Hunting may be one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States, but unless you put the time and energy into properly planning your trip, you'll only get a fraction of the enjoyment you would if you were fully prepared. Read on for a few tips on how to ensure you are properly set up before you set off. 

Decide what you want to hunt
While many of the most popular hunting locations in the country offer a variety of game with everything from deer and elk to bears, hogs, turkeys and doves, it's a good idea to decide exactly which animals you wish to hunt well in advance. This way, you can ensure you abide by all the local rules and regulations of the state where you go hunting and that you obtain the necessary license. 

Check your equipment
Weapons that are not kept in good working order can be as much of a danger to the hunter as they are to the animals they are pursuing. Thoroughly check and clean all your weapons with one of the best universal weapon cleaning kits before you depart and check them again once you arrive at your destination to ensure they have not suffered any damage during the journey.

Pack carefully
A key part of putting together your plan is calculating exactly how much clothing, food and other necessities you will require during your trip. This is especially important if you are going to be staying overnight in the outdoors and need to carry everything you need to survive with you. 

You should include clothes that can cover every part of your body, all the way from your neck down to your feet, to reduce the chances of you being bitten by insects. You will also need a variety of items to wear, from long johns to a windproof jacket, to ensure you can remain comfortable regardless of what is happening with the weather.

Start out by packing any specialist gear you need, such as climbing shoes, a waterproof coat or a quality set of bow hunting clothing. Some states require mandatory items such as a fluorescent orange jacket to be worn while hunting. Once these items are packed, include your first-aid kit, equipment for cleaning any weapons, and once these essentials are in place, you can see how much room you have left over and decide whether your bag is the right size for the trip. Remember, when it comes to hunting or camping, less it more.

Share your plan
No matter what kind of game you are after, it's also a good idea to leave a copy of your hunting trip plan with a family member or close friend. Therefore, in the unlikely event of you failing to return at a specified time, your family and loved ones have all the information they need to be able to be of assistance. 

You should do this regardless of whether you are hunting alone or with others. It should detail your destination - include a map if the area is remote - the time you are planning to leave, and the date and route of your return. List the names of all members of the party along with their emergency contacts, cell phone numbers and vehicle details. 

Leaving this sort of plan not only helps in an emergency situation but it can also help to avoid unnecessary worry. If, for example, one member of the party loses their cell phone, members of their family will be able to quickly make contact with other members of the party to get the reassurance they need.