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Learning to Hunt
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Thread: Learning to Hunt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default Learning to Hunt

    Ok,

    I live in Western California, and I want to go hunting. A little background, for your amusement. I grew up on the east coast, both my parents are immigrants who never hunted, all my family is back in the old country, and I've never hunted with them. Growing up, I always lived in places where hunting was frowned upon... I don't really understand why, but it never seemed like an opportunity in my life. I love backpacking, and I really love the idea of connecting myself to my food supply. Which brings me to:

    How do I do it? Seriously. Try to imagine my scenario, I don't know the first thing. Where to go, what kind of rifles I can carry, how to skin an animal, what all the different hunting 'seasons' mean. I don't even know how to hold a rifle! Maybe this sounds absurd, but it's all true [img]/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif[/img]

    Again, a little more about me. It seems to me as if some outdoorsmen love to go out to REI, buy all the cool gadgets they can find, and basically car camp with a couple of walking miles thrown in to impress their friends. You can probably guess that this is not my style. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I feel as if with all the equipment I have, I may need a couple of things, and I'd be good to go. Where do I start? Any good books? All suggestions welcome [img]/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif[/img]

    n

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    978

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    First thing: Grab a copy of ' A Sand County Almanac' by Aldo Leopold. Read and enjoy.
    Second: If you haven't the first idea about firearms, join the local branch of the NRA, or turn up to the local range. Get some basic tuition, it will payoff later.
    Next: listen to what the people here (who live in the USA) will tell you, take it on board, perhaps it will help you to make those hard choices. Don't look at me, I live in OZ, where things re hunting are far different.
    Also, don't neglect fishing, it's a bunch of fun (especially flyfishing), and could well be easier to get into (I don't know your personal circumstances) than hunting, with much the same payoff, fun wise.
    I get out and hunt and fish at every opportunity (I don't do all that much backpacking anymore, being in a wheelchair will do that to you!), and just recently have started to teach my daughter the basics of hunting.
    It's never too late, have fun learning!
    All the best!

    Cheers, Dave.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Yakima, WA
    Posts
    1,602

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    Nick,

    Doc has some good points for starters. One thing you need for sure is a basic Hunter's Safety course. You should be able to get info at a local gun shop, range or online for your state. This will get you tuned in to local laws, seasons, regulations, firearm use and safety and perhaps find a mentor to help you get started.

    Basic firearms courses through NRA Instructors will get you tuned up with basic rifle technique and safety.

    The hunting part is just that...getting in the woods and learning about where the animals live, eat, sleep, travel, etc. There are tons of books and magazines with helpful info and of course this board has a ton of wisdom and expertise.

    Welcome, and do not hesitate to ask questions, these guys are all very experienced, willing to share and happy to add to the hunting family.

    Randy
    "I hate exposure." 1st (Annual???) Super Secret Lunker Trout Lake, July 11, 2009

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    ohio
    Posts
    1,218

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    1. Gun safety course
    2. Gun or hunting club (network with others)
    3. Books (lots at the library and garage sale)
    4. Try different types of hunting before buying all the equipment (network with the people at a gun or hunt club, they may take you out and loan you equipment)
    5. Read your state hunting regulations and become very familiar with the rules and the lingo, this may save your butt in the long run. Ignorance is not an excuse to a Wildlife Cop.
    6. Magazines (maybe, sometimes they are filled with crap)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Washington, state
    Posts
    1,564

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    I learned hunting on my own. I was never taken hunting. I graduated college bought a little jeep cherokee and a rifle and started from scratch.

    It's a process, not a result you are after. If you are focussed primarilly on killing deer in the beginning you'll be disappointed quickly. You need to love process and the reward of mastery of the system not just it's tangible end reward.

    Get an inexpensive rifle with modest optics and find a good range with courses. Many will have the hunter ed there as well. Far too many people spend far too much money on zillion dollar rifle and scope combos that have no idea how to hunt. A gun seals the deal, you hunt. Either you put that tool where it can do it's work or you don't. the spectrum of weapons that will "work" is enormous. Buy a stock remington or winchester in an ordinary caliber(.308, .270, 30-06) and shoot it, a lot.

    Commit to an area. Absolutely nothing you'll ever read will be as valuable as becoming intimately familiar with an area you want to hunt. Don't change this every season. After many days of crawling into each inch of it, things will begin to become apparent. It may be apparent that it's the wrong place! Regardless, the time in the field component of success is important. The more time you find to be there, the sooner you'll hit pay dirt.

    See if you can find a small time butcher or gentleman farmer. Offer to pay him a couple bucks to get a once over on how an animal is put together and how to disassemble them. Looking at a deer on the ground having never seen one reduced to it's components can be daunting. You can read and look on the net for this but no set of net pictures and discriptions does justice to how it really looks and goes on the ground. Finding a hunt pard with some experience would also be quite handy.

    As a general rule, there's not a very good nexus between the money you've spent on gadgets and gear and how successful you'll be though there is between money spent and how comfortable you are. Don't blow a massive wad of dough until you do some of the basics and come up with your own ideas, born of some experience, of what will work better. That being said, the most expensive gear in the world is cheap gear. Pay good money on a pack, boots, sleeping bag, pad and stuff that keeps you dry. Tent depending on how and where you hunt. Starting hunting as a packer is almost like starting 2 seperate things at once, if you have packing down, all the better.

    Be safe. Safe with guns and safe with the elements and terrain. Get familiar with all the things you'll need to know and have to protect yourself.

    Along the way you'll suffer, physical and mental set backs. That's good because nothing worth doing comes easy and there's no better reward than perseverance and overcoming. Venison is just a symbol, the reward for having mastered yourself as much as the game.

    Last, after doing it all. Pass it on.
    Angelfarts Sausage Co. Get way-back, powered by Angelfarts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,043

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    Read the essays by Patrick, Dick Blust and others on this website. Start now. Take the Hunter-safety class http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wmd/ take the shooting classes offered by Kyler Hamann http://www.boaring.com This guy knows shooting/hunting and is a great guy. Go on one of his guided pig hunts (offered year round). You can do all of this before the deer season 2007 rolls around. Start now. Backpack hunting is great, but you often don't have to walk very far to get away from all the hunters, especially if it's steep. Don't delay. This educational part that you need to start with should be lots of fun too. If it isn't, hunting may not be for you. Sign up for you hunter safety class tomorrow; this is required before you to get a hunting lisence n California.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,968

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    Go to a Kifaru rendezvous, you'll meet lots of very knowledgeable, skilled people there.

    You've gotten a good bit of excellent advice already, follow it. The fellows here will NOT steer you wrong.

    What are you interested in hunting, and where?

    Congratulations on finding your way to this forum!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    1,819

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    1. Take a Colorado Hunter's Safety Course (essential and required)
    2. Buy a decent .22 rifle and learn, or teach yourself, to shoot.
    3. Use that .22 to hunt small game - rabbits, ground squirrels or prairie dogs - until you feel proficient.
    4. Read all you can (magazines, books, etc.) on the subject.
    4. Only then, apply or draw as many deer tags as you can - especially doe tags. Learn by doing - shoot those does and small bucks.
    5. Graduate to cow elk tags.
    6. Consider and sample as many types of hunting along the way as you can - shotguns for birds, predator hunting, big game with rifles and muzzleloaders, and bowhunting.
    7. Have fun doing it all.
    "Don't let the things you can't do, stop you from doing the things you can do."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    7,351

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    nick, anthracitic had a good question, "what are you interested in hunting, and where?" I'd emphasize the "where" part of that, as in, where do you like to hang out when you go camping or just driving around? What type(s)of country are you drawn to? Mountains? Dense forests, or more open country? If it were me, I'd try to figure out where I like to spend time, and then the question would be, what's there to hunt?

    For me, it's the mountains. I like to hike, camp, and fish there in the "off" seasons, and spend as much time as I can during the hunting seasons.

    If you hunt in country you really enjoy, every trip is a success regardless of whether you fill your tag.
    "Neither sport nor art should be unnecessarily cluttered and complicated."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Learning to Hunt

    Dear all, thank you for your replies. I'm not really sure as to what I'm interested in hunting. Never having eaten game (as an adult) there is no particular meat in mind. Rather, I like the idea of starting off small and working my way up. In particular, the low cost of learning on a .22 seems appealing to me: and it sounds like it limits me to small game. But now, how does one learn the technique of butchering and cooking small game.

    [Edit: Are there some good reviews for hunting .22s? How does, say, a ruger 10/22 hold up for hunting? And I live in Santa Cruz, CA. It's near the SF Bay]

    n

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