New Hunter needs Advice

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New Hunter needs Advice

Postby cjkrw » Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:01 am

Ok, so, Im new to hunting all together. This morning was my 8th time hunting EVER. Lol. This morning was also my first time seeing a deer in shooting range. So, as you can imagine, Im all pumped up, hence the reason for this post. I panicked! Lol. Here's the story, then Ill give a list of what I use...

I broke the golden rule of hunting. First of all...Im hunting from the ground. I went to the spot I have been going the last week. Got in position around 6:30am. Its the only spot I know in this public area. Well, around 8:30am I got restless and decided to venture around a bit and look for other spots. Well as I was walking this trail, I kick a deer up above me on a hill. It bounced like 3 times and stopped. I seriously almost pee'd myself. I dropped to my knees right in the middle of the trail. No cover, had my face mask in the backpack as well as my calls and everything else. I knelt motionless. Lol. Slooooooowly I bring my crossbow up. I kept hearing it snort (which by the way is the most amazing sound Ive ever heard, it was so much louder than I ever expected!) I look through my scope and seriously counted at LEAST 9 antlers. The problem was that I figured he was too far away. Up a hill, and my best guesstimate was 40 yds? I cant judge distances very well, or at least dont know the best way. All I could see was his neck and head. Looking back, I wish I would have taken the shot anyway, but I figured I would go back tonight in hopes of seeing him again. Oh and let it be known that I would be happy to get ANYTHING! My first deer. But anyways... Here I am, middle of this path, in the wide open, with no cover, no calls. He turns and walks away. So I took the opportunity to scoot up against a tree and get my grunt call out. I get in position and give it a few blows. He comes back. Now, I dont know how to work these calls or anything. I also got out my rattle bag. Rustled that a few times. Anyway, this went on for about an hour or so. Where he would disappear then reappear around the same distance. He was curious, but not moving in. Finally he disappeared and I didnt see him again.

There were more deer up there as well, I heard lots of movement. So I marked the spot, and plan on returning tonight.

So... I need help. Lol. Here is what I have available, and no money to upgrade or anything so I can only use what Ive got!

1) Really LOUD camo. I hate it. Its so noisy
2) Horton crossbow
3) Grunt call that I dont know how to use, lol
4) Rattle bag that I dont know how to use, rofl
5) Fresh Earth cover spray

So a few things I need advice on, and a few extra questions...

1) Advice on how to setup while hunting from the ground (Lay all my stuff out? Hide by a tree? etc.)
2) Best way to use the grunt call and rattle bag
3) Best time to go out to hunt
4) When Im tromping through the woods to get to my spot...doesnt that spook the deer away? Do they actually come back? I mean if I were a deer, and I heard someone stomping close by me, Id probably NEVER return to that same spot.
5) How can I judge distance?
6) Whats the best range to have a deer to where you can take a shot?
7) Do you always want the wind in your face?
8) Does it really pay off to hunt the same spot over and over again?
9) When does rut start?
10) What should I look for when choosing a hunting spot?

I have a million more questions, and coming up with more everyday, but Ill see what kind of response I get to this, dont want to overwhelm anyone. I know this is a bit long winded, but Im really excited after this morning and dont wanna screw this up. Imagine your first deer being a 9 or 10 pointer! Im sure you know what I feel.

Thanks so much for your time, and any help would be MUCH appreciated. THANKS!

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby Goose » Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:47 am

First of all welcome to the forum and welcome to the excitement of hunting. Im no expert but Ill try to give you my opinions on your questions.
1. Only take the stuff you need and have it all within easy reach. Backround cover is they key on the ground. The more the better.
2. I wouldnt worry about the grunt call and rattle bag until you feel comfortable using them. Watching videos or hunting shows will help with this.
3. The mornings and evenings are the best as this is when the deer are moving.
4. Yes that will spook deer, try to sneak up to your set as quietly as possible. You do not want to spook any deer on your way to or from stand.
5. Learn to judge 10 yards and then judge by using 10 yard increments.
6. 20 yards or less
7. Yes, you always want the deer upwind of you
8. No, the more you sit in the same spot the faster you can burn it out. Its best to have multiple spots for different winds and that should keep your spots fresh.
9. Dont know in Ohio, I would guess late oct.early nov.
10. You want deer obviously, look for different sign-tracks,trails ect.... Set up downwind of where you plan on the deer being.
Try different things and keep it fun. Good luck!
Oh yeah, be glad you did not take the shot. You want to be absolutely sure of your shot and a head or neck shot is irresponsible and not knowing the yardage only makes it worse. These animals deserve more respect than taking a pop shot.

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby OHhunter » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:00 am

Looking back, I wish I would have taken the shot anyway,

Real quick I don't have much time, you did the right thing by not taking the shot.  Sounded like a very poor shot, any neck shot in my opinion is a poor shot.  Only you know your effective range, it sounds like your limited on expirience so I'd keep it short  say 25 yds. until your skills improve.  The last thing you want to do is wound a deer with a poor shot.  I don't hunt from the ground very often but you'll need to find a place with some cover but not so much you can't move quietly.  You also need to have the wind in your favor, you do not want the wind blowing your scent towards the deer.  The one tip I can give you on calls is not to over do it.  Especially right  now, you'll spook more deer than you call in.  The closer to rut we get the more calling you'll be able to get away with, but you can still over do it.  There are many opinions on when the rut is, so to make it simple towards end of October and most of November there a good chance that rutting activity will be taking place.  In my opinion the second week of November is usually a pretty good choice.  Take a look around the forum alot of good folks and knowledge floating around here.  Good Luck.



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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby GTOHunter » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:38 pm

The Deer don't really care how nice,cool or expensive your camo is...always wash your clothes in Scent-free soap,keep it outside in a plastic tub and lid away from other scents/contaminates,spray down with the Scent-Killer spray and keep your hunting shoes/boots outside also.Never go to a Gas Station in your hunting clothes and shoes and pump gas or go to a Restaurant or wear your clothes inside while you or someone is cooking (it will pick up the scents you encounter),don't smoke in you vehicle with hunting clothes on....even bigger No No for sure!As you learn to be more scent-free you will have a much better chance at getting a Deer since they don't know your there or smell you.Practice as much as you can with your crossbow til you know you are accurate at 20-30 and 40 yards and learn to read distances so you know how far away a Deer is.A crossbow should be much easier to hunt with on the ground because it is already cocked and you don't have to draw back and give away your position because of the movement involved when using a compound bow,if you only ground hunt I suggest gettting one of those leafy ground blinds you can roll up and set up anywhere,if you hunt with a climber or ladder stand set it up in good cover or high enough to go undetected by the Deer.Try different things that work for you and always try to learn from your mistakes,I Bow Hunted for 4 years til I shot my first Deer so it takes time to get one depending on the area you hunt and the amount of Deer in your area and the hunting pressure.Grunt calls,Bleats and Rattling don't always work and sometimes give you away or scare the Deer by letting them know your position,if a Deer "Blows" at you they don't really know who or what you are but may sense danger or have picked up your scent then they are warning all the other Deer a Predator is nearby and your cover in blown,sometimes a Buck grunt or Doe bleat will help you fool them into thinking it is another Deer they see or smell and you'll get away with it a few times...over use it and they will learn it means "Danger"!As it gets closer to the Rut I like using the H.S. Scents Doe Estrous sex scent waffers,they are easy to use and hang on a branch or limb and they are not messy like the real Deer Urine,I also use the Wildlife Reseach Center Inc,scent leafs and their Estrous the waffers they are packed iside their own container and refresh/regenerates themselfs when stored away and can be used over and over again for several years.Different techniques work different in certain area's with more Deer density,more mature Bucks competing for Does and during the Rut,sometimes every thing falls in line and you get a Deer,other times it seems like everything is working against you but if you enjoy being outdoors and you love the challenge patients will finally pay off...and "Yes" I still get nervous or excited when a Deer walks out onto the field! ;)    

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby cjkrw » Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:47 pm

Well, I went back out and nothing seemed to go right. I got out about 4:30 and went to the spot Ive been planning all day. Wind was light, but blowing in the direction I had spotted the deer earlier. Wasnt sure what to do. I couldnt re-position because I didnt want to do too much tromping around. So I sat down at my tree and hoped for the best. At about 5:45 the wind picked up ALOT, so I pretty much figured I wasnt going to have much luck. BUT I decided to stick it out. About 6:30 I heard alot of movement to my right. I got all excited and got ready to see one pop out. About 5 minutes later I spot 2 kids walking right to me with shotguns.... They get directly to my right about 10 yards away and finally see me. I packed my stuff up and walked back to my truck. I hate public hunting land...

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby burnnurse1 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:51 pm

Welcome to the forum, and the exciting yet humbling world of deer hunting. As with anything else, experience is going to be your greatest teacher. The stuff these guys are telling you is good information to start with. Just remember that everytime you step in the woods you are the one at a disadvantage. The deer always have the upper hand. You are going to be busted, snorted at, and smelled more than once in your hunting career. Don't become discouraged. The basics to deer hunting are to try to keep your scent to a minimum,and be as quiet and stiill as possible. Yes, pay attention to the wind.
As a beginner I would recommend getting a ladder stand. This affords you the oppurtunity to get at an elevation that A) allows you a better field of view and B) gets your scent above a deers nose. Ladder stands are relatively cheap depending on the brand name. As you progress and become more acclimated to hunting from elevated positions you can try climbers and lock-ons that really allow you to get up there. Remember safety first and wear a harness! None of these methods are fool proof but there is no greater reward to me than a successful hunt. When the moment of truth does come, we owe to the animals we hunt to be as humane as we can be. If you are going to due them the injustice of taking their lives, you want it to be as quick and painless as possible. Be absolutely sure of your shots. Neck and head shots are not the one's you want. To big a risk of wounding or maming the deer. Deer dying from starvation because they don't have a lower jaw is not pretty! Heart and lung shots are the ones you want.
The memories you make afield are ones you'll cherish for a lifetime. Deer are amazing creatures and will never cease to amaze you. there are always good hunting shows on the outdoor channel that offer some good advice, and then there's D&DH magazine that has great articles. Anyways, good luck and hang in there. And remember that a bad day in the woods is still better than good day at work!!!! BN1

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby ARROWSMITH » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:07 pm

First I would like to congadulate you for NOT taking the shot.  To be a first year hunter and exercise that kind of control in a questionable situation is commendable.
It looks like all the other guys are giving you some good advise.  I know that you said you don't have the money to go get new equipment but keep hunting!  Just as in my first years of hunting, your finding out what most of us have all ready learned, and that is top quality equipment is worth its weight in gold.  Now not too many of us can walk into Cabella's and say give me one of everything. God knows I've been aquiring hunting equipment for years, most of which still serves me well to this day.  Now if you have the hunting bug and are determined to keep this up year after year I'm sure you will start to aquire your hunting gear also.
I too hunt mostly from the ground, and do so by choice.  It may not be the main stream way of hunting white tails, but it has worked better for me than sitting in a tree stand.  That being said, I put alot of hours into post and preseason scouting, so that I can pattern the deer and know when they will and won't be in a location.  I have also hunted on public land in the past and have run into those situations. My best advise is to find out who owns the private land near you and try to get permission to hunt it in the early spring.  This will help you two fold: one I have found land owners less likely to give permission to hunt when it is just days or weeks before the season opens.  However most land owners won't object to some March and April shed hunting.  This is often a good way to open the lines of communication to a land owner who does'nt know you from Adam. Take time to get to know the land owner and permission usually is a bit easier to get.  An offer to help maintain the property will usually help too.  Two, The more time you spend shed hunting,working on the property, and in the woods in general the better you become at patterning those deer that live there, also if you are scenting the woods all year long, when it comes time to hunt those deer they won't be so jumpy when they smell you.  As was demonstrated this morning  when a young 6 point buck walked to with in 2 yards of my hunting blind with nose in overdrive looking in my blind, but never spooking, because I walk through that piece of property every day.(Note I let him walk because he was just too small)
I know these may not be the short simple answers that you were looking for but I think if you listen to the advise that that the others have given you here as well as this bit,  your future hunting endevours may be sweeter and more fruitfull.
By the way I live only 150 miles south of you and the rut starts almost like clock work here the second week of Nov.  Good luck.

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby hunter480 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:38 am

As has already been said, you showed tremendous discipline and restraint in not taking the shot you were presented with, and congratulations are in order.
And yes, the quality of the hunt on public ground is lacking as you`ve described, and yes, loud hunting clothing is a pain as well. Until you can get new hunting clothing, you`ll just have to make your movements extremely slow, (which they should be anyway), to minimize the noise.
As for hunting from the ground, nothing wrong at all with that. Likely, more deer have been killed from the ground than by elevated positions, and some prefer the ground.
As for your questions;
1) Setting up from the ground, you want some cover both behind and in front of you to break up your outline. Unlike turkey and coyotes, white-tails cannot determine you to be a human based on your outline, but they will know "something" is there, as well as pick up the slightest movement, so breaking up your outline is crucial. Also, any depression in the ground that you can sit in helps. The very best ground blinds are naturl, such as blow downs. Lay any gear you think you want or need out to have accessible and again, to keep movement to a minimum.
2) Use calls sparingly, especially when calling "blind". Deer use vocalizations, but aren`t excessive with their vocal communications, except for certain, and rare situations. Normally, they are very quiet, secretitive animals. Any "pro" you can watch and hear on videos and hunting shows will help give you a feel for volume and timing of calling.
3) Deer, outside of the rut, are TYPICALLY most active at dawn and dusk. That being said, many deer are killed throughout the day. I`ve killed deer at 2:00 pm as well as early and late. The closer to the seeking and chasing phases of the rut, the more likely ou are to see deer movement at any time of day.
4) Very insightful question you ask here....yes, you`ll bump deer moving through to get to your hunting spot, but don`t get too worked up over it. Deer are creatures of prey, and they`re paranoid because of it. They assume everything and everyone is out to get them, and they respond accordingly. And, IF they could, they certainly would vacate an area they`d been pressured in, to never return. Fact is though, habitat, and more importantly, habitat that they are intimately familiar with is extremely limited, so they will return, they`ve no options. One heavily used tactic is to bound off, then slowly circle back to near the place they started. In fact, I bow killed a huge 8-pointer that field dressed over 200 lbs two seasons ago when I bumped him as I neared my ladderstand. I dropped down into the swale, he bounded away, and I had been in my stand no more than 45 minutes when he reappeared and bedded down 40 yards in front of me in a blowdown. I watched him nap and groom for 3 hours before I took my shot just before legal shooting time expired.
You may also want to keep a grunt tube handy walking in, if the deer don`t wind, or see you, a soft grunt might calm them down.
5) Learning to judge distance is a skill that you`ll always practice to keep sharp at. It takes some time to get proficient, and some people need more time and work than others. Mark off 10 yards in your lawn, visualize that, burn it into your minds eye, then it`s easy to simply "roll" that 10 yard block over, end over end in your minds eye to then judge 20, ever 30 yards. It`ll take constant practice.
6) Best yardage to kill a deer...recoreds show, most bow killed deer are killed between 10 and 25 yards, so that`s your "bread and butter" shot. For a beginner, you may want to limit your shooting to 20, or even 15 yards until you get more practice time with your weapon, but that will depend on your shooting ability and the cover in the area you`re hunting. You`ve already shown you have one important ingredient, and that`s the discipline to not take a questionable shot.
7) Playing the wind, as much as it will allow you to, is crucial. Especially when hunting from the ground, you want the wind blowing away from where you anticipate deer movement to originate. Develope a strick descenting regimine for both you, and your clothing, it`ll allow you to see and kill many more deer. I recommend the Scent Killer products from Wildlife Research Center, but I`m sure the others are good as well.
8) Even when hunting public ground, which in some places, seems almost limitless, your time to scout IS limited, and there are certain areas the deer travel, smaller areas still they travel frequently, so you must hunt the same areas with some frequency, it simply can`t be helped. Learnign to enter and exit your specific hunting area with the least amout of disturbance possible helps, as does the scent control program we discussed in point 7. The more "stand sites" you can establish the better so you can rotate thru them, and even hunt them based on wind direction, the better, but it`s limited.
9) Loaded question here, there`s much disagreement as to the timing of the rut from season to season. Suffice it to say, some rut activity should be occuring anywhere from late October to late November any deer season, with the peak being somewhere in the time frame. The rut is usually looked at as having 3 stages, Seeking, Chasing, and Tending. Tending is the lock down, when the receptive does are actually being bred. It`s an interesting topic, read all that you can about this.
10) In choosing a hunting spot, you`re trying to first understand why, then when the deer would be there, determine the best, least disruptive entrance and exit strategy, and pinpoint the very best ambush location for that immediate area. Whether farm land or big woods, deer, outside the rut, travel primarily from bed to feed, then feed to bed. In the big woods, the tast of locating feeding and bedding areas is more difficult, simply due to the large amount of ground available to them. But hard mast, such as oaks, are huge draws for hungry white-tails, and preseason scouting should allow you to locate and mark Oak flats, so that you can check for production and timing of drop. Bedding areas in the big woods can be thickets, swamps, swales, and, seeing a trend? Any dense, thick area, that doesn`t allow predators to approach silently, while giving deer the opportunity to flee well ahead of any approach. Additionally, deer, primarily bucks, like to bed just off the top of ridges with the wind blowing to them from behind, so they can smell potential danger from behind, while seeing any potential danger approaching from ahead. At times deer will bed in blowdowns in saddles and ravines as well. While there are no set bedding areas, as deer will bed in different places from day to day, with scouting and actual experience in hunting a given area, you`ll learn the preferred bedding areas that bucks and doe familys will use, then it`s just a matter of guessing correctly on any given day, as to where they really are, and being set up to intercept them.
Welcome to the Forum, you`ll get a lot of solid advice here, and these are good people, willing to share everything they have.

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby cjkrw » Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:08 am

I appreciate the help more than you know. I have already incorporated alot of the advice I have recieved, and honestly feel more confident every time out. Didnt get out today which bothered me, seemed like a perfect morning to be out, but gonna try tomorrow morning. I have no idea where to start knocking on doors about private land, and isnt it too late to be knocking anyway? Well maybe since shotgun season hasnt started and thats when hunters come out of the woodworks ;)

Also, ladder stand... arent those the permanent ones? Are there any easy type of stands that I can put up easily and remove? Im pretty agile, even something that can just put me in a tree. Ive even debated getting some of those tree steps that screw in the tree and just find a tree that maybe has another tree leaned up against it with a spot to sit. Good idea? I know it seems a bit more dangerous, but I would get some elevation and as long as I practice extreme safety?

Thanks again, please keep em coming, I love getting on here and reading your replies. Im learning alot, AND it gets me all motivated to get back out there on the days that I sit for 5 hours and dont see a thing :)

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RE: New Hunter needs Advice

Postby djohns13 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:20 am

cjkrw, it is great to see your enthusiasm but you need to be very careful about sitting in a tree.  Just sitting in a tree is not safe.  Get a good quality tree stand and safety harness and please use them all of the time.  I am suer that there are quite a few people who care about you and want you to come home safely after the hunt.  Nothing ruins a hunt quicker than an avoidable accident.
Good shooting.
Darren Johnson
Internet Pro Staff Member - Indiana

Glad to talk to all of you, but I'd rather be sitting in a tree stand on a cool morning trying not to move so that the bruiser buck directly below me doesn't figure out that I am watching him!


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