New Huntef Need Help?

What's the hunt looking like this year in your area? Share!
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Woods Walker
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Woods Walker » Fri May 10, 2013 4:52 am

Listen to shaman. Books, videos and magazines are fine, but the deer themselves will be your best teachers. It also helps to have a good mentor, but even then that will be limited, especially if you don't go off on your own.

I had a wonderful mentor, but the best thing he taught me was to contually ask "why" in regards to anything in the woods and to observe anything and everything I see, hear, or smell in the woods and to do me best to learn why. I'm doing exactly that to this very day 50 years later. In fact, he actually told me very little. I'd ask him something and he'd respond with a question. Eventually I came to my own conclusions.

Let the actual woods be your classroom, and the creatures and plants that reside there be your teachers.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

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shaman
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby shaman » Fri May 10, 2013 6:13 am

Thanks Woodsie. I re-read what I wrote earlier this morning, and it sounded angry. However, I do not know a better way to say it. If there is anger, it comes from all the stored up frustration from the early years, where a) there were few deer around to watch b) the old farts were feeding me manure and making it look like sage advice c) The books and magazines I read kept steering me in the wrong directions.

Truth is, you gotta find a place that has deer. That, in and of itself, can be a challenge. Then you just have to start observing. The rest comes fairly simply. Deer are fairly easy to kill.

For instance, you can be out in the woods and see "A MAJOR DEER HIGHWAY !!!" and think this is the sure ticket to a serious herd of deer. Truth is, a couple doe will get to moving between a good bed and a food source and pound the snot out of that trail, so you think it's two dozen deer instead of just two. Then again, a monster buck may leave one big dull hoofprint as he's crossing a creek, and that is all the sign you get. Unless you see those two doe day after day, you won't know. You also need to keep from pestering them too much, because that one big hoofprint that you saw may eventually start trailing those doe.

There. There's another great hint. Learn to use your doe as bait. Keep them happy. Get to know them. Let them know you. Big bugs roam, but as the fall wears on, they start following doe. If you have happy doe that don't mind seeing you in your stand, the doe will wander by and bring that monster past.

Gotta run again. Be sure to check out my weblog at http://genesis9.angzva.com/ .
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Woods Walker
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Woods Walker » Fri May 10, 2013 7:32 pm

Speaking for myself, when I started seriously bowhunting (when I moved to Illinois in 1976) is when my deer hunting knowledge really began to accumulate. There are several reasons for this in my opinion.

1. Bow seasons last a whole lot longer than firearm seasons, and even if you don't observe and question everything you see like I do (and I mean not just deer, but ALL creatures from mice to birds to bugs to plants...a REAL important one!...dirt and even rocks) you will absorb a certain amount just by being there. In the woods EVERYTHING is related and there's always a reason for why anything is where it is when it is. The more knowledge you have about what's in a deer's world the better you will understand deer.

2. With a firearm many times the first and maybe only deer you will see that day or even during that short season you may very well shoot as soon as it's in range. Now this is a productive way to hunt and success rates for gun hunters over bow hunters is many times significant. But it does come with a price, and that price is the lack of time you will actually be able to observe and study undisturbed deer in their habitat, many times interacting with other deer. Most of the deer I see while bowhunting I do not have a shot at, but for me that also gives me more time to watch them and again question WHY they are doing what they are doing or going where they are going at that time and place. I'd never get that if they're laying at my feet with their tongues hanging out and glassy eyed!

Being able to watch them like this also teaches you about deer body language, which is key to determining WHEN to shoot, which for a bowhunter especially is crucial. IMO the only way to do this is to be in the woods and watching them. You will also be able to observe them (or many times NOT reacting to) sounds made by other animals or even people.

What you are about to undertake is a journey that never ends, and that's the beauty of it!
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
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Woods Walker
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Woods Walker » Fri May 10, 2013 9:08 pm

One more observation........

As I mentioned, I'm always trying to learn as far as the woods and wildlife goes. What I ty to do everytime I go into the woods, whether it be for an actual hunt, or a scounting trip or to look for sheds, go on a "bowhike", or whatever, I always try to learn or observe at least one "new" thing. This doesn't have to be about deer directly, but could be anything related to the woods, even weather/wind/thermals.

Something as seemingly insignificant as a particular fungus or plant growing in a particluar place I make mental note of, and many times that pays off for deer hunting down the road. Case in point was a couple of years ago here in Illinois we had a VERY dry summer. There was also very little mast (acorns). The deer seemed to have vanished from where we'd usually see them. Now I know they didn't vanish, but just adjusted to the climatic conditions. I remembered seeing a certain kind of plant tucked away in a part of the woods that I normally didn't go into because there wasn't much deer sign. I also remembered looking that plant up and discovered that it grows where there's high soil moisture. I scouted that area, found those plants and also found.....you guessed it.....DEER SIGN!

You've got to develop an eye for details also. For instance, knowing which plants deer eat at various times of the year is very important if you want to find deer. So you look for branch tips that have be bitten off or "browsed". But how do you know it was in fact a DEER that bit it off? Rabbits like to eat many of the same plants that deer do. So how do you know? What my mentor would have told me was,

"Next time you or someone you know kills a deer, look in it's mouth at it's teeth, or more importantly WHERE it has teeth ansd where it doesn't. That will give you the answer you seek."

I'll shorten the learning curve for you....'cause you're new ;) ....and tell you that deer only have front or "biting off" teeth ON THE BOTTOM JAW. The top of the front of the jaw is just gums. Rabbits have teeth on the top and the bottom, therefore when a rabbits browses a branch tip it's a clean cut, similar to what you'd see if someone used a pair of pruning shears. A deer on the other hand because of their lack of top teeth will tear it of more than cut it smooth.

This is but one example. I could go on and on, especially about plants. But I think you get the idea!

Please feel free to keep asking questions. For most of us here the only thing better than TALKING about deer hunting is actually DEER HUNTING!
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

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Msmithe21
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Msmithe21 » Sun May 12, 2013 2:17 pm

Thanks for all the help. Any of you guys have like a good idea of what I should get for gear in the beginning. I really need some advice on gear or where I should begin and start to do to get into hunting. I really just need some guidance

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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Msmithe21 » Sun May 12, 2013 3:03 pm

So your saying just general time in the woods is probably the best advice?? And looking for deer and once found observe and observe everything around the woods I try to scout a lot so I go hiking a lot in thick woods basically off trail hiking and I look for sign. In the winter I snow shoed and scouted for deer and I learned a lot because I saw so much sign and it helped. I think a lot of readings nowadays are a lot of advertisement for products that's why I only read about deer habits and basic deer behavior to get an idea of deer and then I go out in the woods and look for it. I do the same with bass fishing and nowadays I've been catching a lot of bass just off the fact I narrow down good spots from bad just from experience and observing I just really think I gotta get out in the woods early when deer are moving and have some binoculars and really see the woods for what it is.

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Woods Walker
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Woods Walker » Mon May 13, 2013 6:24 am

Sounds like you get it! That's exactly what you need to do. If you're a bass fisherman then you well know how bass relate to cover and other underwater "edges" (mud lines, current breaks, turbidity, etc.). Deer are no different, just ABOVE the water!

Just as a good fisherman learns how to "read" water, as good deer hunter learns how to read a woods. I would advise that you get yourself a good a pair of high quality binoculars as you can afford, and use them judiciously. I would also get a good field guide to the local plants/trees in your area and learn how to identify them. Then you will know what the deer are prefering at different times of the year, and especially the oak trees.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
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Msmithe21
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Msmithe21 » Tue May 14, 2013 7:00 am

So another thing is I live about an hour away from my camp and I would like to try to hunt locally around me durign the weekdays and such. Can any of you guys lead me in the right direction of where I might find a good place to hunt or where I can hunt for that matter?? Also with the binoculars thing how do you use them to your adavantage in the woods situation. Like when scouting how would these be to your advantage. Also how often do you think I should go scouting without disturbing an area? I appreacitate all the help from you guys I think I am starting to get the idea.

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rthomas4
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby rthomas4 » Tue May 14, 2013 10:36 am

Living in SC, I'm lucky in that our season opens August 15th and runs 'til Jan. 1st. Down in my game zone, we can use rifle, shotgun, or archery gear the entire season, and we have no limit on the number of bucks we can kill (that may change if the non-residents get their way), we also can purchase 4 doe tags that are good from Sept. 15th through the entire season, but we also have 14 antlerless days, where we can kill up to two does per day, and as many antlered bucks as opportunity presents. I hunt Saturdays and holidays with dogs and shotguns, and every other day of the week with a rifle out of a ladder stand, tower, or ground blind, over food plots and bait. I plant several food plots and hang trail cameras, so I get pictures of deer that I decide I want to kill, both bucks and does. Since I'm a meat hunter, the size of the rack isn't that important, although I try to cull the genetically inferior bucks in order to improve my herd, and do make a hit list of bigger, older bucks that I specifically target to kill. I've been deer hunting since I was 10 years old, and I'll be 60 in September. The one thing I will tell any new hunter is to spend every available moment they have in the woods, and like someone said previously watch the animals, and learn from their behavior patterns. There are two givens about hunting deer, and that is they all must eat, and they all want to breed. It's up to the hunter to put himself in the proper place at the right time in order to take advantage of those two major behavioral patterns, if the opportunity to hunt with dogs isn't an option; and even then, it's important to understand the trails and travel routes the deer will take consistently in order to be in the right place at the right time.
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Msmithe21
 
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Re: New Huntef Need Help?

Postby Msmithe21 » Tue May 14, 2013 12:43 pm

Thanks for the help. For scouting though how often should you go?? I like to make time to fish in the summer and right now as well, but I would also like to scout enough of the area that I want to hunt now so that come the season I have a good idea of where to put my stand and also possibly other stand sites. Also how many areas do you guys hunt?? what I mean by that is do you hunt multiple property's or do you tend to stick to just one?

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