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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I live in the central Florida area and I am 33 and have always wanted to deer hunt, but never really had or created the opportunity to do so. I have been around firearms pretty much all my life and have good sense about me. I enjoy the woods and would love to become a seasoned deer hunter. In my younger days some friends of mine knew the owner of some orange groves and he would let us hunt dove, quail, and rabbit. My buddies have moved on and my contact for these groves has gone away. Heck looking back on it, I really don’t even know for sure if the guys had permission! I decided last year that I would make a real effort to get into deer hunting this year. Well, I have gotten farther than I got last year. A friend of mine that lives about 2 hours away has a hunting lease in Georgia and he said he would take me, of course this fell through. A friend of mine took me with him to his spot in a local public management area and we saw 2 does, it was doe weekend so a ton of people were in the woods. One doe was about 500 yards and walked out of sight pretty quick. The second one caught us by surprise as we were walking out, it was about 200 yards out. My buddy and I tried to get a stable shot by resting on an old wobbly metal fence post. Of course this was the first time I ever had a deer in my cross hairs so the adrenaline was pumping. Needless to say, I shot low and missed. The rest of the day we saw nothing. I have not had a chance to go with this friend again as he has regular hunting buddies he goes to a certain spot with and out of respect for him taking me I told him I would never go without him or his permission and I certainly would not take anyone to the spot. For me it is hard to get into deer hunting. I really don’t have the money for an expensive hunting lease and I’m really not sure how to go about staking out my own area in the management area. Hell, I don’t even know what I would do if I killed one. I have read books and watched plenty of you tube videos on field dressing deer, but nothing is like learning first hand. Can anyone offer any suggestions? Does anyone else have this problem? Is this really a problem or am I missing something? Anyone willing to be a mentor? Thanks for any suggestions!!

Tbull:cool:
 

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I would be your mentor if I wasn't at the other end of the country. As is, the best I can do in response to your post is to give you what I think are the basics of getting started in hunting.

- get a good deer gun (anything from .308 to . 300WSM is a good deer gun)

- get proficient with that gun from 100 yards to 4-500 yards, to where you can put three rounds within 3-5 inches at 4-500 yards

- when you are confident in your shooting skills, go out and monitor the habits of deer in an area where you could hunt when the season comes (find a water source and go out really early, find a place to hide, watch and have patience)

- learn to read sign (animal foot prints and other evidence of their passing through) by inspecting the ground and the bush after you've seen them pass through

- figure out how close you can get to them before they can smell you and hear you and build a strategy on that ( you can use soaps for your body and clothes that eliminate most human odor)

- for gutting and skinning skills, practice on smaller things at first and then increase their size. For example, start with squirrels, move on to rabbits, then coyotes, etc.

- understand that there are at least two types of deer hunting: sitting still in a blind for hours, patiently waiting for a shot or actively seeking deer in the bush and stalking it. The second is much harder but it is more enjoyable.

Like you said, no one can really teach you beyond giving you a few pointers so you can start. As you get into it, you will make mistakes, figure out better ways to do it and eventually get really good at it if you enjoy it and stick with it.

I personally enjoy hunting alone or with someone I can count on to take the same approach as me. Hunting alone is like a form of meditation for me and it always fills me with peace, whether I get something or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Declan,
I do own a savage model 110 (pre accutrigger) in .270 with a Nikon prostaff 3X9X40 scope. I am proficient with it at the range @ 100 yards. i have not been on the 200 yard lane. I will make it a point to get on the 200 yard. As far as 4-5 hundred yard shots, I don't have an area that will accomadate that until I go to N.C. on vacation. Thanks for the tips, do you mind if I call on you with questions from time to time? Anyone else with suggestions, please feel free to chime in.

Thanks,

Tbull:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Declan,
I appreciate your willingness to help me. I have a pair of binos on the way but don't have the cash for a range finder at the moment. Could you point me in the right direction as far as range finders go, what features to look for, reliable brands, and so on...........? I am not a name brand kind of guy, so off brands that work are fine with me.

Thanks,
Tbull:cool:


Anyone else with any suggestionss for me please chime in!!!
 

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Declan,
Could you point me in the right direction as far as range finders go, what features to look for, reliable brands, and so on.
Just about any current model range finder is good enough for what you'll be doing with it.

I have a Bushnell Scout 1000 Arc. I paid $300 for it last August and that was a good price.

Here is the exact one I have and it can be had for an even better price- $239 Shipped.

Ebay-Bushnell Scout 1000 Arc

I've used it this hunting season and I am very happy with it. It has a whole bunch of features but I'll be honest with you; I don't use any of them. None of my friends use any of the fancy features on theirs either.

The only thing you really need a range finder to do is tell you how far a target is. If it does that reliably, it's a good range finder.

The only thing I'd suggest is that you get one that is supposed to range out to 1000 yards, at least. The maximum range of a range finder works on really big targets, like a barn or a house.

A range finder that is rated to 1000 yards will read a deer reliably at 500 yards and that's good enough. Not many people will take a shot beyond that.

Of course, you can spend a lot more and get a major brand but in the end they'll do the same thing.
 

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Don't claim to be Fred Bear but I will attempt to help also.

The best advice I can give any hunter, seasoned or just starting out is that it doesn't matter what you have your cross-hairs on. ALWAYS and I mean always know what is beyond your target. It could mean the difference in killing a deer or killing someone else with a bad shot.

- Pattern your game. With that I mean know when they feed, where they feed, what their feeding on and their route of travel to and from the fields. Whitetail deer feed the majority of the time at night throughout the morning hours and they venture back to their bedding sight during the day.

- Reading sign has been touched on, but you need to also read scraps and rubs. A scrap will be an area in the ground were it looks as if someone has taken their foot and cleared off a patch of ground. Bucks to this to mark their turf and will urinate in the scrap. This is compared to a dog pissing on a bush or car tire when marking his turf or allowing other animals to know of his presence in the area.
Scraps will be markings on tree trunks were a buck deer has scratched with his antlers. Compare that to taking a knife and scraping the bark off a tree. The rule as some would say is, the bigger the tree and rub, the bigger the buck that made it. If you find an area with scraps and rubs around, you can get you have a buck in the area, but you have to look and make sure it is fresh sign and not a year old. You should be able to do that by just looking at it.
A doe footprint will remind you of a heart shape in the mud, while a buck print will resemble a cattle print, with a split in the middle, but not as big. A rule on a buck print is the deeper the print in the surface, the larger body mass and weight the deer has. Same with a human print.
Don't know the regulations in your state, but salt blocks can also be used to attract deer to an area your hunting. Check state game regulations for that though.

- Managing Human Oder - this can be done many ways. One way is to go out and spend money on scent lock clothing, which I think is crazy. The wind if your friend when hunting. Attempt to get down wind from your hunting area. With that, I mean have the wind blowing in your face, away from the area you are hunting, which hopefully will carry your scent away from the area. Another tip is to not bundle up with all the clothing before getting to your hunting area. I think you mentioned FL, so temps don't dip like they do here. I have seen too many guys put on all the bulky clothing before entering the woods and by the time they have made the trek to their hunting area, they are all sweaty and hot underneath the clothing from the walk. So guess what? All that sweat has created even more scent emitting from their body.
There are several aftermarket scent hiders on the market from sprays of various animal species, which can be applied to your boots and clothing as well as small scent wafers which can be hung on tree limbs or attached to clothing.

- As mentioned about the types of hunting either from a stand or stalking. I prefer stalking over stand hunting for some reason. Don't ask me why. LOL...A whitetail deer can't see very well. They are color blind and are alarmed by patterns, not color. A deer relies on it's smell first and it's hearing second. On a windy days when so many things are making noise, a deer is not going to move much unless it is spooked or hunting pressure makes it move. I prefer to stalk in those weather conditions, but I usually do it with two other people.

- Field Dressing Game - This is a wide spectrum of information. Everybody has their own way of doing things. You just have to find the one that works for you the best. I just open up the carcass and go to cutting, staying away from the stomach and not busting it. If you do that, it might turn you against deer hunting....LOL However, my cousin is a surgeon and you should see him field dress a deer. He is, as the old saying goes..."like a surgeon" LOL. He will make a cut here and a cut there and minutes later, everything is laid out in a neat little pile on the ground. Seriously though just search youtube and you should get a good sense of how to do it. Not very hard, just stay away from the stomach and please don't gut shoot a deer. LOL

There is so many things a person could sit here and tell you. Now whether it is exactly right? That is your opinion, but it works for me. The other best advice I can give besides knowing what is beyond your target is to just get out and hunt, learn from your mistakes and don't think you are going to go out and slaughter deer each trip. Watch video's and read. But again, the best experience is hands on.

Hope this helps and one other thing. Any time you get the chance, once you feel comfortable in hunting yourself...Take a kid hunting or fishing because you never know what positive affect it could have on them later on in life.

AND JUST REMEMBER....THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WALNUTS AND DEER NUTS IS THIS: WALNUTS ARE $1.22 A POUND AND DEER NUTS IS UNDER A BUCK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nomad,
Thanks for all of the info. Hunting in florida especially in a public management area does pose a real threat of being accidentally shot or shooting someone, everything is so flat. I am always very safe with a firearm, but you are correct I will constantly remind myself of what is beyond the target, you can never be to careful. thank goodness for hunters orange :thumb:. I have heard people say they don't like having to wear it, but on my first trip to the public management area I found out why it is so important, people were every where. My buddy said it was crowded because it was "doe weekend". You would be amazed at the places an orange vest would show up.

One of the reasons I want to become proficient in deer hunting is so in a few years I can take my daughter hunting, I want her to learn and spend time with me in the woods. She is only 14 months now, she already owns 2 guns!!! LOL (gives me an excuse to buy!).

My family jsut got about 15 acres in N.C. My brother-in-law and myself plan on hunting it the week after christmas. He is fairly new to hunting also. His father, my father-in-law, hunted the area while he was growing up and killed many many deer, he will be there to assist with guidance. Apparently the land has a bunch of deer that frequent it, we will be hunting from Blinds. I am looking forward to it. My bro-in-law was up at the property about 3 weeks ago and they saw a few deer but either didn't get a shot or they were in the brush.

I plan on looking for a hunting lease close to where I live after the season. I also plan on going to the management area and scouting after the season, to get better prepared for next season.

Thanks again for the info!

By the way, great joke!! LOL

Tbull:cool:
 

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Good luck man. Sad thing is I live in Minnesota and haven't once been deer hunting. When I was younger I really wasn't interested. I'd like to get into it now. And would love to do some bird hunting. Duck, grouse, pheasant, etc. Just really don't know anyone that goes. Hard to believe in this state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
MK-9,
It is tough when you are not"in the know". These guys are giving me some great info and I plan to use it. Maybe others like you and I can benefit from the knowledge on this board.

My father-in-law was telling me stories about phesant hunting in Kansas. It sounded like a great time. I'm going to try and get a trip up some time! Gives me an excuse to buy a over under shot gun, I have admired them for oh so long!!

Anyone else have any ideas????

Thanks,

Tbull:cool:
 
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