Gearing Up

“GEARING UP” For Hunting Season
By Tarra Stoddard

So, you’ve decided you’d like to try hunting. There are a few things you’ll need to do before you “gear up” and get out in the woods. Your journey should begin prior to hunting season. Most states require that you take a hunter education course. This will not only familiarize you with the gun aspect, but also the game in your area. Another great outlet for women who would like to learn to hunt is “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” (BOW). They offer workshops for women to help them learn more about the outdoors, which they say “means becoming more competent, more confident, and more aware.”

“BOW” has been around since 1991, and specializes in helping female beginners learn outdoor skills. All equipment needed is provided; a woman needs only the desire to learn, and she can have fun doing it!

The basic items needed to hunt are a hunting license, animal tags, camo, a rifle with a scope, ammunition and land. Check your local regulations to make sure your firearm is legal for the game you’ve selected.

If you’re new to hunting, purchasing your gear can be confusing and costly. Once you decide what game you’ll be hunting, there is only one place I will recommend for women’s hunting apparel. Hunting apparel is one place that you don’t want to cut corners. Prois Hunting & Field Apparel is the best on the market for women, in my humble opinion. If you like to stay warm and dry, and actually have apparel that fits, it’s the place from which to purchase. My favorite mid-weight pants, “The Generation X Series,” are made with a wind stopping and waterproof fabric. They sit at your natural waist and have ample room through the hips and thighs. They’re made with boot zips for convenience and an elastic drawstring with cord stop to draw pants close to your boots. This reduces the infiltration of debris and dampness into your boots. You will be writing “Thank You” letters to Prois after donning these on a hunt! Wearing these feels like putting on a warm micro-fleece lined pillow pant. Can you say, “Ahhhh?” The back pockets have pillowtop closures to keep contents in place. Their deep cargo pockets (with magnetic closures for ease of access) ensure enhanced silence. You have plenty of room to bring along all of your essentials. My favorite versatile shirt, “Prois’s Ultra Backcountry Shirt,” wicks moisture away from the skin, keeping you cool when it is hot and warm when it is cool. Its zippered neck allows venting in warm weather. The convenient 3 compartment lumbar pocket system is perfect for holding calls, gloves, hand warmers and other hunting necessities. There’s room to bring along plenty of quiet snacks or handheld devices to play for downtime.

Before you run out and purchase a rifle and scope, there are few things to consider. You want a rifle that fits you properly and a scope that will perform. If you discover that you love hunting, you’re sure to expand to hunting other game. Purchasing a rifle and scope that you can use for any game in your area is ideal. Personally, I hunt with a Savage 7mm 08. With this rifle, I can hunt any game in my area. Ranges often have rifles that you can shoot to try them before you make a decision on which one to purchase. Once you purchased your rifle you’ll need a scope. Finding the best quality scope for the price is essential. I use a Vortex Diamondback HP 3-12 × 42 Scope. I highly recommend Vortex scopes. Not only are they affordable, but they have a vip warranty. Its a Lifetime, Unlimited, Fully Transferable, Unconditional warranty. Vortex will repair or replace the product (at no charge) in the event it becomes damaged or defective. The Diamondback HP (High Performance) riflescope offers a full-on array of features that you as a hunter will love. The Diamondback has a Dead-Hold BDC reticle that helps eliminate guesswork on hold-over and windage corrections. XD extra-low dispersion glass increases resolution and color fidelity while XR fully multi-coated lenses maximize every minute of shooting light. When you learn about the “golden hour”, being able to see through your scope in this last light is mandatory. The image is bright and crisp, even at extended ranges. The scope’s fog proof performance will have you thanking Vortex. Once you purchase your scope, you’ll need to sight it in to your rifle. Once sighted in, I recommend practicing with your rifle on 25yd., 50yd., & 100yd. ranges. This way you can get familiar with your distances. Don’t get overwhelmed! Be sure to put in some time scouting your game prior to opening season. Hunting is a learning process. It teaches you patience, ethics, sustainability, discipline and appreciation for hard work! If you enjoy nature, hunting will open your eyes to things you’ve never dreamed that you’d see. Most importantly, get out there and have fun! Happy Hunting!