Theoretical hunter vs. real world pragmatic hunting.

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by davethehiker, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. davethehiker

    davethehiker

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    Theoretical hunter vs real world pragmatic hunting.

    I recently bought my first hunting rifle, a .308. Some day when I feel up to it I might use it to harvest a deer in my woods. I have been reading about how it's done. I learned about rang finders, declination, iPhone apps that let me enter the type of ammo, altitude, temperature, etc. All this made me wonder why my farmer buddy who does a lot of hunting has never mentioned any of this stuff to me. Today I asked him. He replied all that stuff is okay but in the Pennsylvania woods the deer are moving quickly. There is not time for that stuff.

    Does this make him an irresponsible hunter?
     
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  2. geodan

    geodan

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    No, it does not.
     

  3. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    There's a rather large difference between being a "shooter" and a "hunter" although there is some overlap. Around here the guys that sit on the powerlines and get a deer at over a hundred yards are considered "snipers". Most deer here are taken on small woods trails or cuts less than 50 yards away. You can see them,bring the gun up but by the time you do, they are usually heading away or getting ready to. More like partridge hunting in a way but doing it sneaky. Walk a little, look a lot.
    I've passed up a lot of shots as it wasn't a sure deal.

    But from the photos you've posted here @davethehiker, I think your method will work if you really want to get one. But once you pull the trigger, the "fun" is over...ain't no re-do button and bambi is gone forever. Ask yourself hard why you want to harvest a deer before next season.
     
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  4. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    Are you joking? Trolling?

    To hunt deer, get a license and whatever orange clothes the law requires, take a gun, go in the woods and shoot a deer. Why so many steps? Because if I shoot one of the deer walking down my street I'm going to hear from the sheriff's department or the city police, depending on which way I shoot.
     
  5. davethehiker

    davethehiker

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    I did not mean to. Some have advised me not to pull the trigger unless it's a "lead pipe cinch kill shot." I'm not a hunter and do not have a feel for what this means. My experience in shooting groundhogs with my G23 is that there is always a degree of uncertainty.
     
  6. pAZ Ron

    pAZ Ron

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    Dave, having grown up hunting the PA woods and now living & hunting the west, I'll comment. i come back to hunt PA every fall.

    No, with a scoped .308, you don't NEED any of that stuff to hunt PA woods. Select a good ammo (for .308 I'd lean to 150 grain bullets), zero (sight in) your gun well and know where it is impacting at 100, 200, 300 yards (or look at ballistic charts to see how low you will be if you ever get a rare 300 yard shot). Even though I also hunt the woods, I usually sight mine in 1 1/2 - 2" high at 100 yards to eliminate need to aim high, on the off chance that I get a longer shot in the fields on my friend's farm. Even with the possibility of longer shots in fields, I usually don't carry my rangefinder as I am hunting with a .300 Savage and limit shots to ~ 300 yards or less, almost all end up 150 yards or less.

    Spend more time learning where the deer hang out or trails across your property during the PA rifle season will pay off better than all that stuff. Make sure you have right/enough warm clothes to sit still on "stand". By stand I don't mean a tree stand ... at our age we should not be climbing trees. I mean a place where you can observe the trails/activity area and can shoot a deer if you see a legal one you want. I usually just get up on a high bank where I have visibility of a travel corridor in a ravine, and sit with my back against a tree big enough to break up my outline. This also allows you to rest your gun on your knees or against the tree to shoot. Be still and raise your gun early and if spotted move slowly. Some people stand up but I can not be still enough doing that.

    As you find good spots and are hunting your own property, you can later figure out if you want use a blind for cover (manmade or just piling up some branches around where you want to hunt) to minimize deer spotting you move and break up your outline even more.

    To contrast that ... hunting elk in Wyoming the locals told me that the AVERAGE rifle shot at elk is 400 yards and some considerably longer. Other than with my muzzleloader, my elk/antelope ranged from 350 to 650 yards in recent years. For that kind of shooting a rangefinder and some sort of ballistic reticle or turret is pretty essential, and some ability to adjust for the wind. The shooters that are going longer than that are the ones getting all the gear you mentioned.

    Hope this helps and good luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  7. orangejeep06

    orangejeep06

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    This!
    i agree that long range shooting is just that shooting not hunting. The idea of hunting to me is fair chase. You get out into the woods and shoot from 50 yards or less. There is a great deal of satisfaction taking a deer at close range,that’s why i have alot of respect for bowhunters and traditional muzzleloaders. I understand out west long shots are the norm and cannot be avoided but up here the guys who get the respect are the ones who go into the woods not the ones who hunt the edges or powerlines because they might get lost in the scary woods of Maine.
     
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  8. Dynactus

    Dynactus

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    As long as men don't shoot over bait or shoot fawns, or does with fawns, I consider them hunters. All the extra technology is fine, if that's how you want to hunt. I enjoy the traditional methods of hunting, without the battery powered deer feed dispensers. Men that hunt the traditional way have a respect, and feel a connection to, wild game that nonhunters lack. Also, believe it or not, when hunting like this, every now and then they will hear their fathers and or grandfathers speak to them with words of advice as to how to proceed with the hunt. Traditional hunting methods will ground a man and give him a sense of calmness and confidence he can't help but carry back to his urban existence.
     
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  9. davethehiker

    davethehiker

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    I will not be doing any hunting this Winter. I'm too weak from chemo. Assuming I recover, next summer I'll get a hunting license and tag. I have a point picked out where I think I have a good chance of seeing a deer. I have cut a mile long trail on my own property and like to walk it. There is an abandoned farm next to me. The farmer gets paid for fracking of gas deep under his land a gave up farming, letting it go back to nature. There is a short rotting tree stump on my property where I could hid. I frequently see deer on the old farm about 200 yards away. There is a lot of old cow poop there and weeds growing in it. It's a clean downward shot. If I totally blow the shot it will go into the ground, not over a rise. I might even put a cardboard box down there and take some shots to learn where they hit.

    BTW, I heard from my son today. He is sending me a compact gun safe. I need one now.

    My farmer buddy might have a different idea where he would like to hunt. He likes to eliminate the deer that eat his corn crop.
     
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  10. pAZ Ron

    pAZ Ron

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    Look for a clear (no brush in your scope in the bullet path) standing or slowly walking 1.) broadside shot and aim just behind the front shoulder, or 2.) a quartering away shot and aim a little further back on the nearside ribs aiming to exit around the offside front shoulder. Your sight won't be perfectly still on the animal, but if you can hold the "wobble" within a 6" circle on the deer at the distance you are hunting, and squeeze the shot off, you will be good to go. Other shot placements are possible later with experience, practice, and steadiness.

    One other note, always "follow up" your shot no matter what. It is common for deer not to fall immediately on the spot (except on head, neck/spine shots). Also, there is not always an immediate blood trail (sometime shows up farther away). Heart and lung shots, which are what I told you to aim for, it is common for deer to put on a burst of speed but leaving a fantastic blood trail to follow and going down for good less than 50 to 200 yards.

    If your sight picture is good, steady, and good smooth shot firing, chances are the deer is hit or dead somewhere even if it falls out of sight. Mark the spots where the deer was when you shot and also where last seen and start looking for sign there. Approach the down deer with your gun loaded and ready to shoot again if it stands up to try to get away, until you are sure it is dead.

    Also with experience, you will be able to have a good idea if the deer is hit based on its reaction. Obviously falling down, but more subtle like a stutter kick, hunching its back (a gut hit), jumping/rearing up on its back legs to race away (on a heart shot), limping (a shoulder or leg shot), running straight ahead (but not bounding) with its tail clamped down (heart or other quickly fatal shot). On the other hand, bounding or trotting away with the white tail flagging and up ... not so good ... more likely a miss.

    Importantly, if showing any sign of being hit, take any chance possible to shoot again, standing or on the run, until the deer goes down, to insure a quicker kill and no long tracking job.

    Good luck on your recovery from chemo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  11. ReaPer105

    ReaPer105

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    Don't shoot an animal until you have a clear, killing shot. They deserve a quick death.
    Beyond that, sight in your gun so you know where it will hit and don't overthink it.
    Take the behind the shoulder shot, it's a bigger target and a shot from a stand or leaning against a tree isn't exactly a bench rest so you need a bigger target.
     
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  12. rock_castle

    rock_castle Proud Nationalist who loves his country

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  13. Dave514

    Dave514

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    No face shots this time.
     
  14. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

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    Just found this thread so will offer my $.02. This year marked my 50th year deer hunting.

    It ain't rocket science but don't expect to just walk out in the woods and shoot a deer. Once you've scouted the area and know where and how the deer move (the OP sounds like he has a good piece of property). Trail cameras can help with this as well.

    Put up a pop up blind a month or two before the season starts. A pop up blind will muffle sound and conceal your movement. You don't need an expensive one. Get a comfortable chair. The days of sitting on a cold tree stump are thankfully over. Clear some shooting lanes in the woods or have some sight lines (which it sounds like the OP has).

    Personally I like 180 gr bullets in the 308, bigger/heavier is better on deer from my experience. Sight it in to be 1" high at 100 yards and you will be in the kill zone out to about 250 with no hold over.

    If you do shoot a deer wait at least 20 minutes before you go look for it. Longer than that is better but it's hard to sit still for longer particularly when the sun goes down. That time gives the deer time to lay down and bleed out if wounded. If pushed too soon adrenaline will carry a deer for miles sometimes. Then there's the whole tracking thing to get into, but I won't ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  15. adamg01

    adamg01

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    You are definitely overthinking it. Learn how to identify deer trails and buck signs. Put up a stand and kill a deer.
     
  16. NoStress

    NoStress

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    It would be good if you had someone to help you process that first deer you get.
     
  17. peng

    peng

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    Shooting is a small part of hunting.

    Most shots are gimmies, 100 yds or less. The difficulty is not in the distance most times. Consider what you need to do after the shot. That is the hard part.

    I think you will enjoy it, have fun and learn about the critters. You can buy protein, that's not the point at all.
     
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  18. Tvov

    Tvov

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    I posted a similar question almost 10 years ago when I wanted to start hunting. A lot of good responses, especially from Bustedknee:

    Thread:

    https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/want-to-hunt-what-to-do.1276981/#post-16181291

    Bustedknee's response:

    "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. "

    Great, simple advice!

    Basically, just go do it. As you do it more and more, you will figure out what, if anything, you want to buy to "improve" your hunting. Most of which, you'll find out, really won't make that much of a difference.

    What I have found that has helped the most with hunting, BY FAR, is quality, dedicated hunting clothing! Yep, not fancy gun, optics, scents, stands, blinds, etc. One of the biggest issues with hunting that is not always discussed is comfort in the woods. You usually will be out there for HOURS, so you want comfortable clothing. Hunting pants from Cabela's are world's apart from camo jeans from Walmart. This is also great stuff for people to give as gifts if they are looking for ideas. Wife bought me really good pants and coat from Cabela's that makes being out in the woods for hours enjoyable.
     
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  19. davethehiker

    davethehiker

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    Wow, what a great and complete response. Thank you!

    I already have great outdoor clothing including warm waterproof boots, because of the extensive hiking and camping I have done over the years. I have watched moose graze in wet lands and in flowered pastures high in the Tetons. I never occurred to me to kill one. Now I own 13 acres of heavily wooded land in Pennsylvania, surrounded by hundreds of acres of even more woods, pasture, and an abandoned farm that surround me. I cut a private trail into my woods that leads back to my house. I walk it to get a little exercise and relax. I often see deer on my trail and on my property. On very cold winter nights small groups of deer will sleep next to my house because it blocks the high winds. The deer sometimes peer in my windows.

    Someone I knew was selling a left handed bolt action Tikka .308 rifle with a scope. For no particular reason I bought it; maybe because I'm left handed. I asked the farmer across the valley to look at it. He explained that he has hunted deer on my land long before I bought it. He grew excited about hunting deer on my land and said he would gut/dress any deer we shot. I know I'm a fairly good shot with .306 from my time with the M1 in the army. I'm confident I could kill a deer if I get a clean shot at one. I know a place on my trail that they like to walk across. I could sit on a particular tree stump and just wait for one to walk across the valley below me. It's more about bonding with with my farmer buddy than anything else. If he cleans it, I'll help him cook it. I doubt I'll become a hunter, but who knows?

    Just something I want to experience at least once.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
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  20. pAZ Ron

    pAZ Ron

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    Dave, good post & I like your motivation and wish you the best of luck hunting. The camaraderie, even if you only get together for stories at the end of the day, is an important part of hunting.

    Only additional comments I will make are re sitting on a stump. Just sitting on a stump (rather than against a taller one) will not break up your outline and camouflage your silhouette unless you have a backdrop or cover very close behind you. You will be spotted and avoided by the deer much more easily than if you sit against a broad tree or other backdrop.

    Also, if sitting on the ground, use one of the inexpensive ethofoam or other pads to sit on. You will stay a lot drier and warmer keeping your backside insulated.

    Hearing your fondness for the outdoors, you stand a good chance of taking it to the next level with hunting and becoming hooked by being even more of a participant than just an observer!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020