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Would like to learn to hunt

A place to trade stories, pictures and outings. If you're looking for a place to hunt, ask here. Please discuss camping here as well as anything else that you do during hunting season - preparations, scouting, etc.

Would like to learn to hunt

Postby mamabearCali » Fri, 16 Mar 2012 18:07:16

I would like to learn to hunt (rabbits, squirrel, deer), but I have no idea where to start. I know nearly nothing and if I was near my relatives back home I could find out what I need to know but I am not. I know hunting is mostly a fall thing, but I though I would begin my exploration now with the hopes of maybe just maybe being ready by then. If yall don't mind answering a few questions I would be most grateful.

#1 What type of gun do I need. We only have handguns around here. Keep in mind I will be on a limited budget.

#2 Are there any classes availible on basic hunting rules/laws/information

#3 Where does a person hunt? I live in a subdivision. We have .33 of an acre--so no hunting on my lawn.

#4 any other pointers info tips wisdom, etc you can throw my way would be appreciated

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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby jdonovan » Fri, 16 Mar 2012 19:08:24

mamabearCali wrote:#1 What type of gun do I need. We only have handguns around here. Keep in mind I will be on a limited budget.


for the small game (rabbit, squirrel) you'll likely be happiest with a .22 rimfire, or shotgun.
For deer the shotgun can work, but most folks prefer a center fire rifle.
If you are budget constrained, a $250 pump shot gun is hard to beat for a first hunting gun.

#2 Are there any classes availible on basic hunting rules/laws/information


You should take a hunters safety course... even if you had another way to qualify to get your license, there is good information that is taught during the class.

#3 Where does a person hunt? I live in a subdivision.


Find a friend with land, or you'll be on public lands.
There are some state wildlife management areas, national forests etc.. also there are some hunting clubs, etc that could be joined.

#4 any other pointers info tips wisdom, etc you can throw my way would be appreciated


Getting into hunting is a whole lot easier with a near by buddy who can help ya out. I don't know where you are at within the state, but I'd figure there is probably someone near by who would be willing to help you learn some of the field craft.


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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby meak99 » Fri, 16 Mar 2012 19:25:41

mamabearCali wrote:#1 What type of gun do I need. We only have handguns around here. Keep in mind I will be on a limited budget.


I recommend a plain-Jane Remington 870 with a 3 or 3.5" chamber for a first hunting gun. Will be good for anything from squirrel, rabbit, and fowl (#6-#8 shot) all the way up to deer (buckshot & slugs).

mamabearCali wrote:#2 Are there any classes availible on basic hunting rules/laws/information


Yes - VA Hunter's safety course to start. But as far as a "How to hunt" class, I'd just read up on the internet. Learn about the habitat of the animals you want to hunt, and how to identify where they have been and where you think they might be based on food, water, and bedding locations. When you head to a spot, try and hunt between food/water/bedding locations and catch them moving from one spot to another.

mamabearCali wrote:#3 Where does a person hunt? I live in a subdivision. We have .33 of an acre--so no hunting on my lawn.


If you don't have a friend with land that hunts (and I suspect you might not, else you'd have just asked them), then I'd recommend trying Military bases and Virginia Wildlife Manageent Areas (WMAs). I hunt AP Hill; the deer are plentiful. It's a great place to go. Tons of land, tons of deer. WMAs can get crowded, but are huntable.

http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wmas/
http://www.aphill.army.mil/sites/mwr/huntinginfo.asp


mamabearCali wrote:#4 any other pointers info tips wisdom, etc you can throw my way would be appreciated


Patience. Especially with deer. You need to be prepared to go a few seasons maybe without getting one. The more you hunt, and the more you observe them, the more you'll learn how to hunt them. I have been in the woods dozens of times from sun up to sun down without seeing a single critter. It happens.


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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby grumpyMSG » Fri, 16 Mar 2012 21:12:56

Definitely go for the hunter safety course. Visit your local sporting goods store, gun shop or Walmart and pick up a copy of VA's hunting laws. You may find that in the area you intend to hunt deer is limited to shotguns, mostly east of the Blue Ridge. I am pretty sure it is the case on both Fort Pickett and Fort A.P. Hill. One quick note it is not legal to hunt deer with a .223 rifle.

A .22 rifle is always a great place to start. They work great on small game, are the most inexpensive to shoot and are a ton of fun. A 500 round brick of ammo costs about the same as a 20 round box of .30-06 and only a few dollars more than 25 rounds of shotgun shells.

The recommendation of an 870 is a good one, another option would be a Mossberg 500. The only real noticeable difference between the two is the location of the safety and slide release, it is just a personal preference thing. either one in 12 gauge with a 3 inch chamber is plenty. I'd recommend going with a synthetic stock, they tend to be less expensive and are more durable than wood. A good basic shotgun will probably come with a 24-26 inch barrel, avoid the goose guns that have the longer barrels. Another option you may want to look into is a youth model, they have shorter stocks and usually slightly shorter barrels, so if you are small in stature, that may be a good option for you.
Of course it is in the last place you looked, you're not going to keep looking for something after you've found it.


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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby mamabearCali » Sat, 17 Mar 2012 11:04:35

Thanks y'all.you have given me a place to start.

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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby WRW » Sat, 17 Mar 2012 11:44:40

Given any thought to dogs? There's bird dogs, rabbit dogs, squirrel dogs, deer dogs, meat dogs (will hunt everything and anything)...

Rabbit and bird hunting is a lot of tramping around in thick brush. I'd just as soon have a trained dog to help with those. For squirrel you can pick an area of nut and beech trees and sit and wait or use a dog and walk, letting the dog tree the beasts. Deer hunting with an organized club will usually involve deer drives with several dogs. You can hunt deer by scouting good trails and observing the trails without the use of dogs, but you may want to consider a tree stand for that.

Just a few more things to consider.


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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby mamabearCali » Tue, 27 Mar 2012 17:32:46

Dogs would be great...but I don't think a Bernese Mountain dog does anything but pull a cart. Which would be great to get a deer carcass out of the woods. And I am not sure how good of a hunting dog a german shepherd would be.....any guess on that one. We live in chesterfield so we are stuck to the two dog rule until we get out of here to the country.
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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby OleMan » Tue, 27 Mar 2012 18:21:26

mamabearCali wrote:Dogs would be great...but I don't think a Bernese Mountain dog does anything but pull a cart. Which would be great to get a deer carcass out of the woods. And I am not sure how good of a hunting dog a german shepherd would be.....any guess on that one. We live in chesterfield so we are stuck to the two dog rule until we get out of here to the country.


But both can be great shepherd dogs and instill fear in bad guys! LOL

For rabbit hunting, most people would say a beagle really helps. I have hunted dove, quail and mountain grouse without a dog, but quail hunting can be better with a pointer breed. Waterfowl pretty much mandates a retriever breed dog. Caveat - all my bird hunting experience was decades ago.

The advice to take a hunting safety course and get a shotgun is great - and Remington 870 or Mossy 500 series are perhaps the best moderate price choices. I'll probably be in the market for a Mossy 500 in the next year or so. In the eastern part of VA, rifle hunting is usually limited to an elevated stand (15 ft I think). A shotgun with multiple chokes (controls spread of the shot) allows you to hunt almost any game. Also, Mossy (and maybe Remington) has interchangeable barrels, so if you later had an opportunity to hunt deer or black bear with slugs, they have rifled slug barrels with sights and scope mounts.

Sensitivity to recoil and 'length of pull' are important to any long gun and especially to heavy recoil like shotguns and big bore centerfire rifles. Length of pull can be approximated by measuring like so -
http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f18/ ... pull-5551/

Managing recoil is dependent on the individual. It is not totally about size of the person and one learns how to keep a tight hold firmly against the shoulder and good grip. Recoil custions can help also.

Having a shooting club or range for practice is a very good idea.
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Re: Would like to learn to hunt

Postby HighExpert » Mon, 25 Feb 2013 22:54:08

Another gun you might be interested in is the Maverick 88...This is sort of a poor man's Mossberg 500.. I have one and love it. If I were going to shoot thousands of rounds every year like some trap and skeet shooters do I would go for the Mossberg or the 870 as they are more robust but, for 50-100 rounds a year the maverick will last a long time. BTW parts for the Mossberg fit the 88. I bought a couple of different screw in chokes and a rifled barrel for mine. Now I can shoot saboted slugs, buck shot, bird shot or turkey loads pretty effectively. I bought my shotgun at Walmart 4 years ago at Walmart for $150.. They have probably go up a little but not much. The other option is to look into a crossbow. You can hunt a much longer season that way and they are almost as reasonable as a shot gun..Don't work well for squirrel or rabbit hunting though. Good luck.


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