Skimccauley Uncategorized Big Game Hunting – Being Prepared For the Hunt

Big Game Hunting – Being Prepared For the Hunt


Do you start pulling out your gear several months before you take a hunting trip? If your anything like me, the day after you schedule a hunt, you start preparing for the trip. I spend so much time researching and preparing for a trip, by the time it finally arrives, it’s almost a little depressing. If you haven’t experienced this part of the hunt your missing a lot of fun and below are some tips to living the hunt, not just while your there, but for months beforehand.

Let’s use my trip to New Zealand with Craigieburn Alpine Safaris as an example to illustrate the process I go through when planning for a hunt. My father and brother-in-law had booked the trip in my absence at a hunting convention. I didn’t know the outfitter, the location, or the animals available, not to mention the terrain, the type of hunting or anything else for that matter.

My first step was to track down the outfitter’s website. I studied it thoroughly learning about the location of the hunt, the species available, pondering what I wanted to hunt and learning about what was available. There were beautiful pictures of mountain summits and massive red stags with crowned antlers. I could almost smell the mountain air.

I next called on a few friends that had hunted for stag or had been to New Zealand hunting for chamois, stag, and tahr. It’s always best in my opinion to speak to someone you know first, to learn what to ask. I learned many hunts in New Zealand are fenced rather than free range. The chamois and tahr are often hunted with helicopters, and the stags are classified by bronze, silver, or gold medal depending on the size and whether they were taken free range or not. I definitely wanted to hunt free range and I wanted to take a chamois by the power of my two legs rather than a helicopter.

Next I studied the internet to learn all I could about New Zealand and New Zealand hunting. I read about the country and learned about the animals and how they are hunted. I discovered their are two islands, the South and the North and the terrain is extremely different as well as the type of hunting. I was happy to know we would be hunting the South Island.

I bought a book on hunting New Zealand a relived another hunter’s experiences. I also bought a few hunting videos featuring New Zealand hunts. It amazing how much more real the hunt becomes when you see the terrain and watch other hunters taking trophies. There is nothing that compares to this experience and it helps with any type of hunt you are taking. This is also one of my favorite hunt preparation routines. Nothing like a great hunting video to pass those long evenings.

My next step was to contact the outfitter. By this point I had gathered enough information to ask about pricing, hunting gear lists, exact location, how we would be hunting and what kind of physical condition I needed to be in. I soon learned it was time to get in shape. I also searched the internet for additional gear lists and began paging through Cabela’s to fill out my missing gear. I can spend hours in a large outdoor store checking out gear and choosing what I want. Most I can’t afford, but if you don’t enjoy this part of the preparation, you need your head checked.

Once I learned the location, it was time to pull up Google Maps. This software is truly amazing and allows you to literally scout the terrain from your computer. I can’t think of how many times someone has told me about a special hunting spot that I then checked out on my laptop. You can cruise down the roads, set on top of a hill and view the surrounding, see all the nooks and crannie that hide critters, mark your favorites spots, and more. If you haven’t tried it, your missing the boat! Just remember, those mountains are a lot bigger in real life.

Now it was time to start pulling out my hunting gear. I always pull out twice as much gear as I need several months before the hunt and start whittling it down as the hunt draws near. I pack up my backpack and carry it around as part of my exercise routine (minus the rifle) just to see how it fits. I also start making trips to the range to knock the dust off the old rifle and make sure that once in a lifetime shot counts.

The closer the time came for the hunt, the more I dreamed of big stags and shaggy tahr. It was tough to sleep at all the last couple weeks before the trip. I had gone over my gear a hundred times, honed my rifle skills, beat my body into shape, and all that was left was to relax and let the guide do the work.


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