I'm very interested in hunting, but I have no experience at all! Who here hunts? Is it difficult? Does it pay off? Where do you hunt? Cuz I wanna look like these guys :
In other words, just tell me about your experiences with hunting!
Ok, assuming you're in middle America- most people hunt with guns. You will not look like that just walking/standing around with a gun, which is what hunting mostly is nowadays.
There are bow hunting seasons for a number of animals, predominantly deer in the midwest. Bow hunting takes quite a bit of skill. You definitely would want to start with archery lessons and work your way up to actually going out for a hunting season.
Hunting is not free. You cannot legally kill many kinds of animals for food whenever or wherever you want. Lots of restrictions, permits (with fees of course), safety courses, etc. Each state has its own division or department of natural resources or wildlife control, and thus each state has various seasons, fees, restrictions, etc.
You can find animal farms or sanctuaries where you pay big bucks to go out with a "guide" in a fenced-in area and kill bred animals specifically for that purpose. To me, that does not qualify as hunting.
Hunting can be "paleo" IF you have a large area of land to track animals and you do it with a bow, atlatl, spear, etc. Modern hunting, aka the kind of hunting I've done- deer, geese, pheasants- is finding a farmer with forestland or pasture that will allow you to hunt on his land/water (for a fee or some beer), buying a tag or permit, toting around a gun at 5am in hunter orange (or hopping in a tiny boat on a marsh) and hoping you aren't too loud to scare any animals away. And if you sit tight in a blind or tree stand, hoping you get lucky and one happens to walk by.
Edit: how difficult is it? Depends on how much time you spend at the range shooting at distance targets and moving targets. Shooting clays can help you get better with hunting birds. But honestly, has a lot to do with luck and persistence.
Well, where do you live?
If you are in the east or midwest it can be not really an active pursuit for big game. You can get into the woods and move slowly and get a good work out but most guys sit in a blind. You can chase grouse, woodcock and quail in the woods or pheasants in fields for a good paleo workout. Ducks and geese can be quite a paleo workout. I hunted a field that was solid mud and we carried out our blinds, 4 dozen full body decoys and all of our gear. Most people couldn't do it. Sure there are lots of people that take an atv or even a boat but if you want to work hard you can do it.
If you live in the west well it can be really hard. It isn't as easy as walking out and shooting something from your truck. There are plenty of guys who do that but they usually aren't as successful and especially not on trophy game. In the west for example in the great state of Idaho a large portion like 75%+ is public land and it as up and down as anywhere in the world.
My normal big game hunt has me in between 7-15 miles on foot carrying a 35+ pound pack. I am setting up camp, gathering wood, and usually glassing from vantage points to find animals.
That is just big game not to mention chasing upland birds like chukar on sheer cliffs that will make your heart jump into your throat.
So like anything else you can make it easy or hard. I chose to be outside and work my butt off.
Not to mention how paleo it is to pack out wild meat from the wilderness and eat it. I use everything from knee bones, bear fat, liver, heart etc.
Just get out there and start hunting and learn along the way. Don't get into the trap of driving around all day in a truck or in a car and it is a rewarding experience!
HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! I live in the HEART of huntin' country and these dudes and dudettes generally do NOT look like those guys. They mostly hunt with guns but some use bows. Way too many use ATVs as well. Many many hunt on private land, like farm fields (get permission).
My husband is a new-ish hunter. He has gone for elk and deer using a rifle. He is committed to hiking in the forest as well and not hunting private land. He has "shared" a deer with a friend and I'm not sure which of them actually got the shot off, lots of big talk and I just tuned them out after awhile. So, he has not had much luck with the big game - the more sporting you are the less chance you may have.
However, my husband is really into bird hunting - shotgun. He brings home lots of grouse, pheasant, geese, duck and turkeys. I do all the plucking and cleaning (once you get the hang it's pretty easy). The thing I like about birds is that you have many chances to get many animals, also if the bird (especially diver ducks) has a funky taste, you don't have a huge commitment to eating pounds and pounds of meat with regret. One animal = one meal so that's pretty easy.
Like Melissa said, go through your hunter safety course. Watch lots of Youtubes on hunting - particularly cleaning and dressing because you are going to spend A LOT of time doing that unless you plan to drop the animal at a processor. Get a buddy and go with him/her your first few seasons.
I am going to start hunting as well once the kids get older and can some with. Oh, btw if you have kids who are old enough, in my state they can get deer tags that are much more open than the adult tags. Just a thought. In my area kids start hunting at about age 9 I think.
My husband's hunting buddy is his dentist - Dr. Hunt! Isn't that a riot. Dr. Hunt??? Hahaha.
I enjoy hunting quite a lot. I think that there is a big difference in what we tend to think of as hunting these days and what it meant to people like the ones in that picture. It's become more of a sport these days, which isn't an altogether bad thing. We have far too many people for large segments of the population to practice regular subsistence hunting--there is a reason many HG were nomadic, you may not kill all the game in a particular area but constant pressure will cause them to move or become more wary and difficult to kill.
I'm for humane and ethical practices and I use a rifle almost exclusively, if only to limit wastage on wounded game that can't be found. I own a handmade wooden long-bow hewn from local yew-wood but it’s a lot different to expect me to use that today when the area I hunt is open to rifle hunting for half the year. Game animal habits are going to be somewhat different due to the local practices; i.e.-less cautious at the beginning of a short season, more cautious after an influx of hunters over a period of time, deer in people's yards where they are safe may be indifferent to people while deer hundreds of yards away will flee at the first sight of a truck where road-hunting is common, etc...
Where I'm at the majority of the hunting is for subsistence and the pressure is pretty high. I like to hike far from the roads as the further I go, the more success I have. Although I don't make it arbitrarily difficult--I'm not going to pass on one five minutes from the truck because I want a better work out. I feel I've paid my dues packing out meat through terrain that can be difficult to navigate without the added burden. For me hunting can be one of the most frustrating and therefore; most rewarding experiences there is. The conflicting emotions you feel add to the experience--thrill and enjoyment of success, remorse for taking a life, gratitude, camaraderie, pride etc...
My advice is to find people who hunt where you want to hunt and the way you want to hunt and learn from them, hunter safety classes and firearm/archery training as well as learning your local laws and regulations is a given.
Well, it's certainly not as hard as it was for the people in that picture. That's the magic of guns. I'd just look up your local hunting department, usually the Dept. of Environmental Conservation and see if there are any safety courses near you. Those certainly won't get you to the point where you can hunt, but they give you a good idea of the challenges and might help you meet people who can teach you more. You can also look for someone near you who does hunting courses. I think a membership to a gun or archery range is also a must. You need to practice that at least once a month, if not more. You also need to have the time to scout out locations before the season starts. I didn't have time to do that last season because I was moving, so I didn't even bother going out. However, one of my classmates, John Durant, got a deer.
I'm chomping at the bit to learn how to hunt. I know guns are easier, but I'm more interested in bowhunting.
I recently mentioned my growing interest in this to my mother, and she quickly informed me that my uncle (who I haven't seen in years) is really into bowhunting and does it quite often. Supposedly his kids are only 16 and 18 years old and have won a bunch of bow competitions and such. I've been thinking about getting in touch to see if they would let me tag along on a hunt sometime, and/or teach me how to shoot a bow.
I've also already been bugging one of my other aunts and her husband who fish a lot to take me with them.
I hunt, with a gun although I've considered learning archery.
I have been dumb enough to bring a pedometer, and realized that I log about 17 miles/day of cross-country walking during my last hunt. I usually hike about a week pre-season to look for evidence of oft-traveled areas are for the critters I'm looking to shoot, then upon season start I will hike out to that spot about an hour before light, sit there until lunch, walk back to my truck for lunch, and then hike around for the rest of the day looking.
I've only gotten piggies, have yet to get a deer. First time was during the early morning, second time was afternoon. Both pigs were 75-80lbs and slaughtered out to about 30-40lbs of usable meat... but the added benefit of hunting is that you get hunter friends, who will most likely share kills with you, especially the offal.
What's with the bjork tag anyway?
"Now lest you imagine that the kill would be a dramatic scene such as that you see on the movies, think again. In the movie scene, the heroic hunter gatherer takes a measured and cool aim at the majestic beast. He draws back his bow with cool precision and fires a precise kill shot, with the dramatic poignant death of the beast ensuing. Reality, on the other hand, is more likely to be a drawn out affair. One can expect a frenzied, bloody and gory mess. Probably the first arrow shot would hit somewhere on the shoulder or leg or midsection of the poor animal. The victim would then howl, squeal, or scream in blind panic and fear, and become quite dangerous. It would be cornered, fighting for its life and uncomprehending of the type of wound it was sustaining. It has no instinctive built-in behavior or knowledge of arrow piercings.
Eventually, the proud hunter gathers will take more and more shots at the wounded, cornered, terrified and eventually exhausted animal. When the victim looks like a porcupine, with perhaps several arrows sticking out of it, and collapses, one of the brave hunters will come upon it and do the final kill, with a spear if available, a club, or an arrow shot at very close range.For example, I once watched a group of Huli Wigman in the highlands of Papua New Guinea take down a large pig with arrows and spears. The 4 proud warriors surrounded the pig. One took his shot and hit the pig on the upper thigh. The pig shrieked an ear piercing squeal and charged the hunter that inflicted the wound. The hunter, quite understandably, scrambled up a nearby tree like a scared rabbit.
After about 10 minutes of the other hunters baiting the scared and frenzied pig, the animal turned and started to walk away in a confused state with the arrow still sticking out of his thigh. Then one of the other hunters came from behind and shot the pig in the ass. This set off another round of the pig charging and squealing in frenzied panic, with the brave warrior involved scrambling away for dear life.
The source of all the excitement--this small squirrel Eventually the poor pig started to tire as it was losing a significant amount of blood from its wounds. The hunters tentatively got close again, and shot it two more times with yet more resulting frenzied squeals and charges. After another 5 to 10 minutes and another 3 arrows the pig finally collapsed. It looked like an arrow target at a shooting range with 5 or 6 arrows still poked into its body. One of the hunters then, quite warily and with great caution, approached the mortally wounded animal and thrust a spear into it. After yet another spasm and set of loud piercing and anguished screams, the pig fell back whereby one of the hunters plunged yet another spear into it to finish it off. The whole process took over a half hour. There was nothing proud, dramatic or heroic about it."
Here is a How To Hunt guide:
I took a basic handgun safety class at a local shooting range, and later took some private rifle lessons. I bought a membership at the shooting range and practiced. I watched other shooters and asked them for help. I asked technical and skill help of friends and at shooting forums.
I practice with air guns at home. I do exercises to improve my sighting skills, breathing, etc.
There are some excellent shooting forums. Here is one:
The High Road is excellent, too. (Can't post a link as it's blocked by the WiFi software.)
As far as actual hunting goes, I have only ever shot very small game with a .22 rifle and very light loads. I enjoy the meditative aspect of shooting. I find it calming and regenerative. I mostly shoot holes in paper, and plink.
There are many great sites about choosing firearms, shooting safety and technique, etc.
I wish you much joy hunting. :)
Here is one of my favorites:
I recently bought "The Beginner's Guide to Hunting Deer for Food" by Jackson Landers. I haven't done a review on it yet, but it's a good, quick read, and covers a lot of hunting basics. I'd recommend you give the book a look (it's also available as an eBook if you swing that way).
Understand that every state has different regulations for what kinds of weapons can be used during a given season. While the atlatl may sound cool to use paleo goods, it's not permitted in most states for hunting, along with other "primitive" weapons. Really, you're generally limited to bows and guns, and the former category may limit you further (Oregon, for example, does not permit crossbow use).
Most successful hunts nowadays are stationary exercises where you hunt from a stand or tree. There are some aficionados who do stalk their prey (deer), but in general this method is less successful. There's very little about the sport nowadays that requires an excellent physical condition, which is why you see plenty of stereotypical overweight, redneck hunters.
If your goal is, specifically, to acquire wild meat, then your best bet is to start with a rifle. If your goal is to be in awesome shape, hunting won't help you.