By CJ Rena Johnson
Getting Ready for the First
Hunt of the Year or of a Lifetime
Its 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
Stands, Ammunition, Etc. All are readily
available this time of year.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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