Hunting

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JimT
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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.
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piller
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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 !

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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.
Scott Tschirhart
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Re: Hunting

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

I've been too "busy" with work to hunt or fish for the past few years. That is a big mistake in my estimation.

However, I'm working on it. I've got an old .45 Colt Ruger with a moderate load of Unique behind a 270 SAA bullet that I will walk around with this year. Recently I found out that an old pre-safety Rossi 92 feeds that load and shoots just fine if my bullets are sized to .454.

I'm looking forward to some simplicity again.
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JimT
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Re: Hunting

Post by JimT »

Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:23 am
I'm looking forward to some simplicity again.
Yessir! I get to craving it if I am away too long from it.
piller
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Re: Hunting

Post by piller »

Scott, that sounds like a good combo for almost anything that I might hunt. I rarely shoot at anything over 100 yards because of not being in open country around here.
D. Brian Casady
Quid Llatine Dictum Sit, Altum Viditur.
Advanced is being able to do the basics while your leg is on fire---Bill Jeans
Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up---Robert Frost
Scott Tschirhart
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Re: Hunting

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

piller,

I'm in the South Texas brush country. I've shot many more deer under 100 yards than I have over.

Best regards,

Scott
Scott Tschirhart
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Re: Hunting

Post by Scott Tschirhart »

E7A93C32-9350-4329-9944-7350D6CE9388.jpeg
Scott Tschirhart wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:42 pm
piller,

I'm in the South Texas brush country. I've shot many more deer under 100 yards than I have over. That’s Linebaugh #33 in .45 Colt and a fine but a little rough old Rossi 92

Best regards,

Scott
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AJMD429
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Re: Hunting

Post by AJMD429 »

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

I agree...!!!
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barbarossa
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Re: Hunting

Post by barbarossa »

When I was younger I use to hunt by walking/stalking and later changed to stand hunting for awhile but eventually went back to stalking.Where I live the deer hunting now is primarily done by baiting/stand hunting something that myself I just couldn t get into because personally it just takes the fun out of it.Funny thing is that a lot of the bait hunters aren t as successful as they use to be as the deer seem to have caught on and come to their bait late at night instead of the day time.I ve run into quite a few hunters complaining of this in the last few years and it kind of makes me chuckle a bit.I m just old school and these days just being in the woods is enjoyable so at the end of the day that is for me more important than having to make a kill , I ll leave that for the young guys
HawkCreek
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Re: Hunting

Post by HawkCreek »

I too learned to hunt from the ground. I've never been in a stand or blind though I do try to find likely places to sit and wait in the early mornings and late afternoon into evening.
This years muley was shot from less than 80 yards in some thick timber. Quite different for a guy whose used to hunting wide open prairie and deserts. I used my bones in the thick stuff even more than I do in the open country. Comes in handy for distingiushing stump deer from the real thing. Unfortunately not a levergun hunt but with the light in the the thick and dark timber I wouldnt have gotten that buck without the help of Leupold.
Bill in Oregon
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Re: Hunting

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Good stuff, Jim. Being a Westerner, this tree stand business "don't seem natural." And using a feeder will get you prison time in the Northwest. Whole different ball game starting right next door in good old Texas. Guess I would be happy to plunk a hog under such circumstances.
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Ray
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Re: Hunting

Post by Ray »

Before I joined uncle ronnie's yacht club you could hunt almost anywhere......posted signs were just suggestions like the piece of fluff who said no but really meant yes.....when I was finally granted parole and mustered-out, all of the private, timber, and mining lands were literally and adamantly, sure enough POSTED.....of course, it follows that there was orange in front of, beside, behind, and up every other tree on public land.....

So co-workers mobbed together to lease and incorporate hunting clubs..... By the time I had given up on public land, the hunting club tradition was firmly established with its own rules (more unwritten than bylawed) of etiquette and decorum.....

Story of my life but I just didn't fit.....

I chose to walk to and from the chosen stand. Didn't even own (and still don't) an a.t.v. They thought that queer.....

I did not climb trees or sit in a blind/hide that reeked of cigarettes and urine.....I hunted from the ground seated on a bucket or a stool......Queerer still.....

Instead of the latest thing in fattly optic-ed bolt action I carried a muzzleloader or fowling piece or a levergun or a heavy six gun.....

I was much censured and chastised.....walking to the stand instead of riding a scooter spread my scent and interfered with the quarry's normal patterns.....hunting from the ground was deemed unsafe as the alloted hunting areas were surveyed with a mind of shooting down not up.....hunting from the ground interfered with the quarry's normal patterns...... and anyone who sits on a bucket with a 30-30 when he could climb a tree and use a 7mm magnum must be loco and possibility dangerous.....

Now I am back on public land (uncle donald's) forest and have had few competitors but I fear that that may change this season what with the confounded chinomicrobe caused economic slump might hinder folks paying lease/club dues.....
m.A.g.a. !
Bill in Oregon
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Re: Hunting

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Ray, good for you, my friend! 8)
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