Getting Ready to Go Hunting

On today’s podcast, we will discuss getting ready for your next hunt. This podcast will be full of ideas and helpful tools that you can use to limit mistakes when it comes to planning your next adventure.

If you have been following along in this series of podcasts, you know where you are going hunting and what animal you plan to hunt. If you haven’t listened to the last 5 podcasts, you might want to go back and see what you missed. Today we will focus on having everything you need when you leave the house. You won’t need to turn around and go back.

Buy Your License and Tags

So now that you made a decision as to where to go hunting and what animal you plan to hunt, let’s get your tags and license purchased. I suggest buying them as soon as they become available and your budget can afford them. Now you are committed to the hunt, sweet, let’s start planning what you need to take. 

I know I touched on this in a previous conversation, but if you know where you want to hunt but you don’t know what tag or license you need, call your local wildlife agency and ask for help. Their job is to help you hunt within the laws. Someone will answer your questions. And if they won’t, please let me know. I will do my best to help you solve that concern.

Taking Time Off Work?

Something you should consider is planning to take time off work to hunt. Schedule it on your work calendar as soon as possible. You certainly don’t want to do all this planning and then not be able to go because of work scheduling issues. My brother puts his September elk hunt on his work calendar the first week of January when he is allowed to schedule that year’s vacation.

Now you can start gathering your hunting gear together. I suggest months before the hunt. Why? Because that gives you plenty of time to purchase and decide on the proper gear for your adventure. Now I promise you will continue to add gear over the years, but for now, let’s stick to the basics.

3 Items Every Hunter Needs

  1. Clothing and boots 
  2. Backpack with survival gear 
  3. Gun and ammo, or bow and arrows

Clothing and boots are critical to a good hunt. When you are comfortable and warm, you will stay in the woods. I know from experience that the first thing that sends me back to the truck or back to camp is not being comfortable. And with all the manufacturers of hunting clothing today, it’s way more affordable to buy good gear than in the past. 

No Cotton Clothing for Hunting!

But the first thing I’ll say without any real explanation is no cotton clothing period. Cotton holds moisture and does not dry quickly. This is the fastest way to develop hypothermia. End of story. There are way too many better options.

Now I can suggest lots of quality brands but that is not what this is about. What I suggest is buy clothing that is designed to layer together and keep you warm, dry and comfortable. And second, buy the best quality you can afford. Most of my hunting clothing I only wear when I’m hunting and it has lasted me for years. I seriously have hunting clothes that are over 20 years old. Pretty cool that they still fit I think.

Dry and warm feet will hunt longer

Boots are important too. Wet or cold feet will turn you back faster than a coon dog on a hot trail. So there is really only one option when it comes to boots. Water-proof period. Again, way too many options to list. I have found a brand that works for me, the quality is fantastic and the comfort is like wearing my slippers. 

You just need to spend some time trying different ones on and definitely ask others their opinion. Buy the best quality you can afford and they will last you several seasons. My current hunting boots are 4 1/2 years old when I’m writing this but again I usually only wear them when I’m hunting or scouting. 

You typically put lots of miles on them also, so make sure they are comfortable. And related to comfort is, do they need to be insulated or not? My feet can bear the cold if I’m moving which is how I typically hunt, so I don’t prefer insulated boots. But it is something you should consider depending on your hunting style. Will you hike a lot or sit a lot, you will need to decide that. But the two most important things are your boots need to be waterproof and comfortable. 

Large Backpack or Simple Daypack?

Next on the list is a backpack and your survival gear.

Backpacks can be anything from a small day pack up to a 7500 cubic in mountain pack. What you need depends on how you hunt. Are you planning to hunt from the truck every day or are you planning to hike into the backcountry for 7 days?

My best suggestion is to don’t have a pack that is any bigger than it needs to be. So, of course, I own a couple of packs. But the one I use the most is my day pack. I prefer a day pack with several pockets so I can keep things separated and easy to access. 

I also keep items in my day pack that can stay in there all season. We will cover the essential items in a later podcast, but for now, I just want you to know that your pack should be on you or near you at all times. Use one that is comfortable and not too big because you should never be hunting without it.

Get my Daypack Checklist

This leads me to my next point that your pack is your survival tool kit. As I said, having your pack with you all the time should become a habit. Even when you walk off the road for a 5-minute hike I suggest you take your pack. I’ll tell you from experience, if you grab your gun, you should grab your pack. Because if you see an animal, it could be hours before you return to the truck. You can get my list of items that I keep in my day pack at You may want to look at it and see if there is something you forgot.

The last item on my shortlist is your gun and ammunition. Back in episode 4 of this podcast we covered choosing the right rifle and ammunition for you. If you are struggling to decide what rifle to buy, you should check out that podcast. But to reiterate that message a little, I’ll say pick a gun and hunting ammunition, practice with it, and get comfortable handling and shooting it.

I also want to mention archery equipment here too. This is my favorite hunting method. It takes patience and practice to become efficient with a bow and arrow, and what a tremendous accomplishment it is to fill your tag this way. Just make sure you invest time finding the right one that fits you. Again if you missed it, go back to episode 4 and listen if you are still trying to find the right bow and arrows.

Expensive equipment doesn’t equal success

You can spend 1000’s of dollars on hunting equipment, but I don’t want you to think that it’s necessary to be a successful hunter. You can certainly spend more money on hunting clothes and gear and it will potentially increase the quality of the products you choose, but don’t get hung up on these things. Spend what you can comfortably afford and let’s get you onto the next step. 

Get my Gear Checklist

Now aside from these basic items, there is other gear you should consider, especially if you are going for several days. I have a list over at that you can print off. This list is a good reminder when it’s time to load the truck.

Another important part of planning your hunting is deciding where you are going to be hunting. We discussed this in more detail in episode 5 when we talked about scouting. Now that you are getting ready to go, it’s time to fill out a hunting plan. 

Fill out your Hunting Plan

A hunting plan is a simple document that tells someone exactly where you are planning to hunt. We never know what kind of challenges life may throw at us while we are in the woods. A hunting plan tells your loved ones how to find you if you don’t make it home when you planned. You can get a copy of my hunting plan at It’s simple to fill out and may prevent you from spending an unnecessary night in the woods.

Who will process the meat?

But what will you do when you fill your tag? Who is going to process it? Let’s do a little preparation for when you are successful. 

So are you going to cut up your animal yourself? If you want to do that, awesome. It’s really not difficult. You just need to plan where you are going to hang the meat for a couple of days before you cut it up. We will talk about meat storage in a future podcast, but for now, you just need to decide on a cool place to hang it prior to processing it.

But maybe you want someone else to process it, that is fine too. But I want to encourage you, in this case, to find a butcher now before you shoot it rather than after. Make a couple of phone calls and ask about processing fees and availability when you return from your hunt. 

If you are going to hunt regularly and not planning to cut up your own meat, you want to start building a relationship with a butcher. This is the guy who is going to be handling the meat you put on the table. Find a good one and keep him on speed dial. And let him know you are coming his way as soon as you head for home with your harvest because so often it’s after business hours when you get back. To find a butcher that understands that and is willing to work with you is important.

You can start planning for your next hunt now. Don’t wait till the last minute and cause yourself unnecessary stress. Getting prepared for a hunt can be simple if you just follow the steps.

Help pass on the hunting tradition

If you are a veteran hunter who cares about the future of our hunting tradition and lifestyle, you can make a difference by finding someone to mentor.

If you are a new hunter and don’t have someone in your immediate family or a close friend to show you the way, then join me and the Greenhorn community so you can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

Do You Need Hunter Safety?

Are you still needing to take Idaho hunter safety?

This recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has changed many of our normal life activities. The Idaho Fish and Game has stopped all near future instructor lead hunter safety classes.

This leaves new hunters that want to get their hunter certification now with only one choice. You will need to do an online course. A link to that course is The fee for that course is only $24.50.

Idaho is waving the field day

Typically you would be required to follow up the online hunter education course with a field day, but Idaho is currently waiving that due to the virus outbreak.

Now I have been a hunter education instructor in Idaho for over 10 years and I’m sad to see this be the case. I believe every new hunter should have some formal hands on training to give themselves the confidence and reassurance they have the skills to be a safe hunter.

Kolbys first turkey

Find a good hunting mentor

But after saying that though, I know the number one influence on new hunters is their hunting mentor. So, once someone leaves my class, they are going to follow the example that their hunting mentor sets for them.

So if you know someone needing to take hunter educuation, now would be a great time. Especially if they are part of the individuals that are stuck at home during this uncertain time.

Besides, if you live in Idaho and are needing something to do, at the time of this article, spring bear hunting and turkey hunting are still open in Idaho. Just be respectful of others and keep your social distancing.

If you need help after taking the online Idaho hunter education course, please let me know. I have been a hunting mentor for over 20 years and would enjoy helping you with your hunting challenges.

Learn to Hunt: 10 Steps to Hunting Success

You can get a free copy of my book Learn to Hunt: 10 Steps to Hunting Success and use it as a guide on your journey.

I also have a podcast that covers those steps in greater detail. You can find it on your favorite podcast app by searching for the Greenhorn Hunting Podcast. Or you can click on the Podcast tab above and listen right here on the website.

Listen to my podcast on hunter safety

If you still need to take Idaho hunter safety, you will definitely want to listen to GH-2 Hunter Education: Everything You want to Know. It details out the subjects I cover in my classes.

If you still have questions or need help getting signed up for a class, please send an email to, I’ll be glad to help.

Today is the opening day for Idaho’s spring bear hunting season. But what a different year this could be.

We are in the middle of a virus that is changing how we live and where we should go. But we can still have hope for the future and talk about activities that fill us up.

I hope this episode finds you healthy and hopeful for a better future and I pray God blesses you and your home in this crazy time. Be smart and be safe.

Are you looking for a community of hunters to support you and mentor you in through the challenges of hunting? Join the Greenhorn Hunting Community.

If you are struggling with what you should do next or need help staying focused as a new hunter. Check out my book Learn to Hunt: 10 Steps to Hunting Success

Hunting is My Exercise Program

On today’s podcast, I want you to understand that you don’t need to be in amazing physical condition to be a hunter. But you do need to be conditioned for the hunt you plan to do. Hunting is a lifestyle more than it is a sport. So don’t think for a minute that in order to experience true hunting you need to workout 3-5 days a week. For me, hunting has been my lifetime exercise program.

Hunting is an activity you should enjoy not an activity that puts pressure on you to perform. I’m saying these things because I feel it has become some standard that every hunter needs to get into better physical condition. Well, that all depends on what kind of hunter you want to be. 

Where are You Going Hunting?

You see, if you plan to go on a rocky mountain backpack hunting trip for 7 days, you’re going to need to be in good physical condition. But if you just want to hunt from the truck every day and stay close to the road, it may not be as physically demanding. Maybe you are going to sit in a treestand on a 10-acre piece of land, definitely not much different than walking to the mailbox and back.

My greatest concern is that you would allow your current physical condition to stop you from hunting. If you can shoot a gun, there are opportunities for you to hunt. Now maybe it’s your dream to someday hunt the rocky mountains or go on an Alaskan hunting adventure, fantastic. But let’s start right where you are and make a plan that will get you in the woods this hunting season.

Be Honest with Yourself, Are You Conditioned for the Hunt?

I want you to be honest with yourself and decide if getting in a better physical condition is going to be a requirement for the coming hunting season. Do you think you can currently meet the physical demands of the hunt you have planned?

Now I don’t want to give you some perception that I workout regularly. It’s just been the last couple of years that I started putting a little more effort into my conditioning a couple of months prior to hunting season. The biggest reason is that I’m getting older and my endurance just isn’t what it was when I was in my 20’s. So a couple of months before hunting season I start riding my exercise bike and get my lungs and legs ready for the mountains.

As an electrician for the last 27 years, my job has kept me pretty active. I typically work at a steady pace all day which I think has helped keep me stay in decent physical shape. But maybe you have a desk job. Your daily routine will certainly affect your endurance. 

Go Where the Animals Are

Here is the thing, you do need to be conditioned for the hunt based on the area and the level of intensity you intend to hunt. Nothing will ruin your hunt faster than not being ready to go where the animals are. I just want you to plan a hunt and have a realistic expectation of how to prepare for that hunt.

But with all that said I want to talk about what kind of hunting you are planning to do. If you only have a 10-acre parcel of land that you will be hunting from a tree stand, this is not something you need to get into peak condition for. So for that kind of hunter, I say be active, go for a walk regularly, and spend some time looking for other hunting opportunities. If this is you, it will take a lot more mental strength and patience then physical endurance. We will talk about the mental aspect in a little bit.

If you plan to set a base camp near a road and hunt from it daily, just consider the terrain. As I said earlier, you need to go where the animals are. Be ready to get to the animals and back every day. 

Your Exercise Plan is up to You

Depending on what type of work you do, you may or may not need to exercise regularly. My brother and I hunted this way for years when we were younger. He worked out every day and still does. That is just his lifestyle. I on the other hand just sucked it up the first couple of days, took some Ibuprofen, and kept going. It really just helped me to have a hunting partner that pushed me to hunt harder. But like I said, now I need some cardio workout to keep up.

If this is your plan, I suggest you spend a few months prior to hunting season riding a bicycle and walking. When you leave the truck every morning and head out for the day’s hunt, you never know what challenges the terrain you are hunting may require of you. Sometimes the animals dictate to us where we need to go. Just be ready and don’t let physical unpreparedness be the reason you aren’t successful on your hunt. 

Are You an Extreme Hunter?

Then there is the extreme hunter. You are putting everything you need on your back and heading off to some remote location. The plan is to backpack the animal out after you kill it along with all your supplies. This type of hunting is not for the mentally weak or physically unfit. But it is a way to find animals that are less pressured. If you are considering this type of hunt, then it’s going to take some effort and dedication. 

I suggest you get yourself on a regular workout routine. You really should be doing a cardio workout and strength training with weights 3 to 5 days a week. This environment will offer challenges that you weren’t expecting. Those mountains don’t care one way or another if you come home or not.

The Mountains Don’t Care

The reason I know this is because my first major backpacking adventure was an eye-opener. My brother, a friend, and I when we were in our 20’s went off to a high mountain lake for a 3 day weekend. I had never been 16 miles from a road before in remote wilderness, but what’s the worst that could happen? 

Well, we left the truck on the first day and the weather was beautiful. We enjoyed the hike in and even got there with time to fish that first day. The next day it rained all afternoon, but we still caught a few fish and enjoyed the adventure. 

But that evening it started pouring rain in buckets. We eventually decide to stay in our tents and head out in the morning. But I’ll tell you I didn’t know if morning would ever come. All night long it poured rain and the wind blew at crazy speeds. 

Eventually, my brother’s tent collapsed and he had to come into the 2 man tent my buddy and I was using. But the wind was blowing so hard the walls of the tent were laying on us and we were all soaked to the bone. That was probably the longest night of my life.

At daylight, we got up and stuffed all our wet gear in the backpacks and headed out. Only 16 miles to a warm truck and dry clothes. It rained the entire walk out.

I just want you to understand that if you decide to go hunting with a backpack and a dream, be prepared. That mountain didn’t care that night whether we got home to our families or not. It was just another day in the mountains as far as the animals were concerned. I hope that makes sense.

Go Hunting and Return Safely

Remember you are trying to get there, have a great experience, and get back with no major complications or injuries. You also plan to bring home an animal as a result of your efforts. Getting yourself in physical shape will provide you with the best experience once you get to the woods. 

I’m just issuing this warning. If you plan a hunt like this and you get there not ready to tackle the physical and mental demands of the hunt. It will be one of the worst experiences of your life and a tremendous disappointment. 

Mental Hunting Strength

So let’s talk about the mental aspect of hunting. It’s probably one of the biggest things that separate the successful hunter from the not successful hunter. And the sad thing is that mental strength in hunting is something you just need to build over time. Kind of like working out your muscles, you need to work out your mind when you hunt. 

If you are sitting in a treestand for several hours and haven’t seen any bucks to shoot, it’s hard to stick it out when the temperature starts to drop. But what if you push yourself to stay longer. You know there are big bucks in the area. Finally 2 hours later one steps out and you shoot him. Now you have exercised your mind to stick it out even when you start to get uncomfortable. That will help you mentally fight through the cold temperatures next time.

Another part of the mental strength you need as a hunter is to keep going out even when you are unsuccessful. Hunting isn’t easy. It takes perseverance and consistency. If you expect every hunting trip to end in success then you should probably just forget this whole thing and play golf on the Xbox. Your favorite football team doesn’t win every game, but they show up every weekend expecting to win. You need to pursue your hunting adventure in the same way.

So let’s tie the physical and mental strength together. You see, without a certain amount of mental strength you won’t push yourself to be ready for the physical demands of your hunt.

I personally feel your mental strength starts with determination. How determined are you to do these activities and give yourself the best opportunity for a successful hunt? I can’t answer that, but I want you to stop for a moment and be honest with yourself.

What is the Reason You Hunt?

There is a reason you want to hunt. What is that reason?

Use that to push you to go a little harder and get yourself ready for the challenge of your next hunt. Success in hunting can be a little about being in the right place at the right time. But hunters who are consistently successful, it is more about being prepared and ready for whatever the challenge requires.

Now I hope this podcast gets you thinking about your next hunt. Where is it you want to go? What are some of the challenges you could encounter? Do you need to start working out more regularly?

Are You Going to get Conditioned for the Hunt?

Well, you can start today or tomorrow it’s up to you. But what I really wanted to do here is get you thinking about how demanding is your hunt going to be. As I stated earlier, I just don’t want you heading out on this big adventure with high expectations and disappoint yourself because you weren’t ready for the physical challenges of the hunt. 

Do what you can now and don’t focus on negative thoughts. if you need to get in better shape for that dream hunt, let’s put it on the calendar for next year and start working toward it now.

On the next podcast, we will talk about planning for your hunt. We will discuss all the things you should consider now before the opening day gets here. Everything from buying your license to putting the last item in the truck and heading out to the woods. If you need a list like I do to keep you from forgetting something, you’ll want to listen.    

If you are a veteran hunter who cares about the future of our hunting tradition and lifestyle, you can make a difference by finding someone to mentor.

Connect with Greenhorn Hunting

If you are a new hunter and don’t have someone in your immediate family or a close friend to show you the way, then join me and the Greenhorn community so you can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

Do You Have a Plan?

On today’s podcast we will focus on scouting the area you plan to hunt. This is Step 4 in the 10 step strategy I use to help new hunters learn how to hunt. Would you like to read the book and learn more tips and strategies for becoming a successful hunter? You can go to and download your free copy. This resource was created with the new hunter in mind. It can also help experienced hunters get focused on skills they need to improve to increase their chances of success.

So let’s get into the subject of scouting and how to plan your future hunt.

In episode 3 of this podcast, we broke down the hunting regulations and chose the area we plan to hunt. Now to build off of that plan I will teach you how I go about scouting such a large area. Again, the goal here is to break this down into bite-size pieces so we can simplify the process. So let’s first create a list of steps for scouting an area.

  1. OnXmaps – app on my smartphone
  2. Google Earth – app on my home computer
  3. Field glasses or binoculars – with me every time I visit the areas I’m considering to hunt

First, I look for private land in the Unit I want to hunt. Is there anyone I know that I could contact and ask for permission to hunt? Private property can allow me the opportunity to hunt an area with less hunting pressure. Some states have programs that connect hunters with landowners who want people to access their land and manage wildlife. In Idaho, this program is called Access Yes. We will discuss these programs in more detail in a future podcast.

Next, I consider public land in the unit I’m going to hunt. But in Idaho, we are blessed to have millions of acres of public land. So later I’ll explain what I look for when I’m scouting for the right piece of public land.

I look for an area with terrain that is within my physical ability. I also look for a habitat that should be ideal for the animal I’m going to hunt.

Don’t be afraid to have conversations with others. Ask other hunters for suggestions. Tell people that you hunt. It will surprise you how many people don’t mind helping you out. Especially if they find out you are a new hunter.

Lastly, you need to put boots on the ground. Investigate the places you want to hunt and look for signs related to the animal you are going to hunt.

Scouting Tools

Let’s start with learning about a couple of tools that are not required, but definitely game-changers. 

I use an app on my smartphone called OnXmaps. This application shows me way more information then I can even begin to explain in this short podcast. But, let’s keep it simple for this discussion.

OnXmaps will show you boundary lines between private lands and public lands. It can give you landowner contact information which may help you get access to a piece of private property. It shows you detailed updated aerial maps of an area with topographical lines. This helps if you want to know how steep or flat an area is. This app will cost you a couple of dollars on an annual basis, but easily worth it.

Google earth is the next tool I enjoy. It provides aerial photos of a particular area like OnXmaps, but google earth is free. The 3-dimensional aspect of the area I’m considering to hunt is powerful. It helps me get a better understanding of the lay of the land.

Lastly, the most important tool you need is your field glasses (binoculars). You want to scout from a distance sometimes and not tread on the area you plan to hunt. So having the ability to see animals and evidence that they are present is best done with your field glasses.

Start with Private Land Scouting

So I’m going to start by looking at private land in Unit 10A. Without giving any secret contacts away I want to explain how I find private land to hunt. It really just boils down to asking. So I created a document I call “Private Property Access Guide“. This document tells you everything you should consider when locating and asking for permission. If you would like a copy of this document, you can get a free copy by going to

My favorite way of scouting private land is to take my field glasses, my OnXmaps app and go for a drive. When I see animals or trails that interest me on a piece of private property, it’s time to do some research. I’ll use OnXmaps to search for the landowner’s name and make notes of the location. This will be a reference when I start trying to find private lands to hunt.

Idaho Fish and Game have partnered with landowners throughout the state to help them manage the animals on their property. This program is called Access Yes. The great part about this program is you simply follow the land owner’s instructions and you can hunt their land. You may only need to call them or stop by their house. You can check out Access Yes on the Idaho Fish and Game website at

If you live in another state, check out your state’s wildlife management website. Check to see if they have a similar program. The Private Property Access Guide at has links to several state websites and their landowner programs. 

Public Land Scouting

Public land is the best option for most hunters. You don’t need permission to hunt because the land belongs to you the citizen, not the government entity. Now, I expect that statement will get me some feedback. See, I grew up in an area that taught me that the public land is owned by the public. But I will leave that conversation for a future podcast.

Back to public land and why it’s a great hunting resource. So you can hunt public land that is accessible and open for the current hunting season. Caution! Some public land is closed to hunting such as parks, wildlife refuges, and areas near federal facilities just to name a few. It’s your responsibility to know these areas. 

Scouting Secrets

So when it comes to hunting public land, where should you focus your scouting efforts first? With a tool like OnXmaps on your smartphone, I suggest you look at public lands near areas that you can’t hunt. OnXmaps tells me within a few feet where the boundary line is for instants between a piece of private land I don’t have permission to hunt and a piece of public land I can hunt. 

The animals on that piece of private land that I can’t hunt may not experience any hunting pressure and they don’t know where the boundary line is. So when they cross over on to public land, they won’t be looking for me. But another word of caution. 

Hunting close to a boundary will increase the possibility of shooting an animal and it turns around and returns to the private property before it expires. In a situation like that, you would need to contact the landowner or a conservation officer and ask for permission or get help retrieving your animal. This is not an ideal situation, so I suggest you hunt far enough from those boundaries to avoid this happening. Posting a 100 yards or more from a boundary would be my suggestion. You definitely want a buffer.

Consider the Terrain

When I’m helping people work through a scouting plan, one big consideration is the terrain. Don’t invest a large amount of time researching an area and then start hunting it and discover you physically can’t get to the animals. You also don’t want to kill one and risk having the meat spoil before you can get it into a cooler. 

Be honest with yourself about your physical condition and hunt in an area you can not only find an animal to kill but you can also get that animal out of the woods when you kill it.

Now if you are like, “I want to be more physically fit and able to hunt in places this fall that you couldn’t see yourself hunting in today”. In the next podcast, we will be discussing physical conditioning and getting yourself ready to hunt.  

You should consider things like access to your prospective hunting area. Sometimes on public land, we are allowed to access an area while we are scouting, but when hunting season comes, that area’s roads are closed to limit access. Do some research and ask the agency managing those public lands, “will roads in that area be closed come hunting season?” 

In a future podcast, we will talk about ways to get deeper into some of these types of areas and the tools you might want to consider investing in. 

Talk to Other Hunters

One way to find hunting opportunities and gain access to potentially good hunting areas is to talk with other hunters and non-hunters. Have some good old conversations with people you know and people you don’t. Strike up a conversation with the guy at the sporting goods store that is looking at a new gun to buy while you are doing the same. Visit with people at church, work, or athletic events and share how you are learning to hunt and you’re just not sure where to go hunting. You may be surprised at the willingness of others to help you find a good honey hole as we call it. Maybe they would even give you permission to hunt their private property because they have animals and nobody ever comes to them to ask for permission.

Lastly, is the part of scouting that everyone thinks of when I ask “have you been scouting?” You must get out and spend some time in the woods looking over and learning the area you plan to hunt when possible. Months before the season opens I’ll spend time walking those areas and learning the lay of the land. I’m not too worried about disturbing the critters until it gets closer to opening day. About 2 weeks prior to opening day is when I try to spend more time watching from a distance with my field glasses rather than walking through the area covering it with my human scent.

It’s different when I’m planning to hunt an area that is many miles from home. I may not get to investigate it prior to the hunting season. So in that case, I like to get there at least a day or two prior to opening day. This gives me some time to take my digital scouting plan and go over the area. I’m looking for animals and recent activity. That will either verify I’m in the right place or tell me I need to quickly find a new location. This form of scouting is much riskier, but the reward is gratifying. You took the knowledge you have acquired and turn it into a successful hunt.

On the next podcast, we will discuss how to get physically ready for your next hunt. Will you be going on a rocky mountain hunting adventure come October? Maybe you will be hunting on the neighbor’s farm after work? Hunting is for everyone who wants to experience it. I don’t want you to think that your current physical condition should stop you from enjoying hunting success.   

Get Connected

Are you a veteran hunter who cares about the future of our hunting tradition and lifestyle. You can make a difference by finding someone to mentor.

Are you a new hunter and don’t have someone in your immediate family or a close friend to show you the way? Join me and the Greenhorn community so you can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

Selecting a Hunting Weapon

On today’s podcast, we will tackle the controversial issue of choosing the right hunting weapon for your next hunt. When I say weapon it could mean a rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader or bow. But in an attempt to keep this series simple we will talk about choosing the right rifle first. Later in the podcast, we will discuss choosing the right bow if archery is something you are considering.

So how should you go about picking the right rifle for your next hunt? Well, my first question is do you already have a rifle that will work? If so, maybe you don’t need to listen to this podcast. But are you shooting it accurately? If your shooting skills could be better than maybe you should stay tuned. Your current rifle could be the problem.

If you go on Facebook or other social media platforms, you can see all kinds of conversations about what is the right caliber of rifle for hunting a deer or hunting an elk. But in my 38 years as a hunter and 10 years as a hunter education instructor, I don’t think there is one perfect rifle for everything and everyone. Each person is different and their needs are different. 

So I’m going to share my two cents on this subject and if you agree or disagree, please feel free to let me know. I love a good healthy debate.

A person’s hunting rifle is a personal thing and it should be okay for you to use whatever rifle you choose as long as it is legal according to the hunting regulations. 

What Makes it the Right Rifle?

I will say though that I have a couple of criteria that are major factors in choosing the right hunting weapon. 

  1. Does it fit you? 
  2. Can you shoot it comfortably? 
  3. Will it do the job?

Does it fit you?

This question is related to how the rifle feels when you hold it. 

Is it too heavy?

Can you hold it up comfortably and make an off-handed shot at 50 yards and hit the target where you are aiming? Lots of questions as we go through this section. I really want you to consider your hunting rifle and if it is the right one for you. Because if you have a hunting rifle that doesn’t fit you then you aren’t going to shoot it as accurately as you should and that will cause unnecessary frustration.

Is the stock too long and you find yourself reaching for the trigger when you are shooting? Many rifles have different stocks available for them when you purchase them new. Just a 1 ½ inch difference in length can make a lot of difference in your ability to squeeze the trigger comfortably.

But I’ll also ask is your rifle stock to short? Do you find yourself very uncomfortable trying to shoot, because you feel bunched up behind the rifle? Is your eye to close to the scope and you find yourself searching for a clear picture? This happens a lot when dad buys you a gun at the age of 12, but then you are still hunting with it at the age of 18. Don’t sell the gun, it could still work, maybe you just need to buy a stock for it. If you do, keep the old one, it may fit your son or daughter someday. 

Do you already have a rifle and these questions resonate with you? I recommend going to a gunsmith or a gun store with knowledgable employees and ask for help. Get the gun you currently have to fit you properly, or buy a new or used one that is perfect for you. Yes, I can shoot lots of guns and hit where I’m aiming, but with my guns that are specifically sized to fit me perfectly, I shoot them with way more confidence and control. 

So this leads me to my next point of using a gun that you can shoot comfortably. In hunter education, I discuss this all the time because I’m often teaching kids and women. So if you are a man and a hunter please hear what I’m saying. Don’t ask someone to shoot a caliber of rifle that recoils so much they will certainly feel the results of that shot the next day.

I want you to enjoy shooting your rifle and hunting, but a gun that recoils too much for a shooter will lead them to a destructive path. They usually develop a flinch when they shoot which leads to poor accuracy which leads to low self-confidence. And this can lead to poorly placed shots and wounded animals that aren’t recovered. These are all things I want you to avoid.

But what usually happens when you are shooting a gun that recoils to the point it hurts, you will probably quit shooting all together and maybe even quit hunting. I certainly don’t want that. Believe me, you can own a hunting weapon that will get the job done and not kick like a mule. Now before I say this I want you to know that there are many options, but this is the one we choose for our house.

The Hunting Weapon We Choose

My wife and 3 kids all shoot a 7mm-08 caliber rifle with a 139-grain bullet. My son has killed 2 deer and a bear with his, my oldest daughter has killed 3 deer, my youngest daughter 2 deer and my wife a bear and an elk. All of these animals died with one shot to the vital area (heart and lungs) and recovered in under 100 hundred yards. We have so much confidence in this caliber in our house that they don’t need a different rifle.

But here is my point related to shooting comfortably. My youngest daughter was under 100 pounds when she started hunting and the recoil of this caliber and brand has never been a factor. Find a caliber and a bullet that you shoot comfortably and can build perfect confidence in.

Will the rifle you are shooting do the job? We could have this debate forever and never get to the perfect answer. As I stated a minute ago, the 7mm-08 with my kids or my wife shooting it will do the job. But we need to reiterate that it comes with a well-placed shot. Our goal as hunters should be to kill an animal as quickly as possible with the least amount of suffering. 

That is why you want a rifle that fits you, you can shoot comfortably and will do the job you want it to do. Don’t settle for an almost perfect rifle if you can afford it. You may risk the confidence you deserve in your hunting firearm.

Choosing the Right Hunting Bow

Before we get into discussing practice and how important it is in building confidence. I want to address the bow hunters that are listening. 

If you own a bow that meets the required poundage in your state necessary for hunting, then maybe you don’t need to listen to this part of the podcast. I don’t want to push you to spend money you don’t need to spend. But just like hunting with a rifle, you should get a bow that fits you perfectly. You will shoot it more accurately, which leads to a higher chance of making a great shot on your animal.

Make sure you are not sacrificing success on your hunts because you’re just using what you have available. In many cases, a qualified archery shop can help you take the bow you have and make some adjustments that will improve your shooting. 

It will benefit you if you’re not sure, to find someone and ask. Does this fit me properly? Should I use a different arrow with my current setup? It may cost a small fee to get some advice from an archery pro, but don’t you want to give yourself the best chance to be successful.

If you get the right bow setup and the right arrows to match. I promise your confidence will increase.

What Makes Good Hunting Practice

Now let’s talk about practice. I ask my hunter education students, why do NBA players turn and go toward their opponent’s basket after they shoot? It’s because they expect the ball to go in the basket. When you shoot at a deer, do you want to hope it hits where you wanted or do you want to know it hit where you wanted? Well an NBA player doesn’t get where he is by luck, it took a lot of practice.

And here is the thing, you don’t need to shoot your hunting rifle every time you practice. At a dollar a bullet sometimes for ammunition, that can get expensive. But you can practice with a 22 long rifle or even a pellet gun and work on your shooting form and squeezing the trigger. The ammunition for these is way less expensive. In later podcasts, we will discuss some of the techniques I have used to help people improve their rifle shooting.

Now practicing with a bow and arrow is usually way less expensive. You can shoot an arrow, go retrieve it and shoot again. At least until you get so good you start robin hooding arrows. But my suggestion when it comes to archery practice, Practice at longer distances more than closer distances. I do this because if I get steady and proficient at 40 yards, it makes shooting at 20 yards a piece of cake.

What is Your Hunting Weapons Effective Range?

So all of this practice should lead to one thing. You should be developing your effective range. Now you may ask, what is an effective range? It is the greatest distance at which you can place a killing shot with confidence.

So to help you understand that more I will share my effective range. When I shoot my 300 Winchester Magnum at 300 yards or less, I’m confident I can put the bullet right where I want. That is my effective range with my rifle. If the deer is 350 yards, I want to get closer because I want to make sure the bullet hits the vital area. Make sense?

So to wrap this up I want you to decide what rifle is right for you. Should you continue to use your current rifle or bow? Do you need to buy a different rifle or bow? This is a personal choice. Consider the points in this podcast and decide what gives you the best chance for success.

Hunt with the right hunting weapon. You will have the confidence that you can make the shot every time. 

If anything in this podcast is tripping you up, please send me an email and ask questions. Contact me at Don’t spend too long at this step. Let’s make a decision and start practicing.

Join the Greenhorn Community

Don’t have someone in your immediate family or a close friend to show you the way? Then join me and the Greenhorn community. You can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

Learn the Idaho Hunting Regulations

It can be a large stumbling block for new hunters to go through the hunting regulations and try to figure out what animal they can hunt, when they can hunt it and where to go hunting. So today on the podcast we will learn how to read a set of Idaho hunting regulations and pick an animal to hunt. 

If you have never hunted before, I would suggest you choose either a deer or a wild turkey. There are strong huntable populations of both in nearly every state or province. Today’s exercise will help you learn about hunting a whitetail deer in Idaho, but I hope it gives you the confidence to tackle a similar task for yourself in your home state.

We will need a set of hunting regulations for the state you would like to hunt. In this case, I’m going to go through the current 2019 – 2020 Big Game Regulation for Idaho since that is where I reside. 

Hunting regulations are not very fun to read, but they do contain the information we need to know to hunt within the law. We will start by understanding when hunting season opens and closes for the white-tail deer in my area and whether I can shoot males (antlered) or females (antlerless). 

Download the Idaho Big Game Hunting Regulations

If you want to follow along as I read through these current regulations, you can visit There you should be able to download the current issue of the Idaho Big Game Regulations. If you are listening to this podcast after the Idaho 2020 hunting season is over, you may be looking at a newer set of regulations, so the page numbers I reference may not coincide.

Now let’s get to those regulations and start figuring out how you can hunt a white-tailed deer.

Start with the Index

On page 5 of this set of regulations, you will see the table of contents. I will highlight the pages we need to discuss related to hunting a whitetail deer. Now if you don’t have a set of regulations in front of you that is okay. Just stick with me as we go through this and you will learn how simple it is to read the regulation when you break it into manageable pieces, or you can go back and listen later with the regulations in front of you.

Now on page 5 at the top left is a section called Deer Seasons and Hunts and under that section is White-tailed Deer Tag. This is where you will decide what season you will hunt and whether you will hunt with a rifle or a bow. This information is on pages 15-18 for every unit in Idaho that you can hunt white-tailed deer. But I’m only going to talk about one unit today and keep it really simple. 

Learning the Boundaries

The next section I will highlight is where it says Big Game Unit Map and Unit Boundary Descriptions in the middle of the left-hand column. This is on pages 84-95, but when we get to that part, we will only need to study a couple of those pages and not all of them. Again I’m only going to hunt in one unit so I only need to understand one unit boundary description.

Now I know it looks like a lot of information, but directly below that in the left-hand column is the Big Game Rules. We must read the General Wildlife Laws, Weapon Restrictions and Tagging and Transporting Game. These are the laws that will relate to hunting that white-tailed deer.  

Now, we will need the information regarding Licenses and Tags found on pages 114-116. This explains everything you need to know about how and when to tag your animal. More discussion on that later also.

Lastly, I will want to know how much it is going to cost me as a resident to hunt a white-tailed deer. That information follows on pages 116-117. Really it will only take a minute to check that part out, but the license and tag vendor handles all that when I go to purchase them.

Only Read What You Need for Now

So now that I have highlighted those pages, my point that I want to make is that these Idaho hunting regulations are 126 pages long, but we are only going to look at 12 pages to get all the information necessary to hunt a white-tailed deer in Idaho. 

When you start reading a hunting regulation, the first thing you need to do is find what matters to you and the hunt you want to go on. Let’s focus on that information first and we can tackle the rest of this book later.

Where Do You Want to Hunt?

So let’s get started. First off, I know that I can hunt white-tailed deer where I live. I also know people who will give me permission to hunt their private property. There is also a large amount of public land near my home that has white-tailed deer on it. So first I am going to see what unit I live in and what the hunting season is in my home area.

So to find out what hunting unit I live in I will look at the Big Game Unit Map on pages 84-85. The map shows that the area I live in is called Unit 10A. So, now I can go over to the White-tailed Deer tag section on pages 15-18 and find hunting opportunities for Unit 10A. That is where I live and I want to hunt near home.

When Can You Hunt?

It says on page 15 in the White-tailed Deer Tag General Any-Weapon Seasons that Unit 10A along with Units 10 and 12 are open from Oct 10 – Nov 20 for both antlered and antlerless. That means I can shoot a buck or a doe in between those dates. And because it is an any-weapon season means I can use a rifle, bow or muzzleloader. So to keep it simple, let’s stop right there and make a plan.

Between Oct 10 – Nov 20 I am going to hunt a white-tailed deer (either sex) in Unit 10A. I will hunt near my house on private land I can get permission to hunt. I’ll also consider any public land I have access to that has white-tailed deer. And I decided to hunt it with a rifle.

Are you following along so far? I know where I’m going to hunt. I know what I’m going to hunt. And I know what weapon I can use to hunt it.

But what if I’m not positive on exactly where the boundary of Unit 10A is? Well, that is where page 87 comes in and I use that description where it says Unit 10A to draw out the boundary on a map. Or you can use a great tool called a GPS to help you define those Boundary lines.

If you’re not familiar with a good GPS tool, stay tuned to the podcast. We will talk more about them in a near-future podcast.

Learn the Hunting Laws

Now that I know where and when I can hunt a white-tailed deer, now I just need to understand the hunting laws to figure out what I can and can’t do when it comes to hunting for a white-tailed deer. So let’s get to pages 97-100 and page 102.

The very first law in the Idaho hunting regulations we are studying says you must have a valid license and tag for the animal you are hunting. It explains what hunting is, how old you need to be to hunt, and bag limits. It even tells you what parts of the animal you must take for consumption and what can stay in the woods.

What is your responsibility when it comes to finding the animal you shot? Can you use electronic calls? Questions like these can be answered by reading these pages.

These hunting laws are very straight forward. It even has a section that tells you what you can not do. It says It Is Unlawful To ____, and all the items listed below that section are a do not do. Pretty cut and dry.

Understanding the Trespass Law

And to round out pages 98 and 99, it talks about the trespass law, possession of dead animal parts, and what happens if you violate the law in Idaho or a state they have a compact agreement with. Hunting rights can be affected in many states if commit a violation in your home state. 

I decided to hunt with a rifle in an Any-weapon season. That means on page 100 I only need to read the first section labeled Rifle, Shotgun, and Airgun. The rest is related to Muzzleloaders and Archery. You may want to hunt archery later, but for now, I’m keeping it simple so you can make a plan and go hunting.

Just one more page before you find out how much it is going to cost to hunt your white-tailed deer. Let’s look at page 102. Here we will learn how to notch the tag after the animal is recovered. We find requirements related to transporting your animal. But most importantly that you must leave some evidence of sex attached to the animal even if you’re hunting in an either sex unit like 10A.

How much will it Cost to Hunt?

Now, what is this all going to cost you as a resident?. Let’s head over to page 116 and find the price for a white-tailed deer tag and hunting license. As I look at this page it frustrates me that they are even starting to make this information hard to decipher for the beginner, but I want you to focus on the 3rd column that is labeled Annual, Without Price Lock at the top of the page. 

Scroll down and find the Hunting License related to you. As an adult my cost is $15.75, a senior (someone 65 or older) is $13.75, and youth between the ages of 10-17 is $8.25. Now I’ll scroll down and find a white-tailed deer tag. It will cost me $24.75 since I’m an adult. On the next page, it tells me if I’m a youth, senior or disabled veteran the cost for that deer tag would be $12.50. So without getting into a discussion about why the different prices for different ages and with price lock or without price lock. It will cost me $40.50 when I go to my vendor to purchase my tags.

Conclusion of Our Idaho Hunting Regulation Research

So what is the conclusion to my research as I am planning to go hunting for a white-tailed deer next hunting season? It will cost me $40.50 to hunt a white-tailed deer in Unit 10A near my home. I can hunt from Oct 10 – Nov 20 for either sex with my hunting rifle. I’m confident I understand what I can and can’t do, but I will review the laws prior to the start of the hunting season. This is step 2 completed and I’m ready for step 3. 

I hope this is simplifying things for you if you are struggling with reading the Idaho hunting regulations and understanding the information. I know because I’ve taught many students, that this stuff can be challenging to learn at first. But breaking it into small sections and tackling it one section at a time will help you learn it. 

Learning is the key to success in everything. Don’t burn out trying to be a hunting guru in your first couple of seasons. It takes time to develop the knowledge and skills a veteran hunter has acquired. 

Be a Hunting Mentor

I do want to make a plea to any hunters who took the time to listen to me ramble on about this stuff. Could you find all the answers you were looking for in the Idaho hunting regulations? If so, you have knowledge that other hunters do not, even if you have just a year or two of experience. New hunters need your help and guidance. If we are going to keep hunting around for future generations, we need more mentors.

I think there should be only 2 kinds of hunters. New hunters, which I call Greenhorns, or experienced hunters, which I call Greenhorn Mentors. If you are a hunter you should be one or the other. 

I think I’m going to apply for my bighorn sheep tag in Idaho this year. But even after 38 years of hunting, I’m really a Greenhorn when it comes to hunting sheep. I’ve never done it and I’m researching and looking for advice. 

In 2000 I shot my Mountain Goat in Idaho. Without my new friend Steve who I never met until months prior to that hunt, I know I would not have had such a great hunt and killed such a nice mountain goat. 

Join the Hunting Community

Are you a veteran hunter who cares about the future of our hunting tradition and lifestyle. Make a difference by finding someone to mentor.

Don’t have someone in your immediate family or a close friend to show you the way? Then join me and the Greenhorn community. You can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

Links Related to today’s podcast 

Click here to see the 2019-2020 Idaho Big Game Regulations on the Idaho Fish and Game website

Get a free copy of Learn to Hunt: 10 Steps to Hunting Success

Learn about the Hunter passport in Idaho

Idaho Hunter Education website

Visit to see options for taking an online class in your state

Lastly, I would like to invite you to join the brand new hunting community we are starting at This group is a safe place to ask questions and share knowledge related to hunting. The focus of this group is to help new and inexperienced hunters. Veteran hunters are encouraged to join also and help mentor their fellow hunters.

How to Get Signed Up for Hunter Education

So today on the podcast we will focus on hunter education. What it is and what it is not. Why do you need to take hunter education and how you can get registered for a local class in your area.

Enroll in a hunter education program. Every state offers hunter education, but finding a class in your local area can be difficult.

Your local wildlife management office is where you can sign up. They should be willing and capable to help you find the closest class or opportunity to get your hunter education certificate.

Volunteers usually teach hunter education in a classroom setting. Most of those volunteers are hunters themselves. So, often when people realize they need hunter education, it is close to hunting season and the volunteers are getting ready for their next hunting adventure. With all that said, don’t hesitate to find the next available class in your area and get signed up.

Now the classes can be taught differently in their structure in every state. The important part is that once you pass your hunter education or bowhunter education in any state, it is recognized by all the states in the US and provinces of Canada. So you only need to take the class one time. It should be good for the rest of your life. 

Want to Hunt in Another State?

Now as I stated in the first podcast, I have taught people in their 60’s in my hunter education classes. But sometimes that is because they want to go hunt in a different state other than Idaho and because they never took hunter ed in Idaho or they can’t find their certificate, they must get a hunter education certificate to hunt in certain other states as a non-resident. 

You see some states have strict laws that say every non-resident hunter must show proof of hunter education before they can purchase a tag or hunting license regardless of their age. An example I often encounter is someone who has lived in Idaho their entire life and never had to take hunter education. But, now they want to go hunt Colorado and they need a certificate to show Colorado Parks and Wildlife before they can get their Conservation license in that state. 

Hunters education wasn’t required in 1981 when I started hunting as long as you waited until you reached 18 before buying your first license. But I wanted to hunt at the age of 12 so I took the class. Now Idaho requires everyone born after 1974, regardless of their age must complete a hunter education course.

Hunter Education is More than Hunter Safety

But with all that said, regardless of what you know or think you know. Taking the class is a good decision even if you never hunt. It will educate you about the importance of animal conservation and why hunting is a valid and necessary part of the equation needed for true wildlife management. 

I’ll share a little story about how I got involved in teaching hunter ed. It’s not like me to sign up for something like teaching classes, but I quickly developed a passion for teaching hunter education. 

So a little over 10 years ago my stepson turned 12 and he wanted to go hunting with me. So I signed him up for a class in my local area. Now thinking that there was no way I was going to let some stuffy old guy fill my kids head full of crap he didn’t need to know or teach him some junk that was unnecessary, I made sure to attend every class with him. Yes, I was pretty confident that I knew everything my son needed to know.

By the third day of class, I realized how lazy I had become as a hunter. As I went through that class with my son, it was apparent that I needed to reconsider some of the choices I was making when it came to safely handling firearms, and I needed to think about my attitude toward other hunters and the future of hunting. 

I’m telling you I was very selfishly focused and lacked concern for the other hunters and their opportunities. Now I’m not saying I was a bad person, I had just developed over the last 28 years a very narrow view of what was important when it came to hunting, and my gun handling skills were very lackadaisical at best. 

I really thought I knew everything I needed to know when I entered that class, but I left it a changed man. So changed that I volunteered to teach and have had the pleasure of helping a couple of thousand people get their hunting license in Idaho. It has been one of the most rewarding activities I’ve ever volunteered to do. 

Hunter Education Class Explained

So I would like to give you a list of the topics I discuss in my hunter education classes and share with you a little about each one. But first I want to say, don’t get overwhelmed if there is something here you don’t understand. You will learn about it in your hunter ed classes and we will also discuss these subjects in greater detail in future podcasts.

  1. Learning your firearm equipment 
    1. You will learn all the parts of a firearm and how they work. This includes rifles, shotguns, and handguns.
    2. You will learn about ammunition and how it works with the proper rifle caliber or shotgun. See examples of why it is critical to match a firearm with only ammunition designed for that gun
    3. You will understand the 6 different actions and how they work.
    4. I discuss all the safeties on different guns, sight options, how far a bullet can travel and you even learn how to clean your firearm.
  2. Shooting skills 
    1. You will learn marksmanship and all the steps to making a perfect shot.
    2. Discover your dominant eye and how knowing that can improve your shooting in a matter of minutes.
    3. Get an understanding of how to properly sight in a rifle.
    4. You learn the 4 main shooting positions and the why and how behind each one.
    5. I also teach you how to properly shoot a shotgun and some basic bird hunting techniques that will keep you safe in the field
  3. Basic hunting skills 
    1. You will learn planning and preparation for your hunt which is critical to a successful outcome
    2. I explain the different hunting strategies and what makes each one unique and valuable
    3. You learn the vital area on the animal you are hunting and how to make a quick killing shot
    4. We also discuss the steps for field dressing an animal and proper transportation to the place where you plan to process your game
  4. Primitive hunting equipment 
    1. You will learn about all about muzzleloaders. How load, fire and clean them.
    2. We discuss the different bows and what makes each one unique.
    3. You will learn proper archery shooting techniques and understand the flight of the arrow.
    4. We also learn about broadheads and choosing the right one for your arrow.
  5. How to be a safe hunter 
    1. We focus on hunting safely and the things you must consider before releasing an arrow or squeezing the trigger on your firearm
    2. You will learn the 6 ways to carry a rifle safely. There are things to consider before you position your rifle to carry it.
    3. You learn how to properly cross obstacles when by yourself or hunting with a partner
    4. We also talk about the influences of drugs and alcohol. We all know they should not be mixed with firearms and hunting
    5. I will also explain why elevated stands are a great hunting technique. You also learn what equipment to use if you choose to hunt this way.
  6. Responsibilities and ethical behavior 
    1. We discuss hunting laws and the purpose they serve. In my class, we learn how to read through different hunting regulations.
    2. You learn what is fair chase and why it is critical to the future of hunting
    3. You will get to explain to me what you think an ethical hunter looks like. We discuss how this choice can affect other people who don’t hunt
    4. We discuss respecting other hunters, landowners, and non-hunters. You learn the value of sharing your love for the outdoors with future generations
    5. But my favorite part of this section is discussing the stages of a hunter. We all progress through these different stages in relation to different animals.
  7. Basic preparation and survival skills 
    1. You will receive a Hunt Planner and understand the importance of making others aware of your hunting destination. This is just in case there is an unforeseen accident.
    2. We discuss what good hunting clothing is and is not as well as how to dress for the hunt.
    3. You learn how to use GPS tools for navigating through the woods as well as a map and compass. Knowing where you are and where you are going can truly increase your odds of success.
    4. Of course, you learn basic survival skills and first aid in case something goes wrong while hunting
  8. Wildlife conservation 
    1. You will learn about conservation vs. preservation and the value of both ideals
    2. You will understand wildlife management and the importance of habitat management
    3. Discover what carrying capacity is and the hunter’s role in the future of hunting

These topics cover the basics of hunting and give you a great start. Once you pass your hunter safety class, you will gain confidence from your new-found knowledge and skills. 

So do you need to get signed up for a class and get started? The easiest way is to contact your local wildlife agency and ask for help. They should help you. Please let me know if they don’t. 

Sign Up Online for Hunter Ed

Check out the online course options for hunter education at Choose a link and get signed up for a program designed for your state. You may still need to attend a one day field day to complete the online course option. 

But here is the truth about learning to hunt. 

Passing a hunter education course is the first and easiest part of becoming a hunter. It’s book work and a couple of tests when you finish the class.

The real challenge comes when you make a commitment to get in the woods and learn how to hunt. That is why it is so critical to find good mentors. These are the people who will invest in you because they love hunting. They want it to be here for future generations to enjoy.

Are you a veteran hunter who cares about the future of our hunting tradition and lifestyle? You can make a difference by finding someone to mentor. Maybe I’ve provoked you to contact your local wildlife agency and volunteer to teach hunter education. Without you sharing your experiences and stories this tradition will fade away.

Connect with Greenhorn Hunting

Are you a new hunter and you are looking for a hunting mentor? Then join me and the Greenhorn community so you can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

Quick Tip You can find an online hunter safety course in your state by visiting one of the following websites or find these links at

If you still need help getting enrolled in a class, don’t hesitate to send me an email and I’ll be glad to help. ( 

Links Related to today’s podcast 

Get a free copy of Learn to Hunt: 10 Steps to Hunting Success

Learn about the Hunter passport in Idaho

Idaho Hunter Education website

Visit to see options for taking an online class in your state

Get a copy of our Hunt Planner at

Here are two GPS mapping tools that may interest you onXmaps and Huntwise

Video of Elk101 broadhead in leg video

Lastly, I would like to invite you to join the brand new hunting community we are starting at This group is a safe place to ask questions and share knowledge related to hunting.

Meet Greenhorn Hunting

You have discovered a podcast that cares about the future of the hunting tradition. On today’s podcast, you will learn why I created it and what you can expect from future episodes.

Welcome to the Greenhorn Hunting Podcast. I’m your host, Roscoe Hix.

I have been an avid hunter and outdoor enthusiast in Idaho for over 38 years.

As a Hunter Education Instructor for the last 10 years, I have witnessed the continued decline of hunters throughout the US and Canada. A big part of that decline I believe is due partly to a lack of mentorship available for new hunters.

Through this podcast and other resources available at, I will guide you through the challenges of learning how to hunt.

If you are a new hunter looking for a mentor or guide, this podcast is for you. 

If you are a veteran hunter that is concerned about the future of hunting and you want to help make a difference, this podcast is for you. 

And if you are someone trying to understand why people like me get all excited when hunting season approaches, this podcast is for you. 

So stick around, subscribe and please share this information with anyone you think it could help.

Let’s Change the Future of Hunting

Why I decided to create the Greenhorn Hunting Podcast. Did you know that hunters make up less than 5% of the population in the United States? What about Canada? Yes, probably less than 5% also as of 2012 estimates.

This is a true concern for the future of hunting because it continues to decline. As a hunter education instructor, I have people share several reasons why they don’t go hunting even after they complete hunter education. But my experience tells me the number one reason is that they lack mentorship and the confidence and knowledge of what to do next. 

I have taught people of all ages from 9 years old to people over 60. Yes, it is not just for young kids. Taking hunter education is easy. Trying to figure out what to do after you buy your license is the challenge.

This podcast is different because I am intentionally focused on helping you learn how to hunt and be successful. But also I want to help you be part of the solution that will promote hunting and mentor future generations. If you don’t have great mentors as I did, then taking the next step after you finish your hunter education class is scary. But this podcast will help you take those steps one at a time. 

What Challenges New Hunters Face

What are some of the challenges that new hunters face?

Where can you go hunting? There are really only two choices private property, or public land. We will talk about both in this podcast. You will learn the in and outs of both and develop the confidence to know you are hunting where you should be and not trespassing.

What animals can you hunt and when? We will discuss hunting regulation and learn what you can hunt and when you can hunt it. This book of rules can trip up so many new hunters that they just give up. On this podcast, you will not only learn how to break down the hunting regulation and figure out just what information you need and how to find it.

What should you do after you kill the animal? So often inexperienced hunters let the challenge of taking care of the animal after killing it stop them from venturing into the woods. We will tackle this worry head-on. You will know how to do it with confidence and what steps take if this is one of your challenges.

Some hunters get stuck trying to pick the right weapon to hunt with. You will learn how to decide what one is right for you if you are facing this challenge. And yes we will talk about modern firearms and primitive weapons both on this podcast.

Do any of these challenges resonate with you? These are just some of the challenges new and inexperienced hunters face. Without someone showing you the ropes so to speak, it can be daunting. But Greenhorn Hunting is all about helping new and inexperienced hunters. I want you to have the opportunity to develop a passion for this great tradition so you can pass it on to future generations.

Providing Hunters with Resources

We will tackle these challenges throughout this podcast and offer resources that guide you to learning what once seemed overwhelming. If you have a specific question or challenge you would like discussed, please send me an email to

What are some short term and long term goals of Greenhorn Hunting? Short term goals would be to get you the information you need to get started today. 

In the next podcast, we talk all about hunter education. If you still need to get signed up, you should listen to that podcast. 

Also, I know that having a guide like my dad was the one thing that helped me more than anything as I grew up learning this lifestyle. So I wrote a 10 step guide that will help you build your confidence and understand what you will be learning as you grow to become a veteran hunter. You can get a copy of this guide at

Along with that guide, I have created the next 10 podcasts to go along with those steps so you can learn in more detail about each step. Each one of those podcasts should be available for you to listen to now. 

My long term goal is to create a podcast and other resources that focus on the beginning hunter and their quest to become a better hunter. You can find those resources and the podcast at

Another long term goal is to help veteran hunters find tools and resources to help them mentor future generations. If every hunter took one new person hunting for just 3 days this year. We could double our population from roughly 14,000,000 to 28,000,000. That would make us a strong voice for the future of hunting.

Will the Greenhorn Hunting Podcast Help You?

Who is this podcast designed to serve?

The new hunter who needs a mentor to help them navigate through the challenges of learning to hunt

Hunting mentors who are looking for resources and opportunities to help continue this great tradition

Anyone who isn’t a hunter but wants to learn what causes people to be so passionate about the hunting lifestyle

So I want you to understand that the skills and knowledge you want can’t be downloaded into you like a hard drive and you just all of a sudden have veteran hunter abilities. But you can cut out a lot of human error if you find and follow good mentors. So what is a good mentor?

Good mentors are people who invest in you with a desire to make you better than themselves. Someone who encourages you to try the things you want to achieve in life, but is close by to help navigate you through the challenges as they come.

A good mentor will be honest with you about their experiences hoping you learn from their mistakes so you can avoid making the same ones.

I was a Greenhorn Hunter Too

So I’ll tell a quick story I like to share with every hunter education class I teach. 

When I started hunting it was 1981. I grew up in a small town where hunting was a way of life and we counted on the elk and deer meat to feed our family through to the next hunting season. So needless to say my dad was a skilled hunter that was rarely unsuccessful. 

But that need for the meat in our freezer meant we could have more opportunity if we hunted separately rather then side by side. So consequently my dad didn’t hunt next to me as I was learning to hunt. We were often ridges apart. 

That explanation is so you understand why I shot at 13 deer my first year of hunting and never touched a single one. I was a terrible shot and got deer fever so bad I couldn’t hold the crosshairs on the animal before I pulled the trigger. It was very disappointing that first year of hunting. I was from a family of successful hunters. What made me different? I could hit where I aimed at the target range when we would go practice but I never hit a deer.

The next year I started hunting and once again I shot at the first deer that I saw that season and missed it as well. So after spending a couple of hours with me looking for blood and any sign the I may have hit the deer, my dad told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “Son if you miss one more deer with any of my rifles, you will never hunt with one of my guns ever again.” He had reached his tipping point and being raised the way he was, my dad had to draw a line in the sand. 

Now you will hear me talk about my dad many times on this podcast because he was a major reason I learn to hunt and love this lifestyle very much. But mentoring someone through their first shot at an animal was not something he felt was important. He thought I should just make a good shot every time, like him. Sure he missed a few times but it was probably more because he rushed the shot.

As for me and my shooting skills after that shot at my first deer in my second year of hunting, something had to change. Yep, I was afraid that my dad would go hunting and I would be left at home. So that comment has stuck with me ever since. The next deer I had the opportunity to shoot was a completely different situation. 

I took my time, made sure the crosshairs in the scope were on the vital area and I squeezed the trigger just like I did at the rifle range. The deer fell down. And my shooting skills have improved ever since. I guess my dad knew what he was doing.

Become a Regular Greenhorn Hunting Podcast Listener

What is the next step for you as the listener?

Subscribe to the podcast and become a regular listener.  I’ll look forward to your feedback and any suggestions you may have. This podcast is designed to help educate and inform you, the listener.

If you are looking for a resource to help you dive deeper into the skills a successful hunter must develop, check out the guide at This free resource will get you started in the right direction to becoming the successful hunter you want to be.

So I would like to thank you for tuning into this first episode of the Greenhorn Hunting Podcast.

I hope you will join me next time as we discuss the subject of hunter education. What is it? Why take it? And how do you get signed up and complete a hunter education course?

If you are a veteran hunter who cares about the future of our hunting tradition and lifestyle, you can make a difference by finding someone to mentor.

If you are a new hunter and don’t have someone in your immediate family or a close friend to show you the way, then join me and the Greenhorn community so you can learn from us and experience the joys of hunting.

So a couple of simple ways to do that.

  1. Subscribe to this podcast.
  2. Get a free copy of my guide at 
  3. Join the community of greenhorn hunters and greenhorn mentors at

Remember when you mentor someone, you’re making a difference. We don’t need more heroes, we need more guides.

On today’s podcast, we focus on learning how to break down the hunting regulations into bite-size pieces so you won’t be overwhelmed by too much information. I know as a hunter education instructor that reading the game laws has prevented many people from moving forward in their pursuit to be a hunter.

If you are faced with this challenge, hopefully, this podcast will boost your confidence, or at least encourage you to ask questions so you can get on to the next step in learning how to hunt.

I would suggest you click the link below and download a copy of the 2019 – 2020 Idaho Big Game Regulation or pick up a copy and follow along as I go page to page through just the pages I need to learn to hunt a whitetail deer. This book is 126 pages, but we are only going to need to study about 16 pages. 

Click here to see the 2019-2020 Idaho Big Game Regulations on the Idaho Fish and Game website

Links Related to today’s podcast 

Get a free copy of Learn to Hunt: 10 Steps to Hunting Success

Learn about the Hunter passport in Idaho

Idaho Hunter Education website

Visit to see options for taking an online class in your state

Lastly, I would like to invite you to join the brand new hunting community we are starting at This group is a safe place to ask questions and share knowledge related to hunting. The focus of this group is to help new and inexperienced hunters, but veteran hunters are encouraged to join and help mentor their fellow hunters.