a few mistakes.
Even if you don’t take a bow, the archery education program can teach you a lot. I recommend anyone who asks to take both with them.
Currently, most states offer all of the courses online because of the pandemic. It’s a great time for busy people to immerse themselves in hunter and bow hunter training. If you can safely take part in a field day, we strongly recommend it.
Mentored, Guided Opportunities to Hunt
Hunt to Eat’s Hunt Camps
The mark Hunt for food offers a range of hunting and fishing camps that include a variety of hunting methods, game and fishing options, and integrated mentoring in addition to options.
These are guided camps that offer educational opportunities, including guest speakers, rental equipment, conservation education, personal instruction, and of course the ability to put meat in your own freezer.
Find a quality guide
Many people start their hunt (and some only hunt) with professional, licensed guides. Although it is often an expensive way to hunt, guides can help teach valuable skills for hunting different animals in different parts of the country.
If you are looking for a guide who is more responsive as a teacher, it is a good idea to have a conversation with your guide before you travel. Will they help you shoot or see in your gun when you arrive? Are they open to helping you understand why animals are where they are? Do they offer meat hunts, as they do on non-trophy animals?
The GoHunt brand has a great searchable feature for Western hunting guides. However, a little research on your part can help you find the right guide for you.
Government sponsored programs
Before spending a ton of money on guides, give your local fish and game department a call to see what adult mentoring opportunities might be. Programs like Become a woman outdoors are gaining popularity.
And occasionally states offer mentoring opportunities to adults in conjunction with nonprofits to help people learn how to start locally.
Reading list for new hunters
“The Complete Guide to Hunting, Slaughtering, and Cooking Game” (Vol. 1 & 2)
I really recommend the rest of Steve Rinella’s books. But the guides are so insanely thorough and great that it is worth having them both on hand.
Both books are field guides for the active hunter. I keep mine in my rig and have used the guides several times, e.g. B. to attract a deer in the field or to better understand the wind. If you have a general interest in hunting this is a great place to start.
“The indigenous cuisine of the Sioux chef”
I’ve been following Sean Sherman for a long time and I love this beautiful book that introduces readers to the ancient and important culinary heritage of the American countryside.
The foraging and venison combination that makes up both the story and the recipe is phenomenal. The book won a James Beard Award and continues to be one of the coolest cookbooks I’ve ever owned. Browse the flora and fauna around you and create a new perspective.
Hank Shaw’s cookbooks
Shaw is a master of the detail when it comes to cooking and game. His book “Buck, Buck, Moose” particularly helped me to understand big game in new ways.
“Call of the Mild: Learning to Chase My Own Dinner”
There aren’t many women who write about the hunt, but Lily Raff McCaulou’s metamorphosis in Oregon is one I identify with. For anyone who is out of town and wondering how they might fit in, this is great read.
“The best from outside: the first 20 years”
A collection of texts from Outside Magazine? That’s funny. But when I lived in the concrete pillars of downtown Denver, I read Tom McGuane’s opening essay, The Heart of the Game, and got a new understanding of what hunting can be.
You can read the essay Herebut you should have the book on your shelf too as the writing of Edward Abbey, Annie Proulx and others is just amazing.
Online tips and other resources
This forum is moderated by one of my favorite educators in the hunting arena: Randy Newberg. It is also full of passionate hunters ready to share their experience and expertise on how to start the hunt. These guys helped me a lot before I found my hunting team.
meat eater Processing Episode: Season 5, Episode 6
This show breaks up the realities of the hunt. If the crew doesn’t take an animal, the show will reflect it. When something goes wrong, the show reflects it. And when a label is nicked, amazing food happens.
But the most important episode is 22 minutes in which Steve breaks a deer. It’s super helpful and available on Netflix.
All of those Dang podcasts
From Randy himself Hunt Talk Podcast to Mark Kenyon Wired to Hunt, Steven Rinella and the MeatEater crew, and Joe Rogan The hunt so often brings the topic to the fore in his extensive podcast. The hunt has a multitude of voices that speak so much in the pursuit.
Find your favorite, download it, laugh a lot and learn a lot. Dig in.
accession Backcountry Hunters & anglers
I met my hunting partners through volunteering for BHA in Bozeman, Montana. BHA has chapters across the country, full of people welcoming new hunters and curious people with open arms.
It’s a great community, and for $ 25 a year you can connect with local athletes in your community. And to be honest, $ 25 a year to meet hunting partners is a lot cheaper than hiring a guide. Go after.
Find out your hunting gear
Photo credit: Lindsey Mulcare
Wear what you have. I killed my first deer in yoga pants, trail running shoes, and a J.Crew jacket. Camo helps, but today’s technical camo is expensive and out of reach for many people.
Follow the rules of staying warm and dry just like you would on a hike. Avoid light colored clothing whenever possible, but don’t think clothing is your first purchase.
Borrow equipment if you can. When you jump into hunting communities there are wonderful people out there who can lend you the equipment necessary for the type of hunt you choose to go.
Don’t forget pawn shops. You can get really nice rifles, bows, and shotguns at bargain prices at pawn shops, with great equipment among other things. Talk to the store staff. There is often someone in the house who is knowledgeable about guns.
Spend money where it matters. Boots that are comfortable and fit well are hard to come by second-hand. But store shelves can often contain great deals. When you have to spend a lot of money on an item, make it your boots. You will never regret good footwear.
Merino wool is a great place to invest money if you’re building a more technical wardrobe. i really like First Lite Base layers for men and women.
How to start the hunt: final thoughts
Being a first-time hunter doesn’t have to feel completely overwhelming. There is a wealth of information out there beyond what I have shared.
Currently the number of hunters is decreasing. But the industry is beginning, and there are whispers of programs and initiatives evolving to help new hunters break the barriers to entry.