Idaho Outdoor Activities
Idaho is a big place with a bunch of stuff going on in it all the time. Every state is like that, but every state is also unique in the activities available to you (with some crossover) and that means every state needs a little bit of a crash course on the different things you can do and how to get involved in them. One such thing is hunting, which certainly requires some introduction to participate in. Idaho has tons of hunting happening all throughout the year, regardless of the season. Is it winter? There is something you can hunt. Is it summer? You cannot hunt the things you hunted in winter, but there are other things to hunt and they are probably just as exciting, only requiring an open mind. So, how about you and I talk about hunting in Idaho and I can give you a better idea of how you can get started because hunting is definitely something you cannot just jump into. It is dangerous, takes skill, and has a whole bunch of legal red tape surrounding that you need to figure out.
First, it is necessary to talk about safety. There are two parts to this. There is gun safety (or general weapon safety if you are using something besides a gun) and general hunting safety. For gun safety, if you have never used a gun before or have only ever been a casual gun user or owner, you probably know how dangerous firearms are, but it probably has not been drilled into as much as others just how important it is to treat a gun with respect. Some things to keep in mind. Always treat a gun as if there is a bullet in the chamber ready to shoot. Even if it is completely empty and you have made sure of that fact several times, pretend it is loaded. What this means is never point a gun at someone or something that you do not intend to kill at that very moment (Hopefully you only intend to kill things legally or in self-defense). If you point a gun at something or someone you do not actually want to shoot, you are inviting death on yourself, your family, or your friends. Do not do that. Be very careful with your guns, especially when you are shooting them and especially when you are not shooting them.
Now for the other part of safety. Hunting tends to take place in remote areas that are hard to get to. This is especially true of Idaho. Some hunts might happen close to civilization and with a constant cell phone signal, but most will not. In fact, most of the best hunts you might want to take part in are absolutely going to be far from towns or cities, and that means they are far from help. In winter, things get cold, but hunters still go out. They bring warm clothing with them and make sure to tell people what they are doing. You never want to be that hunter who gets into trouble out in the wilderness somewhere, but no one knows where you are or even that you might be missing. Tell people what you are doing, where you are going, when you intend to be back, and then bring everything with you that you need to stay alive and comfortable. This means water, sources of warmth, a way to build shelter, and experience. This can be your own experience, built up over a long period of time of going on increasingly complex and dangerous hunts, or it can be someone else’s experience. Hunting alone is a bad idea unless you have an immense amount of training and time spent in the wilderness, and even hat it is still a pretty dangerous decision to make.
Next, it is time for a talk on legality. Going out without a license or tag for an animal and shooting a bunch of woodland creatures is poaching and very illegal. Idaho may have a lot of wilderness in it, but that wilderness has rules you need to follow, and if you do not follow them, you are going to get in trouble, and worse, you are going to hurt the ecosystem in which you hunt, making the whole thing worse everyone, the animals included. This brings up the question of ethics in hunting. Some people think you should not hunt even if you have the full backing of the law with every license necessary. In some circumstances, there might be truth to this. We hunt invasive species. We hunt out of control populations. Most hunting is perfectly natural. This is a very complex topic with many sides and perspectives, but most hunting is done with the best intentions.
Finally, it is important to figure out what you are hunting, because Idaho has a bunch of different animal species and you cannot hunt them all. There are your general deer hunts and licenses to harvest game that is plentiful. Duck hunting, fishing, and other, smaller time hunts are pretty standard and make for good places to start. Then there are more complex hunts and some that are even once in a lifetime. That is right, some animals can only be hunted once and never again. These are generally animals with a very controlled population which might be in some kind of danger of losing too much of that population. Wolves, bears, and certain kinds of mountain goat fall within this category. You should work up to these hunts, starting with the small stuff and only taking on the big stuff when you are ready and certain of your abilities.