Developing a new hobby often requires tremendous outputs in money, time and learning. Hunting is a unique hobby, because it allows a beginner to get as much in return from the experience as a seasoned veteran. A trophy tom can strut just out of range from an experienced hunter on opening day and right to first-time hunter a week later. Or, conversely, it might not make an appearance for either. Experience and practice lends itself to success in hunting, but it is not the only requirement. No matter what level of experience and practice you have, you are subject to the whims of the animal.
Hunting requires you to stretch your boundaries physically, mentally and even financially. The list below will help prepare you for all the curveballs the sport throws your way.
There are a few ways to help make the physical transition into hunting as a hobby easier on your body.
- Start with a smaller animal that lives in more favorable terrain. You can often find a wild turkey in lovely, flat meadows, while an elk is going to require mountaineering.
- Recruit a friend. Hunting with a partner provides a greater measure of safety and is often fun and rewarding. If you are willing to share your harvest, you are that much closer to convincing them to come with you!
- Exercise before you go. Hunting isn’t an activity that jumps out of nowhere. Generally, you know when you are going, weeks, if not months in advance.
Mental preparation for hunting is a much more individual process. It's important to acknowledge and understand why you are hunting, as well as how impactful hunting is on the world around us. Hunters drive conservation; their efforts help fund habitat projects that lead to healthy wildlife populations. Becoming mentally aware of all the pros and cons hunting has to offer may encourage you to make the activity a favorable hobby.
Financing Your Hobby
Developing a hobby is expensive, and hunting is no exception. Take these steps to overcome this financial hurdle.
Before you turn down hunting due to cost, consider this important caveat: hunting can have a high return. A single deer can provide more than 50 pounds of ground meat, an elk can provide an excess of 200. This is high quality, all-natural, grass-fed lean meat. Whereas, the beef equivalent would be $6/pound in most situations.
The entry costs of hunting (gun purchase, gear, etc.) are not something you have to pay every time you go hunting. It's an investment. Many people use the same gun, camo and calls for decades. Hunting as a hobby can be one of the most lucrative hobbies you will ever develop. You don’t have to be a master painter or a novelist to get return, even a moderately successful hunter will easily pay for his/her hobby.
Hunting is very challenging and rewarding on many different levels. Taking the time to map out the challenges you will face, and how to overcome them, will help you on the road to building hunting as your new favorite hobby.
Read the full story of how an IT intern turned hunting into a hobby at: BECOMING A HUNTER—PART 4: THE HUNT
– Margaret Persico