View Full Version : Want to get into hunting

December 5, 2008, 10:21 AM
Okay all, I know this is going to sound silly. My Dad was an avid hunter when he was younger, but he never took me, and he has no interest in doing so at this point. I have never been hunting even once, and I'm 36 years old. I'd really like to get into hunting. The things that interest me most are Duck, Quail, Turkey, and Deer. I live in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. The thing is, I don't really no anyone who can / is willing to teach me. Any ideas on how to get started? I do have plenty of firearms that would be sufficient, and I'm an avid shooter. TIA.

December 5, 2008, 10:45 AM
I've never hunted either and I think it might be fun. I really want to hunt some pheasant. I know I could just make reservations at some pheasant hunting club in the Sacramento Valley and go do it, but it would be nice to have someone kinda show me the ropes. Need a hunting license first and then an appropriate shotgun. All I have is the Mossberg 500 18 1/2", 12 ga. and that's probably not it.

December 5, 2008, 11:15 AM
Well, Codejockey, you know as much about duck, quail, and turkey hunting as I do, which is zero.
But I have done quite a bit of deer hunting.
The first thing you need to do is get a good deer rifle, and get to be a real good shot with it. Sounds like you already have one leg up in this department.
There are lots of good deer calibers, .270, 30-06, .308 etc.
You really need a scope out there in Texas. You need to be able to hit a softball five times in a row at 100 yards, from the bench. You also need to practice at 200 yards because long shots are available out there.
There are public management areas where anybody can hunt, the problem is, anybody does hunt there. Crowded, and dangerous.
Your best bet is to join a club. You can google up "Deer hunting club Dallas Fort Worth" and you will probably find several clubs that need members.
I imagine you would be paying around $1,000 per year to be in a good club.

Don't listen to this talk about head shots or neck shots. You want to aim just behind the shoulder, midway, vertically. That is the classic lung shot and if you hit 'em there you will recover that deer.
Good luck!

December 5, 2008, 11:24 AM
Well, it looks like you both have technical backgrounds, which is a free pass on any "smart enough" concerns I'd raise - I'm sure you could self-teach. I didn't own any firearms or shoot regularly until I was over 21, and I think I was a little older still when I started hunting. It's been a lot of trial and error, but overall the success has outweighed the frustration. Some good places to get started:

-State Hunters' Safety Course. May or may not be required, but will be helpful. A lot of it is common sense but it's good to reinforce the big issues. For me, it was a great confidence booster - talking to the instructor on breaks made me realize how much I already knew, and he was very much for me getting into the field for spring turkey just a couple weeks later. This "nothing to lose but a nice day in the woods" attitude is key to getting out there and learning what works and what doesn't.
-State "Learn to Hunt" courses. Again, may or may not have 'em. I listed a family address as mine to attend a free Wisconsin deer hunting class. My dad was a good sport and still came as my chaperone (required), even though he's never hunted a day in his life. And we were the oldest people there by a pretty good margin. So yes, embarassing. But again, it was a good reinforcer of what I'd been reading and hearing.
-Internet. This is the place to ask questions. You'll get quick, personalized answers, and a variety of perspectives.
-Print media. I gobbled up all the Field and Stream and Outdoor Life magazines and books, got a few other animal-specific books to flip through, and basically turned it into an academic pursuit. Now are these resources "right" all the time? Probably not. There's some hype and marketing in them, and you'll see some people criticize them. The point is not necessarily to learn the correct, archetypal hunting method. There really isn't one - what works, even day to day in the same location, will be dependent upon more variables than can be listed. But you're looking to get the wheels turning in your head and build your knowledge base so that you can evaluate what you're doing and find solutions in the field.

So that's what I've got off the top of my head. It's definitely doable. I still consider myself something of a clumsy oaf in the woods. But I've almost always come out successful, and really, it's been more fun (and I've learned much more) when game has been hard-won than when I've gotten lucky quickly. So hope that input helps - best of luck!

December 5, 2008, 11:26 AM
I appreciate the info, I'll look into some good clubs. I have a .30-06 with a 3-9x40 scope (it's okay, but not great). The rifle is excellent, and I can easily group 2" or less at 100 yards. My main concern is finding a mentor to teach me the hands on stuff that only experience can show you. Again, thanks for the advice.

December 5, 2008, 02:32 PM
My main concern is finding a mentor to teach me the hands on stuff that only experience can show you. Again, thanks for the advice.

I'd also check and see if Texas has a Hunter's Education Program. I had to take Kentucky's Hunters Ed course a few years ago (I needed the card to hunt out of state) even though I've been hunting for years. Overall, I found the course very informative and enjoyable. As a novice hunter, I think you would get some great information out of it.

December 5, 2008, 02:44 PM
I'm a North Dakota/Northern MN duck hunter, and don't know a lot about duck hunting down in Texas, but I'm sure it will still apply...

First get yourself 2 dozen mallard decoys or so and a decent duck call, probably a double reed. The RNT Quackhead is relatively inexpensive and a great beginner call. When you're throwing out your dedoys, try to set up so the wind is at your back, ducks set in facing the wind. Throw the decoys out in a U or UU pattern, ducks do not like flying over things when landing, including decoys. Scout beforehand and find where most of the ducks are. Ducks hunting is best in the morning, slow in the day, and good again in the evening.

Deer hunting, scout beforehand hard. Find intersecting trails and look for sign. Sign includes rubs (on trees) and scrapes (on ground) and scat. Scrapes are better sign than rub because bucks will regularily check their scrapes for doe urine. I generally still hunt in the morning, try to stalk in the day, and still hunt again at night. Shoot them just behind the shoulder. Do a google search on how to field dress a deer. There is really no wrong way to do it, just go at it with a knife and try not to puncture any intestines or internal organs. When cutting down the body initially do not go too deep with your knife, after that, just reach in with your gloves and start yankin' things. I don't care what people on the internet say, there is no scientific way to do it. I can gut a deer in under 2 minutes from beginning to end and I do it different every time lol.

Good luck and read up! The internet is a great resource.

December 5, 2008, 03:09 PM
There's an old saying that it takes a hunter to make a hunter. I've hunted all my life - most every critter that walks or flies. The most rewarding experiences I ever had in hunting was teaching others to appreciate the sport. I think you'll find that attitude with most folks who hunt.

Find someone who hunts and ask them if they would mind helping you get started. Most hunters would consider it an honor to do so.

Barring that, look for a guided hunt in your area where the guides provide full services and don't mind newcomers.

Waterfowl or upland hunting is a good beginning as it's communal typically. Deer and small game are the next steps.

December 5, 2008, 04:26 PM
Put it right behind the shoulder.


A trick I still love to do, after 30 years of hunting, is to get a refrigerator box.
Cut out a life sized silhouette of a deer.
Take it out to the range, set it at 100 yards. Take one shot. Go home.
This is a good approximation of deer hunting, you just get one shot.
Set your silhouette up in your room and look at where you hit. If you made a good shot, you have venison in the freezer.
If you made a bad shot, you need more range time.
Next day, take your cardboard deer back to the range. Take one shot and go home.
A shot in the shoulder, or better, just behind it, and two inches above the bottom of the silhouette, or two inches below the top, means dead deer.

A shot 12 inches back, slap yourself on the wrist five times.
You have made a gut shot.
Better to not have gone in the woods that morning, than to have made a gut shot.

December 5, 2008, 08:12 PM
Investigate all types of educational media(intenet,books,DVDs) and do a course if you wish. Wherever you shoot (range or club) is a good place to make contacts (fellow hunters). I know I started out a target shooter(archery), joined a league( we shot competitively once a week)and got to know some hunters. Also tag along with a deer hunt (even if you dont hunt yourself) and see if you like it. It is an expensive sport and takes commitment. Good Luck - we need more hunters:D

December 6, 2008, 06:18 AM
Check out simonkenton's image of the deer vitals. Look for the organ that is labeled kidney :D

No, but really, simon makes some good points.

December 8, 2008, 09:31 AM
The approach I took was very different. My dad passed away when I was a little over a year old, so I never really had anyone to teach me the lay of the land, and on my 13th birthday my mom let me start using (and eventually gave me) his old Marlin lever action .22 he used when he was younger. We lived in town, but we had alot of woods behind us, at least 7 or 8 acres which a rather large creek ran through. I immersed myself in all things outdoors, reading mounds of books such as The Last Gentleman Adventurer, The Call of the Wild, and my particular favorite White Fang. haha.
I would just take my .22 into the woods with a pop tart and can of dr pepper and just sit for hours, waiting for rabbit, watching their pattern of how they avoided me and how they sheltered their young, where they nested and where they gathered their food. I eventually was able to track a few rabbits back to their nest and wait for what seemed like at least an hour until a big one popped up for their daily food run. I hid behind a log and took my first kill shot. One of the proudest moments of my life and my mom prepared it and we had rabbit stew for dinner. Not the best, but I was only 13!

I am only 19 now, and I still take the same approach. I just grab my Mosin Nagant 91/30, and equipped with my Colt 1851 on my hip, just wander the woods until something interests me, lately with my 4 month old beagle Daisy at my side and my year old rat terrier Scout at my side!

December 8, 2008, 10:26 AM
I'm coming into this convo fairly late but I noticed that you are interested in ducks. The things that interest me most are Duck, What I could suggest for you is to take a look at Ducks Unlimited. There you can find the most knowledge and resources for beginning waterfowl hunting.

When I began, I started off with a cheap 12 GA shotgun (Charles Daly Field), which I still use, and a few buddies. We created our own little hunting club, went through our local Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to get a blind spot, and pitched in for a few decoys. I'd say the most difficult part of beginning to hunt is to learn to call. Check out Sean Mann calls, they are great for beginners and relatively cheap in price. You don't want to go blowing tons of money for hunting only to find out that you enjoy a different type of hunting rather than waterfowl.

If you need any other help, please feel free to let me know.