5 ways to maximize hunting time
It's hard to find the time to head afield. Follow these tips to give yourself more hunting opportunities
When I do get a chance to go hunting, I make the most of it by purchasing all available licences for the area I’m heading to. For example, I once returned home with a moose, an elk, ducks, geese, grouse and a coyote—all from one long-weekend hunt. Heck, I even caught a few trout. Here’s how you can be a successful hunting opportunist.
1. Know your game
Set your hunting priorities and identify the main species you’d like to pursue, but also check the regulations to find out what other game might be in season in the area you’ll be hunting. You may be primarily interested in hunting moose, for example, but there might also be open seasons for black bears, deer, upland game birds, waterfowl and so on.
2. Be choosy
If you have access to more than one hunting area, choose the destination with the most concurrent open seasons. If you’re having difficulty settling on a place to hunt deer this fall, for example, check to see which of the areas also offers the likes of fall turkey or a special archery season for other big game.
All things being equal in terms of deer-hunting opportunities, the area with the most alternative hunts should stand out.
3. Plan ahead
Always buy your various hunting licences in advance of your trip. Licence fees are generally marginal in comparison to travel and food costs, yet the opportunity to harvest more game is priceless. I purchase all available licences, tags and so on before the first season even opens to ensure I’m ready when heading into the field. I’ve heard a lot of stories from fellow hunters who were presented with the opportunity of a lifetime only to regret not purchasing the appropriate licence beforehand.
4. Be prepared
Although it may seem like a daunting task, pack the appropriate gear for every hunting scenario you may encounter. I often leave home with my bow, several rifles and a shotgun with the intention of using them all. To organize my gear for quick retrieval, I divide it into categories and pack it into small duffle bags. I also usually bring a rod, reel and some lures should the chance to wet a line arise. If you don’t go prepared for all eventualities, you’re simply limiting yourself.
5. Find shortcuts
If you need to lighten up on the gear, think of ways to streamline the load. An all-in-one gun is a great idea. It sports a standard receiver that can be used with centrefire, muzzleloader, shotgun or rimfire barrels. With clearly identified ammunition at the ready, you can quickly transform from a moose hunter into a grouse gunner by simply changing the barrel.
Another handy shortcut is to pack silhouettes instead of bulky decoys—it just might be the ticket to your best hunt of the year.
This article was originally published on October 18, 2010