6. January 2015 06:32
If you know how to hunt and need to find some people or places to go, or if you don’t know how to hunt and need to find some people to show you the ropes, then Powderhook.com is a great resource for you.
I’m a good shot and have been around guns, but have only hunted a few times in my life. This year I would like to learn how to hunt whitetail deer and I have a lot of questions about how to prepare myself, find the deer, and what to do with the deer after its harvested.
I am going to be learning by following the hunting learning path at OutdoorU.org, watching some videos, and checking out the library. I also would feel better getting out with someone with experience that can answer questions I will certainly still have my first few times out.
At Powderhook I created a discussion room (called a Card) for Lincoln Nebraska area hunters that is meant to connect beginners and experts in this area so that the experts can mentor us beginners and we can all have a good time and make new friends.
Not long after I posted Eric Dinger, the CEO and co-founder of Powderhook, dropped in to answer some of my questions! Hopefully it will be of some help to you, too, and I hope to see you there on Powderhook if you are interested in hunting:
My beginner-hunter questions:
- Where to go (Powderhook should be able to help there!)
- How close should you be to confidently make the kill (depending on your own skill of course); is 80% sure good enough for example?
- What happens if the animal is just wounded; how to finish it as cleanly as possible?
- What do you do after its dead - field clean, how to get it out to your vehicle, where can you take it (esp. deer)?
- and of course tips and tricks for tracking and finding game and general etiquette so that I don't feel like a newbie.
- We can help. And, you've got a bunch of time to get ready for next year. Let's talk again this summer about finding a spot.
- I think many people would answer this question differently. The idea is if you're going to shoot at a deer you should be really confident you're going to kill it. Not sure if that's 80% or 95%, but it's probably a highly situational deal no matter your confidence level. For example, with some practice, a good scope, rest and a standing deer you could be accurate to several hundred yards. I've never killed one over 200 yards. Boone and Crockett would tell you that anything over 300 yards is not considered fair chase. I fall in the camp of 'if you're confident you'll make an ethical shot, then shoot.' Much of the fun is about getting close - so if I were just getting started I'd force myself to get really accurate up to 150 yards and hunt until I had a chance at an animal in that range. Doers choice, though, no judgment here!
- If you wound a deer you want to give it ample time to expire. Most deer you hit solidly with a rifle will die within a few hours. The last thing you want to do is chase them when they're wounded - they'll run for miles and you'll never find them. If you're confident you hit the deer a good rule of thumb is to give it at least an hour before you move. That hour will feel like 4 hours... which is why I'm saying an hour and not 30 minutes! If you pick up a really good blood trail you're probably safe to continue to track the deer. If there is scattered blood and you're not sure you made a lethal shot, I would back out and give the deer a few more hours. If you come up to a deer that hasn't expired but doesn't run, the ethical thing to do is make a lethal shot or use your knife do the same. Use the barrel of your gun to touch the deer's eye to make sure it's dead.
- Field dressing a deer is not nearly as difficult as you'd think. That said it's definitely intimidating at first. My suggestion? Find a friend who will show you in person. Or, there are lots of "how-to" videos online. The long and short of it is you have to get what's inside out - ideally without cutting into the intestines and getting deer musk all over your new jacket. Ha! My Step Dad showed me once and I've been good to go ever since. If you end up shooting a deer on your own, hit me up and either I will come help you or I'll find you someone who will - wherever that might be. As for where to take it, Schuster's is what I hear everyone talk about [Other spots in NE]. I always took mine to C and C in Diller, Ne, but I think they're done doing it as of this year. You can also do it yourself, but I don't because I don't have a good place to do it. Most importantly - just make plans to go. The rest will come together for you. There are hundreds of people like me who would love nothing more than to help you get started.
I have a lot of time to prepare before next season and am looking forward to finding some great places and new friends over at Powderhook.