A Comprehensive Hunting Checklist for Beginners

Hunting is an exhilarating sport – a go-to game for people who love adventure and the outdoors. Unfortunately, hunting in the United States is slowly dying off. According to a survey by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the sales of hunting licenses have declined by six million since 2016. 

It’s great that you’re taking up a lost sport and exploring endless possibilities that it brings with it. If you’re starting and are clueless about hunting and its essentials, this article will be your guide.

Get Your Hunter’s Safety Card

In most states, especially in Washington, you will be required to have a hunter’s safety card. To get it, you’ll have to study for a certified hunter education course. You can study for this course online at your desired pace for a minimal price. This card acts as a license and proof that you’ve finished the course and are eligible to have a firearm and go hunting. This card allows you to hunt in every state of the Unites States.

Research and Talk to People

Hunting is an old sport. The knowledge that you’ll get by talking to old hunting enthusiasts is priceless and will enrich your hunting experience. People may tell you the best hunting spots, the ideal time of the year, and the appropriate gear you need. They may also take you under their wing and invite you to one of their hunting escapades. You can also join online forums and gain the base knowledge from there.


A beginner hunter practicing shooting in a shooting range

Like every sport, hunting requires practice. You won’t be able to hunt down a deer on your first hunting trip. Give yourself time. Observe the animal’s behavior. Get accustomed to the equipment. Try different terrains and weather to decide on your preferred condition.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Your first few hunting trips won’t go as you had planned them out in your head. In hunting, there aren’t any set rules or defined areas like other sports. It makes hunting more difficult as you aren’t aware of the animal’s next move. However, you’re a spirited human with a drive to succeed, and not being able to hunt may take your morale down in the first few trips. Cut yourself some slack.

Decide the Type of Hunting You’d Like to Do

There are a few categories in hunting to make the regulations easier. Some of them are below:

  • Big game: deer, bear, bison, elk
  • Small game: squirrel, rabbit, raccoon
  • Furbearers: fox, beaver
  • Predators: wolf, coyote
  • Game birds: grouse, dove, pheasant
  • Waterfowl: goose, duck, swan

Rifle Hunting

Rifle hunting is easier for beginners. Gripping a rifle is less challenging as compared to a bow. You wouldn’t even need to carry a lot of equipment when you’re going rifle hunting. Just your gear would be enough. However, rifle hunting will only allow you to hunt one animal per trip given the loud noise the rifle makes – it scares off any animals around your target.


As a beginner, you wouldn’t want to invest in an expensive rifle. Research your options. Set a budget. Weight the pros and cons. Get the best beginner rifle getting the best value for money.


You can spend all your money on expensive equipment, but if your basics aren’t set in place, you can’t shoot well. Practice as much as you can!


According to the Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, anyone can hunt with a valid hunting license. Ensure that you’re allowed to hunt that space, and you have a valid license, you’ll be good to go.

Bow Hunting

 back view of a man dressed in camouflage shooting an arrow rom a crossbow

Bow hunting gives you a chance to be close to nature and experience the essence of this sport. The most crucial aspect of bow hunting is the accuracy of aim as you only get one chance.

Draw Weight

The draw weight of the crossbow depends on the animal you plan on taking down. The larger your prey, the higher will be the draw weight of your bow. It means that it will shoot the arrows faster.

Types of Bow

The two primary types of bows are compound and recurve. In a recurve bow, the tip curves away from the shooter and has a higher draw length. They are noisy and aren’t steady. Compound bows, however, are comparatively stiffer and require less power to fire – making them more efficient.

Types of Arrow

Failure to get the correct arrows for your bow can result in a sloppy hunt. The arrows will break, and arrowheads may separate from the rest of the arrow.

Best Time for Hunting

The best time is dependent on the animal you plan to hunt. Read the state regulations as there may be restrictions to hunt certain animals at certain times. You can either hunt when animals are abundant in the field or when it’s quieter. Do what suits you best. As a beginner, you may get overwhelmed with a lot of hunters present at once, so you may want to go at a quieter time.


You can’t go hunting without the right equipment. It may make the sport very difficult and dangerous for you. If you’re going bow hunting, you’d need a crossbow, arrows, quiver – to hold your arrows, rangefinder, and boots – supportive and waterproof. If you’re going rifle hunting, you’d need rifle and ammunition. In general, you’d need a first aid kit, binoculars, knife, and flashlight.

If you’re in Washington and are looking for hunting gear at discounted prices, Gold Mountain Arms is the place to be. The online store offers guns, ammunition, camping and fishing gear, and a wide range of hunting equipment to make your outdoor adventure worthwhile.

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