While hunting trips can vary widely in length and location, there are some universal truths to planning a trip. Safety is most important, but comfort and productivity are also essential. No one wants to spend five days in a tent and return home empty-handed.Eight of the main things that you need to keep in mind when Planning a Hunting Trip.Travel tips for hunters for hunting as a group.
Equipment and safety rules are critical, but party size matters, too. The more people there are on a trip, the more difficult it can be to manage. A party that is too large can even end up being unsafe instead of rewarding.
Most aspects of the trip can be tailored to your liking, but some things should never be overlooked. Here are seven key tips for making the most of your hunting trip, regardless of the game or season.
8 Tips for Planning a Hunting Trip
1. Check the Weather
In all of the excitement leading up to a trip, it’s surprisingly easy to forget to check the weather one last time. This is especially true on expeditions where the party will be sleeping in a tent or cabin.
Of course, that’s not to say that a little rain should cause you to cancel the trip. If conditions are at least bearable, it’s better to go ahead, especially since rain can help wash away your scent.
Having the right hunting clothes can make all the difference to your experience. A cold or rainy day becomes much more bearable with a good jacket, hat, gloves, socks and boots. Pack backup clothing in case it’s colder than expected, or in case your usual hunting gear gets wet.
2. Pack Carefully
Clothes aren’t the only thing that can make or break a trip. A lighter or matches, a can opener, toiletries and other essentials should be the first thing you add to your bag. Basic safety and toiletry items are essential while you’re out in nature.
If you’re with several people, you can spread out the supplies. Coordinate carefully with everyone in your group to make sure everyone has what they need, not to forget the monocular for night hunting, and that there’s at least one flashlight and can opener somewhere in the party.
Don’t forget a first aid kit with wound care. While hunting accidents are rare, they can be fatal if mismanaged. Double-check cell phone service in the area you’ll be in and consider buying a satellite phone if needed.
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3. Assign Roles
The leader of the hunting trip shouldn’t have to do everything alone. Navigation, packing, communication ahead of the trip and other essential tasks can be divided up among responsible party members. Even inexperienced hunters can take on specific roles, as long as the others assist and double-check their work.
For family hunting trips, use this opportunity to teach older children and teens about responsibility. Have them take on roles related to cooking or tidying up the campsite.
4. Review and Enforce Safety Rules
Even experienced hunters may let their guard down and forget safety rules during a hunt. Make sure that everyone agrees on rules and procedures for staying safe, including when and where guns should be carried, and when orange clothes are worn for visibility.
Parties with less-experienced hunters may need even more careful management. Ensure that everyone knows how to use their weapon, including how to turn the safety on and off. Guns should only be loaded when the hunter is ready to take a shot. Although most teens and pre-teens are responsible enough to handle a hunt, make sure they are aware of the consequences if safety rules are disobeyed.
4. Double-Check Laws
Hunting season dates are usually stable from year to year, but sometimes specific dates have special rules. Pay attention to posted hours, too. While many hunting areas are open from sunrise to sunset, others have additional time restrictions.
It’s also important to stay off private property. Since private property isn’t always clearly marked, do some research ahead of time to determine the limits of public hunting grounds. If you have a relationship with someone in the area, they may grant written permission for you to hunt on their land.
Double-check everyone’s hunting permit and tag validity before heading out. Hunting permit terms and lengths can vary significantly, even within the same state. Non-residents may also be strictly limited on which days they can hunt, or how many animals they can take in a day.
6. Try a New Place or Season
Every hunting trip has a budget, and it can be tempting to stay nearby to make the most of time and money. However, exploring a new place can be full of adventure and creates an excellent bonding experience for large and small parties. Going over state borders can be a hassle in terms of gun laws and hunting permits, but they are often well worth the added research and paperwork.
Hunting different game or during a different time of year can also be rewarding. For game with long hunting seasons, try going earlier or later. The change in scenery and animal movement can be dramatic. Trying to hunt an entirely new game can also be exciting, even if the first hunt is unsuccessful.
8. Hire a Guide or Outfitter
Knowledge of hunting regulations isn’t always enough. If you’re traveling to an unfamiliar area or hunting game that you’re inexperienced with, a guide can help make your expedition a fruitful adventure. An experienced outfitter can also keep you from having to lug hunting equipment around.
Guides will know when and where animals tend to congregate in a given area and can advise you on the best weapon to use. Even veteran hunters can learn from an expert guide, so hire one for your next trip if your budget allows. Check the guide’s references and reviews to make sure your guide will get you results.
Make the Most of a Hunting Trip
Hunting can be incredibly rewarding when done alone, especially for introverts who enjoy the solitude of nature. However, hunting as a group can be safer and more successful when done correctly. The bonding experience and shared knowledge can make the adventure more rewarding, even if it’s not successful for all party members.