5 Rookie Mistakes New Hunters Can Avoid

February 25, 2015 by | Be the first to comment »

There are millions of miles of public hunting land in our great country; however, some novice hunters and even seasoned pros are detoured away from hunting in public lands due to the misconceptions and stereotypes about hunting alongside strangers. Horror stories telling of shot-out truck windows and all-out brawls over who lays claim to a certain area of the woods prevents hunters of all levels from enjoying everything the public lands have to offer.

If you’re a novice hunter, please always adhere to the following as a way of showing courtesy to your fellow sportsmen and the land.

1. Pack It In, Pack It Out

One of the most important rules of the woods is to leave no trace of you ever being there. The moment hunters and outdoor enthusiasts enter the woods, they are responsible for their impact on the environment. Make sure you’re keeping the environment healthy by disposing of waste properly; this includes packing out your snack wrappers and other garbage as well as human waste. Preserving nature is easy; you just have to be considerate. After all, if you don’t do your part to preserve the environment, public hunting lands will be a thing of the past.

2. Learn the Laws

Online hunter education resources provide new hunters with the information they need to follow the rules and regulations that apply to their state (or the state where they are hunting) before taking the hunting license course. Huntercourse.com walks rookie hunters through the basics of hunting and the safety precautions and measures that must be followed by all hunters. The material on the site meets the guidelines set by The International Hunter Education USA (IHEA-USA). After the course is complete, new hunters can obtain their hunting license and take to the woods.

3. Be Considerate of Other Hunters

It’s a no-brainer, be considerate. Unfortunately, many new, showboating hunters act like know-it-alls when they first take to the woods. Respect other hunters and yield to vehicles traveling the same roads as you. Pull to the shoulder and wait for the other truck to pass. Offer a wave and a smile. Nothing more.

Novice hunters should also be advised to keep their distance. If someone has parked in a certain area, they are likely hunting close by. Move on the next best location. New hunters can also be respectful of others by practicing awareness: keep an eye out for other hunters and do not set up blinds or tree stands in an area already claimed by another hunter.

4. Field Dressing the Right Way

If you decide to bone out your harvest in the field, make sure you properly dispose of the carcass after you’ve removed the meat. The same goes for field dressing. And remember to take your harvest away from populated areas like parking lots or road shoulders to process.

5. Know Your Boundaries

Hunters have the responsibility of knowing the lands they are hunting and practicing public land hunting etiquette in all forms. Private lands sometimes border public lands, so if your harvest is on private land, seek permission from the landowner or give the local game officials a call. Each state will have a different rule, but completing a state-specific hunter education course can help you prepare and know how to handle a scenario like this.

Lauren Topor is a multimedia journalist and alumna of Arizona State University. Her professional work has appeared in notable publications including HuffPost Arts & Culture. When she's not writing you can find Lauren training for her next marathon or posting to her blog.

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