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Old September 19, 2009, 07:36 PM   #1
bggwind
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Location: Wilmington, DE
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Question - what if you've never hunted before?

I have never hunted before, however I'm game to learn and to do it the right, safe and (of course) legal way.

I live in Delaware and the state requirements are fairly straightforward. I own the equipment for field shotgun for upland birds, and a .308 which I'm told would be a fine deer rifle. I also have a couple of .22 rifles that some acquaintances have advised using for squirrel.

In my younger years I did a ton of offshore fishing off of NJ, and one of the things I loved most was filling the freezer with tuna, flounder, striped bass, etc. I would like to try to target my efforts into areas where it will pay off on the table.

What would be your wholesale suggestions for approaching this the right way. One thing I've thought of is to set up a hunt or two using guides, maybe on preserves just to learn the ropes. I really do not have any close friends that hunt locally, so this will be a solo venture for the time being.

Any helpful comments are much appreciated.
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Old September 19, 2009, 08:33 PM   #2
robhof
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Check out the local farmers, many will give permission to hunt specific animals and this limits the amount of hunters, fewer hunters equal more chances for game. Some will even tell you where the best spots to find them are. Be sure to ask when it's ok to be on the property and possibly get permission in writing, in case wardens check on you, save alot of time.
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Old September 19, 2009, 08:49 PM   #3
oneounceload
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Take your state's hunter ed courses. There will be instructors who can give you help with certain aspects. There are tons of dvd's. etc. for techniques, tips, etc. Hunting magazines, especially this time of year, are full of articles with tips. Try to find a hunt club or somewhere you can get a mentor to help you out for techniques that work in your area.......

good luck! Post pics..........
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Old September 19, 2009, 11:29 PM   #4
Art Eatman
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Spend as much time "in the boonies" as posssible during the first hour or two of daylight, and then again in the last couple of hours of daylight. Those are the most likely times to see critters moving. The more you just sit and watch, the more you learn about their behavior. It's a year-around thing...

The "Big Three" outdoor magazines--Field&Stream, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield--commonly have "how to" articles about hunting, tracking, field-dressing of game and beaucoup other useful information.
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Old September 20, 2009, 07:28 AM   #5
Uncle Buck
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I agree with talking to farmers and asking permission to use their land. But... Be prepared to meet some rejections and always be courteous and say thank you. (I remember we had a couple of guys from the city come down to hunt squirrels. We were sitting at the dinner table and could hear gunshots and "thunking" on the roof. The old man went out and sure enough, them guys were shooting at squirrels on the farm house roof. That pretty much ended it for everyone hunting the property if the old man did not know you for a few years.)

Also, please understand what your guns can do. Do not try to shoot a squirrel with your .22 at 400 yards. Just because the bullet can travel a long distance doesn't mean it is going to go where you point it. Always know where your bullet is going to land if you miss. If you are shooting a squirrel on a tree branch and miss, what is going to stop the bullet? If you are shooting a squirrel sitting on a piece of concrete, what is going to happen to the bullet?

I use to let a lot of people hunt my property, but people shooting squirrel and rabbits would also shoot gates and I have had a tractor fuel tank shot (He was shooting at a squirrel who was sitting on the hood of my tractor) I have had two flat tires on the tractor (one was a shotgun blast at a rabbit and the other was a squirrel by the tractor tire. Equipment is expensive to fix.)

I know not all hunters are like these clowns, and I do miss sharing the stories with some hunters. But remember, I do not know you and just because you are a clean cut young man does not mean you know what you are doing. The last guy I let hunt here actually asked "Sir, I was wondering if you hunt?" I said yes. "I am new to hunting and was wondering if I could hunt with you next time you go out?" WOW! He came up from the nearby air base and was definitely a clean cut young man. It got to the point that I let him hunt by himself and he never abused the rules and never brought anyone with him with-out checking with me first. He always stopped by the house or barn to let me know he was going to be on the property hunting and always stopped by when he left. He would even offer me some of the rabbits or squirrels he shot. I guess what I am saying is he was an ethical hunter and if he ever gets stationed in this location again, he will be more than welcome to hunt on my land again.
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Old September 20, 2009, 07:33 AM   #6
Breadslinger
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The easiest way to find out if hunting is really for you, is to tag along with someone who hunts. Do you know anyone (friends or relatives) who hunts regularly? When I started hunting years ago I did plenty of reading, maybe for a year or so before I "thought" I was ready. It wasn't until I had the chance to actually go hunting with a good friend that I received my formal education.

I'm guessing that you didn't have many, or any, hunting opportunities as a youngster; neither did I. Hunting is a lot more involved than killing something. As others have suggested, contact your local Fish and Game department and sign up for a hunter education class. Then get out in the woods and watch and listen. There's much to be learned, so take your time. Best of luck with your new endeavor.
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Old September 20, 2009, 07:39 AM   #7
sc928porsche
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Complete your hunter safety course
Go to range and become proficient with your firearms.
While there, become familiar with others so that you will have someone who you can accompany on your hunts. It is a good idea not to hunt alone.
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Old September 20, 2009, 08:58 AM   #8
simonkenton
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As a rookie, the number one favor you can do for yourself is to get real good with that .308
You need to find a good hunting round, and shoot, and shoot with that round.
You need to practice extensively at 100 yards. I mean, you should shoot at least 3 or 4 boxes of ammo.
Also you need to do some shooting at 200 yards.

If you can hit a grapefruit five times in a row at 100 you are ready to go deer hunting.

Then, you need to get a deer silhouette and practice on that. I just cut one out of a refrigerator box.

I have seen a rookie hunter whose practice consisted of tossing a milk jug into the river, firing at it 3 times at 100 yards, and coming close but not hitting it, and pronouncing himself "ready to hunt."

The next week, we spent the entire afternoon looking for the deer that he had shot in the butt, we all wished he had become a more proficient shot.
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Old September 20, 2009, 11:54 AM   #9
hogdogs
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Buy some nice bright new Blaze Orange and do as Art suggested... Just go out and beat the bushes... Do your best rendition of a hungry injun stalking and looking/lurking... Learn tracks, scat rubs and scrapes etc...
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Old September 20, 2009, 01:14 PM   #10
wolfbait
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Like hogdogs said! Plus make sure of your shootin, One shot is all it takes, less you are huntin grizz, then some times one more is needed.
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Old September 20, 2009, 02:47 PM   #11
Alaskee
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The first step to getting a hunting license would be attending a hunter safety course and getting the graduation card. I'm pretty sure it's mandantory in Delaware as with most (all?) states. You can gain information during the class as to hunting resources in the state which will suit your needs.
Also, the .308 is illegal to hunt deer with in Delaware and has been for decades. You'll need to go with a shotgun, blackpowder or bow for deer. I'm not sure about rifles for hunting varmints, etc but that would be covered in the game laws booklet (probably also available on-line).
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Old September 23, 2009, 12:33 PM   #12
bggwind
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Just to follow up the OP...

I've been reading and giving a lot of thought to some of the input received here and also one of the other forums I frequent...

I was laid up over the weekend recovering from some light out-patient surgery (give you a hint - no more kids :-) and I set up and took the Delaware state online hunting license training. I'm about 85% complete with perfect scores FWIW.

I will also be making some dedicated trips to the two clubs I'm newly a member of and will hopefully be making some new friends that share some of my interests. A co-worker hunts whitetail in South Jersey and has invited me to come along on some of his hunts during shotgun season just to get a feel.

Above all, safety safety SAFETY...and accuracy
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Old September 24, 2009, 11:25 AM   #13
Wild Bill Bucks
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The more time you spend at the range, the more hunting friends you will make.
It will become obvious to you, after a while, who knows their crap, and who doesn't.
When you become friends with one, that you feel like, knows his stuff, then ask him to take you hunting, and teach you some of his techniques.
I can tell you for sure, that if a guy is a friend, and he really knows his stuff, you won't be able to shut him up, and he will get a kick out of teaching a newbie.

I Do.
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