Any tips for a new hunter?


July 19, 2007, 11:21 AM
Hey everyone,

I'm 21 years old and I've owned guns for almost 3 years now, although I've always been into shooting, and recently I've been wanting to get into hunting. None of my family or friends hunt (not because they are against it, but just because they never have really wanted to), and the only friend that I have that does hunt, is an older gentleman who is a friend of the family and lives all the way up in PA. Like I said, I've been wanting to get into hunting, and I really have no clue where to start. As far as guns go, I have a single shot break action NEF Pardner 12 gauge shot gun, and a Rock Island Armory GI 1911A1 .45ACP handgun. I could also probably borrow my mom's 9mm Beretta M92FS Inox if I ask nice enough, but those are handguns and I'm not sure if FL will let me hunt with those, so it seems that for the time being I'm limited to hunting with my shotgun. I'm thinking Turkey or Geese, Ducks, Quail, etc, although I would love to hunt deer, and any other 4 legged critter that tastes good. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's called "buckshot" for a reason right? Meaning, I could probably hunt deer with a shotgun and the proper loads right?

Funds are somewhat tight right now (broke college student...) but I could probably afford to get a rifle if it's in the $200-$300 range if I save up a bit. I'm thinking a used hunting rifle in the 30-06 or .308 caliber, or even a surplus Mosin, Springfield, or Mauser would serve me well for just about anything that walks around these parts.

Basically, I have no idea where to start. I know I want to get into hunting, and I know I love being outdoors, and have a healthy love and respect for firearms, but other than that, I really have no clue where to begin, or even what is in season here in FL, or anything like that. Any tips at all, such as equipment I would need to start out, Licenses, hunting groups I could get in touch with, etc would be appreciated. I'd like to start by Fall, so anything I should be doing to prepare?

Thanks for any info.

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July 19, 2007, 12:04 PM
Your shotgun is the Gerber multi-tool of hunting. The right loads can do just about everything (though I'd stick to rifled slugs rather than buckshot for deer, if it were me.)

Reading on the internet will tell you a lot, but you'd be infinitely better equipped if you had a friend with some experience. Do you know anyone who hunts? Does one of your buddies know someone?

I spent my first turkey season scartching a slate from sunup to sundown, and couldn't figure out why my efforts were fruitless. The next day I tried again, and an older gentleman stopped by to politely tell me I sounded like crap. He actually sat down and showed me how to use my call, and moved me to a better spot. I got a gobbler that day.

Hunters are pretty good about sharing their sport, try to find someone locally, and you'll get a great education.

July 19, 2007, 02:26 PM
Well, most of my friends are in the 18-22 year range, and like most of the people my age today, they're not really much into shooting or hunting. I have a friend who's really into airsoft and paintball and activities that involve "heading out into the woods with buddies and trying to relive Red Dawn with paintball guns", but he's not really into hunting. I took him shooting for the first time the other day and he loved shooting real guns, so there might be some hope for him yet :neener:

However... The guys at my local gunshop seem very friendly and knowledgeable (even if they are slightly over priced...), so I'm sure that if I show up and start asking questions, they might be more than happy to help me out, or hook me up with some local groups and hunters, especially since I might end up buying something while I'm there. I'll have to drop by and say hi one of these days. Although I gotta be careful, because everytime I go into a gunshop, something ends up following me home afterwards:D

I learned that I'll need to take the state of FL hunter's course before I can go out and hunt on public land, or get a license, so that's one thing I'll need to take care of first. Overall though, this is probably going to turn into a fun project for me, and will probably end up being a life long hobby for me, as I do love the outdoors.

July 19, 2007, 03:26 PM
I think most states now make you take a hunters Safety/Education course if you haven't hunted before. I know thats how it is in NJ.

I am going hunting for the first time this year.
So I have been doing some research online to prepare.
Happily my friends friend is into duck hunting so I asked if we could go together. It is one thing to read tips and be able to shoot something, but I don't expect I will be able to find an animal and know what to do with it if I shoot it. That is where going with someone experienced come in.

Your shotgun would be a good start for hunting, here in NJ you aren't allowed to hunt with a rifle (there are a few exceptions).

I am interested to hear what advice you get here since I am in a similar boat.

July 19, 2007, 05:13 PM
Your NEF will do fine for anything from small game to deer. If you do want to purchase a rifle for deer hunting, shop around until you find a good price and spend the bulk of your budget on your optics. Don't scimp on your scope.

July 19, 2007, 05:22 PM
I think the .30-06 is a gret all around round for any game in N America. You'll need a hunting license and most likely to take a hunter safety/education class before one can be issued. I'd find an experienced hunter/guide to take you on your first hunt or two. Proper clothing and tools are the next on your list. Hynter Orange hat/vest/a good knife, and a number of other things that could take up a whole thread itself. IMHO most important is a sharp knife and laytex gloves for field dressing. Hopefully a guide will do this for you for the first time.

Good luck.

July 19, 2007, 05:28 PM
Any tips for a new hunter?

---- Stay down wind


July 19, 2007, 07:29 PM
I would suggest you go through some books on deer hunting and perhaps subscribe to either Outdoor Life or Field & Stream magazines. You can frequently get them pretty cheap.

First place to start is to take the Hunter Safety training. It is required in almost (or all?) states prior to the purchase of your first hunting license. They should be offered this summer and early fall in your area. Visit the gun shop and they will probably hook you up with a class.

Check out the seasons and so forth in FL at the state fish & game agency. If you are thinking about deer hunting, I'd look at the records for last years deer harvest which is usually available online. It is usually organized by county.

Look for public land availability for hunting. Find some and spend time out in the area starting in the middle of the summer.... almost there.

Keep in mind your hunting firearm when choosing a location to hunt. You will want to limit your shots for deer to under 100 yds and better yet under 50 yds. Go to a range or a place you can shoot your shotgun with slugs and get used to the recoil and where it is shooting.

Small game hunting is a great way to get you out in the field where you will start seeing wildlife, tracks, trails etc. Use regular shotgun (shot) for small game... usually #6 is a good overall shot size.

Check on public land and wildlife management areas in FL. Do this pretty soon as in my state you have to apply for a "tag" to hunt these areas for deer. It is the state's way of managing the herd.

Best way to learn is to go with a friend. If no one is available, then just get out there and start hunting. You will learn a lot by your mistakes. I like hilly areas to hunt as you can see further and they tend to funnel wildlife (deer) through the hollows or small valleys. You're in FL so hills are few and far between.

Start with the state wildlife agency web site first and go from there. Talk about it at the gunshop or find a club you could join.

Lots to learn. Sometimes the hardest part is finding a place to hunt by getting permission from the landowner or hunting public land. You have to do the leg work.

I would keep your eyes open for a used rifle in the 243 to 30-06 range with heavier emphasis on the 270, 308 and 30-06. But 243's are fine too with 100 gr bullets.

Good luck.

July 20, 2007, 01:13 AM
Assuming that you intend to go after deer, I would recomend a budget rifle like a Savage or such. You can probably get one, with a scope, for about $400.00. 30-06 and 308 are good choices.

You could go for a mil-surp rifle, such as a Mosin-Nagant, but it may take a bit more skill to use the iron sights under pressure, and you should limit your shots to within 100 yards, for the sake of the game.

Take a hunter safety course, and learn the regulations for the area you intend to hunt. The state will provide you with information booklets, usually available at sporting goods shops.

Also, read up on the net and in books about gear that you will require. You will need a good knife, but you will also want to get survival gear, rain gear, etc.

Next, I would talk you your friend. Persuade him to go with you. He can probably give you lots of good advice, and it would be a good time in the wilderness.

Have fun.

July 20, 2007, 09:55 AM
If you've got 200-300 bucks to spend on a rifle, get yourself a used Savage, a new NEF Handi Rifle, or a 30-30 lever action (Marlin, Winchester, or whatever).

Any of those will do fine to 200 yards.

Equipment doesn't need to be expensive. Get a compass, a sharp knife, a day pack, first aid kit, and a water bottle.

Make sure you dress appropriately for the geography and climate. And get a durable, comfortable, and quiet set of footwear.

Get out into the woods, and look around. Educate yourself on what deer sign looks like, what food is in the area, where the water is, etc.

Develop a lot of patience.

Do all that, and you're golden. :D

July 20, 2007, 02:47 PM
Being a fairly new hunter myself, I think the best thing you could do, if you have the time, is get out in the woods and scout for game in the areas you will be hunting. Learn the signs that game leave and try to find them. See if you can get into shooting range of the animals too. Spend as much time in the woods as you can.

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