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:
- Unload your firearm.
- Protect your muzzle.
- Place the firearm under the fence, pointed away from you.
- Cross the fence without damaging it.
- Pick up your rifle, reload, and check the safety again.
The process is similar when you’re traveling with a friend.
- Unload the firearms, pointing the muzzles away from each other.
- One person gives the firearms to the other person.
- The person without the firearms crosses the fence (taking care not to damage it).
- Both firearms are handed across the fence to the first person who crossed.
- The second person crosses the fence safely.
- 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!
- 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!
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.
Your dog is a fantastic hunting partner, which is why you need to keep him safe while you’re out there. Just as you must meet state requirements for blaze orange, your dog would be safer if he wore the bright color, too.
Here are some suggestions to keep Spot easy to spot while you’re in the field.
Being approached by a conservation officer while you’re on the hunt can be nerve-wracking. Do you know what to do?
What To Do When Approached by a Conservation Officer
Conservation officers work hard to ensure you have game to hunt and to stop illegal poaching. When you meet an officer in the field, be friendly and acknowledge the officer. Always point your muzzle in a safe direction, and make your firearm safe by unloading and checking the safety. Then, follow the officer’s instructions. Make sure you carry your hunting licenses and proof of hunter education, if that is required in your state, every time you hunt. It’s that easy!