Hunting season is almost here, and there are several things you should be aware of before heading into the woods.

(1) Know the laws and regulations of where you will be hunting.

Its sounds easy enough, but it cannot be stressed enough. Pick up a free copy of your state's wildlife regulation magazine at your local sporting goods store. In it you will find general hunting regulations as well as specific ones for the game you are pursuing. You will also find the dates of seasons as well as legal hunting hours.

You also should be able to find a digital copy on your state’s wildlife department website.

(2) Safety

Safety, safety, safety. Hunting is plan fun, and any time you head to the woods with a gun or any weapon to harvest game you should expect the thrill of your life. But be intimate with your weapon long before opening day.

In every state you are required to take a hunter education course before hunting. Check your state’s wildlife department website to see when a class will be available.

When hunting with guns wearing an orange hat and vest is almost always required. Always wear them. Many animals (including deer) cannot see hunter orange so you will not be scaring animals away. Always think safety.

(3) Get your gear ready

There are many things to talk about with gear, but here are some of the more important things to consider.

Descent all your clothing in special laundry detergent (available at sporting goods stores). This is especially important if you are hunting deer, hogs or other animals that have a good sense of smell.

Shoot your gun at the range several times before opening day, and make sure the scope is sighted in. Nothing like having a trophy animal in your sights only to miss.

Make sure your field knife is sharp. A dull blade is discouraging to use, as well as more dangerous. Along the same line, be familiar with the animal you are hunting; know where the vitals are for a quick and efficient kill. Know the best way to field dress the animal to save all edible meat.

And last, but probably most important, make sure you have plenty of water, high protein food and matches to start a fire.  These are the three basic things needed for survival in addition to shelter. Study some wilderness guides and be familiar with several shelters you can build out of natural materials in the area you will be hunting.