Big Game Hunting – Dangerous Games that Thrill Hunters in US

By FarWide January 14, 2021

Professional game hunt enthusiasts from across the world are found tracking their preferred kills in the hardwood forests of Midwest and East US. Be it the rigorous and snowy terrains of the northern Rockies, or the Southwestern deserts, there’s a wide variety of landscapes to hunt across the country. The list of game animals is huge – pronghorn, elk, mountain lion, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, black bear, moose, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and more – just take your pick. 

Bighorn Hunting Wyoming
Bighorn Hunting Wyoming

What is Big Game Hunting?

Lions, Cape buffalo, African elephant, African leopard and the rhinoceros – these comprise the Big 5 animals hunted for decades in Africa. The big game refers to wild and large-sized animals that can be legally hunted for sporting purposes. The catalog of animals would depend upon the state where you’re hunting. 

  • In North America, this category includes bison, mule deer whales, moose, elks, caribou, kudus, antelopes, hartebeests, and the coveted white-tailed deer. These game animals are mainly hunted for their meat. 
  • In South America, feral water buffalos, deer, cougars, feral pigs, capybaras and several other big game species are the hot favorite for hunters.

Diversity of Big Games

Beginners and experienced hunters, and all others in between, are often spoilt for choice when it comes to which state or terrain to practice this outdoor sport in. Truly, the plains, forests, deserts and mountains all have something or the other for every big game hunter. From pursuing mountain lions to tracking whitetails or spot-and-stalk hunting elks, there’s no dearth of experiences in the vast hunting terrains of the US. The main challenge faced by hunters lies in finding the perfect trip, game and terrain to match with their skills. 

Regulations and Permits

  • In the US, hunting is permissible on privately-owned and public wilderness terrains. 
  • Permits and licenses for big games are issued only for specific times of the year, known as the open season. These seasons are defined by the States as per the norms in place. 
  • The outdoor sport can be carried out with or without a professional guide in tow.
  • Kill or tag limits and age limits are placed by the states. There are restrictions on the total number of issued permits and the residency restrictions applicable to hunters. 
  • All hunters are expected to wear the designated clothing for safety purposes. Young hunters can accompany adults on big games; there’s no age bar for hunting turkeys. 
Rocky Mountain Elk Hunting Wyoming
Rocky Mountain Elk Hunting Wyoming

Weapons for Hunting Bigger Animals 

Your choice of weapon would depend on your comfort and the species you plan to hunt. Legally acceptable weapons are designated by different state authorities for this purpose. There are several archery rules, as well as different levels of skills demanded for use of firearms like rifles, semi-automatics, muzzleloading rifles and shotguns. Irrespective of the weapon in use, the local firearms laws have to be obeyed to the hilt by big game hunters. 

Read Our Ultimate Big Game Guide on Elk Hunting

  • Shooting for accuracy requires easy-to-carry weapons for big-game hunting; they encompass spears, atlatls, bow and arrow, longer-range weapons, and certain firearms (axes, knives, hammers, and bladed weapons also make it to the list of portable weapons). 
  • Among firearms, long-barreled rifles are the most commonly used weapons along with handguns and shotguns. 
  • Hunters looking for the best ammunition for effective and humane big game hunting rely on large-caliber ammunition. Some commonly used ammo and calibers for hunting down big animals are:
    •  .30-06 Springfield
    • .30-30 Winchester
    • .300 Winchester Magnum
    • .358 Winchester and so forth. 
  • The cartridge size, shape and size of bullets, load and type of powder in use are being upgraded every day for more effective kills. 
  • The range of bows and arrows is long and includes compound bows, longbows, short bows, crossbows and re-curve bows manufactured from different materials. Fiberglass, carbon fiber wood, and other materials are used for making the arrows and arrowheads. 

Hunting Methods

Ambush (hunting from temporary or permanent blinds), stalking, trapping, driving, or a mix of all these big-game hunting methods are popularly used in the US. Hunters may bait or call to enhance the efficiency of these methods. 

  • Stalking: The hunter tracks down the game stealthily until it’s within killing range. Proper camouflaging and sensory skills are a must to ensure success. 
  • Ambush: It incorporates setting up or finding a concealed space or cover to avoid detection of hunters by animals as they approach their prey or wait afar. Dugout blinds, ground blinds, cocking-cloths, stalking blinds and other types of blinds come in use in this method. 
  • Driving: The movement of an animal is directed to make it fall into a trap, over a cliff, or any other position from where the hunter can use his or her weapon safely. 
  • Vehicles: In this method of big game hunting, vehicles are used for stalking, as a blind, and for increasing the speed and range of hunters. Both air and ground vehicles are useful for stalking and looking for the best game locations. 

Different States – Different Hunting Norms

You may want to research the species that are classified by individual states, within the state boundaries, as big game. For instance, different states would permit hunters to bring down reindeer, musk oxen, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elks, caribou, deer, moose, pronghorn, bears or peccaries (a kind of wild boar) as per their classification of big game species. 

  • Arizona: Mule deer, buffalo, Coues deer, bighorn sheep, bobcats, Arizona turkeys, black bears, mountain lions, pronghorn antelope, javelinas, etc. are big game species in the State. 
  • West Virginia: Wild turkeys, boars, black bears, deer, alligators, wolves, etc. are usually killed by hunters within the boundaries of the State. 

Their furs, tusks, bones, horns, body fat and oil, or specific organs are considered to be viable for commercial purposes. This kind of hunting is done for recreational purposes or for trophies and taxidermy. 

Way Ahead

With over two dozen big game animal species and a full catalogue of waterfowl, upland birds and waterfowl on its cards, the United States is a favorite haven for hunters. Most importantly, the nation presents a plethora of challenging and exciting terrains for big game hunting. Get in touch with experts in the hunting arena to understand the essentials and non-essentials things to carry, the weapons to use, the seasons to block, and where to go for big-game hunting soon. 

Reach out to us at FarWide.com to make your shooting sports sessions more rewarding.

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