posted on October 19, 2009 12:36
One of the most important parts of becoming involved in the outdoors is education and research. The idea of just jumping into an area of hunting or fishing and not knowing much about it will most likely hold you back from successful hunts. It is stressful enough coming home empty handed from a hunt when you are knowledgeable and even that much worse when it's because you didn't take the time to do your research. It takes many years of experience to learn everything that can help benefit your hunting skills and many trial n' error situations as well. Although, to start it can never hurt to educate yourself on the area of your choosing and hopefully as you continue on your journey you will see how diverse the outdoors truly is.
Some suggestions would be to contact your local Game Fish and Parks office and acquire the most up-to-date rules/regulation guidebook for the areas your interested in. You can never be to sure as to what might be allowed and what is not. There are always updates and changes to current regulations, so something that was allowed last year may not be in the current season.. These guidelines are put in place for a reason and benefit our safety, success, and knowledge.
Research the history of the area you enjoy and be cautious about the source of your information. When searching the internet be sure that you are educating yourself with legitimate, reliable information. There are many sites that can be just personal opinion, which isn't always bad of course, but try to find as much proven info as you can. Personal opinion is helpful at times with the idea of learning from others mistakes. Another part to this is researching the animal as well. This will help you to understand why they do what they do, their movements, their choices, and hopefully help you foresee problem situations.
Always purchase a license that covers the the hunting or fishing you plan to do! This is something you do not want to forget about or try to explain to the game warden when he decides to check you. The hunt is that much more enjoyable knowing you did everything by the book.
Scouting is another large part of the time it takes for preparing a hunt. This is an invaluable tool when it comes to knowing you will have a good hunt or guessing at it. We spend ours at a time in the vehicle following or trying to find where the animals are and why they pick the locations they do. If you can determine a pattern, get yourself into position to intercept that pattern, and be patient a great hunt is usually the outcome.
Don't be shy to ask questions of fellow hunters. In the past I found it very helpful to be open and honest about what I didn't understand. This is how I learned a lot of the little tricks I use today. The other benefit of networking with others is the leads you can get on anything from great hunting gear, hunting dogs, or even private hunting grounds. It really does pay to be sociable and I can say that from experience.
These may be some pretty common lessons for the more experienced hunters but there are still a lot of people out there who are just being introduced to the hunting world. Hopefully these people find their way to this site and take advantage of all the stepping stones there are to offer here. Have fun learning, hunting, and passing it on!
- Kelly Olson