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Four people looking at a map

Not only will planning and preparation reduce the likelihood of serious emergencies while hunting, but a well-planned hunt is usually more successful. To plan properly, address these four areas.

  • Be Ready: To help you avoid or minimize problems, it’s essential that you plan carefully for the hunt. Responsible hunters anticipate potential problems and make plans to deal with them. Considerations include terrain, location, weather, dangerous game, and the potential for forest fires.
  • Know Your Location: Learn as much as you can about your chosen hunting area before you arrive.
    • You can purchase topographic or aerial maps to familiarize yourself with the terrain.
    • If the location is within a convenient drive, it’s a good idea to visit the area in the off-season.
  • Prepare for Safety: You also need to assess your physical condition and equipment.
    • Your physical and mental condition will affect your performance and safety on the hunt. Staying in shape also may prevent exhaustion and heart attacks.
    • Refresh your memory of hunting and firearm safety rules, and review the rules with your hunting partners.
  • Tell Others: Prepare a hunting plan in case you or someone in your group becomes lost, sick, or injured.
    • Tell where and with whom you are hunting and when you expect to return.
    • Give specific directions on your route to your destination and any alternate destinations.
    • Leave the plan with a family member or friend so that searchers will know where to find you. Do not deviate from your hunting plan without notification.
    • When hunting with a group, each person should discuss their route plan.
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