Rifle Hunting Upstate NY... Help/Suggestions Needed


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Tophernj
June 12, 2014, 07:30 AM
So I was gonna go deer hunting in NJ last year. I got my license and a nice gun. I never went. Sold the gun. Something about shotgunning a deer just isn't appealing to me. This year, one of my colleagues offered to let me hunt her property upstate. It is a rifle county. I'm psyched. I used it as an excuse to buy a new toy as well. So here is where I stand:

I've never hunted before.
I have a rifle (.308)
I have property to hunt

What else do I need?

I'm not planning on a ton of camo or anything of that nature and I'll most likely walk the property/plant myself under a tree, so I don't need a stand. I know that I need some blaze orange. I'm thinking some rope, I have a nice knife that I'm looking to use, but after that I'm lost.

Any and all suggestions are welcome. Also, if you have any videos that you would recommend, don't hesitate.

Additionally since I roll my own, what bullets would you recommend out of a .308 for deer? I have some .30 cal bullets around, however I don't believe that they are good for hunting. Currently I have 168gn A-Max, 150gn Nosler Ballistic Silvertips, 125gn Ballistic Tips, 110gn A-Max, and some Beartooth gas checked 155gn LFN's. I'd love to use the Beartooth, however I can't seem to find a suitable powder.

Thanks.

Christopher

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CarJunkieLS1
June 12, 2014, 07:46 AM
OP sorry I can't help you with clothing etc. I'm a hunting newbie myself. But a rope will be very handy and a good quality knife.

A .308 for deer is a fine choice and for deer a expanding 150gr-165gr bullet will be all that you'll need. Put that bullet through both lungs and you have venison. For bullets I'd try the Nosler Ballistic Tips that you have they are typically very accurate and reliable just don't "hot rod" them to 3000fps and shoot close range. Hope this helps some and good luck this season.

SleazyRider
June 12, 2014, 08:45 AM
Sounds like you're all set, my friend.

Know what's beyond the property you're hunting, especially with regard to residences (maybe mine!). Get a bird's eye view on Google Earth to look for homes and buildings; in fact, you may even see a trail or two while you're at it. We've had more than our share of hunting tragedies in New York.

I don't buy into the hunting wardrobe thing, save for an orange cap sometimes. It's motion that gives up your position, not the latest and greatest camo. Wear a noiseless jacket, a comfortable pair of jeans (assuming it's dry weather), and quality boots and you're good to go. There's a separate thread on this subject going on right now on THR.

Most of all, bring patience. You'll have a ball!

brainwake
June 12, 2014, 10:15 AM
I would pick up one of those field dressing kits that contain the plastic gloves that go up your arm. They are only a couple of dollars at Wal-mart. I also carry a few paper towels.

Certainly not critical, but it does help you keep the blood off your hands and clothes when you are gutting your kill.

wombat13
June 12, 2014, 11:50 AM
Here's a quick check list:


Rifle
Ammo
Shooting stick
License
Backtag holder
Orange vest/hat
Warm/dry clothing and boots
Knife
Bone saw (makes field dressing easier)
Shoulder length plastic gloves
Zip ties (helps fix the tag to the deer; also can be used to close the rectum so droppings don't fall out into abdominal cavity).
Flashlight (headlamp preferable)
Rope


A shooting stick can be very helpful if you aren't going to be in a tree stand. You don't know if you will be able to get to a steady rest without too much movement.

Do not underestimate your need for warm clothing. It can range from 60 degrees down to 15 degrees in NY in November. Sitting still in a good spot is your best chance to get a deer, but it is hard to sit still for hours at a time if you're cold. Not included on my list is a muff style handwarmer. It looks like a fanny pack but you can slip a hand in either end. They are much warmer than gloves, especially if you keep a chemical hand warmer inside. I do this and wear thin leather gloves. Keeps my hands toasty warm without bulky gloves that make it difficult handle the rifle.

Opening day (and maybe the second day) the deer will be moving all day. After that, you will have higher odds shortly after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. There is a good chance you will be field dressing and dragging your deer out at dusk or in the dark. A good headlamp with extra batteries will be a big help.

Definitely look at the google map of the property. Not only look for safety reasons (houses, etc.), but also check out the topography. If the terrain has steep hills you can identify likely travel routes for deer. They prefer the easy route just like we do. Look for a "saddle" (low point) on a ridge or the most gradual path down a hillside. You can also look at aerial photos. At the beginning and end of the day the deer are often traveling between food, such as a farmer's field, and cover (thick brush, evergreen trees, etc.).

Take a trip up there ahead of time, or at least arrive a day early so you can scout the property. Start with your guesses based on google maps and look for droppings, rubs, scrapes. Also look for deer trails. Just look for an opening in the brush and follow it in. You'll often find that the opening is actually a deer trail.

Also, definitely spend the extra money on a doe permit if they are available in that WMU for non-residents. $10 that will increase your odds by an order of magnitude.

zooski22
June 12, 2014, 01:27 PM
You'll be a lot happier packing light. It's easy to get a backpack and fill it with a bunch of crap you'll never use and just wind up dragging it all over the woods with you.
Gun
Few rounds off ammo
License
Warm comfortable cloths and boots
Good knife
Zip ties and disposable gloves
Cell phone
Maybe a Gatorade and a granola bar
Flashlight or headlamp

I don't see the need at all for a bone saw

wombat13
June 12, 2014, 01:59 PM
You'll be a lot happier packing light. It's easy to get a backpack and fill it with a bunch of crap you'll never use and just wind up dragging it all over the woods with you.
Gun
Few rounds off ammo
License
Warm comfortable cloths and boots
Good knife
Zip ties and disposable gloves
Cell phone
Maybe a Gatorade and a granola bar
Flashlight or headlamp

I don't see the need at all for a bone saw
To each his own, but your list looks pretty much like mine and eliminating the bone saw makes little difference. According to Cabela's, the one I use weighs 1.5 oz.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Gerberreg-E-Z-Saw/714335.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dbone%2Bsaw%26x%3D0%26y%3D0%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts&Ntt=bone+saw&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products

surjimmy
June 12, 2014, 02:45 PM
I would also take a fold up chair blind. Their very light and easy to carry. You have comfortable place to sit and hide in 30 sec.

wombat13
June 12, 2014, 03:08 PM
Btw, do you know which WMU the property is in? Here is a link to help you find out if you don't already know:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8302.html

Once you know which WMU you'll be in, you can get an idea of how many deer there will be and whether you will be able to get a doe permit by checking this table:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30409.html

I hunt in 8H and 9T. There is plenty of agriculture in 8H and too many deer. There are lots of good sized bucks because the farms provide good nutrition. Doe permits are easy to get (in fact they can't give enough of them away) and I rarely spend a full day hunting without taking a deer.

9T is mostly forested which offers less and lower quality food. Consequently there are fewer deer and the racks are smaller than 8H (heavy hunting pressure from people, coyotes, and bears doesn't help). You are unlikely to get a doe permit unless you own 50+ acres of land (gets you an automatic doe permit). I've still been successful, but that is because I get a landowner doe permit and I know exactly where to be on opening day.

OrangePwrx9
June 12, 2014, 03:20 PM
Scout the property out ahead of time if possible. If the area is fairly secure, you might want to put a couple of 'Doghouse' type ground blinds at strategic locations. If you can get them set up a few days ahead of opening day, the deer can get used to them and you can quietly walk to one and slip inside in the pre-dawn darkness on opening day. You'll need some kind of camp chair with a back to be comfortable for long periods.

Nice thing about the doghouse type blinds is that they take a lot of the misery out of hunting in wet weather...and the deer lose much of their caution in the rain.

Evaluate the area you're going to hunt. Will long shots be needed? If so, the .308 will do just fine, but think about some kind of rifle rest. Practice shooting when seated in your camp chair. If you can brace your supporting arm on your knee; it'll steady your aim a lot.

If shots will be inside 100 yards, you might want to go with something throwing a bigger bullet at lower velocity. I had a .308 sighted in and ready to go for last year's season, but after thinking about the proximity of homes went with a .44 magnum rifle. The .44 was plenty for the 40 yard shot I took with it.

If you know your first shot was good, but the deer runs off; don't pepper him with follow up shots. They just ruin prime meat. You may have to track, but with a solid hit with a .308, there will be a good blood trail and it won't be long or hard to follow.

Actually my favorite arm for deer is an accurate muzzleloader shooting a .54 roundball. One hit in the lung/heart area and the deer is out-of-commission real quick. But I only shoot at standing/walking deer, so lack of a repeater is no drawback.

ETA: Make sure you know how to properly gut the deer and have the tools to do it. There are lots of 'wrong' ways that can ruin good meat. I think venison unjustly gets a bad rap because of people who don't gut properly. Other deer hunters may not be the best resource here. Might want to pick up a book on deer hunting that has a chapter on caring for the kill. The animal gave its life; its remains (meat) deserve to be treated with respect.

illinoisburt
June 12, 2014, 03:44 PM
Absolutely number one thing you should get if you haven't already: A Hunters Safety Class. Most classes are taught by experienced hunters from your local area who have a genuine interest in teaching you basic skills. They usually are quite happy to spend some time answering your questions and giving good advise based on what they have learned over the years.

You do not need a ton of gear. Advise above is pretty good - simple things like warm waterproof clothes (especially waterproof boots and pants so you don't get soaked with dew!), gloves, hat, knife will get you started just fine. You definitely do not need camo or scent blockers. People have been shooting deer quite dead for a long time without any of that stuff.

As for guns/ammo, pretty much any centerfire rifle over 22 caliber works just fine with standard velocity/medium weight softpoints for deer. Aim for lower center of chest - lung/heart area. All of the classic power points, bronze points, silvertips, etc. will drop a deer with no issue. You can always pick up a box or two of loaded ammo and be well set for all your hunting needs. (Hunting deer is not a high volume shooting proposition. After sighting in, it's doubtful you will actually use more than a couple rounds at game in a successful season.)

Obviously the new generation bullets work, too. You really do not need premium level bullets, and frankly the tougher construction ones (ie CP3 level) which are made for elk, bears, and moose will pass right through a deer without a lot of upset which could lead to long blood trails.

Of the bullets you listed, the ballistic tips are the ones made for hunting. The 150 gr is the standard deer load and should work great at regular velocities (assuming this isn't the one made for the 30-30 in which case you will want to load it down a little, but will still work well). The 125 gr is a bit on the light side for a 308WIN and may blow up with short penetration, especially if you push it very fast.

Beartooth gaschecks are hard cast lead. Loaded up to low 2000's will certainly penetrate and poke a fairly clean hole through any deer you encounter. It will work, but expect to do some blood trailing.

The AMax is a long range target bullet and not designed for hunting. There is a good chance it is illegal in most hunting areas based on its construction.

Few thoughts on hunting in general:

When you go, make sure to let people know where you are going and when to expect you back so if anything happens someone will come looking for you. (ie car breaks down, you get turned around in the woods <-- not too hard to do when following a game trail in unfamiliar area, etc.)

There are a lot of resources online to show you how to blood trail and field dress game. Some are good, some are not. Best bet is to find a friend with some experience and call them for help when you have an animal down.

As a first timer, you should probably leave the butchering to a professional. Ask your butcher how/when they prefer the animal be delivered before you shoot one.

Get a map of the property or at least a blown up google earth photo to help you identify your location based on terrain features. This will give you an opportunity to identify edge area (tree lines, power line cuts, fields, etc.) that are likely to hold or funnel animals. If will also help you figure out where you are at so you don't stray past property lines. If you don't know how to read a map with compass, check some online resources and go out to practice it a couple times before the season. Having GPS on your phone is great to tell you where you are, but if you cannot get a signal or figure out where things are located (car, property lines, trails) from the info on your phone its not very useful.

Don't take shots at running game. Look for animals that are calm and mostly still. Assume that every shot you fired has hit exactly where you aimed. Just because an animal walks off does not mean you missed. How they react to being hit varies a lot. Sometimes they will drop like hit from Thor's hammer. Others run for the hills, while some just stand there and keep eating before just tipping over dead. There is no guaranty of what you will get. If after a shot an animal is still standing or runs a ways then stops, shoot again.

rondog
June 12, 2014, 05:19 PM
I suggest you bring a companion who's experienced at deer hunting, recovery, and field dressing!

Shooting the animal is the easy part, but you want to make sure you can get it out of there first, before you pull the trigger. You don't want to kill one in an area that's going to be difficult to get to, to work in, or to get a large, heavy, dead animal out of.

And you shouldn't hunt alone just for safety reasons as well. If nothing else, you'll need someone to take your picture!

Tophernj
June 12, 2014, 08:49 PM
So, I want to thank everyone that has responded thus far. A lot of great information and advice and I sincerely appreciate it.

As to the gear, I am planning to get a small pack and carry pretty much everything that was recommended. Most of it I have, a small portion I will need to purchase. That will be fine.

As to what WMU, I'm having a difficult time deciphering the website. I will be in Delaware County. Any help there will be appreciated.

Thanks again to all that recommended bullet to consider.

I have reached out to a friend of mine that has been hunting for years. We are going to take a ride in October to scout the property and plan the hunt. I already feel better bringing someone experienced. From a safety and knowledge experience I feel that he will be quite invaluable and I am hoping to have someone to share my first deer with. And yes, to have someone hold the camera.

Thanks all.

C

sharps59
June 12, 2014, 08:58 PM
I also hunt Delaware county what town I can then tell you what unit you are in. non resident do not get a chance for permits in most units there if I remember correctly. I have not put in for one in 20 yrs. I also pmed you
you will be in unit 4 either f g or w

Tophernj
June 12, 2014, 08:59 PM
PM responded to.

C

hseII
June 12, 2014, 09:12 PM
Try Accubonds; My experiences are DRT and accurate.

Look twice before you shoot.

Hunter's Safety Course

sharps59
June 12, 2014, 09:20 PM
you are in 4P or 4o depending which side of rt 10 you are hunting in Im in 4F. which is on the north side of rt 23 west of rt 10. in a 308 in that area I would use a 165 grn always a chance for a field shot at mid morning or early afternoon. after the first 2 days and depending on weather. I'm in my stand until 11:30. then its still hunt check the fields and back in my stand at 1:30 for lunch and sit.. before the reset of the hunters come back out. hunters by me are like a clock they go in at 10come back out at 230 3ish. DEER don't take brakes. there always out there. I would say 50% of the bucks I get are between 11am and 2pm. 25% during a snow or rain storm.

brainwake
June 13, 2014, 12:55 AM
One more rookie mistake that a lot of people make. If you take a shot....be still for a few minutes and watch where it ran to. Then take a few more minutes to gather your things....then wait a few more minutes....get the drift? Don't go chasing an injured deer. Give it a chance to sit down and die. If you go right after it, you may just scare it enough to run it for miles.

wombat13
June 13, 2014, 09:12 AM
you are in 4P or 4o depending which side of rt 10 you are hunting in Im in 4F. which is on the north side of rt 23 west of rt 10. in a 308 in that area I would use a 165 grn always a chance for a field shot at mid morning or early afternoon. after the first 2 days and depending on weather. I'm in my stand until 11:30. then its still hunt check the fields and back in my stand at 1:30 for lunch and sit.. before the reset of the hunters come back out. hunters by me are like a clock they go in at 10come back out at 230 3ish. DEER don't take brakes. there always out there. I would say 50% of the bucks I get are between 11am and 2pm. 25% during a snow or rain storm.
Sharps makes a great point. Opening weekend there will be a lot of hunters in the woods. Most of them are very impatient. Late morning they will get cold and hungry and leave their stands. They will push deer around as they make their way back to camp. Wear warm clothes, pack a lunch, and wait for them to push the deer to you. My FIL gave me that advice and it has served me well.

Deer behavior changes after they've been shot at for a couple days, but opening weekend your best bet is pick the best spot you can (deer sign, topography, food, water, cover) and sit. The units I hunt in southern NY (9T and 9P) likely have similar deer density as 4P and 4O and we've never been skunked using this strategy. Many people don't like to hunt this way because it takes a lot of patience. Several hours of vigilance followed by seconds or minutes of excitement (you'd be surprised how close a deer can get before you notice, even when you are paying attention).

wombat13
June 13, 2014, 09:24 AM
A previous poster mentioned making sure you know where to aim. If you put a hole through both lungs the deer will die. I was surprised when I started hunting by how far forward one needs to aim. Find the spot where the front leg meets the chest and aim 1/3 of the way up from there to the top of the back. Here is a vitals target.

sharps59
June 13, 2014, 12:46 PM
If you can put up a few trail cams to get an idea what trails are active. I will be up at my place July 4th weekend. If you can get up there I'm not that far from you. might be able to make time to help you scout the property out.

Murphys Law
June 13, 2014, 03:35 PM
It was mentioned that you bring a compass. Even if you "think" you know where the road is, it's easy to get turned around in the woods on a cloudy or snowy day. Take a bearing before you head in to the woods. As for boots , my favorites are the rubber/ leather pac boots like the Sorels that keep my feet warm AND dry. If your going to be hunting from a tree stand, wear a safety harness.. Good Luck

TommyD45
June 13, 2014, 10:55 PM
I suggest you bring a companion who's experienced at deer hunting, recovery, and field dressing!
...
And you shouldn't hunt alone just for safety reasons as well. If nothing else, you'll need someone to take your picture!

Rondog has the best advice. Bring a friend who knows what he's doing.

Scout the area all summer long so you know where the deer will be.

If you are in a county that allows rifle, the 308 Win is perfect. I have taken 6 deer in Wyoming County (WMU 9N) using the 308 in both rifle and T/C Encore pistol. I have used both the Sierra GameKing 150 grain and the Barnes 168 grain Tipped Triple Shock and found them equally effective.

Here (http://tomdiakun.com/site/a/hunt2012/wound.html) are some photos from my 2012 hunt that show the damage done by the Sierra GameKing.

Tophernj
June 14, 2014, 06:25 AM
Thanks again, all.

I am bringing an experienced friend. I'm looking forward to it.

I picked up a box of 150gn Hornady SST's. I'll load them and see how they shoot. I'm sure they'll do the trick.

And yes, a compass seems to be a great idea! Thank you.

C

Tophernj
June 15, 2014, 08:01 PM
So I just got my rifle. A Winchester M70 Featherweight Compact in .308. I scoped it with what I have around, a Nikon 2-7x33 (I will be upgrading to a Leupold 2-7 when $$$ allows) and took it to the range.

What a nice gun! I am sincerely thrilled with it. I was with a friend and we were just goofing off so I got it on paper but not 100% dialed in. However it is a really nice shooter. From the loads I shot today, I am definitely favoring the lead Beartooth bullets, 155gn flat nose/gas checked over 4198. Easy and smooth recoil, and not a lot of noise. I am going to be looking further into those as my hunting bullet.

C

dprice3844444
June 15, 2014, 08:12 PM
compass and gps http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahunting%20gps

Ky Larry
June 22, 2014, 08:13 AM
Good advice so far. Keep it simple and light weight. I carry a homemade survival kit anytime I go into the woods. I use an Altoid can and put a few basic things inside, like fish hooks, fishing line and leaders,sinkers, disposable lighter, bandaids,single edge razor blade, needle,etc. I've carried some combo of survival kit for over 40 years and, thank God, I've never had to use it but I feel better knowing it's there.

Let some one know when you'll be hunting, where you're hunting, and when you'll be back. If you're lying out in the woods injured, no one will come looking for you if no one knows you're missing.

Hunting tip: Sew a big button on each shoulder of your hunting coat. It will keep your rifle from sliding off your shoulder.

Hunting tip: If you're going to be sitting on the ground, pack a thin cushin from a lawn chair. Your backside will thank you.

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