Hunting is not for everybody, and some people will never go on a hunt by choice. Others are curious and keen to at least try hunting as a hobby. The biggest advantage of hunting is that you can obtain quality fresh meat, killed cleanly without cruelty. For the latter group, we provide a guide on everything you need to know to get started.
Types of Hunting – Hunting as a Hobby
A common method of hunting is known as “Spot & Stalk” or “Still Hunting”, and it is generally used for bigger prey like feral hogs, bears, elk, and deer. It requires the hunter to become familiar with tracking and the habits of the type of prey. You will follow animal droppings and/or footprints to where the animals are and try to bring them down before they become aware of you.
This method is slow and can result in a lot of frustration and returning home empty-handed. There are challenges you need to learn to deal with. For example, if your prey is upwind of you, a breeze can carry your scent and cause the animal to leave the area in a hurry. It also takes time as you may be sitting completely still in one position for hours training your binoculars on the bush while looking for signs of an animal.
When walking, this must be done slowly and quietly. Now and then, you should stop to listen to the sounds of your prey and check which way the wind is blowing. Over time, you will become adept at spotting your prey.
Clothing should be light to avoid sweating, which the animals will smell, and to reduce the noise you make. Wear a hat that covers a good portion of your face.
Types of Hunting – Stand Hunting
When you use “Stand Hunting” you select a position and stay there until an animal appears and is within firing range for a clean kill. You can make yourself more comfortable with tripod stands, ground blinds, and tree stands. Some hunters put out food as bait to attract prey. But this practice is not allowed in many areas so be sure to check your local regulations. Positions usually chosen are near water sources and on established game trails.
To get animals used to your treestand, you should set it up a few weeks ahead of the hunt. Anything new in the area is likely to be avoided so you need to give your prey the time to get accustomed to it. Use vegetation to camouflage it. The time you allow also gives your stand time to lose its manufactured smells.
Being able to mimic mating calls will increase your chances of attracting your prey to you. Remember to stay upwind of the animals you are hunting as they will take off the moment they smell you. The sun should be at your back to avoid it shining directly on you and revealing your position. You should set up separate blinds for mornings and afternoons to ensure your invisibility. Camouflage makeup and dark clothes will help you blend in.
Choice of Weapon (Hunting as a Hobby)
Before you can determine what type of weapon is best suited for your purposes, you need to decide what kind of prey you will be hunting.
When obtaining bullets for your hunting rifle, you should always buy in bulk. This works out cheaper and ensures that you don’t run out or have a problem when your gun store stocks are sold out. The bulk ammunition is shipped directly to you in the comfort of your home. Discounts are often provided as well.
As a novice hunter, it can be helpful to go on hunting trips with seasoned hunters before setting off alone.