Deer hunting is one of the oldest and most popular sports in many parts of the world. It's highly competitive and offers a unique experience each time. It can also be a dangerous sport, especially for inexperienced hunters. If this is unfamiliar territory to you, here are some things you need to know and understand about deer hunting to make sure you maintain the standards of safety and hunting ethics:
Understand your local rules.
In many places, there are certain regulations you need to be aware of prior to hunting deer. It is important that you understand what the laws in your locality are so you do not do anything considered illegal due to ignorance.
If you will be deer hunting on privately-owned land, get the owner's permission first. If you will be cutting trees, limbs or shrubs, it's important (and polite) to get approval. If you will be hunting on public land, check if cutting trees or parts of it is considered legal. In the majority of states, it is unlawful to alter the forest or to build structures. Make sure you understand what restrictions apply in your locality.
Know your equipment.
Never handle equipment that you don't know how to use. If there are procedures recommended by the manufacturer, make sure that you have read and understood what they are. If you can, practice using the equipment first before going into deer habitat. Deer hunting equipment, especially guns and rifles, can be very dangerous if they are not used properly.
Use the right gun.
Before you buy a hunting gun, check your local regulations first so you'll know which types of guns are allowed. Second, you might want to consider the type of landscape you will be hunting in.
Open country spaces will require long-range shooters which give you enough power to shoot from a good distance. In forests and other areas that offer thick coverage, a rifle that can offer accurate shots at short ranges will be more favorable.
When you have a proper gun for deer hunting, make sure you practice a few rounds with it first. Like most beginners, you probably can't hope to make the first shot count unless you've had some considerable shooting experience in the past. Try to master your main equipment first to ensure a more successful and productive hunt.
Bring safety equipment.
If equipment comes with safety devices or accessories, make sure to bring them during the hunt. If you will be hunting deer from tree stands, use your safety harness or belt. Wear the required clothing to keep yourself safe and free from accidents.
A first aid kit, mobile phone, flashlight, lighter and a whistle will also come in handy during emergencies, so make sure you're packed.
Hunt with an experienced buddy.
If you have never hunted deer before, it's important that you find someone who has had good experience. They can offer you invaluable advice regarding the activity and since they know what to do, they can also increase the likelihood that you will enjoy a successful hunt.
Take note of hunting hours.
That's right - hours. Generally, states do not allow hunters to fire guns before dawn and after the sun sets to ensure that hunters and their companions are safe. However, this doesn't mean that you should start out when the sun's already out. Go in early while it's still dark to make sure you get the best possible location.
Inform someone that you will be hunting.
Before you leave the house, make sure someone knows where you will be and what you will be doing. At camp, leave a note that includes information about your whereabouts. This will be very useful in case you get lost or caught in an unexpected situation during deer hunting.
Richard Simm is the CEO of Active Merchandise, a company specializing in quality surveillance, hunting and recreational equipment. Go to http://www.activemerchandise.com.au