Hunting is a great way to go out and get that much needed fresh air you need and enjoy the nature around you. A lot of people decide not to bother with hunting as they believe the places they can practice this hobby are limited however, that’s far from the case. There are plenty of places where you can easily hunt, and many of these locations are on public land.
Hunting dates back to the early centuries; the earliest civilizations used to hunt to catch animals as it was their only source of food. Naturally, this has helped the ecosystem in more ways than one; without hunting, believe it or not, there would have been a huge imbalance in the food chain. During those times, hunters would use bows and arrows to hunt their prey, spears were also used.
In fact, bow hunting till date is still one of the most enjoyable methods of hunting and a lot of people find great pleasure in using old tactics to hunt.
Now, with regards to hunting, there are many different types that you can take up, from deer hunting to fowl hunting, turkey hunting, elk hunting…and many more. The type of hunting that hunters claim to be the most enjoyable, and is indeed the best kind among the deer species, is whitetail deer hunting.
There are many people who consider hunting to be a “bad thing”, as they consider killing any animal as a hobby to be wrong. Many forms of hunting have actually been banned, such as tiger hunting where the tiger was only killed for its skin and bones, in fear of extinction.
Hunting is one of the best ways you can preserve wildlife and balance nature. By killing birds, you are not creating an imbalance which would have been there—hence why many people consider hunting a good and enjoyable hobby.
Before taking up hunting as a hobby, there are many things you should be familiar with in terms of prey before you decide what you want to hunt and what equipment you are going to buy and use. For instance, if you are going to be using rifles, you will need to get a firearms license; if you are going to be hunting on private land, you will need to get permission to do so prior to hunting. Alternatively, there are many public lands available and legal for you to use, but you’ll have the complication of perhaps getting into another hunter’s territory!
After all is said and done, hunting is indeed a passion that you need to have, and will only be enjoyable to those who are adventurous by nature. Hunting gets you closer to nature, wildlife and the environment around you; so if you’re looking for a hobby that’s as far from the city as possible—this could be the hobby for you!
The pros and cons of hunting
Hunting is a great activity enjoyed by millions all over the world, but as you decide whether or not you should take this hobby up, it would pay dividends to know what the pros and cons are of this sport.
• Pros: You get to enjoy this hobby in the fresh air and you can further choose to hunt animals that are edible so you’ve hit two birds with one stone! It is also great to know that by hunting, you’re helping managing the wildlife population.
• Cons: There’s always a small risk that you put yourself in danger when hunting, and you really won’t be getting any real exercise through this hobby.
• Pros: Hunting teaches you a great deal of patience, as you wait calmly for your prey to approach, indeed, sometimes it can take up to hours before a single animal comes into sight.
• Cons: Unlike a lot of popular hobbies that can be low cost, hunting can be actually quite expensive, with all the equipment you need to by and further maintenance costs including ammunition. But not only does hunting cost you money but it can also cost you a lot of time.
• Pros: You get to enjoy the self satisfaction of having hunted your own food!
• Cons: Unlike many other hobbies that can be enjoyed all year long, hunting can only be enjoyed during hunting season. Further, it’s not very easy to locate an area where you can legally hunt that has enough prey to go around.
• Pros: You get in touch with nature!
• Cons: It can be a hassle, considering the hunting license you have to purchase in order to be able to hunt in various areas. Other hassles include the time of day when you go out to hunt, which is usually in the early mornings [and in the cold].
Now that you know the pros and cons of hunting, you’ll be able to decide whether or not this is the hobby for you. But don’t let the cons change your mind; if you really are passionate about hunting keep on reading to learn more.
Dogs in hunting
Many animals can be used to aid a hunter, but none is more common or popular than the hunting dog. You can use a hunting dog to find, chase, receive and sometimes even kill your prey. The great thing about hunting dogs is that they help a hunter to kill prey that they would have otherwise not been able to kill due to it being too dangerous or too difficult.
Choosing the best hunting knife
Every hunter needs a hunting knife, regardless of what kind of hunting he/she will be engaged in. Choosing the best hunting knife isn’t as straightforward as it seems, and there are plenty of factors that go into choosing the right hunting knife for you, depending on your specific uses for it. Some of the choices you’re going to have to make reflect your personal preferences while others will all be based on ensuring that the knife you buy will function properly for your specific needs.
The handle of the knife: This is one of the most important factors to look into when choosing your hunting knife. You can determine the quality of the knife’s handle based on its grip strength and the level of safety. There are many knife handle materials that simply aren’t ideal for a hunting knife handle like wood, leather, plastic or even bone. These materials are much too smooth and can become very slippery in unfavorable weather conditions such as rain, or even if the hunter has sweaty palms (which most hunters suffer from). This in turn can result in unsafe gripping of the knife, becoming extremely dangerous and potentially causing injury to the hunter. In order for a hunting knife handle to be quality, you may want to consider some of the newer materials that are being used by manufacturers such as rubber and composite materials. These materials are durable during most unfavorable conditions.
The type of knife: There are two main hunting knives—there’s the fixed blade and there’s the folding knife. Each of these knives offer the hunter specific features, based on the type of hunting you do. At the same time, there are cons to both types as well. When choosing between the fixed blade and folding knives, your decisions should be based mainly on the type of hunting that you do. Other factors to take into consideration is how you like to carry your knife and whether or not you want to be able to reach for it with both hands.
You’ll find that folding knives come ready with one handed opening features by making use of a small thumb lever (the small hole in the blade you can put your thumb in). The thumb lever makes the knife easier to handle with either hand and grants the hunter further mobility.
Folding knives also offer the hunter the added advantage of having a lock feature that increases the level of safety during use. One of the main advantages of folding knives is that they’re generally small in size and can fit just about anywhere—in any coat pocket or belt sheath and many already come with a belt clip so that you can wear it on the outside of your clothing, giving your easier/quicker access to the knife. While folding knives are great in that they can even be sued for everyday use as well, they may not be an ideal choice for an experienced/regular hunter.
Fixed blade knives are a lot stronger than folding knives since they don’t have any hinges. It’s a lot more durable too as the blade is made from solid metal that extends into its handle. You can carry this knife on your belt, in a boot or even in an arm sheath—it all depends on which location works best for you and the type of hunting you are involved in.
The blade: The two main types of blades are the clip point blade and the drop point blade. Both of these types are curved in a way that makes skinning an easy task, however, the drop point blade is still slightly better in terms of being a real “hunting knife” as it allows greater precision in terms of cleaning and butchering animals. On the other hand, the clip point blade is useful because it works as a multipurpose knife.
Your options aren’t limited to just these two blades and there are other blades to choose from such as the gut hook—a knife that is used to open up your prey without puncturing its guts or damaging the meat.
In the end, buying a hunting knife requires enough research on the topic, so sit yourself down, grab a pen and paper and make a list of what you need in a hunting knife and what you expect out of one.
Shooting—what you need
If you’re looking to take up hunting (shooting) as a hobby, there are various items of equipment you’re going to need. Below is a list of the most useful accessories that may come in handy:
- Shooting jacket: Hunting involves being outdoors, and in cold weather, you’re going to want to wear something that will keep you dry and warm. Other advantages of wearing a shooting jacket include its many pockets that will help you carry everything around without having to occupy your hands and some jackets come in waterproof.
- Shooting vest: For those seasons where it’s not cold outside and you can’t wear your shooting jacket, a shooting vest comes in most handy. You still want all those pockets to carry around the many items that you couldn’t otherwise carry in your hands without restricting your movements.
- Shooting pants: The main issue is durability. You’re going to be wearing these pants outdoors in perhaps unfavorable conditions, you’re going to be crouched on some thorny ground or hiding in some muddy spot; you need to buy a pair that will last through these conditions and keep you warm.
- Hearing protection: For those who are new to the sport, hearing protection is very important, especially if you’re going to be participating in pigeon shooting. Make sure you buy the best protection possible, because there are many brands that may not be of equal quality.
- Ear muff case: There are going to be times when you don’t need to wear hearing protection (of course, you will still be carrying it around with you for when you need them), and so an ear muff case comes in handy to keep them safe and dry and easy to carry around.
- Shooting glasses: Not only do they help you see better, but shooting glasses also protect your eyes.
- Shooting boots: The reasons you’re looking to buy a quality boot are the same reasons you’re going to want to buy quality shooting boots. You want to buy a pair that is comfortable, waterproof and long-lasting given the conditions and frequency of wear. When purchasing your hunting boots, make sure to wear a pair that offer good grip (some grounds may be slippery in the woods) and provide adequate ankle support.
- Shooting gloves: Again, look for a quality pair that will last and keep you warm during the winter months. You may also look into buying a pair that offers you protection against thorns.
- Holdall: While having a shooting jacket or vest is a great way to carry around everything at one time and keep your hands unoccupied, a holdall will provide even better storage room to handle the bits and bobs that you need but can’t otherwise carry around without them somehow holding you back.
Improving hunting/shooting accuracy
One of the best methods to improve shooting/hunting accuracy is one used in the US military. Imagine that! Indeed, B.R.A.S.S. is one of the best pieces of advice you can get in regards to improving accuracy that will specifically help against flinching and help you stay relaxed for longer.
B.R.A.S.S. (Breathe, Relax, Aim, Slack and Squeeze) improved your accuracy when shooting with a rifle or other weapon. Below are the details of what each of the steps include:
Breathe: This is pretty straightforward; all you have to do is step into position and find yourself a target. You don’t have to have your prey dead on target, but you do need to have it in your sight. Next, take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Then take another deep breath, let half of it out and keep the other half in. Deep breathing is going to help you send your blood the much needed oxygen that it needs which will in turn help you keep a steady hand, clear your vision and keep your nerves in check. Further, holding that last gulp of air is going to help keep your chest from moving, which in turn helps keep your hand and aim steady.
Relax: As a hunter, this is probably going to be the most difficult task. You’re going to be excited that finally, after many hours of waiting (you could have gone home empty handed for days!), all your hard patience is finally going to pay off. You need to do whatever you can to not get caught up in that excitement and focus instead on how you can remain calm and relaxed so your body stays still and your sight doesn’t blur.
Aim: You’ve got your target in sight, it’s time to aim on it now. The most important thing in this step is to make sure that your vision is crystal clear through the scope of your weapon, and there are no bright lights or shadows clearing it. Many hunters make the mistake of holding onto their rifles (or other weapons) too tight at this stage—make sure you stay relaxed, but keep a firm grip, because holding your weapon too tight may cause your arm to quickly tire and begin shaking.
Slack: The next step is to take up the slack in your trigger pull. This is why it’s imperative for you to be experienced with your weapon through lots of practice—you need to know
WHEN TO STOP. By using the pad of your finger, you can prevent the pulling that occurs when you use the inside of your first knuckle. After taking the slack out of the trigger pull, you’re ready to fire.
Squeeze: This is the final step—make a mistake here and you could risk going home empty handed again. The one thing you have to make sure you avoid doing here is flinching. If you flinch, you may jerk the rifle (other weapon you are using), and consequently, miss your target. Ideally, when you let the round off you should actually be just as surprised as your prey!
Hunting is one the best ways to preserve wildlife and help keep nature in balance, and after learning all there is to know about the different kinds of hunting there are and the equipment you need, you’re ready to take hunting up as a hobby! Remember, hunting is a passion before anything else and you need to be able to enjoy hunting and strive to be better at it before learning how to relax and unwind when participating in the next hunting season!