How to Start Hunting in the UK: A Complete Guide

No doubt, hunting is a fun game with a few couples of health benefits. Though the UK has some strict gun laws and you can only use an up to 12ft/lb air rifle, it can be intimidating to learn how to start hunting in the UK. 

If you’ve never been a hunter or your family has encouraged you into this sport, it may seem overwhelming how to get into it. We’re here to help you out with the beginner’s guide and the checklist! So, keep your eyes glued till the end. 

Photo by mohammed OUZZAOUI on Unsplash

Types of Hunting: Learn Before You Start

Based on Species

When it comes to hunting, you’ll find a few categories of it. Various types of species are divided into those categories. So, what are the main categories? Let’s see

CategorySpecies
PredatorWolf, mountain lion, coyote
Big gameBison, boar, bear, elk, deer, etc.
FurbearersBobcat, fox, beaver, pine marten
Small gameRaccoon, rabbit, skunk, squirrel
Game birdsDove, grouse, pheasant
WaterfowlSwan, geese, duck

For getting started into the game, you should decide which animal you would like to hunt so that you can gather knowledge on the specific animal and its hunt. Ex: if you like to hunt doves, look for “dove hunting tips for beginners” to help yourself get started.

Based on Firearm

Choosing the right firearm is a must for beginners. Spending money on an entry-level weapon can be the best bet for you. So, what are the types of hunting based on firearms? Well, there are two types- rifle hunting and bowhunting.

Rifle hunting

Rifle hunting is easier compared to bow hunting for beginners as it’s easy to grip a rifle and to make a kill with. When you’re rifle hunting, you don’t need to pack a bulky amount of things in your backpack. 

The downside of rifle hunting is the noise you make. The noise will scare the animals of the area and you won’t be able to hunt more than one game. 

Cost is the primary concern to beginner rifle hunters as they don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on a rifle. So, set your budget first and go for the best hunting rifle for beginners for getting started

Pay attention to your rifle’s accuracy because your hunting success depends on your accurate shooting. Opt for additional accessories for the target accuracy like sniper scopes if needed.

Be careful about the laws and licensing before you head out to hunt. As said before, unlike the US, the UK has strict gun laws. In the US, using a semi-automated is considered as their right while you could go to jail in the UK if anyone sees you have one.

 Bow Hunting

Get close to nature and in touch with the primal essence with bow hunting. In bowhunting, accuracy is more important. Although less power is involved, the bow hunting checklist can be longer.

As with rifle hunting, choosing the right beginner’s crossbow is vital. Consider what you need between compound bows and recurve bows before heading out to purchase one of the best powerful crossbows. 

Also choosing the right arrows for your crossbow is important. Remember- crossbow bolts come with various lengths and flight abilities. Pick one according to your game and the bow you’re using.

Safety should be the primary concern when it comes to crossbow hunting. Going on a safety course is recommended to learn how to operate your weapon and how to stay safe.

How to Start Hunting in the UK: The Ultimate Guide

Make Your Decision

Among a load of different hunting types, decide what you can do. Decide one from bird hunting, small game hunting, or large game hunting based on your skills. Also, choose one from crossbow hunting and rifle hunting.

You have to have a clear idea of the hunting you’re going to pursue before heading out. Consult few people for an idea of what type of hunting is the best suit for you.

Get Your Safety Card

In the UK, you should have a hunter safety card to start hunting. For claiming the card, a certified hunter education course is a must. The card indicates that you’ve successfully passed through the safety education.

The certification course isn’t too expensive and you can get the course done online at your home. Once you get the card, you’ll be able to go hunt anywhere you want.

Do Research

Doing extensive research and talking to the veteran hunters will help you gain more knowledge about the sport. Ask them about the best gear, the best time of hunting, and their experience. Experts would love to help a newbie like you. 

Also, search online for pro tips on hunting and to help yourself gain knowledge on the species you want to hunt.

Do Some Practice

Practice makes a man perfect. Right? Practice using your weapon a lot to make your hunt more enjoyable. Be patient to be familiar with the animal behavior you want to hunt. Practice hunting in different areas to master your hunting skills because every hunt is different based on experience.

Stay Self-motivated

Your first hunting can be disheartened. It can be messing or missing up that you didn’t want. Not a big deal. Also, the veteran hunters don’t always go to plan. Remember – all humans make mistakes and you’re no different. There will be some things that you’ll not be able to control.

So, if you fail in your first hunt, don’t be frustrated. Give yourself time, be self-motivated, and prepare for the next.

Get Your Gear 

There’s a bulky amount of accessories to be needed when you start hunting. Before heading out to your first hunt, make sure that you have got all the essentials on your backpack.

Having the right equipment can make a difference. For hunting in the UK, add your license and the shooting permit to your checklist. Opt for a 12 ft/lb air rifle and if you want to carry a pistol, according to the laws of the UK, it should be 6 ft/lb.  

Hopefully, this article will help you to get started with hunting in the UK. If you have any queries, feel free to ask in the comment section below! Happy hunting!