Never hunted big game
So here's my sad, long tale. I'm 44 years old and have never hunted. I grew up with a father that wouldn't hunt, fish, or even take me camping, he always relied on my mother to take me fishing and camping. Both my parents were against hunting. My father told me a story of the one time he went hunting and shot a deer which didn't die and how it screamed like a little baby. I had invites from friends and uncles to go hunting but by then I was also against killing any kind of big game. 12 years ago I met my fiancee who had 3 kids, 1 girl and 2 young boys. Both boys expressed an interest in learning to hunt which started me to rethink everything about hunting that I had been brainwashed into believing. I went as far as to trade a sig pistol for a rifle and scope from a buddy which I've had for about 10 years now. I've hinted to uncles and cousins about my interest in LEARNING to hunt but never an invite. That's ok, I understand that hunters are a tight knit group and I believe it's hard to break into that group of hunting buddies that have been hunting together for decades.
Time flies by and my youngest boy is in his last year of school and the older boy is in the Navy which my youngest boy is probably going to follow in his brothers footsteps as soon as he graduates. So, I've lost the chance to pass on the hunting experience and tradition that should be such a basic skill of life. If that makes any sense.
The buddy I traded with for the rifle is an avid hunter and has said he will take me hunting. He took another friend of mine hunting for the first time which amounted to driving the back roads in Eastern Oregon until they seen something to kill. That's where I have a problem. I'm not looking to just kill something. I want to LEARN to HUNT. I want to get away from the roads, the towns etc. and get into the wilderness. I know this may sound a bit corny. I look at these old pictures of hunters and wonder how these guys were ever able to hunt without all the camo and gadgets, not that I have anything against all the gadgets and stuff.
I read all the hunting mags and just got my last issue of EHJ so I need to subscribe again. You can only learn so much from dvds and magazines. I am at the point now where I feel like I'm just going to go find me an area to hunt and see what happens...maybe next year. I read how all you real hunters are waiting all year to hunt and I want that excitement and anticipation also. To be able to put meat on the table that wasn't killed by someone else, just the whole experience I guess is what I'm looking for.
So I know there are mentoring programs for youth hunters and am wondering why is there no mentoring programs for adults that would like to LEARN how to actually hunt? At this time I can't afford a guided trip and I'm not entirely sure how these outfitters would feel about teaching someone how to hunt and why or why not to take an animal, etc.
I live on the Oregon coast and there is big game all around me. I get deer in the back yard and since the dump is a half mile behind the house I get the occasional black bear on the front deck trying to get into the garbage can. So I know there's big game around but shooting something in my backyard is not what I consider hunting.
I need to learn every aspect of true hunting from the start to the finish. I am sorry for the long sob story. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Maybe I should just take up my buddies invite to drive around? At least maybe I would be able to learn how to clean a deer.
Grab the regs, read them, and then the very next day (go on a weekday during the day if you can, this time of year) go to the oldest hardware store you know of, you know the one, the hardware store that has the old wood floors and a little bell on the door when you walk in? The one that has old deer and elk mounts with cobwebs all over and the owner greets you when you walk in, that’s where you want to be. Ask that guy for help as you buy your tags. Don’t be afraid to tell him everything you just told us.
Then, drive to the nearest national forest, park the truck at the first clear cut and go poke around. Just have fun, and enjoy being out. You probably won’t get anything, may not even see anything but just remember that there are tons of guys out there that have hunted for years and have not gotten anything, check out some of the posts on this forum. It amazes me how guys hunt for years and never get anything!
I think a lot of people, maybe like you, would like to go but are intimidated about the whole process. People want to know what will happen before they even go. You won’t know unless you just go out there and do it. You don’t need much, just what you have. If you fall into the “gear trap” you will be buying all kinds of stuff and wasting money on things that you don’t know you will like or even need. You will keep buying and not be sure if you can do it, trust me, you can do it. Go out there and have fun.
As far as cleaning a deer. You can watch a few youtube videos but the only way is to just get in there and make it happen. Cut around his bung hole and then go right up his belly to his sternum. You will be able to figure it out from there. All of us had a heck of a time at first, even with someone showing us how. It will look like crap your first time but just keep on keeping on.
Just noticed you are from Oregon, we rented a beach house at Rockaway Beach a week and a half ago. I don't know if it was close but there looked to be some pretty decent blacktail areas on that road from Tillamook to Portland. I saw a few clear cuts in the Nat. Forrest (Tillamook National Forrest?), I have no clue if they are any good or even open but looked like there should be some blacktail in there, I know there are Elk, I saw Elk including a nice little herd with a rag horn right out of Tillamook.
Here's a bit of advice that comes to mind. Take it for what it is worth and keep in mind I don't know how much of an outdoors man you are right now so some of what I say might or might not come off as obvious.
I would just go out with your friend the first time on a deer hunt. Ask him if he can teach you a bit instead of just driving around. If he is willing to teach then be willing to learn. Ask about the different tracks in your area, different scat, different trails, different animals. You might want to have someone with you as it is difficult to differentiate between certain deer species. He won't know everything, none of us do (even though most of us probably think we do).
You are asking to learn a lot with your first experience if you want to go on a backpacking hunting trip. You're exactly right thinking that there's more to hunting than driving around and shooting the first thing you see. You also don't want to bite off more than you can chew. Going on a "do it yourself" hunt in the back country would be a lot to take in on your first hunt. There are survival skills that come into play in the back country.
Just remember its not always about the trophy (though it helps sometimes) but rather the adventure, sights, and sometimes the company.
By the way, its never to late for you to teach your kiddo's. I'm 30 and still learning from my old man.
Well said CH
Check out YouTube. Guy did a few video clips on field dressing that are great. They are in elk but its the same just smaller. Good luck. Your asking the rite questions. You could probly get a book too that can help.
Hey Chippy, that herd of Elk just south of Tillamook is well known around here. They've been in that area for quite a few years from what I understand. Occasionally there will be a monster Bull in the mix.
Originally Posted by Chippy Hacky
First off I would like to thank you all for your responses! I think what I've decided to do is take up my buddies invite to take me hunting as he is taking my other friend hunting for his second try. I don't think I will actually hunt though. I just have a problem driving the roads looking for something to kill. I figure atleast this way I might pick up some info along the way and even possibly get involved with the whole gutting, skinning process. I also think that I will wait for hunting season to end and start scouting some places that might be good possibilities for next year and see what I can find and learn. I think it's probably a good Idea to wait for the season to end before I start scouting so I don't screw up someone elses hunt?
I have found these dvd's on amazon:
Anyone ever seen these and are they any good. They seem to have pretty good reviews.
If you disagree with my plan of action please let me know. I think what Chippy said is very true about being intimidated and scared were going to do something horribly wrong and unethical that keeps alot of us from just going out there and hunting. I think it was FDR that said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I think in this day and age of info comercials and programs telling us we need every new product under the sun that we tend to over complicate hunting. Our grandfathers used to hunt without camo, scopes, high powered magnum ammos or gargleing deer urine, all though I'm all for trying to give myself the best chance of success I'm not about to gargle with deer pee. sorry about the little rant, got carried away.
Thanks again for the helpful advice!
Ok there are a bunch of field dressing videos out there and a few good ones along with some disturbing ones also! I definently have learned I dont want to puncture the stomach on a big Elk! Thank you!
Originally Posted by Ikeepitcold
IMHO the best way to learn hunting is by scouting. Find an area that is easy to access, grab some binos, and start poking around. You will learn more about game in a few scouting trips than a dozen hunting trips because your focus is different. And it's free. Take a good camera and try to get pics up close at animals. Then once you can consistently get a good pic or two of game on each trip, buy a tag and go during hunting season. I take kids and non- hunting friends with me scouting whenever I can because it is a great no-pressure introduction. It's fun, cheap, at a time of your choosing, and you usually have woods to yourself- what more could a guy ask for.