By Mark W Guernsey
There really isn’t anything too overly complicated about hunting. The mission is to go find an animal in its natural habitat, and bring home some meat for your family. To make sure this happens, preparation is key in assuring a successful hunt. I have come up with a few tips to help improve your odds of bringing home the big game you are looking for. Here are three tips I would like to focus on before you embark on your hunting journey.
PREPARE YOUR BODY. Preparing my body for the hunt is something I had to learn the hard way. Most of my hunting trips involved a lot of hiking. During one of my black bear hunts, we hiked 14 miles while carrying 60 pounds of gear on our backs. Needless to say, I didn’t prepare well and my hiking experience ended up feeling more like a death march. In some areas, ATV’s are not allowed, so hiking is the only option in some cases. One thing you can do to combat the terrain and hiking is to work on your cardio. There are numerous work outs available online to help structure your work out. I start to prepare my cardio a month in advance of the hunt. This will give your body enough time to adapt to what your training it for. Also, a workout I found to be useful was packing up my pack with more weight than I expected to take, and walked a few miles every couple of days during month leading up to the hunt. You can accomplish this by just walking in your neighborhood. Another way of getting your body right is to be mindful of the food you’re eating. Eating fast food in the days leading up to your trip may cause you to be sluggish on the hike to where you will be hunting.
PREPARE YOUR WEAPON. Whether you are bringing your rifle or bow, preparing your weapon is the key to ensuring a successful hunt. One of the biggest concerns you should have while hunting is making sure your weapon is accurate. To help you accomplish this, you need to practice. By practice, I do not mean just shoot your rifle at 100 yards. You need to practice shooting at the maximum ranges of your weapon. Out of all the big game hunts, the shortest range I have had between me and the target animal was 250 yards. This means you need to be comfortable shooting at ranges of around 300 yards or more. You need to know how high or low you may need to aim on the kill zone of a target. Also, aside from just preparing your weapon to be accurate, which should go without saying, weather proofing your weapon can be a great investment. One of the biggest problems I had on my hunting adventures was rust. I would recommend a weather proof coating to cover the metal components on your weapon. There are many different coatings available online for purchase.
PACK LIGHT. This is without a doubt the best advice I can give from experience. Always pack light when you are having to hike out for a hunt. If you are getting flown to a location or able to drive an ATV, you can afford to bring more comforts from home. When hiking out for a hunt, you have to think ahead. I would only recommend packing 35 to 40 pounds of gear. You have to accept the fact that you’re going to get smelly and dirty. Having multiple changes of clothes is not necessary when you’re hunting. Bring only one tent, depending on the amount of guys tagging along on the hunt. The tent can get very heavy, and can add 10 pounds by itself. So bringing only one tent can open up the possibility of sharing the load between those hiking with you. Packing the right food is important for the total weight of your pack. Try to pack the lightest food you can find. I found that oatmeal is a light snack that is perfect for breakfast in the early mornings. The most basic rule in packing your gear for a hunt is to pack light. Only bring what you need.
Following these simple steps will get you closer to your hunting goals. Good luck on your hunt!
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