62 voters

The Best Animals To Hunt For Beginners

Updated December 2, 2019 265 votes 62 voters 2.4k views12 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.

  • 1


    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?
  • 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.


    Easy to hunt?
  • Typically, a hunter wouldn't go after squirrels, but they're perfect for a young hunter to learn how to locate small game, take aim, and hit what they're aiming at. When hunting squirrels, you want to make sure you're not doing it in your neighborhood with a rifle, or you're likely to anger the Homeowner's Association.

    That's not to say you can't take care of your squirrel problem in the same place, but you're going to need the right equipment. To properly hunt squirrels, you need to use an air rifle that fires pellets or BBs. 

    These won't completely destroy the animal, but they will kill them, and it gives your kids a way of hunting in the backyard. That being said, you should never fire an air rifle in any way that it can hit a person, home, or car, so make sure the kids know where it's appropriate to fire their BBs or pellets.

    Training on an air rifle is a great way to learn the basics of rifle marksmanship without having to break out lethal ammunition, which is another reason squirrels are good for young hunters.

    Easy to hunt?
  • 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.

    Easy to hunt?