T Nation

Beginner Hunter?

I’m 16 and I want to hunt. My dad is a very experienced shooter and has never hunted before, he says he never had interest… and because of that he has alot of knowledge in guns but none in hunting at all. I am interested in starting, but have no idea where to start.

I want to become very proficient at shooting a .22 before I ever step in the field, I want to be able to get clean kills and not wound an animal and let it die. My dad is gonna start taking me down to the shooting ranges to shoot .22’s, and I am buying a .22 Benjamin 392 air rife to practice at home when I can’t go to the range. Now because neither of us have licenses, I understand we have to go through a hunters ed. course and stuff like that.

I want to start out hunting squirrels and other small game until I get good enough to do bigger stuff, but I’m only gonna start hunting once I’m confident in my shooting abilities. I also went out to the library and picked up some hunting books and reading them. Are hunters friendly to new comers, both adult and young? What should I know about hunting that is useful? Any other tips? anything useful is appreciated thank you guys.

Your best bet is to find someone that will let you tag along a few times while out hunting. You’ll probably learn more in the first 20 minutes of tagging along than you would in hours of reading on the internet.

Shooting is the easiest part of hunting. You need time in the woods and patience.

where do you live? Ask some local (chicken usually) farmers if you can coyote hunt on their land.

They usually like dead coyotes.

If cash is an issue just get a shotgun straight up. Slugs for big game pellets for small.

I agree with Uncle Fester. You will learn a lot by tagging along with somebody. I would also see if you have any hunter safety classes in your area. They usually have good information for those unfamiliar with hunting.

I got my license when I was 10. Legal age here in Jersey to get a license. Been shooting guns since I was about 7. My grandfather taught me everything there is to know about hunting and the outdoors considering he grew up a farmer and all his brother’s are farmers.

All I can say is what everyone else has said. Go out and hunt with someone else. Someone experienced. Patience is going to be your best friend in the woods. And the hunter’s ed course is extremely easy. I knew enough already about hunting just from tagging along with my grandfather I essentially passed the test with flying colors.

I agree with everyone else, but don’t overestimate practicing shooting. There are too many numb nuts out there that can’t shoot worth a damn. I at least admire you at paying attention to the basics.

As with everything, you can’t substitute experience. You can learn a lot form listening, though. Be careful, though. Hunters are a lot like weight lifters. Many of them are full of shit and don’t know what they are doing.

Most hunters I know are extremely helpful to new people. Personally, I get much more satisfaction watching some kid get his first decent deer than me getting another one. If you are respectful to the traditions and the animals, lots of old timers are willing to help.

As for what is helpful, listen to your dad about shooting. Learn to shoot properly and proficiently. Know that when you pull the trigger, you will not wound the animal. Listen and pay attention to the old timers. Listen to the guys who hunt all the time and don’t ever kill anything and when they do, it is nothing impressive. Chances are they are letting a lot of animals walk that newbies wouldn’t.

When they do pull the trigger, it is for meat or it is for a trophy. Learn as much as you can about the behaviour of the animal you are hunting in the area that you are going to be in. I guarantte a South Texas whitetail will behave differntly than an East Texas whitetail. Did I mention becoming proficient with the weapon you are shooting?

hoosegow summed it up really well. I’ve seen SO many guys bragging on magnum calibers, etc. and then not be able to hit with the damn thing. The caliber is FAR less important than being able to hit what you’re shooting at.

You have the right attitude. You’re ALWAYS learning in the woods. Also, any animal you hunt deserves your respect. By that, I mean the one-shot kill that you mention. I’ve hunted for many years. If I am presented with a low percentage shot I don’t take it. I owe it to the animal whose life I am taking to do it cleanly or not do it at all. Also, I take pride in doing everything: obviously the kill, but the skinning, cleaning, and butchering. Oh, and I LOVE deer heart and liver. Don’t knock it 'til you’ve tried it.

Where are you? Odds are there are hunting clubs nearby that lease land. It’ll probably take a few tries but with time and effort you should be able to eventually find a group of like-minded people with whom you can hunt. It’ll cost a little but be worth it. You’ll learn from them and carry on a tradition that goes a lot farther back than written history.

Like I said, you appear to have the right attitude. Just be persistent and don’t give up. Wishing you the very best of luck.

Good advice so far. You do not say where you are from, but odds are very good that you will HAVE TO take a hunter safety class. Get on your DNR’s web site and check it out.

Shoot as much as you can and become proficient with your gun of choice. I cannot agree more with the notion that the skills you acquire while target shooting will translate over to hunting. I know this first hand, as I am a much better shot in the field since I started shooting sporting clays.

I would also second your getting a shotgun. A .22 is fun for plinking or squirrel hunting in the late season. However, a shotgun is much more versatile.

Finally, get Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac” and read it a few times. It is a series of short stories on hunting and land use ethics. In sum, there is more to being a responsible hunter than simply knowing when to pull the trigger or gut a rabbit. Sadly, in this day and age, the actions of hunters are under constant scrutiny by the non-hunting community. Furthermore, a responsible/ethical hunter is more likely to be asked along than one who is not. In short, it is in your interest to be an ethical and responsible hunter.

Best of luck.

Remember when you are shooting at the range that the bench will not be with you in the field.

Only use sand bags to sight in your rifle and then practice your shooting positions.

You want to hunt? Join the army. Go hunt something that shoots back.

[quote]Noodle_Arms wrote:
You want to hunt? Join the army. Go hunt something that shoots back.[/quote]

Please don’t shit on the kid’s thread.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Remember when you are shooting at the range that the bench will not be with you in the field.

[/quote]

Don’t listen to this guy, I always take my bench to the field. Sometimes right in the middle of some intense hunting I’ll challenge any hunters in the vicinity to a benching contest. Hey, what ya bench, oh sorry bout scaring that deer off!

D

Thanks for the info guys. If obama wins I probably won’t be able to use or hunt anyway.

[quote]mtbr92 wrote:
Thanks for the info guys. If obama wins I probably won’t be able to use or hunt anyway. [/quote]

Huh? He proposes gun safety measures and background checks. He has no intention of taking anyone’s guns away. That’s just scary words from the NRA and the right-wing spin machine.

Even if he did want to remove all guns, he has no power to do so because he wouldn’t get the majority of votes in congress required to do so.

Anyway, it seems like you’re a responsible young man and have already begun a good foundation as a gun owner and hunter. So I offer no advice on safety, handling and carrying a gun, hunting tactics, or marksmanship tips.

I remember hunting with my dad as a kid.
Here are a few things I learned from my dad:

If in winter, be sure you’re dressed warmly enough (especially if you’re sitting for long periods of time) so you don’t get the shivers. First timers are sometimes anxious enough as it is, and the cold shivers never helps.

If you come into an area where another hunter is already, move on to another area. Be sure you’re not on private property.

Don’t leave any litter behind.

You’ll find that being out in nature for long periods of time can be like a religious experience, so you’ll want to keep idle chat to a minimum.

Enjoy yourself, and good luck!

[quote]mtbr92 wrote:
Thanks for the info guys. If obama wins I probably won’t be able to use or hunt anyway. [/quote]

Umm, why? Nice way to shit on your own thread, you don’t know if the people graciously giving you advice are dems or repubs.

I’d have dad get you a shotgun. Good for small game and adequate for deer in cover.

Hunting with someone else is good. You could contact a shooting club or rod and gun club in your area. They usually have an old timer or two that would be happy to take a new hunter out.

Spend some time in the field and get a feel for the woods. If you are going to stalk game learn what the signs and tracks look like. Remember they can see and smell better then you so plan accordingly. Look for trails and set up a stand. That’s the way I usally hunt deer size game. Listen tot he forest. See how long it takes to “settle down” after you are in your hide.

For bird and rabbit hunting look for good cover at the edge of fields. Work the cover. It’s easier with a dog but two men can still get the job done. Freshly harvested corn is forage for a lot of animals. Orchards are a favorite haunt for deer.

Don’t forget wear some orange and pack some rain gear.

[quote]WxHerk wrote:
Oh, and I LOVE deer heart and liver. Don’t knock it 'til you’ve tried it.
[/quote]

I assume the liver is like calf liver? How do you cook the heart?

[quote]Anonymous Coward wrote:
WxHerk wrote:
Oh, and I LOVE deer heart and liver. Don’t knock it 'til you’ve tried it.

I assume the liver is like calf liver? How do you cook the heart?[/quote]

I cannot stand eating either the heart or the liver. Fortunately, I have a buddy that once walked about a mile to a gut pile to get the liver and heart out of a doe I shot. After seeing that, I give him all the hearts and livers out of my deer.

That said, he usually soaks the heart in a brine overnight and then stuffs it with a sausage stuffing. Dredge in flour, brown in hot oil and then put it in a crock pot on low for about 7-8 hours. I have tried it and it is pretty tender. However, it is incredibly rich and I simply do not care for it.

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:
mtbr92 wrote:
Huh? He proposes gun safety measures and background checks. He has no intention of taking anyone’s guns away. That’s just scary words from the NRA and the right-wing spin machine.

Even if he did want to remove all guns, he has no power to do so because he wouldn’t get the majority of votes in congress required to do so. [/quote]

At the risk of getting my ass flamed, I would respectfully disagree. Simply put, Obama has a long history of proposing anti-gun legislation here in Illinois - beyond simple safety measures (Illinios already requires a card for simple possession of a gun or ammunition and requires hunter safety). Some of it was quite radical and really showed his ignorance on the issue of firearms. Fortunately, the downstate reps were able to prevent any of it from becoming law. Given his past, and the fact that the Dems will probably take the majority in both the Senate and the House, it is not out of the realm of possibility that we will be seeing new gun restrictions if Obama gets elected to the Presidency. Hopefully, it will not happen, but it could.