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First Timers: Becoming a Hunter Without Experience

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After a slow but steady decline since 1982, the number of hunters in the US has started to pick back up since 2016, with many first-time hunters getting into the sport. If you love wildlife and outdoor activities, hunting may be the perfect hobby for you. But how do you get involved if you've never been hunting before, especially if you don't know anyone to show you the ropes? Fortunately, with a little research, you can learn about hunting and prepare yourself for a hunting excursion in no time at all. The greater hunting community has put together a wealth of information on the internet available to hunters of all experience levels, from gear and clothing reviews to gun safety and animal behavior information.

Safety First

It likely goes without saying, but whenever you endeavor to take on a hobby involving firearms, safety training should be your utmost priority. If you haven't ever shot a rifle or shotgun, seek out a shooting range nearby where you can rent them and get instruction on how to load and shoot safely. Through your shooting range, you may be able to sign up for a formal gun safety course, or a shooting course.

There are also online hunting safety courses, depending on what state you live in or plan to hunt in. Once you have mastered a rifle, there are plenty of tech gadgets you can get to improve your skills. In addition to gun safety, you should be versed in the proper attire for hunting, most importantly, blaze orange apparel that will make you visible to other hunters (while still allowing you to blend into your surroundings in your camouflage clothing).

Where to Go?

Now that you've mastered how to handle your weapon and what to wear to keep safe in the wilderness, you'll need to decide what you want to hunt. Is it deer you're after? Do you prefer the challenge of flying fowl? Are you up for a snowy hunting adventure or would you prefer to stay warmer and (hopefully) drier? When you decide what type of game you're interested in hunting, do some research to find out where those animals are available near you.

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There are also a plethora of guided hunting excursions all over the world, if travel appeals to you. There are also numerous hunting websites with information on animal behavior and the best way and time of year and even day to successfully hunt them, if you're unsure of what you'd like to go after. Depending on what kind of game you're interested in and the best time of day and year to hunt, you may need additional gear, such as night vision goggles or binoculars.

Follow the Rules

Whatever and wherever you choose to go on your hunting expedition, there will be rules. First, there will be a specific hunting season for each animal, often broken out into multiple seasons based on whether you are hunting with a bow or firearm. You will need some kind of hunting permit, whether it's called a permit or tag or something else.

There are limits to how many animals you can hunt, and violations of these limits can lead to fines and even jail time, so be sure you are aware of those limits and the requirements for hunting. If you go on a guided excursion through a company, they will often take care of the logistics for you, but there are websites with all of this information as well.

If you are interested in hunting but inexperience is holding you back, do some research and get on out there into the wilderness. Not only are there thousands of resources on the web available for you to learn about every aspect of hunting imaginable, many people in the hunting community are willing to share insights and advice, if you only ask for it. As you prepare for your first hunt, accumulating the appropriate firearms, apparel, and relevant tech gear, ask questions of the seasoned professionals you encounter. People love to talk about their passions, and you have something in common, so let them know it and glean all the information you can.