I was at a wedding over the weekend with a number of our prostaff. While we were sharing a beverage around a campfire socializing with many of our friends I began to notice a reoccurring theme to conversations. Many of the guys were saying things like “I have always wanted to start hunting” or “I’d love to try that”. The next morning while on the golf course enjoying the Muskoka landscape Jim said to me “you know, we should really start a how to series on the site”. We quickly got to brain storming and golf balls soon lost all their accuracy. After 18 holes of more bushwhacking than golf it became apparent based on our discussion the night before that a How To Start Hunting story would be a great place to start.
So alas here is my get hunting check-list that can get you from your couch on Saturday mornings in the fall to sitting in the forest watching the sun slowly crest the rolling country side on a crisp November morning. While I cannot guarantee you success, I can guarantee you some great memories and a new passion that will last a lifetime. I am going to include some products and pricing here as well and I assure you we have no connections to any of these companies and this is simply advice from experience and getting you a good bang for your buck. Because most of us aren’t millionaires the list of the tools of the trade I suggest is far from conclusive and provides you with the bare minimum with a modest budget. Lastly this list is specific for bow-hunting because for most people in most regions bow hunting presents the best/most opportunity for gaining access and getting started.
Get your licence. This is a website on how to get your licence in Ontario. Book it now and get it in time for the opener. In most cases it is a simple 1 weekend course.http://www.ohep.net/InstSearch.cfm and a deer tag. (150-300$)
Get a property. You may think this is getting a head of your self but this will likely be your most time consuming venture. Start by talking to friends who hunt as they are often keen to introduce new people to hunting. Failing this, informal chatting with co-workers and family are good ways to find people who may have property they are willing to have you hunt on. And remember to always be courteous and obtain written permission!
Get a bow. I always suggest to new hunters to start with a crossbow. It is easy to learn to shoot accurately but still requires the hunter to understand the nuances of bow hunting and deer behavior to be successful. As far as which bow to shoot, you should go no further than an Excalibur. These bows have passed the test of time and are very reliable. Every member of our prostaff shoots one and not because we are paid to do so. This is a cost effective model ($600) which will pack plenty of punch for any whitetail. http://www.excaliburcrossbow.com/catalog/crossbow/axiom_crossbow_kit And don’t forget to practice!
Boots and Gloves. If there is one place you do not want to cheep out this is it. Take the extra money you save by getting a low-mid price range bow and by good boots and gloves. I don’t care how warm the rest of you is nothing kicks your butt out of the woods faster than cold feet and hands. Boots – think water proof and thinsulate. Don’t bust your butt about camo, deer don’t care what your feet look like. Rocky and Muck boots are my favorite shoe companies and get something built for the cold. Again spend money here 100-150$ but watch for sales! Gloves – make sure there are compartments for hot hands hand warmers.Also consider your ability to shoot with the gloves on. So not to be the bearer of bad news but if you aren’t paying at least $40 your hands are going to be cold.
Camouflage. There are more options here than you can possibly imagine. Obviously if you have the cash waterproof, gortex, under armor, scent lock are words you are going to want to think about. However as I said before this is meant to be cost effective. So some options to consider. Redhead overalls – get them big and pile on cloths underneath and watch for sales at bass pro, cabbelas, TSC stores. Another affordable option is to find a light weight “3d” suite to pull over your warm cloths. And lets not forget calling a friend. Most guys who have been at it for a while have accumulated a small outfitting companies worth of camo and can probably get you geared up. 0-100$
Arrows and broad heads. Nothing will drive you bonkers for the next 100 years of your hunting life than which arrow and which broad head to shoot. So for now “keep it simple stupid”. Shoot the arrows that come with your bow and shoot muzzy broad heads. The muzzys are reasonably priced and field proven ~30-40$ for 6. Worry about expandable vs fixed, over the top vs rear deploy next year.
And that is it! Add it all up and you are looking at a range of $900-1200 bucks and you could be bow hunting this October. Now remember there is a lot more too it than this. You will need to do some reading and research on strategies. You likely haven’t scouted much and don’t have a tree stand. And as any hunter will tell you, to take a whitetail from the ground with a bow is no small feat. Likewise, you will need to know what to do when you shoot a deer. So have a buddy with gutting experience on speed-dial or there are some great educational youtube videos you can bring with you via your smart phone this one is great! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StpvcRn9fY0– Sidenote isn’t technology amazing!? Imagine if you told your grandfather you learned to gut a deer via a telephone!
So I implore you. Be brave and through yourself into the hunting world this fall. I assure you there will be no other hobby that can provide you with the endless entertainment hunting can. Your spouse, kids, in-laws will never have to wonder what to buy you for Christmas again. There is an infinite amount of gear out there but using this essentials guide you can get the party started. Take you bow and walk a woodlot, scout as you go, stop and appreciate nature in all its glory and maybe, just maybe, you might get lucky and have an encounter with a deer. You will be amazed how steep your learning curve is and remember that the first mile is the longest! Be safe and don’t forget to write us when you bag a big one and Tell Your Story at thehuntblog.com!