Author Topic: Newbie Hunter Question  (Read 1985 times)

Offline TheGreenHunter

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Newbie Hunter Question
« on: June 11, 2017, 05:26:22 PM »
I'm an absolute beginner to hunting and getting into it in my 40's.  I've taken the hunter education class and also took the archery education class as well.  I've setup some simple goals for my first year of hunting.  I want to see if I can hunt some small game (rabbit and grouse) and see if I can find/identify the signs of big game (hoof prints, tree rubbings, deer/elk poop, and bear scat) and if possible actually get a black tail deer.  Due to some circumstances this year, I can't travel very far from the Seattle/Eastside area so i'll be day hunting so I've started scouting in GMU 460 and specifically, the Hancock Tree Farm.  I bought the motorized permit so I can get around that property pretty easily and can get to areas the bump up against national forest areas.

So far in my scouting trips, I believe I found deer poop (looked like black licorice jelly beans) and elk poop (these looked like smaller versions of cow poop and from what I read they can look like this when they eat a lot of wet vegetation).  I believe I saw grouse this past weekend but couldn't tell what kind of grouse they were.  Funny enough, I haven't seen any rabbits on the tree farm but there is a bumper crop of cotton tails around my house this year.  I already seen elk but they weren't on the property and I finally saw my first black tail deer this weekend.  It was a doe with a fawn (still had white spots on it)

I haven't seen any bear although I think I came across a tree scrape left by a bear.  (see picture below)

The questions I had in mind were

1.  Do blacktail limit their activities to early morning and late evenings most of the year?  Are they any good books that describe black tail behaviors during the year and preferred foods?  For those who have taken a blacktail, what was the distance when you took your shot?

2.  Do elk prefer certain elevations during the year?  I was thinking they move down into the valleys when the weather turns cold and they slowly start to move back up as vegetation grows back and the weather gets warmer.

3.  How aggressive are black bears?  I know a sow with cubs are best left alone.  I take a can of bear spray with me but was wondering if I should take a sidearm as a last resort.  I was thinking of getting a 45

Just in case you are wondering, I already bought my license and tags for this year.  I went for modern firearm and the deer/elk/bear/cougar with small game license.  I have 30-06 springfield with a Leupold 3-9x40 scope.  I just got my membership at a range that has lanes up to 200 yards.  I haven't zeroed my rifle yet as I've mainly been going to fire the gun at 50 yard targets to get over my trigger flinch.  I was thinking of getting a .22 to use with rabbit/grouse and as a more cost effective way of working through my trigger flinch.

Thanks for any help/information you give.

Offline Eric M

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Re: Newbie Hunter Question
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2017, 05:43:04 PM »
This is about fawn time for blacktail depending on rut day- about 200 days after they're bred. Summer is best time to see blacktail bucks as their antlers are in velvet. Mornings and evenings are still best. Take some poop pics and post them somebody will tell u what they are. That pic u posted looks like an old elk rub but I'm not 100 percent sure. A 22 is a good way to get used to shooting. I'd consider upgrading your trigger to something not so heavy as a stock trigger. That might help the flinching a little. I think all wild animals and people can be unpredictable but black bears will usually run off when they smell you. I still carry a side arm but that's me. As far as books for blacktail Boyd Iverson blacktail trophy tactics 1 and 2 and Scott Haugen wrote a decent one too. I don't know much about elk maybe someone else can offer some advice on that. My advice shoot all u can and spend as much time in the woods as u can. It gets easier the longer u r out there.

Offline kselkhunter

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Re: Newbie Hunter Question
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2017, 05:54:57 PM »
PM sent.

Offline brew

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Re: Newbie Hunter Question
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2017, 07:10:25 PM »
welcome to the world of hunting...don't think that tree was scraped by a bear as it looks to be an alder and bears chew on evergreens to get the sugar layer (cambium) during the spring when they come out of hibernation.  poop this time of year is deceiving because deer/elk are eating a lot of greens and that leaves a more of a "patty" but depending upon what they are eating can leave an "olive" type dropping.  bear poop this time of year will have a lot of material in it and be much larger-depending on the size of the bear. as far as blacktail activity during the day it really depends on the time of the year and pressure.  me and the Mrs. went out yesterday just driving around and saw 18 blacktails from noon until about 6.  all but 3 were in the wide open clear cuts---they really don't have any reason to abandon those this time of year because there is no hunitng pressure--once that ramps up their activities will turn more towards a morning/last hours of daylight show--i've always seen the majority of deer activity during hunting season at that last hour of light.  as far as bears go you can carry bear spray i guess but depending on the wind and conditions if you need to use it by that time the bear is pretty dam close and i would opt for something a little more final because if a bear is that close to where bear spray would be effective i would opt for something to end the situation rather than deter it....30-06 will be fine for anything you plan on hunting-sight it in for about 2 1/2 " high at 100 yards and you should be able to hold dead on to about 300 yards--shot placement is key and buy the best bullets you can afford-normally the more expensive loads group better-not always-you have to experiment..aim about 1/3 of the body width up from the bottom of the chest just behind the front leg...quartering shots you want to aim where the bullet will exit opposed to where the bullet will strike.  I've killed over 30 blacktails and have only shot 2 over 100 yards--my biggest blacktail at 250 yards with an open sight 30-06 when there was no way of getting closer and one at 450 yards with my 7mm mag.  can't speak for rifle hunting elk as all i have ever done is with my bow.  can't say for sure as far as the grouse you saw but ruff's are brown and blue's are grey.  One last piece of advice when you are sighting in your rifles is to shoot at the smallest target you can...aim small=miss small.  good luck this year and can't wait to see your trophy pics
beer---it's whats for dinner

Offline predatorG

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Re: Newbie Hunter Question
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 04:39:33 PM »
Welcome! Glad you've decided to hunt here and stay on the wet side! Best advice I can give is stay patient and be ready to learn. Spend time in the woods. Lots of time. When hunting blacktails, go as slow as you can. Then, move a little slower. They don't spook as much as other deer. They know they have good hiding spots, so often a deer will just sit still as you walk by. I archery hunt, so my tactics are a touch different than modern firearm. The best day for you to hunt will be Halloween, but that doesn't mean it should be your only day. Be in the woods as much as you can. Ask questions in here. People love to help. The deer section will have a ton of people commenting if you ask questions about blacktail deer. There are some good books, blacktail trophy tactics 2 is the most popular. The best thing however is experience. As far as black bears, they tend to be non confrontational. I shot one at 20 yards with my bow last year. My dad and brother had one walk up to about 6 yards once before they stood up and spooked it away.
"All of my best elk hunts are the ones where I come home with a big buck!" -RadSav

Offline andr3wxmma

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Re: Newbie Hunter Question
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2017, 05:02:33 PM »
Make sure you are not using your trigger hand to steady the rifle use your front hand to do that, trigger hand just pulls the trigger. Also make sure to not anticipate the shot, Hold the gun steady on the target and slowly apply pressure until it goes off. If you do all those and still are having trouble try upgrading the trigger on your 30-06.

I recently had a issue finding black tails during the day in clear cuts on the tree farm I plan on hunting(used to whitetail hunting in different terrain). This last weekend I went in early an hr before sunlight and I saw at least 12 deer in a couple hours and one really nice buck that has me excited. I take notes on everything I see what time i saw a deer, the date, what way it fled, and what way the wind was blowing. I also take notes on any old rut sign i find because a buck will normally come back to the same areas or another will move into it year after year if nothing big in the area changes.

Find the does and bucks will come when the rut hits.

One last thing when you're walking through the woods take a few steps stop look listen and then take a few more, try to stop at a tree that keeps you concealed or can be used as a rest to shoot off if you do see something.


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