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How to start hunting?
Old 12-10-2011, 04:23 PM   #1
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How to start hunting?

I'd like to try hunting within the next year. I know I need to go through a hunter safety course, get a license, buy gear, etc. Other than that, I don't really have anyone to show me the ropes. Dad stopped years ago and in any case is 1800 miles away. I am surounded by inlaws but nobody hunts. Is there a way to read up and learn enough? Some sort of group or federation I should be searching out?
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:56 PM   #2
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Brewer - here is one link to start with: http://honest-food.net/2010/06/03/wa...t-started-now/
If I were closer to you, I'd be glad to show you how to hunt myself (I have been hunting for 40+ years), but I have a feeling you are not that close to northern Michigan.

Just out of curiosity, what is your main motivation for wanting to learn to hunt? For me, it has a lot to do with the high quality meat that I can obtain for my family through hunting (we eat a lot of wild game meat, especially venison). Of course, it's great to be in the woods in the fall also......that's an added benefit.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:57 PM   #3
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In order to get an initial hunting license, you'll need to take the state hunter education course. I think your best source of local information will be your instructor, who will probably be happy to give you the benefit of his experience.

There is also a lot of good information on the state DNR website:
Hunting
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:36 PM   #4
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The meat is of interest, as is an excuse to wander around the woods with a firearm. It was also a big part of Dad's life growing up (mom's side as well).

I am interested mostly in small game (especially rabbits) and deer. Maybe pronghorn or elk at some point in the future. If I could be convinced that either of my hound dogs would not disappear for the horizon as soon as we got in the field, I would enjoy hunting with them.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:47 PM   #5
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Find local Rod and Gun club. Join.

Go with a couple guys hunting.
Leave your firearm at home.

Observe carefully, especially what they do with the animal they shot, weather bow and arrow or bang bang.

Some pack pout the game whole, others butcher it place and hike out parts they want.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
I'd like to try hunting within the next year. I know I need to go through a hunter safety course, get a license, buy gear, etc. Other than that, I don't really have anyone to show me the ropes. Dad stopped years ago and in any case is 1800 miles away. I am surounded by inlaws but nobody hunts. Is there a way to read up and learn enough? Some sort of group or federation I should be searching out?
First get a rifle and learn to shoot accurately. Lot's of calibers to consider, but IMO best if you will mostly hunt deer but sometimes elk or maybe pronghorn is to go with 7mm magnum, or perhaps 7mm/08 or .308 or 30-06. Go with a bolt action and get a good scope. The Vanguard line made by Weatherby and sold at Wal-Mart is a good one to consider. Then take the hunter safety course, then once you have taken your course, go on a guided deer hunt. Not elk, because elk tend to be an expensive and ór very arduous proposition, and the success rate is lower.

Another good idea is to get a bow license, and spend the bow season out, learning where you see deer sign, what to look for, etc.

Good hunting!

Ha
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:28 PM   #7
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After learning hunting safety and getting your license, you can learn a lot by reading books and articles about the type of hunting you want to do in Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, etc. (I'm assuming they are still published). But spending time in the woods, even outside of hunting season (perhaps with a camera) is important in learning the areas that you intend to hunt, looking for sign, tracks and trails, beds, rubs, etc.

If you could find someone local who knows that area you want to hunt and could hunt together it would be huge in learning the ropes.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:37 PM   #8
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I am interested mostly in small game (especially rabbits) and deer. Maybe pronghorn or elk at some point in the future. If I could be convinced that either of my hound dogs would not disappear for the horizon as soon as we got in the field, I would enjoy hunting with them.
Dogs are good for bird hunting but with deer, I know it's totally useless.

I have my own hunting cabin and hunting for rabbit is like fishing in the barrel. There are lots of good suggestions given and I would like to add you search for hunting lodge where you don't have to worry about hunting license since it's on the private property. Hunting lodge have experience hunters and you'll get all your meals served. Most importantly, they also have a butcher cut your meat and taxidermist to stuff your trophy 12 point buck near by the lodge.

I do everything myself and get my uncle to do the stuffing at a family discount cause I'm a cheapskate frugal.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:18 PM   #9
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The meat is of interest, as is an excuse to wander around the woods with a firearm. It was also a big part of Dad's life growing up (mom's side as well).

I am interested mostly in small game (especially rabbits) and deer. Maybe pronghorn or elk at some point in the future. If I could be convinced that either of my hound dogs would not disappear for the horizon as soon as we got in the field, I would enjoy hunting with them.
In many western states hunting deer with dogs is illegal. And where it is legal, it is a group effort, with a guy handling the dogs, maybe some drivers, and shooters lined up along various trails.

The best way in my experience is to let other hunters be your dogs. Get out some topo maps. then get out into your chosen area several times in the summer, see where the trails are. In my experience, a good spot or (depending on the country a tree stand) is overlooking where the deer will top out after coming up a hill being driven my hunters coming up the canyon or valley. Another benefit is any dragging you do will be downhill. Some of those mule deer are pretty big.

Ha
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:57 PM   #10
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First get a rifle and learn to shoot accurately. Lot's of calibers to consider, but IMO best if you will mostly hunt deer but sometimes elk or maybe pronghorn is to go with 7mm magnum, or perhaps 7mm/08 or .308 or 30-06. Go with a bolt action and get a good scope. The Vanguard line made by Weatherby and sold at Wal-Mart is a good one to consider. Then take the hunter safety course, then once you have taken your course, go on a guided deer hunt. Not elk, because elk tend to be an expensive and ór very arduous proposition, and the success rate is lower.

Another good idea is to get a bow license, and spend the bow season out, learning where you see deer sign, what to look for, etc.

Good hunting!

Ha
I would start with small game, and see about deer after I thought myself proficient at the basics. I will be target shooting by the end of the month and have done so in the past, so it shouldn't be hard to pick it back up.

I actually spend a lot of time in the woods and know very well what deer scat looks like, how to track, what game trails look like and are most popular, etc. That part isn't tough. And with a beagle and a Plott hound on the leash frequently when I am hiking I have lots of stuff I might miss pointed out to me by my buddies.

A bow lcense might be interesting as well. I have a compound bow I have not regularly shot in years. It would be very easy to set up for hunting.

Will have to look into a guided hunt as well.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:59 PM   #11
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The dogs are not trained for hunting and instinct will only get them so far. Since I do not trust them off the leash, I won't be taking them with me.

I suppose that when I am ready to try deer I could head for my friend's area in eastern Nebraska. From what he has told me it is a lot like NY/NJ: you could just about hunt deer with a baseball bat.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:59 PM   #12
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Lot's of good advice. 7mm Mag is great gun. I have one and it's a little small for elk, but passable. Don't shoot rabbits with it. They will vaporize.

A lot depends on where you live. In parts of the East, Midwest and South, shotguns are common for dear due to the topography (nothing to stop a bullet). In the west, big rifles, like the 30-06, 7mm mag and 300 win and you can get ammo for those at wal-mart. Other calibers, not so much.

A twelve gauge shot gun is indispensable. Rabbits, quail, ducks, you name it. A good .22 is great for rabbits too and saves meat. I use a Ruger 10-22.

Plenty of books and websites for the basics and definitely take a hunter's safety course. Find a club or join a local hunting forum. Local info is good, especially back East with all the private land and access issues. But save that, nothing prevents you from going out alone. I do a lot. Just make sure someone knows where you're going and when you plan to be back and don't do anything to adventurous. Good Luck!
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:07 AM   #13
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Plenty of books and websites for the basics and definitely take a hunter's safety course. Find a club or join a local hunting forum. Local info is good, especially back East with all the private land and access issues. But save that, nothing prevents you from going out alone. I do a lot. Just make sure someone knows where you're going and when you plan to be back and don't do anything to adventurous. Good Luck!
That's very good suggestion. Also, if want a hunting buddy, don't pick Dick Cheney or anyone alike. If you do hunt with gun, make sure you wear ear plugs before shooting.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:30 AM   #14
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If I may suggest an an alternative. Join a gun club and do trap/skeet shooting.
I find the skill level and satisfaction of trying to get 50/50 moving clay pigeons more of a challenge. My best is 41/50. No license required, little gear needed, and they don't taste bad with a lot of hot sauce over rice. Just don't undercook the rice.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:46 AM   #15
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I hunted rabbits with trained beagles for many years and if you have a good dog, their is no better way to spend time outdoors. If you are going to start hunting small game with a hound look on the internet, there you will find many local clubs where the people have enclosures where you can run and train your dogs, along with getting to know other people that do the same. I hunt deer and go with 6 other family members and when the season is over we get together on a weekend and process the meat. good family time.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:50 AM   #16
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Hey brewer, better think twice about taking your dogs hunting with you...

U.S. News - Another dog shoots hunter, this time in Florida
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:58 AM   #17
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In many western states hunting deer with dogs is illegal. And where it is legal, it is a group effort, with a guy handling the dogs, maybe some drivers, and shooters lined up along various trails.

The best way in my experience is to let other hunters be your dogs. Get out some topo maps. then get out into your chosen area several times in the summer, see where the trails are. In my experience, a good spot or (depending on the country a tree stand) is overlooking where the deer will top out after coming up a hill being driven my hunters coming up the canyon or valley. Another benefit is any dragging you do will be downhill. Some of those mule deer are pretty big.

Ha
Hunting deer with hounds is legal and popular here. My problem is that our rural property is adjacent to national forest property, which is open to the public. Hunters release the hounds in the national forest and the dogs run the deer across our property. I have learned to look the other way because the hunters and dogs will be gone as soon as the season is over.

Deer hounds are pack animals and usually remain with the pack their entire life. The alpha dog will teach the puppies how to hunt. The owner's job is to socialize the dogs with humans.

Hunting deer with dogs is not as popular as it used to be because a pack eats and requires training all year. Also, you can't keep a pack of deer hounds in town.
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The hidden agenda...
Old 12-11-2011, 08:48 AM   #18
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The hidden agenda...

You just want a gun rack in you pickup when you drive to work.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:04 AM   #19
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And a "Goat ropers need love too" bumper sticker...
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:11 PM   #20
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Just remember, being proficient with a .22 doesn't necessarily carry over to the larger calibers as some don't like the report and kick of the large calibers, but its a great way to start.

Also regarding deer hunting, the terrain will determine what type of rifle and scope (or no scope) you select. In the northeast in dense woods, a 30/30 levermatic or .243 may be perfect or even a 12 guage shotgun firing slugs, but if your out west in the open country a .270, 7 mm mag, .308 or 30-06 are popular choices. While I like bolt actions, one of my favorite rifles is the Belgium made BAR in 30-06, but they have not been made in Belgium for many years.
Also, get a good sling.

Also concur with the idea of going to a reserve/ranch, and using a guide to start you out right, unless you have an experienced friend.
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