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To some, hunting is second nature. But if you haven’t hunted before, it might feel a little overwhelming. And even if you have hunted before, there will always be something new you can learn. All of us have to start somewhere. Here is a couple of pointers and tips to help you keep ahead of the game!
Firstly, you need to prepare well in advance for your first hunting trip. When you do go out into the bush for the first time, you will need to be educated and familiar with your chosen equipment.
Find a Mentor / Be an Apprentice
Find someone to go on a hunt with. Go without your gun and simply watch them hunt, and learn from them. This will let you get a feel for it and see what it’s like. If you respect the hunter and nature well enough, he might even let you in on some of his secrets.
Check the Law and Regulations
Ensure that you are up to date with the latest hunting and rifle laws in your area/country and that you understand them. Also, ensure that you have the right licenses.
Gun Safety Rules
Before you handle a gun, make sure you read and understand the rules of basic firearms safety. It’s always a good idea to review these rules from time to time, even if you are experienced with guns. Depending on where you live, there might even be some hunter’s safety courses available.
You need to practice shooting to become proficient. It is important to get comfortable with your choice of rifle or bow. Head to the range and get started.
Don’t hurry out to buy a gun. You can practice with borrowed guns. If you have friends and family who will go to the range with you and let you shoot their guns, that’s great. If not, try calling some local ranges. Tell them you don’t have a gun but you would like to try shooting. Many ranges and farms offer guns for rent.
Gear for beginners
You will need some basic gear in order to begin hunting, including comfortable clothing, a strong sharp knife, good footwear, etc. But you absolutely do not need to go out and spend lots of money on the latest camouflage or equipment. Expensive gear simply is not necessary. Make sure you can stay warm and dry and comfortable, and that you can perform all the tasks you need to do.
Small game hunting is often a great way for a beginner hunter to learn because it usually offers more opportunities and a greater chance for success. It also provides a successful hunter with a taste of what’s to come, should he or she keep on hunting and move on to larger animals in the future.
Enjoy every moment
The most important is to get out there and enjoy yourself. Hunting is one of the very best ways to spend time. It will provide you with a better understanding of (and a greater appreciation for) wildlife and how animals live in the wild and a deeper appreciation for all types of life.
Hunting is not just going out into the bush and shoot the animal. Hunting is hard work. Your knowledge and skill will be tested to the utmost extreme.
There are of course various institutes where you can sharpen your skills, but most of your knowledge and skills would have come from your dad or grandpa. From your young days you would be out hunting with dad, observing, learning… And when the time is right, get your opportunity. But if you did not have this opportunity and want to start hunting now, here are some pointers on getting started:
In order to do this you would need a gun. Do not go out and buy one. Rifles are expensive and you don’t want to spend your hard saved money on a rifle and then later decide that hunting is not for you. It would be ideal if you knew someone with rifles. That person can then also give you some advice and pointers, especially on gun safety. You can also go to your local shooting range. They will help you and there are usually various courses that you can also do. Learn about guns and how they work, and as mentioned learning about gun safety is the most important! The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
You will probably not know where to start. Get in contact with a hunting association that is dedicated to Conservation through sustainable utilization. One such organization in South Africa is CHASA (The Confederation of Hunting Associations of South Africa). There aims to represent the hunter in securing the freedom to hunt. This is achieved through promoting sustainable ethical hunting practices through leadership and advocacy of all matters related to hunting and the freedom to hunt. Associations like this will be more than willing to help. In the States it is very similar. Take advantage of all the help offered.
Buying a rifle
When you feel that this is you, then buy yourself a rifle. Before you can do this you first need to get a firearm license. You will need to undergo training at an accredited institution and obtain a training proficiency certificate. You must successfully pass the prescribed test to prove your knowledge of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 as well as the prescribed training and practical test regarding the safe and efficient handling of a firearm at an accredited training provider. Once you have obtained the competency certificate, you can apply for the firearm license at your nearest police station. You need a license for every firearm that you possess. (This is how it works in South Africa).
Hunting is one of the ways to get as close to nature as possible. Get out of the busy life in the city and enjoy nature at its very best! Good luck and remember, safety and ethical hunting always comes first.
There are many different rifle calibers and makes out there. It can sometimes be a very difficult and confusing task to pick the right one.
Here are a couple of tips on which rifles might be better for different hunting situations in Africa:
Big Game Hunting
“This topic will be debated for many years to come. The best possible answer is to bring the gun that you are the most comfortable with and that you feel most confident shooting. The rifles you intend to bring along are subject to government rules and regulations as set out in the SAPS 520 section. If a recommendation had to be made (this is not a rule though), we would suggest a 30-06 and a 375. With these calibers you will be able to hunt anything that walks in the African bushveld”.
Dangerous Game Hunting
“Experienced Hunters as well as professional hunters will all have their own opinion on their favorite rifle. When hunting for dangerous game, the .375 caliber is the minimum prescribed by law in most African countries”. “For hunting dangerous game one of the 400 caliber hunting rifles should be considered. A 404 Jeffrey, 416 Rigby, 458 WM, 458 Lott, 470 or bigger – Pieter Kriel”.
“When coming to Africa for plains game, bring a rifle that you are completely familiar with and comfortable shooting. The .270 Win should be considered the minimum for most medium-sized plains game species, although a smaller caliber can also get the job done with a well-placed shot”. “The 30.06 caliber is also a very good all-round choice for plains game hunting in Africa. It has a proven track record and ammunition is readily available. Other calibers like the .308, 7 mm Rem Mag, 7mm-08, 300 Win Mag are all great choices”.
“The 300 Win Mag is an excellent all-round choice, especially if your safari will take you to areas where long shots may be necessary”.
“The most popular calibers brought along on any South African hunting safari trip range from a 270, 7mm-08, 7 mm Rem Mag, 30-06 to a 300 WSM and 300 Win Mag”. As mentioned the most important thing to keep in mind is that you feel comfortable and confident with the rifle you are bringing. Bullets play just as an important role. A bad bullet can cause a great shot to be bad, especially when hunting bigger game. Most important is to get to the shooting range. Get comfortable with your rifle, and when on safari, listen to the advice from your PH.
Hunter John Tinley
As we all know the technology area is upon us, and whether we like it or not, hunting will never be the same since the introduction of Hunting Technology. The older hunter may find it hard to accept new high-tech equipment and gadgets; their argument is that it robs people of the real essence of hunting.
Despite the opposing views with regards to the use of advanced hunting tools, there is no stopping technology from coming up with these mind-blowing devices for modern day hunters to utilize.
Here are some of the technologies being used in the field of hunting:
There is a gadget on the market called Firefly. It is designed to determine wind direction even when there seems to be no wind at all. Firefly can determine wind drifts and thermals down to 1” per second. It uses patented technology to take 512 readings per second, which it then analyzes to give you the most accurate readings even with winds undetectable to human. Any hunter knows the importance of determining wind direction to take an accurate shot. There are also other gadgets on the market.
Choosing a scope for your rifle will be one of the biggest factors in determining how accurately you’ll be able to shoot. Leopold has some of the best rifle scopes out there. The new VX-6HD is taking optical performance to a whole new level. They gave it a High-Definition optical system for sharpened clarity, and the Twilight MaxTM Light Management System for even greater low-light performance. This changes and newer technology give hunters a visible advantage at dawn and dusk when the biggest game is on the move. To make scope mounting even easier, they added an in-scope Electronic Reticle Level indicator for precise leveling, and a throw lever for fast magnification changes, right or left handed.
Game Calling Apps
Hunting Technology has really pushed hard in providing an app that can be very useful for hunters. There’s an app that has more than 20 calls in conjunction with a speaker in order to create a game call system. This way, you can lure your targets closer instead of relying on binoculars to line up your shots.
Digital trail cameras are some the most popular tech products in hunters’ arsenals. Trail cameras give hunters useful and valuable information about the behavior of the animals they’re tracking. The hunting world is right on the cusp of seeing trail cameras that can stream photos and video content from the field to computers and smart devices.