Hunting can be a very exciting and exhilarating hobby, but before you attempt to go out and get your first kill there are some essential things that you will need. Being well equipped will help ensure that your hunting trip does off without any major problems. As a new hunter, purchase the following things:

Weapon

Before you can start hunting, you will need a weapon. Most hunters use firearms, while some prefer bow hunting. Whether you choose to buy a rifle or shotgun, it is absolutely essential that you know how to use it properly. It is highly recommended that you attend a firearm safety course so you can learn how to handle your rifle or shotgun and fire it safely. Do not attempt to take your hunting firearm out into the field for a hunt until you are extremely comfortable loading it with ammo and firing a shot.

Hunter Education Certificate

Most states in the U.S. require that all hunters successfully complete a hunter safety course in order to obtain a Hunter Education Certificate. Without a Hunter Education Certificate, you will not be able to purchase a hunting license. In addition to fulfilling state regulations, a hunting safety course can be incredibly useful for new hunters who are not familiar with the hunting process and what is involved while out on a hunt.

Hunting Knife

When shopping for hunting gear, it is in your best interest to purchase the highest quality hunting knife that you can afford. A good hunting knife is not the same as a basic pocket knife. You will want a knife with a sharp steel blade that can stand up to a lot of use, as well as a non-slip handle. The size of the blade will largely depend on what type of animals that you plan to hunt—a smaller blade is sufficient when hunting and skinning small animals, while you are better off with a longer, sturdier blade if you will be hunting large game such as elk and deer.

First Aid Kit

You never know what can happen when you’re out in the field hunting, so it is important to always be prepared by carrying a first aid kit. Make sure your kit includes bandages of different sizes, alcohol swabs to clean cuts or abrasions, and antibiotic cream to help prevent infections.

Survival Kit

When you’re out hunting in the wilderness, you need to be ready in the event that anything goes wrong. It is a good idea to purchase a basic survival kit that contains a mylar heating blanket, waterproof matches, fire starter, a compass, rope, extra batteries, water purifying tablet, and emergency food supplies. Keep all of these items in a waterproof bag with a secure zipper.

Hunting Apparel

Before heading out on a hunt, you will need to outfit yourself in the proper apparel. Start with good boots—your hunting experience will not be as enjoyable if your feet are aching. You will also need thick socks and liners to prevent your feet from getting too cold—it is always a good idea to bring at least one extra pair of socks so you can change your socks if your feet get wet. Wear base layers to stay warm and then top them off with a thick hunting jacket or vest. Hunting clothing comes in different patterns, but most states mandate that hunters wear blaze orange hats and vests in order to make them visible to other hunters and prevent accidental shootings.

Supply of Wet Wipes

After you make a kill, field dressing the animal can be incredibly messy. Carrying a supply of thick wet wipes will give you the ability to remove blood and other fluids from your body so you can continue hunting. Wet wipes can also act as toilet paper when needed.

Air Tight Zipper Bag

Many hunters use scent and lure items when hunting, such as scent wicks or drag rags, and these things can have an incredibly strong smell. Carry an air tight bag with a zipper to dispose of these items when you are done using them. This will help prevent you other hunting gear from taking on a very unpleasant smell.