It doesn’t matter if you have been going on hunting trips for ages, or whether you decided to do it for the very first time, here are some tried and tested great ways you can make the most of your hunting trip this time around.
You do not want a cold cabin cot to keep you comfortable during your hunting trip. So make sure you take a good quality outfitter canvas tent along to keep yourself well rested and insulated from the harsh weather elements at the end of the day.
During a hunt in the cold weather, you want to bring your sleeping bag with you. Remember a stove may not be enough to keep you as warm as you may like. You want a lightweight summer bag to give you company.
Also read up on the weather forecast, if it rains you want to store your gear in zip lock bags, and categorize bags by similar items stored inside. Also, remember not to store batteries and fire starter equipment in the same piece of luggage.
You may find blocked roads to restrict vehicles during the hunting competitions. These are the ones that will only allow you on foot or with a horse. What happens then is that people park at the gates early on in the day and hike up from there. One way to beat everyone there is by starting your trip a day ahead and camping the night before, the next morning your vehicle will already be at the spot near the gate, and you can resume with your hike.
While you are in the middle of a hunt, you might not realize it, but you may not be going ‘slow’ enough. Remember, the trick is to know when and how long to stay put. If you are unsure of how to do it try timing yourself with your watch and pick a time on your own during which you can stop, for example, five minutes.
But you cannot robotically stick to this rule. You must also learn when it is strategic to just freeze. When you hear or make a sound, halt. If you suspect that animals are close by remember that you may dismiss the sound of a cracking twig but the animal will not, a deer may even stay still and stare in your direction that is the direction of the sound. Therefore you must wait, when the animal cannot smell or see you they will go about doing what they were doing before – the leisure stroll!
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If you are interested in deer hunting, know that these animals are quick to pick on human presence. A neat trick is to try walking with short steps for a few yards, then resume your normal pace, and then do the short quick step sprint again.
If You Are Going to Ride a Horse
During cold hunts, if you are going to be on a horse you will feel more ‘cold’ than usual since you won’t be moving as much. The best way to go about it is to go downhill every now and then so that it gets the blood rushing in your body, and also gives the horse a break.
Move Alone, Move Strategically
If you are hunting alone, it will help if you walked into an area where you could stir up deer. But after you have passed through once, you should make a circle and walk through it again. This will confuse the animals because they won’t really know where you are at, or how many of you are actually there.
If this trick does not work, you should position yourself back where you started in the same area. After about an hour you will see deer creeping back to where you drove them away from. Make sure the area you pick is a dense thicket that is precisely where deer like to take cover.
Another critical thing to remember is that you pick your landmarks. When circling around an area to come behind an animal, you may lose your way. You have to select a distinctive object like a fence line, a specific tree, a rock or anything that would make it easy for you to guide yourself back to where you started.
The Fallen Animal
When an animal instantly drops after you have shot it, it doesn’t mean that it’s dead. Animals mostly drop immediately from shock and are still alive enough to get back up and sprint. Another myth that may ruin your hunting trip is poking an animal that has just been shot with your rifle. You may see in on TV, but it is the worst thing you can do, you definitely do not want the beast to jump up and react while you are so close. The best way to check is to throw a stone or a branch from far to see if it moves at all.
If the animal does manage to get away it won’t help that you look for blood spots only on the ground, you want to track it higher up on trees. If not blood, you will find other clues that will help guide you to where the animal has gone. If you keep trailing and cannot discover the animal, do not think that the animal is well enough to make it away. It might take a bit of time but the animal is likely to have fallen somewhere, and that is where you will find it.
Skinning the Animal
If you have hunted a rabbit or squirrels, you must skin them as soon as you can. When the animals are warm, it is easier to peel off the skin. Also, some animals have fleas which means they will be carrying diseases. Getting rid of the skin quickly gets rid of fleas before they can migrate and travel with you.
It is useful to bring shears to the field to help you cut off the legs and wings of the birds you shoot. Sometimes it is required by the law to leave evidence of species and sex. Also never make a mistake to store a bird in a plastic bag, you want to use your break from the hunt to wrap them in cheesecloth so that they stay clean.