Introduction

Are you interested in hunting, but don’t know where to start? WRD’s Hunting 101 blog series is here to help you become this season’s newest hunter.

 

Consider Your Goals.bow-2013---taken-by-robin-reuter_13606626235_o

Ask yourself why you want to hunt. Do you want to feel a greater part of the nature that surrounds us? Do you want to provide high-quality food for yourself or your family and feel the joy that comes from living off the land? Do you want to take part in a sport that brings millions of people together all over the country? There are many reasons to start hunting. Take a minute to figure out what you want to get out of the experience.

 

What should you try hunting first?

No game species is better to hunt than another. But squirrels are a great “gateway game” into the sport of hunting. Here’s why:
  1. They have the longest season of any game animal in Georgia (August 15 – February 29) and can be found just about anywhere.
  2. They’re a manageable size and have excellent meat.
  3. You only need a basic hunting license to hunt them.
In later posts, we’ll explain what firearm to use, how to choose where you hunt, how to clean a squirrel, and give you a recipe you can use with your harvested squirrel meat.

Know the game species you’re targeting.FoxSquirrel_NewtonCounty_MarciaSpears_001 (1)

Learning the general biology of the species you’re hunting will help you in the field.

Gray squirrel are common. They’re usually found in hardwood or mixed hardwood and pine forests. They’re not usually found in dense pine forests. Stands of hardwoods make good squirrel habitat because many of these trees are good mast producers. Mast refers to the nuts produced by woody plants that wildlife eat. For example, an oak tree is a mast producer because it drops acorns.

Like many game animals, their major activity time is in the morning and the late afternoon. They may be out during the day, but may not be as active.

Tip: Look for big leafy squirrel nests in trees. These are a good hint that squirrels are in the area. Keep in mind it is illegal to shoot into a nest.

 

Join the hunting community.

Most people get involved in the sport of hunting through family and friends who guide them through the process.

If you’re going to hunt small game, the guidance of a hunting mentor is invaluable. If you can, reach out to an experienced hunter and see if they can mentor you. Depending on the hunter, they may also be able to let you use some of their equipment. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Hunters are generally passionate about hunting, and many would love the opportunity to share this experience with someone else.

hunters with bird dogs
Bobwhite Quail Initiative Youth Quail hunters in Laurens County, GA.

 

You may also consider joining a hunting club. Joining a non-governmental organization (NGO) that relates to game (such as the National Wild Turkey Federation) is another way to get involved in the hunting community.

The Wildlife Resources Division also offers Hunt and Learn programs for all ages. These 1 to 3 day programs provide hands-on learning for novice hunters looking to learn more about the sport and provide an opportunity to hunt a specific game animal.  

So, you’re ready to try hunting?

Great! Hopefully this is just the first step of a lifelong love of the sport. Let’s move onto the next step in Hunting 101: What You’ll Need.

Other Posts in the Series

Post 2 — What You’ll Need

Post 3 — Where to Hunt

Post 4 — What to Do with Your Harvest