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  #1  
Old 07-08-2019, 9:24 PM
alecZ alecZ is offline
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Default Deer hunting tips for newbie in Santa Clara

I started hunting last year and hunted rabbits, ducks.
I am very interested to hunt a deer.
I heard the chance is very little in public lands, is it true? Where I can try?
Is it legal to shoot does, or only bucks?
Are there any experienced hunters who could share a tip or two?
Much appreciated.

Last edited by alecZ; 07-08-2019 at 9:24 PM.. Reason: typo
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2019, 9:46 PM
yoteassasin yoteassasin is offline
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ouch .. that's a big ask ... get read up on the regs , almost all tags are forked or better bucks. Watch your sent , don't focus on water or feed .. its all about figuring where they are moving, mid day from their morning bed to their afternoon bed . make some friends be willing to beat some serious feet and do lots of favors ... good luck
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:15 PM
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You got some google work to do. Come back with some focused questions.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:23 PM
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Forest maps and lots of gas. Go out on the weekends and start scouting for deer. I like Deckhandmikeís idea Of Google maps to investigate habitat/water.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:49 PM
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Uh what tags did you get?
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2019, 3:55 AM
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Did you take your hunter ed? When my son took it last year, they covered everything you asked in the class.
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2019, 4:04 AM
edgerly779 edgerly779 is offline
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No one will share spots to deer hunt with you. These are very closely held locations. Very few doe tags issued in ca. A zone has most areas to freelance. try blm lands. try ft hunter ligget.
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Old 07-09-2019, 4:25 AM
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I'm going to echo other comments.

1. If you haven't, take hunters safety.

2. Read the regs and definitions to understand the basic rules.

3. Determine your general area. How far do you want to drive? What's your max drive?

4. Look at a map and start looking for public land in that radius.


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Old 07-09-2019, 8:35 AM
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and when you are all done with the above get a tag in another state and forget Ca
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  #10  
Old 07-09-2019, 8:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divernhunter View Post
and when you are all done with the above get a tag in another state and forget Ca
Honestly as sucked as that sounds, it's exactly how I feel about it.

My time is too short and I'm too old to go hang out with 750 hunters in ten acres with no deer.
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Old 07-09-2019, 9:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divernhunter View Post
and when you are all done with the above get a tag in another state and forget Ca
LOL.
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Disagree. Been trying to teach lewdogg21 how to hunt. It's like trying to teach Steve Wonder how to see. Not sure we're ever going to get there.
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  #12  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:03 AM
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Easiest advice. Go find a few public lands in your tag zone area and scout them out. Don’t necessarily look for deer but look for “walks and stands”. Meaning scout the land out where you can map out and plan pre arranged walks and places to sit and glass where you can cover X amount of promising area in a specific amount of time. Otherwise you will end up at the trail head at o dark thirty with 10 other hunters wondering which way to go
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  #13  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divernhunter View Post
and when you are all done with the above get a tag in another state and forget Ca
That is CAís advanced class on deer hunting. Iím not sure he is ready for that kind of professional advice yet. He probably want to break in a pair of boots and binoculars wandering in CA first.
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2019, 12:40 PM
edgerly779 edgerly779 is offline
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Practice taking armed walks in ca on public land. Who knows you might see a buck besides a few hundred other hunters.
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Old 07-09-2019, 3:15 PM
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CA isn't a good place for beginners to learn -- especially without a mentor to take you out for your first few years (even then!). Odds are way better out of state if you actually want to bring home some meat.

That being said, if you don't mind taking 5 or more years to fill a tag and can enjoy being out in the woods for days on end without seeing anything legal to shoot at, then CA will do just fine. Find a stretch of land and get to know it intimately. Learn its rhythms. Find the water holes. Follow animal trails.
Sit and watch as motionless as possible for 3+ hour stretches. Forget about shooting and focus on learning what's going on around you.

Once you get to know an area, try different things. If you find a doe without a fawn, stalk in on her just for fun. Don't shoot her. Just see how close you can get before she spooks. Can you get within 20 yards? How about 10?When she spooks, how does she react? How much noise can you get away with before she alerts to your presence? Mind the wind & how it swirls throughout the day. How do the deer's behaviors change later in the season? Make maps of deer trails if you can. Set up a game camera. How often do they pass by?

There's a lifetime of study and observation in the woods for those patient enough to learn. But even I get itchy after a few seasons and need to show some success for all my time spent out there. My only fool-proof method is to just keep showing up & trying. Eventually, you'll be in the right place at the right time by sheer probability.

I figure it's like getting a Robin Hood shot in archery (hitting one arrow with another). Even bad shooters can get them on occasion by simply shooting lots and lots of arrows. Eventually, one will hit another by luck. For hunting deer, if you're out in the woods a lot, you'll eventually see a buck. Good hunters are those who have acquired the knowledge and skills to simply see them more often than the rest of us.
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  #16  
Old 07-09-2019, 6:28 PM
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Don't let the naysayers discourage you. There are lots of public land deer hunting opportunities within a few hours of you. In the last ten years I have taken one or two deer each season in A Zone on the central coast. Only two of those deer were on private land. So yes, you can do it in California on public land.

The key is time in the field. Get out there as much as possible. Start before the season and go scouting. If you see does, take note. The bucks are around. They might just be hunkered down somewhere waiting to come out at night. When the rut begins, the bucks may show up during the day.

When you are out hunting/scouting and get tired, find a heavily traveled trail or high point. Take your break while observing/glassing the surrounding area. You will be surprised how soon after you sit down and stop moving that the forest around you comes to life again.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:02 AM
edgerly779 edgerly779 is offline
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There are some posts on here about public land near hunter ligget with camping and hunting info. Pretty country but dry and hot in A zone season. Watch out for snakes bad season. We just had a gsp bit at our club. Thank god for crotalus horrid homeopathic medicine. Has saved every dog we have had bit. I wonder f it would save a human as a last resort treatment.

Last edited by edgerly779; 07-11-2019 at 6:42 AM..
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  #18  
Old 07-10-2019, 11:19 AM
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What are the odds OP never comes back to this thread like most of these first posters?
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:32 AM
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Hope he is not discouraged by our elitist attitude(LOL) hope he uses search and looks up old posts with good info. Or pms me. I can send him in right direction hopefully after I talk to him. There are areas near him with some sweat you can see some animals.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishfisher View Post
Don't let the naysayers discourage you. There are lots of public land deer hunting opportunities within a few hours of you. In the last ten years I have taken one or two deer each season in A Zone on the central coast. Only two of those deer were on private land. So yes, you can do it in California on public land.

The key is time in the field. Get out there as much as possible. Start before the season and go scouting. If you see does, take note. The bucks are around. They might just be hunkered down somewhere waiting to come out at night. When the rut begins, the bucks may show up during the day.

When you are out hunting/scouting and get tired, find a heavily traveled trail or high point. Take your break while observing/glassing the surrounding area. You will be surprised how soon after you sit down and stop moving that the forest around you comes to life again.
Agreed.

I learned by myself here in CA with no mentor. It's not as easy as other states but most certainly doable. I probably hunt a worse unit than OP has access to and I see deer pretty much every trip out.
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  #21  
Old 07-11-2019, 6:49 AM
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There is plenty of areas to hunt deer in this state.

If you are a road hunter and think hiking 1/4 of a mile off the road is getting out there then there isn’t much land to hunt in CA

Last edited by taperxz; 07-11-2019 at 8:47 AM..
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Old 07-11-2019, 8:19 AM
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I appreciate the guys trying to encourage the OP, unfortunately I'm SoCal and it's exactly like I alluded to around here. It's so much easier for me to get an out of state tag and drive to AZ or Tennessee for that matter than it is to draw a NorCal tag and make it happen and If you can't put the pre-hunt time in then that's exactly what you will be, a fire road hunter when your day comes. That might be okay in a target rich area, hell you can run the things over with your truck in Missouri... But my time is limited, I just prefer spending a few bucks to get into a better environment.

I wish you the best OP, I'm sorry for the negative vibe in my first post. If you're serious and have the time and guts to get out there, listen to the guys like IrishFisher that have made it happen and get out there...
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Old 07-11-2019, 9:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taperxz View Post
There is plenty of areas to hunt deer in this state.

If you are a road hunter and think hiking 1/4 of a mile of the road is getting out there then there isnít much land to hunt in CA
Funny. I still see more deer within 1 mile of the road than I do beyond 1 mile. I've spent my time 50/50 in the last several years. In the Sierras, I'd say the number of deer has been around 80% within 1 mile, 20% from 1-3 miles and nothing beyond 3 miles. I certainly won't make any claims about this being a representative sample that applies everywhere -- it's just my experience.

I recently learned that, at least in my area, most of the reservoirs and roads were built along routes that are migration trails. Makes sense, I suppose. Give us a few thousand years of following our prey and after a while, our routes and theirs are one and the same.

I'm still planning a late season pack-in hunt where I've seen people only 3 times in about 5 years. I love backcountry hunts! But I've had to eat some humble pie seeing deer not at all far from roads & campgrounds. Thankfully, that humble pie tasted like venison. So this year, I'm doing both -- hanging out near an established campground with wifi and RVs for the D-zone season hunt and then packing in several miles back into the wilderness for a late season hunt. That campground is full of old guys who have been hunting there for decades and their fathers decades before that. I figure I'll learn more in camp with some of them than I will trying to figure it out on my own.
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Old 07-11-2019, 9:38 AM
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Likewise for # 9 & # 10 responses. Calif F & G is not hunter friendly in my long ways back hunting activities. You see all the deer you want on private land behind NO HUNTING / NO TRESPASSING signs in Calif. Gave it up for good here.

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Old 07-14-2019, 1:26 PM
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Appreciate every reply to my newbie questions!
In past year, I enjoyed a lot hiking in the fields looking for rabbits and hiding next to water looking for ducks.

As next step, I will go scout the BLM and cdwf areas within 2 hours driving area, try to stay still to observe.
If it does take a few years to get some deer meat home, I am not sure if I can get there... but for this year, scouting some areas is interesting to me.

Last question: I haven't purchased a tag yet. Would you recommend getting one for this year? Or just scout to learn this year then purchase tag 2020? Maybe I will figure this out after scouting a few times to see I can see any deers :-)

Again, thank you so much for all your sharing. Feeling encouraged and discouraged at same time by this nice community.
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Old 07-14-2019, 1:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ACfixer View Post
I appreciate the guys trying to encourage the OP, unfortunately I'm SoCal and it's exactly like I alluded to around here. It's so much easier for me to get an out of state tag and drive to AZ or Tennessee for that matter than it is to draw a NorCal tag and make it happen and If you can't put the pre-hunt time in then that's exactly what you will be, a fire road hunter when your day comes. That might be okay in a target rich area, hell you can run the things over with your truck in Missouri... But my time is limited, I just prefer spending a few bucks to get into a better environment.

I wish you the best OP, I'm sorry for the negative vibe in my first post. If you're serious and have the time and guts to get out there, listen to the guys like IrishFisher that have made it happen and get out there...

Thank you for sharing!
My work is busy so I can only hunt weekends. Spending some bucks to get a deer in other states is good for me. But I don't think I have the skills yet even if I go to other states.

If my goal is to go to Missouri for a deer trip in 2020, what do you suggest me to do this year to learn and prepare?

Last edited by alecZ; 07-14-2019 at 1:36 PM.. Reason: missed to quote
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Old 07-14-2019, 1:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishfisher View Post
Don't let the naysayers discourage you. There are lots of public land deer hunting opportunities within a few hours of you. In the last ten years I have taken one or two deer each season in A Zone on the central coast. Only two of those deer were on private land. So yes, you can do it in California on public land.

The key is time in the field. Get out there as much as possible. Start before the season and go scouting. If you see does, take note. The bucks are around. They might just be hunkered down somewhere waiting to come out at night. When the rut begins, the bucks may show up during the day.

When you are out hunting/scouting and get tired, find a heavily traveled trail or high point. Take your break while observing/glassing the surrounding area. You will be surprised how soon after you sit down and stop moving that the forest around you comes to life again.
I am inspired by what you said: "You will be surprised how soon after you sit down and stop moving that the forest around you comes to life again."
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Old 07-14-2019, 2:46 PM
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Last question: I haven't purchased a tag yet. Would you recommend getting one for this year? Or just scout to learn this year then purchase tag 2020? Maybe I will figure this out after scouting a few times to see I can see any deers :-)
If you are going to hunt the areas near you, go ahead and get an A Zone tag. It will cost you around $33.00. If you happen to see a buck, you will kick yourself for not being ready.

Also, read up on field dressing and skinning a deer. Think about and prepare for how you are going to get the deer back to your vehicle (backpack, game cart, etc.)
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Old 07-14-2019, 5:22 PM
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Probably wouldn't hurt to have a pig tag, better chance of bumping into one of those. No tag=no shoot, be opportunistic. Hunt with the wind into your face, up canyon in the day down canyon in the evening/night. Hunting right after a good rain can help even hunting in a drizzling rain is good. Sometimes game is where you wouldn't expect to find it keep a open mind. Deer and other game doesn't like the heat any more than you do look for cooler places shade in the heat of the day and water. North aspect is your friend, big game can and does bed 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up a ridge. Be ready to take the shot. Watch the trails for tracks, stay out of the poison oak it can and will make you wish you didn't squat to take a dump in it. HTH
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Old 07-17-2019, 11:50 PM
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Probably wouldn't hurt to have a pig tag, better chance of bumping into one of those. No tag=no shoot, be opportunistic. Hunt with the wind into your face, up canyon in the day down canyon in the evening/night. Hunting right after a good rain can help even hunting in a drizzling rain is good. Sometimes game is where you wouldn't expect to find it keep a open mind. Deer and other game doesn't like the heat any more than you do look for cooler places shade in the heat of the day and water. North aspect is your friend, big game can and does bed 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up a ridge. Be ready to take the shot. Watch the trails for tracks, stay out of the poison oak it can and will make you wish you didn't squat to take a dump in it. HTH
These details are helpful! Thank you!
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Old 07-18-2019, 8:14 AM
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Here's a couple of more things for you that I have done for my entire life. If your hunting and you see someone "over there" hunting don't go over there and intrude into their hunting area, keep a fair distance. If you see someone dragging a animal out go and offer to help, I cant count the times I helped someone doing this. I've had them offer to pay me and I would NEVER take it in a respectful way but if you have a cold soda pop or water I could use that. If it's cold weather maybe a cup of coffee. I'm a old guy now so I hope the tradition has passed on and some nice younger person would help me some time. I guess you could call it hunting etiquette? it's the way I was raised. Don't ever use your rifle scope to look at someone carry binoculars and use them. Be considerate to others to be sure you'll run into plenty of @$$holes, don't let them get you down.HTH
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Old 07-18-2019, 8:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elk hunter View Post
Here's a couple of more things for you that I have done for my entire life. If your hunting and you see someone "over there" hunting don't go over there and intrude into their hunting area, keep a fair distance. If you see someone dragging a animal out go and offer to help, I cant count the times I helped someone doing this. I've had them offer to pay me and I would NEVER take it in a respectful way but if you have a cold soda pop or water I could use that. If it's cold weather maybe a cup of coffee. I'm a old guy now so I hope the tradition has passed on and some nice younger person would help me some time. I guess you could call it hunting etiquette? it's the way I was raised. Don't ever use your rifle scope to look at someone carry binoculars and use them. Be considerate to others to be sure you'll run into plenty of @$$holes, don't let them get you down.HTH
I am new to hunting and I am inspired by the etiquette.
I have met some &$$hole in duck hunting but personally I could have been more helpful. I will try to be more considerate going forward. Thank YOU!
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Old 07-18-2019, 8:38 AM
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Good advise from alecZ

Like all here who have hunted for deer. Your gonna be paying some dues IMO.

If you get lucky enough to find a real friend who will take you out, & show you the ropes, (so to speak), you will be blessed indeed.

Sadly for you, & most here, those dues will be paid one way or another. One thing you find during all this is, it's not cheap, most hunters do it to be there (in the forest), & scoring is a awesome bonus IMO.

Best advise, just get a friend, any friend that is loyal, & start from there, Or you can go it alone, which IMHO, you will learn much more, as your attention will not be divided up (focused).

Read what you can, get your maps, & go, experience will always be the best teacher, also IMO

One day you'll find, you will likely keep much of your hunting information a secret, as you worked & payed for that.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:03 AM
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The dues are more in the form of blood sweat and tears, time in it and the skin in the game. Money comes and goes but time unlike money is not replaceable you get it once and only once.
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Old 07-18-2019, 8:54 PM
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Spend the money on maps or an app like OnX, look for good food and water sources in your area. Hike the areas you plan to hunt, look for difficult areas, steep rocky slopes, brush choked canyons, thick patches of poison oak. Use trail cams to see what’s using active trails. Don’t expect to find a trophy buck feeding 50 yds from the road, as others have said you’ll need to put in some work but there are some great bucks in Ca.
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Old 07-18-2019, 9:20 PM
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Hunting is a rich mans sport. You get what you put into it. If you really want to hunt go on a guided hunt. Don’t waste your time and money hunting public land. When all said and done it is cheaper to pay for a hunt. I have well over a million into my ranch.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:17 PM
alecZ alecZ is offline
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Originally Posted by Duck Killer View Post
Hunting is a rich mans sport. You get what you put into it. If you really want to hunt go on a guided hunt. Donít waste your time and money hunting public land. When all said and done it is cheaper to pay for a hunt. I have well over a million into my ranch.
Haha, do you offer guided hunting trip?
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:22 PM
alecZ alecZ is offline
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Originally Posted by Dano3467 View Post
Good advise from alecZ

Like all here who have hunted for deer. Your gonna be paying some dues IMO.

If you get lucky enough to find a real friend who will take you out, & show you the ropes, (so to speak), you will be blessed indeed.

Sadly for you, & most here, those dues will be paid one way or another. One thing you find during all this is, it's not cheap, most hunters do it to be there (in the forest), & scoring is a awesome bonus IMO.

Best advise, just get a friend, any friend that is loyal, & start from there, Or you can go it alone, which IMHO, you will learn much more, as your attention will not be divided up (focused).

Read what you can, get your maps, & go, experience will always be the best teacher, also IMO

One day you'll find, you will likely keep much of your hunting information a secret, as you worked & payed for that.
I can feel your hard work paid in exploring the forest.
I have good friends, but none of them is into hunting... sad..
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