How to Start to Plan for an Out-of-State Hunt

Planning an out-of-state hunting trip can be intimidating, but with proper preparation, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience. From researching hunting regulations to scouting your hunting grounds, and searching for an outfitter or guide, there are several key steps you can take to ensure a successful and enjoyable hunting trip.

Choose Where You’ll Hunt

Truck and SxS ready for an out of state hunting trip

The first and obvious step is to choose which state you want to hunt. Consider factors such as tags, draw odds, and accessibility. Different states have different point systems, while others will sell you an over-the-counter tag.

When we hunt in Kentucky, we purchase a non-resident hunting license over the counter or online before arriving. However when we went hunting in Kansas last season, we applied as a group in hopes to draw tags to hunt there. A group hunt application is to accommodate those who do not want to hunt unless their hunting partners draw also. Applicants (up to 5) must apply for the same unit and the same weapon choice. 

Research Hunting Regulations

Hunting tag during an out of state hunting

The next step in planning an out-of-state hunting trip is to research the hunting regulations where you plan to hunt. Each state has its own rules and regulations, including hunting seasons, bag limits, licensing requirements, hunter orange regulations, how and where you can transport harvested game and other rules and regulations. We highly recommend that you always research all the requirements for any location you hunt.  

Some states, like Wyoming require a permit for your ATV, so if you plan on bringing along your ATV or SxS along, be sure you have the necessary documentation. Make sure you’re familiar with the hunting regulations forwards and backward. Violating these rules can result in fines or even worse, the loss of your hunting privileges because you simply didn’t read all the rules. 

Secure Lodging and Transportation

So you know where you’ll hunt, but how will you get there and where will you sleep? Consider whether you’ll be camping, staying in a hotel, or using an outfitter, and make reservations in advance to ensure availability. If you’re driving to your destination, check that your vehicle is in good working condition and plan your route. 

Start Scouting Now

Research maps and satellite images of the area to get a better understanding of the land and potential hunting spots. Garmin GPS-Mapping systems really allow you to spend time e-scouting before ever getting boots on the ground, thus increasing your odds of an encounter. Better yet, if you can get on the property and set up scouting cameras before you plan on hunting, you can see which areas are a bust and which ones have that shooter you’ve been dreaming about. 

Pack Appropriately

Packing for an out of state hunting trip

When packing for your out-of-state hunting trip, consider the climate and terrain of your destination. Pack appropriate clothing and gear, including hunting boots, warm layers, and rain gear. If there are drastic elevation changes, weather and temperature can be tremendously different between where you are staying and where you’ll be hunting. Don’t forget to bring your hunting license, tags, permits, etc., and a cooler to keep your meat from spoiling on the way back!

Plan for Emergencies

Man using his Garmin GPS for an out of state hunting trip.

Finally, remember to plan for emergencies! Make sure you have a first aid kit, a portable battery charger for your phone, and a satellite phone or other communication device in case of emergency. The Garmin InReach is able to communicate in an emergency or simply let your family know how things are going. Look up the number of the local Game Warden or Wildlife Agency and put it in your phone and share it with others. Lastly, let someone know your hunting plans and expected return date. 

In conclusion, planning an out-of-state hunting trip requires careful preparation and attention to detail. By researching hunting regulations, choosing your hunting grounds, and the other tips we’ve recommended, you’ll be better equipped to have a safe and successful hunting trip. Remember to always follow hunting regulations and practice safe hunting practices to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. Happy hunting!

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