If you are new to hunting, don’t let your novice status stop you from building your confidence. Each time you get out and hunt, you learn new lessons for your next hunting excursion.
Tips for New Hunters:
- Don’t be afraid to ask why? Women often get a bad reputation for talking all the time. In the correct time, not when a bull/buck/whatever is standing there, your hunting partners by and large will appreciate that you are interested in what is going on. Asking why prepares you to be able to hunt alone or to pull yourself from someone who just tags along to being part of the group
- Ask what the plan is when hunting with others? There is nothing worse than being out in the field and you think you know what is going on but you end up lost/early/late or realizing a miscommunication that can ruin the hunt for yourself or someone else. When you know the plan in advance, it gives you an opportunity to share your thoughts and gives you an opportunity to learn, even if you do not end up doing what you wanted to do. Hunting in a group often ends in compromise, which can sometimes lead to tension. It is always better to scout or to have hunted with your party ahead of time.
- Be Prepared. There are many steps that go into preparation, this goes hand in hand with planning. Read a book, ask what the others in your group are bringing, ask people who have done it before if you are going solo, or make a list. I always try out new stuff when scouting. I find that every week I scout and hunt, my pack gets smaller. Preparation means making sure you have everything you need at the time. This also means pulling back your bow in the blind or treestand when you get settled or making sure your gun is not going to bang off something when you prepare to shoot. It is those small steps that can make the difference between being successful and not.
- Carry Your Own Weight. We all have weaknesses or things we are not great at or do not know about. This goes back to my first tip. Asking is never bad if done correctly. It is ok to not know but NEVER expect someone else to take care of you if you are capable. We all have different capabilities and being on a hunt with someone who expects to be catered to is almost never fun. Making hunting friends is about shared experiences, carrying the burden, doing hard things with people who love it as much as you.
- Know Your Equipment. As a scientist, I like to know everything about everything. I know all my specs on my bow and how and why I like them. Having worked at an archery shop for several years, I learned that many hunters/archers do not know this. Customers asked me to just give them whatever they thought they needed or whatever the Insta-famous person was using at the time. As hunters, we have an ethical responsibility to know that both we and our equipment can complete the job that we set out to accomplish. Especially as women, moms, and role models we need to know we are not setting ourselves up for failure. This tip is the most important to me: know you can do what you set out to do with minimal suffering to the animal. Practice shooting in ways that are meaningful to hunting. We have all been there, we have all wounded animals but doing everything you can to know your weapon and its capabilities sets you up for success.