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Old March 23, 2008, 01:07 PM   #1
DaveInPA
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New deer hunter needs your assistance.

Hi everyone. I haven't been deer hunting in about 10 years, but I'd like to start again next season. As of now, I have nothing that I need. No rifle, no gear of any kind. I need to know how much money I need to set aside to gear up for deer hunting. Here is what I have in my head as far as what I will need. Feel free to tell me if I'm missing anyting:

1. Rifle & Scope and ammo (What caliber would be recommended for Pennsylvania whitetail deer?)

2. Clothing: Jacket, thermal underwear, gloves, boots, etc.

3. Scents/Coverup Scent etc

4. Knife

5. Handheld GPS so I can find my way out of the woods!
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Old March 23, 2008, 01:13 PM   #2
9mm1033
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First thing that comes to mind is a deer cart. You get deep in the woods, it sure beats dragging one on the ground.
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Old March 23, 2008, 02:03 PM   #3
UniversalFrost
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well, I would recommend a 308 caliber bolt rifle.

I would think that the ruger 77 frontier of the savage 10FcM scout rifle would be perfect.

These are short, light and easy handling guns with a scout mounted scope for a wide field of view. I would have to lean towards teh Savage because it is about 100 cheaper and comes with iron sights and the scope mount, just add a scope

link to gun

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/43531

Link to the scope options

http://www.swfa.com/c-829-bushnell-e...un-scopes.aspx

The .308 round is perfect for deer.

I would look for the rounds that shoot best in your gun, but I hand load most of my own and love the Barnes X bullets. You can get these factory loaded in Federal ammo and I think hornady. The X-Bullet provides rapid expansion at any range and leaves a wide wound channel and maintains a majority of its mass.

link to ammo:
http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/Brow...erOfResults=20

For the gps, i have a magellan meridian platinum that works well and is waterproof and impact resistant, but you would need to check the newer models (this one was from 2005).

For a knife there are lots of choices, but I prefer a Buck or Kabar

Here are links to both

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...889&hasJS=true

http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/Brow...erOfResults=20

I really don't use any scent reducers and all that fancy stuff.

I just make sure to wash all my clothes with an unscented detergent (make sure to run the washer a few cycles empty to clean out first).

I make sure to not use a scented deodrant and use the least scented soap/shampoo.

The most important thing is to pay attention to the wind and realize how the wind can carry your scent.


Camo is really what is in your area and also , make sure to wear enough orange per the regs.

Since you are up north (I lived in SD and ND most of my life so i know cold) and will be hunting in the cold and snow i would recommend a good insulated boot with an aggressive yet self cleaning tread pattern.

Here are a set that I bought recently and love

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...928&hasJS=true
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Old March 23, 2008, 05:51 PM   #4
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Have $2000 set aside for what you mentioned above, then on the next paycheck plan on a couple of treestands, a ground blind, rangefinder, grunt calls, game ears and,by all means, don't forget your hunting license! There's another $1000...
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Old March 23, 2008, 06:45 PM   #5
UniversalFrost
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yes, the list is expensive, but you can also go cheap

on the cheap I would go with either a new stevens 200 in 06 or 308 add nikon buck master scope and pick up the remington or federal 150 or 180 grain sp's for 13.99 at walmart.


Also would look at some of the cheap used savage guns or the mossberg 100ATR

some of the burris full field II scopes come with a GPS so, you get a decent entry scope and a gps.

For camo you can also go with mil surplus BDU's ( that is what I use mainly because i was in the service and have loads of them left over).

But i always get a good pair of boots (see my original post with my current favorites).

i really don't use any of the fancy calls, stands, etc... and just pick a nice tree and lean against it. make sure to have a good field of view and the most important thing is to spend a lot of time in the field before the hunt to find the trails and movement patterns.

You might luck out on decent used equipment if you go to the garage sales and pawn shops. You would be suprised what you can find cheap.

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Old March 23, 2008, 07:00 PM   #6
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I like Nikons but I like Savage instead of Stevens due to better trigger quality and the option for a wood stock. Deer don't know the difference between a Savage and a thousand dollar rifle.

I've cleaned my last 10 or so deer with my AG Russell pocketknife. It's got a nice black plastic checkered handle that won't slip so easily as smooth knives. My favorite boots are a $20 pair of basic black rubber boots a size too big and worn with double socks.
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Old March 23, 2008, 07:06 PM   #7
DaveInPA
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I was hoping to stay under $1,500 for everything I'd need for my first deer hunt. Guess I'll have to do some research to figure out if it's feasible.
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Old March 23, 2008, 07:13 PM   #8
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http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/78507
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...891&hasJS=true
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Old March 23, 2008, 07:24 PM   #9
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My choices are as follows and they began with my growning up in PA. Rifle: 270 Remington Model 700 w/ 2-7 or 3-9x scope w/sling (308 or 30-06 are just fine). Get a cheap scope to start and buy another in a couple years after you get your feet wet and know you enjoy hunting again.

Buy blaze orange vest such as one offered by Cabelas. This is their good one that runs around $25. Buy it large to fit over a heavy coat. Has game pocket, and lots of other pockets for stuff (shells, gloves, lunch, rope, compass, plastic flagging, candy, scents, game ear, water bottles, etc.)

Get pretty good folding knife that you like. Case knives are fine as are many other brands. Avoid knives made by Frost Cutlery or anything from China. You'll buy more knives as you get more experience. But you don't need anything fancy other than a semi-large stockman design to carry in your pocket. A sharp knife is important!

I would watch ebay and buy a Woolrich coat that is just a tad large so you can fit other layers beneath it. I believe new Woolrich coats run around $125, but I have not been pricing them. I also like wool pants, but jeans work just fine. I often wear camo pants just because...

Other Stuff: Blaze orange hat of your choice. I also like wool scarfs when it's cold and the wind is blowing. Wool gloves. Something warm. If you find them on sale this time of the year and you like them, buy an extra pair as sometimes you loose a glove while hunting.

Boots: Buy Lacross insulated boots that are rubber and knee high. Cabela's sells them. I prefer non-camo alpha burley with 800 grams of insulation. Buy one or two sizes large to fit wool socks. These boots are as comfortable as many leather boots and will keep your feet warm regardless of the weather in PA.

Read up on field dressing a deer. PA Game Commission web site probably has instructions.
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Old March 23, 2008, 08:59 PM   #10
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Dave, $1500 is more than possible. I live in PA (northern Somerset county) and I can tell you that what you need will depend alot on where you plan to hunt. As far as a gun is concerned I live around farms and hunt the fields alot so I normally carry a .270(a 30-06 or 308 will be fine to). I know alot of old guys who prefer a 30-30 and kill deer every year with one. They hunt in the thick brush and need a gun they feel will shoot through it.
Quote:
don't forget your hunting license! There's another $1000...
WOW!!! If you plan only to hunt in PA your license will run you less than $50. Don't plan on spending anything like $1000 for a resident hunting license in PA.
For clothing visit Wal-Mart a month before opening day and you will find everything you need fairly cheap. You can also find a descent knife there as well. I prefer a fixed blade but a good folding knife works just as well. Don't get a huge knife, it isn't necessary. You also don't need the most expensive ammo. Go to Gander Mountain, Cabellas, Wal-Mart, or any other place that sells ammo about a month before the season and you will see huge displays of one brand of ammo. That is what most people around your area use. In my area it is normally Remington or Winchester Super X. I prefer the Winchester shells but try a couple different brands and find the one that shoots best for you.
The one thing you do not want to skimp on is boots. The more comfortable your feet the more likely you are to stay out the entire day.
Now this is the most important part. If you are only planning to hunt the rifle season you can probably forget about the scents, you won't need them. I personaly am not a huge fan of rifle season in PA. Everybody that owns a gun is in the woods on the first day. Wear plenty of Orange. When you hear the first shot of the day it is normally followed by dozens and it normally continues for hours. If it is a cold day the guys in my area start pushing the deer by noon. If its a warm day they may sit longer. You should scout the are before the season and pick a couple good spots. The morning of the hunt get to your spot early and do not move all day. Chances are someone will push the deer your way at some point in the day. Hopefully where you live there are less hunters than around me and your rifle season isn't as I described. If you want some really nice deer hunting I would suggest you try one of the muzzle loader seasons or archery. I prefer the early muzzle loader(I actually hunt with a crossbow during this season). It is a doe only season so you have to buy a doe tag in August, but I am a meat hunter not a horn hunter and I don't mind getting a nice mature doe. This season seems to be the least crowded in my area. I don't hunt archery because I small game hunt with my son at that time.

One last thing. You may want to include on your list of equipment a small cammo backpack. Also be sure to put together a feild dressing kit with everything you need for the job.

Good luck and remember you don't need the most expensive equipment now. You can buy the things that fit your budget and upgrade your equipment as you go.
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Old March 23, 2008, 09:27 PM   #11
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Simple.
Mossberg/Stevens/Savage rifles.and $200 scope//whatever brand.
Good underwear//Underarmour is what I wear.
$30 knife. Not huge.
If spot and stalk, then get camo clothing/fleece/quiet variety. Treestand I guess whatever.
X2 on good boots. Water proof is a well used term. Buy the best you can afford. I wear Rocky boots and they get wet after a couple days tramping in wet snow. I have a couple pair I rotate with. Buy good gloves also.
Good binocs
Winchester/Federal/Remington base ammos are all good. No need to pay for premium.
Walmart can furnish 90% of the list and it will probably save you some bucks.
I think Cabelas has a base level GPS on sale for less than $100 right now.
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Old March 23, 2008, 10:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
I was hoping to stay under $1,500 for everything I'd need for my first deer hunt. Guess I'll have to do some research to figure out if it's feasible.
That's more than enough cash for your first hunt. Heck, you can get by with $800.00 or so if you wait for a sale on a new Remington SPS.

I'd look at a Reminton SPS, BDL, or CDL (awesome rifle!) in .270 Win, .308, or .30-06; any of those calibers will work equally well for deer. Get a rifle that you like and don't worry so much about caliber, you won't have to worry if you stick with one of those three that I've mentioned. I like Remington, but you can also get a Savage, or a Browning, or any of the major brands, they all generally make good guns, and most will shoot more accurately than the hunter's skill will allow. Buy a used rifle if you like and save even more cash. Get a good Leupold scope (VX II or better). Buy the hunting clothing on sale, there's always lots of places that'll have sales on it. Get a 4" fixed blade knife, just make sure it is sharp. Take a foldable bone saw with you for the pelvis.

I don't know about the GPS system, but location and who you know is the most important. See if you can find a friendly landowner so that you can hunt on private land, with another experienced hunter. If you move around too much, those deer will hear you from miles away and you'll never see one. But I understand that a GPS is nice to have.

Don't sweat the equipment so much, it is mostly finding a good spot on good land, not moving, having patience, and a little bit of luck. See if you can get set up in a stand for your first time. Good luck!
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Old March 24, 2008, 09:27 PM   #13
MeekAndMild
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I got to thinking. That AG Russell is REALLY a good knife. So I looked it up in the catalog and this is what I found. This knife is listed as type B but I don't know which type steel it is. I do know that I usually sharpen it at the beginning of deer season every year. It won't take the place of a hacksaw but it will do everything else needed to clean a deer.
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Old March 24, 2008, 10:02 PM   #14
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I was in your shoes 3 years ago. Started from scratch, no help, just read and learned. Message boards make a great start, so hopefully you'll get some good advice. Right now I'm 5 deer and one wall-hanger later, so it's certainly doable.

Any quality 30/06 will give you the most versatility. You can load it down for coyotes or up for bear as you please, being in PA. Will do it all for you. As a new hunter, you're also going to want to practice. 7.62 ammo is through the roof - you can still get 30/06 for about a quarter a round for practice through the CMP though. Any of the mentioned rifles will work. I got a Charles Daly Mauser because it was written up as new rifle of the year in F+S that year. Action's rough but it's an excellent shooter. Any major brand bolt will suit you. Leverguns are nice too, and the range on them is getting out there with some advances in ammo. Then you've got your pumps and semis, but just empirically it seems to me that bolts rule the roost.

As for glass, I like the Burris Fullfield II, I think it's an excellent value. I mounted it myself, have dinged it a bit, and it's still right on for me. Avoid tactical scopes, two knobs for adjustment is plenty if you haven't been shooting scoped rifles recently. Again though, any quality manufacturer will work out - you can get lucky with lesser ones, but generally companies like Burris, Leupold, Nikon, etc. (excuse me for those I've left out) you won't go wrong with in the sub-$300 range. I've had good luck with Bushnell as well, but that was only for binocs/spotting scope/rangefinder, I haven't tried their riflescopes. Variable magnification is nice, with 3-9x seeming the "norm." I like 9x to get the best view of what I'm shooting, but if you need to pick something up in close I don't know a lot of guys who can get on and shoot an in-close moving target with that kind of magnification. My rifle setup was probably about $500 in-hand.

Ammo, for PA whitetail, 150gr should work. Try a few brands and find what shoots best out of your rifle. For factory loads I like the premium Remington polymer-tipped rounds in 150gr and 165gr, but that's not to say it'll be the best out of your rifle. The premium stuff is just what shoots well for me - much cheaper cartridges have been killing them as long as man's had rifles. While you can hunt a whole season on your box, I generally shoot a minimum of one box of my hunting loads when I change my zero back from surplus ammo come deer season. So figure 2 boxes minimum, $30-60 depending.

Clothing is a product of your environment and the type of hunting you plan to do. If you have private land or can set up a stand or blind on public land and will be sitting still for a while, bundle up! On the other hand, it really does not take much to stay warm even if you're still hunting. Any movement whatsoever is a huge help. Just think about your surroundings. You'll get a lot of guys that say camo really isn't necessary at all - I still wear it, oh well. Can't hurt. Remember your extremities - I deer hunt in Wisconsin around Thanksgiving, so it's usually pretty chilly. Keeping your core warm is important, but it's easy to forget good socks and boots, good gloves, and warm headgear. If you're totally hypothermic you need to end your hunt, but losing feeling in your hands or being very uncomfortable in one spot is certainly detrimental to your day afield as well. And, as mentioned, don't forget the blaze according to hunting regs - usually 400 sq. in. unbroken will get you by, but double-check. You can use a lot of what you already have for layering and then just buy a new heavy cover layer and some decent boots if you don't have them - you could probably keep this under $300 for a quality pair of insulated boots and a nice coat, or spend ten times that on ten all-new super-premium layers, lot of flexibility here. For another $100 (probably less) you can get a couple nice pairs of winter socks, a fleece head mask and some base-layer gloves to shoot with and put your big suckers over when you're waiting, which addresses some of my earlier complaints.

As for scents, a lot of guys will say you don't need them in rifle season. I've played with them without much luck. I do hit my clothes with a scent-killer before I go out. Again, plenty of hunters would say even that's totally unnecessary for gun season. I just like to do it up I guess. Scents can be more important earlier in the season when deer are rutting harder and if you need to get them in closer for archery. If you want to wash yourself and your clothes, you can probably score a scent-killer package for under $20 at Walmart.

Knife is another flexible purchase. I like serrations on at least part of the blade personally, but I've used a straight blade as well. I think Gerbers are a good value, solid knives that you can get at sub-premium prices on eBay or whatever. This is not so important as making sure whatever you have is sharp and knowing how to dress out the animal. While you might put some stuff in a pack or whatever, keep the knife in a secure pocket on your person. There are a lot of reasons you might need it that don't involve cutting into a deer. Might even be good to have a backup. Serrated Gerber Gator folders are doable under $30 on eBay.

GPS you can go cheap on. Having back-up land-nav is important too. Get a map of your state park and bring a compass. Even if you're an abysmal woodsman, you will know that if you walk East, you will eventually hit such-and-such state road if you're in a bind. But you could even do that by the direction of the sun if necessary. I have had a lot of help from a Garmin eTrex getting my way back to my car in a state park that had several flooded areas unmarked on their map. You can score one for under $100 if you shop around. I have a nicer one now, Magellan Crossover, good for land/vehicle/boat nav and comes loaded with some park maps, but for as ugly and barebones as the eTrex is, it does what you need it to - marks where you were, and tells you how to get back. Both are waterproof and generally suited to the outdoors. But do get a compass, and printouts of your state park - which you should keep in a ziplock bag with a pencil somewhere safe and mark up with notes as you move if you're on big public land. $90 or so for an eTrex, can be much more if you want something special, $10 for a compass.

I only mention the compass thing because you should expect all your gear to break or fail. Particularly anything that requires batteries. And then be happy when it does work. It's not such an issue in the fall, but I've seen GPS's have spotty signals just from thick leaf cover in the woods, nevermind a dud battery. If you're on private land in a stand somewhere, not a big deal if everything is screwed up except your rifle, but when I've tried some brush-busting expeditions involving more than a couple miles distance from my parking site, having a GPS get funny, running out of water, not being able to find something you need... huge pain in the rear.

Anyway, I enjoyed rambling. Keep the questions coming, it's blast once you get started. Good luck!

Last edited by bclark1; March 24, 2008 at 11:14 PM.
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Old March 25, 2008, 04:39 PM   #15
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Keep in mind that the old saying "you get what you pay for" certainly applies to purchasing hunting equipment. Be patient and buy the best (from a quality stand point) that you can afford. For example, the first piece of equipment I purchased 13 years ago was a Ruger .243 M77 Mark II, wood stock, checkered, blue barrel; absolutely beautiful rifle. I've taken good care of it and to this day it is the one rifle that I will not part with. It will last me a life time if I continue to take care of it. The second rifle I purchased was a Winchester Model 70, .30-06, then a Remington 700 BDL, .270. My suggestion only, but regardless of the budget that you're working with don't rush into anything. Research, and talk to other experienced hunters. Make every purchase count.

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Old March 25, 2008, 05:00 PM   #16
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You can buy an old Nagant 7.62x54 rifle, read up on how to actually hunt, and have a very good time without blowing 2-3 grand.

I generally spend about 75 bucks a year on a license and such, and another 100 or so on archery supplies. I don't use an ATV, don't have some jacked up 4x4, don't have a fancy rifle, don't have any timed feeders, salt block, deer caine, or any of that stuff.

What I do have is a lot of fun with a low price tag.
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Old March 25, 2008, 05:01 PM   #17
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I subscribe to the KISS rule (keep it simple stupid) I mainly use an old beat up pre-64model 70 winchester in .270 or a lever action 30-30 with irons, I wear long johns, jeans, and a wool coat in Montana and a coat with an orange sweatshirt over it in Minnesota. I don't use scent products, I just sit by a tree or still hunt with my face to the wind. The only things I really invested basically any amount of money on for deer hunting is boots, gotta keep the feet happy, and rifles.
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Old March 26, 2008, 07:27 AM   #18
Jack O'Conner
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These Keystone State bucks were toppled with lever action rifles. I've hunted in Pennsylvania many times but never encountered an armor-plated whitetail yet!

I suggest you stop by this store and look through their used rack. This time of year, they're eager to make a discount deal. Look through their selection of knives. Any locking folder will do the job nicely.
Gun Gallery
2807 Perkiomen Ave, Reading, PA 19606
Phone: (610) 779-4160
Good hunting to you.
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Old March 26, 2008, 08:13 AM   #19
DaveInPA
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Jack,

Where in PA did you hunt? I'm trying to find some good places to scout in SE PA, around Berks County.

As for the Gun Gallery, I would only buy a gun there if it was the last shop left within a 200 mile radius. Even then, I'd probably just order one online and have it sent to an FFL somewhere. There are MUCH better gun shops around with MUCH better prices and SERVICE.

Anyway . . . thanks everyone for the tips.
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Old March 27, 2008, 01:28 PM   #20
fbrown333@suddenlink
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PA hunt

I would check on your area first, I heard some areas only allowed shotgun hunting due to the topography. ( have an uncle in law that hunts there).
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Old March 27, 2008, 01:40 PM   #21
DaveInPA
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I'm hunting on private land on my gun club's property. Rifle ok.
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Old March 27, 2008, 02:57 PM   #22
Jack O'Conner
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Dave:

I hunted on SGL near the border of Lebanon and Lancaster County. Its the area northwest of where 501 crosses 322. Very good hunting opening Day.

I've had good luck at Ft. Indiantown Gap. The Nat'l Guard has a mandatory orientation saftey meeting.

But best hunting is northern Bucks County just south of Allentown. This is shotgun only. Its all private land and posted. But all you have to do is type a short biography and attach the Sportsman's Pledge. Then put this in every mailbox in the area. You'll be suprised how many folks will invite you to hunt!
Basically all this does is make yourself advertised as an ethical hunter who won't sue them over an injury claim.

I'm working in Virginia this winter since S. Dakota construction work is weak.
Jack
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Old March 27, 2008, 03:15 PM   #23
fbrown333@suddenlink
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PAhunting

Didn't mean to sound nasty sometimes I come across a little rough. Just wanted to make sure you didn't bet your self in a pickle with local law.
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Old March 27, 2008, 11:52 PM   #24
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Howdy Dave, I'm originally from PA, Bethlehem area. The most important ingrediant of deer hunting is you. Scouting, and hunting skills. My Uncle was the best PA deer hunter I ever knew. He always got his buck and it was usually an 8 point or better. He was very attentative and very patient. Miserable weather didn't distract him. His best buck was only a few points shy of of B&C which is quite an accomplishment since very few PA bucks live past their 3rd or 4th birthday. Deer hunting in PA is exremely competive, or at least it used to be. I was a tree stand kind of guy but not my uncle. He would pick a natural blind near some promising trails. And if the early morning wait didn't turn up anything he would still hunt which is quite an art if you do it right.

OK, so as far as gun, scope etc. go. This depends a lot on what kind of a shot you expesct. Most PA hunting is fairly close quarters so you probably wont need a 300 WM like a lot of folks out West use. My Uncle used a 308 which is probably the perfect PA deer caliber. Very accurate and will easily get the job done with a little less kick than a 30.06. 30.06 is a good round but for PA I would prefer the the 308 and 30-30's are quite frankly a weak and not very accurate round. You can get a Tikka or Savage for less than $500, both very good rifles. One more thing, wood stocks are real purdy, synthetic stocks get the job done.

As far as scopes go... DO NOT buy a cheap scope. You dont have to get top of the line, but you would be better off with iron sights than a cheap scope. I once had a cheap scope that sent bullets flying evrywhere but where they were supposed go. Nikon Monarchs and Busnell Elite series are some good scopes, and they run about $300 - $600. On the lower end of the power you'll be looking for 1.5 - 3 and on the upper end 6 - 10. The larger your objective the more light you will gather. I wouldn't use anything less 40mm.

Hunting clothes??? What ever keeps you warm and dry. Deer see in shades of gray and could care less if you're wearing advantage or real tree. Dont forget your head and ears. In Montana I use Merino wool under layer in cold weather. It keeps you warm and comfortable when you're less than dry. Awesome.

Scent??? you cannot ever cover up, mask, or hide your scent, that is all a bunch of marketing garbage. You can minimize it and most importantly know which way the wind is blowing. Remember, on opening day of deer season in PA there will be multitudes of humans in the woods and the deer will be scenting them and you. Figure that into your tactics.

Some good comments on foot wear in other posts. Get some warm dry boots. $100 - $200.

As far as ammo goes... if you dont handload get premium loads. I would recommend Federal or Nosler. And I would definetly recommend Barnes bullets (in the Federal loads) although there are a lot of bullets that will do the job. For Nosler, I would recomend Accubond. 150 gr bullets for 30 cal are ideal.

For sighting in??? Once again it depends... for PA hunting 200 yd zero is good. At 200 yds zero you can hold dead on from point blank out to 250. For Montana I use a 250 yd zero in 270 Win, 7mm Rem Mag and 300 WSM.

For a knife??? I have a Gerber interchangable blade for utility, bone saw and skinning. I think it cost me about $50. But you could do fine with any knife that kept a descent edge.

There is no place in PA I would need a GPS to find my way out of the woods. A good map and map reading skills is all you need. When in doubt, walk down hill until you get to the nearest road.

Happy Hunting, let us know how it goes


Last edited by MontanaRifleman; March 28, 2008 at 12:37 AM.
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Old March 29, 2008, 11:42 AM   #25
Yellowfin
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Join Date: January 7, 2007
Location: West Upstate NY
Posts: 2,303
Get a good quality treestand. I personally recommend Gorilla climbing stands. A climbing stand will allow you to change where you hunt day to day and be simple to use. I for one consider it utterly foolish to be hunting deer without being in a stand for both scent and safety reasons.
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