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How to hunt Empty How to hunt

Post by 12acrehome on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:58 am

It seems to me, based on posts here, as well as posts I read elsewhere, and conversations I have had with co-workers, that people are too far removed from the hunt. Basic skills and knowledge that seem normal to me are all but unheard of these days. With that in mind I offer the following, and welcome questions.

Lets start with the most overlooked aspect of hunting, that is hunting pressure. Too many intrusions, too much game shot at, or taken and the survivors leave. This is one problem with open public hunting ground. 1,000 acres invaded by as few as 500 people will cause birds and squirrels to leave, and deer, and rabbits to become nocturnal. On private lands, 7 acres hunted by one will be empty after a week of daily incursions. Lets say you have access to land, and want to hunt deer. You build a stand in what looks to be a great spot, but see nothing. You go to your stand before sun rise, and do not leave until sunset, and still nothing. You have been patterned, the deer have just watched you stroll through their living room with a flashlight, climb a tree, and not leave. Yup they are that smart, you will not see 'em again for weeks.

So what do you do?? It depends...

"A large garden will support a good shoot about once a fortnight" John Darling (an englishman on hunting with pellet rifles) A large garden could be as small as a few acres, or as large as a small farm (200 acres or smaller). A good shoot seems to refer to a productive and active hunting trip into the area. and a fortnight is 2 weeks (14 days) ( I had to look it up Embarassed )

Small game is good to learn from. The weapons used promote accurate shooting, are relatively quiet, and cheap to shoot so there is no reason not to become proficient with them. I'm talking about .22's, pellet rifles, and to some extent shotguns here. A 20 gauge has sufficient power to take any game encountered in North America, if loaded properly, and the game is within range. What about Moose or Elk you say? Consider a 62 caliber bullet traveling at 1,300 fps and weighing around 475 grains will deliver around 1,800 ft lbs of energy. This will penetrate any living tissue on the continent. The trick is knowing how far you can shoot, and where to aim. A pellet rifle is fully capable of taking small game, and really teaches the need for shot placement. My Beeman RS2 in .22 caliber delivers only 20 ft lbs from a 14.3 grain .22 cal pellet traveling at 830 fps. Experience has taught me that my effective range is 30 yards. I have hit targets as far as 60 yards, but not with enough consistency to try taking game at that range. At 30 yards pellets tend to pass through a squirrel, whether hit in the head, or in the heart/lung area. Either shot will humanely take game, but both are 1 inch or smaller targets. Shot placement is critical. Equally critical is learning where to look for your quarry. Nut trees are a source of food for most game animals, from turkey to squirrels, to deer. Acorns are eaten by all of them. So find a productive Oak tree, and observe...note the development of the nuts, and the changing of the leaves as the year progresses. Now look for squirrels visiting that tree. They are visiting other trees that are the same species as the one you have been watching. So when you head to the woods look for trees just like that one, same leaves, same bark, same nuts. While you are in the woods, look for Hickory trees, and Black Walnut trees. They will be using these as well. Time to test your skills in woodcraft. Move silently from tree to tree, without being seen or heard.

We'll talk more later Wink

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

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Post by dizzy on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:54 pm

I wish you lived around here. I could learn so much from you.

IDing the trees and moving quietly for me isn't a problem. And, even seeing the animals isn't. But that's about it. I don't know where to place a shot nor if I had bagged something, what to do w/it once I had it.

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Post by 12acrehome on Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:06 am


_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by 12acrehome on Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:52 pm

The ethics of hunting and for that matter fishing is something each individual hunter must square within themselves. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

A hunter has a paradoxical relationship with his or her quarry. On one hand we try to ensure they have proper food and habitat to thrive and grow. On the other hand we try to kill them. Now for me I try to improve habitat, and keep the general health of the woodlands I tend to so that the creatures that live here have the best chance to grow and thrive. Now as a hunter, I harvest food. If a trophy comes along, yes I will take that animal, but my primary goal is for food, and to test my abilities in woodcraft.

The proper way (according to my little broke thinker) to humanely harvest game is to cause as little pain and suffering as possible. Crudely called "bang flop" kills are desired. Basically at the shot, the animal dies as it falls, no running, no terror, no pain (perceived). This is only done by disrupting the central nervous system, and causing a sudden and dramatic drop in blood pressure. The combined paralysis and fainting creates the effect of just pushing an off button. A careful study of the animals in question is a top priority.

Now for those who choose to argue that hunting or fishing is immoral or counter to God's will, re-read Genesis. God has given us dominion over the animals and plants in His creation. This does not mean we are allowed to abuse or inflict harm willy nilly, but we are told they are food.

More later...

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by dizzy on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:13 pm

Agree 100%. I'm a naturalist by training and people can't understand how w/my background I can be pro hunting. There is something known as the saturation point. Any given area can support only so much of any one species and no more. Any more of that particular organism, and they'll die. This includes both plants and animals. I'd much rather see a well placed kill shot than a slow death due to starvation.

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Post by 12acrehome on Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:21 pm

You know more than 80% of the sport hunters in my area. Even a wood lot needs to be kept in shape by selective thinning and opening the canopy. Brush piles placed in the edge of the woods and an area of grasses allowed to grow up does a lot for rabbits and birds both for shelter and foods. Some trees are girdled (a band of bark removed to kill the tree) and left standing. This is for bats and birds to use. Selective pruning of young nut bearing trees can help them to have more or less canopy at maturity depending on what is desired. Tree spacing is also a consideration. Close for "timber" wider for habitat.

and remember to let the area rest for several days between intrusions for hunting and maintenance work.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by Rohn on Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:14 pm

This is a good discussion on hunting. I do my share of hunting and fishing. A few years ago we ate almost all wild meat all year long. I don't get to hunt quite as much anymore.

One thing I might add to this discussion is that if you plan on using air guns, make sure it is legal to do so in the state where you live. Many states do not allow air guns to be used in the taking of game animals.

Another thing is as soon as you kill an animal dress it out. My squirrels and rabbits are skinned and dressed on the spot. With deer the entrails are taken our immediately and as soon as I get them home they are skinned. You want the meat to cool down as quickly as possible. It keeps it tasting good.

Happy hunting everyone!!! Very Happy
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Post by 12acrehome on Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:00 am

Excellent points Rohn, thanks for adding your perspective.

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by 12acrehome on Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:41 pm

To expand on Rohns points;

The idea of cooling the meat quickly for flavor preservation is a valid point. There is virtually no fat in wild game meats and these lean meats tend to spoil quickly. In my 36 plus or minus years of hunting (I started at age 9) I have allowed exactly one animal to spoil. A squirrel, left too long in the fridge. So here are my personal guidelines for meat harvesting. First and foremost, I do not hunt in hot weather. If the temperature is above 60 degrees F, I do not hunt. At 40 degrees F ambient temperature you have one hour to field dress the animal and get a cold water cleaning completed.

Aging venison is asking for trouble. There is not enough fat on a deer to allow this to be done. Our beef is aged 21 days before being cut up and packaged. The ones we take to slaughter have a 9 inch thick layer of fat and is kept at a constant temp of 35 degrees. The outer 6 to 7 inches of fat turn into a wax like coating that seals the meat from the air (oxygen) which combined with the temperature prevents the meat from spoiling. Since you cannot control the temperature well enough, and there is not enough fat in wild game you should never attempt to age wild game.

If the high temperature for the day will be 50 degrees or lower, you can wait a few hours to process and package the meat. If you kill the animal in the late afternoon and the over night temps will not exceed 40 degrees you can wait until the next morning to process a deer. You can pack the body cavity with bags of ice to help cool and preserve the meat.

Freeze and then thaw and blanch any meat you intend to make into jerky. If you want to bacon wrap some fillets from the back strap, slice to size freeze till firm, then wrap with bacon, package tightly and freeze.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by Rohn on Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:02 am

Good points there 12 acrehome. I usually cut up the meat the next day after harvesting a deer. I really think that when someone doesn't like venison it is because they waited too long to put up the meat. Deer done up properly have no bad or wild taste. At least not to me.

I raised my family of four kids on deer meat and when we ran out in the late spring they all complained that the store bought beef was to greasy. Lol.
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Post by dizzy on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:10 am

Might explain why some venison I love, other I don't.

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Post by 12acrehome on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:23 am

LOL thanks Rohn.

Dizzy, I have tried some venison that other people have harvested, processed, and cooked that was just plain nasty tasting. Other times I have tried other peoples efforts, and it has been good.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by dizzy on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:35 am

One of the first times I ever had venison was at one of my grandmother's friend's house. And, she didn't tell us it was venison-until I asked. It didn't taste like beef and had kind of a sweet taste to it. I've never had it as good since then.

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Post by Rohn on Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:06 am

Many years ago we received a gas grill for Christmas. New Years came and some friends came to visit us for the weekend. I happened to have some very nice cuts of venison steak on hand. The woman visiting us said she did NOT like venison.

She did not know that I was cooking venison steaks on my new grill (her husband did know).

She ate the steaks and remarked several times how good they tasted.

After a while I said to her, "Well how do these steaks taste after being done on my new grill."

She said, "They are delicious."

I said, "Pretty good for venison, don't you think?"

She could not believe that they were venison and had some more. she had to admit that they were good tasting.

So that is my venison story.
It really makes a difference how the meat is handled after the kill.
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Post by 12acrehome on Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:23 am

Earlier in this thread I said that small game was good to practice on. To expand on my thinking in making that statement;

Small game, namely squirrels and rabbits, are supreme quarry for those just starting out hunting. They are plentiful, found almost everywhere, tastey, and easy to clean and prepare. They are prime targets for a precision shooter armed with a .22 rifle or a pellet rifle(where allowed by law). As for stalking skills, if you can slip into the woods and not disturb these critters, you can stalk a deer. The main difference between small game and larger game (from the perspective of shooting) is the size of the target. The heart / lung area of a squirrel is only about 1 1/2 inches long and 1 inch tall. A mature whitetail deer has a heart / lung area about 4 to 6 tall and 6 to 8 inches long. With lower powered pellet rifles, the target is the head, and only a small part of that. About 1/2 inch circle behind the eye and just around the lower part of the ear. This is a tough target to hit, but only requires 5 ft lbs of energy to cause instant and seemingly painless death. Most "adult" air rifles have a muzzle energy of 12 ft lbs or more. "Magnum" air rifles have muzzle energies of up to 50 ft lbs of energy. Mine has 21, at the muzzle, and an effective range of 70 yards. However, I limit myself to 30 yards due to the accuracy requirements. If your goal is strictly food, shotguns are the weapon of choice. Due to noise levels though, getting more than one shot opportunity within 50 yards is not likely to happen. Shotguns are considered graceful and lively when used on moving targets. They launch a hand full of projectiles (shot) with a single discharge. This bunch of shot expands as it passes through the air, each pellet taking a slightly different path than the others. The shape of the shot charge or shot string while in flight is that of a cylinder. Perhaps even cone shaped. There is a length and a diameter to this cloud of shot while it is in flight. At 30 to 50 yards the shot cloud can develope holes in the "pattern" large enough for a dove to fly through.

More on shotguns and their vagaries to follow

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Post by 12acrehome on Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:58 pm

So you have a shotgun, a place to hunt, and you're standing there looking at the ammo available in the same gauge as your gun and wondering what you need. The el-cheapo stuff? What about that small box of 5 for $7.50, that's gotta be good ammo right? maybe not... If you're hunting quail in heavy cover on a day when they flush close a too powerful load will destroy a lot (relative to the size of the bird) of good meat. A Pheasant flushing at 40 yards, however, requires a bit heavier load of shot. Passing Geese heavier still. But you just want an all around load, for every chore anyone could ask a shotgun to do... Sorry, no such critter exists.

A shotgun, is a simple gun if you don't look too close. A stock, a tube, and a frame that houses a trigger, hammer, and various springs and pins, and ties the other parts into a single hand held tool. That tube is where things begin to get complicated. Between chamber length, actual bore size, and labeled choke. I say labeled because the actual constriction depends on the actual bore diameter. I can delve into that later, for now let's just confine our discussion to the names and relative constrictions of the choke names. The most open "choke" is no choke or restriction at all. This is called a cylinder bore. The fullest or tightest choke is extra full. In between we find (from more open to more constriction) skeet, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, and full. In theory the tighter the choke, the tighter the pattern, and the longer the range. This is only a theory due to each barrel being somewhat different from ideal.

to be continued

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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Post by 12acrehome on Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:18 pm

The actual pattern a shotgun throws at a given range determines how effective it will be on various game. For simplicity I want you to consider your shotgun is a single shot. Now those el-cheapo shells you picked up what does the box say? 12 ga, 2 3/4 length, 2 3/4 dram equivalent, 1oz, #8's. Ok what does that mean? 12 ga is the chamber/bore diameter. 2 3/4 length is the length of shell, 1 oz is the weight of the payload of shot, #8 is the shot diameter, and an indicator of what game it is suitable for.

The best link I have for various shot sizes and their uses is here:
http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html
There is also a chart at the very bottom that shows a theoretical pattern diameter at various ranges with different chokes.

Typically for small game I recommend #6 or #5 shot, if your gun will pattern well with them. For close in upland game birds (quail, dove, pheasant, grouse, etc) #9's to #6's depending on the pattern your gun throws.

Here's a good link on shotgun patterning:
http://www.chuckhawks.com/pattern_shotgun.htm

Now I am not discussing slugs or slug guns here as I do not have any experience with them.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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Post by 12acrehome on Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:26 pm

From the Ky Dept of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) an official document on hunting and hunter safety (in case you're tired of me just rambling on about how I do things Wink )

http://fw.ky.gov/pdf/basichuntingbooklet.pdf

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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Post by 12acrehome on Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:28 pm

Another threat to habitat is a farming practice known as “monoculture”. Here, several hundred acres are planted to one species,
such as soybeans or corn. Trees and fence lines are removed to provide easy access with machinery, and water sources such as creeks
or wetlands are channelized or drained.

an excerpt, or two

Hunters have a conservation ethic, defined as the
wise use of natural resources. People who oppose hunting
often exhibit a preservation ethic. Preserving wildlife seldom
works due to a concept known as chaos in nature.
The remainder of this publication is focused on several types of
hunting, where to find game, how to clean it, and how to prepare
it for the table.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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