Hunting is an age-old pastime that is used to gather food, and it can also be done to collect trophies.
There’s something about the inherently primitive nature of hunting that grants people a boost in confidence and pride. However, it must be done respectfully, and it must be done in a way that doesn’t impact the natural world.
In this article, we’ll go over 13 of our favorite hunting methods to help you get started with this timeless activity.
Interesting Facts About Hunting America
Hunting in the United States isn’t just about putting big antlers on a hunter’s wall or gathering food. There are a lot of interesting hunting facts that any new hunter should be aware of. Here’s a list of some of the best hunting facts.
- It’s healthier than eating store-bought meat. Store-bought meat is typically harvested from animals that are kept in tight spaces, and those animals are often fed unnatural diets to fatten them up. After all, it’s more profitable to sell a very large and meaty animal than it is to sell a healthy one. Any animal that you kill in the wild will have eaten natural foods for its entire life, and it’ll be a lot healthier than anything you can buy at a store.
- It really helps with conservation. If hunting is regulated properly, it can actually help endangered species thrive. It has to be heavily regulated, though.
- Not all animals are hunted for meat or trophies. Some larger predators pose a threat to farm animals and humans. When those animals become a problem, hunting them is the only way to solve the situation.
- There are many techniques that are used for hunting, but most American hunters hunt with a gun or a bow, and if they’re into living a primitive lifestyle, they might utilize traps. Blowguns and other tools that are popular in other countries usually aren’t used in the United States.
- You can hunt from a helicopter. It’s not as commonly done as the other methods, but the United States government allows hunters to shoot animals from helicopters when those animals become a problem. One example of this is boar hunting. If boars are destroying a farmer’s land or a natural resource, the authorities may allow hunters to fly over the land and shoot the animals on sight.
Hunting can be done in so many ways that we can’t even begin to list them all here. If something can kill an animal, you can use it to hunt. Some methods are easier than others, and some are far more humane than others. We can list the most popular hunting methods, though.
There are 13 methods that American hunters use the most, and some of them overlap. So, let’s get into the different hunting methods.
Hunting with a rifle is extremely common in the United States. In fact, it’s probably the most common form of hunting in the United States. However, you can’t do it everywhere. Rifles are long-range weapons that can easily penetrate homes and other structures. They aren’t allowed in many areas besides remote woodland forests and similar.
Rifles require you to be extremely accurate, and you have to be patient to use them. They’re so loud that if you miss a shot, you’ll probably scare everything in the area away without successfully killing anything. However, most rifles will kill an animal in a single shot if they’re fired by experienced hunters. They don’t leave slain animals with a bunch of buckshot spread throughout them like shotguns do.
Shotgun hunting is also extremely popular in the United States, and it’s very similar to hunting with a rifle. You shouldn’t use a shotgun in areas where stray pellets might injure people or destroy property. Shotguns have a lot less range than rifles so, that’s not as big of a problem.
You also don’t have to be as accurate when you use a shotgun. Instead of shooting a single piece of lead, a shotgun shoots dozens of lead balls that pretty much tear targets to shreds. When a shotgun is fired in the general vicinity of a deer’s heart, that deer will most likely die immediately.
That isn’t entirely positive, though. All of those pellets get lodged in whatever you shoot, and if you break the animal down to eat it, you’ll have to dig all of those pellets out. If not, you’ll get a really nasty taste in your mouth, and you might chip a tooth when you accidentally bite down on a piece of lead. If you grew up in the country, you probably know what that’s like.
Luckily, shotguns can accept a large variety of ammunition types, and slugs are one of those types. Slugs are solid pieces of lead, and while they’re not as good as rifle rounds, they won’t leave a bunch of buckshot in whatever you shoot.
Stalking an animal is something that a lot of hunters have stopped doing, but it’s one of the most engaging ways to hunt. Instead of sitting around in a tree stand or blowing a horn relentlessly, you actually have to go out, look for clues that an animal has left, and track it.
Stalking an animal can take hours or even days in some cases, and hunting trips that involve stalking aren’t always successful. However, you’ll feel a lot more accomplished if you manage to harvest a deer while stalking than if you had just sat around a tree and wait for it.
Do you ever sit around and think about what it was like to hunt in the pioneer days? Do you want to experience what it’s like to shoot one of the first firearms ever created? Well, if you do, you’ll be happy to know that you can hunt with a muzzleloader. A muzzleloader is a rifle that you load from the tip of the barrel, and it’s usually fired with flint and black powder.
While it’s fun to hunt with this type of rifle, you should know that there are some major drawbacks. First, you only get one shot before you have to reload. If you’re a good hunter, that won’t affect you. A hunter’s goal is to take an animal down within one shot. However, if you do miss that shot, you won’t even have the choice to take a second shot. You can spend as much as a minute trying to reload your gun.
Also, these guns are a lot less accurate than their modern counterparts. So, you have to learn to adjust your aim.
Muzzleloaders aren’t all bad, though. You can use one very easily, and even if its firing mechanism breaks, you can still shoot it by smacking the striking pin. That’s just very dangerous to do. You can also pour your own ammunition, too. Muzzleloaders use little lead balls instead of bullets. If you can purchase a small mold, and if you know how to melt lead, you can make tons of ammunition very cheaply.
A meat hunt is a hunt that is dedicated to gathering meat for you and your family. It’s not a sport, and it’s not some pride-filled ritual. It’s the original form of hunting. When you hunt for meat, you try to kill enough to feed your family, but you don’t kill anything else. That means that you don’t take down massive elk when you only need the amount of meat that you can get from a boar. You hunt to fulfil your needs.
Management hunts are designed to cull local animal populations. People who hunt to manage a population might eat the meat, and they might not. We personally prefer when people eat what they kill, but sometimes that’s not possible. For instance, if a deer population is riddled with diseases, it might be a good idea to kill those deer, but eating them might be a very bad idea.
You will usually know when management hunts are acceptable. Local wildlife authorities will post notices to inform you of problematic animal populations. If the problem is big enough, it might be talked about on the news.
Do not confuse these hunts with trophy hunting. Trophy hunters go after the biggest and most impressive members of a population, and they only kill them to create trophies from their heads and other parts. Sometimes, they don’t even take the meat off of the animal. Management hunts are done to protect other animals and humans. Trophy hunting is for fun.
Hunting from a high seat is fairly popular. Essentially, you mount a platform or a chair to a tree, and you lure animals to your position with urine, calls, and other forms of non-edible bait. Sometimes, you just sit there and wait.
Hunting from a high seat can be pretty boring. There’s a lot of sitting around involved, and you have to rely on the animals to walk by. However, you don’t exert a lot of energy doing it. Of course, that’s because you’re just sitting on your rear the entire time.
There’s nothing wrong with this form of hunting, but you should bring something along to lure animals to your position. Otherwise, you’ll get pretty bored, and you probably won’t get anything out of it.
You should also take your own safety into account before deciding to hunt like this. You won’t be within the animal’s reach, but you can easily fall out of the tree, and that can result in death or serious injuries occurring. Luckily, you can buy a harness that will keep you in the tree should you fall you fall.
Driven hunts aren’t common in the United States. They’re exactly what they sound like. They’re when you hunt while someone drives you around looking for animals, and when you spot one that you want, you shoot it from the vehicle. In essence, it’s what you see when you watch movies that feature safari scenes.
You can do driven hunts in America, though. Some old country boys will load up their pickups with rifles, and they’ll go out for deer and boars, but it’s not very common. Most hunting is done in the woods in America, and you obviously can’t drive a decent vehicle through thick foliage and trees.
Hunting From A Blind
Hunting from a blind is a lot like hunting from a high seat. You sit a lot, and you just wait around for something to walk by. The difference is that you’re on the ground, and you’re sitting in something that resembles a small military tent.
Blinds can be very expensive to purchase, but they’re a lot safer than high seats, and they are effective. They allow you to setup your hunting equipment in an area where you know that game animals will visit frequently. When you use a high seat, you’re limited to setting up your equipment where trees are.
Bow hunting is cheaper than using a firearm, and it’s closer to what our ancestors did to gather food. That being said, it is difficult to learn properly.
Using a bow isn’t like using a rifle or a shotgun. Arrows move at fast speeds, but they don’t come anywhere near the speeds of bullets and shotgun shells. They fall pretty quickly, too. So, you have to get pretty close to your target, and it’s a very intimate form of hunting.
Before you try to hunt with a bow, we highly recommend practicing extensively in a safe area. You don’t want to hit a deer in its leg, and then let it hobble around the woods until it dies of infection. You have to make sure that you can hit a sweet spot on the first try. We recommend using very broad arrowheads and a high-powered bow until you learn how to shoot like a pro. If you can’t get the hang of it, try using a crossbow. They’re great for people who can’t aim with a normal bow properly.
Baiting is when you throw food or female urine out to lure in male animals. It’s illegal in some areas. So, make sure you’re following the law when you use it. The game warden doesn’t tend to take it easy on lawbreakers.
This type of hunting isn’t really complicated. In fact, it’s a little too easy. It’s like putting cheese on a mouse trap. The mouse doesn’t come to it because you’re good at placing traps. It comes because you pretended to feed it. This isn’t something that most hunters appreciate, but it is a valid form of hunting, and if it’s legal in your area, it will earn you a few kills.
Calling is similar to baiting, but it requires a bit of skill. Instead of tossing bait all over the place, you have to try your best to mimic the natural call of the animal you’re hunting. Obviously, there are products that allow you to make calls very easily. You just blow or suck on the product, and it mimics the animal.
However, very skilled hunters and a lot of old country boys can mimic animals with nothing more than their hands and vocal cords. If you can, we suggest learning how to do that. It’ll be useful if you ever have to hunt to survive, and it’s a skill that allows you to hunt more naturally.
Man’s best friend has been helping us hunt for thousands of years. Since humans first tamed wolves, they have helped us track, kill, and gather animals. In modern times, we still use them.
Dogs can smell better than us, and they’re faster than us. They’re also a lot more brave in most circumstances. If you hunt frequently, you have to get a hunting dog. Your hunting dog will make you a lot more successful as a hunter, and it’ll keep you safe if you accidentally run into a bear or another predator. Also, dogs will keep you company. That might not sound important, but wait until you go on an extended hunting trip, and you don’t see anything worth shooting for three days. You’ll appreciate having a dog to talk to.
Obviously, we only described the different forms of hunting very briefly. Each form is so complicated that entire books could be written about them. In fact, there are a few decent books about hunting.
However, we have given you enough information to allow you to think about the way you want to hunt before you rush off to the woods. That’ll allow you to do further research into specific forms of hunting, and it’ll allow you to think about what you want to achieve as a hunter.
If you have any further questions about hunting, you can check out other articles on our site to get answers to your questions.