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By CJ Rena Johnson

Getting Ready for the First Hunt of the Year or of a Lifetime

Decoys, Tree Stands, Ammunition, Etc. All are readily available this time of year.
Decoys, Tree Stands, Ammunition, Etc. All are readily available this time of year.
It’s that time of year again. The air has that crisp feel to it. The leaves are beginning to transform from living, functioning, seemingly endless green into a beautiful, vibrant, colorful work of art! As the green disappears from the trees around us, it begins to appear more and more inside the local hunting, sporting, and ATV shops! Hunting season is upon us!

As we ride down the road, we continue to see trucks and trailers loaded down with ATVs, but now the majority of them are covered in camouflage instead of mud and sporting gun racks rather than coolers or racing decals!

Ever wonder what it is that makes hunting as much of a craze as ATVing itself? I decided to figure that out, and here is what I have found. I interviewed many different hunters and asked the question, “Why do you love hunting so much?” These are some of the replies.

“My favorite thing about hunting is getting into the woods and doing what I love without any distractions.”

“I love the solitude.”

“I love being one with nature. It is primal. It really gets you back to the core of things.”

“I am definitely an outdoor person and I love nature. I enjoy going out and watching wildlife and learning their habits from feeding, to habitat area and such. I also enjoy the thrill that hunting can bring.”

After talking to all these people and hearing the excitement in their voice, I decided to try hunting for myself. I am now going to share with you everything I learned about preparing for my first hunt, although I did exchange the rifle/shotgun option for a new Nikon D90 Digital SLR camera!

If you are ready to head out into the woods yourself, here are some of the suggestions I would make:
First off, you need to find out what type of hunting is available in your state and when. You can do that by going to www.huntinfo.org. I found that website extremely useful as it lists the regulations for all the hunting and fishing within each state.

Following are some of the basic regulations that you need to be aware of and equipment that you will want to have.

Camo for head to toe.
Camo for head to toe.
Basic Regulations:

In most states, a hunter safety course is required before you can purchase a license and in some cases firearms. Even if it is not required, it is very important, and you are sure to learn something you might not have otherwise known. In most states it is also FREE. There you can meet other hunters in your area and learn about area-specific regulations. Why NOT take it? After all, it could save your life or the life of someone else.

There are also age restrictions in most states and types of hunting. Please check with the wildlife and hunting association for the state in which you plan to hunt for their specific guidelines. In most regions, anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a licensed hunter and often both parties have to have completed a hunter safety program.

Be very careful about hunting seasons, game limits and property boundaries as well. Just as with ATVing, we need to promote this sport in the most positive light possible.

Basic Equipment:

Let us start with appropriate firearm/weaponry and ammunition. There are many options available for each type of hunting. For example with deer hunting, most states allow for bow hunting, muzzleloader hunting, and rifle hunting, with different dates available for each type of weaponry. It varies from state to state and by type of game you are planning to hunt. Hunting with a camera only is always legal, but you might want to schedule it around the busiest parts of the hunting season. No matter what you are hunting with, always pay special attention to the hunting area and avoid restricted or no trespassing areas.

Camo Everything
Camo Everything
Depending on the type of hunting you are going to do, you will also need different types of camouflage and/or cover up. Example, deer have a great sense of smell and see fairly well, whereas turkeys do not have a great sense of smell but have very keen eyesight. Therefore, you will need to work within these parameters.

For turkey hunting, you will want to cover everything but your eyes if possible. However, as long as you are still, you can simply lean up against a tree if you wish, or hide in some brush to watch for them. Turkey hunters, and others, will often use blinds if they are bow hunting. If you hunt on the ground, a good insect repellent will probably be required for your comfort, especially if it is still warm weather.

For deer hunting, you will probably need some sort of deer stand. There are typically three kinds of deer stands: Ladder stands, which can be semi-permanent (many types of commercial ladder stands can be taken down and erected again in a different location), chain-on or lock-on stands, which attach to the trees and are usually left in the same location throughout the season, and self-climbing stands, which you can easily move from tree to tree. Climbing stands are the ones that are most often used on public hunting lands, as the others are more likely to be stolen if left unattended.

These stands help you to get off the ground and out of the direct line of sight of the deer and help somewhat with the scent issue. However, since deer have such a strong sense of smell, you will really need to consider this if you want to bag that big buck. Always hunt downwind from the direction you expect the deer to approach from.

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