Valentine’s Day is this Saturday and, for many hunters, this creates a conflict of interest. Hunters wince and whine about having their designated hunting day taken over by a winged archer of love, but you don’t have to give up hunting for the day. Whether your sweetheart is an experienced huntress or totally new to the game, here are some tips on taking her hunting for a Valentine’s Date.
Limited Species, Unlimited Fun
The species available to hunt on February 14 are pretty limited, but that doesn’t mean you and your lady can’t have a great time together in the field.
Small game hunting for squirrels and rabbits will offer the most shot opportunities and possibly the opportunity to hunt with dogs. What wife or girlfriend wouldn’t enjoy watching a pack of cute little beagles on the trail of a bunny? If action is what you are after, this is where to find it this Valentine’s Day.
Another popular prey for February is furbearing predators like coyotes and foxes. You won’t have as many shot opportunities, but the excitement she will feel if you are successful will be worth your effort. Another advantage to predator hunting is that, in most areas, you can hunt at night. Imagine her surprise when, after the hunt, you treat her to a dinner you’ve prepared next to a warming campfire under the glistening winter moon and stars.
If your lady friend isn’t experienced with firearms, the first step in any hunt will be teaching her proper firearms safety and operation. Be patient and remember that, although gun handling has become second nature to you, it takes some time to master. Select a firearm with moderate to low recoil when introducing new shooters and be sure to where proper eye and ear protection at the range.
Ease Her Into the Gory Parts
You know your honey better than anyone, right. If she’s never hunted before and doesn’t want to gut and skin an animal, do it for her. If she doesn’t even want to see it, don’t make her watch. At least for now, let her live in a world where rabbits and squirrels are cleanly killed in the field and show up next as gourmet Valentine’s Day dinners. By limiting the shock factor on her first hunts, you might just gain a new hunting partner who’s a lot prettier than your other hunting buddies.
The Non-Lethal Option
If the thought of killing an animal is what turns your valentine off, you can still go “hunting” — shed hunting, that is.
By Valentine’s Day, most of the bucks or bulls in your hunting area will have shed their antlers. Take your date on a walk through your hunting grounds and search for some of these hidden treasures. Focus on feeding and bedding areas, where deer and elk spend the most time, or walk fencelines, where a jump often jars a loose antler free.
If she finds a non-trophy shed, make a piece of jewelry or artwork out of it so she will have something to help her remember this Valentine’s Day forever.
Keep It Fun
Unless you are trying to make her list of worst Valentine’s Days ever, do your best to make your hunt fun. If your sweetheart appears to being getting cold, tired, or just bored, rap it up. If she doesn’t want to walk much, don’t take her on a forced death march to a distant ridge. A thermos of coffee (or hot chocolate and Kalua) back at the truck will go a long way at the end of a cold hunt.
By listening to what your date is saying and reading her body language throughout the hunt, you can make this her most enjoyable and memorable Valentine’s date ever.