Monday, March 10, 2014

Upcoming Topics in the Hunting Series

Last week I covered why you may want to consider hunting as an outdoor activity. This week I’ll go over what you can expect to learn from the upcoming articles in the series.

Learn About Game Animals and Their Hunting Environments
My favorite part of hunting is learning about the animals and their habitats. It builds my determination to get out there and see them. By understanding their habits and home, I feel a closer connection to them and to nature. It’s a feeling of respect for me, and a sense of earning the kill.

I’ll cover the popular game animals and the types of terrain they inhabit. Those of us hunting from  wheelchairs need to select species living in relatively accessible terrain. We won’t likely be hunting big-horned sheep or mountain goats, but most North American game are on the menu.

How to Apply for a Hunt
After selecting a species to hunt, you’ll need to file an application for a tag with your state’s game and fish department. I’ll take you through the process I used to apply for an elk and Pronghorn hunt. The process can differ by state but guidelines are published to provide direction.

Selecting A Weapon
Selecting a weapon is dictated by the game animal you choose to hunt. Your goal here is to pick the proper caliber and ammunition. We’ll cover common calibers for each game species and quality ammunition.

I’ll recommend a few rifle models that won’t break the bank. There are plenty of low-cost options that will get the job done.

I’ll cover crossbows and quality broadheads and arrows. I’ll cover weapon optics as well because the majority of hunting engagements will be at distance.

Determining Needed Equipment Adaptations
Your physical limitations will dictate your choice of adaptive equipment. If you can’t hold the weapon steady, you’ll need a weapon support. I have one, it works great for both rifles and crossbows. I’ll share my solution. Popular adaptive equipment for weapon support, trigger pulling, sighting, etc. will be covered as well.

Setting Up Your Weapon: Getting Dialed In
You have your weapon, now it's time to prepare it for the field. I’ll point you to resources for cleaning your gun or crossbow, zeroing your scope and precautions to keep your equipment zeroed-in when taking it into the field.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Whether at the shooting range, on private property or public land, you’ll need a lot of shooting practice to build your confidence. I’ll cover the precision and accuracy you need to make an ethical shot at common hunting distances.

Preparing for the Weather
Paying attention to the forecast, learning how to layer clothing, and considering an external heating source will be covered here.

Scouting: Technology is Your Friend
Today’s field technology is amazingly helpful. Game cameras, GPS, electronic topographical maps, Google Earth, and analog aids should batteries fail. These tools can both help you prepare and increase your odds of success in the field. I’ll show you how I use them.

Out in the Field: Blinds and Cover
Blinds are a great way to hunt from a wheelchair. Getting to the blind can be a challenge and I’ll explore ideas to get you there. Greg hunts frequently from a blind and I’ll share his ideas for getting it done. I hunt open country at times and I’ll share an option that’s worked for me in those conditions..

Success! Now What?
Okay, you have killed your animal and it’s laying in the field, what’s the next step? Tagging, field dressing, and animal retrieval. We’ll cover it. I’ll also cover what to consider if you want to mount the animal and resources to show how to keep it fresh and legal.

Meat Processing
How to select a meat processor if you’re not doing it yourself. Things to think about and situations to avoid.

You have an animal you want to mount for display. How do you select a taxidermist? How expensive is it? I’ll cover the basics.

Helpful Organizations and Resources
The organizations and resources I cite will be added here each week.

The topics we cover each week will build a knowledge base step-by-step so you can enter the field confident and ready to hunt. If you think I need to add something or that I’ve missed something, let me know in the comments.

Next week we begin the fun stuff! Thanks for reading!


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