If you didn’t grow up in a family that has hunters, it’s tough to know where to begin. A quick google search results in a vast array of strategies for hunters that are looking to up their game. It was hard to find something that explains the simplest of basics for someone looking to learn how to start deer hunting. In this article, I will explain those simple basics and bare minimum requirements to get you started.
Legal Requirements to Start Deer Hunting
First off, laws are different in every state. Please make sure to check out your states’ department of natural resources website for more details regarding your state. That being said, there are still a few things that are pretty universal. The first requirement in most states is a hunter safety course. Even if your state does not require one, I highly suggest it. For those who don’t have someone else to look to for guidance, these classes can be very helpful. After that, the next step is a hunting License. These can be bought at any sporting goods store. The final legal requirement to start hunting would be a valid permit or tag. Again, there are certain instances in some states that don’t require a license or permit/tag. They are few and far between so don’t get your hopes up.
In general, there are different season for different weapons (I.E. Bow/Archery, Gun, Muzzle-loader). Some states allow you to use a bow or a gun during any season. Generally though, this is only on private land. Many states however still only allow certain weapons during different season dates. The season dates can vary from year to year for each weapon. Here in Illinois, Archery season is open from October1st through the middle the Sunday closest to the 15th of January. Except during firearms seasons unless hunting on private land. On private land, we are now able to use archery equipment during the firearms seasons.
Don’t know where to find the regulations? I’ve created a DNR Website list for all 50 states
Public land regulations vary widely so it’s best to get the specifics from the local game warden. Many public hunting land restrictions can be found with an online search as well. A game warden may be forgiving if you’re a brand new hunter, but I wouldn’t count on it. Most of the ones I’ve met have been very much down to business and unforgiving men. That’s not to say that all game wardens are like that, but that is what my experience has been thus far. Rules change from year to year, so be sure to update yourself each year with any new laws.
Learning how to start deer hunting is not all about the rules and regulations. I can’t stress enough the need for practicing. When the time comes to pull the trigger, you are definitely going to want muscle memory to kick in. This is especially the case if you are planning on hunting with a bow and arrow. Honestly, right now (late April) is the time to start practicing if you’ve never shot a bow before. Here in Illinois, that would give you a solid 5 full months to get proficient with it. Before I first started using a bow to hunt, I shot close to 50 arrows a day in order to really dial in my aim. Though I shot at 30 yards regularly, I still only was comfortable with a 20 yard shot at most. You can always expand your comfort zone later.
Learning how to start deer hunting is not hard. At least, not in terms of the regulations and legality of it. In some areas, the actual hunting may not be all that hard either. For most of us though, the hunting is definitely the challenging part. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love that the laws are simple enough to allow new hunters easy access. I am glad anytime I hear of someone becoming interested in hunting for the first time. Happy Hunting!