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Author Topic: Brand New Hunter and new to the area  (Read 1378 times)

Offline 172ndVet

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Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« on: January 27, 2020, 10:14:26 AM »
Hello y'all,
I'm a transplant from Colorado by way of Alaska and I'm brand new to big game hunting. I used to hunt rabbit with my dad years ago but never any big game. I've been in Washington for a few years now and recently moved to Lewis County. Started last year, and hunted only public land. I'm mostly looking to fill my freezer and get outdoors more.

About me, I'm a 35 year old army vet looking to get back into shape as well as fill my freezer. I went modern rifle as I already own a rifle. I know I'm a newb but I'd like to learn.
Thank you

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2020, 11:46:35 AM »
What big are you thinking you want to hunt?

Offline 172ndVet

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2020, 01:22:19 PM »
Last year I purchased all four, but I haven't got the slightest clue. I've had deer and elk before to eat but I've never had bear or cougar. What would you suggest?

Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 01:29:15 PM »
You're probably more likely to kill a bear than any other game animal in WA. August and September up high in blue berry fields is a good bet. Deer and elk, especially in SW WA is getting harder and harder due to timber co property becoming pay to play. If you're willing to pay for a permit it opens a lot of ground up to you. Heading east of the mountains opens a lot of ground, but deer numbers are down, as are elk. Permits are hard to draw, and elk with a rifle is spike only unless you're hunting non-traditional elk units.

Things you can expect to accomplish:
- Nice sunrises
- Lots of exercise and fresh air
- Lots of company during rifle seasons
- Nice sunsets

Things I wouldn't expect to accomplish, at least off the bat:
- Filling your freezer
- Solitude

There is a reason many WA residents are heading out state to hunt these days, it's not because we're all rich. All of this being said, if you spend the time out and about and do your scouting and due diligence, you can have great success in WA, it's just harder than other places.
I hunt, therefore I am.... I fish, therefore I lie.

Offline mcrawfordaf

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2020, 01:59:11 PM »
You're probably more likely to kill a bear than any other game animal in WA. August and September up high in blue berry fields is a good bet. Deer and elk, especially in SW WA is getting harder and harder due to timber co property becoming pay to play. If you're willing to pay for a permit it opens a lot of ground up to you. Heading east of the mountains opens a lot of ground, but deer numbers are down, as are elk. Permits are hard to draw, and elk with a rifle is spike only unless you're hunting non-traditional elk units.

Things you can expect to accomplish:
- Nice sunrises
- Lots of exercise and fresh air
- Lots of company during rifle seasons
- Nice sunsets

Things I wouldn't expect to accomplish, at least off the bat:
- Filling your freezer
- Solitude

There is a reason many WA residents are heading out state to hunt these days, it's not because we're all rich. All of this being said, if you spend the time out and about and do your scouting and due diligence, you can have great success in WA, it's just harder than other places.

Well this sure takes the wind out of the sails of any new hunter....

Offline WSU

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2020, 02:10:21 PM »
It's not all doom and gloom.  If you put in effort you can and should be successful.  Starting from scratch is hard.  You'll have to learn a good area and then learn how to successfully hunt.  For me that came with trial and error.

Start by looking at harvest statistics for elk.  Also, start with bears in August.  Find ripe berries and lots of bear poop.  Hunt there and you'll kill bears.

Offline syoungs

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2020, 02:11:30 PM »
7mmfan speaks a lot of truths there, but a lot of us are jaded, because we know how great this state could possibly be.

As a new hunter, you do have an uphill road in front of you to being successful every year.

Do you have a geographic area you want to stay within? This state is vast, and offers a ton of different experiences. narrowing down an area you'd like to stay in for whatever reason will help get you pointed in the right direction.

I myself stick to eastern Washington when I hunt in state. I haven't bought a tag for deer or elk in a few years. I'm trying to do my part for predator control, and focus on that now.

Basically everywhere in the state has access to coyote hunting for a rather small investment in equipment. Have you considered kicking off your hunting by learning that? It will help teach a lot of the basics (scent control, movement, wind etc), as well as help get you into the field for more then a few weeks a year.

My next recommendation for a aspiring hunter is to look into turkey hunting. Once again, a small investment and you can be hunting them successfully.

For big game, I don't have much of a recommendation. look into sporting clubs/groups in your area. Joining one may open up lots of doors for you to learn the ins and outs.

Offline h20hunter

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2020, 02:14:44 PM »
Good stuff.  My super basic opionion.......get a rifle,  a bear tag, boots, and plenty of water.  Pick an area and get out there. Lots of time spent hiking while armed will likely get you a craxk at a bear. Pay attention to every detsil you can and learn that area. Lots of folks on here will share info on bears...deer and elk...little tighten of the lips!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 02:20:57 PM by h20hunter »

Offline h20hunter

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2020, 02:15:51 PM »
And, thank you for your service. Ever in my area I'll take you on a hike and buy a round of beer. :tup:

Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2020, 02:24:49 PM »
Maybe I came off a little strong. These other guys are right, there is certainly success to be had here in WA. Like I said, it's just tougher than other places. Some good suggestions have been made about hunting predators, and turkeys. Both of those will get you in the woods and exploring, and that is really half the battle in finding good hunting locations for other species. One of the best deer hunting spots I ever found was found while bear hunting.

Bear hunting in this state is very good. There are lots of bears, and in August and September, they are pretty consistent and easy to find. They like to walk roads leaving big piles of berry filled crap every few feet. When you get to an area they are using, it's very easy to ID. The plus to this is that berry fed black bears are exceptional table fare, and you can kill two a year. The bonus to that is you are doing local deer and elk herds a favor by removing predators.

My suggestion for 2020 would be to buy whatever tags you are interested in hunting, pick an area and get in there in August and start bear hunting, and while doing that, you will learn the habits of deer and elk that frequent the area.
I hunt, therefore I am.... I fish, therefore I lie.

Offline b0bbyg

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2020, 02:40:44 PM »
Maybe I came off a little strong. These other guys are right, there is certainly success to be had here in WA. Like I said, it's just tougher than other places. Some good suggestions have been made about hunting predators, and turkeys. Both of those will get you in the woods and exploring, and that is really half the battle in finding good hunting locations for other species. One of the best deer hunting spots I ever found was found while bear hunting.

Bear hunting in this state is very good. There are lots of bears, and in August and September, they are pretty consistent and easy to find. They like to walk roads leaving big piles of berry filled crap every few feet. When you get to an area they are using, it's very easy to ID. The plus to this is that berry fed black bears are exceptional table fare, and you can kill two a year. The bonus to that is you are doing local deer and elk herds a favor by removing predators.

My suggestion for 2020 would be to buy whatever tags you are interested in hunting, pick an area and get in there in August and start bear hunting, and while doing that, you will learn the habits of deer and elk that frequent the area.

Good advice right there, I like to pretend I am bear hunting during august, mostly I am scouting for Elk and deer as I archery hunt in Sept. but some of the areas I hunt bears in early still have animals around in the later seasons

Offline buckfvr

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2020, 03:20:34 PM »
Learn everything you can about your quarry.   Being flexible until you find the right spot and method is essential.  There was a time when you could about get it done in a three day weekend, but now plan on as much time as you can start to finish of season.

Dont give up or feel defeated because thats when your window of opportunity will flash by and be gone while you ponder what just happened.  Difference between a good hunter and the rest of the guys is the good hunter finds a way to take advantage of the opportunity he gets, the rest watch it slip by.

Offline MLHSN

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2020, 07:27:14 PM »
Hello 172nd, fellow Vet here. I started hunting from scratch 8 years ago. First 4 years were a painful learning curve. It clicked after that and Iíve shot 4 deer in the last 4 years.

Biggest tip I can give: Donít give up, it only takes 1. First few years, I would go out, Not see anything, and move or give up. Sometimes you just have to grind through and you will eventually see something.

Not sure what your territory is like. But around here you really need to let your glass do the walking. I use to put boots to the ground and walk all day. I shudder to think of how many animals I walked past. Now I go from one vantage point to another and spend an hour or two just glassing.

Offline b0bbyg

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2020, 09:38:44 PM »
Hello 172nd, fellow Vet here. I started hunting from scratch 8 years ago. First 4 years were a painful learning curve. It clicked after that and Iíve shot 4 deer in the last 4 years.

Biggest tip I can give: Donít give up, it only takes 1. First few years, I would go out, Not see anything, and move or give up. Sometimes you just have to grind through and you will eventually see something.

Not sure what your territory is like. But around here you really need to let your glass do the walking. I use to put boots to the ground and walk all day. I shudder to think of how many animals I walked past. Now I go from one vantage point to another and spend an hour or two just glassing.


I think the first step is finding what area you want to hunt, then research, read and ask questions about how to hunt that type of area.  Some areas are great for short moves and lots of glassing like stated above. Some areas might be more suited to tree stands or being still in a good area all day, others that are thicker could be a lot more slow still hunting through timber.  Start with the areas learn them and figure out what method will work in that area. Deer all need food, water and areas to bed, find those and then build from there.

I shot a small buck this year, my guess is a big buck would have pegged me and not given me the shot I had this year as I was moving a little too quickly through the timber, but this guy was little and not real bright  :chuckle:  So I know next time I hunt that area for deer I will slow down let my eyes do more work before my feet move as much, next time I might find a bigger one or at least see the deer before they see me.

Offline 172ndVet

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Re: Brand New Hunter and new to the area
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2020, 10:12:06 PM »
It's not all doom and gloom.  If you put in effort you can and should be successful.  Starting from scratch is hard.  You'll have to learn a good area and then learn how to successfully hunt.  For me that came with trial and error.

Start by looking at harvest statistics for elk.  Also, start with bears in August.  Find ripe berries and lots of bear poop.  Hunt there and you'll kill bears.
By effort are you meaning scouting areas Iíd like to hunt or...?
Iíve never had bear but Iím planning on going up to McCleary to try some during their bear festival, itís the only place Iíve seen that has it all the time.

In Reply to the other posts today, I appreciate the advice on hunting bear. I was more worried about deer season that I got my tags late and didnít realize bear season started. A question I have is are there any where that yíall would recommend staying away from meaning havenít been good for any kind of hunting. Also does the bear range overlap into black tail and elk territory down here in SW Washington?

Also Im not one to quit, thatís part of the reason Iím on here trying to get some basic knowledge that I can then apply myself to anywhere. I plan on taking the family out shed hunting this spring and hopefully scout out some areas to try for bear. One thing I did notice with the time I spent in the woods down here was there are some thick areas that I about killed myself trying to get through. Is that pretty standard around the state or am I just a special kind of special?

Also in yíalls experience is it worth it to buy one of the Weyerhaeuser passes?

 


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