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charliebravo77
Jun 11, 2003





Introduction
Yes, this thread involves killing wild animals. Wait, wait, wait don't leave just yet! Do you eat meat? Are you interested in the field to fork/farm to table lifestyle? Do you enjoy spending time outdoors and are looking for a new challenge? Hunting might be just the new hobby for you!

Currently across the US (and some places globally) there is a movement called to help increase Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) of hunters and anglers in every state. The current hunting population is aging out of the sport and new hunters aren't filling in the ranks. Youth programs are generally successful at introducing kids for a couple of years, but as soon as sports/dating/college become priorities many leave hunting by the wayside. A big goal right now is to try and recruit more young adults in the 18-35 year old range to become active in the outdoors. Being an adult-onset hunter myself, this hits home and is something I am particularly passionate about. There's been a hunting thread in TFR for years, but I'm hoping to bring some new people into the fold with this wider audience. Why do we need more hunters? See the next section:

Conservation
Despite what some people think, hunting (at least in North America) is a valuable tool for conservation and wildlife management. Here, hunting is a key component of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
  • Wildlife is a public resource. In the Unites States, wildlife is considered a public resource, independent of the land or water where wildlife may live. Government at various levels have a role in managing that resource on behalf of all citizens and to ensure the long-term sustainability of wildlife populations.
  • Markets for game are eliminated Before wildlife protection laws were enacted, commercial operations decimated populations of many species. Making it illegal to buy and sell meat and parts of game and nongame species removed a huge threat to the survival of those species. A market in furbearers continues as a highly regulated activity, often to manage invasive wildlife.
  • Allocation of wildlife by law. Wildlife is a public resource managed by government. As a result, access to wildlife for hunting is through legal mechanisms such as set hunting seasons, bag limits, license requirements, etc.
  • Wildlife can only be killed for a legitimate purpose. Wildlife is a shared resource that must not be wasted. The law prohibits killing wildlife for frivolous reasons.
  • Wildlife species are considered an international resource. Some species, such as migratory birds, cross national boundaries. Treaties such as the Migratory Bird Treaty and CITES recognize a shared responsibility to manage these species across national boundaries.
  • Science is the proper tool for discharge of wildlife policy. In order to manage wildlife as a shared resource fairly, objectively, and knowledgeably, decisions must be based on sound science such as annual waterfowl population surveys and the work of professional wildlife biologists.
  • The democracy of hunting. In keeping with democratic principles, government allocates access to wildlife without regard for wealth, prestige, or land ownership.

https://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/hunters-as-conservationists/ posted:

Through the Duck Stamp, hunters help protect and restore habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds and wildlife. The stamp, formally called the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, is required as a license for waterfowl hunting. For every dollar spent on Duck Stamps, ninety-eight cents go directly to purchase vital habitat or acquire conservation easements within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, almost 6 million acres of habitat have been conserved with the help of Duck Stamp funds.

Through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, hunters fund a range of conservation programs. The act sends revenue from an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and other related equipment to state wildlife agencies to be used for wildlife conservation projects, hunter education and outdoor recreation access. Through Pittman-Robertson, sportsmen and women have contributed more than $14 billion to conservation since 1937. These annual payments to state fish and wildlife agencies have resulted in the recovery of deer, turkeys and many non-game species Ė with benefits to hunters and non-hunters alike.

Federal and state wildlife agencies depend on Pittman-Robertson money for funding for habitat and wildlife improvement. Like it or not, hunters are the ones largely footing the bill for conservation efforts that not only benefit their own interests, but anyone who hikes, camps, backpacks or mountain bikes. Not only do federal dollars go to work on that front, but many non-profits like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and many others spend millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours lobbying for wildlife and public access, doing habitat work and even purchasing land to put into public easements to increase access.

How do I start?
In the wake of the aforementioned R3 movement, many states have begun implementing "learn to hunt" programs to help adults find mentors, learn skills and get outdoors engaged in hunting activities. The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports is one of the main drivers in R3 at a national level. If your state wildlife/resource agency doesn't list anything related to R3 you can find the designated state coordinator listed here: https://cahss.org/r3-coordinators/

I know that Illinois and California in particular have very good programs as I have volunteered as a mentor with IL and know a CA student who should be stopping by this thread.

You'll probably also need to take a hunter safety course, but if you aren't required due to age you should still take one anyway because it's good to reinforce those safety habits and you might meet some like minded people to network with. From there, you've just got to decide what interests you.

Types of Hunting
  • Big Game - Deer, Elk, Bears, Moose, Goats, Turkey, Caribou and lots of other large 4-legged critters fall into the category of big game and you are generally given a tag for a specific animal such as 1 antlered deer or 1 antlerless deer. Lotteries/draws for tags are far more common for big game and rules tend to be stricter, generally if it has hooves its considered big game.

    Whitetail Buck by charliebravo77, on Flickr

  • Small/Upland Game - Rabbits, squirrels, doves, pheasants, quail and grouse. Small game tags are usually pretty cheap and easy to get and there are generally daily limits as opposed to a specific tag. Small game is the best place for any hunter to start. Small game teaches you the fundamentals of hunting on a smaller scale, it is generally more forgiving and rewarding with less work.

    Wildlife by charliebravo77, on Flickr

  • Waterfowl - Ducks and geese generally. This type of hunting is tons of fun and often involves calling, decoys and lots of equipment. It can be done cheaply depending on where you live, but it can also become a six figure hobby if you have the means.

    The Grove 10-27-2019 by charliebravo77, on Flickr

  • Nuisance/Feral - Hogs, nutria, coyotes, etc. Most states usually have open hunting on animals considered to be feral/invasive or nuisance species. Some can be good eating, some not so good. Often there are no limits or restrictions on these species and it can sometimes result in some unpleasant things like coyote hunting competitions.

    Coyote by charliebravo77, on Flickr
The Real Trophies
IMG_5512 by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Trophy hunting has a lot of misconceptions and while yes, it's always cool to harvest a giant buck with a big rack that's not the only trophy you bring home. Antlers are cool but it's kinda weird to have a bunch of friends or family over to stand around and look at your antlers on the wall. Fortunately, cooking and eating wild game is a great way to share the experience with your loved ones, tell the story of the hunt and enjoy a good meal and some drinks. Contrary to some popular ideas (I was guilty of this misconception myself before I got into hunting) it's actually illegal to kill a game animal and just take the head/antlers home. Wanton waste laws prohibit not bringing home and utilizing most edible portions of a harvested animal. Good thing most critters are tasty. The aspect of food is what got me into hunting in the first place. I have always enjoyed cooking and became a bit of a gun nut in college so hunting seemed like the natural progression combining the two into one.

CO/SD/WY 2019 by charliebravo77, on Flickr
He's licking his chops because he knows how tasty he is.

IMG_5530 by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Venison w/ Blueberry Sauce by charliebravo77, on Flickr











You can also see some pretty amazing places while hunting.



IMG_5045 by charliebravo77, on Flickr

IMG_5179_hires by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Tikka T1X Hunting by charliebravo77, on Flickr





Hunting Media

Want to start consuming more hunting-related content? Good news, there's a ton out there. Here's what I recommend.

A Sand County Almanac - Aldo Leopold
THE most important writings related to modern conservation ethics and morality in North America. Bonus points to anyone who recognizes the photo at the beginning of this post, as that's his cabin where many of the ideas in the book came to life.

Steven Rinella - MeatEater
Rinella should be (and I think is on his way) the face of hunting in America, not Ted Nugent. He's written a number of books including a complete guide to hunting, a wild fish and game cookbook and my personal favorite - The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine which is his pursuit to assemble an unusual feast: a forty-five-course meal born entirely of Auguste Escoffierís 1903 milestone Le Guide Culinaire esoteric wild game recipes.

Rinella has built an entire hunting and outdoor media empire that currently includes a Netflix series, multiple podcasts, YouTube content, print media and even (admittedly some kinda dumb) lifestyle products. Definitely worth checking out, his show is the best there is out there right now.

Randy Newberg
Everyone's favorite uncle. Huge conservation advocate, pretty good elk hunter and all around good source of info on western hunting. He also runs the https://www.hunttalk.com/ forums which can be a good resource for some things.

Remi Warren
Hunting guide turned creator/host. Absolute beast of a mountain hunter. In terms of all around skill and physical ability maybe the best there is.

The Hunting Public
A bunch of normal guys out there hunting public land and smaller private properties putting out great content.

Hank Shaw / Hunter Angler Gardner Cook
Hank is a food writer focused on procuring his own ingredients, which often involves wild fish and game. He had a short lived podcast and has made guest appearances on many of the above individuals' shows. His website has tons of recipes but he has also published three game specific cook books in a series of three - Duck, Duck Goose; Buck Buck, Moose; and Pheasant, Quail and Cottontail. A word of caution - many of his recipes have a lengthy ingredients list that often requires visiting a half dozen grocery stores scouring the ethnic aisle. Which isn't a knock on the recipes or results, but can be a little time consuming.

Conclusions
This post doesn't even scratch the surface of hunting, even in just the US. I would love to see anyone from Europe or NZ or even Africa stop by and share some local insight and stories. Feel free to ask whatever questions you might have and share stories and photos.

Here to espouse "meat is murder" from the rooftops?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2N0Utg7KYE

charliebravo77 fucked around with this message at 00:58 on Jul 18, 2020

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crazypeltast52
May 5, 2010




Those DSLR pictures are amazing!

Iím trying to get back into hunting as I havenít gone since middle school and the TFR thread has helped me figure some things out. Looking forward to this thread as well!

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Hitting the ground running on this thread! Happy to be here.



CharlieBravo brings up a lot of excellent points, but as one of the hunting students I want to emphasize a few things from someone who learned this hobby as an adult.

I don't like killing animals
That's quite fair! I don't generally like wholesale slaughter of animals either. That's why I have moved my meat consumption away from the supermarket and into my own hands. I'm not quite at the point where most of my meat that I eat is from my own harvests, but I would like to get there someday. I'm deeply troubled by the meat industry's practices and don't have access to my own farm, so this is how I consume meat in an ethical manner. If I work hard, take responsibility and don't waste the animal, I know that they lived a good life. They were wild and free and if I did my job correctly they suffered only a swift death. Whatever I cannot take with me the coyotes will enjoy as a feast, but I try to take as much as possible. For me that includes the skull and skin for craft purposes or my own self-reflection.



I live in a place where there is no hunting, or I live in an apartment and cannot accomodate large portions of meat and parts in my freezer

I live in the middle of suburbia, Southern California. It is absolutely one of the worst places to learn hunting in terms of gun exposure, thriving wildlife and spaces accessible someone who wishes to harvest from public lands. If I go eeeeh, an hour and a half away and do some hiking? I am suddenly in deer territory. You can learn by yourself! But I have had thread experts like Charlie Bravo helping me every step of the way, and learn immensely each year, or even every time I throw myself into the wilderness.



As for the freezer problem, this is the buck that my short self is helping to butcher in the OP.


This is a standard apartment freezer and he was flown home from Nebraska, quite easily I might add, back to the desert. All you really need is a working freezer, some planning ahead of time and the O.K. from any housemates. Not enough room then? I've found that my family and friends are quite delighted when I offer them some of my venison. They get a delicious meat to cook, I get to share a memory with them and there's suddenly more room in my freezer.

I've never hunted or so much touched a gun! I wouldn't even know where to start


I'm an adult onset hunter. I only have one gun right now and grew up terrified of firearms and knives. The entirety of my firearms and hunting training is post-college. I'm also an extremely liberal individual who began to take my interest in hunting seriously upon reading the last thread. It's an incredibly amazing hobby and I have met several good people and friends while doing this, even like-minded individuals. It's allowed me to travel more than I've ever thought I'd want to and see more of our country and wildlife.


If you are truly interested, I'd read up and watch videos like what CharlieBravo linked. Some books that helped me decide that hunting is a new hobby I would like to try now own include:

The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game Parts 1 and 2 by Steven Rinella
Buck, Buck, Moose by Hank Shaw as my cookbook
Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt on My Own by Lily Raff McCaulou

Also get OnX, absolutely. No way this is sponsored but it's incredibly useful to not getting lost in the dark and is great for taking visual notes and tracking.


Learn gun safety, take a hunter's ed course and go for some target practice. Soon enough you'll be ready to hit the trails.

I don't know a taxidermist!
I'm still a bit new on this but believe it or not there's plenty of things you can do yourself! European mounts, aka just the skull are easy enough to cook/boil yourself if you have some good soap and money to use on trashing a crock pot. Last year I learned how to properly flesh out a skin, but you can also tan the hide yourself with some practice. Those flesh-eating bugs are for rent in some places, too.



As a continuation of the previous thread, you can expect to see some dead animals and lots of hunting advice, gear talk and other stuff floating around. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and don't worry about knowing nothing. After all I'm only a few years into this hobby and started out in the same spot!



There are many other newbie hunters, and many methods of hunting. From bows to crossbows to shotgun slugs or whatever we can probably help you. And honestly, to me going on a hunt isn't about coming back with a trophy buck or whatever. It's about enjoying and participating in wilderness and sometimes, sometimes getting a cool meal out of it. If you go with friends it's pretty fun, too.



Not everyone is going to be a bleeding heart hippy like I am, sure. But I have found the previous thread an excellent source of inspiration and information, and I hope this one can be an excellent continuation.

Chaosfeather fucked around with this message at 21:52 on Jul 17, 2020

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


Jealous of your pheasant pics, my grandpa always talks about how great the pheasant hunting used to be in this area but theyíre not really around anymore, certainly not in huntable numbers. Only way to hunt them around here is to find someone who breeds them and that just doesnít feel the same to me.

If youíre into whitetail hunting, take a look at dan infalt/the hunting beast. That guy knows his poo poo when it comes to targeting big bucks in pressured areas. His hill country bucks stuff in particular has been helpful to me in understanding deer behavior where I hunt.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




Thanks for the excellent OP! I grew up around a lot of hunting but never did much until I started after college with squirrel and deer. I've fallen out of the habit, but I think I'll pick it up again this fall. We have way too many deer here and it drives me crazy that all the bubbas wait around for that big buck when they could have shot three does and helped the population and gotten lots of meat. I have some friends/family that are avid/rabid turkey hunters and I'd like to try that out in the spring maybe. I'd like to try rabbit too, but I've always been worried about tularemia or whatever. How big of a deal is that?

I have to say squirrel hunting is by far my favorite-it's a pleasant walk in some nice hardwoods with an added bit of occasional excitement.

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

We have way too many deer here and it drives me crazy that all the bubbas wait around for that big buck when they could have shot three does and helped the population and gotten lots of meat.

this year is definitely going to be a meat focused hunt for me. people don't shoot nearly enough does around here, the buck to doe ratios are stupid low and everyone just ends up shooting all the 2 year old bucks and never even consider what would happen if you let them live another year or two.

Ophidian
Jan 12, 2005

Woo WOO, Look a Parrot...
LOOK AT IT!


In NJ, where I live, itís unlimited doe and you can take 2/day for the whole 6 month season. NJ is a pretty great place to bow hunt to fill your freezer.

Rodenthar Drothman
May 14, 2013

I think I will continue
watching this twilight world
as long as time flows.

CA checking in. In the middle of the hunters education course right now, which I really really should finish. I want some pig!

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Rodenthar Drothman posted:

CA checking in. In the middle of the hunters education course right now, which I really really should finish. I want some pig!

Woop! We have an excellent continued Hunter's Education system too, from what I hear.


HamAdams posted:

Jealous of your pheasant pics, my grandpa always talks about how great the pheasant hunting used to be in this area but they’re not really around anymore, certainly not in huntable numbers. Only way to hunt them around here is to find someone who breeds them and that just doesn’t feel the same to me.

If you’re into whitetail hunting, take a look at dan infalt/the hunting beast. That guy knows his poo poo when it comes to targeting big bucks in pressured areas. His hill country bucks stuff in particular has been helpful to me in understanding deer behavior where I hunt.

I like large game hunting in general. It's funny because I've spent much more time hunting Mule Deer than whitetail and have had 0 shot opportunities but that's SoCal hunting for you. Whitetail are my "gently caress it, let's go to another state and get some venison in the freezer while hanging out with friends" option. I'm also extremely interested in Elk hunting but likely won't get an opportunity to learn that one for a while since I need my points to accumulate.

I'm also starting to save up points for Pronghorn and have tried going out for pigs a couple of times. I also enjoy small game hunting but to me killing one large animal for several meals is more satisfying than killing several small animals for several meals.

Also on the radar is black bear hunting, mostly because I keep running into them while fishing. Wanna eat some bear jerky.

Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

Thanks for the excellent OP! I grew up around a lot of hunting but never did much until I started after college with squirrel and deer. I've fallen out of the habit, but I think I'll pick it up again this fall. We have way too many deer here and it drives me crazy that all the bubbas wait around for that big buck when they could have shot three does and helped the population and gotten lots of meat. I have some friends/family that are avid/rabid turkey hunters and I'd like to try that out in the spring maybe. I'd like to try rabbit too, but I've always been worried about tularemia or whatever. How big of a deal is that?

I have to say squirrel hunting is by far my favorite-it's a pleasant walk in some nice hardwoods with an added bit of occasional excitement.

Rabbit is delicious! I haven't encountered any diseased rabbits yet but giving the corpse a once-over to see how healthy they look is a pretty good idea for hunting in general. That and not eating the raw meat. I'd need to look up more about the disease itself but generally if it looks like heathy flesh it's probably okay for cooking.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


BC checking in, hoping a mulie will stay in front of me long enough to take it home this year.

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


My brother drew an archery elk tag in NM this year so Iíll be getting my first taste of elk hunting and western hunting in general in September and Iím super excited for that. Iíve got probably 99% of my gear and Iíve been doing sandbag workouts in my basement but I really gotta hit some hills and longer hikes.

Sprue
Feb 20, 2006

please send nudes


Heck ya glad to see a hunting thread outside of fire arm specifics. It only quasi counts as hunting since she does 90% of the work but I rat with my dog and occasionally tag along with her when she's hunting woodchucks lol. Anyone that's got a dog with some instinct (fascinated with squirrels is a good clue) can get into ratting, though obviously terriers are far and away the best at it. Yes, even if you live in NYC. If you have a strong stomach there are some incredible videos on YouTube showing off astounding skill, clearing barns of hundreds of rats with just a few dogs in less then 20 minutes.

Before we got cats we had a real bad rat problem, I'd walk the farm looking for likely hiding spots (tarps, pallets etc) with a stick and when my dog indicates a spot I'd move the obstacle or beat it with the stick and go "ch,ch,ch,ch". She comes running from acres when she hears that. It's amazing to watch a dog work, and although it doesn't put food in the freezer (unlike urban hunters I do let her eat them tho) it saves huge amounts of food from going to waste bc you can't sell a squash with little teeth marks in it lol and there is literally no such thing as a rat proof barn. The cats fixed the rat problem better then she ever could but woodchucks are still a big problem. A single one of those bad boys can amble down a row of cabbage and nibble the growing tip off a hundred plants in a night and cause damage in the $1000s. We use humane control methods like electric netting and deterrents etc but for the woodchuck that gets through my dog is the go to girl. She took 2 that had been ransacking the crops in the last week. She also makes sure the meat never goes to waste. (She also "hunts" deer aka chases them a couple miles off the farm and comes back w a look)

I'm a big believer that allowing your dog to engage in the behaviors it naturally craves makes a psychology healthy and happy dog. Although we don't hear about it much anymore, rats are still a huge problem in agriculture and even city rats (which obviously have a right to exist) need their populations controlled to reasonable levels. If you think your dog would be pumped for it and you're not above hunting small small game, look for a club near you!

charliebravo77
Jun 11, 2003



Dogs are cool but until COVID my wife and I were gone 10-12+ hours a day and I wouldn't have felt good about leaving one alone all that time. If WFH becomes a permanent thing I might end up getting one.

I did go watch/photo a friend doing some training with his dogs a while back, then hunted with them back in December.

Bingley vom Herbstmond by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Bingley vom Herbstmond by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Gunnar by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Gunnar by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Gunnar by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Pheasant Hunting by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Pheasant Hunting by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Pheasant Hunting by charliebravo77, on Flickr

Pheasant Hunting by charliebravo77, on Flickr

charliebravo77 fucked around with this message at 02:05 on Jul 19, 2020

crazypeltast52
May 5, 2010




Those dogs are having a lot of fun!

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



I love hearing about happy dogs with a job. I worked as a veterinary assistant for a while and so many dogs go absolutely bonkers if they don't have a task they can thrive in. Terriers are excellent at hunting rats and I'm glad your dog loves assisting you (and enjoying a tasty snack).

Hunting with dogs is great when it's good and worrisome when it's not good. I won't get into it but I have a horror story that essentially boiled down to someone trying to encourage me to 'wing' a dog with shot to teach them a lesson. No bueno. It definitely takes patience to teach a dog what the rules are (and teach yourself how to enforce them) but once both of you are trained it can lead to a much healthier human-dog interaction.

Each state has different rules on dog use for elimination of animals (including pests, hunting and trapping). I haven't done a whole lot of research there but it's definitely something that people should look into if they are willing to train a dog. We have such a tight bond with that species it's cool to see how well we work together.

Another animal-assisted way to hunt is falconry! From what I understand it's very difficult to break into (and you need the money/room/time to care for your raptor) but from the conversations I've had with people who work with raptors it can be incredibly rewarding. This is mostly for small game but I'm sure people have heard of the awesome badasses who hunt wolves with Golden Eagles.

Ophidian
Jan 12, 2005

Woo WOO, Look a Parrot...
LOOK AT IT!


If you are looking to purchase an ONX membership:

https://www.camofire.com/index.php/Deals/49

Iíve bought from this company before (never an issue) and this will save you 40% off of a 50 state 1yr subscription.

Sprue
Feb 20, 2006

please send nudes


My partner tried to hunt the skunk last night that's been terrorizing the poultry and causing havoc with the dogs. They got several shots off but didn't hit her, despite having fine accuracy at much longer range. They think their 22 is sighted in at distance but not accurate at close range, is that even a thing? I think I might try to mount her if they can take her.

I did a very brief taxidermy apprenticeship when I was 16 and mounted a pretty decent full raccoon and a buck wall mount which I no longer have sadly. I've done a lot of skinning and tanning since then, some using primitive methods, some with modern chems. It's a ton of fun, mostly I harvest road kill for materials, which is the ultimate ethical source. I'll post later about it, if ppl think it broadly fits under the hunting thread? Plus I'm proud and love to show off my rather large collection

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


Ophidian posted:

If you are looking to purchase an ONX membership:

https://www.camofire.com/index.php/Deals/49

Iíve bought from this company before (never an issue) and this will save you 40% off of a 50 state 1yr subscription.

OnX was a real game changer for me, highly recommend it. Iíve used the single state one for a little while but just recently upgraded to 50 states thru the camofire deal.

Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

SHRIMPDOR WAS A MAN
I mean, HE WAS A SHRIMP MAN
er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
A MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
BUT HE WAS STILL
SHRIMPDOR


I want to get into hunting, been wanting to for years, but the cost of entry and the fact that I dont know anyone else who hunts is fairly prohibitive. I was hoping to do a guided hunt this fall (NJ area), but with Corona, I'm concerned. I enjoy butchery and working with meat, I'm also a fairly decent target shooter. It's just never really come together into an actual hunt, beyond shooting squirrels in a friend's yard. It's really just depressing.

Edit: was kinda in a really bummed out headspace when I wrote that, sorry.

Suspect Bucket fucked around with this message at 16:49 on Jul 19, 2020

Coxswain Balls
Jun 3, 2001



I went on a big game hunting trip last year with one of my profs to learn the ropes and while I learned a lot none of us were able to take any game. I saw some whitetail from my blind but it was muzzleloading season and I wasn't comfortable making a longer range shot as a beginner, especially on a rifle that wasn't one of mine. Hopefully I'll be able to do a hunt with some friends this year to get my own delicious meat.

Sprue posted:

My partner tried to hunt the skunk last night that's been terrorizing the poultry and causing havoc with the dogs. They got several shots off but didn't hit her, despite having fine accuracy at much longer range. They think their 22 is sighted in at distance but not accurate at close range, is that even a thing? I think I might try to mount her if they can take her.

Bullets follow a ballistic trajectory so you need to know at what distance the sighting system is zeroed for and adjust or compensate accordingly. Nicer scopes might have holdover reticles to assist with this but practicing with it at difference distances is the best way to know where it's going to hit and at what range to make sure your kills are as painless as possible. This picture exaggerates the angles but illustrates what's happening.

charliebravo77
Jun 11, 2003



Suspect Bucket posted:

I want to get into hunting, been wanting to for years, but the cost of entry and the fact that I dont know anyone else who hunts is fairly prohibitive. I was hoping to do a guided hunt this fall (NJ area), but with Corona, I'm concerned. I enjoy butchery and working with meat, I'm also a fairly decent target shooter. It's just never really come together into an actual hunt, beyond shooting squirrels in a friend's yard. It's really just depressing.

Edit: was kinda in a really bummed out headspace when I wrote that, sorry.

You should talk to Ophidian above, as he hunts NJ every year and PA frequently.

charliebravo77
Jun 11, 2003



Sprue posted:

My partner tried to hunt the skunk last night that's been terrorizing the poultry and causing havoc with the dogs. They got several shots off but didn't hit her, despite having fine accuracy at much longer range. They think their 22 is sighted in at distance but not accurate at close range, is that even a thing? I think I might try to mount her if they can take her.

I did a very brief taxidermy apprenticeship when I was 16 and mounted a pretty decent full raccoon and a buck wall mount which I no longer have sadly. I've done a lot of skinning and tanning since then, some using primitive methods, some with modern chems. It's a ton of fun, mostly I harvest road kill for materials, which is the ultimate ethical source. I'll post later about it, if ppl think it broadly fits under the hunting thread? Plus I'm proud and love to show off my rather large collection

Taxidermy definitely belongs here. I have done 3 euro mounts (two pronghorn and one mule deer) and a miserable attempt at a turkey fan. I'm interested in knowing more but honestly I will probably just do euros forever since they are more akin to a biology reference tool than a trophy and my wife doesn't mind them as much as I know she would dislike a full shoulder mount with eyes staring at her. They're also way cheaper and easier to do yourself.

RE: .22s it's definitely possible that they were zeroed for a much longer distance and at close range rounds were going above the intended target. If I were doing skunk eradication I'd probably be carrying a .22 rifle for distance and a pistol for close up but that's just me and I have those tools available.

Ophidian
Jan 12, 2005

Woo WOO, Look a Parrot...
LOOK AT IT!


Suspect Bucket posted:

I want to get into hunting, been wanting to for years, but the cost of entry and the fact that I dont know anyone else who hunts is fairly prohibitive. I was hoping to do a guided hunt this fall (NJ area), but with Corona, I'm concerned. I enjoy butchery and working with meat, I'm also a fairly decent target shooter. It's just never really come together into an actual hunt, beyond shooting squirrels in a friend's yard. It's really just depressing.

Edit: was kinda in a really bummed out headspace when I wrote that, sorry.

PM me and Iíll be happy to share any info that may be helpful regarding NJ/PA

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



As someone who is just dipping her toes into taxidermy and trying to learn on the fly I'm super interested in your work!

Turn that skunk into a fancy lad or lass.

The only time I'll probably want a shoulder mount is to do something heavily altered - like a mule deer dyed to be melanistic with gold eyes or something spooky like that. Then I could decorate it with a cravat and that's how we got Dapper Dracula Deer's AV.

Otherwise I'm super happy with euro mounts and want to better learn the tanning process to do it myself (instead of just the skinning)

Chaosfeather fucked around with this message at 22:50 on Jul 19, 2020

extra stout
Feb 24, 2005

ISILDUR's ERR


Chaosfeather posted:



I don't know a taxidermist!
I'm still a bit new on this but believe it or not there's plenty of things you can do yourself! European mounts, aka just the skull are easy enough to cook/boil yourself if you have some good soap and money to use on trashing a crock pot. Last year I learned how to properly flesh out a skin, but you can also tan the hide yourself with some practice. Those flesh-eating bugs are for rent in some places, too.




Thanks for making this thread Charlie.

Chaos: Do you mind posting what method you used for tanning your deerskin? And a picture of the leather side if you did it all yourself? I've had an easy time learning squirrel pelts just by knife cleaning, salting, clearing salt 24 hours later, re-salting, then cleaning and using "the orange bottle". I left out the dawn soap and brief warm saltwater bath parts, but you probably know the method

My first deer was a real bitch however, made some mistakes that didn't scale well. The fat froze on the hide, really froze and then I was scraping it by the pound in 10 degree weather, the leather is just so much thicker that the whole process done with one person and a knife ended up being dozens of hours, and still not near as clean a finish as my small game. Beyond the obvious part of immediately cleaning and then salting the pelt, I'm looking for ideas on how to get a cleaner blanket this Fall.

Beautiful pelt by the way!

Sprue
Feb 20, 2006

please send nudes


extra stout posted:

Thanks for making this thread Charlie.

Chaos: Do you mind posting what method you used for tanning your deerskin? And a picture of the leather side if you did it all yourself? I've had an easy time learning squirrel pelts just by knife cleaning, salting, clearing salt 24 hours later, re-salting, then cleaning and using "the orange bottle". I left out the dawn soap and brief warm saltwater bath parts, but you probably know the method

My first deer was a real bitch however, made some mistakes that didn't scale well. The fat froze on the hide, really froze and then I was scraping it by the pound in 10 degree weather, the leather is just so much thicker that the whole process done with one person and a knife ended up being dozens of hours, and still not near as clean a finish as my small game. Beyond the obvious part of immediately cleaning and then salting the pelt, I'm looking for ideas on how to get a cleaner blanket this Fall.

Beautiful pelt by the way!

When working deer I believe a fleshing knife to be ideal, similar to this and a big PVC pipe. You basically hang the hide over the pipe and then push off the meat and fat and connective tissue with the blade. Obviously it's a little more complicated than that, but other then buying a $5-10k fleshing machine, the only other real option is to dry it flat and use a sander, which is great for think hides like bear but would destroy a deer easily

charliebravo77
Jun 11, 2003



Sprue posted:

...the only other real option is to dry it flat and use a sander, which is great for think hides like bear but would destroy a deer easily

As someone very interested in bear hunting for meat and not wanting to spend hundreds more to get a rug made, this sounds very interesting and I would love to know more.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


Like a belt sander? I'm having. A hard time seeing how this doesn't end horribly.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Sprue posted:

When working deer I believe a fleshing knife to be ideal, similar to this and a big PVC pipe. You basically hang the hide over the pipe and then push off the meat and fat and connective tissue with the blade. Obviously it's a little more complicated than that, but other then buying a $5-10k fleshing machine, the only other real option is to dry it flat and use a sander, which is great for think hides like bear but would destroy a deer easily

extra stout posted:

Thanks for making this thread Charlie.

Chaos: Do you mind posting what method you used for tanning your deerskin? And a picture of the leather side if you did it all yourself? I've had an easy time learning squirrel pelts just by knife cleaning, salting, clearing salt 24 hours later, re-salting, then cleaning and using "the orange bottle". I left out the dawn soap and brief warm saltwater bath parts, but you probably know the method

My first deer was a real bitch however, made some mistakes that didn't scale well. The fat froze on the hide, really froze and then I was scraping it by the pound in 10 degree weather, the leather is just so much thicker that the whole process done with one person and a knife ended up being dozens of hours, and still not near as clean a finish as my small game. Beyond the obvious part of immediately cleaning and then salting the pelt, I'm looking for ideas on how to get a cleaner blanket this Fall.

Beautiful pelt by the way!

That was my first deer skin, which I did nearly everything wrong and took to a taxidermist to save. I've only shot two deer so I'm by no means an expert at this point... Mistakes like salting at the wrong time, letting the meat and fat freeze on the skin, trying to skin with a havlon blade and more just made it...quite a disaster. Thankfully I know my taxidermist pretty well and he was able to fix everything up for me very nicely, which is what you see there. It has like 5 or 6 spots he had to stitch up.

What I learned last season was the PVC pipe mounted a bit higher with a curved fleshing knife, peeling most of the skin away that way. I did a wrong and had salted it a little beforehand which made it a bit tougher, but this year I learned from our lovely sheep thread in Pet Island (or whatever it's called now) that you can use a pressure hose to flesh out the same thing. Which is great because I used the hose to flesh out the skull's brains so I'll definitely try that method next year. The PVC pipe method was great but I still would get tired or overeager and let the blade jump and that wasn't helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPUjKWwhXpk

I also have gotten a lot better at skinning the deer itself, and enjoyed the fact that the warmer conditions made it basically peel right off really easily. Getting to the corpse before Rigor Mortis set in and skinning it was definitely key in making it easier, and honestly I did more pulling than cutting. Like peeling a very large, fleshy orange.

Since I was staying at the Dapper Dracula Deer family household they were very kind to let me experiment in their garage. We played with dunking it in a solution and stretching methods so you'd need to consult him on what it was. I can't tan at my apartment because we have no outdoor space so I've been sending the taxidermist the half-done skin to finish off, but have dried some bird skins to use for fishing ties. Can confirm just using salt gets you a stiff jerky-like skin, which is good enough for that but not what we are looking for in a good blanket.

I'll let you know when I learn more, but for now I think Sprue is going to be a better source on tanning info. I've gotten to the point where I'm doing euro mounts on my own though, at least for birds. But with all the tiny flesh pockets and trouble scooping out the brains honestly I might just rent those flesh-eating bugs to do it next time. Since working more in the ecology side of things I've met a guy who keeps them and it's much cheaper than sending it to a taxidermist, you just go "here let them eat this" and wait a little while.

Side note: I've got a deer foot in my freezer from my last buck. I'm intending on making it a paper weight for my dad as a part of a family in-joke but need to figure out how to properly hollow it out and cap it. Let me know if you folks have any ideas?

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

I went out to Old Sabine Bottom for what I hoped would be a three evening bow hunt this weekend. I usually spend summer at LBJ National Grasslands but I feel like I need more time with my bow and OSB has a whole lot of of pigs, so here I am. I have a good familiary with this particular area so my plan is to arrive in the evening as it starts to cool off outside, move down the trail pretty quick and identify game trails that cross it, then follow that game trail into the brush and see where it takes me. I think this is a good approach to summer hunting this area for two reasons, the first is that due to the heat hopefully most animals will be hunkered down and sleeping when I move through.This, combined with the lack of hunting pressure will hopefully make them less likely to spot me as I move through the area they are bedded in. The goal for this hunt is to move quick, identify several possible ambush spots and then sit on the one that looks most promising.




So off I went, into the brush. On Friday I actually went into an area I am less familiar with, this side of the WMA is heavily hunted during the fall so I avoid it but since it had likely been devoid of people for months I couldn't resist checking it out.



Probably a hundred yards back I find my first seemingly recent game trail. The brush here is chest high but I follow it back and promptly find water.



There were multiple bedding areas around this little pond along with a game trail leading back into some incredibly dense brush. Grass in this area is often chest high, which brings up an issue I hadnt really considered. How the hell am I going to spot a pig moving through grass that tall, let alone get a shot at it? This little lake is close enough to the road that I can see the roof of cars driving by still. It almost certainly has activity but I suspect anything bedding here isnt going to be doing so until well after dark. So, I follow the game trail back to the people trail and start hiking in further.

As I hike back further I spot several more game trails crossing the people trail. Most of them seem a bit older, and all of them lead back into some amazingly dense brush.



No joke, it is a wall of trees with dense vines hanging off of them forming a curtain. In front of that? Dense brush. At long last, Ive found an excuse to purchase a ridiculous chopper knife like an Ese Junglas. Maybe my Benchmade order getting cancelled wasnt such a bad thing after all. Regardless, I took a hard pass in trying to get back there and kept moving. Eventually I found several recent game trails and followed them in the opposite direction and found a promising spot.



Its a small, marshy clearing with pooled water along the tree line. The ground in the area is still wet which provided a rare opportunity to search for tracks. I walked the outside of the area as quietly as I could, it was literally nothing but a bed of twigs and although stealth wasn't a top priority for scouting on this hunt I was still being way too loud.



There were still tracks though. Animals were moving through here. This was as good a spot as any so I got back into the brush surrounding it and placed myself within 20 yards of the pooled water. Despite my poor track record with archery that should be a fairly easy shot.



I got hunkered down around 7:30 with an hour and a half of light left. From the treeline on the right an animal would be able to spot me, so my hope was that game would approach from the left. Coming from that direction I would be well concealed. I got hunkered down, drank some water and sat. Around forty five minutes later a bobcat came walking by just inside the treeline. Having never seen a bobcat before that was super cool. It was remarkably like one of our house cats, but scaled up a bit and very clearly capable of ripping my face off. It sauntered through the treeline at a leisurely pace and I good look at it twice as it passed gaps in the trees. That was neat! I sat a bit longer and as the sun set I decided to head back a bit early while there was still some light. I doubt much game would be moving through with that bobcat around and coffee sounded good. I needed to get home and get some rest and prepare to come back to try again tomorrow.



Annnnd tomorrow arrived mighty fast. Jesus, where does the time go? I really did not like the area I had hunted on day 1 so I headed back into the part of the WMA I am most familiar with.It too was pretty heavily overgrown. The trail walking in at times was chest high.



At least once walking in I bumped something out of cover. In brush this dense though trying to get after an animal is just a fools errand. The goal here is ambush hunting so I just kept walking.




More of the green hell that is river bottom this time of year. With the temperature dropping and a light breeze this actually is a lovely bit of hiking. The key is just too not think about the thousands of ticks lurking on the grass waiting for an opportunity to drink your blood. Permethrin be thine shield!

I took the same approach as the day before and once again it lead me to water.



Nasty, stagnant water but water all the same. The edges of this puddle were absolutely churned up from animals walking in and out. I moved back a bit and setup within what I hoped would be an easy bow shot of water.



The area leading into the little pond had a lot of trees but not much brush. Visibility was about as good as it gets but I dont think I can make a bow shot through any of that. So I setup my little blind and hunkered down behind it and waited. And as I waited when the wind shifted I could literally smell pig. There had to be pigs around here the question was just where and if they were going to stop by for a drink. I sat for nearly two hours but with no sign of movement and the smell of pigs in the air I decided to get up and walk around a bit. I packed up my blind and stool and started slowly moving out.



Probably thirty yards from where Id been sitting I found what was probably the source of the pig smell. Still shiny with oils and soft to the touch of my boot. Something had been through here recently. So I started slow walking into the wind. I had about fortyfive minutes of light left at this point and facing thewind I was heading back to the trail head anyways, so I slow walked a bit to see what I could see.



And it happened quick. Within a few minutes I spotted the very distinct profile of a pig in the brush. This was a big girl and she was close. I froze, and spotted several more smaller pigs even closer in the grass. The big pig had some pretty dense growths of tree between me and her, but the smaller pigs were just right there in front of me. I fumbled to get my range finder out and eventually got a pig that looked good ranged at 13 yards. I fumbled some more and got an arrow nocked. As all this was happening the big pig was moving closer, and holy poo poo that is a big pig. The pig I wanted moved closer too, she was in grass that came up to her shoulders, as she rooted around at times all I could see was the ridge of her back. I drew my bow, put my 20 yard pin over where I suspected my aim point was and waited. The big pig moved even closer. Instead of looking at my target I was now looking at the big pig. Holy poo poo, that is a big loving pig and it is right loving there. Oh god, now its looking at me, does it see me? Oh god its loving huge and its right loving there, why did I wear this blaze orange shirt? I should probably focus on the pig I want. As I get my attention back on aiming my bow, using my anchor points, and remembering which pin to use the big one oinked the alarm and took off. One of the smaller pigs took off immediately, I moved my 20 yard pin to where I thought my aim point would be if my pig whirled to flee and released. The bow thunked, the arrow flew and my pig took off running with a distinct lack of pained yallowing sounds. I sat down to chill the gently caress out. The whole encounter had probably lasted fewer than five seconds but it seemed much longer. It was really intense.

After I my heart rate settled down a bit I started beating the brush looking for my arrow. I know standard procedure in archery hunting is too wait much longer to allow an animal to expire but I only had about thirty minutes of light left. I need to make a determination if I had hit the pig or not , and if I had locate the start of the blood trail before dark. As long as I found the start of the trail I would have a chance to complete the track by headlamp. I doubted I had hit the pig anyways.



And here laid my arrow. It was a bit dirty but had no blood on it. I had missed cleanly, probably because I used my 20 yard pin to shoot at a 13 yard target. So with my arrow in hand I walked off shamed my way back to the truck. At least I got out of the woods before the local Starbucks closed and could get some coffee for the long drive of shame home. The shot decision process for bow hunting is so drastically different from gun hunting. Encountering game that close with a rifle is a very different process from a bow. I need to do some work on my setup to help slow the process down. I should probably get a t-shirt in some form of camo too since I suspect blaze orange may have been what gave me away this time.

After my encounter with pigs on Saturday I still had one evening left to hunt, but since I obviously need to do a bit of rethinking/reworking of my process for actually taking game I decided to instead head out to the Davy Crockett National Forest to do some target shooting with my muzzle loader. This was also an excellent use of my time. I am going to spend some more time practicing with my bow, possibly switch to a single pin sight and generally think on my experience before going out for another bow hunt.I think I have a workable general strategy for summer hunting this area I just need to work on my bow skills more. This was definitely a good experience in general and I learned a lot.

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Outrail posted:

Like a belt sander? I'm having. A hard time seeing how this doesn't end horribly.

Ive seen people comment about using an angle grinder with a wire brush to break in a hide so I can believe a sander with really high grit sandpaper could do the trick too. I have a deer hide in my garage waiting for me to get around to trying the angle grinder approach on it. I have tried breaking it over a saw horse and it is absolutely brutal hard, miserable work. If I am going to continue tanning hides as a hobby, and I really want to do that, Im going to need to find a better way to break them. Once Ive got a bit more time Ill take some pictures of my setup and how allum tanning has worked for me. I was surprised how simple and straight forward it is, there is just a lot of detail work involved that takes practice to learn.

Flatland Crusoe
Jan 12, 2011

Great White Hunter
Master Race

Let me explain why I'm better than you


DapperDraculaDeer posted:

This was definitely a good experience in general and I learned a lot.

This reminds me a lot of my experiences early on bowhunting. I realized I had the hunting skills to put myself into archery shot situations pretty often but then I realized that getting to that point was just the beginning with archery tackle whereas with a gun it was all but done in the same situation. Iím at least glad it was a clean miss, I lost some animals early on and itís not a fun experience.

Iím not sure what to say with archery gear other than to keep up your shooting and really keep after it. I know I stalled out in becoming a Bowhunter probably right when I was on the cusp of doing it successfully on a consistent basis.

I donít know how you even manage to deal with that level of brush in the summer time. Just going out in TN to set trail cameras last week it was so ridiculously overgrown. Hunting that for a pig height critter would be challenging.

bloody ghost titty
Oct 23, 2008

tHROW SOME D"s ON THAT BIZNATCH


Ophidian posted:

In NJ, where I live, itís unlimited doe and you can take 2/day for the whole 6 month season. NJ is a pretty great place to bow hunt to fill your freezer.

Does NJ allow shotgun hunting? Iím fixing to get my grandadís 12 gauges sent up at the end of summer and do some eastern PA/central NJ if possible.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Archery! Badass!

So you ready for archery bear yet?

Kidding aside that's super cool and I hope you get another opportunity after some practice soon.

Ophidian
Jan 12, 2005

Woo WOO, Look a Parrot...
LOOK AT IT!


bloody ghost titty posted:

Does NJ allow shotgun hunting? Iím fixing to get my grandadís 12 gauges sent up at the end of summer and do some eastern PA/central NJ if possible.

In certain areas, yes.

https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/hunting.htm

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Thanks for making the thread! If anybody wants to know about New Mexico hunting, I've gone after deer and elk with one success in elk.

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Flatland Crusoe posted:

This reminds me a lot of my experiences early on bowhunting. I realized I had the hunting skills to put myself into archery shot situations pretty often but then I realized that getting to that point was just the beginning with archery tackle whereas with a gun it was all but done in the same situation. Iím at least glad it was a clean miss, I lost some animals early on and itís not a fun experience.


This is really what has me hung up. In a gun hunting situation like this its basically a race, can I pick an animal and get a decent shot at it before they spot and/or wind me? Its something i do fairly well so its worked out pretty ok so far. With a bow it seems like my first action should be to get into some kind of concealment, then get a good idea of how many animals I am dealing with, ranges, etc. Then wait for a shooting opportunity. And, if no shooting opportunity passes and the animals spot/wind you, so be it.

I definitely understand now why bow hunters put so much more emphasis on camo. Despite Texas not requiring it for archery only hunts I was wearing a blaze orange t-shirt since it was the only technical style clothing I owned that was super lightweight. Based on what I know about how pigs eyes work Im pretty sure its what got me spotted so fast. I was standing with my bow drawn and pretty motionless, albeit side eyeing that big pig.

Getting used to being that close to the animal will probably also take some time. I generally dont try to estimate the weight of animals but that pig was easily 200+lbs and close enough that I could make out the individual hairs on her ears. It was a visceral experience being that close and about to take a shot at what was likely one of her kids.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


bloody ghost titty posted:

Does NJ allow shotgun hunting? I’m fixing to get my grandad’s 12 gauges sent up at the end of summer and do some eastern PA/central NJ if possible.

drat, how are there any deer left? I'm in barely populated mountain country and they're shortening the doe season to 10 days, 2 deer max and one antlerless.

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Chaosfeather posted:

Archery! Badass!

So you ready for archery bear yet?

Kidding aside that's super cool and I hope you get another opportunity after some practice soon.

I thought I was, but no. I am very much not. Ive got a few more months to practice though! Maybe Ill get it together in time!

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Boliver_Shagnasty
Jan 27, 2010

A Honey Badger doesn't kill you to eat you, it tears off... your testicles.



So I'm a brand new hunter; planning on going out for the first time this fall to hopefully bag a white-tailed deer. No one in my family or anyone I know well hunts. Where I'm planning on hunting is kind of mountainous(not Everest, but definitely some inclines). I was wondering what some people would recommend as far as the best way to get a hypothetical deer out of the woods. I've done a lot of reading about it; some people use tarps and paracord, some people invest in sleds or what are essentially hunting hand trucks, and a lot of what I've read says to just butcher the deer in the field, pack it in those white mesh game bags and pack it out like that. The last option seems like the most appealing to me and just making as many trips as it might take. I'm strong, but dragging a gutted deer for miles up and down hill just sounds awful, but I don't know poo poo. So I was just curious what methods y'all use and why?

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