As a hunter, what preparations do you make before heading out on a hunting trip? Hunting is more than simply spending time in the woods. Proper planning can make the difference between a successful trip or a futile hunting expedition. Here are ten things to consider before taking your next hunting trip.
1. Check your hunting license. Make sure it is valid and covers all the varieties of wildlife that you plan to hunt. Even if you have hunted in the same location previously, check permit requirements. Regulations change from year to year, so don't assume that last year’s regulations will still apply to your favorite hunting spots this season.
2. If traveling to a different state, you will need to buy another hunting permit. Know the hunting rules and regulations of your hunting destination. Every state has different hunting rules, season dates and bag limits. You will be expected to abide by the rules wherever you go, so review the hunting guidelines on the state's wildlife resources website.
3. When preparing for a hunting trip, pack a backpack or bag with essential items. Plan for small emergencies and the unexpected. Pack a cell phone, hand-held GPS, flashlight, first aid kit, lighter, maps, binoculars, whistle, small rope, pocket knife, latex gloves, plastic bags, bottled water, and a few high energy snacks. Customize the bag for your trip and keep it with you at all times.
4. Before animals see you, they can smell you. Wash the clothes that you plan to wear on your hunting trip with unscented detergent. Even the slightest scent can be detected by animals, and they won't come near you.
5. It is important to have the proper clothing when hunting. Don't forget to pack your blaze orange and determine how many hunting clothes you need to pack for your trip. If headed to a cold climate, pack extra warm clothing and bring layers for nights when the temperature drops. Wool clothing is an ideal choice because it keeps you warm even when wet. Don't forget your rain gear.
6. Your hunting trip preparations should include making sure all of your equipment is in good working condition. Understand and practice firearm safety at all times.
7. Don't count on luck; research the best locations to hunt before you go. Projected deer herd conditions can give you valuable insight into the best locations to hunt. State agencies provide current wildlife conditions throughout the state such as public hunting locations, game check stations, safety tips, as well as current wildlife diseases. These resources not only provide great data on deer, but other wildlife such as bears, turkeys, and waterfowl. See these links for hunting information for the following states:
8. Check the weather conditions of your hunting destination. Not only will this determine how you pack, but it may also determine how you hunt. Weather can have a significant impact on animal behavior, so stay informed.
9. At Southern States, we believe in safety first. Before heading out on your trip, familiarize yourself with tree stand safety. If you are hunting from an elevated tree stand, use a harness or safety belt. Never carry equipment while climbing up and down a hunting stand. Instead, use a haul line to raise and lower your gear.
10. Plan a basic itinerary and inform family and friends about your travel plans before leaving home. Provide contact numbers for all members of the hunting party. If your plans change, let loved ones know.
With the proper hunting preparations, you will have a safe hunting adventure and increase your chances for a successful hunt.