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Advice for an aspiring hunter?

Discussion in 'Turf and Surf Hunting and Fishing' started by Roachboy, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Roachboy

    Roachboy Monkey

    I've never been hunting before though it's something that really interests me. But really I'm not even sure where to start.

    I'm interested in both rifle and bowhunting but where I'm at right now I haven't got any support/mentors whatsoever. I've got no experience with either (I have fired a relative's 22 at some gophers one thanksgiving but I don't really think that counts P: ) If I were up in Wisconsin with my cousins that'd be one thing, but I'm in SoCal with my siblings and mother who are all at minimum clueless about it and at most vehemently against "harming innocent animals" as my sister put it :p

    So I'm wondering mostly if I can get any ideas on what kind of gear i should be saving up for in either case, any recommendations (I'm generally looking to hunt deer), tips, that kind of thing. I'm pretty sure I've already missed California's season so hopefully I can get myself geared up and through some training for next year.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    A hunter's greatest danger each year is other hunters who are inexperienced. Aside from exposure, getting popped by another hunter ranks up toward the top. It's good that you want to learn. I say, learn everything you can and always double check your target as well as its backdrop.

    There are several great magazines on hunting, I suggest starting there. Read the magazine articles, gain some perspective. Up here in PA, we have local television shows on hunting due to its popularity. There are a lot of old timers here on the Monkey who, much like myself have been trained by our parents in traditional fashion, and I am certain some of them could offer quite a bit of assistance. Perhaps a dedicated section to this forum just on hunting may be in order. @melbo I don't know how much is on your plate, but is this even feasible?

    Hunters are some of the greatest conservationists; they have a tendency to respect nature far more than an average, urban dweller who see their food in cellophane and do not consider how it was processed. If you have the chance, start with fishing and move up to getting some range time in on some small arms. Read up about the physiology of the animals you intend to hunt and learn how to skin and quarter. Perhaps start with small game --if you get squeamish skinning a squirrel, perhaps give it some time and try again before attempting to take big game. Nothing is more disrespectful than for a hunter to kill an animal for the thrill of killing and leaving the carcass without taking the meat. It happens.

    Your state laws concerning hunting, fishing and basically anything pertaining to shooting and transporting firearms can be found with a search online. I cannot stand California laws, so I chose to link Indiana: DNR: Hunting & Trapping Guide --To give you an understanding. Learning the law in your state is perhaps the greatest burden, but it is necessary because failure to comply could leave you with hefty fines, or worse. I can't imagine hunting in CA to be pleasant, but perhaps up north it could be worth it.

    Criteria to consider:
    -Safety (hunter's safety courses are available in many states)
    -Laws and Regulations
    -Hunting Standards and Code of Ethics
  3. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Nothing fires up a new endevour like success. I would suggest considering a trip to West Texas where deer are as prolific as rats in major cities elsewhere. Or if you are adamant about hunting in California, consider the National forest areas around northern California. I liked hunting, camping, hiking and fishing Del Norte county when I was out there. Get a personal gps and some topo maps of the area you are interested in and explore. I wasn't impressed with the hunting in southern California when I was there 1981 to 1984.
  4. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Hunting deer is usually a centerfire rifle situation. Bolt Action rifles are considered by many as the ultimate for a hunting rifle. Keep in mind both of those statements are going to draw fire from those who prefer something else. I am strictly talking statistics. Practice with the weapon you choose is important for your success. Having shot only a relatives 22 rimfire once upon a time is very very little prior experience, and I would advise that you consider two things as major preps for your entry into the world of hunting. I am reasonably sure California requires new hunters attend a hunter safety course. .... do it! Second, acquire a 22 rifle (I would highly reccommend a Ruger 10-22 with open sights), and at least 500 to 1000 rounds of the same type of ammo.
    Next, find a range (ask at gunshops) and practice, practice, practice. Consider doing some small game hunting before you jump into going deer hunting.
    If you were thinking about buying a motorcyle and asking advice, and had only tried to ride a bicycle once at a friends and were not all that good at it, I would not advise you buying a large Harley to start.
    I hope you consider this advice, as it was given in your best interest. Were you more experienced and qualified, I would advise a .308 bolt action rifle for your first deer rifle.
  5. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Where are you going to hunt? Brush, or Open Country? This will determine weapon used.
    You need lots of range time before hunting, Make sure you can kill in one shot. Or don't take the shot.
    Learn all you can about deer and why they do what they do. Consider their patterns, habits, and habitat they use. Read every article you can about the animals and use the hunting articles to gain insight into various techniques and strategies.
    Make contact with the people who can help you the most: Area biologists, District Wildlife Managers, Forest Service biologists/managers, the local coffee shop or diner where you would like to hunt.
    Find the food, find the Deer!
    Bring the best optics you can afford and let your eyes do much of the walking.
    Understand what Deer do in response to hunting pressure and use that knowledge to your advantage when planning your hunt. Go where others are not willing to go—that's where the deer are!
    Topographical maps help you understand the terrain you will be hunting. It is a good idea to know the terrain well before you hunt. The areas you should attempt to identify are the "saddles". Saddles are lower areas between two higher areas that are a passage from one drainage to another. Mark these with a pencil. These are likely routes. I would now suggest you download Google Earth (or another application like it) on your computer; it's a tremendous resource for obtaining terrain information.
    There is no other way to verify that all this homework you have done is actually going to produce results until you scout the terrain and get to know the lay of the land.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Walk the land you intend to hunt, carry everything you'll need while hunting, and about 15 lbs more (sand bags will do) to simulate a gun and ammo. That will get you the idea of what it's like to actually hunt. While walking, keep an eye on the ground for sign, and the other eye on the horizon and weather. Back in the day, I didn't leave camp without a map and compass. (To say, depending on batteries in your GPS could be fatal. 'Course, back then there were no GPS.)

    I seldom disagree with tacmotusn, but I think your first 22 should be a bolt gun. A 10/22 is a superb plinker and rabbit getter, but will not simulate a large game hunting rifle well enough for your level of training so far.

    So far as Quig's advice on optics goes, "it depends" on where you'll hunt. Scopes don't do you much good in heavy woods. (Along with that, I usually recommend learning marksmanship with irons. Optics can fail, well, I guess irons can too, but less likely.) But he's right, if you gotta have glass, get the best your wallet will handle, and get the binocs first.

    Find a range. Shoot. Lots. You want mounting the gun to be a muscle memory thing so you don't have to think each step and can concentrate on the target and background.

    You'll get more opinions than fish in the ocean on what you'll want for a first deer rifle. My choice isn't going to match anyone else's, so I'll spare the dissertation. Read reviews, lots of them, on everything from 243 up to 35 and make a sensible selection for your area. Best bet is to ask the guys at the range for a look at their rifles, and maybe they'll let you pop off a round or two. The more you try, the better your buy will suit you. (You won't go too far wrong with a Savage in any caliber.)

    (Ask your sister how she likes her poor innocent hamburger.)
  7. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    This thread is posted in Turf and Surf Hunting and Fishing forum.
    If you haven't realized in 7 years that this was actually a Hunting (and Fishing) forum, maybe it should be renamed to make it more clear?
  8. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Check with your State Wildlife Department, I'll bet they have a decent Hunter's Education Program already in place. This is and lots of range time are the two biggest concerns of those other folks in the field that don't want to get shot or have holes put in a cow or living room window. It has nothing to do with the actual goal, which is locating your game and dispatching it quickly and then getting it to the table, but it's start and you'll meet others with similar interests.
  9. cdnboy66

    cdnboy66 Monkey++

    Seacowboys has a good idea, mine is similar
    My advice is to find a Fish and wildlife association near you, ask if they have a game banquet and then go to it, you will be in the midst of people who hunt, from there, ask around for a mentor.
    There are a lot of guys who will take you out and show you the basics, you just have to find them and be willing to follow instructions.
    And you will meet some like minded people who may just become friends
  10. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    photo (7) (800x600). photo (5) (640x480).
    I don't hunt so much anymore...However when i do...

    I release my Sabertooth Krack'n Hound...Bella...lol
  11. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I haven't. Oh dear.
    melbo likes this.
  12. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Brokor likes this.
  13. Roachboy

    Roachboy Monkey

    Woah thanks for all the great responses! I've got a list of local gun ranges from one of the gunshops in town, I haven't been to any yet I'm planning to next month though and I'll be sure to rent a few different types of firearms. To be honest I'm really sickened by the state of the meat industry, I hope to buy a parcel of land up north and get my own homestead mini-farm operation going. Just chickens and goats probably, maybe hogs, but that's a post for another thread haha. I think starting with small game is actually an awesome idea, with a cursory skimming the regulations it looks like it'd be easiest for me to start with rabbits (as the seasons are statewide not by county as with squirrel). I also found out there's a rod and gun club down the street so I'll be checking them out too.

    I know I'd prefer to start elsewhere but I'm pretty stuck where I'm at so I might as well deal with what I've got nearby.

    I'm not sure yet where I would be hunting exactly, but looking at the CA department of fish and game website the closest areas seem to have mostly steep desert type terrain with mostly low shrub, succulents and desert shrub type.

    Thanks for all the great advice you guys! Looks like I got quite a bit of work ahead of me but I'm definitely excited haha.
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  15. My best advice? Don't hunt mooses! We are very unpredictable.
  16. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Don't let Morty discourage you. He is the largest of the deer, and just as tasty, More deer meat per hoof. Able to fill your freezer all with one shot or two. Just ask my Alaskan buddy BTPost.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  17. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yea, Well we like Mooses, a whole lot..... They are a tasty dish...... Yea, they can be Unpredictable, but at 100 Yds.... they can go "Bang - Flop" just like any other mammal...
  18. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Yeah.......why does everyone pick on Bullwinkle?....Why not pick on Rocky once in a while!
    tacmotusn likes this.
  19. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    You can't fill the freezer with one squirrel.
    Sapper John and chelloveck like this.
  20. Roachboy

    Roachboy Monkey

    Thanks for the Topo map resource!

    I don't think I could hunt moose all the way down here even if I wanted to [ROFL]The best it looks like I'd be able to get at on the public land around here would be deer, rabbits, and quail. Looks like the smartest idea for my situation would be to start with the rabbits P:
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