I grew up in a small rural town in western New York. I was introduced to hunting by my father, who let me tag along on his raccoon and whitetail deer hunts until I was old enough to hunt on my own. Like many folks, my first experience as a hunter was with whitetail deer. However, as I got older, I decided to explore other types of hunting like turkey and waterfowl, which instantly had me hooked.
Though I have many hunts I’ve yet to experience, I am going to tell you about my favorite species to hunt in the area where I have the most experience—my home state of New York. Without further ado, here are my top three hunts in the Northeast for beginning hunters.
Spring turkey season is, hands-down, my favorite hunting season. Wild turkey is one of the few species that you can hunt in my area that is "interactive," meaning the birds will talk back to you, letting you get an idea of their location. Turkeys have a certain allure to them, and easily keep the interest of new and seasoned hunters as you “run and gun” throughout the woods in search of active birds.
You may spook some animals while on the go, but a lot of times if a turkey is “hot” they will let you know where they are and give you enough time to settle into a spot. Also, turkeys lack a sense of smell, which means you don’t have to rely on the wind in order to hunt certain spots. Another great thing is you can also hunt them from a blind ... perfect for new hunters who may have a hard time sitting still (a sure way to spook a bird approaching from behind).
I am relatively new to waterfowl hunting, but from my first sit in the pop-up blind I was hooked. Waterfowl hunting is a fun social activity that allows you to chat with family and friends between flocks, since you don’t have to worry about spooking them like land animals. Typically, when hunting waterfowl you can spot them from a distance, which allows hunters enough time to get ready before the birds get close.
Whitetails are my first love. I can still remember every single detail from the day I harvested my first buck, from the crisp fall air, to the way my heart began to race when I first saw the buck step out into the field. In my experience deer hunting is a waiting game, which is a welcome change in our fast-paced world. I find it refreshing to take a step back and immerse myself in the sights, sounds and smells of the woods. There is something special about sneaking into the woods while it is dark to watch the sunrise and witness the woods come to life. There’s no other time in my everyday life that I take time to observe animals in their natural habitat … without them knowing I am there, that is.
These hunts are all vastly different, yet bring so much perspective and appreciation for the wild world we live in. That is why they are not only my favorites, but why I think they are also great for the beginning hunter.