Hunting From a Boat

Many hunters take up the challenge of hunting from a boat. It is well established that small boats can significantly improve access to bountiful fishing areas and can make the game recovery process go more smoothly. In order to hunt from a boat successfully, hunters must select an appropriate boat, equip it properly, and adhere to the standard boat safety regulations.

Determining which type of hunting boat to buy

Purchasing a boat that is fully equipped is a considerable financial investment for many people. It is important to evaluate all aspects of the decision before you make a purchase. Consider your hunting style, frequent hunting locations, duration of your trips, the number of people in your group, the amount of gear that you take with you, and other uses that you will have for the boat (i.e. fishing).

Types of hunting boats

There are a number of different popular hunting boats. They include the following:

  • Hull Configurations: V-bottom, Semi-V, Flat Bottom
  • Outboard and Mud Motors: 2-stroke, 4-stroke, Mud Motors

Considerations for boat hunting gear

Keep a set of extra dry clothes in a dry or waterproof container that is fastened to the boat, ensuring that it will not get lost if the boat tips. You should always have a survival kit on board. Many hunters choose to keep a large kit on the boat and then carry a smaller one with them into the field. Make sure that your boat is stocked with all of the required boat safety gear, such as a fire extinguisher, signal flares, lighting and whistles. Keep charts for all areas where you are traveling as well as a compass. A GPS receiver can be a good supplement for the charts, but it should not be used as a primary navigation guide.

General safety tips for hunting from a boat

  • When people are hunting from a boat, their primary interest is boating; boat safety becomes a secondary concern. All boat hunters should take the following safety tips into consideration. Additionally, it is important to take time to review them on a regular basis.
  • You should always let at least one person know when and where you will be hunting. If possible, file a float plan.
  • Before you head out on a boat, check the weather. If there are unfavorable weather conditions in the near future, plan for them accordingly.
  • You should avoid consuming alcohol whenever you are hunting on a boat. Alcohol will affect decision making and reaction times. Additionally, it can accelerate heat loss, which will promote cold injuries.
  • While you are on a boat, do not wear waders. If you fall out of the boat when you are wearing them, the weight that they add to your body when they are filled with water can make rescue very challenging or even impossible.
  • Everyone who is on a boat should be wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). If you do fall into the cold water, your first instinct is to grasp. When you are wearing a PFD, you will be able to keep your head above the surface of the water, which will prevent you from inhaling water.
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