Hunting

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JimT
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Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:04 pm

Hunting

Post by JimT »

Growing up in the West I learned to hunt on foot. Some call it "stalking" and while it may truly be that, it was hunting on foot. I knew nothing about climbing a tree to sit on stand all day. Or getting into a cabin on stilts and sipping coffee while waiting for game to wander by. We hunted by going out into the canyons and walking, climbing ridges, glassing and sneaking around trying to slip on up game before the critter spotted you and ran for cover.

Mule Deer, Whitetail and Javelina we hunted on foot. Coyotes, foxes and bobcat we hunted by getting camouflaged, using scent hiding scents and sneaking into a place where we would sit and call. It was risky to do by yourself since you could not watch all the way around you and you never knew from which direction the critter was coming. Since they were coming for the express purpose of biting whatever was making all that squalling it made good sense to have as many eyeballs looking as possible.

One fine morning my friend Jim Mork and I got into our camo gear, grabbed our packs and guns and headed out to call coyotes. We stayed low, sneaking down dry washes and keeping under cover, going slow and trying not to make any sound. We were heading for a small rounded hill that would give us a good view for several hundred yards. Slowly and cautiously we made our way to it and up to the top. There was some brush on the left side and we quietly settled down next to it, sitting back to back. Jim had his .30-06 with cast bullets and I was carry a 10" Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum Ruger loaded with the Keith SWC over 21 gr. of 2400. We sat there for what seemed like hours but was probably 10 minutes. I elbowed Jim and he started squalling on the coyote call.

Almost immediately a large coyote jumped over the brush on my left, directly at me! I could see the surprise in his eyes as he was in the air, coming down. I am sure he could see the surprise on my face as I grabbed the .44! Both of us were freaked out but thankfully neither one of us screamed. The coyote hit the ground in front of me and raced away, his tail circling around and around. While his tail was circling I was firing at him with the Ruger. I fired 5 shots which raised great dust clouds but never connected with Mr. Coyote. Later on I thought I could hear him laughing a great way off.

Hunting on foot is/was just as exciting. I was looking for Mule Deer one fall, climbing through the hills and canyons, glassing and watching for movement. I came up over a ridge and stopped just before crossing over, not wanting to silhouette myself until I had made sure there was no deer on the other side. Looking carefully I spotted the rack of a large buck bedded in some cedars, maybe 300 yards away. The wind was in my face which made the stalk easier. I moved slowly, carefully, watching where I put my feet. I made my way across a little valley, staying hidden as much as I could in the junipers and brush. I took my time, circling around and working my way closer. After about 20 or 30 minutes I was close enough to see through my binoculars that the big buck was actually a snag from a tree that had fallen down into the brush, the bare limbs sticking up like antlers.

It was a good stalk and if it had been a deer I would have gotten close enough to it, so I count it among my good stalks. I bet that if more hunters were really honest they would admit they have spotted Record Book logs or rocks or bushes at times when they were hunting!

When I started hunting in States further East I bumped into hunting from stands. One of the first was a little 3 foot by 3 foot platform about 30 feet up an oak tree in Missouri. The way to it was by climbing the tree hanging onto large nails that had been driven into the tree. Whoever drove the nails must have been nearly 7 feet tall 'cuz I had a heck of a time getting my legs up high enough to reach the next nails. For a fat guy who had never done it before, climbing a tree that way was sheer terror.

When I got to the platform there was rope laying there that had one end tied to the tree. The guy who had taken me hunting yelled up at me, "Tie the rope around your waist. If you go to sleep and fall off the platform, the rope will stop you about halfway down."

I yelled back, "If that happens, what do I do?" and he said, "Take out your knife, tense your muscles really hard, and cut the rope."

I have never figured out why he was laughing when he walked away.

I sat in that tree for hours, seeing squirrels but no deer. Finally I climbed down. Coming down was as hard as going up. Part way down I had stepped down with my right foot and finally found the nail, but my left foot was almost up by my left ear! As I tried to bring my left foot down I discovered that my bootlace had gotten hooked on the nail. I had to hang on to the tree with my hands so I tried unhooking the bootlace with my teeth but I could not quite reach it. I tried hugging the tree with one hand and using the other to unfasten the offending lace but to no avail. Getting weaker I figured I had to climb back up first, but I could not get my right foot up high enough with my left foot already elevated. Desperate I made a jump for it off my right foot and got a hand on a higher nail. I was able to pull myself up and unfasten my bootlace. When I finally got to the ground I kissed it.

That pretty much ended my tree stand hunting.

If you cannot tell it, I prefer walking on the ground. Once in Missouri I hunted the prairie lands. No trees. Just grass. I had found a deer lick and decided to hunt it. I walked out to about 100 yards from lick about 4 AM, well before light. I lay down in the grass and went to sleep. A little after daylight I woke up and looked at the lick. There were 4 or 5 deer milling around. A nice young buck was with them so I sat up, rested my pistol across my knees and shot him.

I guess you could call that "stand hunting" though my stand was on the ground .... and I walked to it.

However you hunt, have fun! And take a youngster with you. They need to learn because they are our future.
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gamekeeper
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Re: Hunting

Post by gamekeeper »

I have never had the patience to sit and wait, for me hunting is all about stalking whatever I set out to shoot. Sometimes not so successful but I enjoy the challenge.
From his weapons on the open road no man should step one pace away, you don't know for certain when you're out on the road when you might have need of your spear.
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Re: Hunting

Post by piller »

I kind of enjoy hunting whichever way it is done in that area.
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Sixgun
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Re: Hunting

Post by Sixgun »

I hear ya Jim....I especially liked the one with the 300 yard stalk....we've all done it but few are afraid to admit it. You write a good story, always have. Your style of writing and hunting remind me of how it used to be.

Around here deer are like rabbits anymore....they walk right up to the house.....it's been like that for 20 years or more and that's when I quit hunting deer......I looked at it more like murder than a sport......I never did like it in a tree.....I figured deer are animals and I'm a human so there's already a large advantage on my part.....hell, we all can afford meat at the store so where's the challenge up in a tree, camouflaged up, scented up, heated gloves, the best in long underwear, a 300 Win mag with a Leupold scope, cell phone to pass the time, two way radios, $400 Gortex boots, and the whole time the deer are like pets, who have lost their fear of people!......but, hunting is necessary so I just passed the torch to the youngsters.

My inlaws are custom butchers and hundreds of deer pass through every year.....some mighty big racks and ya know what, NONE of them impress me as hunting just isn't hunting anymore. At least that's the way it is around here.....

Look at this one...last month he was just walking out back through the pasture like he owned it and by the time I got the camera he went in the woods to lay down.....taken through a spotting scope.----006

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6pt-sika
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Re: Hunting

Post by 6pt-sika »

To each his own and more power to them . I’ll walk if I’m behind a bird dog a good bit , but when it comes to four legged cloven hooved brown rats I’d rather sit 25-35 feet up in a tree . If I kill a deer or two great but I’ve slept many pleasurable hours over the years while on stand . You know it isn’t about what other people deem the proper way to do anything that one does for pleasure , but rather it’s as far as I’m concerned doing it in a way you find pleasurable . So you guys walk all you want and I’ll never knock you for it , the hound guys in the south you run all the deer you want . But as for me I’ll sit leisurely up a tree somewhere and if I sleep each time I go up and kill nothing so what I found it enjoyable .
Parkers , 444 Marlin , 6.5mm's , Sika Deer and my family in the Philippines !

Go Manny Pacquiao !

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Grizz
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Re: Hunting

Post by Grizz »

thanks Jim. Good campfire talk.

i've always walked, or stalked, or been stalked on the ground. i use my daily camo, bluejeans and flannel shirts. we've walked up on feeding deer to around ten feet a number of times. young ones that've never seen people before. some of them came home for dinner. other times the woods were full of ghost deer, could hear them or smell them but never get close to them. that's usually when the girls are 'indisposed'.....

problem i had in SE AK was dusk. every stump and every hump looked like a three thousand pound brown bear. got some twitchy walks back to the skiff... didn't get jumped though through the kindness of the Lord.
octagon
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Re: Hunting

Post by octagon »

I had been hunting Mulies in Co around Gunnison once for about 4 days and working hard at it, and decided to take an easier route one day. Found a nice big meadow to watch and sat between three trees very comfortably with a small boulder to make a perfect rest for shooting. An hour in the warm Colorado sun put me asleep for an hour or so,and I woke to a loud thump thump, thump thump. My back was to a fenceline and the thumping was coming from mulies loading into the valley, over the fence, about 20y to my right...looking forward there were 60 or 70 deer in the field feeding hard, all splittails and tow heads, no shooters. I realized I had perfected the Old Man's sleep/hunt technique.

The ranch owner had asked my group to shoot any lynx and bobcat we saw as they were hell on her chicken crop. One morning I took a long long shot at one trotting along a fence, it must have jumped 6 ft straight up. I grabbed my Ruger in .357 and hiked to the jumping spot, found the bullet track and the cat track with no blood, so I started following the track for fun. 30 min later I moved slowly into the middle of 20 grazing mulies before I saw em, I was so intent on the cat track. There were some pretty nice bucks in that bunch that would have made a fine handgun trophy, and I regretted not shooting later that night. Later that week I connected with a whopper of a muley with the .270, turning the top of his heart to chili, his antlers get decorated every year for Christmas.
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