View Full Version : Advice for my first deer hunt

July 20, 2001, 12:11 AM
Hi everyone. I'm 23 years old and going on my first deer hunt this August, sad it took so long. Any advice or tips would be much appreciated. I live in California and the area I'll be hunting varies in terrain, offering brush and rolling foothills. The deer up here are small blacktails averaging around 140 pounds.
Question: Which rifle?
1) Winchester 94 trapper model in .44 mag with open sights
2) SKS with fixed 4-power scope
3) .300 Weatherby Mag with Leupold 3x-9
Thanks Again!

July 20, 2001, 12:36 AM
Have Fun my Friend, and enjoy yourself, you have 2 short range rifles and one long range..... they all have thier limitations.

the .44 and SKS are 100 yd guns (maybe 150yd) while the 300 weatherby is a great rifle it is the one true "hunting" rifle you have.

Take the one that s going to suit the style of hunting you are going to do, if you believe 75% of your shot's are going to be under 125yds take the carbines...... if not your only choice is the bolt gun.

But have fun, don't worry about it eh :) :) :)

Al Thompson
July 20, 2001, 06:35 AM
Lots of things to do, here are the (IMHO) critical ones.

Get familier with the area if possible - scouting vastly improves your chances. Nothing much worse than having to pick a stand or stalking path during hunting season on new ground.

Generate a checklist for your gear. Key is having just enough stuff, better to err on the too much side though. Don't forget a method to get your deer out of the woods.

Get your rifle zeroed and practice. Determine your personal max range and never assume horsepower can make up for poor bullet placement.

Pay attention while hunting - never had a dull day lounging inb the woods, nature is the original action movie and it's free!

Good luck!

July 20, 2001, 06:51 AM
1. Good Footgear
2. Good Footgear!!!!
3. Lots of water.
4. A couple of good knives, well sharpened.
5. Good flashlight-if you make a long range shot at sundown, you
might be looking for Bambi in the dark.
6. A good length of strong rope. I prefer nylon, but comes in
handy for a lot of things.
7. A good first aid kit.
8. Food
9. Dress for the weather, and take some good raingear.
10. Compass
11. Practice, practice and practice

July 20, 2001, 01:12 PM
Hey man, I sent you a private message, so check it out.

July 20, 2001, 02:11 PM
Besides the good advice about practice, etc. I'd add:

Looking is much easier than walking. Never forget this. It is also more productive unless you are skilled in the "sneak-hunt."

I'd take the .300 WM just because it gives you so many more options. May be way "overkill" (no such word, BTW) but will allow you to take a longer shot if one's presented.

Depending on terrain, I'd most likely leave the scope at 3X (dialed down to 3 in case a close shot presents itself = better field of view in the scope). For a longer shot, you'll likely have the time to dial up to 9X.

After initial scouting to see what the deer are doing & where, I'd hang out on a ridge (just below so you don't skylight yourself) with a decent field of view (& decent deer movement - always helps ;) ) & just sit there all comfy & watch nature unfold. Can get very boring at times .... YMMV - but can really produce.

Art Eatman
July 20, 2001, 03:18 PM
If you go walking during the middle of the day, I'll generalize that most bucks will be bedded down close below the downwind crest of a ridge, and more likely near a saddle than elsewhere. Hunt crosswind, along the length of a ridge.

When Ol' Bucky breaks to run, he'll head into one of those saddles--avoiding being skylined and being in some cover--and will run upwind. Position your stalk and shooting-spot accordingly.


July 21, 2001, 11:22 PM
I think the most important thing is scoting before hand. I also live in California. For my first deer hunting trip I hunted at Lake Pillsbury and got nothing. I had done no scouting at all. The only two deer I saw were both does and standing in the parking lot of the ranger station. Then the following turkey season, also my first time hunting turkey, I didn't want to make the same mistake. I won the draw for Lake Sonoma. Every single weekend for 5 weeks before the hunt I spent up there scouting out the entire place. Out of the ten hunters on that hunt, I was the only person to get a turkey, and it was my first time hunting them.. I watched other hunters park in places that I knew contained no turkey sign what so ever. So my point is, Scouting is the most important thing you can do. And it's fun too. Also, Every time you goto the woods to scout, stop by the ranger station and ask them if they have seen any deer, where and how many. This was very helpful for my turkey hunt.

July 25, 2001, 06:21 PM
I finally returned your message.

July 26, 2001, 01:12 AM
Be quiet, patient and move slowly. Cover your scent. Ask your sporting goods store people how to do that.

August seems rather early. We don't start hunting with firearms until mid-November. Here in Alabama, August is too hot and humid. We'd stink up the woods with sweat if we hunted deer in August. We have a 76 day doe season this year. Got way too many deer. It's going to get real bad soon if we don't lower their numbers--for us and the deer.

Use the .44 Rem. magnum if you're in the brush or have rolling hills, because you won't even get a shot long enough to use a high powered rifle. Great deer cartridge. Hit a deer high in the shoulder with the .44 Rem. magnum and they will drop like a ragdoll.

July 26, 2001, 08:00 PM
The gun depends on the terrain. If you are going to hunt in thick brushy areas then go with the Winchester 94 in .44 mag. The open sights at close range make it much easier to aquire your target. Trust me I hunt with a Scoped Rem. 700 30-06 and I cant hit a thing at close range with my scope for the simple fact that I cant aquire my target quickly enough and that it is difficult to successfuly follow the deer with the scope while at close range. If you will be hunting in terrain that you can see over a 100yds for a good portion of the area go with the .300 Weatherby Mag with Leupold 3x-9 .

July 30, 2001, 03:54 PM
Spend as much time scouting as possible. Even on the days you hunt and don't see anything, make good use of your time and take in as much information as you can regarding water, cover, and sign (deer trails). Every little bit helps you get a closer to success. Deer are creatures of habit and aren't too hard too figure out - but they certainly make up for it with keen survival instincts. So, be quiet -be still (or walk very slowly with frequent stops) -don't stink (or stay downwind) preferably both. Most importantly enjoy yourself- it beats the heck out of working. I'd go with the Weatherby.

July 31, 2001, 10:11 PM
I think the bolt gun would be would be best but learn how to shoot it. The SKS is heavier than I care to carry and accuracy on most of them is marginal. The trapper is an awesome gun but I am guessing it doesn't have a cross bolt safety. I don't like the cross bolt safety on any gun in my safe but it is very good for a beginner. Basically, a hammer gun is not my first choice for a beginner. That leaves the bolt action. IF.......you can shoot it and handle the gun.......I'd say that is the gun for you. However, FWIW, none of these guns would be a first choice for a beginner.

Here is my advice, not only scout like crazy but go with someone who can properly field dress, skin, and process your trophy.