getting started hunting

Discussion in 'tales of the hunt' started by grumpyvette, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    Hunting is a hobby thats both time consuming and expensive, and it can be addictive, if done correctly,or as almost an obsession that it can easily become, for some people, but it need not start out that way, and if your just into hunting local deer and hogs or bird hunting it need not be very expensive to acquire the basic tools. its a bit like getting hooked on drugs, hunt a bit and you seem to enjoy it and want more, and the more often you hunt the more you want to go, get others involved and the more equipment you feel you need and the more you schedule your free time to allow you to hunt.
    I went out to colorado and wyoming almost every year from 1969-2001 or so when I got seriously injured (back,ankle, knee) at work.
    most of my local friends have a dual interest in CARS and GUNS/HUNTING, obviously each guys preferences vary a bit
    Id been deer hunting for several years from my late teens and enjoyed camping out for days at a time and wandering around in the woods.
    I was really lucky when I was younger as I was invited too join a group of older guys at the local rifle range after I expressed interest in hunting out west, I was lucky when I started hunting elk to have several very experienced mentors , and while being young and having read a ton of elk hunting articles I tended to think some of their advice was a bit behind the times, the longer I hunted the more I saw the wisdom of the choices they made, in both equipment and hunting methods.
    now I got invited to go on my first out of state elk hunt when I was about 18, and that previous summer Id spent nearly every weekend at the range, most of my mentors had and used Remington 760 30/06 rifles with either peep sites or 4x scopes with receiver peep sites as a back-up and when I asked why I was told that the area we would be hunting in was rather steep rolling timber slopes, ranges would seldom exceed 200 yards and to buy and use peters 220 grain soft point ammo sighted in to hit 3" above the point of aim at 100 yards.
    sighting in that way put the bullets dead on at 200 yards.
    these rifles were fairly light weight, and rarely had any problem maintaining zero, and trust me rifles get dropped, guys slip and fall and scopes rarely held up in those days many fogged or broke, so use of peep receiver sites made sense.
    every year I went with the group several members took elk,

    Ive started at least 7 guys in our elk hunting group out ,who expressed interest,and who are now enthusiastic members, by first getting them efficient and comfortable at shooting from field positions , and getting them involved in the planing and conversations, then guiding and tutoring them on their first few hunts out west.
    I think if theres interest it should be encouraged and mentored & tutored thats how my mentors felt 45 years ago, and it sure awoke a desire (obsession)
    if theres real interest it will be easily seen, in most cases, skills can be taught, equipment borrowed or purchased but, the REAL INTEREST in getting involved and learning the skills must be there to start.I think a great deal of the discussions on what bullets to use, calibers ranges etc. could be avoided or ignored if a good deal more time was spent discussing game anatomy,and correct precise shot placement from field positions.
    the plain fact is a good many people can't hit squat from a rapidly acquired field position at even 100 yards let alone the 200-400 yards they claim most of the time!
    I find the vast majority of guys I started out could shoot 2" or smaller 100 yard groups off a bench rest at the range , who felt very confident in their shooting ability's UNTIL I started placing 4 6" paper plates on a target backer, out at 100 yards and challenging them to assume a quick sitting or making an off hand shot or two,(their choice) in under 10 seconds time at the number (1-thru-4) posted on the plates, which is far closer to hunting than any bench rest will be.
    those impressive bench rested groups sure go to hell quickly until they learn to use a rifle under field conditions
  2. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    find satellite photos , get the local hunting regulations, get topo maps and property boundary maps, and get a gps so you can locate those areas once your on the ground where things look a great deal different,
    if you get out the recent satellite photos your looking for areas that channel deer movement, between cover and feed.
    watch the wind, youll rarely see deer directly down wind, keep to the shadows as much as you can, wear good camo.
    ideally youll want to locate a choke point concentrating deer movement like the narrow land area between two lakes, or the tip of a heavily wooded area adjacent too a second heavily wooded area with a small open meadow between the two.(natural game travel choke points)

    if you have access to a welder and chop saw , and some fabrication skill.
    you can build a damn nice climbing tree stand for under $60 similar too this

    I once had a new guy in the hunt club suggest we get 4-5 member's to form a rough line across a large island to drive a seclude island in one management area while he stood at the far end,
    where the deer would be trapped like fish in a barrel.......
    guys were rolling on the floor laughing at that suggestion,
    florida deer prefer dry areas to bed and feed, but won,t hesitate a second to run through the cypress swamp to escape hunters encroaching on their perceived, safety barrier zone,
    deer will love a secluded peninsula or any other area that has very limited human traffic as long as it has feed and cover,
    here in florida much of the hunting management areas consist of swamp, if you pull a topo map,
    many are endless small peninsulas extending into shallow drainage ponds, and islands in the swamp.
    deer are not phased with crossing chest deep water, or even swimming a canal to gain access to decent feed and cover
    Ive used a cannoe for decades to allow easy transport of equipment and downed game


    untill you know the area,increase your odds by finding areas deer constantly travel between cover and feed, be in a tree stand with a wide field of fire ,
    up at least 15-25 feet up a tree so you command/control dozens of acres,travel with a scoped rifle, limit movement, ideally place the stand back a few yards from the edge of the timber (yeah I'm well aware you seldom have ideal choice locations for tree stand locations)
    if you plop down in a random area on the ground your chances of success diminish a great deal.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  4. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    it helps a great deal to have a GPS for what should be very obvious reasons.
    get and use a decent back-pack
    carry a note book and pen and camera, that stores digital pictures , carry extra batteries, carry water, Toilet paper a cell phone
    game does not report to a certain location at a set time, (no bus to catch too work, no restaurant seating hours.
    they move due to changes in hunting pressure, changes in food sources,major environmental changes,and mating season and weather.
    the more time you spend becoming familiar with the area youll hunt the better your grasp of the wildlife and how it spends its time and where it spends that time,
    game will detect you about 80% more often than you detect game, observe by finding a concealed area and sitting, it will take 30-45 minutes for the natural process to resume.
    learn the local food sources, be aware of changes, oaks don,t drop acorns all year.
    will be to your benefit, wear a watch take notes and what I do is divide the map of the area into roughly 1/8 mile grid squares,
    label them A-Z then you can make readable notes like
    "8 am, oct 12, zone G- kicked up 3 does, found several game trails converge south of oak stand 30 yards from north end of canal" or
    "11Am zone D,oct 28, found perfect tree for climbing stand for winds from north, over mixed myrtle and oak, lots of hog digging sign "
    "5pm zone C oct 26 large oak grove obviously torn up by hogs"
    organize notes by zone, and month on your home computer data base
    learn to be a damn good shot from field positions (shooting skeet also helps)
    you can aimlessly and randomly wonder around like most "hunters"and occasionally see game
    or you can up your odd markedly by understanding where when and why game move and where they are more likely to be.
    youll also up your odds by getting in before dawn and hunting till after dusk.

    after a few dozen trips youll get a clearer mental picture of the area
    after several seasons youll know pretty much where to set up a stand to have an excellent chance of success,
    as youll have a good grasp on how and when game moves,
    if theres been a grass fire or the game department used a dozer to cut a new dirt road through the area,
    or the adjacent farm burned sugar cane or it rained enough that your walking through knee deep water most of the time
    , it will effect the game travel patterns

    be paitient, get a good stand location, relax be observant,
    have a quality set of 8x or 10x compact binoculars
    never leave your stand over time someone will steal it
    never piss near your stand
    the higher the tree stand , generally the more area you can observe
    wear a safety tree stand fall harness, let the wife know the grid (s) on the map your likely to hunt
    charge your cell phone, ideally have a spare battery or battery charger
    put a sling on your rifle use a cartridge holder butt sleeve
    ideally youll want a pack large enough to carry most of the boned out meat from a deer.
    heres a quick memory jog list, for hunt day pack
    (remember you might be forced to stay out over night, & weather is unpredictable)
    skinning knife
    compact blade sharpener
    area topo maps
    large canteen
    cell phone
    several lighters
    granola bars
    rain poncho
    mosquito repellent
    2 gallon zip lock bags
    small block & tackle hoist & rope
    (50 ft parachute cord)
    spare ammo
    toilet paper
    alcohol hand wipes
    heavy hoodie jacket
    get the largest and strongest cooler you can afford, keep it in your car or truck and throw a bag or two of ice in it every morning to keep a couple plastic gallon milk jugs you freeze solid before each trip from melting , then place a few sodas or gator-aid bottles in it, if you get lucky and drop a deer you place the number of 2 gallon zip loc bags of meat in the cooler to prevent spoilage untill you can get home, and properly process and label the meat packages.
    coleman sells a usable fairly cheap,120 quart for $65, if you have the cask pelican, grizzly and others sell premium coolers but they cost $260-$600
    the cheap cooler will work on one or two day hunts if filled with frozen milk jugs
    you,ll want to have your hands free to carry the stand, and do other things at times,
    and you may not want to place the rifle on wet ground,or lean it on a tree where it might fall,
    hence the sling and ammo sleeve help.
    proper practiced use of ,a sling helps rifle accuracy, a great deal on off hand, or sitting shots
    and you want ammo where its always accessible and your very unlikely to leave it home, by mistake,
    or be forced too rummage through pockets or the pack to find it quickly.
    its being careful , thinking about what might go wrong,and not making little mistakes that helps prevent larger issues.
    btw if you take a shot and the deer runs as if its not hit, be aware that even a mortally wounded deer can at times run 40-80 yards before dropping , never assume you missed!
    deer are not difficult to kill if the shots well placed but that does not mean they all drop on bullet impact., your 308 win loaded with soft point 150-165 grain bullets will do a very good job provided you place shots well. pe=Rifle&Source=
    varget and WW748 powders, the speer 165 grain bullet and a 215 fed primer work well.

    the basics are simple you'll need to learn to be able too,
    consistently find game on a regular basis,
    and once found you need to be able to quickly place lethal shots precisely.
    knowledge of where and when the game travel and skill with your equipment helps immensely.
    being able to see down between the brush and optically cover a very large surface area (several acres)from an elevated tree stand helps in both cases

    The “Hasty Sling”


    One way to steady shots when you don’t have rest is by using your rifle sling to create tension between your arm and the rifle. This technique is called the “Hasty Sling” and can be employed in each of the four shooting positions. As with the shooting positions, practice the Hasty Sling so you are confident using this technique.


    If you are right handed, hold the rifle out with your right hand and let the sling hang down.


    Place your left arm through the opening, above the sling and below the rifle.


    Next, raise the left arm up and behind the sling.


    Then slip your hand back over the sling and grasp the forestock of the rifle.


    Shoulder the rifle as you normally would.


    If the sling is at the correct length, the resulting tension created when you shoulder the rifle will steady your hold.


    With the rifle held to the shoulder, the rear portion of the sling will cross your chest.


    The sling will wrap around the outside of your left arm, near the elbow, pass over the crook of your arm and inside your forearm. The forward end of the sling will be on the back side of your left hand.

    Your position should not be cramped or cause you to adjust. It should be comfortable and snug. If it is not, you will need to adjust the length of your sling.
    Like with most things in life the more effort you put into honing increased skill, and increasing knowledge the better your results,tend too be,
    experience counts.
    statistically about 25% of the hunters are consistently successful, they tend to be a bit more serious about learning the skills required than the 75% who rather aimlessly wonder and occasionally run into a deer.
    it will take some effort on your part, but if your willing to do the research, and spend dawn till dusk in the field, on several weekends,
    in most areas, honing your skills even a first year hunter,
    will have little trouble killing a couple deer with a 308 win in florida, that is certainly something you can accomplish.
    btw it helps to concentrate your initial searches for game and game trails in the "EDGES"
    places where theres an obvious change in the terrain,
    like stream banks, places where grass meadows meet myrtle, oak or cypress groves,
    or where open grass fields butt up to palmetto scrub.
    deer don,t want too need too push thick palmetto brush, or saw grass or walk chest deep in water any more than you do,
    but will do so to get away from hunting pressure in a heart beat.
    look for semi-open areas that provide cover and feed,look for areas that don,t have easy road access.
    if you have to cross a stream or drainage ditch, or walk 1/2 mile to get access,
    to get there its a good bet many hunters will not hunt the area.
    or where open grass fields butt up to palmetto scrub.
    a great deal of Florida wild life management area terrain is subjected too,
    occasional and irregular cycles of drought and flooding and occasional wild fires.
    if your serious about being far more successful than average take the time and effort,
    to call and talk to the local fla fish & wildlife biologist and game wardens, be polite
    have a list of reasonable and specific questions
    what are the deer populations in area (XYZ)
    what are the deer primarily feeding on in area (xyz)
    when is the rut, in XYZ

    I can,t be the only one on this web site to spend 40 -50 years hunting in Florida,
    wheres the other knowledgeable old experienced geezers ,
    who are willing to, help the younger generation out, by adding too hunting tips?

    my BLR in 358 win is very well represented

    no one can possibly be expected too unfailingly select someone elses favorite hunting rifle,
    there are always other factors , unknown experiences and other options ,
    and while I've used a marlin 44 mag and 45/70 expensively with good results,
    I'm certainly open to trying other rifles, but that being stated,
    I've consistently found,
    the browning BLR in calibers, 257 Roberts, 358 win and 450 marlin to be head and shoulders above any marlin I've ever owned when it comes to consistent repeatable accuracy.
    match that BLR to a high quality optic and you have a very lethal combo, Id be much happier with a BLR than a marlin personally.
    now theres not a darn thing wrong with a marlin 45/70 marlin, that will keep consistent 1.7"-to-2" three shot, 100 yard groups throwing a 350 grain bullet at about 1700 fps, Ive had several guys in my hunting club use one to drop elk.
    but my 450 marlin has consistently been more accurate (not that it really matters if it shoots 1"-to-1.2" three shot hundred yard groups.) and a 405 grain remington pushed to about 1800 fps has been very impressive
    but theres two guys in my group of friends that have used a 358 win blr to kill elk for decades, in fact one guy preferres to use nothing else and my late hunting partner collected 16 elk over 35 years with his 358 win loaded with speer 250 grain bullets over 44 grains of IMR 4064

    as is my 257 roberts ruger
    my 44"barrel hawken style 58 caliber rifle with a round patch ball and 100 grains of 1f powder devastates deer

    your rifle of choice is far less critical to success than your skill using it,
    damn near any centerfire rifle you can accurately use will work,
    most of my friend use marlin 44 mag, 45lc, or 30/30 or 45/70 lever actions,
    and your ability to locate game, consistently,not the rifle caliber is the critical skill.
    and shots tend to be under 100 yards in most areas
    some guys prefer bolt actions,some guys like semi autos,
    thats fine you'll rarely need a fast second shot or longer range power, from what I've seen.



    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member|Make~~Model_1=Marlin__39A


    The marlin 39a, is one of the best damn rabbit and squirrel rifles made in my opinion,
    Ive always set my 22 lr marlin 39A up to hit 1" high of dead center, at 50 yards ...

    after you get very good at using a marlin 39a you can rather easily transition ,
    to a big game rifle like a browning BLR in your choice of big game cartridges like a
    257 roberts,
    308 win,
    30/06 sprng
    358 win
    450 marlin,
    or the marlin 44 mag or 45/70 lever actions,

    and youll be rather amazed at how fast and lethal you will be,
    with that larger caliber rifle if you've already run several thousand cartridges shooting offhand,
    with the smaller rim fire marlin,
    as the basic rifle handling and target acquisition skills do some what over lap.
    a great many of the guys I grew up with started out using the marlin 39a rimfires and many are now very good , shots , they are amazing at hunting the dark timber,
    with a larger caliber center fire lever action, in fact its almost scary,
    and impressive how good some of the guys have become shooting fast off hand with a lever action,
    I have seen several guys use the little marlin 39a rim-fires to shoot skeet,
    out in the woods just for giggles, we have several times brought a case or targets and a skeet thrower, out to the remote areas we camp in,
    and many of the older guys can regularly hit 8-10 out of 25 shots.
    keep in mind SKEET is generally shot with a shotgun,
    but having shot thousands of 22lr cartridges through a 39a with receiver sights,
    can do amazing things to help one develop rapid target acquisition skills,
    skills , in rapid and accurate rifle use, skills, almost no one could afford to build shooting center fire ammo
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018

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