How to Start Hunting – Beginner’s Guide and Checklist

If you aren’t a hunter, and none of your family has encouraged you into it, you might wonder how to get into hunting.

Before you start worrying about the must-have hunting gear and all the accessories you need, take a look at what you need to do to get started.

It can be difficult to know where to begin if none of your family or friends is into hunting, and it can be a bit overwhelming at the start. Here are our top tips on how to start hunting.

Tips on how to get started hunting

1. Decide what type of hunting you would like to do

There is a load of different types of hunting you can do. You might want to be hunting for birds, small game, or large game. Or you might want to be rifle hunting or crossbow hunting.


We will go through the different types of hunting in the next section, but you need to have an idea of the hunting sport you wish to pursue before you start. This might mean you have to give a few things a try or talk to a few people, but soon enough, you will get an idea of what type of hunting you are up for.

2. Get your Hunter Safety Card

hunter education courseIn most states, you will need to have a Hunter Safety Card. To get your card, you have to go on a certified hunter education course. The Hunter Safety Card is proof that you have completed this course. Once you have this, it is valid in all states which require you to have one. The course can be done online at your own pace, and they generally aren’t too expensive to complete.

3. Do your research and talk to people

Talking to people is the best way to gain knowledge about hunting. People will be able to tell you about the best spots, the best time of year, and the best gear. You might even get invited on some trips with those who know what they are doing, allowing you to learn. Many people will be willing to help out a newbie, so get asking around and show willingness. Take a look online to help you gain some base knowledge, and you can access things like forums to help you along your way.

4. Practice makes perfect

first hunting tripNo one will go out on their first hunting trip and complete the best deer stalk of their life right away. It would help if you gave yourself time to look at the animal’s behavior you are hunting and take your time to get to know your equipment and the area you are hunting in. Try different areas and terrains to make you feel the difference that makes, as every hunt will be slightly different.

5. Give yourself time

Don’t be disheartened if your first hunts don’t go the way you wanted. There is no shame in missing or messing up (even when you have been at it a long time). The best hunters will tell you that their hunts don’t always go to plan. There are still things you cannot account for, and after all, you are human, and you will make mistakes. So, cut yourself some slack!

6. Get your gear

gear for huntingThere’s a load of things to be added to your hunting gear list when you first start. Make sure you get your
hunter’s essentials together before you start on your first hunt. (Read Best San Diego Hiking Trails)

Having the right equipment makes a big difference when you are out there, and you will soon know if you have forgotten something about your hunting checklist!

Different types of hunting

You have a few different categories when it comes to hunting game. Species are divided into these categories to make regulations easier. Here are the main types and some example species.

Rifle Hunting

Big game: deer, elk, caribou, bear, boar, bison
Small game: rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, skunk
Furbearers: beaver, fox, pine marten, bobcat
Predators: mountain lion, wolf, coyote
Game birds: grouse, pheasant, dove
Waterfowl: duck, geese, swan

If you can decide from this list which type of animal you would most like to hunt, you can do some more specific research on that animal and its hunting. For example, if you choose deer, you might want to look up “deer hunting for beginners” or “deer hunting tips” to help get you started.

Rifle Hunting

Rifle hunting for beginners can be easier than bow hunting. It is generally easier to get to grips with a rifle and make a kill than it is with a bow. You don’t need to take too much with you when hunting with a rifle, so you will only need your hunter essentials.

Rifle hunting often only allows you to take down one animal due to the noise you make. The noise will often scare off any other animals in the area.

Bow Hunting

Bow HuntingBowhunting allows you to get up close and personal with nature and in touch with the sport’s primal essence. Aim and accuracy are more important with bow hunting than rifle hunting , as there is less power. You will probably find that your hunting equipment list is a lot longer when hunting with a bow.

Best Hunting Times for Beginners

The best times to hunt will depend on the animal you are hunting. Animals will be more abundant or less abundant at different times of the year.

You will need to check the regulations in your state for the animal you are hunting, as there may be restrictions on Best hunting times for beginnershunting that animal at certain times. There may also be restrictions on the number of kills you can make and the areas in which you can hunt.

When you are starting, there are two ways you can go. You can hunt during abundant times, when there are many animals, making you more of a chance of you making your kill.

But there will be plenty of other hunters around at these times so that it might get a bit overwhelming.

The other option is to go when it is a bit quieter, so you get more of a look-in and more time, with less pressure.

This may mean there is less of a chance of you making your kill, but you will have all the time you need, and there will be no one there to force you into an error.

All You Need to Know About Rifle Hunting for Beginners

Choosing a Firearm is essential. Making sure you get your entry-level equipment right will make a big difference. rifle hunting for beginnersYou will be able to progress up to buying bigger and more powerful toys, and ones of better quality, as you get better. Make sure you are concentrating on the basics. First, you can worry about getting a thermal scope and a cellular trail camera when you have more experience.


Think about how much money you have to spend. Most beginners won’t have thousands of dollars to spend on their first rifle, so value for money is key here. Look at what is out there and do your research, then set yourself a budget. Get yourself one of the best hunting rifles for beginners to give yourself the best start. Look at getting the best value for your money when you are buying your rifle.


You can get all the fancy add-ons out there, but if the basics of your rifle aren’t right, then you won’t be shooting right. Look for the best accuracy available to you; hunting successfully is hard enough without worrying about an inaccurate rifle.

Plastic stocks

Wood looks great, we know that, but it’s more expensive to buy and more costly to fix. As a beginner, you will get your rifle scratched up, and you don’t want to be worrying about a few scratches here and there when you are out hunting. Plastic won’t hold you back!

Laws and licensing

Check regulations before you go anywhere to hunt. It would help if you shot what you want. Get licensed to carry and use your weapon. You don’t want to be worrying about getting into any trouble while you are out hunting.

Rifle hunting equipment list

Here’s a list of items you will need if you are going on a day’s hunting trip as a beginner.

  • RifleRifle hunting equipment list
  • Ammunition
  • Boots – supportive and waterproof
  • Appropriate clothing – be sure to check the weather so you know if you need to layer up warmly or wear light waterproof clothing.
  • Water
  • Food
  • First aid kit – hopefully, you will never need this, but it’s sensible to have on with you.
  • Knife
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Game bags – to carry your game

All You Need to Know About Crossbow Hunting

As with rifle hunting, when you are looking at choosing your beginner’s crossbow , you need to think about bow hunting basics. Before you go steaming out to buy one of the most powerful crossbows on the market, you need to consider what you need from your crossbow.

Draw weight

Scorpyd Velocity crossbows

The type of animal you are looking to hunt will bear the “draw weight” of the crossbow you purchase. The higher the draw weight, the faster your arrows will shoot, so the larger your prey, the higher your draw weight. Something like a Jaguar crossbow will enable you to shoot whitetail deer.

You might have heard of Scorpyd Velocity crossbows. These are known as the “world’s fastest crossbows.” While it might be tempting to jump in at the deep end, you need to make sure you are well practiced before going for one of these.

Types of bow

There are a few different types of crossbows. The main ones you will come across are compound bows and recurve crossbow huntingbows. Ona recurve bow, the tip curves away from you, and it has a longer draw length.

These tend to make more noise, and they aren’t as steady as other types. A compound bow is much “stiffer” in comparison. It is more efficient and requires less strength to fire. The release is quick and powerful. If you want to get super techy and make sure you are shooting your arrows well, pick out your best chronograph to see your arrows’ speed.


Make sure you are getting the right kind of arrow for your crossbow. Getting the wrong kind of arrow can mean arrows breaking and crossbow arrows head ending up separate from the rest of your arrow.

This will be incredibly frustrating, so make sure you check you are getting the right arrow. They vary in length and flight ability too. Arrows are also known as crossbow bolts, so you know you are in the right place!


Safety is of the utmost importance when you are crossbow hunting. Going on a crossbow hunting safety course is very worthwhile. One of these courses will show you how to keep yourself and others safe while hunting and guide you on operating your crossbow safely.

Bow Hunting Essentials

Bow hunting essentials

  • Crossbow
  • Arrows
  • Quiver – to hold your arrows.
  • Rangefinder
  • Boots – supportive and waterproof
  • Appropriate clothing – be sure to check the weather so you know if you need to layer up warmly or wear light waterproof clothing.
  • Water
  • Food
  • First aid kit – hopefully, you will never need this, but it’s sensible to have on with you.
  • Knife
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Game bags – to carry your game


One of the best ways to make sure you are progressing with your hunting is to have fun. While you are having fun, you are learning, and while you are making mistakes, you are learning too.

Try and get on some hunting trips with those who have been hunting for a while so you can learn the tricks of the trade from the best of the best. Book yourself on all the available courses, from beginner’s crossbow courses to improvers rifle courses. (Find the Best Night Vision Scope)

There are tons of options out there for those who want to get better at hunting, and you will find there are endless materials online that can show you how to improve your skills. Remember – practice equals progress!

How to Start Hunting – Beginners Guide and Checklist

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