It’s totally quiet. You try to breathe as quietly as you can, although the small clouds from your mouth are clearly visible against the morning sunlight. You shift slightly, but slowly, ensuring that anything that might be looking in your direction doesn’t actually see you’re there. You look down, visualizing yourself falling those fifteen feet, more as an exercise to keep yourself awake and wary rather than a fearful reaction of heights. Checking your right you see that your father is perfectly motionless save for his eyes. His head begins to slowly sweep across the trees.
Then there is motion. From high in your camouflaged treestand you see, moving cautiously between the rows of perfectly lined trees, that deer you’ve been waiting for all morning. Your father sees it too, but you’re closer and have a better angle. Slowly you raise your rifle, but it’s almost impossible to hold it steady. You been waiting hours for this, your heart is pounding, and your hands are shaking. You remember the correct way to pull the trigger, and you hope that you don’t nervously jerk the gun slightly when it eventually fires. You line up the deer in your crosshairs, feeling the smooth wood of your rifle. It’s time. You aim at the chest, and wait for the wind to die down…
If you have ever envisioned something like this as your first big game hunting experience, you might feel like grabbing your gear and eagerly heading out to the fields. However, you should keep in mind that there are a few things you need to do before this happens. First, you require a license. Get online and find your local state website dealing with wild game licenses. For example, in order to hunt in Connecticut, you need to visit the Department of Environmental Protection.
Then, you need gear. This is the most expensive part of the hobby, but it depends on your hunting style. Chances are if you want to hunt, someone in your family has done it before, and you can borrow a rifle rather than purchase your own. In either case, when you have decided on a rifle, you need to purchase ammunition and site your scope. Everyone’s build and stature is different, so you must practice shots and adjust the crosshair on your gun accordingly. For hunting positions, you can purchase treestands or blinds.
Big game hunting seasons oftentimes occur in the winter or autumn months, when it’s usually uncomfortable to remain outside for several hours. Depending on the temperature, you should get a down coat (down is the warmest you can purchase), gloves, some kind of hardy pants (you can go with jeans, but those don’t insulate well; many hunting catalogues have insulated, camouflaged pants), wool socks and boots. Be certain that your wool socks are shin-height and that your pants are tucked into your boots; this not only helps insulate your feet but helps guard against ticks getting onto your legs. You may want to grab some kind of winter mask, although I prefer to go with just a baseball cap and a hood. Always make sure your ears are covered, but try to find something that won’t block noise; you’ll want to hear your game if it’s close.
Finally, you need a hunting location. Some hunters purchase hunting rights from the government to hunt on park property or specific areas where they want the local population of your game to remain in check. The more numerous and irritating the game are considered, the longer the season and/or the higher the number of game you can bag that season. I personally prefer orchards. Local farmers raise crops to sell, and sometimes game will intrude and begin eating their crops. For example, if you can find a local apple orchard, it would be a great place to hunt deer; not only are you getting meat and possibly something worthy of your trophy case, but you are doing the orchard owner a service, and as such he will usually allow you to hunt at little to no cost. Just remember that if you do get a kill, be kind and give the owner the finest cut of meat from your game.
That’s the general outline to getting off the ground as a new hunter. Happy hunting!