Winter: Introduce Someone New To The Outdoors

Ahhh…Winter. Deer season is over. It’s cold, its snowy. Many hunters are sitting cozy by a fire, eating a warm bowl of venison chili and reflecting on the recent deer season. But not you and not me! Winter is a fantastic time to expose a new person to The Great Outdoors. Multiple seasons are open and access to property is as good now as any other part of the year. So get off the couch, grab a buddy and GET OUT THERE. Here’s a two of my favorite winter outdoor activities:

Squirrel & Rabbit Hunting

This is where many of us started hunting. Grandpa’s old .22 or shotgun in hand, chasing squirrels and rabbits on the family property.  A sportsman’s beginning at its finest. For many reasons, squirrel and rabbit hunting is my favorite way to introduce a new hunter to the outdoors.

Backyard squirrel hunting with the family!
Backyard squirrel hunting with the family!

First, gear is inexpensive. Most of us have a rimfire rifle and a shotgun lying around. Let your buddy or child take one and you take the other. Dress warm, throw on an orange cap and GO! If your new hunter wants gear of their own, a decent new .22, a pair of boots and a camo long sleeve shirt to throw over their jacket will be less than any deer rifle or bow.

Snow covered woods makes for great rabbit hunting.
Snow covered woods makes for great rabbit hunting.

Second: You’ll have the woods to yourself. Deer hunters are gone. Public land and private land alike is WIDE OPEN. Find some woods, any woods, and you’ll likely find squirrels and rabbits. Your next door neighbors who are avid deer hunters probably won’t mind giving you permission to shoot squirrels and rabbits. And that heavily hunted public land down the street will be a ghost town. No competition, no pressure. Just you and your buddy.

Small game hunting and scouting for deer is a great combination during winter.
Small game hunting and scouting for deer is a great combination during winter.

As an added bonus, your squirrel/rabbit hunt is a GREAT time to scout public land for fall deer hunting spots!

Coyote Hunting

I’m by no means an expert at predator hunting, but man is it fun! And it doesn’t take much to get started. Just about any rifle or shotgun will work and a “rabbit in distress” hand call will run you about $10 at your local sporting goods store. Really, that’s about all you NEED to start predator hunting. Electronic calls are also an option and many top manufacturers like Foxpro and Johnny Steward have inexpensive, entry-level callers that are super easy to use (literally, just push a button).

Winter months are a great time to target coyotes.
Winter months are a great time to target coyotes.

Just like squirrel and rabbit hunting, access to property for coyote hunting is almost endless. Your neighbors may be big deer hunters, but knock on their door and say “Mind if I try shooting a few coyotes?” and more often than not, they’ll say “GO FOR IT.” Many states (like Michigan) allow you to hunt coyotes day or night, 365 days a year. Get yourself a decent predator spotlight to go along with your call and you’ll be set! Oh, and don’t forget to grab your buddy. Coyote hunting is often easier in pairs!

Don’t hate on Winter. It’s a great time to get outdoors. If YOU have a friend or family member itching to try his or her hand at hunting, GET THEM OUT THERE! Squirrels, rabbits and coyotes are some of the best introductory game animals in the woods. Get off the couch, call your buddy and do your part to BE A SPORTSMAN and MAKE A SPORTSMAN.

-Matt

 

 

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