Continuing with a theme of first-time hunters I presented a couple weeks ago — especially women often ostracized from the sport/hobby because of gender — I decided to take a journey to discover everything I need for a hunting trip if I were in charge.
Most of the time, I’m tagging along and asking a bazillion questions of my sweet, patient husband as I struggle to retain all the intricate details of a hunting trip.
To me, hunting is similar to football (beware, this may seem sexist but it’s a truly personal experience) — I understand football about as much as I do hunting, even though I’ve had more than enough training and experience with both sports. Basic football understanding includes quarterbacks, how many players are on the field at any given time, downs and touchdowns. Hunting requires standout colors, a gun, proper licensure and credentials, a knife and some good practice and muscles.
Beyond that, I let the boys take charge and tag along, always relying on their presence for reference.
This week, though — inspired by and taking from an email I received through the Wyoming Game and Fish Department newsletter, which I highly recommend for any outdoor enthusiast — I’m taking on the challenge of planning my own deer hunting trip. The husband will only come into play after I manage to put together a supplies and directions list, as follows:
• Hunter’s education card
• Deer license and conservation stamp
• Permanent marker
• Cold-weather undergarments to include top, bottoms, socks, gloves and a knitted cap
• At least one external fluorescent orange (or in my case, pink) garment (hat, shirt, jacket, coat, vest or sweater acceptable)
• Waterproof boots
• Camouflage shirt, pants, jacket
• Sharp knife/knives for field dressing/quartering
• game bags, trash bags
• latex gloves for cleaning
• rifle with plenty of ammo correct for gun caliber, gun sling and tripod stand preferred
• GPS and cellphone with downloaded maps of the area you plan to hunt
• Backpack with water (either in a bladder or water bottles), granola bars and emergency first aid kit
• Sight in your scope for the season at the shooting range with bullets you plan to use on the hunt. Practice shooting targets or, if you’re really fancy, a deer target.
• Preview and research the area you want to hunt. Ensure through GPS, WGFD website and/or the Sheridan County GIS mapping system that lands are open for the season your tag is for and public/state land before you head out with a rifle over your shoulder. I just discovered the Wyoming Hunt Planner website: wgfd.wyo.gov/hunting/hunt-planner (Brilliant).
• Pack your backpack with items listed in the supplies list, ensuring your license and proof of hunter’s education is easily accessible in case you encounter a game warden on your hike.
• Keep rifle loaded but do not have a round in the chamber while walking. Open rifle during crossings or in meeting with other hunters as per hunter’s safety status quo.
• Head out on your hike and start stalking your prey, ensuring you are downwind from any big game you intend to harvest.
I nailed it! Other than calling a bipod a tripod — chalk it up to my photojournalism background — my husband said I wasn’t missing anything. Although I can make a complete list, he’s still an essential part of my hunting experience and abilities.
Now, I’m ready to load up my Weatherby and hit the hills for a big ol’ buck. Wish me luck!