How to make the most of any upcoming hunting adventure? It all starts with the right steps, meaning: the hike to your hunting spot. We’ve bundled our 5 Tips For Better Hiking On Your Next Hunt, helping you reach your next hunting destination without a hitch:
Invest in high-quality hiking boots
The first step to prepare for any kind of hike is wearing the right pair of hiking boots. This may sound like a given, but you’d be surprised how many hunters still venture out in trainers or ill-fitting footwear. Wearing the perfect hiking boots will benefit you in a variety of ways. Firstly, these boots offer excellent ankle and arch support, preventing foot fatigue, and putting less strain on your joints. Secondly, hiking boots are equipped with a heavy-duty sole with a lug pattern, which helps you keep traction on slippery undergrounds. Thirdly, a pair of high-quality hiking boots should be breathable, preventing your feet from getting sweaty and keeping moisture at bay.
How to find your perfect fit? Go to a store and get informed by outdoor experts, or browse user reviews online. Also, keep in mind that if you prefer wearing thick woolen socks to stay warm, consider sizing up your boots to ensure a proper fit. High-quality hiking boots may be a bit pricey but trust us: this is one comfy investment you – and your feet – won’t regret.
Wear a bright color
When it comes to regular hiking, most hikers prefer to wear muted colors or earth tones like navy, khaki, and black. However, when hiking in the hunting season and/or a hunting area, you need to be visible to others. That is exactly why you should add a bright color to your outfit. A safe choice is a bright orange or fluorescent vest or hat, and/or a brightly-colored cover for your backpack. The main aim is to alert other hunters in the area of your presence, and don’t accidentally get mistaken for a target.
Be warned though: different hunting grounds may require different colors. For example, bright red works well for deer hunting but is not recommended for turkey hunting season (as is blue). Our advice: check with the local park authorities and/or other hunters which high-visibility colors are suitable for your hunting grounds – and get colorful with your hiking outfit!
Look out for signs
If you want to stay safe on your hike, keep a close eye on any signage on your trails. Certain US states do not allow hunting near hiking trails, whilst others have no rules. Similarly, some hiking trails may be closed off-season, whilst other trails might be inaccessible due to mudslides, fallen trees, etc. We know that when you’re out in the Great Outdoors, you may get distracted by the beautiful scenery or wildlife. However, staying alert to any signage is a must for every hiker. It will prevent you from getting into trouble, both with the law and with nature itself.
Yes, part of the attraction of venturing out on a hunt is the peace and quiet that comes with being in the middle of nowhere. Though silence can be relaxing, in hunting season, it can also be quite dangerous. When hiking to hunt, you want to be noisy to alert other hunters of your presence in the area. No, we’re not saying you need to shout at the top of your lungs every step of the way. That just makes you a nuisance and will get tiresome real quick. Talking loudly with your hunting buddy, rattling your pack, or kicking stones can already make quite some noise. Another option is tying a cowbell to your backpack or hiking belt, a technique often used by hikers in bear territory. Sometimes silence is golden, but when you’re hiking in a hunting area, being noisy is even better.
Be prepared for emergencies
Another tip for better hiking when on the hunt, is packing the right emergency supplies. We understand you don’t fancy adding more weight to your pack but trust us: being prepared can be key to your survival. Whenever you’re hiking in remote territory, make sure you pack the basic safety essentials in case of emergency. We recommend a small first aid kit, a flashlight with an SOS function, a compass (in case your GPS fails), and possibly some extra nutrition and a water filter. We also carry a Lifestraw: a portable water filter that turns any outdoor water supply into suitable drinking water. It takes up minimum space in your pack, but offers maximum convenience when you’re faced with dehydration.
Be sure to customize your emergency suppliers based on where you plan to hike and the predicted weather conditions. If you’re hiking in hot and humid surroundings, pack an extra hydration bladder. Hiking in cold conditions? Bring an emergency blanket to protect from hypothermia in case you get stuck. Pack smartly and prep for the worst, that way, you won’t be caught off guard when faced with on-trail emergencies.