Hunting is a popular hobby and sport enjoyed by millions of people across North America. Over the last 10 years, data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that more and more females are taking up hunting.
Hunting seasons vary depending on where you live. Regulations designed by local conservation, game, fish, and wildlife departments often dictate the start and end of hunting season. Although the licensing, seasons, limits, and fees for hunting may differ geographically, the preparation that goes into getting ready for hunting season is similar regardless of geography.
Many seasoned hunters realize hunting season does not begin on “opening day.” Rather, it can take weeks or months to get ready for a successful season. Considering hunting seasons can be brief, preparation helps hunters make the most of their time spent in the field.
- Purchase your license, tag or stamp. Many wildlife departments require hunters register in advance of the season, and this registration includes securing a hunting license. Because there is a limit to how many animals each hunter can hunt, tags for the animals they’re hunting also will be issued. Hunters planning on going out for the season should stay apprised of when licensing and registration begins and ends so they can hunt legally.
- Scout areas. The landscape can change from year to year depending on a host of factors, including construction, commercialization and weather. Areas once open to hunting may now be restricted lands. Map out your potential hunting location and be aware of any new landmarks or changes.
- Check and replenish gear. Inspect weaponry, field-dressing supplies, clothing, and other supplies for wear and tear. Address any issues that need to be fixed, or replace items as necessary. If a rifle, bow or shotgun hasn’t been fired in a while, take it to a range to verify accuracy and sighting. If you hunt out of a tree stand or blind, make sure it is sturdy and in good condition prior to use.
- Get in shape. Hunting often requires hiking in and out of the great outdoors in various terrain. It’s helpful to increase physical activity leading up to the hunt to prepare your body for the physical demands of hunting.
- Organize and pack gear. Ensure your equipment is clean, in working order and packed away in your travel bags. Establish a system of organization and a checklist so you’re certain you will have what you need. Don’t forget to bring along your hunting license and animal tags; otherwise, you may be levied with costly fines.
- Always hunt safely. It is quite easy to get swept up in the moment when tracking game. Don’t let overzealousness cloud rational judgement and safety precautions. Otherwise an injury or even death can occur.
Hunting season is on the horizon and that means preparing now for the few weeks of sport to come.