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How to Plan Your Hunting Trip

Oct 31, 2007
The real purpose of any big-game hunting trip is to have an enjoyable and rewarding experience in the great outdoors. In addition, every hunter hopes to climax such an experience by taking a prized game animal. That is the unsurpassed thrill of any hunt.

It is wise to do some thoughtful and early planning. Careful preparation not only assures your own enjoyment, but it is the best guarantee for the success of the hunt and the safety of yourself and your hunting companions.

The Hunting Partner

Perhaps the most important is the wise choice of a hunting partner. Solo hunts, or occasionally taking off into the hills alone to enjoy getting back to nature, are fine experiences. But in big hunting country, where the remaining concentrations of our big-game supply are found, hunting alone is not sensible.

It is far safer, especially when after the larger species of game, to hunt with a partner and it is less laborious to be able to share the necessary heavy chores. But most important, a hunting trip, like any satisfying experience, must be shared with someone to be completely enjoyed.

Unless the partner has been on previous hunts, good questions to ask about him are: How stable a person is he? How does he react to unavoidable inconvenience? How dependable would he be if the chips were down and someone's life depended upon his decisions and courage?

The partner who qualifies in such vital respects, and loves the outdoors, is apt to have the numerous other qualities which will make him a prized companion. And, of course, he has the right to expect the same overall sportsmanship and dependability from you.

Choosing A Hunting Area

The game one wishes to hunt is, of course, a fundamental consideration. No hunter should ever plan a hunt with the simple hope that he will bag anything that jumps up, or that he is "out after everything." Well in advance of his hunt, he should determine what species he wants most, then route the hunt into a region where he is most apt to find that species. Additional species should be regarded as a bonus.

Broadly speaking, the best areas for any game species are those regions where game has been hunted the least. There the biggest trophy heads will be found. Competition with other hunters will be less keen. Danger will be less all the way around. And the game itself, in proportion to the degree it has previously been in contact with man, will be less wary.

Sources of Hunting Information

In choosing a region in which to hunt any game species, one of the hunter's best tools is a good map. Some of the best maps for the purpose are the hunting maps published by the state game departments especially for hunters. These usually are available free by early fall in states having shootable numbers of any game species. The interested hunter may obtain one simply by writing the Fish & Game Department at the capital of the state or province in which he wishes to hunt.

Outfitters and Guides

Some states and provinces require the services of a licensed guide for the nonresident hunter. Such a service is considered by the game commissions to be necessary not only as a measure to prevent game-law violations but, equally important, to keep hunters unfamiliar with the country from becoming lost.

In primitive country, the lost-hunter situation each fall is a serious business. The Forest Service, Fish & Game Departments, mounted posses, and state flying organizations have to donate time, money, and effort to retrieving lost hunters from rugged, remote mountain terrain. Requiring the nonresident hunter to employ a licensed guide or outfitter largely eliminates this problem.

He can lead the hunter to the best trophies. And as part of his services, the guide does much of the prosaic camp work, such as tending horses and pack mules, logging up wood, setting up camp, and lugging things around. This leaves the hunter all his time to hunt and enjoy himself.

Plan your hunting trip well and you will be more successful and enjoy yourself more.
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