Getting started...

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by AslerGamma, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. AslerGamma

    AslerGamma Member

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    Aug 11, 2012
    Hey Everyone!!

    I'm new to the forum, and would appreciate some advice. I'm a novice hunter - I have never hunted. Im looking at going hunting next season 2013, I've taken the hunter safety course (which helped), have purchased a rifle and am getting a reloader next week. I live in the Pacific North West, From Illinois, and I've always had the itch.

    So to the question. I know that its recommended that I go hunting with someone who already hunts, but the problem is that the people that I would trust to teach me to hunt don't want to take a newbie (which I can understand) and the people who would love to take me - I don't necessarily trust (either as an individual or to teach me to do it correctly/tribal knowledge) I'd more or less like to learn it correctly the first time without the bad habits.

    I've been studying books and online for years, but I know that only helps a little. I've determined that I'd rather track and stalk than bait and blind.

    Would I be better off at hiring a guide?
     
  2. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Glad to see your jumping in full bore. Wow learning to hunt covers a lot of ground and usually starts when you're a kid when spending time out in the mountains with a shotgun or a rifle in your hand is all you want to do and you have the time to do it. You say you are in the Pacific Northwest so I will assume you want to hunt mule deer and elk.

    It's not brain surgery. It really boils down to time spent in the mountains and learning about the animal you're hunting. Hooking up with someone who has been hunting deer for awhile that you trust as you say would really speed up the process. Just concentrate on one species (mule deer) for a few years until you become proficient at it. Learning their habits what and where they prefer to eat, where they are most likely to be at a given time of the year, their migration routes for your selected area and the list goes on and on.

    The local biologist will have a lot of good info and the conversation with him is worth the effort then just go out and pound it. When you're not in the mountains looking and learning you should be shooting. It's really frustrating to learn all the skills of finding the buck you want then he gets up and is bouncing down the hill and you can't hit him.

    Using a guide would probably get some meat into your freezer but you won't learn much. The trick is being able to find the animal. That is what a guide will do for you and he learned where to take you from time spent looking and learning.

    Anyway it if you like the sport the learning never stops and if you get the bug to hunt the "big" guys it will really humble you just when you think you got it together! Just keep these two things in mind. Deer and elk can hear and smell you half mile away when things are in their favor. Learn the country so you don't let it get in their favor.
     

  3. drbill

    drbill Well-Known Member

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    Its sometimes good to hire a guide. Where I elk hunt we go with a retired guide that knows elk. He doesn't shoot but he can guide well and lets us know where all the elk are and he says "have at it" for free. Now this guide laughs at us cause there are some elk consistantly on a bare west/south ridge that they can escape quickly to the north cold tree face. We watch them from camp as all my buddies have a good time on there vacation and know they are "unreachable" Oh by the way I have shot several nice bulls and cows here at this place so it good to get in with guide sometimes. But these bulls up there KNOW they are safe and they are BIG. You can't crawl up on them, too steep to stalk around and not spook them out and its hard to see their whole terrain. You can go to another ridge at same eye level but then you can't see the whole west ridge then you could miss out. Not as good shooting spot there. But in this one place, this one place, this one place you can see the whole deal.
    You have to hike up to this one place and it takes a bit but that is no problem for a man. At this one place its about consistently 1850 yards to where these giants come out. A valley is between "my" ridge and "their" ridge. I believe the elevation is like 7000 to 9000 with 30 degrees. Im not sure on all this but can't quite remember, when I go again to this spot I will figure it out. I watched one group go up there and spook these elk out and ruin it that year. They figured out that you can't get them on foot. You have to shoot them. So maybe in your hunting you will eventually learn to shoot ELR, so if a guide shows you some elk that are "untouchable" you can now reach out and "touch" them. That maybe a long ways down the road for you if that interests you but with good help and guidance im sure you can do it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  4. shortpants

    shortpants Well-Known Member

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    The only secret there is to hunting is time. Everybody wants to shoot a big one but most don't spend the time. The more time you spend in the wild the more you learn and it never stops. Let the animals be your guide for there is no better teacher. It definitely helps to have an experienced hunter show you the ropes but experience comes from time. Learn what equipment works best in your area and get out there and start scouting. Scouting is hunting.

    Enjoy the adventure,
    Jason
     
  5. Brno308

    Brno308 Active Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    My advise to you is get to know your rifle first. Go to your local range as much as possible and hone your abilities with the rifle. There is a whole lot of muscle memory you need to build up and that only comes with practise. Find out what type of ammo is best suited for what you want to hunt, then practise, practise. You will need to know the externall ballistics of your rifle and ammo combination and with that info you will gain confidence.

    Hunting has its own challenges and the last thing you want to worry or even think about is your ability with the rifle. Other than that relax and enjoy.
     
  6. AslerGamma

    AslerGamma Member

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    Jason, I never thought of it that way, makes sense now that you mention it.


    Brno308 - Thats why I was going to hold off till next season so i have plenty of time.

    Thanks guys.
     
  7. drbill

    drbill Well-Known Member

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    I hope I got my point across about guides in my long winded story. Sorry If I confused you. My point was a good guide can teach you the ropes about places and how animals operate in certain areas. And the animals teach as well. You just need to enjoy and relax, don't we all. Thanks
     
  8. AslerGamma

    AslerGamma Member

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    Yeah, I never had the chance as a kid, My dad got out of hunting because my mom didn't want guns in the house. I had asked him if he'd take me with our uncles and he had always skirted it.

    Wouldn't I be able to get the conservation info from the local wildlife office? thus the point of the tags?


    I'll be honest, you did loose me. But I know guides can be a wealth of info like you said - unless you get one thats just A to B. I've been trying to study topography map techniques, based on the terrain where the animals would make paths, best places to glass, ideal places to set up stands, ...
     
  9. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    A good guide can help you learn more in the course of a single hunt than you'll learn on your own in a good many years.

    Most of us that do hunt grew up doing so and had lots of knowledge (some accurate, some not so accurate) passed down to us by our elders.

    One thing I have enjoyed over the years as part of my own guiding is a good many parents that have sent their kids to me over Christmas or Thanksgiving breaks to teach them what I can since the kids have the interest but the parents lacked the time, interest, or physical ability.

    I would think that perhaps here on this forum or maybe on a regional/state forum there should be some opportunities for you to meet up with some folks willing to mentor you along, another would be to take an additional HS course in your area. Failing finding some contacts through either then I'd say it would be well worth the money to take some guided hunts for a few seasons because going it alone can be frustrating, aggravating, often fruitless, and even dangerous depending on the circumstances.
     
  10. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    No question about it, if you have the time and access nothing beats scouting. Even if done in the off season you can spend your time watching and learning the habits and nature of the beasts you seek and it sure beats sitting at home watching the "ball game".