You may encounter many things while out in the field for your hunt—including man-made obstacles like barbed wire fences—and it’s important that you know how to safely cross.

 

If you encounter a fence when you’re hunting alone, follow these steps:

  1. Unload your firearm.
  2. Protect your muzzle.
  3. Place the firearm under the fence, pointed away from you.
  4. Cross the fence without damaging it.
  5. Pick up your rifle, reload, and check the safety again.

The process is similar when you’re traveling with a friend.

  1. Unload the firearms, pointing the muzzles away from each other.
  2. One person gives the firearms to the other person.
  3. The person without the firearms crosses the fence (taking care not to damage it).
  4. Both firearms are handed across the fence to the first person who crossed.
  5. The second person crosses the fence safely.
  6. After both hunters are safely across, return the firearms to the proper owner. Be sure to verbally acknowledge you have control of the firearm (with a “thank you” or “got it”) before the other person lets go!
  7. Turn back to back, check the safety, and reload—then enjoy your hunt!

You can learn these tips and more in a state hunter education course. Start your hunter ed today!

 

What Kind of Game Can I Hunt in My Area?

The type of game available for you will dramatically depend on your state’s environment and regulations. (Be sure you always have a license before you hunt!)

However, there are some general guidelines:

In the Eastern and Midwestern states, the most popular animals to hunt are white-tailed deer, small game (squirrel, rabbit, and more), upland birds (such as pheasant and quail), turkey, waterfowl, and black bears. Recently, elk populations have been established in some states (West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Arkansas), and hunters can enter a lottery to hunt them.

In the Western U.S., there are more big game hunting opportunities. Common hunts include elk, moose, mule deer, or white-tailed deer. While most areas require big game hunting tags be awarded by a lottery or draw system, hunters still have a good chance. Some states even have over-the-counter hunting tags for public access (though generally only for archery equipment). However, small game, turkey, upland birds, predators, and waterfowl are also available for hunting.

As wild boar populations have grown prolifically, they have become more popular hunting targets, particularly in Southwestern states. Some states consider them to be pest animals, removing the limit on the number of animals that can be taken (unlike other big game animals).

Check with your state wildlife department to find out the particulars for your area.

 

Recipe: Jalapeno Dove Poppers

from Field & Stream 

Easy, quick, and with just enough bite, these tasty morsels are a delicious end to your dove hunt.

Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

de-boned dove breasts
1 can whole jalapeño peppers
1 tub cream cheese
bacon
toothpicks

Preheat grill. Rinse and dry dove breasts. Slice jalapeños in half lengthwise. If you prefer less heat, remove seeds and veins. Cut bacon in half lengthwise.

Fill open cavity of each jalapeño with cream cheese. Top with a dove breast, wrap in bacon strip, and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with all breasts.

Grill poppers over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once. Salt and pepper to taste.

Where Can I Meet Other Hunters?

Hunting can be such a solitary activity that it can be hard to meet others when you get started. But there are many ways to connect with other hunters!

Your first tactic should be to find in-person opportunities. Contact your state wildlife agency office and ask them for their recommendations. Find state agency hunting info by checking http://wheretohunt.org.

You can also ask your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family if anyone hunts, and see if you can accompany them. Visit your local outdoors or sporting goods store—such as Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Bass Pro Shops—and talk to the staff. Many of these stores also have posted flyers about events and activities. You can also join one of the many hunting clubs and organizations—there are lots out there, so start by searching online for the type of game you’d like to hunt.

While you’re online, you can take advantage of social media opportunities, too. Visit hunting conversation forums on places like reddit’s /r/hunting to talk with hunters from all over the world. U.S. hunters can try meeting local hunters via local interest groups on Meetup. Search for other forums such as HuntingNet.com or other local groups.

With just a bit of luck, you’ll be able to meet hunters, get great tips and suggestions, and make some new friends.