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Old December 12, 2012, 12:56 PM   #1
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Some First Hunting Experiences

When I was 15, around 1959, I bought my first rifle, a .30-06 Savage 110, (newly introduced), but hadn't been able to afford a scope yet, so used the open iron sights.

My cousin Gene took me on a hunt with his in-laws in Unity, Maine. There was about a foot of snow on the ground, and it was snowing huge flakes when they dropped me off along a gravel road. There was one old guy who they called "The Poacher" who would station people in places where he would try to get deer to cross roads, fields, etc. Poacher carried an iron-sighted, beat-up Savage 340, 30-30 he claimed to be deadly with it.

So I was standing on the edge of the road and a huge buck came out and stood on the opposite side, about 100 yards away. It was so big and had such a huge rack that it looked more like an elk than a deer!!! I brought the rifle up and a big flake landed on my front sight, so I lowered the rifle and wiped the snow off, then raised it again, whereupon another flake landed on the rear sight, so I removed that one too.

Finally the sights were clear enough to shoot, so I fired and the deer jumped back into the woods. I went there to see if there was any blood, but just saw some dark hair. I then yelled for help and both "Poacher" and Gene showed up. Poacher said to stay there and he'd see if he could find the deer. A while later, he came back and said he couldn't find any blood.

I've always wondered whether Poacher found the huge buck and decided to keep it for himself.

Anbody else have an early experience they'd like to share?
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:41 PM   #2
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Gee Picher, you're older then me!!

I've told this story before. I had never hunted deer before (but was familiar with firearms) when I was 18 (1965) and a older friend at work asked me if I wanted to go with them. They "camped out" on paper company land in Adams county, Wisconsin and it was a huge marsh that went in all directions for miles. I had had the Asian flu all the week before and just felt good enough to ride up with them. I had a borrowed, old Win 94 30-30 along. That weekend there was a foot of snow on the ground and it was -20º below 0º F. not counting the wind chill. And we had a tent! We were fully dressed, had all the camp stoves, heaters and lights going and all the bags zipped together to survive that cold. The next morning it had warmed up to where the snow was melting and that cold knocked that Asian flu right out of me. But I was really tired. After the sun came up about noon I had found a little stream with nice grass bank on my side and tamarack on the other. I laid down on that 45º tilted grass bank and I fell fast asleep. I woke up hearing what sounded like another hunter crunching through the tamarack so sat up waiting for him. Instead out comes the biggest buck I've ever seen in my life (to this day!) and turns broadside to me, 40 yards away. I'm in a sitting position so put the sights on him and emptied that rifle into him with no reaction of any kind on his part. He just trotted up the hill. I couldn't believe it so went over and sure enough there was a nice blood trail. I followed it for about 100 yards only to find the deer with a tag on it all field dressed. It was HUGE. And who had it tagged? The guy I rode with that got me hunting. He insisted it had been there longer and it couldn't be my deer. Well, we both knew it was. I had to have a ride home but I didn't speak much with him after that. The only good thing was the deer was so old the meat was horrible.
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Old December 12, 2012, 02:21 PM   #3
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I killed my first deer when I was about 8-9. I used my grandfather's single barrels 16 gage. Long before I was born, someone stuck it in the mud and fired it. Resulting in part of the barrel having to be cut off. Including the Bead.

I have to walk about two miles of highway picking up pop bottles so I could come up with the $.25 required to buy three shells.

Sure enough, shortly after I was placed on the stand a two point (4 by easter count) came running to me, I shot he wend down. But got up again.

The night before I heard stories from older relatives about people being stomped and gored by deer.

Needless to say when that sucker got up, I was scared out of my wits. The extract was faulty so I had to pry the hull out with my knife and fired again.

He went down but again got back up, now I'm really scared, I managed to hold my ground, get loaded up again and fire the third (and final). Luckily this killed him.

When my uncle heard the shots, he comes to my stand, all I could say was "I thought he was going to get me".

I'm sure, now that I'm older and hopefully smarter, realize the young buck though he was running from danger, not at me.

I still have that old shotgun, not worth a hoot, but it was my Grandpa's and I did after all kill my first deer with it.
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Old December 12, 2012, 02:28 PM   #4
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My first hunting experience was actually not that long ago. My uncle runs a pheasant preserve, and we were back in that neck of the woods for a family visit which happened to coincide with his season. We were already shooters, mostly target and trap. He set out a few birds for us, sent his dog(s) out to do their work, and we took one of the bean/corn fields and started traipsing up and down the rows.

Now as I understand it, he has to put out more birds than his customers harvest. We did our part. There were three of us out there, and I think we only got a couple of hte pheasant, but did much better on the quail. But I did get a couple great shots that hooked me. I had a nice shot on one, and it just rolled over, much like the fighters in an old WWII movie... just rolled over and had a slow graceful dive. Right next to, and almost into the pickup bed. Had another shot where I didn't have a shot for the longest time, but I stayed patient and nailed it from a good but long range.

I also had a bad shot that sobered me bit, winged one bad enough it couldn't get up high/long enough to finish it without risking a dog. The dog kept flushing it, but we couldn' get a safe shot at it.
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Old December 12, 2012, 02:41 PM   #5
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My first hunting gun was a single shot Stevens 20 gauge, still have and hunt with it BTW. I was hunting with my dad during the last week of season one year, I think I was 9 or 10 at the time. We were actually on our way back to the truck to go home because we were both so cold and hungry, and out of nowhere this big 8 pointer trots out in front of us and just stands there perfectly broadside. I'm in the lead in front of dad, and between the gloves, the cold, and the "holy crap there's a deer!" that was running through me.........I couldn't pull the hammer back.

To be fair, I think that deer wanted to be shot, he just stood there like he was asking for it........even with dad telling me to shoot and me telling him that I couldn't. When dad realized I was too shook up he went ahead and shot the deer. Big bodied buck with one of those perfectly symmetrical racks that I absolutely love. Wasn't meant for me that day, and it's still my dads' biggest deer.

That wasn't actually my first hunt, I can't remember my first hunt because I was always going to the woods with mom and dad long before I was the one holding a gun. I was lucky enough to have a pretty easy time getting my first deer as a little kid, and it was a clean hit with no long tracking job. But it seemed like it took forever to get a second one.......figures, tease me and get me hooked, then snatch it away. Wouldn't change a thing.
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Last edited by 12GaugeShuggoth; December 12, 2012 at 11:49 PM.
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Old December 12, 2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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The earliest hunts I can remember were with my grandfather. I wasn't even allowed to carry a gun. We were always after squirrels. In that part of the Ozark mtns. at that time, they were primarily big fox squirrels.

Fortunately grandad had a neighbor who had a crackerjack squirrel. Some kind of mix breed mongrel but he could smell and tree squirrels like a machine.

They were always in the top of huge oak or hickory trees and this was usually in the summer so all the leaves were on and they were hard to see.

My job, walk around the tree making noise to get old bushytail to turn to look at the crazy kid under his tree and let grandad and the old model 97 in 12 guage do its job.

I still love to hunt squirrels but I dearly miss that old dog and having grandad show me how to skin those squirrels. Oh the reasons for the shotgun were, grandad's 70+ year old eyes, and grandma dearly love squirrel brains. The best way to get in trouble fast with granny was to bring in a squirrel head-shot with a .22
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:35 PM   #7
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Really wasn't that long ago. I was sitting on the continental divide up above the north fork of the Flat Head. I had a little flat spot behind some fir trees to block the wind blowing straight in my face. I kept hearing something making little noises here and there. I kept wondering what it might be that close to me. So, I stepped out a few feet and sat down on the grass eating a sandwich hoping to get a look at this bird, squirrel, martin, or whatever and a nice Bull Elk sticks his head out from behind the trees maybe 30 feet away.

My rifle was leaning against the tree where I had been standing.

He never really paid any attention to me but turned around because of a steep ravine that he didn't want to get in to. I eased back down to my rifle, but never saw him again in the thick.

I felt about the same as the time I ran over myself with my own truck.
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Old December 13, 2012, 12:19 AM   #8
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With a name like Poacher you have to be suspicious of him.

My first hunt. That summer, Dad had me practice with the 22 and then dry fire the deer rifle. I guess I passed his basic requirements. We climbed up onto a platform in an Oak tree and waited for shooting light. Around sun up the one horn spike walked up behind us. I pointed him out to Dad, and he handed me the rifle. At first I tried to pass the rifle back, but he said this was my deer. I took the rifle and started the aiming process, during which the deer is still coming toward us. By the time I had him in the cross hairs he was directly below me. I fired and hit him in the back of the neck. To be honest I got lucky on the shot placement because all I remember seeing was hair. I wanted to get down and inspect my trophy, but Dad made we wait until he shot his deer a few minutes later. Our two deer and my Dads buddy had three, make up the five in the truck.
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Old December 14, 2012, 11:57 AM   #9
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1958, was 12 and my first year hunting by myself. We had been living up in Tahoe for a couple of years so I was already familiar with the area. I got to use dads old military 06. 2nd day of the season got a good shot across a ravine and dropped an average buck. By the time I could circle around and cross the ravine, two adult hunters were dragging my deer off. Even back then some hunters had no ethics. Unfortunately its just part of hunting.
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Old December 14, 2012, 03:15 PM   #10
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When I was 14 that was the legal firearm age for Michigan. I had a bucket under an apple tree that was in the middle of our woods. My dad walked me to my spot that morning and the last thing he said was, just remember you don't have to shoot the first deer you see, you might be surprised what follows. After it was light enough to shoot I heard a commotion. It was five does and a four point right on their tail. I could have shot but what my dad had said was on my mind. Those deer ran around me for an hour when I had finally had enough. I took aim at the four point when al of a sudden I heard the craziest noise I've ever heard. All the deer put their tails up and ran. I was pretty bummed that I lost my chance. Then I heard a branch break. I eased my head around only to see I giant buck staring at the deer running away. Somehow I got my gun up without him noticing as he was only 15 yards away. I shot and dropped an 8 point that scored 156 7/8. I wasn't old enough to drink beer but all the guys at my dads camp made up for it when we got that monster hanging. I will never forget those words of patience that day. Oh ya that crazy noise I heard, turns out was the first time I heard a buck do the snort wheeze. Found that out years later.

Last edited by tchunter; December 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Adding a comment
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