Rifle Hunting


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Jaenak
January 19, 2008, 04:29 AM
Now, please understand that I'm a long time archery hunter and when I ask this it's not because I'm dissing rifle hunting but because I really don't know.

Whats the challenge behind rifle hunting besides accuracy? In archery you've got all sorts of challenges. First, you have to scout the woods and search for signs of the proper animals in the area of the woods you'll be hunting. When you've finally been able to almost step on them, you need to track the animals to see where they go so you can lay out a general pattern, a set of habits so for the most part you know where they go and when. Second, you've got the stalking. You need to either get into a tree stand and hope to God that massive buck doesn't look up (more often than not they seem to) or you've got to sneak around in the woods and close the distance between you and that prized buck out there. If they see you moving, hear you, smell you, or they see your outline or the difference in coloration between your clothes and the bushes and grass, then you're screwed and the deer practice their racecar impersonations. Doesn't sound that hard until you realize that the animals are about four times more observant and have WAY more sensative senses than humans and that you need to be within roughly 20 yards of the animal and all of a sudden the hunt becomes really hard.

Besides accuracy, what's the challenges behind rifle hunting? You've got the scouting and all that sort of stuff but you don't have the stalking. All you need to do is set up your rifle and a bipod or something within 500 yards of the area you scouted and assuming you're accurate and the deer really are in the area like you thought when out scouting, then you've got one in the bag. I'm missing something though, I've got to be missing something. However, judging by what I can think of, it sounds just a little too easy. It sounds like you go for a stroll through the woods one fall day with your rifle, sit down for a little while to catch your breath and come home with an animal. See what I'm saying? What really are the challenges a rifle hunter faces in the course of a "common" hunt? What makes rifle hunting hard?

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Nematocyst
January 19, 2008, 04:56 AM
Besides accuracy, what's the challenges behind rifle hunting? Jaenak, I'm not an archer.

I respect what archers can do. I think that stalking close enough to kill game, say a deer, is valiant.
(Even though I have friends who complain that deer eat the plants in the garden near the back porch.
How much challenge is it to loose an arrow out the back door and get dinner?)

But your question implies that most of us hunt for the "challenge" of it, as if it's sport. Sport is about challenge.

Yet, speaking only for myself, I don't hunt for challenge. I hunt for food.

Now admittedly, I haven't hunted in decades. I'm just gearing up for that again now.

Yet as a kid, when I hunted, I hunted for food. See, my family was dirt poor. Most times, we could afford hamburger, but rarely steak. So when I brought home meat with the gun, we ate meat closer to steak than burger. Squirrel was my favorite, rabbit second. Dove and quail were a close third and fourth.

I wasn't hunting then for "challenge" (even if it was always challenging).
I was hunting because I was hungry (and liked the taste of squirrel).

I could have hunted squirrel with a blow gun or sling shot for "challenge", but - being hungry - chose not to.

Now, I'm gearing up to hunt again, but - again - for food, not sport.

One never knows when things might get bad enough - say in an economic collapse - that eating is more important than than the challenge of hunting. I'm betting that I can put food on the table easier with a .30-30 or a .22 than with a bow.

Again, that's just my view.

Nem

uk roe hunter
January 19, 2008, 06:14 AM
I don't hunt for food. I can pop to ASDA or TESCO and buy loads of stuff in the shop, really easily. If i choose to spend the time i hunt at work doing overtime i can earn 200 a day(on a public holiday) that would be 2 complete pigs or 4 complete lambs. so i hunt for the challenge, it is just the same as Jaenak says about bow hunting. i hunt in woods and the dificult bit is getting in position to pull the trigger.

Bearhands
January 19, 2008, 07:46 AM
You mention not having "stalking" and say "All you need to do is set up your rifle and a bipod or something within 500 yards of the area you scouted and assuming you're accurate and the deer really are in the area like you thought when out scouting, then you've got one in the bag."
There is a BIG difference between HUNTING and shooting. What you describe in the above statement is "shooting" (in my book). A hunter must stalk his game no matter what that game might be. If hunters simply could go out into the woods and harvest a deer, there'd be no more deer. I have a feeling that you've never hunted with a rifle and thats cool, but the majority of rifle HUNTERS also do this:

"First, you have to scout the woods and search for signs of the proper animals in the area of the woods you'll be hunting. When you've finally been able to almost step on them, you need to track the animals to see where they go so you can lay out a general pattern, a set of habits so for the most part you know where they go and when. Second, you've got the stalking. You need to either get into a tree stand and hope to God that massive buck doesn't look up (more often than not they seem to) or you've got to sneak around in the woods and close the distance between you and that prized buck out there. If they see you moving, hear you, smell you, or they see your outline or the difference in coloration between your clothes and the bushes and grass, then you're screwed and the deer practice their racecar impersonations. Doesn't sound that hard until you realize that the animals are about four times more observant and have WAY more sensative senses than humans and that you need to be within roughly 20 yards of the animal and all of a sudden the hunt becomes really hard."

There really is no difference (except the obvious) between bow HUNTING and rifle HUNTING unless you are classifying "look and shoot" (at any distance) types and traditional bow hunting. Thankfully we, as hunters are able to choose the method for taking game, and I am sure the goal of a hunter is to make one clean kill shot with whichever device he chooses. Voila! my $.02 Happy Hunting!

MCgunner
January 19, 2008, 10:01 AM
Archery on mulies in the mountains is a little TOO much challenge. I can't see out of my right eye and shoot left handed. I can't coordinate a bow left handed and gave up on it. If I want a bow challenge, I take a blackhawk iron sighted revolver, gotta get inside 50 yards to be sure of shot placement. And, I don't get a special season for it or free hunts on NWRs or anything, so really, it's more of a challenge to get that close to deer during gun season. There are no "handgun only" hunts that I've ever found on big ranches, so handgun hunting with an iron sighted revolver is more challenging than your stick and string IMHO and it requires about as much practice to be proficient which means I have to find the time to drive to the range, can't just shoot in my back yard in town. One thing, too, about handgun hunting, it takes marksmanship to do it which isn't a bad thing as the practice carries over to self defense, something you cannot say about archery. I can't carry a bow CCW. :D

Clint C
January 19, 2008, 11:05 AM
I've been involved in bow hunting for twenty-three years and have never worked that hard for bow hunting. I just sit in a tree, read my book and when the deer that I want comes along (which is usualy the first one in bow range) I shoot it. I think if I were to use a rifle (which is against the law were I hunt) in the same situation it would not be anymore of a "challenge" or anyless of a "challenge". All that matters to me is that I kill the animal in a respectable way. So what I am saying is that you can make your hunt all the more or less difficult you want, it's not the tools you use its in the manner that you want to do it. If shooting a deer with a rifle does not seem hard for you and you want it to be hard try doing it with a patch over your dominate eye and one arm tied behind your back or wait till there is a ten to fifteen mile an hour cross wind and at five hundred yards you have to aim several feet to oneside of the deer to hit it. If bow hunting is as hard for you as you claim try just sitting in a tree and wait for a deer it is actually very easy. I'm not trying to attack you just trying to get the point across that you don't understand.

MCgunner
January 19, 2008, 11:28 AM
The bow thing is an equipment race, too, just like for rifles. If it was challenge everyone wanted, why would they spend so much money on carbon fiber this and that, arrow heads that flip open, bows with wheels on 'em, sight pins set to various ranges, laser range finders for scoping out those ranges, string trigger releases. My GAWD man, did Geronimo have all that crap??? Get yourself a recurve and leave the pins off, learn to shoot instinctively! I mean, if you want challenge, why are you shooting deer at 50 yards? With a recurve, they'll have to be inside 30 and you'll actually have to learn to shoot the bow, not just rely on technology to shoot it for you. 50 yards is "shootin'". 20 yards is "huntin'". :rolleyes:

Oh, yeah, and scent lock and non-perfumed soap? Gimme a break, I doubt Geronimo ever took a bath, much less used soap! I bet you could smell him a mile away with a HUMAN nose!

</sarcasm>

JustsayMo
January 19, 2008, 11:32 AM
If all you had to do was set up within 500 yards of game to take them with a rifle the success rate would be MUCH higher. I doubt even 2% of those who draw a game tag would be capable of making a 500 yard shot. Based on what I see at hunter sight-in each year at our range I'd bet most shots taken over 100 yards are misses.

My bow hunting experience is limited but there are a few advantages. Here, archery season for Elk is during the rut. Elk are more concentrated and "easier" (as if anything about Elk hunting -- rifle or bow -- is easy) to locate. This year my brother was on legal bulls every day during Elk season and took a nice Roosevelt 5x6 with his bow. During rifle season I didn't see a single legal bull. Even if I would have had a Cow tag I wouldn't have had an easy time of it... Getting a shot on one is challenging regardless of weapon type.

Another advantage of bow hunting is that you can hunt a lot of areas that are closed to modern firearms and there is a lot less pressure. These areas are often close to residential areas and the deer are less spooky about human scent and activity. Example: I can bow hunt public land walking distance from my home. To hunt with a rifle I need to drive at least an hour to hunt public land.

We each have our own definition of hunting. Some prefer more challenging methods, terrain and/or game. The area I prefer to hunt - rifle or bow -- a 50 yard shot would be a LONG shot. Combine that with the steep and varied terrain and cover, antler restrictions (three point min for Mule Deer) and that makes for some challenging (but fun) hunting.

Art Eatman
January 19, 2008, 12:24 PM
Aside from anything else, I like wandering along in the middle of the day, kicking Bucky out of bed and looking to see if I want him: And bust his tookus at 100 or 200 yards while he's flat-out in fifth-gear.

Then again, I got a kick from eating a little nubbin buck I killed at some ten yards with my home-made "bonearrer" when I was fourteen years old. Cedar for the bow, store-bought bowstring, homemade arrows with feathers from a neighbor's turkeys. Arrowheads from barrel hoop. This was on my third day out from home, horseback camping across neighbors' ranches. Summer of 1948, I and a buddy.

Deer don't keep well in summer. :D

Rifles work better in walking hunting than do bows...

Art

Jaenak
January 19, 2008, 05:53 PM
Bearhands: That's just "shooting" in my book too. That's why I'm not really fond of the idea. In the issue of Traditional Bowhunter Magazine I just bought, the last page has a perfect quote from Jay Massey "The measure of a bowhunter was not how many animals he killed each fall but how he did it." For me, that expresses my opinion for hunters in general and not just bowhunters. That's why "hunting" the animal is preffered for me over simply going out and "shooting" the animal like I see so many people doing.

The point I was making when I said there's not really any stalking done with a rifle was that the stalking gets WAY easier as distances increase. With the inherant range of the modern high powered rifle, the stalk for an animal into "reasonable" shooting distance is much easier than the stalk into "reasonable" shooting distance for a bow and that in my personal opinion the stalk for a whitetail into 200 yards is just a little too easy to be considered by myself to be a challenge or to be terribly gratifying.

By the way, indeed I have never hunted with a rifle (unless you count squirrels with a .22) that's why I'm asking because my knowledge of rifle hunting is extremely limited. Most of what I know about rifle hunting is from the TV hunters and the stories I hear every couple years from my relatives.


Clint C: I agree with your statement on tree stand hunting. That's why I only ground hunt. I perfer sneaking around to within range and taking the shot then. I don't use ground blinds nor do I like the feeling I get when perched in a tree stand. First, I agree it is a little too easy. Secondly, I'm scared of heights and prefer the solid ground under my feet.


MCgunner: You got me laughing pretty hard. When you said that bit about carrying a concealed bow I pictured a gang banger strutting around with a compound shoved down the front of his pants.

Also, I'm totally with you on all the modern equiptment. I use a recurve, hickory arrows and I tend to avoid the whole Scent Lock thing because everytime I use it I get busted by the deer. I'm a traditional bow hunter all the way.


JustSayMo: 500 yards is a REALLY long distance and the majority of hunters cannot make a shot connect at that distance. However, I said that because if you practice you can do it because the rifle is capable to shoot that far (depending upon the caliber you use) whereas a 500 yard type of shot for a bowhunter would be closer to 70 yards. Both are rediculous but they are possible if you practice and get to know your weapon and ammo well enough. Also, many areas that are hunted in my part of the country are either forests or corn fields. The forests make for about a 60 yard maximum but the corn fields open things up to the rediculous ranges people spread rumors about.

======

Judging by what I'm hearing the range seems to be much less and the difficulty in the stalk for rifles seems to be much greater than what everyone seems to say. Am I right on that assumption or am I misreading the posts here? What's the average shot distance for a skilled rifle hunter? What's the typical maximum distance for a skilled rifle hunter? What are your guys' personal experiences when trying to stalk an animal to within those distances? How did you do it? How did it work out for you? Also, what animals do you guys call your favorite to hunt? Why?

Art Eatman
January 19, 2008, 06:51 PM
On wet ground I've sneaked up to within ten feet of a buck, and hit him on the rump with a small rock. Couldn't have shot him; I was laughing too hard.

Longest shots? One at 350, one at 450. Mostly, though, in the vicinity of around 75 to 150. Longest running shot, about 175. Last mule deer I killed was at maybe 30 yards or a tad less. He didn't hear me coming.

I guess my deal is that I've always wanted to be able to claim that anything inside of 500 yards belongs to me. The actual distance on any given day is unimportant; I'm mostly out there for the fun of being out there.

I'm not much on sitting in one spot...

:), Art

Jimmy Newman
January 19, 2008, 07:33 PM
I dunno, going by my experience this season, it's pretty easy to get into bow range. All you have to do is drive a big white Suburban. :)

I was driving around with my fiancee when she spotted a buck right at 25 yards from the road. We had time for her to climb to the back of the car, get the rifle out of the case, and hand it up to me, at which point I loaded it, rolled down the window, leaned out, and popped him in the neck. If the window were a little bigger, I could've done it with my bow easy :).

JustsayMo
January 19, 2008, 07:56 PM
In my opinion stalking is a skill hunters of either discipline need. I have yet to have a shot, that didn't require some stalking. Sometimes it wasn't to get closer but to get a better angle or shooting lane.

I would agree that many rifles are capable of the shot but few hunters practice enough or even have access to a range that allows for long range shooting.

MCgunner
January 19, 2008, 09:06 PM
To each his own. You'll likely find that recurve hunters are the VAST minority and trying to make all of us hunt with a recurve by hurling insults is worthless. I ain't shootin' no stick. I was born in the 20th century, a time when snipers were making thousand yard shots, Roman legends could be cut down by two men and a ma deuce with enough ammunition, and cavalry went from horses to tanks to helicopters. So, I hunt with a rifle, always been a rifleman, always will be a rifleman.....and shotgunner and handgunner, but it's gotta go bang even if it's just a smoke pole. Most I've shot with my recurve is a few buffalo....the sucker fish, not the four legged animal, and some gar. I still have a bow fishing real on it, though I haven't used it in 20 years.

http://www.jewishrecipes.org/jewish-foods/kosher-fish/kosher-fish-images/buffaloa-fish-2.jpg

JWarren
January 19, 2008, 09:53 PM
I'll chime in on this subject. Before I do, I do need to say a one thing:

There are many different types of hunting that are driven by many variables such as goals, terrain, distance, sportsmanship, etc. I am not trying to criticize anyone's preference here. I have my preferred way, but am not placing it above any others in this post.


That said...


Jaenak wrote:
Whats the challenge behind rifle hunting besides accuracy?


Distance: Even in my part of the country where the shots are in thicker brush and the distances are closer, there is NO way I'd shoot a bow at the outside range that I shoot. My shots are typicall under 100 yards, but a number have been in excess of 100 yards-- and one at 300 yards. I don't have enough confidence in a bow to do that.

Confidence: I have FAR more confidence in my ability to drop a whitetail with a 30-06 than I do with a broadhead.

Convienence: I have no interest in stalking into close range. I get off work, and get to my stand. There I have approximately 2 hours of sunlight to make a kill. I hunt every day of the season-- not someone who goes on a trip once a year. For me, this isn't about some once-a-season or weekend "experience. It's about making the kill and putting meat in the freezer.

Humane: It may be just me, but I LIKE there not being a challenge. To me, a "challenge" means increasing the chance of wounding an animal or not making a humane kill. I am not a Sportsman. I am a Hunter. I kill-- quickly and effectively. For me, that means a rifle.

Ease: I have ZERO interest in practicing with a bow. I have enough things I have to do with my limited time. Bowhunting means one more thing that requires A.) Money B.) Practice.


Jaenak wrote:
In archery you've got all sorts of challenges. First, you have to scout the woods and search for signs of the proper animals in the area of the woods you'll be hunting. When you've finally been able to almost step on them, you need to track the animals to see where they go so you can lay out a general pattern, a set of habits so for the most part you know where they go and when. Second, you've got the stalking.


This assumes a desire for that. Me, I plant my food plots. I put up my stands with nice walls, windows, and a propane heater. I read a book. The last deer I killed was a choice of 14 I had in my plot. I made a quick kill, and it's in the freezer now. I did this by leaving work at 3:00 PM, the kill was made at 5:15 PM, and it was cleaned and in a cooler by 7:00 PM. It's sausage and rounds now.

Typically, when I get the number of kills I need for a season, I don't even bother going for the rest of the season. Of if I do, I have no interest in killing anything.


Jaenak wrote:
If they see you moving, hear you, smell you, or they see your outline or the difference in coloration between your clothes and the bushes and grass, then you're screwed and the deer practice their racecar impersonations.


That is no different with a stand or at longer distances.



JustsayMo wrote:
In my opinion stalking is a skill hunters of either discipline need. I have yet to have a shot, that didn't require some stalking.

Why? I've been hunting for 28 years and have had dozens of kills. I've never stalked any deer. My father has been hunting for 50 years and has dozens of kills. He's never stalked a deer either. My mother has been hunting for 40 years, has dozens of kills. Again, she's never stalked a deer in her life. There is a combined 118 years of deer hunting that has NO stalking to it. And I didn't even get into my neighbors and friends.

In my experience, people stalk who WANT to stalk. As I mentioned earlier, there are many different ways to hunt. Stalking is NOT an essential skill any more than dog hunting is an essential skill, or bow hunting, or blackpowder, or standhunting, etc. etc. etc.




JustsayMo wrote:
I would agree that many rifles are capable of the shot but few hunters practice enough or even have access to a range that allows for long range shooting.

I may have missed the distance of the shot you mentioned, but I practically EVERY hunter around here is capable of making shots FAR longer than a Bowhunter can make.



-- John

Reyn
January 19, 2008, 10:39 PM
It would be more of a challenge for me to hit a deer at 500yds in hunting conditions than hitting one with my bow at 20.

Reyn
January 19, 2008, 10:51 PM
Any man who can stalk in close to a deer is doing great. Where i hunt the only time ive killed from the ground were when i happened to be stopped and a deer happened to be headed my way. The bottomland i hunt the max distance you can see is about 50yds. The ground is soft so i never hear them coming. Ive had them just appear out of nowhere at 30yds. I mainly use a climber stand. The times ive sat on the ground i almost always get busted. Even if they dont scent me they are usually so close that by the time i see them i cant move.

Jaenak
January 20, 2008, 02:44 AM
JWarren: JustSayMo was refering to my statement that a rifle hunter can shoot out to 500 yards. That was just a number I threw out there to represent a long distance shot. It was also said that the gun may be able to shoot that far but most hunters can't make the shot count at that range.

Is it fair to say that most rifle hunters are out there for the sake of bringing something home more than they are the hunt its self? Sure a bow hunter wants to bring something home to put in the freezer, otherwise they wouldn't be putting so much effort into it. However, most bowhunters I've ever met seem to take more enjoyment from hunting something than they do actually bringing it home. In my experience, bowhunters take most of their enjoyment from the hunt itself, whereas rifle hunters seem to take most of their enjoyment from actually bringing something home, not necessarily the hunt. Is that statement true for most rifle hunters?

Edit: I was on the phone with my dad a couple hours ago and he told me the same thing a few of you already have. He said that the majority of shots taken with a hunting rifle are within 150 yards. Reason is that upon the first day of rifle season the deer head straight for the deep cover and the swamps to avoid the hunters so even if you do see one, it's almost always within 150 yards because of the thick vegetation present deep in the forest or swamp. This little bit of info shocked me. I figured that since a rifle is fully capable of really long ranges more people would be using those ranges more often but it doesn't seem to be the case. Is this correct? If so then rifle hunting might have more stalking involved than I originally thought.

quatin
January 20, 2008, 03:19 AM
Once you make hunting into a sport, then it can be as hard as you want it to be.

JWarren
January 20, 2008, 07:20 AM
Jaenak,

JustSayMo was refering to my statement that a rifle hunter can shoot out to 500 yards. That was just a number I threw out there to represent a long distance shot. It was also said that the gun may be able to shoot that far but most hunters can't make the shot count at that range.


Thanks for that explaination. Yep, its a very fair statement to say that most people are not comfortable making a 500 yard shot in hunting conditions. I wouldn't feel entirely comfortable with it either. Then again, our terrain doesn't permit such shots regularly enough to get comfortable. In other regions, it would not be as big a deal.

At the same time, 500 yards isn't the best arguement for rifle hunting-- kinda as your father mentioned. There is a HUGE gap between the effective range of a bow and 500 yards.

Here is the way I see it: I bring enough weapon for the outside range of my hunt. In our field stands, I know the statistical probablility of my shot will be somewhere between 70 and 90 yards. Pretty much anything I have will make a kill at that range. However, it is entirely possible to make a 150 yard shot from those same stands. And then I have one stand that can potentially have a 400 yard shot.

On most of my stands, I want something that can make a kill out to around 200 yards minimum. On that one particular stand, I want something capable of 400 yards minimum.

Since I don't bowhunt, I am not as familar with maximum effective ranges for bows. But I can imagine that beyond 75 yards or so, it gets real iffy. So that doesn't work well for 90% of my hunting since it falls comfortablely in my statistical range, but not my outliner range.

Now, I do trail hunt as well using a portable stand. I tend to do this when I've already killed the number I wanted for the year. On trails, my maximum distance will be under 60 yards TOPS. I often bring a 7.62x39 on those hunts-- just to give it some "earn your keep" time. The 7.62x39-- as I am comfortable with-- falls basically in the range of a bow. I wouldn't take a shot with it that a proficient bowhunter would not take with a bow.


In my experience, bowhunters take most of their enjoyment from the hunt itself, whereas rifle hunters seem to take most of their enjoyment from actually bringing something home, not necessarily the hunt. Is that statement true for most rifle hunters?


It's a tough question since there are so many individuals with their own motivations involved. I know plenty of rifle hunters who absolutely love "the hunt." My father-in-law is one of them. I know plenty of rifle hunters that are trophy hunters-- meaning they are out there for a head to put on the wall more than meet in the freezer. And then I know a lot like me: I enjoy being out there, but it is just something that I do.

Generalizations are hard to make of any group.

Take me for instance....

I am a sucker for animals. Varmits is my yard are more likely to get fed than shot. I love to be in the woods more for watching the wildlife than I do killing it. I take absolutely no joy from the kill-- in fact, I often get melancholy after a kill.

At the same time, I love the meat. And I am not such a hypocrite as those who derail hunting as being barbaric, join PETA, and protest-- but then go get a Big Mac on the way to the protest. (My wife's first cousin went to Berkely and I visited a couple times-- it was an eyeopener.)

I grew up in a hunting community, and a hunting family. Around here, it is not uncommon for women to enjoy hunting every bit as much as men. My mother has hunted my entire life. My wife often goes hunting with me. One reason I tend to hunt food plots lately is because my stands on food plots are large enough for two to sit in comfortably. Jen is too soft-hearted to make the shot herself, but has sat beside me as I have a few times.

Now that said...

I really can't say that I don't enjoy the hunt. I have often said to my father that "the big ones GOT big because they are smart enough NOT to go in food plots during the day." For that reason, I enjoy hunting on trails using a portable stand when I can. On those hunts, you are likely to see nothing at all-- but if you see something, it is likely the trophy deer. I have a nice one shot on a trail mounted on my wall now.

And that kinda killed me for trophy hunting. I won't mount a deer unless it is bigger than the one that I mounted on my wall (or rather the wall of my hunting camp). Around here, we have people with literally dozens of mounted deer on their walls. Between my mother and father, they have about 10 in their house. Many people around here have FAR more mounted.

The one I mounted was worth mounting. But my wife's head exploded when I mentioned hanging it in our house-- hence it residing at our hunting camp. So, I have to have a pretty good reason to mount more. At the same time, I won't deny that my heart misses a beat when the big one comes walking up.

For me, "the big one" is a target of opportunity-- not something to craft my hunt around. Every season, I know that between the hunters in my family, we need about 4 deer a year to account for the amount of venison we eat every year. As my recipes are becoming more elaborate, I anticipate that need increasing. Typically, when we hit that number my hunting tends to become less important than other daily needs.

Now, like I alluded to earlier, I think that hunting is a different thing around here than in many parts of the country. It isn't a thing that occurs just on weekends, and it isn't a "once or twice a season" event. It is essentially an every day thing. During the season, anyone that can be in the woods during hunting hours is in the woods.

When I was in high school, it was common to see guys wearing camoflage coveralls coming to school. They got up and went hunting before school. Considering that most had their rifles stowed away behind the seat of their truck when they got to school, I find myself pondering just how far our society has gone away from those days. Back then, the principle KNEW that practically every high school boy had a rifle in thier vehicle in the school parking lot during hunting season. The principle himself likely had one behind his seat as well. Oddly, no one ever got shot. Now, we would have SWAT teams swoop down on the school and FoxNews helicopters circling overhead.

But I am veering away from topic. The frequency and routine nature of hunting tends to take the "thrill" out of it. Those days where the wind is really picking up from the north, or the rain is blowing, or it is simply cold are not things that you just grin and bear as you would if you paid for the trip and have been looking forward to it for 6 months.

It the wind is picking up too much, I am looking to go hunt in our of our field stands that has walls and windows. If it is cold enough, I find myself thinking about which ones I have propane heaters in. If it is just TOO cold, I go home and make a cup of hot tea and read a book by the fire.

On the surface, I would say that I am a "comfortable" hunter. But that's not the case. When you are out there 50 days a year, there is always tomorrow. When it becomes more of a way of life rather than an experience, it is sometimes better to just be out there doing the "job" than not being there at all. And as mentioned earlier, because it is something that is integrated into your life it is necessary to do what works.

If you have a job, but hunt 6 days a week during the season, you have a very limited amount of time in that day that you can hunt. It is unlikely that you can hunt the mornings or middle of the day. It is illegal and unethical to hunt at night. That leaves dusk. That means you have about 2-2.5 hours per day at BEST. That makes more elaborate hunting methods problematic during the week. Now, weekends are another story. Those are the times that you really have choices. On weekends, I am more likely to hunt trails or during nontypical hours. I think on weekends I tend to hunt more for the enjoyment than for the "job."


So to answer your question.. I don't know that there is a generalization available. While I know a LOT of hunters like me, I also know plenty that are very different from me-- even in this small community. I would not put myself out there as an example of the "typical" rifle or stand hunter-- even though I don't think I am all that odd in my perspective.


I hope this helps-- and sorry for writing you a book. I should have added chapters!


-- John

JustsayMo
January 20, 2008, 11:32 AM
Good discussion. It appears to me that our differences are fewer and our commonalities greater despite our technique, terrain and abilities. It's great that we have the options we do and we can choose the style that suits our personalities.

MCgunner
January 20, 2008, 12:17 PM
I'm a stand hunter now days, too, out of necessity. Stalking 10 acres is kinda stupid. I have to wait for 'em to come to me. If I owned 30 thousand acres in the hill country, I might "stalk" more whitetail, but then out there, you trip over 'em while still hunting. Of course, if I owned 30K of hill country land, I'd sell it all, surround myself with horny beauties, and go on safari in Alaska and Africa for my thrills. Well, I don't guess I'd to the horny beauties thing, what with the wife around. I just feel blessed in life to have been able to find and afford 10 acres with deer and hogs on it. Not too bad on 60K a year.

Bitmap
January 22, 2008, 04:38 PM
Seems to me the challenge is what you make it. If you want to shoot a deer at 20 yards you can use a rifle. Then you have the challenge of getting with 20 yards and being able to shoot the deer, and you have the additional challenge of not giving up and shooting at a longer distance. Self control.

browningguy
January 22, 2008, 04:51 PM
Basically what everyone else said, also I see this as just another bow hunter thinking they are somehow superior to gun hunters. My average shot is probably under 100 yards, my longest shot in the past 4-5 seasons was just over 180. Very little stalking hunting goes on in Texas, bow or gun. It's a safety thing I'm told, too many nimrods, if you let them all walk around no telling how many would get shot every year.

I personally would not hunt with a bow, even if I was physically able. With a gun I am confident I can kill the animal relatively quickly and humanely, much less so with a bow.

MCgunner
January 22, 2008, 07:57 PM
Basically what everyone else said, also I see this as just another bow hunter thinking they are somehow superior to gun hunters. My average shot is probably under 100 yards, my longest shot in the past 4-5 seasons was just over 180. Very little stalking hunting goes on in Texas, bow or gun. It's a safety thing I'm told, too many nimrods, if you let them all walk around no telling how many would get shot every year.

That's absolutely true in the piney woods. I wouldn't call it "stalking" up there so much as "still hunting". But, you go walkin' around, you'd best have the latest in armor and hope the idiot don't go for a head shot. Deer don't wear blaze orange, but then, people can be stupid and sometimes color blind.

I've spot and stalked out west, open country and during the rut, whitetail move enough to make it effective. I only remember stand hunting out there once. I used to sit on the edge of a very well traveled dry wash until about 8 or 9 when I got restless and just start walking the ridges and spotting. Took some good deer like that out there, but it was private land, 13,000 acres worth of private land, and leases have gone up and my income has gone down recently, so I don't have that option at the moment.

On that west Texas ranch, very few deer were taken by bow even though man in the hunting club were bow hunters. There were leases in the hill country north of San Antonio and one just down the road from me in Blessing that were more appropriate for bow hunting, easier to get closer in the heavy cover.

I've got nothing against folks hunting with bows, but my eye dominance problem makes it tough for me and I just don't want to. To each his own. I like firearms, really get into the reloading and marksmanship part of it. I miss out on a lot of free hunting and cheap day leasing during bow season, but I'm a rifleman, it's what I do.

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