Preparing for Your First Outfitted Hunting Trip

There are few things that are more exciting than the anticipation of an outfitted hunt. While having a guide or outfitter can take a lot of the stress out of preparing for a hunt, there are still plenty of things that you can do to fully prepare for your first hunting outfitter trip. From gear choices to mental preparation, here are a few things to consider before your hunt gets here!

Gear and Travel for an outfitted hunting trip

Going out on an outfitted hunt is not the time to be testing any new gear or weapons for the first time. Make sure that you are familiar with all of the gear that you are bringing, and test it all out beforehand like your favorite hunting rifle. The last thing that you want to do is have a piece of equipment fail on you during the hunt, as this can quickly ruin a hunt for everybody. 

climbing tree stand on an outfitted hunting trip
View from a climbing tree stand

If you are flying, ensure that you are up to date with all of the rules and regulations on the gear that you can bring. From restricted items to baggage weight limits, every airline is different. Call ahead and ask what restrictions you should be aware of and how much weight you can bring. Traveling with things like rifles and ammunition will have the most rules, so ensure that you know how to travel with them!

Speaking of the gear you are bringing, how do you know what to bring? It is highly recommended that you speak with your guide or outfitter before the hunt and ask for gear recommendations. They will be able to help you select everything that you will need on the hunt, and ensure that you don’t forget anything important at home! If the weather can quickly turn bad, the last thing you want to forget is your rain gear or cold weather clothing. 

climbing tree stand for outfitted hunting trip
climbing tree stand

On the flip side of that, you also do not want to overpack (especially if you are flying!). Not only will this increase your chances of incurring more baggage fees due to weight, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of extra, unneeded gear. Ask most hunting guides, and they will tell you that a hunter’s backpack is always the heaviest on the first morning of the hunt. Many times we get excited and are unsure of what to bring, so we bring everything. After one day of not using these items and carrying all that extra weight, these gear items start to get left back at camp. 

Again, consult with your outfitter and what items and gear would be the most beneficial and what you should leave at home. They will supply some items especially, and other pieces of gear you might not need at all. Nailing down the perfect gear list is one of the most important parts of preparing for an outfitted hunt!

Licenses and Tags for an outfitted hunting trip

State hunting Licenses and state safety requirements are also sure to be entirely different than what you are used to. Some states will require you to wear blaze orange while hunting and every state will have their own system of getting a hunting license. You must familiarize yourself with the local hunting regulations and requirements of the area that you will be hunting. 

Many states and places will also require a hunter education course and an application and/or lottery drawing for specific tags. After getting the correct paperwork, tags, and licenses, talk with your guide to ensure that you have everything that you will need just to double-check! The last thing that you want to do is get something wrong and not be able to hunt, or worse, misunderstand something and accidentally break some rules or regulations. 

Prepare for the Trip Home

Hopefully, your hunting trip goes as planned and you fill your tag! This now means you have some more things to consider. Before ever heading out, it is a good idea to plan for the possibility of a successful hunt. How are you going to bring the antlers and meat home? If you flew, will you be able to take these things with you on your flight home? What about coolers or shipping options?

dead deer on a outfitted hunting trip

Again, your outfitter will be able to give you plenty of great suggestions regarding trophy and meat care. Many times antlers and meat are too large to bring back personally, so freezing them and shipping them separately might be an option. If you are driving, you should plan on bringing enough coolers necessary for a successful hunt. Don’t forget all of the correct licenses, paperwork, and documents for bringing home things like meat and antlers as well, as this will vary from state to state. 

The Most Important Thing to Prepare when thinking about an outfitted hunt

By far one of the most important things that you can prepare and bring with you on any hunting trip is mental preparedness and a good attitude. While things can go wrong on any hunt, even an outfitted hunt with the best guides or outfitters, if you have a positive attitude then you will have a great time. Even if you are having a tough hunt, remember why you do it. A bad day of hunting is still a better day at the office. A nice person with a good attitude will also be the type of person that most outfitters will go the extra mile to ensure that they have a great hunt. 

Final Thoughts

Your first outfitted hunt is an exciting experience, and will only be made better with a little bit of preparation. Besides preparing physically before your hunt, doing a little bit of homework as far as logistics, travel, and gear preparation will ensure that you have done everything that you can to make sure your hunt is a success. An outfitted hunt can easily be a once in a lifetime experience, so a little extra preparation can make it even better!

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