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Relatively Old But New Hunter

Old 11-27-2010, 08:38 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Question Relatively Old But New Hunter

Hi y'all.

Start off with some background: I'm in my late 30's and have taken up deer hunting for the first time ever this year. For various reasons I won't get into, growing up nobody in my family or any friends were into hunting, so I never had anyone to show me the ropes. Not trying to start a pity party, just is what it is. Still though:

Even so, I've always been an outdoor enthusiast and have done my fair share of primitive camping, hiking, outdoorsy stuff and whatnot.

In the past couple years, I've settled with my family in a little more "hunter-friendly" area of the country: Central Virginia in the Blue Ridge foothills (literally 20 minute drive from an entrance to the SNP)...literally somewhere I've always wanted to be and raise my kids. So in my enthusiasm for my new environs (and the desire to perhaps pass on the tradition to my boys as they get older), I've taken up hunting.

I'm pretty much set for gear (.30/30 [good enough for this area], camo outfit, hunter education course, license, video on how to field dress, whole 9 yards), but my "hands on" knowledge is at the basic level. Of course, I've scouted the internet for tips and how-to's, but I'm wondering if anyone out there has been in the same boat in terms of a similar background and how you went about learning how to hunt & harvest?

Seems that the industry, as a whole, kind of gears their newbie workshops/sessions/special newbie licenses, etc. to kids/teens (which is understandable and, for the record, I don't have a bit a problem with that), but if you're a little "advanced" in the age bracket, and don't know anyone who hunts (as I say, I'm relatively new to the area so I've yet to know anyone well enough to know if they hunt), seems you just have to suck it up, learn what you can, and just do it. Am I wrong?

Point is, if you can share any ideas for "older" guys just starting out in the field, I'd appreciate it. Just thought I'd throw this up on the wall and see if it sticks with anyone who can share some ideas or lessons learned.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-27-2010, 08:59 AM
  #2  
Fork Horn
 
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I grew up hunting the Shenandoah valley area there thousands of acres of public land.Great places to hunt.Not many hunters will give up directions to there honey holes most found these spots by trial and error.If I still lived there I would gladely show you some great spots.You can find good areas by studying topo maps and aireal photos but your going to have to burn boot leather finding the best spots.The G.W.National forest has some great spots and a 30/30 works very well there.Your best bet would be to find areas with good food sources then fine tune your set from there.
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:11 AM
  #3  
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Welcome,
You are not alone,
I grew up in NYC so hunting isn't something I grew up with.
Always fished and did the outdoors thing.
I started hunting in late 20's and am 40 now.
I still stick to small game simply because a deer is just too much meat for just me.

Rare occassions I do go for deer.
There are lots of how to's online,
But nothing like getting your hands dirty the first time.
Key thing to remember is you don't want to contaminate the meat, so make that your priority when gutting,
Don't worry too much about the rest,
And a good processor will help.
Good luck, and any specific questions feel free to ask
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:25 AM
  #4  
Spike
 
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Scouting is the key bud. I don't like setting up trail cameras on public land, because I don't like giving people presents but just getting out there, reading topo maps, looking for food sources, water sources, bedding areas, pinch points. There is never a bad time to start scouting either. When I hunt public land I try to get out there away from the guys who work the first couple hundred acres and get behind on the backsides of those areas. Just get out there and put your time in and good things will happen. Welcome to an amazing community of those who love the outdoors. Best of luck to you
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:45 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by scottishbuckmaster View Post
Scouting is the key bud. I don't like setting up trail cameras on public land, because I don't like giving people presents but just getting out there, reading topo maps, looking for food sources, water sources, bedding areas, pinch points. There is never a bad time to start scouting either. When I hunt public land I try to get out there away from the guys who work the first couple hundred acres and get behind on the backsides of those areas. Just get out there and put your time in and good things will happen. Welcome to an amazing community of those who love the outdoors. Best of luck to you
Yep, make a hobby of game scouting. Often times thing noticed during spring turkey hunting can pay dividends come fall and the deer season. If you know the animals habits and where he likes to travel, it makes finding him during the season much easier. It's not a guarantee or anything, but it gives you a leg up.
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:51 AM
  #6  
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Find a new neighbor, friend, or co-worker where you live who is an experienced hunter and ask them to tag along some time. And pay back their kindness by being a reliable, ethical hunting buddy and by also perhaps helping them out in some capacity in other facets of life.

Good hunters are always willing to help out good people.
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:21 PM
  #7  
Spike
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Thanks for the feedback all. Much appreciated. Maybe cya downrange.
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:37 PM
  #8  
Typical Buck
 
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Welcome to the hunting family! Use your head and be safe. If you question the shot, don't take it.

You did not say if your 30/30 is a lever, pump or bolt action, but I will assume it is a lever action. If you have the funds, I would buy a .22LR rifle in the same action as your deer rifle and use the same set-up. You will eventually save the cost of the .22LR in ammo savings. For safety reasons and ethics, you also need to become proficient with your firearm, and this will take a lot of regular practice.

If your 30/30 has a 2x7 or 1x4 scope, do the same with the .22LR. The scope on the .22LR does not need to be as good of a scope or the same brand on your 30/30, but have the same recticle. An example is if you have a Circle X (Bushnell) or Pro Diamond (Simmons), have the same recticle on your .22LR. If you have the normal cross-hairs, put the same on your .22LR. If you have iron sights, do the same with the .22LR.

Practice with your .22LR a lot to become very safe, accurate, proficient and comfortable. Do your practicing in real world surroundings. If you will be shooting from a stand, practice shooting from a stand while wearing a safety harness, properly fitted and attached to the tree. If you will be shooting from a ground blind, practice shooting from a ground blind having the proper backstop. I always use a shooters sling, so my bolt action .22LR's also have a shooters sling. Once a firearm is sighted-in, I am not a fan of bench shooting.

See if there is a firearms instructor in your area who is willing to work with you. Most would be glad to do this at no fee. If money is not a problem for you, offer to pay the instructor as money may be a problem for them. Maybe you can do an exchange of services.

Check with your doctor regarding starting an exercise program. Begin slow and steadily progress. Start to do exercises to improve your ability to steadily hold the rifle on target. Practice holding on target with your unloaded 30/30 rifle while wearing your upper body gear (jacket, etc.). Once you can do this well with a normal heartbeat, trying doing it with an elevated heartbeat. Run in place, do push-ups, sit-ups, weights, etc. to raise your heartbeat and then work on holding your unloaded firearm on target as steadily as possible. Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded and know whether it is loaded. If you set it down, check it when you pick it back up.

Once you become accurate with a .22LR at a distance of 50 yards or more, shoot at least 10 rounds per month of the 30/30 while continuing to practice with the .22LR to become proficient with the 30/30. Get some snap caps for your 30/30 and practice dry firing in real world surrounds, keeping your sights on the target before, during and after pulling the trigger with a snap cap in the chamber. Do not have any ammunition in the area while dry firing.

Do not climb a stand with a loaded firearm. Do not raise or lower a loaded firearm to or from a stand. Practice getting into and out of your stand while wearing your hunting boots and hunting clothing.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:05 PM
  #9  
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OneFederalist,

I got you beat... I didn't start hunting until I was 40 years old. I have always loved the outdoors and wanted to get into hunting, but back in the day, I was busy with a career in the US Coast Guard and couldn't always settle down somewhere and go hunting.

Anyway, since I retired and moved to Virginia, I got into hunting and have learned a lot since then. Most importantly I learned what to do, and what NOT to do.

I'd stay in the Blue Ridge Mts of Virginia and hunt out there. East of the Blue Ridge they run hound dogs after deer. Some localities (county ordnances) won't let you shoot your 30-30 rifle. You'd have to buy a shotgun and use that instead.

Try to find a deer club, private land, get into a lease, etc... it will be a lot better. You'd be far better off staying away from the public land WMA's (Wildlife Management Areas). They are loaded with so many hunters that it almost becomes scary. I mean, there is so much blaze orange, that when the sun comes up it looks like a dang pumpkin patch!

I'd stick with the George Washington Nat'l Forest and hunt out there. That's what I do and it is so spread out, you'll hardly ever bump into another hunter, if you play your cards right.

Also, your .30-30 is perfect for the heavy woods of the GWNF. I wouldn't put a scope on it though... Lever guns just don't look good with a scope on them. But that's just my opinion...

Good luck and welcome aboard!
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:55 PM
  #10  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Originally Posted by OneFederalist View Post
Hi y'all.

Start off with some background: I'm in my late 30's and have taken up deer hunting for the first time ever this year. For various reasons I won't get into, growing up nobody in my family or any friends were into hunting, so I never had anyone to show me the ropes. Not trying to start a pity party, just is what it is. Still though:

Even so, I've always been an outdoor enthusiast and have done my fair share of primitive camping, hiking, outdoorsy stuff and whatnot.

In the past couple years, I've settled with my family in a little more "hunter-friendly" area of the country: Central Virginia in the Blue Ridge foothills (literally 20 minute drive from an entrance to the SNP)...literally somewhere I've always wanted to be and raise my kids. So in my enthusiasm for my new environs (and the desire to perhaps pass on the tradition to my boys as they get older), I've taken up hunting.

I'm pretty much set for gear (.30/30 [good enough for this area], camo outfit, hunter education course, license, video on how to field dress, whole 9 yards), but my "hands on" knowledge is at the basic level. Of course, I've scouted the internet for tips and how-to's, but I'm wondering if anyone out there has been in the same boat in terms of a similar background and how you went about learning how to hunt & harvest?

Seems that the industry, as a whole, kind of gears their newbie workshops/sessions/special newbie licenses, etc. to kids/teens (which is understandable and, for the record, I don't have a bit a problem with that), but if you're a little "advanced" in the age bracket, and don't know anyone who hunts (as I say, I'm relatively new to the area so I've yet to know anyone well enough to know if they hunt), seems you just have to suck it up, learn what you can, and just do it. Am I wrong?

Point is, if you can share any ideas for "older" guys just starting out in the field, I'd appreciate it. Just thought I'd throw this up on the wall and see if it sticks with anyone who can share some ideas or lessons learned.

Thanks in advance.
What county do you live in? Start looking at the GIS websites for the county you are in and the surrounding counties. Get landowner names and addresses and start knocking on doors......best to do this in the off season. You will probably get turned down a whole lot but all it takes is one yes.

Do you live near a city/town that participates in Virginia's Urban Archery Season? A lot of these people will give you permission to bowhunt(you can learn if you don't know how) because the deer are so destructive. There is an added bonus to this as well. The season opens in early September....still a lot of good looking ladies at their backyard swimming pools during this time....not bad sitting in a tree stand and looking for two legged whitetails and four legged whitetails!

BTW, welcome to VA!
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