Hunting; tips for beginners, a checklist for the pros

Hunting; tips for beginners, a checklist for the pros

Whether you’re completely new to hunting or an old hand, there’s always an air of excitement at the beginning of the season. Counting down the days until your first hunt, checking your gear and looking forward to some time alone with nature or being in the thick of it with your mates. Like most things in life, the fundamentals are always the most important and the best place to start. We hope these tips and comments will be useful to those just starting out as well as a reminder of what some of the important basics are for those who are already well versed.


  1. A great tip for those who have never actually shot any game before is to practice with magazines. As you go through the pages, use a pen to mark where you would aim to put your shot on each animal. Having that become well practiced and second nature means you won’t need to hesitate when you’re doing it for real. (It’s always a good idea to get confirmation that you’re marking the right place when you do this as a beginner!)

2. Have a gear list. We all have a good memory to some degree, but we also know what it feels like to be somewhere and realise you’ve forgotten something really important. Keeping a list of what you’ll need so you can check it off before you start out is one of the best ways to make sure you’ll have what you need, when you need it.

3. Speaking of practicing preparedness, planning your hunt is also great advice. Make sure when you do this you also include preparing for all weather conditions and planning your back up communications. There are plenty of back country areas where your mobile phone just won’t have reception and having a satellite phone or mountain radio is an important alternative.

4. First and foremost, make sure you are properly licensed and correctly versed in firearm safety. The best advise with a gun of any sort, is to always treat it as if it’s loaded. When you’re just beginning your hunting life, try to start with small calibre firearms. This helps you develop the skills of shooting well and aiming/missing small.

5. Don’t rush. You can paint your whole face green and wear an entire bush but if you’re making quick movements and going too fast, animals are still going to spot you. Learn to think predator; stay low and shuffle slow when you’re nearing your target.

6. The best way to cover your distances is through your binoculars. They can go a lot further than you without the leg work. This also means you’re less likely to alert the animals you’re hunting to your presence from noise or your scent, letting you plan the best approach while you’re still out of range.

7. When it comes to your scent, (your wife loves that David Bekham cologne, but it won’t bring the whitetails closer) the wind is your friend, when you learn how to read it. Always do your best to hunt into the wind. It’s worth learning about katabatic and anabatic winds also. The dropping temperatures at night move air downwards (katabatic) and vice versa, the warmer air in the daytime will rise (anabatic). This is most important for hilly terrain where game are likely to be found above or below you.

 8. Don’t ruin a great hunt by getting found somewhere you’re not meant to be. Always make sure you have permission if you’re going to hunt on private land, especially if you want to bring dogs with you. The same goes for conservation. Always check you have any permits you may need.

9. Remember to have fun. Having your expectations set too high will only leave you frustrated when you don’t meet them. Learning to enjoy the process and just having a good time in nature is just as important as all the other skills you learn. If you can have a good time even though you don’t bag anything, then the worst you can say is that you had a good time.

10. Tips like these and plenty more can be found in abundance in any hunting club. Joining a club is one of the best ways to learn all you need to know and a great place to ask questions!   

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