Taking a New Hunter to the Field

If you’re an experienced hunter who plans to take a non-hunter out in the field, or a non-hunter who wants to go hunting, then there are some conversations that must be had well before it is time to hunt.

Karen Butler- ready to go hunting! Karen Butler- ready to go hunting!


Have you ever heard the Jeff Foxworthy joke about taking his wife hunting? It goes something like this, he tells his wife he’s taking her hunting, she goes out and buys the cutest camo outfit she can…they walk to the blind…she talks the whole way…he is frustrated…they get to the blind…she is disappointed because there are no deer…they leave, both saying, “Never Again!” Unfortunately, this happens all too often in families and hunting camps across the land. At Shoot Like A Girl, we encourage women to get out there and hunt and enjoy the outdoors with their families; and these tips are designed to help make the experience better for both the hunter and the new hunter.

  • Manage Expectations. It is amazing to me, that if you asked the most experienced hunter you know “how to hunt”, they look at you funny, and can’t really write step “A” through “Z”. It is second nature to them. However, there are very simple things that can be reviewed for first time hunters: Scent control (makeup – you can wear make-up if it is scent free, deodorant, perfume, shampoo and clothes), how to walk in the woods, when you can and can’t talk (we always recommend if it is a safety issue, TALK), when they should and shouldn’t be still, and tell them that you might not even see the animal you are hunting. We also think it is a good idea to have them see how many different animals they do see, but that is a future article.
  • Comfort. I distinctly remember the first time I hunted. It was pigs, and long before we had great field worthy, fitted and comfortable clothes like ScentBlocker. I was in borrowed coveralls, and was puffed up like the marshmallow man. I had harvested a pig, and it had run through the thicket. Well, there I was on my belly, low crawling through this stuff, and the oversized clothes got hung on a branch…I was like that kid from “A Christmas Story”, flailing around. ..not fun. So, get clothes that fit. If you have to borrow clothes, and they are too big, pin from the inside, so the fabric on the outside is smooth. Warmth, Warmth, WARMTH. Ensure the non-hunter is dressed for the weather, has the right kind of socks, enough layers, etc. Let’s face it, none of us like to be cold, and most of us have experienced it, so do your best to prevent it for the new hunter.
  • Safety. To me, this is the most important part. In many states, you can take a first time hunter with you, prior to them taking a hunter’s safety course. So that means, their safety is your responsibility. So talk with them and practice, how to carry a gun or bow, how to cross a fence, how to climb into a tree stand…with a safety harness. On safety harnesses, especially if you have the harness that comes with the stand, have them practice while fully dressed in their gear. The entire trip will start on a bad note, if you drive to your spot, before sunrise, and the new hunter is struggling to get their harness on, and you are getting frustrated because you’re late…practice will help. For gun hunters, I use 3M Peltor active listening hearing protection, this lets me hear what’s happening around me, but when the gun fires, the noise is baffled. For a new hunter, this is magic, because often the sound of the shot can create anxiety, plus their hearing is protected. It also allows normal conversation due to the active listening capability.

These are just a few of the tips we’ve learned over the years, and we hope they help make your hunting experience with a non-hunter rewarding. You are to be commended if you are taking a non-hunter on their first hunt. Remember the experience you create will make the difference if they continue to hunt or not. With your help, we will grow the number of women who participate in shooting sports and enjoy the outdoors with confidence!

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