Preparing for a DIY Hunt

Preparing for a DIY Hunt
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Preparing for a DIY hunt with Nancy Jo Adams: Physical fitness, weapon choice and quality optics.

As co-owner of Life in Camo Media with her husband, Richard Holt, they enjoy hunting the nation and working together in photography/videography capturing their hunts in multiple states annually for various game animals.

Once you have made the decision to embark on a DIY hunt, and you have carried out your planning and research for a DIY hunt, it is time to focus on the following key areas:

Physical Preparation

Being physically prepared is one area most hunters overlook when planning a DIY hunt in terrain they are not accustomed to hunting. Not only is there often a difference in terrain, but also the weather and atmosphere may be extremely different than your normal hunting grounds. Physical preparation can take several months, the earlier you start the more likely you are to be physically ready at the time of your departure.

Physical Fitness

Starting a physical training program is the best way to prepare yourself for your DIY hunting trip. Even a program as simple as a dedicated walking, hiking, or running regime go a long way in preparing you for your hunt. A good cardio program on a treadmill or elliptical is also another effective program you can do at home, a local YMCA, or gym. If you have access to a gym, you can use the assistance of a trainer, design a good training program, or follow one already proven.


Investing in a smart watch, or a watch similar the Suunto Traverse, will not only allow you to stay on track with your physical training, but you can also use it to upload maps and mark waypoints for possible stand locations as you continue your research for your pending hunt. Most smart watches include a weather indicator, a compass, GPS mapping, sunrise/sunset, and altimeter.

Food & Drink

Hydrating & fuelling your body with protein and the right carbohydrates will be important during your hunt. Experiment as to what works well with your body. For the best odds of success, you are going to want to stay in the field as much as possible, covering as much ground as possible, or if stand hunting, spending every minute of legal shooting hours in the stand.

Environment & Weather

If there is a significant difference in elevation, such as being a native of Georgia traveling to Colorado to hunt elk, you will have to deal with the altitude change and plan to acclimate accordingly.

Just the same, the average temperatures and precipitation in the area you plan to hunt may be significantly different than you normally experience. Being prepared is going to be key to having a good experience and successful hunt. Using resources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website you can research past weather trends and the predicted weather forecast for the time you plan to hunt.

Inspecting & preparing your weapon

Inspecting your gear will give you a good idea of what you need to repair or replace before you set off. If you are planning an archery hunt, inspect your bow strings, rest, sight, and release; keeping in mind that you will probably not have a bow shop or convenient sporting goods shop local to where you will be staying.

If you are rifle hunting, you are going to want to stock up on your favorite ammunition and a travel-sized gun cleaning kit. You may find yourself needing to oil your weapon down after a day of being out in rain or snow or the need to clean your weapon if you have been stalking in high or dusty bush. The last thing you want, is to waste an entire day or two of hunting due to gear failure – especially if it’s something that could have been avoided.

Planning/Calendar System

It is imperative to the success of your hunt to diligently adhere to time constraints and plans you have laid out. You will want to make sure to meet any application deadlines. Being physically prepared is critical and sticking to a schedule will help in your success. Just as having your gear in top condition is important, starting a packing list as to make sure that nothing is left behind. It is always better to err on the side of having more than you need than to not have that one piece of gear when you need it.

Choosing the right optics

If you are planning a spot and stalk hunt, one of the most critical components you will need is a quality pair of binoculars and for certain terrain, a dependable Spotting scope. Choosing optics that will best fit your need is not as daunting as it may seem when you know what to look for in a quality pair of Binoculars or what features to look for in a Spotting Scope.

If you are planning on rifle hunting, it may be likely that you will experience some long-range shots; especially when hunting in vast open ranges. Knowing your comfort zone and the reliability of your rifle, scope, and ammo is imperative. If you are a crossbow hunter, you know how critical it is being comfortable with your crossbow scope; knowing at-a-glance, your stacked reticle yardages. 

The Hawke Endurance Series

Hawke Endurance Binoculars, Spotting Scopes, and Riflescopes offer the level of quality and dependability that is essential to any hunter and imperative for the traveling hunter. The extra-low dispersion (ED) glass results in less chromatic aberration of fringing of the view through the objective producing a crisp image.

Hawke Endurance Binoculars

When choosing a pair of binoculars, the best choice is going to be one that will serve the hunter well for a variety of hunting styles; stand hunting as well as scouting and glassing vast ranges. A favorite of stand hunters is the 10×42 binoculars or the 10×50 for those who may do more long-range glassing. The Hawke Endurance 10×42 binoculars will offer good magnification for glassing distances of 100-200 yards which is ideal for eastern and Midwest hunting where often the shorter ranges are a result of stand hunting in hardwoods or on the edge of agricultural fields.

The Hawke Endurance 10×50 binocular is going to be ideal for longer range glassing such as what you would find in western hunting situations and will provide the hunter with more light gathering capabilities; however, the higher magnification will result in a narrower field of view. There is a five-ounce difference between the two suggested binoculars, 23 and 28 ounces, making these binoculars a lightweight binocular choice.

Hawke Endurance Spotting Scopes

Many eastern or Midwestern hunters do not own spotting scopes because there often is not a real need for them. If you are planning on hunting a western state, a quality spotting scope will help save you time and energy in glassing animals from a distance instead of stalking them from a shorter distance via binoculars only. The investment will prove worth the money, not only on your DIY hunt but you will find that you will use them for many seasons to come.

The Hawke Endurance Spotting Scope series offers affordable compact units in 12-36×50 that provide a powerful and crisp magnification, and higher magnifications up to 20-60×85. When considering the game animal you will be pursuing, and by researching the property you plan to hunt, you will get a better idea if you need the advantage of a spotting scope.  A quality spotting scope can help you spot and stock that once in a lifetime trophy harvest.

Hawke Endurance Riflescopes & Hawke Crossbow Scopes

Hawke Sport Optics offer Riflescopes with a variety of features and various magnifications. The Endurance series wide-angle rifle scopes offer higher light gathering capabilities, with side focus, illuminating rheostat options, fast ocular adjustments with 4” eye relief, and a large choice of reticles to choose from.

The Hawke Sport Optics Crossbow Scopes are not in the Endurance series but offer the same high quality with eleven layers fully multi-coated glass with quality light gathering capabilities and exceptional performance. The Hawke Optics Crossbow Scopes is a favorite for many crossbow hunters for good reasons.

Having a good plan in place for your preparation leading up to the departure of your DIY hunt is going to be key.

In the next DIY Hunting article, we will look at helpful and important gear that you will want to pack for your DIY hunting trip; some items that will save you time, some that will save your back, and even those that could save your life.

Follow Nancy Jo on her DIY Hunt.