The air carries a crisp edge and a tang that means one thing to outdoorsmen: hunting time. The Northwest fall hunting season is just getting started, and enthusiasts across the region are preparing to take down deer, elk, black bears, cougars and game birds. If you haven’t already geared up and gotten your permits squared away, now is the time to do so.
Between season dates, reporting requirements and the latest hunting safety regulations, hunters have a lot to keep track of. Following are some hunting tips and online resources to help you get ready for the fall hunting season.
Choosing the right gear not only makes you more efficient in the field, but it’s an important part of practicing good hunting safety. Here’s a checklist of things to bring on your fall hunting trip:
Blaze orange clothing. Most states require hunters to wear some sort of orange clothing, usually a vest. Not only can it prevent you from becoming an inadvertent target, but it’s a way for hunters to keep tabs on each other in the field.
Hunting knives. Experts recommend you bring at least two good hunting knives and a sharpening stone for field dressing as well as basic survival gear.
Flashlight. Another essential survival tool, an LED flashlight can bail you out of a lot of situations.
Other hunting gear. Other important items to include on your fall hunting checklist include a small hand saw, 50 ft. of nylon rope, water, batteries, matches, maps, compass, whistle, a small mirror, firearm and ammunition, bows and arrows, food to last at least one day, orange flagging ribbon, $20, first aid kit, emergency blanket, cell phone, mechanical alarm clock, and binoculars.
Online Hunting Resources
Fish and wildlife agencies. The best resources for the Northwest fall hunting season are often found on your state’s fish and game website. Not only do these sites act as hubs for obtaining licenses and permits, finding season start and end dates, and getting updates on the latest regulations, but they’re often packed with useful forecasts, news and resources. For example, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website includes the newly improved Oregon Hunting Map, which shows access locations by species. You can also track your hunt from start to finish with the new My Hunter Information site, which logs your preference points, controlled hunt application status, draw results, season closures, tag sale deadlines, and results reporting status of your tags all in one place.
Other Northwest fish and wildlife agencies:
Hunting Washington. This hunting forum is a place where hunters can share tips and information, discuss their quarry, and post photos and stories. You can also discuss guns, gear, hunting knives and exchange your favorite secret recipes with other seasoned hunters.
Northwest Sportsman. The online edition of Northwest Sportsman magazine is a great place to keep abreast of the latest Northwest fishing and hunting news. It also offers hunting tips and advice from experienced hunters.
HuntingNet.com. Although it doesn’t focus specifically on the Northwest, this website features a wealth of information, including news, journal entries, articles and advice from the pros. There’s also a community forum where hunters can share their experiences.
As any experienced hunter knows, preparation is an important key to success in the field. Whether you’re wet behind the ears and just starting out or looking to further hone your skills, the abundance of hunting information available online can help you stay on top of your game.
~Ben Anton, 2010