Author Topic: New Wannabe Hunter  (Read 4367 times)

Offline 2ADefense

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New Wannabe Hunter
« on: February 08, 2013, 02:07:18 PM »
I've never hunted before, other than a little bit of squirrel plinking as a kid.  I've decided to at least wade into it a bit as one of my 13 skills for this year, and I'm looking for a bit of advice from the experts.  I'm not terribly interested in deer hunting, and while I'm not opposed to eating rabbit or squirrel, my family (wife + 3 teenagers) would be... less than enthusiastic... about that prospect.  I think that leaves me with turkey or hog as animals that I would enjoy hunting and my family would be on board with eating.  As a complete rookie, would these be good to start with (and would one be better than the other)?  Also, I think I could get my 14 year old son interested - are these still good options?

Some other considerations:
Guns: I currently have a .22 rifle and pistol, my carry gun (LC9), and am slowly but surely building an AR (lower completed, working on upper).  I'm assuming I will need a shotgun for turkey, or ?? for hogs (would .223 in the AR work)?
Hunting Ground: I live in suburbia (KY), and wouldn't have access to suitable private land, so I'll be looking to hunt on public lands - any special considerations here?
Other Equipment: I have absolutely no hunting-specific equipment at this point.  What are some 'starter' gear items that I should prioritize obtaining first?

Thanks in advance for this advice and any other nuggets of wisdom you'd care to share.  I can't say if this is something I'll end up liking or not, but I'm excited to give it a try.

Offline BigJake

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2013, 03:07:49 PM »
Squirrel and rabbit are the easiest two to start with in my opinion, not much meat on them but fairly easy to clean.  There are plenty of turkey in eastern KY but haven't seen any wild hogs (not sure what part of the state you are in).  A 12 gauge shotgun is a good choice. A single shot NE can cost as little as $100.  You can get a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 but I wouldn't spend the money on a pump till you see if hunting is for you.  Should be able to find high velocity turkey rounds for a 12 gauge easily enough. I use 3" 5 shot high velocity. There is plenty of public hunting land here in the state. I wouldn't spend a lot on gear at this point. Youtube has a lot of videos on different turkey calls. There are so many its insane. I would pick one and practice with it since you would be hunting on public land. You should also find 2, 3, or 4 spots to hunt. Nothing worse than getting to a great spot you've picked out to find it occupied. Season starts at the front of April, hope this was helpful. Good Luck.

Offline 2ADefense

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 03:51:31 PM »
Thanks for the tips. I'm just outside of Louisville, so would mostly be in the western part of the state most likely.

I have considered adding a pump shotgun for home defense purposes already anyway, so that'd probably be the route I take on that one.  I'm assuming a basic 870 or 500 would serve both roles, correct?

Offline BigJake

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 04:20:15 PM »
Yes, they would both serve either purpose.  There are some other decent pumps. I've had a few Charles Daily (spelling??), one shot a great pattern, the other not so much.  Maverick makes an inexpensive pump that most Mossberg 500 aftermarket parts will fit on, at least the older models. They are decent guns, just made with slightly inferior parts.  Personally, I would choose the 500 or 870 if you were already planning on buying one.  I'm somewhat cheap when it comes to most things but the value of those will probably never go down and you shouldn't ever have to buy another shotgun. There is a lot of debate over the two, but don't think you can really go wrong with either.

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 04:52:35 PM »
Both Remington and Mossberg produce some decent three barrel shotgun packages, namely a standard barrel with choke tubes, a shorter turkey barrel with an extra full choke (can be switched around to a lighter choke for upland game in thich brush, home defence, etc) and a rifled slug barrel, usually with cantilever mount so that the gun will keep its zero even when you switch back and forth between barrels. I've got a Mossberg 535 version with 3.5" chambers and a camo pattern that's great for turkey and duck hunting. Such a combination package would probably satisfy 80% of your hunting needs, minus long range varmints and big game past 100 yards.

If such combos are too expensive or unavailable, just the basic shotgun with choke tubes would suffice for everything I've listed minus slug hunting for deer/hogs, etc.

I cannot comment about Kentucky, but my suspicion is that while turkey hunting can be fun (I've been out several times myself), that the ratio of birds harvested for time spent in the bush is not very high. As long as you appreciate that, I'm sure that you'll learn lots of things, such as how to keep comfortable in the woods, familiarize yourself with areas that you'll return to later for other fish and game, and maybe form some other hunting friendships that will help you find better areas, select the right gear and help with learning to clean larger animals that might otherwise be intimidating at first. It takes time for things to come together in hunting, but it pays off in the end. For instance, last season we discovered a wonderful hunting spot for waterfowl in the woods and moved a beaten up canoe to the lake in question. Though we only got two birds that day and didn't make it back later in the season, next year we'll have an excellent spot that we can get to and set up before sun up.

Best of luck with your new hobby.

Offline 2ADefense

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 06:26:18 AM »
Good advice, CP. Thanks very much.

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 02:58:26 PM »
http://www.kdfwr.state.ky.us/pdf/2013springhuntguide.pdf

I saw MANY turkey while driving I-24 a couple of days ago through Kentucky.

Be certain, for safety sake, to have an orange bag to carry your harvested turkey in. It is protection from idiots who fail to identify their target before shooting.

nelson96

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 04:05:36 PM »
Since you mentioned that the family is not completely on board. . .

Besides the obvious safety courses and fundamental shooting courses that should be taken in to consideration, and of course choosing the propper weapon (which you will learn in the mentioned courses), I will offer that you should also learn how to properly process meat (which starts with field dressing).  If not taken care of the correct way, some game animals can get pretty rank tasting if care and timing is not dealt with (speaking more toward the hogs than birds). . . .  In keeping the families support in you bringing home wild game as a food source, keep in mind that wild game doesn't taste like domestic game and a big part of that is how you care for the meat and cook it.  If you ruin their opinion out of the gate, you could possibly ruin their opinion for life.

Offline racer038

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 08:25:34 AM »
This is just my opinion. You have two major problems, 1) a lack of specific hunting knowledge and 2), lack of private land.  To remedy these problems you will need a) a hunting mentor and b) a familiarity with public hunting lands and etiquette.  I encourage you to find someone from work or church to mentor you.  The learning curve is too steep for an adult to learn from trial and error.  You need someone to show you and tell you when you are doing something wrong.  You need someone to show you the difference between white and red oaks, dog vs. coyote tracks, and how to read the woods.

Find your mentor and then hunt what they hunt.  Forget about hogs, unless you've got a lot of money to throw away for a guided hunt on a private farm somewhere.  You should be hunting, harvesting, cleaning and cooking squirrel.  It doesn't matter what your family says.  This is for YOU.  Do it.  The skills you gain will be worth it.  Rabbit around here takes dogs.  Everyone wants dogs.  Dogs cost money and experience to train them. I've killed many a rabbit in my life and have never had a dog.  I had a friend and some days I was the dog and some days he was the dog. Remember this is for YOU. Do it. 

There's lots of game at the Taylorsville lake hunting area.  If you haven't gotten a mentor, go there to the shooting range.  Hang around. Shoot the bull. You'll find someone that hunts the public game area to share their experiences with you.  The spring squirrel season will be here in a few weeks.  Few people hunt it. The woods are in full bloom, there's an abundance of ticks (with their diseases) and it gets hot.  This is your change to spend some time in the woods.  Do the research on public hunting in KY and then try to find a mentor.  Learn how to walk in the woods!

Guns.  22 for squirrel.  You got it.  12 gauge for squirrel, rabbit, turkey. Get one.  I use a Remington 870 and take squirrel, rabbit and turkey every season.  Get some direction on chokes and loads and you'll be fine.  Deer. If you're not interested, you won't need a rifle.  Your Mentor or Mentors will give you direction.  Your priorities will change, but you won't advance your skills by reading about it.  HUNT!

I was a rabbit / squirrel plinker as a teen / young adult, then didn't fire a gun for 30 years.  Started again at age 52 and found 2 mentors.  I was willing to learn from them and they were willing to teach me.  My expenditures were kept to a minimum and I concentrate on gear, not guns.  I have a Ruger 1022, Remington 870 12 ga. and a Ruger 30.06. There's a reason the roads are littered with dead deer!  Nature wants us to kill them. If your mentors hunt deer, so should you.  Learn the skill.  This is for you.  I put three deer in the freezer this past fall and killed my first mature tom last Saturday.  The skills are the key. Do it.

Offline 2ADefense

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2013, 11:11:44 AM »
Thanks very much, Racer!  I really appreciate you taking the time to lay all that out.  Time to start feeling around for some potential mentors and spending some quality time in the woods...

Offline DrJohn

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2013, 12:08:26 PM »
I agree with Racer.  You need a mentor and a guide.  I would suggest an older hunter.  I never hunted turkey so when my son expressed an interest, I found him a senior gentleman to show him and me the ropes.  He is more than joyed to spend the day or even the weekend afield with us passing on his knowledge.  While we can now hunt the birds on our own, we always include our guide, a subtle form of payback, maybe, maybe we just like his company.  While a younger man could certainly fit the bill, I do not think they would be as grateful to be included.

nelson96

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2013, 12:53:12 PM »
I don't know that I would express as much emphasis on a guide as the others, but I've spent a lot of time in the woods, even before taking up hunting.  Hunting with a camera all year long can be just as enjoyable and what you learn will help you be successful when you hunt. . . .  What I will say about having others along is that comradery makes up a good portion of the enjoyment, for me anyway.  And your success doesn't have to be measured by kills.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2013, 10:22:04 AM »
And your success doesn't have to be measured by kills.

It shouldn't be, in my opinion.  The success in a hunt is that you got away from work and the noise of life, and spent some time with nature.  You know you're deep in God's creation when you hear a crash you swear is a deer in the underbrush, only to realize it's a leaf falling fifty yards away!

Anything you harvest is just icing to the experience of the peace which comes with the outdoors.  Savor it.

nelson96

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Re: New Wannabe Hunter
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2013, 10:50:45 AM »
It shouldn't be, in my opinion. 

My brother's is, mine isn't.  Which does make it even more rewarding when I fill my tag and he doesn't . . . .  I did mention comradery too.  ;D