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new rifle owner

Old 05-23-2011, 05:32 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Hi - Always get great advice here! I bought my first rifle and am learning to shoot it, I'm older 58, would like to get into deer hunting, never have but always had the desire as far back as I can remember. No one I know hunts, no one in family even owns a firearm, any help on how to start! Want to join, I got the hunting bug!!! Thanks very much!!!
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:48 PM
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Typical Buck
 
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Kevin,

I suggest look for a hunting or sportsman's club to join and ask in advance if they are willing to work with new hunters. I strongly suggest you find someone who is an experienced, safe, respectful and ethical hunter to work with you. If is very important that you find a mentor. Do any kind of hunting you can (predator, rabbit, raccoon, gopher/prairie dogs, duck, goose, pheasant) to work with a mentor. Even if you do not carry a firearm to hunt, just being with a mentor while he hunts can teach you a lot. Be sure to follow all game laws, don't pretend to know something you do not and treat the wildlife, land and landowners with respect.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:08 AM
  #3  
Typical Buck
 
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I second Country's advice. There's no better way to learn the ropes than to go with a seasoned veteran. Many hunters (definitely not all) are glad to let people tag along for a hunt. You will probably learn more in one trip to the field than you can ever learn from us on this forum.

What state are you hunting in? Game laws can be messy in some states. Here in Illinois, our hunting rule book has some pretty confusing laws. I've asked Conservation Police about certain regulations and couldn't get clear answers. Ask a knowledgeable hunter to explain to you what you need to know to get started. Season dates, necessary licenses, drawing permits, legal weapons, bag limits, etc.

Practice with your rifle until you know what it will do before you pull the trigger. You owe it to what you're shooting at to be able to make shots that will produce a quick, humane kill. Anybody that's hunted very long has made a less-than-perfect (bad) shot, and you will do the same if you stay at it long enough. It happens, but it's our job to minimize that through practice.

Good luck to you and I look forward to hearing from you this fall when your season rolls in.

rw
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:01 AM
  #4  
Dominant Buck
 
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Originally Posted by country1 View Post
Kevin,

I suggest look for a hunting or sportsman's club to join and ask in advance if they are willing to work with new hunters. I strongly suggest you find someone who is an experienced, safe, respectful and ethical hunter to work with you. If is very important that you find a mentor. Do any kind of hunting you can (predator, rabbit, raccoon, gopher/prairie dogs, duck, goose, pheasant) to work with a mentor. Even if you do not carry a firearm to hunt, just being with a mentor while he hunts can teach you a lot. Be sure to follow all game laws, don't pretend to know something you do not and treat the wildlife, land and landowners with respect.
My suggestions also.........
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:12 AM
  #5  
Spike
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Thanks everyone for all the great advice! I live in upstate NY in Rochester. Lots of country area close by but it's difficult to find someone to help me. I know there's a lot of hunters around these parts. Thanks again!!!!!!!
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:55 AM
  #6  
Fork Horn
 
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If there's a whitetails unlimited group around or shooting range you can meet some people that will probably be more then willing to help you learn.

As was previously said learn your state's laws on everything from what clothes to wear (blaze orange) and what firearms are allowed or not allowed. Some areas are shotgun only etc. Find public hunting grounds and plan where you'll hunt.

It's a lot of work and a lot of fun doing the work! Good luck this year. (You'll wonder why you didn't do this 30 years ago).
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:15 PM
  #7  
Typical Buck
 
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Kevin,

Here are a few things you can work on by yourself.

Being able to walk quietly.
It will really help you and those you hunt with if you work on being able to walk as quietly as possible. You may think you are walking quietly, but you will notice how much noise you really make when you put on a pair of good quality electronic muffs and turn the volume up all the way. Different types of clothing will make different types of noises when it comes in contact with something. Practice walking in different types of ground cover (short grass, tall grass, brush, harvested field, plowed field, etc.) and terrain.

Work on being able to sit still and be quiet.
Something else that will help you and those who hunt with you is the ability to sit still and be very quiet - wear the electronic muffs. You may discover you have a habit of clearing your throat, talking to yourself or something else that makes unnecessary noise. Work on using your eyes to scan the area without moving your head. IF you do move, you need to move very slowly so work on moving your head very slowly. The same goes for any body part you move. Practice being still in a seated and standing position. You may be surprised how much discipline it takes to be still and very quiet. Talk during hunting only for safety reasons or to notify someone of something heading their way. Go to a non-hunting park or area and see how close the wild animals come to you before noticing you.

Being alert of your surroundings.
I can't stress this enough. You need to be aware and alert of your surroundings at all times. Work on being able to spot wildlife and know your surrounds at all times.

If you are hunting with someone else, be sure they do not point their firearm at you and do not walk into their line of fire. Do not point your firearm at something you do not want to shoot. Be careful someone else does not walk into your line of fire. Scenario - a deer jumps up and a hunter swings their firearm to follow the deer not knowing where everyone else in the hunting party is located - or a person is watching the deer or does not see the deer and moves into the line of fire of a hunter. We always identify when a deer jumps from its bed for everyone else to be aware. The person with the best and safest shot calls it and takes the shot. Everyone else watches the shooter and the animal without moving while scanning to see if other deer are also present.

If you see another hunter, DO NOT MOVE (there are unsafe idiots who shoot at what moves). When you see another hunter close to you, let them know you are there with a low and calm voice - BUT DO NOT MOVE. However, some also shoot at noises too, so this can be a risk. This is why I do not hunt on public land, but unauthorized hunters can turn up on private land.

If you see another hunter looking at you and he motions he sees you, reply with the same motion while looking at him (if he gives you the bird don't give him the bird back).

If you are ground hunting and there is a deer between you and another hunter, I would SCREAM DON'T SHOOT if he starts to raise his firearm or bow and then run perpendicular away from the deer to get out of the possible line of fire.

Work on listening to directions, following those directions and sticking to the game plan.
You need to know, understand and then follow the directions or game plan. If there is a change, the parties involved should be notified for safety.

Do NOT use your scope for glassing.
Don't use your scope for glassing or scanning an area. Get a decent pair of binoculars. The firearm should be shouldered only after identifying the target.

Finding your target in the scope.
Here is something you can do in an area where firearms are allowed (shooting range or private property where laws allow with prior permission from landowner). With NO ammo around, you can practice shouldering your firearm properly and safely and putting the cross hairs or sights on target as quickly as possible. Keep the safety on and finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to shoot. Set up targets at different distances. When you are on target (make sure the chamber and magazine are empty), dry fire your center fire firearm and work on keeping your cross hairs/sights on target. Focus on having the cross hairs/sights and your body move as little before, during and after (at least three seconds after) you dry fire. Keep your head and body from moving as much as possible during this time (including trigger finger). Most people lift their head to see where or if they hit (BAD practice) or quickly move their trigger finger for another shot (BAD practice). Proper form and discipline will help you place that first shot on target. Rushing a shot and poor form will only hurt your accuracy. Get in the practice of doing follow through and looking through the scope for your hit. With enough practice, a person can be able to see the POI on an animal (will see the bullet hit the hide) through the scope.

Keep the cross hairs/sights as steady as possible.
With an empty firearm (chamber and magazine) and no ammo, work on being able to keep the cross hairs/sights from moving as much as possible using a position you are likely to use while hunting. When the firearm starts to move more due to fatigue, lower it and rest for a short time. Re-shoulder the firearm and start over. Notice how your breathing and heartbeat will move the firearm. Work on holding your breath while focusing on the sights with the firearm shouldered. You should not hold your breath for more than a few seconds at a time.
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