types of hunting

Millions enjoy hunting, and even beyond that, it is still an important source of food for many families in the United States and around the world. I know it is in our household

There are many types of hunting out there and most classify them by the weapon or the game you are hunting.

Depending on the season, things look different. Bow hunting for a deer is going to be different than using a bird dog and a shotgun for pheasant or waterfowl hunting. All types of hunting have some common elements but all require some different stills as well.

Here, we will discuss some of the most popular styles of hunting currently practiced in the United States and many other countries in the world.

Modern Firearm Hunting

Modern Firearms - Types of Hunting

Hunting with modern firearms is probably the most common style practiced today. However, it’s important to understand that there are different seasons, rules, and regulations for each type of firearm.

Shotguns, rifles, and handguns all often have different rules as well as different seasons and all of that depends on the state where you are hunting. For some animals only one of these is legal to use. For others all three are legal, but at different times.

The most common types of shotguns are 12 gauge, 20 gauge and 16 gauge. There is also the .410 which many young kids learn with and other less commons ones such as 10 gauge and 28 gauge which are more specialized.

shotgun gauges - types of hunting

The most common types of riles are .22LR, .270, .30-30, .30-06, and the .300. There are so many varying types and each is better suited a group of specific animals. Hunting with a rifle is often done with additional equipment such as a scope because your prey is often 100 plus yards/meters out.

The most common types of handguns are .22, 9mm, .357, and the .45. Not unlike hunting with archery, the pursuit requires relentless practice, patience and persistence to succeed; however, it’s especially gratifying when you do get that buck with your handgun.

Rifle and Handgun gauges - types of hunting

Understanding the way each firearm works, its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s fire power is key to picking out the right gun for the season and increasing the chance of a successful harvest.

Archery and Crossbow Hunting

Archery - Types of Hunting

Be it compound bow or recurve bow hunting is probably the second most popular. Most hunters bow hunt for their local species of deer–white tail or muley. Some will even try for Elk, wild boar, or one of my favorites wild turkey.

Archery or bow hunting probably accounts for the overwhelming amount of recreational deer hunting that takes place in the U.S. Bow hunting is often done from a tree stand or ground blind.

Whitetail deer and mule deer are very popular with bow hunters. There are also some areas where bow hunting for wild pigs/boars and bighorn sheep are allowed as well. Caribou bow hunting has also continued to grow in popularity over recent years. Another one that is gaining popularity and is on my bucket list is black bear.

One important thing to note is that while many states have crossbows and bows on the same season, that’s not going to be the same case in every state. Make sure to check local rules and regulations as some states separate the two seasons and some do not. Also, some states will only allows crossbows if you are handicapped or over a certain age.

Muzzleloader (Black Powder) Hunting

Black Powder - Types of Hunting

Black Power or muzzeleloading is limited in many states, but still popular with a growing group of hunters (including myself) who love the challenge.

Muzzleloader season involves the use of any firearms loaded through the muzzle, or basically those that use black powder. Think back to the older style of gun from the 1700’s to the early 1900’s where you poured powder in the barrel, added your pellet, tampped it down, pulled back the hammer and when you pulled the trigger a loud boom and a puff of black smoke.

Modern muzzleloaders are much more convenient and accurate than those of yore, but the principle is still the same.

This type of hunting is my favorite! This traditional form of hunting requires a lot of skill to get into close range with your prey and make a very high pressure, adrenalin filled shot.


What Type of Game Is Popular?

Aside from the type of weapon used, some people differentiate the types of hunting based on the game or prey that they are hunting.

The type of prey that you are seeking will also impact the type of weapon you are going to use. Choosing the proper weapon will make your hunting experience better and give you a better chance of success.

So with that, what types of game are popular?

Big Game Hunting

big game - Types of Hunting

When we talk of big game hunting, most people instantly think of white tail deer or mule deer. But it also includes elk, caribou/reindeer, antelope, mountain goat, moose, and several types of bears.

Big game hunting requires large bores as they are larger animals and requires much more effort and skill.

Small Game Hunting

small game - Types of Hunting

Popular small game hunting includes bobcats, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits and hares, foxes, and coyotes. Small game animals are found in all areas that offer suitable habitat. Small game hunting methods and techniques vary, depending upon hunter skill and knowledge.

Small game hunting often requires a smaller bore simply because the animal being hunted is small and a larger bore will do significantly more damaged to the hide or meat of the game.

Waterfowl Hunting

waterfowl - Types of Hunting

Waterfowl hunting focuses on hunting ducks, geese, or other waterfowl for food and sport.

Many types of ducks and geese share the same habitat, have overlapping or identical hunting seasons, and are hunted using the same methods. Thus it is possible to take different species of waterfowl in the same outing.

Waterfowl can be hunted in crop fields where they feed, or, more frequently, on or near bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or ponds or just about any sort of water.

Upland Game Hunting

upland game - Types of Hunting

Upland hunting is a form of hunting in which the hunter pursues upland birds including quail, dove, pheasant, grouse, prairie chicken, partridge, and other land base birds. Unlike waterfowl, upland birds are dry ground based and tend to be found hidden in heavy brush cover.

Hunters generally employ the use of hunting dogs to locate, expose and retrieve game. The average group typically consists of 2-6 hunters with 1-2 dogs.

Turkey Hunting

Turkey - Types of Hunting

Turkeys are intelligent wild animals and are wary of humans. Their keen eyesight makes up for their lack of smell and they can detect even the slightest amount of movement, so hunting them is challenging and that accounts for the growing trend in turkey hunting.

There are six types of turkeys in the US and their beauty, I think, it what makes them interesting to hunt.

Turkey hunting is often done with a shotgun but I have bow hunted turkeys with friends. That was an exciting challenge as we had to call the turkeys in very close and stay super still.


Conclusion on the Types of Hunting

These are the most common types of hunting in the U.S. and each one provides its own unique challenges and rewards. The best part is just to be outdoors and on the chase.

So make sure to try out a new type of hunting that you have not already done and experience something new. I guarantee you will find a new thrill.

ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU PRACTICE SAFE HUNTING! Check your local Game and Parks Commission for course or reminders on how to hunt safely.

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