With the hunting season underway, you may be considering trying your hand at one of the oldest sports in history. How can you get started and what do you need to bring with you? This article will go over a few important aspects to ensure you know what you’re doing come to the hunting trips and that you’re safe and will enjoy it.
One of the most important aspects to understand about hunting is that there are seasons. You are allowed to legally hunt a given animal when its season is considered to be open. This is determined by the state and a few federal agencies that govern wildlife and conservation.
Typically, seasons are not open during an animal’s mating season. This is to prevent disrupture of that process, so the animals are given the chance to increase their population to healthy numbers. If you’re caught hunting outside of an open season, you could be heavily penalized.
When wondering if the animal you wish to hunt for is in open season, you should check with your state. They determine the period of time in which an animal can be hunted. They also determine your bag size. This essentially means how many animals you’re allowed to kill.
In the event that an animal is diseased, you may be unable to take it back home with you. In this event, you have to return the diseased animal to the local hunting authorities. They’ll dispose of it safely, so the disease doesn’t spread to humans or other animals.
One last aspect to consider about hunting seasons is the kind of weapon that you can use to hunt. Some states may only allow you to hunt with a bow for a period of the season. This may then transition into rifle hunting later on. It’s always a good idea to double-check with your state to determine what weapons are allowed to be used to hunt in that given time.
Animals You Can Hunt
What kind of animals can you hunt in a season? Each state has specific animals that they allow you to hunt in their given season. Not every animal can be hunted in every state. Though there are a few that can be universally hunted, just in their own given season which is determined by the state.
Some of the animals that you may be able to hunt are broken up into a few categories.
The first is Big Game. This includes mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, caribou, bighorn sheep, bear, boar, pronghorn, bison, and javelina.
The second is Small Game. This includes hare, rabbit, squirrel, porcupine, raccoon, ring-tailed cat, skunk, armadillo, and ruffed grouse.
The third is Furbearers. These include red fox, beaver, pine marten, mink, otter, muskrat, and bobcat.
The fourth is Predators. They are a cougar (or mountain lion or panther), coyote, and wolf.
The fifth is Upland Game Birds. They include woodcock, grouse, pheasant, chukar, dove, and quail.
The last is waterfowl. They include teal, duck, geese, merganser, and swan.
Each of these animals has its own hunting season and the kind of weapon that can be used to kill it. You can find out when and what from your local state.
Most laws about hunting have to do with when and how much hunting you can do. The when is controlled by the state. Open season is the term given to the period of time when you can hunt a specific animal. A state may also determine what kind of weapons is allowed to be used during that period of the open season.
A closed season is the term given to when an animal is not allowed to be hunted and killed. There are some exceptions given in terms of varmint hunting. Varmint hunting describes the situation in which a person has to kill an animal that is damaging their property or livestock.
Most commonly, these are rats, gophers, coyotes, cougars, and other problematic animals that can cause a lot of damage. Wolves used to be considered a varmint, but they have since been taken off of the list because of their endangered status.
Another key law that covers hunting is how much you can hunt. This law typically is reserved for big game hunting. You have a bag limit which can be determined by an animal’s size, sex, or age. Sometimes bag limits may limit the number of animals you can hunt in a day or in a season.
For a full understanding of bag limits, you can check out your local state’s Department of Natural Resources or their Fish and Wildlife Service department.
When you go hunting for the first time, you might not be sure what you should bring with you. A weapon is a no-brainer, but what else will you need out in the field? That’s entirely dependent on what kind of hunting you’re doing.
For example, if you intend to sit up in a tree and hunt deer, then you’re going to need a blind. A blind is basically a small shelter that you sit in and wait for deer to walk by. The blind is typically camouflaged, so the deer don’t see you and run away.
You’ll also need food, water, and other provisions to keep you alert and energetic. You could be waiting out in the chilly weather for hours. Having something to keep you warm is a great idea. Or you can have a small electric generator that doesn’t generate a lot of noise. This can power certain electric items like a heater or a small cooking stove.
One of the most important things to bring with you on a hunt is first aid items. These include standard first aid items like bandages, compressions, splints, and other medical items. You should be ready for unforeseen situations. Yet it should also include a satellite phone, fall protection if you’re hunting up high, a GPS, and an emergency contact that knows where to find you if you don’t return home at the scheduled time.
Other Hunting Supplies That May Interest You
- 1,853 cubic inch capacity
- Cool-mesh lined for comfort
- Densly padded hip belt and shoulder straps
- Five outside pockets, mesh interior pockets
- Integrated long gun carry system
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