Top 10 Hunting Skills Every First-timer Should Know

Hunting is the perfect hobby for preparedness-minded people because it involves careful planning and preparation for each hunt. They have to make sure that they have all the things they need to succeed in a hunt, like bushcraft knives, quiet clothing, range finders, long-range rifles, and scent elimination systems. If you are a first-time hunter, though, it is important to develop some essential hunting skills before starting the journey.

Note that no matter how complete your hunting gears and equipment are, the lack of skills and preparation might cause you to struggle during the entire hunt. In worse cases, you may put yourself in danger because of poor planning and preparation. To prevent that, here are some of the top hunting skills that beginners like you should develop and enhance.

Top Hunting skills you can’t buy with money

  1. Scouting

One of the hunting skills you have to develop is scouting the hunting area or land. This plays a major role in hunting. Scouting involves familiarizing yourself with the specific area you intend to hunt. This will give you an idea about the places where deer frequently visits, the best places to find water and food, and the bedding areas. This requires you to observe game signs and find potential set-up spots.

By being familiar with the hunting area, you can lower the risk of getting lost while preventing accidents. This will also inform you about the animals that stay in a particular area the entire year, giving you valuable info about their movements and habits. With that, you can eliminate the guessing game and know exactly where to go during each hunt.

  1. Knot-tying

Those who love to hunt or are interested in outdoor adventures are fully aware of how important it is to develop knot-tying skills. Learning the basics of tying a rope knot through simple and handy knot guides is useful in securing equipment, keeping yourself and everyone who is with you during your hunting adventure safe, and scaling vertical surfaces.

It is a vital skill not only for hunters but also for those who love boating, hiking, fishing, and climbing. Learn how to make a secure and safe knot, which is perfect to secure loads to a post, tree, or any other lashing point. Just make sure that the knot is properly tied to prevent it from slipping or jamming. It should also leave enough tag end to ensure that it makes the right amount of loop to anything that you are trying to secure.

  1. Reading moon phases

You also need to develop the skill of observing and reading moon phases. Note that the moon is one of the things that greatly contribute to animal behaviors and patterns. For instance, during a full moon, elk and deer will be out feeding whether it is daytime or nighttime. You can use this knowledge to your advantage to determine the perfect time to hunt.

Read: Broadhead target

  1. Understanding scents

You need to have a strong understanding of scents if you want to succeed in hunting. Keep in mind that game animals are famous for their excellent sense of smell. With that in mind, understanding scents and learning how to mask your own smell can contribute a lot to bringing home several pounds of meat or leaving the hunting area with nothing.

Remember that your scent will be carried in the air for more than a mile, especially when you decide to hunt for larger game, such as deer. To prevent animals from detecting you, you can use some scent control products. Most of these products make your scents difficult to detect by certain animals. Avoid smoking when hunting, too, as this might only drive off animals who are already in the area.

  1. Hunting the wind

Knowing how to hunt the wind can also prevent you from being in a situation where animals can detect or sense your smell. For instance, if you are out for a deer hunt then keep in mind that the whitetail deer has more than two hundred million scent receptors. That said, positioning yourself in the wrong wind might cause you to be unable to get any game.

What you have to do to hunt the wind is to determine the specific direction the wind is blowing downwards from game animals then hunt in that direction. For instance, if you and a deer come from different directions, although you are walking towards each other, then it helps to wait for the wind to blow in the specific direction the deer is walking before hunting it.

  1. Starting a fire

Make sure that you also know the basics of starting a fire before you begin hunting. Keep in mind that the most challenging situation in the wilderness is starting a fire during the time you need it the most. You also need to be an expert in fire-starting in the sense that you will be able to do it even when it is wet. In such a case, it helps to break away the dead wood’s wet layers so you can expose its dry chunks beneath.

Pull off dead tree branches instead of picking up the branches from the soaking wet ground. Collect all the needed fuel before lighting anything. You may use a butane stove, in case you have one in your bag, like a blowtorch so you can start a fire.

  1. Using a compass

Developing your navigational skills is also important if you want to be a successful hunter. In such a case, you need to know exactly how to use a compass. Note that this item performs one function and that is helping you find your way in the wilderness.

You have to understand how a compass works so you can use it in orienting yourself and picking a spot in the specific direction you intend to travel. Walk directly to your chosen spot then reorient using your compass. Choose your next spot. Repeat the steps until the time when you reach your intended destination.

Also read: Hunting bow

  1. Stalking or still-hunting

Many Western hunters use this ability to hunt antelopes, mule deer, and elk. To implement this technique, you have to depend on your hunting skills so you can creep within the range of your targeted game animals, instead of sticking to just a single location. You might want to hone two skills to make this work.

The first one is the spot-and-stalk hunt wherein you will be required to look for a high point that has good visibility. This will allow you to observe the area with the aid of a spotting scope or pair of binoculars. Each time you spotted an animal, you should cover a lot of ground as quickly as possible so you can reach the shooting range. To start with, you may move quickly without worrying about being quiet.

However, focus on being stealthy and utilizing obstructions to conceal your visual approach as you are getting closer to the target. The next skill is still-hunting, which requires you to stay quiet all the time. It requires slow and silent movements, especially when entering areas frequented by your target animals. You may use this skill during rainy or windy days as this is the time when the environmental conditions promote ease in sneaking stealthily through the woods.

  1. Rifle and bow hunting

You may also want to brush up on your rifle and bowhunting skills. If you are a beginner then keep in mind that rifle hunting might be easier for you than bow hunting. It could be because getting grips with a rifle and making the kill is easier to accomplish than when you are using a bow. It is also less time-consuming. With rifle hunting, you can take down one game animal at a time because it produces some noise that might scare off other animals within the vicinity.

Once you master rifle hunting, you should try honing your bow hunting skills. What is good about bow hunting is that it allows you to be close to nature. It also gives you the chance to be more in touch with hunting’s prime essence. When honing your bow hunting skills, remember that accuracy and aim are two vital factors for success. This is the main reason why you need to polish your skills in those areas.

  1. Dressing for the field

Lastly, you need to have the skill to dress correctly for the field. Outfit yourself with all the hunting gears you need. This is the time when you can lose yourself in a wide range of scents and any other products that can help you achieve success in hunting. Among the bare-bone necessities for each hunt are your rifle or gun, sharp knife, a flashlight, a box of ammunition, orange vest and hat, tall rubber gloves, flashlight, and zip-lock bag. Make sure that you also have the necessary permits with you.


Honing the most essential hunting skills is essential if you want to be a successful hunter. However, avoid getting too caught up in the complicated and technical hunting aspects as this might cause you to forget to enjoy the whole experience. Keep in mind that hunting is a challenging, fun, and exciting adventure. It can even build your character, so aside from honing your skills and understanding hunting’s technical aspects, make sure that you also fully enjoy the experience.