Now that hunting season is fast approaching, you’ll notice hunters across the nation scrambling to get their gear together before opening day. It doesn’t matter about weaponry or game; for many, hunting season is as much about family, friends and spending some quality time with Mother Nature than it is about harvesting the animal!
It makes sense many hunters stress over the preparation process for such a big trip, so we decided to help out by putting together a guide that covers everything from picking your hunt to what you’ll need to remember before walking out the front door (hint: license and tags.)
Choose Your Destination
The No. 1 thing you must nail when planning your hunt is the destination. Where do you plan to hunt? Better yet, what game will you be hunting? If you’re new to the sport, a great way to find new places to hunt is to socialize. Visit your local sports store or gun/archery shop and talk up the employees there. If you want to hunt somewhere local, you can easily find a set of state regulations at most sport stores. And if you’re planning an out-of-state trip, use online forums and community boards to find good units to hunt.
Keep in mind, if the location of your hunt is far from home, it would be wise to prepare your vehicle, too. Change the oil, rotate your tires, check your fluid levels, and make sure your tail lights are working. The list can go on and on, but, in short, you want to be prepared. Since you’ll most likely be driving down a dirt road or two, it would be wise to make sure you have reliable, all-season tires that offer excellent safety ratings.
Packing for the Hunt
If you live by the phrase, “Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance,” then you probably have a pretty decent routine to prepare for your hunting trip. But if you feel a little helpless and don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. Once you know where you’ll be hunting, make it a habit to buy appropriate state licenses and tags right away, as well as find out exactly where you plan to set up camp.
Guided hunts can be fun because someone else is in control, allowing you to sit back and not worry about much. However, DIY hunts provide elements of independence and autonomy that will help you create lasting memories year after year. If you plan to camp for any length of time, you’ll want to make sure you have access to a shower. Fortunately, many state parks and lakes offer coin-operated shower areas.
Another priceless piece of preparation is to locate a freezer in which you can hang your prize animal if you fill your tag before the rest of your hunting party, or if it’s hot and you still need to take down camp before heading home.
Setting Up Camp
If you think your desire for hunting will continue to last — news flash: it most certainly will — then we advise purchasing a wall tent. It feels more like a small home than a tent in the woods, and with just a few simple additions (cots, tables, chairs, wood stove), you won’t even realize you left the comfort of home. The interior of the tent can get messy with the continuous stream of muddy boots, so put down heavy, waterproof flooring and a mat in front of the door to cut down on dirt.
If you’re bringing along a generator, you won’t want to forget gas. The same goes for off-road vehicles, if you’re bringing any. If you’re archery hunting, make sure you toss in a few targets so you can shoot out of camp. The kitchen area is vital for a successful hunt. Check and double check your shopping list to make sure you have all the food you might possibly need. If you plan to hunt way out in the sticks, you may not be able to easily get to a store, and it’s best to avoid this hassle altogether. A set of cooking/kitchenware can be bought at almost all sporting good stores, but you can save cash and make one from the stock you already have at home.
Lastly, before you pull out of the driveway, make sure you have your tags, license and weapon of choice packed and ready to go. Check the tail lights if you have a trailer in tow and hit the road with gusto, because opening day is just around the corner.