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View Full Version : Advice for a newbie? What game would you recommend?


Sriracha
August 1, 2009, 08:25 PM
Hi everyone,

Over some beers last night, a friend and I started considering hunting. May I ask you folks for advice on what critter we could hunt, given our circumstances?

We're both gun owners, and we will of course seek proper instruction in hunting safety and etiquette. But for now, we're still just thinking about how practical/fun/affordable this sport will be.

So here's our background information:

We live in the Atlanta area, and would probably hunt in north and central Georgia. I have an urban studio apartment and a compact car; the other guy has a suburban house and a light truck. Neither of us has time or space for a dog. We both own shotguns, but would probably exploit an excuse for new guns. We've no friends with private land. Finally, neither of us want to spend too much money initially -- it is unlikely that we'll join a club for now.

Deer and hogs may be a lot of meat for single guys with no families. Perhaps we'd end up doing a lot of eating and not a lot of hunting. So I'm leaning toward small, tasty game -- maybe rabbits or birds. But I'm not sure how practical that would be without dogs.

So, what do you folks recommend?

Thanks for your patience and advice.
- Sriracha

Doyle
August 1, 2009, 08:33 PM
I'll recommend to you the exact same thing I recommended to another fellow on this forum that asked about hunting in Ga. Join the Georgia Outdoor Network forums WWW.Forum.GON.com . They are a very experienced bunch of hunters and many are right in your area. I'm Doyle on that forum also.

The best way to learn hunting by far is to find an experienced mentor. Yes, you can learn some by reading and some more by trial and error. But, you'll learn more and quicker by hooking up with a mentor.

hogdogs
August 1, 2009, 08:43 PM
I too, know the site doyle mentions. And it is decent.
Hogs are usually a target of opportunity when hunting other game. It takes alot of pre planning and scouting to expect much success.
Deer is far easier to gun hunt.
I also suggest some rounds of clay shooting to get that sing-bang shooting down pat.
Brent

bswiv
August 1, 2009, 09:08 PM
For what it is worth the fact that you've already displayed part of the ethics necessary to be a hunter rather than just someone who likes to shoot animals is a good mark for you. To be concerned for not wasting what you shoot and to also be interested in shooting something "tasty" speaks well.

With that in mind it's not a bad idea to do some research on the web for cooking instructions for various game.

While squirrel may sound like a lowly start and maybe not to good to eat fact is that they are VERY good. Better than rabbits IMHO..... The catch is that being very atletic little critters they can be tough unless you do the cooking part right so you need to research it first.

And the ones in the woods, the wild ones, are harder to take than you think.

And spending some time poking about hardwood bottoms will also start to aquaint you with the bigger game that is available.

gunn308
August 1, 2009, 10:13 PM
Try this link for squirrel recipes and info,
http://www.woodybobs.com/ as for a starting point take a hunter safety course you will probably meet some good people there, such as fathers or other relatives bringing their sons, daughters or whatever, that would be willing to help a neophyte. Hunting small game without dogs just means you have to work harder to find critters, it's a lot of fun to jump on brush piles so your buddy can shoot the rabbits that run away, birds are another story your success rate is much higher with a dog but I have shot a lot of partridge and woodcock without one. I have hunted for 50 of my 57 yrs. yeah I started at 7 with a 20 Ga. single shot J.C. Higgins and when my grandfather showed me how to prepare and make my first rabbit stew for supper was I ever proud. I still use that 20 Ga. when my hound and I are running cats it's old, beat up and light and I don't have to worry about scratches or laying it down in the snow. The main point to hunting is to have fun in the outdoors harvesting meat is just a bonus.

Buzzcook
August 1, 2009, 10:42 PM
Your shotguns will work fine on deer pigs and squirrels. If you feel the need to get a bit more specialized, then a good .22 for squirrels, a medium caliber rifle for deer, the shotgun is still probably best for pigs.

+1 on squirrels and you can add crows and rabbits to that.

Skan21
August 1, 2009, 10:46 PM
Dall Sheep. :eek:

jrothWA
August 1, 2009, 11:11 PM
will apply for deer.
Have no experiece`with hogs.
Quail will overlap to pheasants & grouse in the GA mountains.

join or use the public hours of a trap/ skeet club for learning on flying targets, the members will likely be helpful in both hunting & shooting.

Good Luck ask questions. The only dumb questions are those never asked!

Art Eatman
August 2, 2009, 09:17 AM
There are charitable organizations which accept game animals to feed homeless and suchlike. That of course means you need to learn proper field-dressing and safe handling in transit.

kyle1974
August 2, 2009, 09:56 AM
pigs.... go hunt pigs.

the young ones are fairly stupid and easy to hunt, and the older boars are smart...very smart. Probably smarter than most whitetails.

plus, it's relatively cheap to find hog hunts, especially in your area.

The Kid
August 2, 2009, 10:08 AM
I started hunting squirrel. That's what I'd recommend for you as well. You get a chance to be out in the woods and walk around a little bit more than you would with deer. If you feel like you have really good patience (can sit still for 3 + Hours) I'd go ahead and go for deer; otherwise, I'd use squirrels to get to learn about the woods. I can't remember if you said you had a rifle or not, but I'd definitely start out w/ squirrels if you don't have a rifle.

Gunforall
August 2, 2009, 10:14 AM
Squirel is always a good start, and .22 are cheap. There are some great recipies out there for em. Cost is low and easy to skin n clean.

Sriracha
August 2, 2009, 10:25 AM
Thanks for the good advice, folks.

Hmmm. From what you are saying, deer and (small) pigs can't be ruled out. But it sounds like the lowly squirrel or bunny with the guns we already have may be the easiest start.

I hadn't even thought of squirrels. I confess a prejudice against them, because when skinned, they look like they might have been sewer rats. :p But I suppose they are free-range, acorn-fed meat.

I'll also check out that Georgia Outdoors Network.

Thanks again,
Sr.

L_Killkenny
August 2, 2009, 02:49 PM
Squirrel hands down. It will teach you to be a hunter and the info you learn hunting them can then be applied to hunting other game like deer. Plus squirrel season runs long giving one ample time in the woods.

Hunley
August 3, 2009, 12:19 AM
I don't know if they still have it, but there should be a Hunters for the Hungry somewhere in that area. The DNR and a radio station in Albany had a program they publicized and had great success with it.

As far as easy: deer. Abundant, not too hard to find, and you can should be able find them (even in the "greater Atlanta area" that extends 100 miles from what actually is Atlanta).

You could always forget the gun and just drive around on back roads at night. You'll hit one eventually...

JagFarlane
August 3, 2009, 05:37 PM
I don't know if they still have it, but there should be a Hunters for the Hungry somewhere in that area. The DNR and a radio station in Albany had a program they publicized and had great success with it.

Good organization, last year in GA 28,000lbs of venison was donated. The programs have become so popular that Congressman Phil Gringrey (GA) spearheaded a bill that recently passed the House to recognize HHH in the hopes of raising further revenue.

fisherman66
August 3, 2009, 05:54 PM
Which season is next? Dove is coming up 'round here. That's a great one to cut yer teeth on. Hogs year around in TX, but I don't want to mess with them until the first hard freeze (ticks and such).

I suggest you start with birding. Find out if you need a hunter's safty class.

shortwave
August 3, 2009, 06:06 PM
Another vote for squirrel. I use squirrel hunting every year to hone my stalking skills for upcoming deer season. Trying to sneak through a dry leaved woods is something you can`t get enough practice doing. Also rabbit hunting using your friend as the dog is fun too providing you can teach him to bark

rantingredneck
August 3, 2009, 06:09 PM
Squirrel is a good start to learn the skills that will translate into larger game such as deer, hogs, and turkey.

You'll also have the opportunity to just sit and watch animals move. If your area is anything like mine a good squirrel hunting trip will involve seeing a few deer and maybe a turkey or two while out and about.

MLeake
August 3, 2009, 06:56 PM
Hogs have a lot of meat, perhaps too much for a single guy.

Then again, some of us single (or formerly single) guys have friends and relatives who also like meat.

And when the friends and relatives have taken their fill, there are at least some homeless shelters that really appreciate a cooler full of ribs and cuts arriving at their kitchen door. (I've heard that some shelters won't, out of fear that the meat may not have been handled properly, but the one a couple miles from where I used to live was quite happy to take it off my hands)

If you want to hunt hogs, hunt hogs. Just because you personally won't use all that meat, doesn't mean you can't make good use of it.

As Hogdogs noted, though, hogs are a bit difficult to locate, unassisted. They like to hang out in really thick scrub, where it's hard for people to move - at least in the southeast, where such scrub is abundant. In central and southern FL, they really love thick palmetto groves. Getting one out in the open, without canine assistance, is a good trick.

hogdogs
August 3, 2009, 07:50 PM
A hog is the ideal single guy food. "Hey ya'll I am gonna have a cook out, I am supplying the maet, ya'll each bring a side and a case..."
A small freezer is under $200 bones and will hold 2 hogs and 2 deer fully processed.
that is about a year of meat for a bachelor who really likes fresh meat!
Brent

lockedcj7
August 3, 2009, 09:28 PM
I've got to agree with fisherman66 here.

You've already got shotguns so head out to skeet or sporting clays range and polish up. Contact GA DNR and find out if they have public dove shoots with locations, dates and times. Make a dry run and find the field you wish to hunt prior to opening day and how long it takes to get there.

Make sure you have the appropriate licenses and permits, a couple of boxes of #8 shot, lightweight camo, chairs, water and a copy of the GA hunting regulations.

Go have a ball. Dove hunting is awesome because you don't have to get up early, don't have to be quiet and only have to be still when you see a bird coming your way. Plus, you get to make fun of your friends when they miss.

If you manage to kill some, hit me up for cleaning and cooking tips.

sc928porsche
August 3, 2009, 11:00 PM
There is a lot of game you can hunt out there. You can use public lands and hunt deer, dove, quail (bobwhite) turkey, and hogs. You might want to get a centerfire rifle (I recommend something 25 cal or larger) for deer and hogs, but rifled slugs will do. You should be able to locate areas and seasons from your local wildlife management agent. Hunting is a lot more enjoyable than punching holes in targets, but you must be proficient at that too. Good luck and enjoy.

Doodlebugger45
August 4, 2009, 07:30 PM
Actually, rabbit hunting is tons of fun. Sure, you can do it with a .22 or a shotgun, but I get great fun out of using my deer or elk rifle and it gives me a lot of practice mounting the gun to my shoulder, finding the target in the scope, squeezing the trigger just right, etc. Things that come in handy when you see that special bull elk and only have a second to take the shot. Jack rabbits are tons of fun to shoot at all ranges, but not good to eat. Cotton tails are more short range shooting but they are great to eat.

We don't have hogs up here, but I got to shoot some in South Texas and it was loads of fun. A decent size hog will make a lot of fajitas.

Dr. Strangelove
August 5, 2009, 04:58 PM
Sign up for a hunter safety class and purchase a sportsman's license for $60.00, this includes all fresh and salt water fishing, small and big game hunting, and WMA (Wildlife Management Area) access.

Actually, rabbit hunting is tons of fun. Sure, you can do it with a .22 or a shotgun, but I get great fun out of using my deer or elk rifle and it gives me a lot of practice mounting the gun to my shoulder, finding the target in the scope, squeezing the trigger just right, etc.

This isn't legal in Georgia, rimfire rifles .22 cal and smaller, shotguns, and any black powder firearm are allowed.
Squirrel season opens on the 15th of this month, and dove season isn't far away in September.

Do check out the Georgia Outdoor Network.

bootman
August 6, 2009, 03:11 AM
Don't let the fact that you don't have a dog deter you from hunting birds. I've been hunting dove, quail, chukar, etc for years and have rarely used a dog. You might have to work a little harder but that's part of the fun.

+1 rabbits and squirrels too

treg
August 6, 2009, 06:52 AM
+1 for all the squirrel recomendations!

Also, here, hogs are open season year round. Carrying some slugs for your shotgun while squirrel hunting could lead to a nice bonus if you happened to cross paths with Mr. Piggie. Have to check the rules for where you plan to hunt.
Some experimentation may be required but for example my daughters NEF 20 gauge with a modified choke shoots sub 3" groups with Remingtons rifled slugs at 50 yards.

Dr. Strangelove
August 6, 2009, 08:22 AM
Here's a link to find a hunter safety class in Georgia:

http://www.georgiawildlife.org/huntereducation_hunting.aspx

Hunting regulations in Georgia:

http://pub.jfgriffin.com/doc/jfgriffin/09GAHD/2009072301/

WMA maps:

http://www.georgiawildlife.org/huntingmaps_maps.aspx


Sounds like you will be hunting on WMAs, be sure to read up on the regulations for the one you choose as they aren't the same in each WMA and all are very different than private land.

wyobohunter
August 6, 2009, 09:27 PM
A small freezer is under $200 bones and will hold 2 hogs and 2 deer fully processed.
that is about a year of meat for a bachelor who really likes fresh meat!


+1, buy a smallish freezer, you can even go in halfsies with your buddy. When I was going to college (before the G.I. bill $ ran out and I had to work for a living) I had an old freezer in my dorm room; it was always full of Deer and Elk. A single guy with a small apartment need not miss out on the good life, hell, I even had a tiny little reloading bench set up in the room. I know, I'm getting off topic now so I'll make a "single guy gun post"... Point is, go for it man, just get that freezer and you'll have hog/ven/etc. all year and you'll be damn happy and proud to have it.. And, like Hogdogs said, share with friends (just keep those backstraps & tenderloins to yourself). Also, as others have suggested, try to get with a mentor, esp. when it comes to field care. Gutting, skinning, quartering and processing may seem a bit daunting at first so I'd advise getting an old salt to teach you. Other option is just learn to gut and haul the critter to a butcher, maybe he'll even let you watch and learn.

jephthai
August 11, 2009, 10:52 PM
Sriracha:

I'm not in GA, but I'm on the same quest. I want to work my way up to deer. But, I've decided to take the advice of others on this forum and start with squirrels and rabbits. I've got my hunter safety class this weekend, and the season starts relatively soon!

-Jephthai-

SKULLANDCROSSBONES65
August 12, 2009, 03:34 PM
G'day. I learnt to hunt Rabit without a dog. Our dogs name was Shivers, he was scared of anything you had in your hands that he thought you might be able to hit him with. If he saw a rifle he would run and hide behind mum. I used a .22LR on the Rabit mostly so I had greater range then a shotgun, but the shot gun would have been OK.

Dearhunter61
August 14, 2009, 04:49 PM
I agree with the others...squirrels! At least if you can stand to eat them. I LOVE TO SQUIRREL HUNT! But I had to give it up because I simply could not bring myself to eat them anymore. Here in the pineywoods they taste like turpentine. YUK! They are fun to hunt and it also allows you time to learn the woods as others have stated and prepare you to hunt other game. if you have to be as quiet and stealthy there as you do here you will have the chance to see a lot of other game which to me is what is so cool about squirrel hunting.

Good Luck.