Most of you remember your first hunting trip. You were 10 or 12 years old, and earlier that year you got your first hunting rifle as a birthday present. Mom packed a lunch, and you and dad were off into the wild to hunt your first deer. For some of you, the details of who took you or what you hunted vary, but the common tie is that many of you start hunting at an early age and have lots of guidance from family or close friends.
That’s not the case for everyone, though. Some people never hunted as a child, myself included. My first hunt was at age 25. But no matter the age, we all receive advice along the way, and I'm grateful I did. Below is a list of the best advice given to me from experienced hunters before my first hunt.
“Develop a relationship with a hunter that is consistently successful at harvesting game and learn as much as you can from them.” - Tristan Persico, experienced hunter of 10+ years
“Hunting is about having fun while filling the freezer. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but more often than not the harder the challenge, the greater the reward.” - Yana Robertson, traditional bowhuntress
“Less is more when it comes to calling. I’ve overcalled plenty of birds and messed up a hunt.” - Cavan Williams, content editor for onXmaps
“Find a mentor, do new and uncomfortable things, and make mistakes so you can learn from them. Becoming an experienced hunter is simple. Get experience. That means you will fail, make mistakes and be frustrated, but those are essentials to learning. Having a successful hunter to help guide you is a huge asset as well.” - Lindsay Persico, HuntFiber blog
Prepping for your first hunt can be an intimidating experience because you are entering the wilderness after elusive wildlife with a firearm. However, if you are prepared and have a good knowledge base, you'll be just fine.
After my first hunt, the single most important piece of advice I can give is — Listen to advice. There are a lot of reasons successful hunters are able to harvest an animal, and “luck” isn't their typical strategy. Find a senior hunter, ask them for guidance, and listen to what they tell you. Doing so will allow you to have a positive hunting experience.
For more on preparing to hunt, see BECOMING A HUNTER—PART 3: PREPARING THE HUNT.
- Margaret Persico