We all want a good hunt- its why you’ve invested a small fortune in the best gear, and spent your time learning all the tips and tricks. Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that can take a good hunt and make it a great one. Here’s our top 5 tips for ensuring out get the best possible experience from your hunt.
Think like a [prey] animal.
There’s a lot you can do to improve your chances of a successful hunt if you stop to consider the world from the point of view of a prey animal. For example, if you break a twig while hunting, it can be quickly forgotten…but not by the flighty deer you’re stalking.
Hold still for as long as absolutely possible before continuing on. Learning to be still and quiet far past the boundaries of what feels ‘enough’ to a human. You can start to practice good waiting habits by using a watch and deciding on your wait period in advance- up to five minutes can be good.
If you’re hunting deer, learning to break the pattern of your steps can be a good plan too- savvy big deer, the ones most likely to have that perfect rack you crave, will be able to tell the pattern of footsteps used by plodding humans. Periods of sprinting, light footsteps can actually be far more convincing as another ‘deer’ then even the quietest natural gait
Learn to orientate yourself in sometimes confusing landscapes
Another great tip for the best hunt possible is to make sure you do everything you can to not get lost. That sounds like a no-brainer, but extends far further then you may be prepared for. Even if hunting from a tree stand, the ground will look remarkably different when you get down. This is the reason that a compass is one of the most advised pieces of equipment for hunters.
Rather take the compass directions then rely on being able to tell a specific landmark when you get back to the ground. Likewise, if you are planning on circling behind a prey animal to shoot from there, it can be remarkably easy to loose orientation. Learn to keep it under control, and make good use of your compass. In a similar vein, it’s a good idea to pre-mark shooting distances if using a stand so you can make the most accurate shot possible.
Outwit the competition as well as the prey.
Depending on when and where you will be hunting, of course, it can get busy in the season. Many areas will refuse access to vehicular traffic during the day- so plan ahead and get there the night before. If you get your timing and position just right, other hunters with less savvy may well push animals towards you, even!
Likewise, if you spot a beast that’s being hunted by someone ahead of you, chances are it’s a waste to continue. You may have success by circling and trying to ambush the prey, but ethics do demand you make sure you’re quite a distance from the other hunter if you try this. Likewise a fringe spot decently far from a game drive may yield good results if done ethically.
Creature Comforts matter.
Of course, you’re a rough tough hunter of wild beasts…but a little comfort goes an awful long way. Use a pad- or in a pinch your clothes- to ensure there’s an insulating layer between you and the ground. Rely on a sleeping bag in cold weather hunts, even if you are sleeping in a cabin that night, as an extra layer of insulation will do no one any harm and light sleeping bags take up next to no backpack space.
If you’re hunting with a horse on a cold weather hunt, regularly warm up by leading them instead of perching up there and letting your body temperature drop too low. This will, of course, benefit your stead too by giving them a rest.
Learning how to properly carry, skin and field prepare the particular quarry you are after is a vital part of making your hunt a successful one. If you plan on carting the carcass, opt for a one wheel cart and not two. Boning can reduce a lot of the weight you will be carrying, and meet can be wrapped in cheesecloth to keep it sanitary but let it breathe. There’s a lot of great tips out there for each game type- make the most of them.
A good hunt is one that you enjoy- and these great tips will help you do exactly that.