The Best Animals To Hunt For Beginners  

Jonathan H. Kantor
42 votes 13 voters 12 items

When you decide you want to start hunting, you definitely don't want to jump into it by trying to take out a grizzly bear with a folding knife. You're going to need to start out small, but how small, and what sort of game is best for new hunters? Most experts agree, the smaller the game, the better it is for a beginning hunter, whether they're an adult or a child.

Most experienced hunters will already know that these animals are some of the best and most popular in North America to teach their kids to hunt, but this list can be used as a guide for any inexperienced hunter, looking to go after something appropriate for their level of experience. Check out the critters on this list, and vote up the ones you think make for the easiest type of targets for any beginner hunting trips, then see which one rises to the top!

NOTE: If you're completely new to hunting, don't take this article as a guide, grab a rifle, and head out into the woods. Go with an experienced hunter who can show you the ropes, and if you can contract a guide, that's a great option as well. Never hunt any animal that can hurt you if you don't know what you're doing. There are a few of those on this list, and they are noted in the description.

Duck is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Animals To Hunt For Beginners
Photo:  Mdf/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Duck hunting is one of the best sports for a new hunter if the area you're hunting in has a lot of ducks (and they often do). For duck hunting, you should use a shotgun with birdshot, which will give you a nice spread such that you may be able to hit more than one bird per shot.

You'll want to take a well-trained hunting dog with you, and it should be one of the Retriever breeds. They're best-suited for finding downed birds and bringing them back to you.

Ducks are also good for beginning hunters because you don't have to go out and hunt them in the way you would hunt a deer or similar animal. You can set up in a blind, put out some decoys, blow on your calls, and wait for the birds to come to you, which makes it sound easier than it is. Incidentally, you shouldn't fire a shotgun for the first time while hunting; it's best to get some practice in at your local skeet shooting range so you can practice hitting airborne targets.

Easy to hunt?
Pheasant is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Animals To Hunt For Beginners
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Pheasants are excellent game birds to hunt for two reasons: they're relatively easy to hunt compared to other small game, and they taste delicious! Hunting pheasant is much different from going after duck since they aren't waterfowl. You'll need to find a good field or place with tall grass and make your way through it to a good position.

Make sure you're quiet, or you will spook these birds easily, and definitely hunt pheasant with more than one person. It's best to have a large group of people moving or stationary along a line. When the birds take flight, that's when you raise your shotgun and take aim.

Remember to be patient, and have fun with your hunting adventure! Hunting pheasant is a great pastntime, and it's especially fun to do with your children if you're getting them into hunting at an early age.


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Quail is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Animals To Hunt For Beginners
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Quail are another type of upland bird that's good for a new hunter for many of the same reasons as hunting pheasants. Quail are found throughout the central United States, though they do show up in the southeast as well.

You'll want to find a field where quail are likely to stay most of the time. Fields with annual weeds and high grass provide protection for quail and other small animals, and it's in these locations, where you'll find them.

You'll want to use a 20-gauge shotgun for this hunt, and you want to make sure you load it with eight-load shells. The last thing you want to do with a small bird is blast it into feathers, and this load will take them down without doing too much damage. You can hunt using a .22 rifle, but you better work on your aim before you try this method.

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Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Animals To Hunt For Beginners
Photo:  VJAnderson/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Rabbits are another great quarry for the beginning hunter, as they offer a challenge, but aren't especially difficult to find. Also, if you've had rabbit meat before, you know how good it tastes, so it's not a bad animal to bag on any hunting trip.

Rabbit hunting is another sport where it doesn't hurt to have a faithful dog by your side. Beagles work especially well for these little critters, as they're great at flushing them out of their burrows.

Rabbits are fast... really fast, so you're only going to get a moment to take aim and fire before they're gone. For this reason, it's easier to hunt them with a shotgun, but a talented marksman can do well with a .22 rifle.

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