A mature oak can produce twenty-nine thousand acorns a year. Each has the chance to sustain our people, heal the world some, and spread where it can.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hunting Advice

As I've mentioned before, I'm making efforts to transition my diet away from markets and towards relying on my landbase for food. This has involved some gardens (some failed, some successful), lots of foraging, and learning to hunt. Well, shortly after my hiatus from blogging began, I finally went on my first deer hunt. This was a huge thing for me, not just because I love well cooked deer meat, but because killing a deer would be a huge source of food for my partner and I (and the friends and family I share things with). I've also yet to kill any animal bigger than a crayfish for food. So I went into the woods one chilly November morning with a pack of essential gear and a shotgun loaded with slugs.

I explored for an hour or two looking for a good place to camp, and ended up finding a place where I thought there were signs of deer. I was in view of an old stone wall with a large collapsed section, which led down to a lake. I knew that deer went through there, so I set up my poncho to sit on and waited.

Turned out it was a pretty good spot. Within an hour after sitting down there, I spotted a deer. Unfortunately, she spotted me first when I shivered like crazy. It was in the single digits and, despite dressing in layers, I had failed to take into consideration how much colder it gets when you're not moving around. As the doe bounded off away from me, I knew I wouldn't see another one that day. I blew my chance. I spent another half hour building myself a nifty blind out of downed tree limbs, which I intended to go back and use but never did.

So I have two bits of advice for all new hunters out there. The first is to dress warmer than you think you need to. Wear socks that are at least 50% wool, and wear two pairs. Wear thermal long underwear, and pants of decent thickness. Basically, be very, very warm and layered. The other bit of advice is to get yourself someone to show you the ropes of hunting. Get a teacher if you can. Because damn, these lessons are probably easier learned by mouth than be experience.

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2 Comments:

At February 25, 2011 at 2:17 PM , Anonymous Glen Manola said...

Nice! Not really advice because I am really new to hunting. I'll just share my experience so far - If I've a good hike in front of me I won't wear as many layers but will instead pack them. It starts off fairly cold but within minutes I'm fine. There's nothing worse than sweating in the clothes needed to stay warm later when there may be long periods of sitting in the cold further down the path.
Actually there's nothing more discouraging than being either cold, wet, or tired, or worse - all three! Any preparation to avoid those spirit killers is well worth the planning.
Thanks for your post.
-Glen M

 
At February 25, 2011 at 3:29 PM , Anonymous Thom Rauch said...

One of the best bits of advice I can offer is that if you are looking to hunt in November, then you should start eyeing your prey July. Find them, learn to move without them noticing, find food areas that are important and continue to spend a day a week out watching them. This goes for deer, turkey, when the doves come through on migration, etc. Knowing your prey naturally permits them to know their preditor and they will get smarter too which is a downfall but that is part of the circle.

 

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Twenty-Nine Thousand Acorns by Daniel Q is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Photoshop Tree Brushes created by Obsidian Dawn. Photoshop custom dandelion shape created by MyMimi. "Broken Acorns" photograph in banner taken by modcam. Layout by Kris.