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Indrid Cold
March 5, 2007, 04:09 AM
So I'm considering getting into hunting at some point, but I'm not sure what the best way to go about getting into the sport would be? I'd imagine a lot of people learned by going out with their fathers (or uncle, grandfather, neighbor, etc.) when they were young. Well, no such luck for me. No-one in my family hunts, and none of my neighbors do either. Come to think of it, I don't have any friends who hunt. I don't want to go out there, buy a hunting permit, and just start spraying lead at whatever I see. I know there's a lot to learn about shot placement and care of the animal after you shoot it, not to mention the actual tracking/pursuit part of hunting. Where's a good place to learn this if you have no close contacts to help you out? I know there are guided tours, but those are usually pretty expensive, and I think they're more geared towards giving experienced hunters shots at normally difficult-to-find game. Any suggestions? I'm in the Washington area (Southern Seattle specific, but willing to drive to Eastern Washington) if that helps.

nkielborn
March 5, 2007, 05:24 AM
I am like you except I live in CA. To learn shot placement go to amazon.com and buy The Perfect shot: North America by Craig Boddington. This book was recommended to me and after I got it I realized why. Its awesome and describes what calibers to use and were to find types of game as well as showing were the vitals were form every game animal in the country. Also you should take a hunter saftey course. I am sure more people will be along to tell you more than I ca at this point.

Castaway
March 5, 2007, 09:19 AM
Take a hunter safety course. Not only will you get the information out asked about but may even "hook-up" with an experienced hunter who may take you under his wing

sasquatch
March 5, 2007, 01:10 PM
"Take a hunter safety course."

Good advice.

Here in the state of Washington, you have to take that course in order to get your hunting license, anyway. So it is a good place to start, and you will most likely meet some very friendly and helpful people.

Indrid Cold
March 5, 2007, 03:46 PM
Great! Thanks guys. I'll put all that info to good use.

stephen426
March 5, 2007, 04:14 PM
You might consider going on a guided hunt the first time around. You could also see if there is a bulletin board at your local range and see if there are any experienced hunters willing to show a newbie around. Good luck!

While reading is good, some things are better learned doing rather than reading.

FirstFreedom
March 5, 2007, 05:22 PM
Contact your state's wildlife department (aka fish & game dept), and ask them some of the same questions. See whether or not they have a mentor program. Find out from them about public hunting lands, and rules & regulations..season dates on various species, which public lands are open for which species on which dates, etc. The state agency is there to help you, the public - they want to help, because by doing so, they get license fees from you. So take full advantage of their programs & information.

Also, post here in the hunting forum on TFL or other boards (Graybeard's etc.), with a subject title "Looking for a hunting mentor in XXX state & city" - find someone out there in your area willing to hel.

banditt007
March 5, 2007, 05:56 PM
If there are grey squirrels in your area go for it!

I'm a begginer hunter in the same shoes as you. my buddy hunts every now and then w/ his father, but he really dosent know what he's doing.

So we found an area of state land, and walked in a ways from the road (min is 500' i beleive) anyhow, you dont need anything special at all, and no 'crazy hunting skills' to be sucessful. I went in comfortable clothes nothing camo or anything, just 'yard work' type clothes. had my 12 gauge 28" shotgun (winchester 1300) and a load of 1oz #6 shot. just find a spot where you have some 'shooting lanes' IE not a bush right infront of you. sit down with your back against a tree, and stay very still and just relax. and if you must move, move very very slowly and deliberatly. My buddy and i went for deer, but again didnt know *** we were doing, where was a good spot ect. So after 2 days of not seeing any deer, but having squirrels 8' in front of us (my buddy was sleeping, and i was awake but staying extremely still) i said hey! forget this deer thing lets go squirrel hunting. SO the next day we went for squirrel. i bagged two! i was so excited. we have gone a few times after that and i bagged one or two each time we went!

Its great b/c there isnt all this prep work, need for camo ect ect. a box of #4-#6 shells in 1oz - 1 1/4 oz payload, a choke that keeps the pattern decent (i reccomend mod or tighter) i used mod, and just stay still and look for nuts on the ground, ect ect. if you dont see any in an hour or so, move to another spot.

Great fun! i cannot wait until next season. I'm really going to do research/scouting this spring and summer to hopefully bag my first deer this comming season. Where i live (long island new york) i have to travel a few hours upstate, or go on state land out east which is 'packed' with hunters and it dosent feel like hunting just b/c i havent traveled upstate where it goes from suburban to nice and rural.

as stated abvoe def hit up the saftey course, its required and you learn a lot. usually the people that teach it will give you some tips on where to go.

Scorch
March 5, 2007, 07:02 PM
Living near Seattle is pretty vague. I would be interested in meeting if you are serious about getting into hunting. IM me.

Indrid Cold
March 5, 2007, 09:51 PM
Scorch - I'll take you up on that when I get myself together here. Getting my rifles this summer and then I'll spend some time getting acclimated / working on accuracy. Thanks for the offer!

arizona hunter
March 16, 2007, 04:49 PM
First thing I would do if I did not have family or friends that hunt regularly is sign up for a "hunter safety" course with your states Game and Fish Dept. You will learn much! Even expereinced hunters will be in the class for various reasons-you will learn so much useful information.

BIGR
March 17, 2007, 11:41 PM
Hunter Safety course is the first step. Some states require completion of a hunter safety course before they issue a hunting license. Then go hunting with someone you know and trust. Let them teach you the basics and the rest is history.

skeeter1
March 18, 2007, 01:27 AM
i said hey! forget this deer thing lets go squirrel hunting. SO the next day we went for squirrel. i bagged two! i was so excited. we have gone a few times after that and i bagged one or two each time we went!


Start with small game, squirrels, rabbits, etc. first. Shotgun or .22 is a great place to start. Few people just jump straight into deer hunting. My first prey was a chipmunk that was chewing up our garden. That was 50 years ago. It's just like grade school-- you don't just jump from kindergarten to 12th grade over night.

Take it slow and have fun. :)

aaalaska
March 18, 2007, 02:28 AM
first step huner safty,second step join a local shooting club [the people you meet there should be invaluable] practice practice practice , this will be even more valuable,third spend as much time as posible in the woods you might hunt this summer good god bless & good huntin

Art Eatman
March 18, 2007, 10:59 AM
And another opinion favoring just spending time in the boonies, just watching.

There is lots of little stuff. Learning how to walk and search at the same time. Learning how to sit and not itch or twitch; imitating a rock or stump. Heck, you can start in a city park.

When I'm hunting-walking, I glance down very briefly, checking for my next three or four steps. For those steps, then, I'm looking out and around. Then, repeat. In the woods, go quite slowly; speed is the enemy. In open country, covering ground while looking is the goal--but you don't want to fall on your butt. :)

If you find a place to sit and watch, doing the ambush thing, being totally still can be difficult. I dunno; call it a Zen thing: "I am a stump." or "I am a boulder." If you're any kind of artist, a small sketch pad and pencil will have you continually looking out at the countryside but not making visible motions. That helps pass the time.

I take a paperback book along if I'm going to sit and hunt. However, I've had to work to train myself to read a couple or three lines and flick a glance over the area. It's too easy to get lost in the reading and not see critters moving around.

Guns and shooting are almost afterthoughts. It's the search and find that's the challenge. That part can only be done by spending time "Out There".

Art

samsmix
March 20, 2007, 06:03 PM
nkielborn and any others who say to start with Hunter's Safety, offer you sage advice.

rantingredneck
March 20, 2007, 06:10 PM
You've received a lot of good advice so far. The hunter's safety course is definitely the way to go. Starting with smaller game and working your way up is also a great idea.

The ubiquitous gray squirrel is a nice animal to start with. They're more of a challenge than a lot of people expect. They're a small target, they don't stay still for long, and they're easily spooked by movement and noise. If you can stalk them, you can stalk deer. The only difference is the deer's nose. I started out on squirrels and rabbits when I was 9 and didn't graduate to deer until I was in highschool.

If you want to start really slow, take a camera and do some photography. If you can bring your camera to bear on an animal and snap a picture without spooking it you can do the same with a gun.

Jseime
March 20, 2007, 11:59 PM
After you have that hunter safety course take a trip to the gun shop and get what you want not what the bufoon behind the counter says you should have.

Once you have a gun (my recommendation for a first gun is a single-shot bolt action .22) you should go get some targets, a whole bunch of ammunition and go get some trigger time to get the basic rifle skills down.

The riflery skills are only a very small part of the hunt (a few seconds) you have to find the game, know its behaviours, get close enough, shoot, and then deal with the animal once you have it on the ground.

You can teach yourself most of the rifle skills (with a little help from around here) and then youll need that hunter safety course and Scorch to help you out. I love spending time outside just sitting out in the hills getting better at coyote hunting, thats one of the best things you can do...just go sit out in the wild and watch your intended game, youll learn more in 20 minutes of watching deer than a year on here.

moose fat
March 24, 2007, 02:11 AM
Check out "Lock and Load" the WA St. Roll Call thread for more sources/resources.

And yeah my Zen thing, I became a stump once overlooking a muskegg and had a spike buck walk right up to me.

So, go find someplace to dig clams, dig some calms and have them for dinner.

fisherman66
March 24, 2007, 11:30 AM
Art covered the idea well. Only a few seconds of a hunting trip involve a trigger. The rest is blending in and evaluating.

I'm amazed at how well animals smell. Keep the wind in your face and your odds of seeing animals increase exponentially.

Good binoculars help too.

biglabsrule
March 25, 2007, 01:10 PM
first step huner safty,second step join a local shooting club [the people you meet there should be invaluable] practice practice practice , this will be even more valuable,third spend as much time as posible in the woods you might hunt this summer good god bless & good huntin

third one is a good point, I live in the woods so easy for me but get out there. I've been out cross country skiing for the last few months now. If that's not your cup of tea get snow shoes. Spend time out there, you get more observant the longer you're away from crowds of people. Last saturday I skied in a few miles, found a baby deer taken down by yotes, not much left and they had taken it just the night before by the blood in the snow. Also if you have land I like to be out cutting lines of sights right now, a few weeks from now you wont want to be in the melting foot deep snow. Then summer brings bugs!!! ahh!, I like to go by the loggers, they're skidding right now because the grounds frozen up, means I can ski in or snow shoe exc..
that's what I like to do, get down to instincts

FirstFreedom
March 26, 2007, 09:26 AM
Learning how to sit and not itch

Wow, Art, that'd be a good trick to learn. Can you teach me how? Face itchies (scratching) is my biggest hunting nemesis. Or did you just mean, learn how to not scratch the itch (mind over matter)? :)

ConcealCarryNY
March 26, 2007, 10:46 AM
Wow, Art, that'd be a good trick to learn. Can you teach me how? Face itchies (scratching) is my biggest hunting nemesis. Or did you just mean, learn how to not scratch the itch (mind over matter)?

As my Drill Instructor told me "Discipline, Recruit, will win over sand fleas everytime" He then proceeded to smoke me for itching.