Idaho’s hunting grounds are filled with challenges that can put any hunter’s skill to the test. In fact, each year just 35 percent of Idaho hunters harvest an animal. Follow the following five preparations to beat the odds and make your next big hunt successful.
1. Get Into Shape:
Hunting is a strenuous sport, especially in the rugged mountains of Idaho. “You’re hiking hills, crawling through brush and glassing for hours,” says Ryan Schiermeir, a life-long Idaho hunter. So whether you prefer hitting the gym or getting active outdoors, make sure your body is ready for your next hunt.
2. Zero Weapons and Practice Shooting:
Obviously, sighting-in your rifle or bow before a hunt increases the likelihood that you’ll hit what you shoot at. Ryan Smith, another avid Idaho hunter, adds that off-season hunting familiarizes you with your weapon, and “puts you in a real outdoor setting, and prepares you for situations you might encounter while hunting big-game.”
3. Purchase Required Tags and Permits
Each year the Idaho Fish and Game issues about 150 citations for poaching, resulting in license revocations, fines, and even jail time. No hunt is successful if it lands you in a jail cell.
4. Scout Your Hunting Grounds:
Successful hunters don’t rely on luck. “Pre-season scouting is essential,” says Schiermeir. “We’re not just after any deer or elk. Through scouting we find the biggest animal, and figure out the best way to get to it.” In short, go scouting to learn where animals congregate, and how to approach those locations.
5. Invest in Quality Optics:
“If I can use a spotting scope or binoculars to identify an animal five miles away, and tell if it’s a trophy animal or not, that prevents me from hiking those five miles.” Smith says.
And, Schiermeir adds, “You must first spot your animal before you can hunt it.”
No hunt is a guaranteed success, but with these preparations you’ll reduce your chances of being amongst the 65 percent of hunters who hike out of Idaho’s wilderness with an empty game-bag.