Getting started in Hunting.....??


December 25, 2002, 07:27 PM
I have never ever hunted before, although, i have been contemplating it for several years. I have always thought that all men (and women) should be able to fend for themselves if need in a worst case scenerio. And since i can't stand the taste of fish, i figure it might be prudent for me to be able to hunt.

I have several friends who used to hunt, but don't anymore. Where do i go to get an education about hunting?

Also, the other problem is that i have a fairly weak stomach when it comes to seeing blood and such (generally in movies and such). Although, i did have to give first aid to someone who cut their wrists once, and i was the only one who didn't panic (no it wasn't a suicide.) So i am not sure that i would be able to handle properly dressing an animal.

How do you guys handle it?


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Dan Morris
December 25, 2002, 08:09 PM
I'd get in a hunter education class first.Next, talk to some of those exhunters......learn from listening to the. You may find that their interests will revive ifn they have a newbie to mentor.
Check around a gun club or where you shoot.......can possiblly get to tag along from there.
Good luck

December 25, 2002, 08:21 PM
Give a call to the Fish and Game department in your region. From there you will get a good start on regulations and public hunting areas/game management areas. They will also let you know when the next Hunter Safety Course will be scheduled. You may or may not be required to take the course and even if you aren't, it still is a good idea if you are new to hunting.

As for handling the blood, start with small game hunting. Shooting small game will get you started with the basic principles of field dressing and get you used to it a bit. From there you can go to bigger game. Check your local library for books on hunting. You will often find details about field dressing and care of game as well as recipes.

I'd also hang around some hunter check stations to watch the hunters check in deer. The Fish and Game department will also be a great help in finding where to go. Talk to the hunters and get to know them. You never know, one might invite you along.

Good Shooting

Dave McCracken
December 25, 2002, 08:43 PM
A hunter safety course is a good start. The best way is to go out with someone that really knows hunting. They're scarcer than Honest folks In Congress, unfortunately.

Your local library has info under Dewey Sytem # 799, a well worn library card is a great passkey to info.

And let the critters teach you. Dress in drab clothing and hit the woods, Move quietly and slowly, and SEE everything. Once you're legal, go hunting.

whne I started bowhunting, it took 6 years for me to get my first deer with a bow. Meanwhile,tho, my success rate as a gun hunter soared. Learning to watch the wind, camo, movement, location, and the movements of deer all improved my chances.

And, this is all great fun. Enjoy....

December 26, 2002, 08:12 AM
I agree that hunter's safety should be your first start. There are some very good books on hunting just about every animal imaginable. Practice shooting as often as possible to get use to the weapon you will be using on game, you owe it to the animal to be proficient with the weapon you will be hunting with in the woods.

I would also recommend that you let your loved ones know where you will be hunting, just in case something happens to you while hunting.

Hunting is relaxing and can eleviate alot of the everyday stress that we encounter in our everyday life. Set your harvest expectations accordinly and don't expect to see or harvest an animal everytime out. Its not all about the harvest as to why your out there to begin with. Enjoy your time afield and the harvest will come.


December 26, 2002, 10:51 AM
I just recently started hunting and didn't have any close friends or relatives who hunted. It was more difficult getting started than maybe it could have been if I had a 'mentor', but I managed. My first season, I had a friend who also had never hunted. I lived in Minnnesota then. We read everything we could find on the subject and spent a great deal of time in the woods scouting and getting used to moving quietly. I soon discovered that some old college friends of mine hunt and they lived just a few hundred miles away (in Northern Wisconsin). I then spent part of the season hunting with them and learning everything I could.

When I got my first deer, though, it was with my newbie friend in Minnesota. I really thought that I, too, would have a hard time field-dressing the animal and dealing with the blood and guts. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was so full of adrenaline, though, that I could have done anything! Yes, it was pretty gross and, yes I almost lost my cookies once or twice, but we muddled through (neither of us ever having seen it done, just having read about it, made it tough!).

This year, having just moved to SC, I had to hunt alone as I didn't find any hunting companions prior to the season. I got a doe and let me tell you, moving the carcass and field dressing is a PITA when you're on your own!!! Wouldn't trade the experience for anything, though, and I'll be out there again on Saturday.

So, itgoesboom, I'd suggest reading everything you can and taking a hunter safety course. Then have at it. Hunt with a friend if you can, but its' not impossible by yourself, even for a newbie.

BTW, anyone in SC looking for a hunting companion?

December 26, 2002, 04:40 PM
I too want to learn to hunt, and have spent the last two years reading everything I can get my hands on, including a lot of posts on TFL. I purchased a deer rifle and I practice with it regularly, hoping that I'll get the opportunity to use it . At this point I'm relying on a friend who belongs to a hunting club. I'm not sure I want to head out alone into the public hunting lands here in Alabama.

Definitely take a hunter education course. Read vociferously. Over on TFL there's 4 years worth of posts that can be accessed with the search function. If you have a rifle, practice. If not, get one and practice. Cultivate frienships and acquaintances with people who hunt. Even if it takes a couple of years, its worth it for the education and preperation you get leading up. Good luck!

I'm with Loach! Anyone in central Alabama want to go hunting?

December 26, 2002, 06:02 PM
Definitely start with small game. Stalking rabbits with a .22 will teach you just about everything you need to know. And the stuff you'll learn can't be picked up in books.


December 26, 2002, 09:28 PM
To get started, go here:

You will be amazed at the rules and regulations you will need to learn and abide by. At least it gives you a structure to work within.

You will also be amazed at the amount of National Forest where you can go and walk for miles in search of game.

After you get your hunter safety course behind you I would recommend starting with small game. It is probably a cheap license and its a good place to start with some variety and plenty of opportunity. A .22 rifle is usually inexpensive, accurate and sufficient for most small game.

When you go, take the time to get maps and become familiar with where you are headed especially if you are going to hunt mountainous areas. With a simple compass and a good map you can work up some of those woodsman skills. I find it to be the most rewarding part of hunting. I go about every week but have only walked a lot and not shot at anything. However, I am getting very familiar with a spectacular part of the forest. It is great exercise and you will get to see things that city bound folks only hear about in stories from people like you!

December 28, 2002, 06:36 PM
I can't add much to the advice offered so far because it's all exceptional! I might suggest only one thing in addition though. Star out with small game! Squirrel's for example make a very good small game to practice on for hunting larger game! It will get you use to actually killing an animal and then cleaning it as well. Some of the very skills it takes to harvest a squirrel it also takes to harvest larger game.

Read, read, read and read everything you can get your hands on! Take your courses and classes! Most of all, spend time in the woods practicing what you have learned, you will learn more! To this day, after 30yrs of hunting experience, I still spend time in the woods in the off season to sharpen my skills, without a gun. Take a camera and see how many shot's you can get of anykind of wildlife, you will find out how you are coming along this way and, it is dang fun too. Pretend your camera is your gun!

Great luck to you, you are embarking on a sport and an adventure that will produce many rewarding things in your life!

Marshall ;)

December 28, 2002, 06:58 PM
The "walk slowly, walk quietly" advise given is good enough.

Something I'd adise you to try is to go pick a(ny) place in the woods & just sit there.

For ....

at ....

least ...

a ...

1/2 ....

hour ....

no movement - at all. sit. Just look out your eye corners for a spell.

wait a bit & watch the woods start to come alive after the breaking of your (human) passage.

Everything makes a wake as it goes on by. Humans seem to be particularly suck-o at this & disturb the critters to no end.

Pick a spot, have a seat & just hang out. Be patient, be silent, don't move for a while.

You will be amazed at what will start to unfold before you.

Little things almost quickly, bigger stuff'll follow & then The Woods can come alive while you're all but playing with 'em.

Fairly amazing at times.


Merely an off-shoot of staying still, watching & hearing.

The rest is so easy. ;)

December 28, 2002, 08:39 PM
Good advice here, starting with the Hunter Ed classes. Not much I can add, other than you might find some other newbies at the Hunter Ed class you can hunt with and compare notes. Best, of course, is to hunt with an old timer ... least until you become confident enough to go afield yourself. I was introduced to hunting by my father-in-law. I'd done a bit of shooting previously, but didn't get into hunting until after being married. The first couple of years, it was great to have dad there to give me pointers and tips. Since then, I've come to enjoy being on my own in the woods ... although I get a treat out of introducing others to the sport. My kids are joining me on outings, and I've taken a number of young guys from church out for their first hunts. Ask around work, church, school, whatever ... you may very well find someone who'd like to take a newbie out.

December 30, 2002, 05:08 PM
As a follow-up to the hunter safety course idea, here's a link to a DRAFT on-line course being set up by the International Hunter Education Association. Looks like they put a LOT of work into it.

December 30, 2002, 05:44 PM
When I moved to my first real house in the 'burbs after living in apartments for a while, I got interested in raising my own food.

I raised chickens and rabbits for a while, and learned to clean them, freeze 'em, and cook them.

I learned to kill smoothly and quickly, and clean efficiently. I never liked any of that part, but found that properly bled-out animals have very little blood, and if you are careful the guts come out as a package with little mess.

I still have never hunted, so don't know how much of that experience will carry over to small- or large-game cleaning, but I'll bet some of it will.

One thing I remember well... a sharp knife is really important, and the knife I thought was sharp was never as good as I thought it was. Next time I have to skin something I'm going to really work on the hone to get the edge right.

Good luck, and keep us up to date on how you do in learning. It is clear that you aren't the only new hunter on the board.


Carlos Cabeza
January 2, 2003, 05:41 PM
Get Ready ! It will soon be the only thing you think about in the fall.:)

January 2, 2003, 07:15 PM
Yes do your hunter safety class ASAP, then buy your boots. By the fall they will be broken in enough to not give you blisters!

Seriously, everyone has had a case of the flutters when it comes to dressing game. The best way is to see it done once (most fish and game depts have videos on just HOW to do this, using a real dead deer or elk) before you get your hands dirty. Handling small game like rabbits, etc. helps too.

I've cleaned enough game that not much bothers me anymore, I have a buddy that gets sick every time, and he's more successful than me.

The buddy system is a good thing. A buddy can check to see if you are ok.. hand you a tums when you are through, or carry your sorry butt out if you break an ankle. Plus, a buddy can share a beer back at camp and tell the stories of the hunt.

Labgrade is right, you can stalk or you can learn to sit still. when I stared hunting I was an impatient kid who couldn't sit still. I still prefer stalking to sitting, but I've come close to touching a coyote on the nose more than once just by learning to sit still, watch and listen.

January 4, 2003, 01:27 AM
Rob, I've still just gotten used to just sitting there & have yet to fully grasp The Knack. I'll tell others how to do Lots of stuff I haven't yet mastered in the least. That I can't do it doesn't mean it's not a great way. ;) I've glimpsed it here 'n there enough to know, just not all that great at pulling it off myself.

Have done an excellent job of it few enough times - the small game, especially seems to come alive fairly quickly .... squirrels, chipmunks run over your legs, birds "fly in your hair," ... had a couple elk so very close & got to touch a doe deer once. A treat.

One gets to pull it off now & again, & really, quite The Gift - nothing quite like it.

I do seem to do much better - likely because of my own failings at not being able to sit so still, for so long (enough) - I do like to "sneak-hunt." A v-e-r-y slow step-by-step walk into, or quartered into the wind - with a sit & wait (30 minutes, or so, at a time) - sometimes, every 10 steps or so - I'll always do the sneak most of the day - depending on the prospects & terain I come across. But always, if it "looks good," I'll hang out a bit longer.

& too, this is all mostly for CO elk (& somewhat for deer) & in the dark timber. If in, say Art's much more open areas, you'll totally change your hunting techniques. Same-same for CO antelope, as we found out this last season = every bet is off versus dark timber elk.

Same-same if you're going for desert quail, versus, corn-phesants, versus, Alaska caribou.

Far as hunting, depending where you are - I'd say a very real hoot & productive method of getting some protein is bow fishing.

In NW LA, we used to absolutely slay pounds of fish for the asking with a 30 pound bow. Maybe $30 worth of equipment & all the fish you could eat - everyday.

Different locale = different effort required due to the various game available.

One of the reasons they call it hunting, rather than shooting. :D

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