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My Journey to become a Hunter...

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by Joe13, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Let me clarify the Topic, this is an account of my desire to become a Successful Large Game Hunter.

    I have hunted small game as a kid but outside of that, I have had no interest in hunting. My mother is from S.CA and my dad is from Texas, so my natural tendency is to hug it then shoot it (some sarcasm intended). My dad hunted small game as a kid but has since (to my knowledge the only exception was his tour in 'Nam.) not touched nor shot a firearm of any kind.

    My grandfather started me shooting cans at the age of 4 and I have been hooked ever since. I just never had the desire to include hunting in my love of firearms until a little over a year ago.

    I have been having intestinal issues for a few years and thru diet and monitoring, I've found that game meat sits much better with me then beef (even free range expensive stuff for some reason). So now hunting is an interest because of an economical standpoint of not being able to pay $15/lb for elk or venison.

    As it has evolved though, I have come to love a lot about hunting.

    One of the first things I learned was that scouting is really important - people say it but on my first time out with a 50 year hunting veteran we found ourselves in a forest that this gentleman had not been too for 20 years and no idea where to look.

    It was almost the end of the 3rd day out that we even found Simi fresh deer droppings... By that point I believe he was frustrated because next thing I know, he's done hunting and ready to go home. I was just along for the ride, as I did not have a tag, so I was home 4 days after leaving instead of the 7-9 we planned on.

    So scouting is really important lol - my second hunting partner taught me quite a bit more practical knowledge, as well as showed me how to start scouting and things to look for that could be helpful.

    My second trip out trying for a deer, I had my tag an we found tons of beds and fresh droppings but in 2 days just never saw anything bigger then a chucker. End of the 3rd day was a massive storm that rolled thru and we decided to break camp and ride out the bad weather at home. We never were able to connect again but I did go back out a week later by myself and learned another valuable lesson...

    You never know when your going to see something!

    I roamed around all day long looking for sign. Finding plenty but no deer. After a long long walk thru the woods, I arrived back at my vehicle and just sat in it on the edge of a meadow for an hour or longer just enjoying the quiet. As the sun went down, I started my truck and turned around. Right as I turned back onto the dirt road I couldn't quite believe what I saw... A darn deer was just starting to step off it and turned around to look at me - then off he went!

    By the time I got to the spot he had gone into the forest he was long gone and I didn't have enough light left to follow him, so I went home empty handed but excited because I felt like I was at least on the right track.

    I set up one last hunt on Halloween day (end of the deer season where I was) to see if I would get lucky. Unfortunately, the man I was to go hunting with had to take his dog to the vet and by the time I realized I wouldn't be in a place to shoot and then drag a deer back to my rig and clean it with the little time I had left, I decided to call it a season. This year I'm going to try for an elk as well.

    Little stuff I figured out on the way:

    1. My pack is never as light as Id like it to be at the end of the day - I started the season with about 30lbs on my back. Now I'm down to around 15lbs plus the rifle.

    2. I'm very glad I had boots that were broken in long before I needed them.

    3. Taking time and being quiet seems to be a good way to go. In the off season (while scouting - I try to learn my lessons the first time lol) I unintentionally walked up to about 30 ft from a bull elk with his lady and youngun. I even got video of them before they spooked and ran off.

    4. Good Hunting Partners are SUPER hard to find if you don't already know someone. I get along with most folks, it's been difficult to find an interested person not already committed to a previous years partner and that has the available time to hunt as much as I would like too.

    5. Sometimes you just have to go do it and make up the ret as you go. My best laid plans rarely turned out as I had intended. It pays to be flexible.

    6. I was nowhere near in as good of shape as I thought I was this time last year. I have dropped most of my extra weight and my stamina is now what I would consider "decent" enough to hunt alone if I have too.


    Now you'll have to wait till the end of 2015 to see if everything I learned in 2014 pays off...
     
  2. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    Joe, do you live in Oregon, and if so where?
    Shoot me a pm please.
     
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  3. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I often wish I lived south of the Columbia but I am in WA:(
     
  4. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    Man, I often hear about people who can't seem to find animals. Most times it may be tough for a while but always seemed to get a buck, granted a spike, but I always say ya can't eat antlers.
    I have killed more animals within 2-3 miles from the house because I hunt close to where I and others (that don't hunt) that I talk to see animals.
    Every time I feel the need to hunt other areas I seldom fill my tag, I guess I may get bored hunting the same areas but my family eats good.
    Since I injured my back I have given up on deer and elk hunting because I often hunted alone. Now I hunt for winged critters and fish during deer season (more room on the river).
    Good luck and don't try so hard, it's better to get lucky than good in my book.;)
     
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  5. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    Jim nails it when he says "same area" as familiarity with the area and the animals habits that live in it are more than half of it.

    Your point#3 is telling you something of real value Joe, the part where you say you unintentionally walked up on the Elk. We're you sneaking or just walking?
    When your walking with the wind in favor and not sneaking you more than likely sounded like another Elk to them, and until they either winded or seen you they had no reason to fear you. The slow sneak with the occasional accidental pop is just what they listen for as that's what a stalking preditor sounds like.

    Binoculars are your best friend on a hunt, I can't say enough about them.
    Use them from the elevation of a hill, search first along the edges of a cut or draw then grid sloooowly the entire thing from left to right/far to near. It's incredible what you see that you'd otherwise overlook.
    Remember to take the time to dissect what your eyes are seeing, that unusual looking black spot may upon closer examination transform from the nose into the entire critter.

    The same thing for still hunting in timber,, use those bino's!

    Joe, there's no real reason to wait until the end of 2015 to sharpen your skills in the woods, both Cougar an coyote season are open down here and that's as fine a reason to throw a rifle over your shoulder and get to know an area as a fella needs.

    As Jim said " within 2 or 3 miles" of the house. I too am fortunate enough to have that as well and hunt right from the house and can say that familiarity with the area is a big measure of it. Throw in knowing the animals habits, a big passion for it (if not love of it) and a big bunch of luck and success just has to follow!
    Stick with it Joe
     
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  6. Cogs

    Cogs Washougal, WA. Volunteer Coordinator 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Okay Joe, we should get together. So we can both go defeated again next season! o_O

    I had to hunt a new area this past season. No scouting. Sort of knew the area, but not very well. Kept at it and really enjoyed the places I tried. Saw a few does here and there, so, I knew I could have a chance. Blacktail will hang out within 3-5 miles of where they were born, so I figured where ever I see some does, there will be bucks there too. Sooner or later.

    I had just learned the Klickatat area after 3 years of defeated seasons, (sort of), and had to start all over again close to home. (I say Sort of, because, I did get a buck in Klickatat, but, it was a forked-horn, not a 3 point. So I turned it in. But at least I had learned the area, found where the bucks hang out and I had seen that several bucks had been taken from that same place in previous years. I also did a great stocking job on that fork! Just a poor ID on the little guy.).

    I did the Larch Mt. area this past season. Several encouraging places so I kept going back throughout the season. I finally got into Elk country, saw a large herd and got excited. Stayed there the rest of the Deer season. Still, no buck graced my sights.

    Let's hook up for some scouting and shed hunting, If that's an area you're interested in. (Not the target shooting and trail areas). The Morel mushrooms should be out in the burn areas. Let me know if you'd like to do some cruising around!

    Bill
     
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  7. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Sounds great Bill;)

    I'll start a conversation
     
  8. Koda

    Koda Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    True. Thats because nobody wants to hunt with someone new that doesn’t want to put the same effort into it they are and there is much more to it than it seems. The best way to find new hunting partners is to get into it on your own. It proves your willing to do it, and your showing your on the right path you'll find partners soon enough.


    http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resource...nt_statistics/infographics/13/Unit-Stats.html
    The average success rate isn’t really that great. Take a look at the link and click on a hunting unit of choice. Trask is only 21%. I felt better after seeing that. :cool:
     
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  9. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    At that point, I was in fact just out for a stroll in the woods and had the wind blowing in my face - I will need to make that a habit as much as I can:).

    An Binoculars... I have a couple different cheap pair that I've aquired over the years - I have noted however that I could really benifit from one of those nice few hundred dollar Monocular. Especially since I set my rifle up with a 4x scout scope.

    AND Living out of town on my own property is the dream! I know Id like a minmum of 10 acres with a place to target shoot; an area to hunt or nearby would be a close second :D. All of that hinges on my wife's next job; if she finds a job in WA then an hour commute to work from the sticks is reasonable. Hillsboro and then we are looking at 90min to 2 hours one way and that seems a bit too much to ask of her; I'm the country boy not Her.

    Although she has offered to move out of town, I've told her that for now it makes more since for me to drive to the woods a few times a month or as often as I can seems more efficient.

    I really appreciate the support and advice yall! It keeps me fired up for my next trip out to the woods to work as much of this new info into my routine as I can:)
     
  10. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Thanks for the link sir! That does kind of make things easier to swallow lol.
     
  11. Craig O

    Craig O Hillsboro Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Cogs, I just joined this group and searched mushroom and found this post. I am thinking about heading to the clean up on the 11th and then driving around attempting to locate the allusive Morel. Will you be attending ?
     
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  12. Cogs

    Cogs Washougal, WA. Volunteer Coordinator 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Yeah, Craig, I'll be there. First to arrive and last to leave. Bummer! Just before the site where we meet and the info booth (actually all around that part of the forest), is the burned area from the 36 pit fire last summer. I'm wondering if it's too soon for the Morels to be there or do they need another season before they start growing in the burned areas. Let me know if you find any. I'll keep my eyes out!
     
  13. Craig O

    Craig O Hillsboro Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Do you have any idea what the elevation is ?
     
  14. BFR45/70

    BFR45/70 Clackamas Active Member

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    Hey Cogs they say this year mushrooms will be a bumper crop and to go to the burns they say a new picker can make 500 to 1000 if they hunt hard and hunt the burns . The Morels should be up every where if you get them before the deer and elk . I will be hunting them in the Fossil unit next month just because I will be there Turkey hunting and well I deer and elk hunt there also and I know where the morels are lol .
     
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  15. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    The guy I set up to hunt with is MIA so I'm on the lookout for a solid partner with the availability to hunt the first week of the seasons at least.

    Have tags for deer and western elk. Both are for modern firearms in WA.
     
  16. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Heard back from my hunting partner so that seems to be a go.

    Funny bit of irony, found out at my wifes family reunion that they are all big hunters and only live 90 min from me. Maybe ill get an invite to thier elk hunt...
     
  17. Oathkeeper1775

    Oathkeeper1775 Coast Range Well-Known Member

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    I really miss Douglas Mitchell's articles in a periodical I used to get; he wrote the "Back Page" articles for years and years...RIP. If Mitchell was alive today, he would say never stop learning....so here is my reply:

    Hunting and angling has become too-much of who and what I am; I cannot imagine life without them..:p.

    The day my journey to be a hunter ends.....would be my last day.

    I hope to keep-on learning until my last possible season; I will forge my own way, make my own friends, pull my weight, and find my own fish n game. I rest all the responsibilities of success (or failures) upon my own shoulders.

    If necessary, I will drag myself out of the house and into the woods to hunt, onto my pontoon to fish, or onto my Jon boat to hunt ducks.

    Only death or incarceration can make me stop.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
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  18. Cogs

    Cogs Washougal, WA. Volunteer Coordinator 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Perfect quote!
     
  19. brokenarrow

    brokenarrow Elma, WA Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the reunion could be a good source of information and hopefully an opportunity for you.
     
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