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Want to hunt - what to do?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Tvov, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    Hello all. I made a thread last week about using a 20g pump gun for deer hunting... I had some miscommunication with a friend, and thought I was invited to hunt with him this fall. He just bought land with a cabin, and this year wants to hunt it alone to check things out. I also believe that I am not mistaken in thinking that he doesn't want to take a "newbie" out hunting, and basically have to babysit / guide him, especially on property that is new to him.

    So right now that option is out, and I am figuring I may wait until next fall to hunt, unless something pops up in the meantime.

    Anyways... in talking to some people about hunting, I am getting conflicting information (as usual). I am just looking to have my "first outing" hunting. I honestly don't expect to get a deer. I have never done it before, I just want to at least taste the experience. I don't expect someone to "guide" me, although that would be nice. Even if it just means walking into the woods for 10 minutes with a gun and then walking back out.

    I have been target shooting for years. I in no way consider myself an "expert", but I know my way around guns.

    More than a few people I've talked to are saying things like:

    - you need a rifle with scope, at least 30-30, preferably 30-06. New England is all woods, at least where I'd expect to be hunting. I just don't see me having 100 yard shots in heavy woods. What is wrong with a shotgun? What is wrong with open sites? I have a 20g pump gun that I am confident with. Do I need to buy a potentially expensive gun just for my first time out?

    - you need camoflage. I was planning on getting some hunter orange, at least a hat, probably also a vest. With that, I was just going to wear jeans and a denim winter coat. Do I really need to outfit myself at Cabela's with thousands of dollars worth of camoflage custom hunting outfits? (at least it seems that much)

    - you need deer cover scent, drips, spray, etc. Again, just for my first time out?

    And other stuff.

    This is all very discouraging for a potential hunter. From most people, when I say I've never hunted but would like to try, they seem to roll their eyes and then begin a long talk about all the stuff I need to buy, all paperwork and regulations I need to go through, you have to do this, and this, and this, all the effort I will have to do. Makes me not want to even try hunting.

    With all the talk about having to "keep the tradition alive", promote hunting, preserve our rights, etc honestly I kinda thought that I would get a more welcoming attitude from hunters. I know that I have to understand the regulations, get permits / tags / license, know what I am doing with a gun (which is a big reason I'd prefer to use the shotgun I've been shooting for decades). I just wish I could get some positive reinforcement.

    I am assuming (and hoping) that there are more welcoming hunters out there who welcome "newbies".

    Okay, so now that I've had my little rant... didn't really mean to go off like that...

    What would you tell someone who has never hunted, wants to try, and has limited equipment and a limited budget?
  2. Atomic Punk

    Atomic Punk

    Mar 11, 2008
    well my first thought is just go shoot something. but besides being a smartass try to find somebody thats willing to help you without also giving you a $2,000 list of must have's

    im in about the same boat as you. never done it before, but i want to try. i have an old marlin 44mag that is more accurate than i am :D .
    my wifes brother has been offering to take me since before i married my wife. he actually seems serious now. before the marriage it was more of a see who come back kind of hunting trip offer.

  3. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA Get off my lawn

    Aug 16, 2001
    Taunton, MA
    Camo - hit the Army/Navy store. I'm betting you could get by with about $80 all tolled.

    Rifle/Shotgun/etc., I'm not sure I've ever understood the logic of a scope on a 30-30. Maybe a Marlin with a peep, but a scope? In New England? Nah.

    Not sure on what a 20ga will do, but I know a 12ga will do a deer just fine up to 75-100 yds. It's all that's legal here in MA anyhoo.

    How about you just pull some stuff off of the internets and go out with yourself and no gun this season? What's the worst that happens? You bump into a huge deer and have no gun. Big deal. LEARN.

    I know that Bass Pro had a deal for $80 for 2 low-end trail cams. I'm almost tempted to try them out as well. Just for a goof out back. Might help you scout a nearby area or get a feel for where the deer are moving at different times (not just time-of-day but time-of-season.)

    Most of all - start a notebook. Deer won't always do in your AO what they do elsewhere. And of course, they may not follow the patterns you expect after having a nice full notebook, but it's good to have a starting reference point.
  4. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie

    Sep 6, 2001
    Hunting. Natives did it for years with minimal hardware and none of the extras we now seem to need.

    Read some (a lot actually) on the subject of your prey, their habitat and habits, then get out in the woods and begin to "hunt" sans gun if need be just to try and spot them (deer, I presume?) without being spotted or smelled (wind direction) or gored. (thinking about that mountain goat attack last week)

    Camo vs. movement. I've been told and have experienced animals spotting my motion even when/if camo'd up. Humans tend to move too fast and make too much noise while in the woods. Orange is for obviously for visibility to other hunters as most animals (all?) are considered to be color blind. Movement is what they see (very well I might add).

    S L O W - D O W N

    If you ever watch deer in the woods or meadows, they'll take a step or three, look around for danger, seeing none will browse a bit, stop, look around and take another step or three, repeating as necessary till bedtime or something alerting them to danger.

    Take your hunter safety class from your local Dept of Wildlife, ask questions. Find some local wooded area, meadow or swamp, and go practice being sneaky. Try to sneak up on a rabbit for instance, or squirrels in trees. See how close you can get before they say adios.

    Repeat as necessary. Mucho fun. Maybe bring a camera to hunt with initially till you feel confident enough to slay whatever you're going to hunt.

    Learn about, know and respect your prey, their environment, day and night, especially including the weather.

    Good boots. Warm, waterproof and quiet clothing. Woodcraft skills.

    The actual kill or harvesting of the animal is only a small part of the overall experience (to me). Being outdoors in the midst of the critters and flora, becoming part of it all, even for a short time, that's the best part.
  5. 357glocker


    Oct 28, 2002
    My thoughts only
  6. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    I believe in blaze orange vest with a orange hat, and whatever other clothes that it takes to survive Your winters... I wash my clothes in scent free detergent, and leave them outside for a few days and a scent neutralizing spray can't hurt... Stay down wind when necessary...

    Guns... A shotgun will work out to however far you can keep the shots sharply in the vitals... Rifles are typically more accurate, and I do beleive in a scope past about 50 yards, the sharpness and precision that they aid to the shooter is very valuable to me... I do not believe You will need a 30-06 out to 100 yards, and an accurate shotgun or 30-30 will yield the same end result when used responsibly...

    Finding someone to help you along in the beginning is helpful, as long as they actually know what they're doing... Other than that, on new land my "go to" plan was always to find a creek bottom (nearby water availability) with some acorn trees that were putting out or some other form of food for the deer... Study the tracks an their direction to maybe form a pattern of where they are traveling to and from... Have a few option of where to sit and wait, depending on the wind direction of a given day... Hopefully these these spots will be well hidden to your advantage and close enough to provide you with a close enough shot for accuracy... If possible I like to be a little above the deer in elevation, like a bit uphill and able to shoot down into a draw bottom - just me... This is all in theory but don't always work out so perfectly, sometimes we take what we can get and go from there...

    Don't get discouraged, take your options and you'll learn what's going on just like everything else in life and in time things begin to make more sense and become second nature... Go slow to the hunt spot, disrupt as little as possible and very slow movements while your on the stand and waiting... Good luck man...
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  7. thejellster05


    Sep 13, 2007
    Thanks for the guidance guys....not my first year but still a newb! -Trying to learn how to hunt on my own (scouting and wind). :rock on:
  8. bustedknee

    bustedknee Curmudgeon

    Aug 1, 2001
    Wythe County, VA
    Opening morning of deer season you put on the the clothes you normally wear outdoors. Earth colors, soft, warm and comfortable. Lunch stowed in the pockets.

    Get out the old shotgun and put a couple slugs in it.

    Walk 10-20 minutes from your vehicle (or your house) and sit down on a ridge you have permission to hunt.

    Put your back to a tree and sit quietly. Move your head slowly.

    If a deer comes by, shoot it.

    Thousands of people do this every year. For some, this will be their first time. Others are old men and have been doing this since they were boys. A few will kill a deer or two in their lifetimes while others may never kill a deer. And if they had, it would have ruined their hunt

    A few will decide this is a really fun hobby and decide to invest their money and time in improving their odds. They will buy stands, camo clothes and fancy rifles.
    Then comes reading all the books they can get their hands on, seeking out people that are successful hunters, and spending time in the woods trying to figure out the habits of deer.

    If you do what these people do and spend a day on a ridge, it will become your ridge. You will befriend a pesky squirrel and chatterbox bird. You will see leaves fall. You will hear crows on the next ridge as they welcome sunrise. As the sun sets you will experience Mother Nature quietly putting her little critters to bed, except for the ones that are active at night.

    When you arrive home, after dark, for a late dinner, you will not be tired but relaxed and at peace with other aspects of your life.

    You are a hunter.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  9. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    Thanks for all the responses. Especially yours, bustedknee.

    I don't know if I'll make it out or not this year, but at least you all have my hopes up.

    Just remember if someone expresses interest in hunting, try very hard not to drive them away by making it sound like a major expedition. If they just want to sit on a log for 10 minutes with gun to "try it out", try to encourage that.
  10. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    Also, check out the State Fish and Wildlife Service webpage where you live for rules and may need a hunter safety class/certificate before you can buy a license.

    Lots of states have public hunting land that may or may not be open for deer hunting. Again, your state F&W service web page is a good start.

    Lastly, you don't have to only hunt deer to have a great time afield....rabbits? Turkey? all manner of things for you to chase to enjoy the outdoors.

    Here in KY we have hundreds of thousands of reclaimed strip mine lands that are semi-public and provide superb hunting for a nominal fee from the mining company of like $25
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  11. sourdough44


    Jul 23, 2007
    I'd take the hinter's safety class if you have not yet. Then you'll be ready when the opportunity arises. You should try to hook up with a relative or friend who hunts. They could get you up to speed a little faster.
  12. Beware Owner

    Beware Owner NOT a victim.

    Oct 16, 2007
    First thing I'd check is if you need a license and pass a course to obtain that license. If that's the case, right there you have tons of valuable information relevant to where and what you're hunting.
  13. Its like anything you learn trial and error. Its best if you go with someone that knows the laws and has hunted. Once you shoot the deer your going to need to field dress it. I would suggest taking a hunter safety course. You will find friendly and helpful advice there. You may even meet a newbie that wants to hunt with you? Also stop at Walmart or a sporting store and pickup a book on deer hunting. I had a great reference on how to field dress a deer. Hunting means locating the game in its elements and not necessarily killing something. I haven't shot a deer in two years. I see plenty but not always have an opportunity. Next you need to sight your shotgun or firearm in for hunting. This will take a range trip or two. You don't need a lot of equipment to hunt deer. Ideally you need land and a firearm with a permit and then its a matter of waiting almost like ambushing your quarry.
  14. 1. Take a hunter safety class, it's probably required by your state anyways.

    2. I once read somewhere that if you want to learn to deer hunt you should go out squirrel hunting. It's great practice, your 20 ga will work fine and you will start learning the woods a bit in the process.
  15. bluejackets92fs

    bluejackets92fs I have bad aim

    Oct 23, 2010
    SW Ohio
    First off, don't doubt your skills. I put in long and may hours in the woods my first year but I manged to get a deer by week 6 of the season.

    Second, don't doubt being able to get a 100yrd shot off. When you are 15-20 feet up in a tree you see a lot more and have big shooting lanes. 20g shotgun slugs will work fine but if you get a shot longer than about 50-75 yrds you are SOL.

    As for camo, You can spend 400 plus on camo. My recommendation, buy some warm overalls and then wear some camo on top of it. It will keep you warm and all you need is something to break up your outline. Flannel will work fine for the most part.

    Scent cover ups are always an advantage but if you hunt somewhere that is always having human traffic then scent cover ups are not really important. Use it to play it safe but don't go all out and cover yourself in the stuff. The drips and attractant is good but don't over do it. You dont want to get the area so covered in scent that the animals will avoid the area. Also if you are trying to attract a big buck and he comes in and notices the scent always around, they too will avoid the area.

    Hunting takes patience and a lot of dedication. I learned everything I know from my brother in law and I'm still learning.
  16. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    Thanks for the replies. I actually do have a hunting license (I took the hunter safety course). It is required in Connecticut. But.... as is usual with my lightening quick scheduling, I took the course 8 years ago, and never did anything. I have kept my license current, though. In Connecticut, if you don't renew your license at least every 5 years, you have to retake the safety course.

    I have been looking up hunting areas in Connecticut. I think I am going to do the "camera hunt" thing this fall. There is a bow hunting area just a few hundred yards from my house, as I have discovered with some internet searching. I don't have any idea how to use a bow, but I figure I will check the bow hunting dates and check out the woods when it is not bow season.

    My area is definitely a "human traffic" area. Deer are certainly acclimated to people around my neighborhood. I kinda figure the deer would know someone is a hunter if they are using scents! lol

    Thanks for the positive replies. As I said, I was a little surprised in talking to hunters how pretty much negative they can be. I don't want to take anyones "spot" or ruin a hunt, I just want to give it a try.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  17. JPP


    Aug 12, 2010
    Lots of stuff to learn.
    Read a lot. Start out reading Deer and Deer Hunting magazine, they sell at Walmart. Great info in there. Then graduate to books, I think Charles Alsheimer is a great author and great authority for NE whitetail deer hunting.
    Dave Henderson is a great shotgun hunting writer.

    20 gauge shotgun has killed many deer over the decades. If you feel confident shooting open sights, find what slug shoots best out of your shotgun. Myself, I prefer scope on my shotgun. Hunt a few years, see if you like it, then graduate to better weapon and accesories if you feel like it.

    You can get hunting clothes at Walmart for very little money. Jackets are about $25 right now. They look to be fine enough to be functional.
    I prefer bib overalls to pants, they provide another layer of warmth around your vitals. Dress in layers. Get POLYPROPELENE underwear and layer up. You don't need to spend hundreds on clothes...although you could easily if you fall for all the scent blocker gimmicks. Good boots, layer up to withstand the cold.
    Do you have a Dick's Sporting Goods near you? They always have huge sales after season plus coupons.

    Just an FYI, I have shot many deer from 20 yards or less with a gun wearing all blaze orange. Movement is the key, deer don't see color but they see shades of gray.
    So much info to provide, not enough room in a thread here.....

    If you can't find someone to help you get started, do a lot of reading. Watch Outdoor Channel, not so much to learn how to hunt because these shows are just deer kill videos, but you can see what to expect as a hunter.

    As far as scents, don't worry about them.
    As long as wind is blowing your scent away from deer as they approach you, you will be fine.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  18. I got a lot of friends that want me to take them hunting. I have very few places that I can actually take them to. I also have 4 kids of my own to take hunting.

    Around here 99% of the hunting is on private land. The public land is overflowing with hunters during gun season and you couldn't pay me to hunt on it then. It takes a while to earn the trust of landowners, and most of them don't want you bringing a thousand of your best friends along. Also lots of small properties in the 5-50 acre range. The 3 properties I spend most of my time on are 5, 27, and 50 acres. You just can't bring a bunch of people along with you on something like that.

    The national forest areas that are available are a couple hours drive away and most of them have a much shorter hunting season.

    A lot of the negativity you are hearing is probably from similar situations.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  19. ditto on all of the above

    For hunting gear I clue you in on a Wally Mart secret. Buy for the next season at the end of this season.

    Here's why;

    Most of the country walmart stock up for hunters, I'm talking deer scent down to muzzleloader caps and bullets. What they don't sell during that respective season, they place on clearance and as it sits long on the shelves, more they clear off the top.

    So that $25.00 jacket becomes $14.99. A boxes of 50cal sabot/bullet is a lously 5.99. Turkey calls in the end of may that sold at 17-21 dollars, now has a red clearance tag of 12-15 dollars. Get my drift.

    Best way to become a great hunter, is too well........ hunt ;)

    if you don't get in the field, you will never become a hunter. You will miss on animals, you will track and don't find the animal that you hit, you will ge sun burned, exhausted, stunk by ants and mosquitoes, and host of other issues. Just climb back in the saddle and move on.

    Good luck and don't quit.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  20. bustedknee

    bustedknee Curmudgeon

    Aug 1, 2001
    Wythe County, VA
    I will give you one of my secrets. However, it won't work for Noway.


    As soon as it snows, hit the woods. Look for tracks and signs. If it is still snowing the sign won't last long until it is covered. Go back out after the snow has stopped and look around.

    You can easily see where the deer came from and where he went, what he is eating and how many friends he has. You will find his day beds and his night beds.

    As the deer sign starts to make sense you will find yourself aging tracks and even tracking without snow. Now you are getting there.

    It is almost impossible to track down a deer. Almost.
    I find it much easier to follow the tracks just until you get an idea what the deer is up to then circle and head him off. He will know you are tracking him and be watching his backtrail.

    Tracking in the snow is almost like cheating.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010