Know someone you want to introduce to hunting? Or perhaps you’re thinking of trying something new yourself. The first experience afield is an important one for creating a life-long passion for hunting, whether it’s birds or big game, but a first-timer might not know what kind of critter to chase.
Our “What’s Your Hunting Personality?” quiz will help you find out what type of hunting might be best suited to you (or a new hunter you’re mentoring).
Topics range from general personality traits to other important considerations such as physical fitness and tolerance for weather. Simply choose the answer that best describes you under each topic, then compare your answers to the types of hunting activities listed after the quiz. There are no wrong answers, just personal preferences!
Tally my score!
There are many types of game that you (or someone you are mentoring) can hunt. There’s also lots of overlap in terms of what might or might not suit you.
Look at the number of A, B, C, and D answers you gave. Which did you answer most often? Compare that letter with the types of game below to find the hunt for you!
Woodland Birds: Hunting woodland birds like woodcock and ruffed grouse can be in dense trees, so you’ll likely be watching a bird dog work – which not only helps you find birds but is fun if you like dogs. You need to be comfortable bushwhacking. The shots will be fairly close, so you can carry a smaller gauge shotgun, like a .410 gauge or a .28 gauge, which is lighter weight. You can also hunt any time during the day, and the duration of the hunt is flexible. Go out for an hour or all day. The birds are small, too, so they are light to carry in the back pouch of a game vest.
Field Birds: Hunting field birds – including pheasants, Hungarian partridge, and sharp- tailed grouse – can involve a lot of walking if the birds are not plentiful. You’ll likely follow more than one dog, especially if you’re hunting with a group of people who spread out in a line across a field. The shots can be far for a shotgun, up to 60 yards away, so you’ll carry a bigger, heavier shotgun, usually .12 gauge or .20 gauge. The weather can vary from hot and dry to cold and wet, but you can always head back to your vehicle whenever you like.
Waterfowl: Hunting for ducks and geese is typically done from a blind, either on the water or beside it. It’s an early wake-up call to get in position before the birds start moving. You need to be watchful and quiet as they approach, despite the adrenaline rush. Conditions can be damp and cold, augmented by the fact that you are near water and are not moving much except to get to the blind and put out decoys. You’ll probably be in close quarters with a couple of other friends – and a burly, wet dog who earns its keep retrieving the ducks you shoot.
Wild Turkey: Turkey hunting is drier than waterfowl hunting. You’ll sit in a blind or with your back against a tree, wearing camo from head to toe, on the edge of a field or in open woodlands. You may be alone or with another person but not with a group. Turkeys have keen vision, so you need to sit very still when they are near. You’ll be up early to get into position before the turkeys come down from their nighttime roosts in the trees to feed on the ground. If you shoot a big tom, be prepared to lug out a 20-pound bird.
Woodland Whitetails: Hunting whitetails in the woods involves some tracking, though many people use tree stands or deer blinds on the ground to wait out of sight near a known corridor where deer regularly travel. Your chances of success increase around dawn and dusk, when deer are up and feeding, so plan to be in position when shooting time starts (20-30 minutes before sunrise, depending on the state) and/or until it ends (20-30 minutes after sunset, depending on the state). You’ll be by yourself in a tree stand. Two people can often hunt effectively together on the ground.
Prairie Deer: Some people also use blinds or tree stands when hunting whitetails or mule deer on the prairie. You’ll generally find tree stands when hunting on a ranch or other privately-owned land. A stationary blind could be one that you set up. It could also be an opportune outcropping of rocks or fallen branches near a known travel corridor, such as the path to a watering hole.
Western Big Game and Eastern Whitetails: Hunting for elk, whitetails, and mule deer while you’re on the move typically involves a pre-dawn start and many off-trail miles on foot or on horseback. You might be in open country or in the timber (usually both). You should be physically fit and comfortable in the backcountry in all types of weather. This type of hunting appeals to small groups, couples, and individuals.
Prairie Deer: White-tailed deer and mule deer (in the west) are your target if you like open spaces. The deer may come to you if you’re located where they like to feed, or you can sneak up on them. It can be easier to get game back to your vehicle on the prairie than in the mountains, especially if you have a game cart. Getting there early increases your odds of success.
Pronghorn (antelope): If you’re not a morning person, pronghorn are appealing because you can hunt them in broad daylight. Like other western big game on the prairie, they require stalking on foot and can be very flighty. You’ll need to be quick on the trigger when the opportunity arises. Once they spot you or sniff you, they flee immediately – and very quickly. Pronghorn are the fastest animals in North America.
A regular contributor to Outdoor America, Lisa Ballard is an Ike from Red Lodge, Montana. She is an award-winning writer and photographer who is dedicated to getting people of all ages outdoors. She spends much of her time in the fall hunting with her husband, Jack, and her English setter, Percy (both pictured on the front cover!). www.LisaBallardOutdoors.com
© 2015 Izaak Walton League of America