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Old May 19, 2013, 09:00 AM   #1
Closing The Gap
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Need help

Here's my issue. I am 40 years old and grew up in a strictly anti gun/hunting family. I however always kept a BB gun in my fort near the creek to kill soda cans and the like with. Once I was old enough I started shooting with firearms. Ive since been married and have 2 sons. My wife and sons all enjoy the hobby of shooting together and love to head out to a range or impromptu plinking session on state game or BLM land as often as possible. We now own a number of pistols, rifles and shotguns. But up until this point the only animals theyve killed are self healing and/or clay...

Recently we have decided that we would like to start learning to hunt and provide for ourselves in that manner. We will most likely start with small game and go from there. The trouble is other than taking the state mandatory hunters safety course before acquiring a license, we have no idea what we are doing or where to go from there. Any suggestions on a way for us to all learn together? Good resources for information for the new hunter? What weapon/ammo for what type of game, tactics etc..?

Thanks in advance for any info and help you provide. My user name was thought of with this very subject in mind.
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Old May 19, 2013, 10:04 AM   #2
buck460XVR
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Start with small game, like squirrels........the skills needed to take them are the same as with larger game and they are generally plentiful enough so even a novice can be relatively successful. Shooting preserves can be a great place to learn how to hunt game birds and the better ones simulate real hunting scenarios and give a positive experience. Most local NWTF chapters have excellent mentoring classes and hunts for first time turkey hunters, regardless of age. If you are interested in hunting turkeys, I highly suggest you check them out. Just getting out in the field and puttin' in your time is the most important. Learn from your mistakes and do not let the pressure of thinking you must kill something in order to be successful make you do something you aren't proud of.
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Old May 19, 2013, 01:18 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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There's a lot of learning about the outdoors, separate from actual hunting. How to walk quietly. How to be really, really patient and imitate a rock or stump while sitting and looking.

How to play the wind as you ease along looking for any critters, or when finding a good sitting-spot.

Learning to identify tracks. Figure out feeding areas and bedding locales.

Some you can get clues from reading. A lot of it comes from spending early mornings and late afternoons outdoors.

For instance, consider walking: Critters don't march, so if you maintain a steady pace, everybody knows there's some sort of booger loose in the woods. Take a step or three and pause for a couple of seconds.

I glance down, ahead of me, for maybe three or four step's worth, looking for rolling rocks or sticks to avoid. As I take those steps, I look around for critters. Rinse and repeat.

So there is the start of a start.
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Old May 19, 2013, 04:46 PM   #4
HungryHunter
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Same situation

I am in the same boat as yourself. I was in the Army and have been shooting with what I consider petty fair intensity for a long time, but have had a hard time transitioning and "closing the gap" to being a hunter. I have now successfully filled three tags, may not be a big deal for some but is to me.

The hardest part for me was processing of the meat itself, but I bought a lot of books, took a lot of notes and tried. It didn't turn out perfect but experience is the best teacher. I guess basically what I'm trying to get at is being humble and not being afraid to ask is the greatest resource you can get. There a lot of people here that have been supportive/offered advice, and there's been one or two real..not nice fellas. Anyway, aside from doing as Mr. Eatman said which is the best advice, just ask. No one can discredit you for not knowing everything. That has been my greatest resource anyway.
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Old May 19, 2013, 05:52 PM   #5
big al hunter
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Quote:
Any suggestions on a way for us to all learn together?
Hunt together. Practice together and take that hunter education class together. Get some copies of hunting magazines. I have learned several tactics that work well from Peterson's hunting and Field and Stream. They may not be the best source but they always have a few ideas.

Quote:
Good resources for information for the new hunter?
Your states hunting regulations manual/pamphlet is a good start. It covers the laws and restrictions that you need to know. It should be available where you buy hunting and fishing licenses. It should also be available online. Google: hunting regulations in [your state]
Quote:
What weapon/ammo for what type of game
For small game:
squirrel/rabbit 22 long rifle if they hold still, if they are always moving shotguns. I like 12 or 20 gauge with #4 to #6 shot. Check your states regulations to make sure if both are legal to use.

upland birds ( grouse, partridge, quail, pheasant ) I like 12 to 20 gauge shotgun with # 5 to #7 shot depending on the type of bird and conditions.

ducks I use 12 and 20 gauge with steel shot #2 to #4 depending on conditions.

varmints ( gophers to coyotes ) any gun that will reach out and touch them. I use a 223 rem or 243 win.

big game:
deer any rifle/cartridge from 243 win to 300 mag will do the job.
black bear same as deer.
moose I would use at least a 30-06, others will say smaller, some will say bigger. Use good bullets and put them in the right place and any 7mm/280 cartridge should do the job.
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Old May 19, 2013, 06:16 PM   #6
Closing The Gap
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This really helps us in getting "the start of a start". I am certain as my thirst for knowledge is always prominent that I will be asking lots more questions. For now I have some work to do. I truly appreciate all the input and will attempt to scratch the surface asap with the whole family in tow!

I feel some hikes and exploration/observation are in my near future. While we wait for the hunters safety class to happen of course.
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Old May 19, 2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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Ah yes, the old learning curve.

Know that there are some of us that have hunted for years and still trying to figure it out. It's hard for a part-time hunter to master a full-time animal. In my lifetime, I have only seen two natural hunters and no, I'm not one of them. Main point is to get started and be patient with yourself. Start out by learning your state's hunting regulations that are revised every year. Then define who, what, where and when and their support. You will probably be reqjuired to take a Hunter Safety Course and if not, sign up for one anyway. Yes, small game is a good game to start on and fairly easy to learn. Sure, read all you can but your own experience is the best teacher. ..


Be Safe !!
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:15 PM   #8
Art Eatman
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I guess they're still published: Field&Stream, Sports Afield and Outdoor Life. They regularly have had very good articles for the "how-to" of hunting and fishing for different areas and different game species. I've always thought of them as the "Big Three" of the outdoor mags.

Deer generally feed downwind. Boogers in front can be seen; boogers behind can be smelled.

Deer, and particularly the bigger bucks, tend to bed down on the downwind "military crest" of a ridge. Just below the actual ridgetop. That way, they won't be skylined. They'll be near a saddle in the ridge, generally. When spooked, they use the saddle as an escape path, into the wind.

So, you ease along a ridge, sorta crosswind. Bambi jumps up, you look him over and if you like what you see, go for Bambiburger.

You'll note that I'll say "generally" and "commonly" or "most of the time" when I spout out all this stuff. That's because not all deer have read my book, "What Deer Do".
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:36 AM   #9
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Hunter safety course for all. Usually a requirement to getting a hunting license. As for further education, Library for one. Best is to go to local shooting range with other people and get to know the hunters. Pick up some tips and if you get along, ask to join them. Book learning on basics is great, but adding a mentor/buddy is even better. Fortunately, I have never been in your position. I was raised with hunting and firearms. But I have taken a few that were new to hunting and helped where I could. With as much anti hunting and gun people who are around, I do my part to offset it.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:21 PM   #10
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It's difficult answering a question such as yours Closing The Gap. I can't answer for others. But I learned how to hunt, track, & shoot when I was a child. As my father and our neighbors were one extended family long ago. In the Fall of the years while growing up our family's hunted as a party. A big party. Many times 27-28 fellows involved. These days to see those same skills I experienced first hand in those days while hanging with, watching, and learning from those old timers. One would almost have to book a guided hunt now. And there is my suggestion.
Put aside a little money here and there throughout the year and then book a Big Game guided hunt. Caribou, Elk, Mule Deer, White Tail whatever. Then its up to you to watch and learn from your guide. Once you experience HOW & Why you begin to build confidence in your ability to handle HOW & WHY on your own. As you know you don't have to fly to Colorado or Alaska to hunt. Book a guided hunt right there in your State. Consider the yearly Sportsman's Show for information. Many local and out State guides have a table during that event and are quite willing to answer questions from those who want to experience a thrill in their lifetime. Who knows? maybe you missed your calling. Maybe the day will come when your behind one of those tables giving advice at a Sportsman's Show. I wish you well in your endeavor to lean how hunting is done safely and correct Sir.

S/S
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Old May 24, 2013, 04:30 PM   #11
Closing The Gap
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. The wife and I have signed up for the required Hunters safety course. The kids dont need too as of yet. Once we are licensed they will be apprentice hunters under our guidance for 2 years before they are required to take the course. This will be our start.

While waiting on that we will be heading to the state game area as usual for reactive target shooting and plinking in general. However on all future trips we will be studying the environment. Keeping our eyes peeled for those elusive squirrels and any other signs of life. The wife has asked me to not pour animal urine on myself just yet. Apparently it would embarrass her when we head to the grocery store...jk

Either way its a win for me. With her on board it means more trips to Cabelas and Bass pro...

Edit: and more of the greatest thing in the world. Time spent with my wife and sons!!
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Old May 24, 2013, 05:20 PM   #12
cnimrod
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All good advice above

Welcome to the fold C-Gap!
the only thing i would emphasize is attitude, Enjoy being in the woods and learning new things every time you're out. Don't get hung up on "gotta get one" to call it a good hunt. I spent my first 7 years of deer hunting without ever seeing horns. Lotsa tails but it wasn't til I slowed down and smelled the roses so to speak that I finally filled some tags. SO have fun and keep is posted on your adventures.
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Old May 24, 2013, 06:06 PM   #13
Art Eatman
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Back in my early years, I won't say I was poor, but if redwood trees were a penny apiece, I couldn't have bought a toothpick. So I learned to make do.

Earth-toned clothes from Goodwill are plenty good if you're not bird-hunting. No need for camo.

I always used smooth-soled boots, preferably crepe-soled. RedWing 40-Mile or Russell Birdhunters. Vewy vewy quiet. (No good in snow or really-wet ground.)

If you go out to sit, take some sort of pad. Easier to sit still if your butt doesn't start griping about pebbles and such.

Decent light-weight binoculars, say 7x35, are helpful. 8x40 is getting toward the upper end of practical weight. Smaller than 35 reduces the field of view. El cheapos are often not collimated well enough, and lengthy use at a sitting can lead to an eyestrain headache.
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Old May 24, 2013, 07:22 PM   #14
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It sounds pretty "un-manly", I know, but you should also consider the emotional aspect of killing an animal.

It's not like killing a mouse or a mosquito.

When you get to the larger animals, like deer but maybe even rabbits or whatnot, it's a personal thing, you're likely to feel some considerable sadness for having killed it. It might be the first time, it might be the 10th.

I'm not saying this to discourage you, just so you're ready for it when it happens. If you didn't expect it, it might make you quit hunting.

Don't let it make you stop hunting but do let it cause you to ponder.
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:29 PM   #15
Closing The Gap
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Art my posterior thanks you for the advice. Thanks for the binocular advice too!

Brian this is something we have already considered and have had conversations ourselves and with the boys at length about. We are emotional creatures and I'm sure its going to hit all of us like a brick at some time or another. Thanks for the thought and reassurance though. We are definitely going at it with open minds, and only the idea of it being another reason to spend time together, at the very least.

cnimrod we already enjoy being in the woods but i totally understand your point. We are not expecting too much. As with anything in life you get out what you put in. In this endeavor we only want the time together. If we hunt and are successful then its icing on the cake.

I just want my boys to have those memories that I never had. My family was all about work and material things growing up. Our time together was me sitting in a hotel room at a gambling resort destination...
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Old May 25, 2013, 01:46 AM   #16
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well to be honest, its gong to come down to alot of hardwork, for anything other then squirrel and birds.

just ignore the deer hunting magazines when it comes down to "tips" and techniques. most of their techniques will only work if your hunting on a game farm and have a big suv to get your to the corn feeding station.
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Old May 25, 2013, 02:50 PM   #17
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You and your wife can do this. If you like reading -get books, YouTube would be great for you. By far it would be most helpful if you could go with some other experienced hunters maybe some co workers or a church member or someone and learn tips from them. All in all you can do this and everyday is a new experience. That's the fun is seeing different things and learning different things. Don't put so much in the killing even though that's what you're there for. It making memories.
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Old May 25, 2013, 05:31 PM   #18
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Need help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Closing The Gap View Post
As with anything in life you get out what you put in. In this endeavor we only want the time together...
Sometimes you don't get nearly what you put in in a tangible sense; sometimes you luck out and score waaaay before you'd expect. Either way it seems like you have the exact right attitude.

I'll add to Art's touch on binoculars, starting with a modified cliché:
Cheap, decent optics, light... Pick two. A lot of folks make the mistake of buying too much magnification. Ever hear of exit pupil? Exit pupil is basically the same thing as how big your pupil can open (how much light your eye can gather) but in optics. I believe that the average persons pupil can dilate to about 5mm. You will want an exit pupil in that range (4mm should be absolute minimum). Same goes for rifle and spotting scopes. If exit pupil isn't listed on the optics you are considering it's easy to calculate. Objective (big/front) lense diameter divided by magnification = exit pupil.
Therefore a 3-9 power scope with a 40mm objective (commonly referred to as 3-9x40) will have an exit pupil of 13.33 at 3 power and of 4.44 at 9 power. Although the 13.33 exit pupil at 3 power is likely more light than your eye can make use of it also has the advantage of a wide field of view.

Whew... I barely scratched the surface of optics. just buy the best optics you can afford and maintain a decent exit pupil. Bigger magnification = need for bigger objective = more weight = literal pain in the neck.

On animal care. The first time you down something bigger than a rabbit (and maybe even a rabbit) you'll say to yourself "what have I done". Reading and watching how to gut, skin, quarter, butcher videos is helpful but I really suggest finding an experienced hunter and mentoring with him/her. For this and many other reasons.

You are starting into a very rewarding journey. Not all rewards can be measured or weighed. Have fun!
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Old May 26, 2013, 02:10 AM   #19
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mentor/pal

Gap you need a mentor, a pal. Most of us had family or friends that kinda filled that role for us and got us started. After that, you can learn from experience.

You mention you hit a range now and again. There maybe somebody you are familiar with that you could possibly strike up a friendship with and get some pointers. Don't expect anyone to put you on trophies, but small game is often a social thing and you may get some invites.

Check with your local WCO's/wardens. There may be some hunting instructor types nearby that would love to start you.
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Old May 26, 2013, 09:20 AM   #20
Closing The Gap
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I'll look into a mentor. The trouble with that has been having no family or friends in the state we currently reside. We aren't church people and I operate a business (mostly from home)in the adult entertainment industry. Coworkers and industry connections aren't an option for those and other reasons. We are here for the wife to work on her graduate degrees. I have a good friend who is a game warden but lives in Montana just outside of Missoula. He would have been a great mentor had he not moved away when I was 15. I hadn't thought of asking the local DNR guys about possible mentoring but I will now. We did find out that one of my wife's employees, at her AT&T store, has a wife who is an avid hunter. She is going to try and see if she can help us here in Michigan for the duration. Back in Las Vegas will be a whole other set of issues but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

Again I really appreciate all of the input. We are truly fortunate to have a community like this one. You are all great folks to take time and care enough to give advice to the likes of me.
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Old May 26, 2013, 11:00 AM   #21
Art Eatman
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Heh. I spent 30 years in Michigan--one winter. But that was fifty years ago...
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Old May 26, 2013, 02:03 PM   #22
Closing The Gap
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Art I've spent a lifetime here in just a few short years. We plan to be living in either Texas or Arizona when she finishes with school. Las Vegas has always been home but with the current anti gun laws being pushed through it won't be home any longer. Our short list has gotten shorter.
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Old May 26, 2013, 06:30 PM   #23
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hunters education is a great place to start, during the recesses and breaks take the time to talk to a couple of the administrators most are volunteers that have spent years hunting and learning the area, the wild life, the terrain. they are the ones with the best hints, tips and tricks.

after you have your license you may also invest in guided trips.. nothing fancy just ducks, geese, turkeys, coyotes that kindof thing, they can give you a great education as you go.
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Old May 29, 2013, 10:56 AM   #24
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Depending on your location Cabelas, Gander mountain and small gun shops usually have dates of hunters safety classes also sounds like your possibly close to U of M there is Washtenaw sportmens club in the area that also does hunters safety class also said on Sundays they are generally open to the public for different shooting sports skeet, rifle matches, black powder, pistol ,and archery. They have a web site with a calender of vents if that helps.
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Old May 31, 2013, 10:47 AM   #25
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First off. Its great that you want to explore hunting. Especially with your family. I have many fond memories hunting with my father and I hope my children will have the same to say of me one day. My 15 y/o has likely surpassed me in skill at this point. I like to win, but what a great feeling it is when your son is better.
As some others suggested, game farms/hunting guides are a great way to get top notch hands on experience. Also any hunting related club in the area will likely have someone willing to mentor you along the way. It is a daunting task to take prey, then you have the carcass to harvest. Gutting and butchering require as much skill and practice as the hunt. You may want to start buying whole cuts of meats and de-boning/butchering them yourself to help gain some skill. Be alert, and above all else be safe.
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