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The Sportsman’s Guide to Small Game Hunting!
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Table of Contents
Understanding Wild Animal Habitats Choosing Your Weapon: Rifle Choosing Your Weapon: Shotgun Choosing Your Weapon: Muzzleloaders Hunter Safety Plan Your Hunt - Day Trip or Overnighter Scouting the Topography Scouting Your Game A Still Hunt Stalking About Hunting Dogs Finding Your Downed Game Hunting Small Game - Rabbit, Squirrel Raccoons Hunting Game Birds - Pheasant, Quail, Grouse, Partridge & Wild Turkey Hunting Water Fowl - Duck and Goose

Understanding Wild Animal Habitats

How to Have a Better Small Game Hunting Season

Small game hunting is the classification of game hunting which includes small animals such as rabbits, quail, ducks, and birds. To hunt legally a hunting license is required for most species. One small game license may cover all game species but have daily or yearly bag limits. The hunter should check with the local government about the licensing before hunting in a particular location.

Whether you are a novice or a professional hunter, understanding the habitat of these animals can improve the quantity of game you bag in a particular season.

Understanding Animal Habitats

All species have their own habitat: this includes the food, water, shelter and space that they need in order to survive. Each animal has different habitat requirements. Wolves, for example, need a wide area of undisturbed forest, while chipmunks like to live in woodland burrows under rocks and logs.

Knowing the preferred habitat of these small animals will give the hunter a better chance of finding and hunting them...

Let us identify the habitats of some of these animals for small game hunting.

- Doves. Doves prefer to stay in agricultural areas because these places areas can provide bountiful food for them. However, there are also some seasons where you will find opportunities to hunt doves in the desert areas when water and seeds are available in sufficient quantities.

- Quail. Quail may be difficult to spot in some seasons as they may still be nesting. Quails thrive in places where there is significant rainfall. Some river drainage areas also provide decent quail hunting opportunities.

- Rabbits. Cottontail rabbits can be found most often in low and midelevation areas. Rabbits like thick brush and tangled masses of briars. They can also be found in desert washes.

- Tree Squirrels. Squirrels thrive mostly in places with abundant food sources, including pine mast, acorns and mushrooms. Red squirrels are usually found in mixed conifer and spruce forests. They can easily be located by their “wurring” call - even from a distance.

Abert squirrels prefer ponderosa pine habitats and spend a lot of time on the ground scavenging for mushrooms during the fall. Gray squirrels like riparian corridors of sycamore, walnut and ash.

- Waterfowl. Waterfowl can best be found on wetlands, reservoirs and impoundments. Ducks often gather in backwaters, on slow running rivers and sheltered areas of lakes; like coves and the mouths of rivers and creeks. Desert stock ponds after a big storm can be a home for some ducks.

- Blue grouse. Grouse are usually found in high mountain areas, especially in places where there are mixed conifers and spruce habitats.

- Band-tailed pigeon. These birds are commonly found in high mountain habitats, usually around pockets of oak trees; places with good acorn supply associated with watering sites are also places where band-tailed pigeons can be found. Their migration patterns are irregular, though, so it may be difficult to locate them at times.

Hunting and the habitat

Hunters actually play an important role in maintaining the balance between

the animals and their habitat.

Wild animals depend on their natural habitat to survive. Having a bountiful habitat means a constant increase in the population. If population increases more rapidly than production of new food and shelter, the habitat may eventually be depleted leaving the animals competing for survival.

Hunters help prevent depletion of natural habitat and native vegetation because they help control the population growth of wild animals. Hunters are considered one of the limiting factors to the animal’s population. If wild animal habitats are preserved, there is a better chance to spot these small animals and hunt them.

Hunting can also be made easier by consulting the department biologists in the area where you would like to hunt. Generally these animal enthusiasts know where and when specific animals can be found, usually in groups. But keep in mind the rules and regulations with regard to hunting in a particular area. Rules and legal conditions differ from area to area so always check them first.

Choosing Your Weapon: Rifle

What a Good Small Game Rifle Should Be

Small game hunting involves hunting small animals like rabbits, squirrels, and ducks. Since these animals are small great power is not needed to hunt them. It is better to invest in a weapon that has high accuracy to be able to target the small animals better. Also, the cost of ammunition should be considered since a hunter may take numerous shots in a day.

For small game hunting, a rim-fire rifle is a good choice for a weapon to use in this hunting category. When choosing a rifle, the following must be considered – its fit, sights, weight, action and caliber. A gun that fits properly will help you fire more accurate shots.

When carrying a rifle that has a stock that is too short the scope may hit your eyebrow, giving you “scope bite,” while one that is very long might get caught in your armpit if you are wearing a heavy jacket.

A full size stock is best for adult hunters because of its perfect fit. Good balance and stock design is important for a small game rifle so that it can be handled quickly and smoothly. Most shots in small game hunting are done from a short distance where the animal can possibly detect the hunter; and

small animals do not sit still for long periods of time.

Ultra light rifles are difficult to keep the balance and make accurate shots, so it is better to get a light rifle rather than an ultra light one. An ideal weight may be around 6 pounds. The rifle’s action can either be repeater or single shot as long as it can guarantee a more accurate shot. Barrel length also needs to be considered - more for balance than for ballistics. A medium weight barrel about 20-22 inches in length is preferred.

A good small game rifle should have a small action to match its cartridge and a solid feel. A rifle with a smooth action is always good; and a clean and light trigger pull is needed for accuracy. Given the production standards of today, a trigger revamp may be needed for every new rifle.

It is more important for a small game rifle to be accurate rather than fancy. There are many different types to choose from: auto-loading, lever, pump, and bolt action repeaters. Among the well known calibers are the .22 WMR, .17 HMR and .22 LR usually from manufacturers like Anschutz, Ruger, Browning, Kimber, CZ, Winchester, Henry, Savage, among others.

Small Game Rifle Samples

- Ruger 10/22. This is a .22 caliber autoloader that has earned its reputation as the most reliable autoloader ever made. This 10/22 is available in .22 WMR as Model 10/22 RBM. The rifle has an 18.5-inch barrel, weighs 6 lbs, has a walnut stock, integrated scope mounts and iron sights.

- Anschutz Model 1717D. The 1717D is the top of the line .17 HMR cartridge model by Anschutz with a premium price. It has a removable box magazine, lowered bolt face, claw extractor, dual locking lugs, and an excellent single stage trigger. It comes with a free floating barrel, checkered walnut stock, and is tapped and drilled for scope mounts.

- Marlin Golden 39A Mountie. This one has a 20-inch long barrel with the usual straight hand stock. It has very good accuracy with most ammunition brands.

A good rim fire rifle deserves to have a good scope. A fixed power scope of about 4 times or a variable one in the 2 to 7 times the range can serve a small game rifle well. Good rim fire scopes are not cheap, but are not overly expensive either.

A fine small game rifle should be:

- as accurate as possible and not necessarily powerful; it can be as powerful as .22LR but no more powerful than .30 Carbine - light: for carrying convenience and fast handling, but not ultra light - well balanced and can swing properly - with smooth action and a stock that perfectly fits the hunter - with light and terse trigger pull - with a scope of good quality and medium power

A good rifle may be a little too expensive for a novice hunter but its quality will prove to be rewarding in the long haul.

Choosing Your Weapon: Shotgun

Shotguns as Weapon for Hunting

In small game hunting, you can choose from a rifle, a shotgun or bow and arrow as weapons to hunt your prey. Each type has its own benefits so it is really up to the hunter which one to choose.

The benefits of a shotgun are the wide range of loads available for shooting. The type of load depends on the game you wish to hunt. For small game,

different sizes of pellets can be used, for large games, slugs or buckshot is better.

Shotguns are typically used to fire a number of small round pellets and usually fired from a smoothbore barrel. If firing a single projectile, the rifled slug barrel is used. The energy of a single shot is fairly low compared to other bullets making them useful for hunting birds and other small game. A shotgun can also be used to hunt deer or hogs when slugs are used.

Shotguns can also be useful as a defensive weapon when using larger shot and a number of projectiles. This type of weapon has several advantages when used against still targets as it has great stopping power from a short range. A shotgun is also easier to aim because of the wide spread shot pattern it produces.

Since the long-distance travel of a rifle bullet poses a great hazard in semipopulated areas, the use of a shotgun for hunting has become quite common. Modern smooth bore shotguns using rifled slugs are accurate up to 75 yards or more, while rifled barrel shotguns with sabot slugs are accurate to 100 yards and beyond.

A hunter must pay close attention, though, to the ballistics of a particular

make of ammunition to ensure humane killing of his prey. Slug ammunitions have relatively low muzzle velocity of about 1,500 feet per second, and have a blunt poorly streamlined shape. However, due to the massive weight of shotgun slugs, they can cause effective and lethal wounds that will reduce the time the animal might suffer.

For small game, the important factors to consider are the barrel type, choke, alloy of pellets, pellet size and cup or wads. Making use of the right pellet alloy will prevent the shot from deforming due to extreme initial acceleration. Large pellets have the capability to retain their energy better at longer distances but create a low pellet cloud density. On the other hand, smaller pellets can loose energy much faster but create high pellet cloud density.

The right combination of factors is important and can be found by trying the different shot sizes, different chokes and different velocities.

Use different shotgun shells for different game!

All-load, choke-tube autoloaders may be one gun for all purposes, but the same is not true for shotgun shells. Tailoring a shotgun shell to the game or the animal being hunted is critical for shooting success. Here are the

different types of shotgun shells and the type of game they are suited for:

- Magnum: These shells have extra pellets and must be loaded at low velocities to keep chamber pressures down. Magnums are useful for hunting turkeys, waterfowl, or any type of shooting that requires a large amount of small pellets or enough extra-large pellets for dense patterns at long range.

- High Brass Loads: These shells are also called high velocity, high base, etc. They work well for shooting at long range targets such as big birds and pheasants.

- Low Brass Loads: These are also known as low base and field loads and are lower velocity shells with lighter shot charges suitable for shooting from close range. They are ideal for dove and quail hunting.

- Spreader Loads: Spreader or brush loads are ideal for hunting down quails, grouse, woodcocks and other close-cover birds. A spreader load spreads quickly to fill out as large a pattern as possible.

This information about shotgun shells should serve as a guide to determine the right shell for the hunt. However, patterning the gun is also as important. Successful shooters know what patterns their guns and chokes

shoot with different types of loads because they spend time and effort in using a patterning board to tailor the loads to their own needs.

If you choose a shotgun as your main small game hunting weapon, be sure that you know your gun and how it works with different loads for much greater shooting success.

Choosing Your Weapon: Muzzleloaders

Using a Muzzleloader in Small Game Hunting

Hunting has become a much sought-after recreational sport. There are many risks that come along with the sport of hunting but this seems to be the biggest selling point of the sport itself. Many people go hunting because they like the excitement of the sport.

Another feature of hunting is the variety of animals that can be hunted and the types of weapons that can be used for hunting.

Small game hunting

Small game hunting includes hunting for those from predators to varmints

and offers a unique experience to the hunter. It particularly refers to hunting the animals below:

-wolverine -badger -prairie dogs -javelina -lynx -bobcats -wolf -fox -coyote

Small game hunting requires certain skills which are not necessarily needed in other types of hunting. The types of animals that are hunted are very quick, agile and are very efficient in detecting danger. A first-time small game hunter may opt to avail himself of the services of a guide who knows the topography and the features of the hunting area.

Muzzleloaders

There are many different kinds of weapons that can be used in hunting small

game animals; a muzzleloader is one of them.

A muzzleloader refers to any kind of firearm which loaded by putting the bullets into the gun barrel’s open end or what is referred to as the muzzle.

There are a many of kinds of muzzleloaders. There are long guns, in-line rifles and handheld pistols which are types of muzzleloaders.

The muzzleloader can easily be identified by the way the bullets are loaded. The gunpowder is put into the gun barrel first. The powder may be poured loosely or through the use of cartridges. Then, a soft-cloth like material called the wadding is inserted then the bullet is put into the muzzle. People who use muzzleloaders use a ramrod to be able to push the contents down inside the barrel.

Choosing a muzzleloader

There are many different types of muzzleloaders and they are specifically designed to be used for different kinds of activities.

Listed below are some of the tips that a small game hunter should be aware of when choosing muzzleloaders.

-Comfort

One of the basic keys in successful hunting is the comfort that a gun gives to the hunter. In choosing a muzzleloader, you must make sure that the gun fits comfortably into your hand.

-Use

Again, there are a lot of muzzleloaders available and choosing between them should be done with the end result in mind. What are you trying to hunt? Do you really need a rifle? Would a pistol suffice? Consult the local gun dealer to determine which muzzleloader to buy for a specific type of hunt.

-Testimonials

There are many people who use muzzleloaders in hunting: obtain more information by joining associations and hunting clubs. The testimonials of people who have used a particular brand of muzzleloader are very important for hunters who are choosing a muzzleloader for hunting.

Let’s go to safety tips for using muzzleloaders. Listed below are some of the

safety tips that small game hunters should remember when hunting with muzzleloaders.

-Don’t forget to study the manual of the muzzle loader. Manuals are made to be read. -Always be alert when using muzzleloaders. -Wear safety glasses -Avoid eating when handing lead -Follow the loading directions exactly -Don’t mix different powders together -Hand washing is a must after handling powder -Take care of the gun powder – it is highly flammable. -Handle bullets made out of lead in well ventilated areas -Know the difference between black power and smokeless powder. Never use a powder that the gun is not designed to handle -Make sure that the gun is held properly -Clean the barrel each time you shoot -Clean the gun after each hunting session

These are just some of the ways one can be safe when handling muzzleloaders. There have been many accidents occur during hunting and being safe is always better than being sorry. Muzzleloaders are good

weapons especially for small game hunting. They provide a unique experience which when coupled with the thrill one gets from hunting small game animals. These two elements contribute toward building a unique and exciting hunting experience.

Hunter Safety Safety Measures When Hunting Hunting is a very popular recreational sport. It has evolved from a means of providing food into a recreational sport. It goes without saying that following proper hunter safety is the most important aspect of this sport. People have been injured or killed while engaging in hunting activities and most of these injuries and deaths are the results of accidents. No hunter with a sane mind would deliberately shoot his companion or himself while hunting. This is why safety precautions must be undertaken by all hunters regardless of their age, sex or level. This article tries to define some tips on how to properly engage and prepare for hunting. Equipment One of the key features of hunting is that it involves different types of weapons. A hunter has the freedom to choose his kind and brand of weapon. However, this freedom should be accompanied by the appropriate

responsibility of taking care of the weapons because they can injure or kill unsuspecting victims. -Is the equipment right for the job? There are different animals which can be hunted and there are different types of weapons to use for the kill. However, not all guns can be used to kill different kinds of animals. A hunter must bring only the weapons which necessary to kill his intended prey. This is not a war: no one should take heavy weapons on a hunting expedition. -Courses A beginner must attend a required hunting school before engaging in hunting. He should not wait until the hunting season is just around the corner because hunting properly takes time to learn. Hunting courses usually include gun safety in their lessons. They will also teach their students the proper care and handling of weapons. Hunters are not the only ones who would benefit from taking these classes; people who live in hunting areas will also benefit from them. -Safety One of the basic safety rules is that hunters must treat a gun as if it was loaded at all times. Everyone has heard stories of people being killed because they thought that the gun was not loaded. Hunters are only humans, and human as we all are, we commit mistakes and we forget things but forgetting that a bullet has been put inside a rifle can claim a life.

The gun should be pointed away from yourself and from other people. If the gun suddenly goes off, it must be pointed toward an empty space where no one will be hurt. A hunter must also ask himself if he targeting the right object. Many people have been injured because they were mistaken for being animals and/or prey. A hunter must always keep his finger away from the trigger and its guard unless he is ready aim and shoot the prey. Accidental shots occur in real life and again, these mistakes can cost the lives of others. -Clothing Clothing is an important thing to consider when hunting. Wearing the proper clothing will prevent injury (especially when hunting with a bow). Proper clothing will also protect a hunter from other hunters. Wearing bright colored clothing (neon orange is preferable) can make a hunter easily identifiable to other hunters. Many people hunt in many areas, especially during the peak season, and the danger of being shot by another hunter is very real during these seasons. -Ask permission Asking permission from the owners of the land where one intends to hunt is a requirement before hunting. This will ensure that you are not trespassing in areas where you are not allowed to go. Having a talk with the owner of the land can also provide pertinent details regarding the land and the

activities that occur on it. -Let others know When hunting alone, hunters should always inform others, especially his loved ones, of his location. This way, the loved ones have some idea where to look if the hunter is missing. These are some of the basic precautions must be taken before engaging in hunting. The injuries and deaths which have resulted from negligence when hunting are real and hunters should always put safety above all else when hunting.

Plan Your Hunt - Day Trip or Overnighter Day or Night Hunting? Hunting is a very versatile sport. The versatility of hunting can be compared to its image when it comes to risks. There are many ways of hunting, many kinds of animals to hunt and many weapons to choose from. One of the choices that a hunter can make when hunting is whether to do it during the day or spend a night out in the woods. There are major differences between the two methods and we will attempt to explain the differences and assist a hunter in determining the method he would prefer.

What kind of animal are you hunting?

The choice of the time to hunt is very important since it is indicative of the feeding, grazing and traveling patterns of the prey. Take a deer for example; a deer feeds primarily when there is a small amount of light: they have two primary periods for resting which are late at night and mid-day when they stay in their bedding areas. Late in the afternoon they start to move toward food and water sources; then they return to their bedding areas during daytime. A deer is more vulnerable as night approaches. They will move to the feeding areas just before sundown and eventually go to open fields and meadows during the night when they feel more secure. Another example is rabbit hunting. When hunting a rabbit, one should consider the difference between hunting by day or by night. Rabbits, as well as other kinds of animals, have an advantage over humans during night time. Humans can barely see at night without the aid of equipment such as night vision or heat sensing goggles. Animals, on the other hand, have adapted to night conditions: they are able to see and move very well in the dark. These are just two examples of how a day hunt can differ from a night hunt. There are other factors to be considered as well. Let’s discuss them. Another factor to consider is whether you are allowed to hunt at night in your area. Some states do not allow night hunting while some allow night hunting but only for specific animals. Placing your stand

The location of a hunting stand depends on when a hunter is going to be using it. When hunting during or after sundown the stands should be placed in or along the trails which lead to the grazing fields. Deer move during the night and a hunter can make other preparations while waiting for his prey. When hunting during the early morning or when the sun is up, stands should not be placed near night food sources to avoid being detected by the deer. A location near the bedding area would be a desirable place to put up a morning stand because they will return to their bedding areas in the morning. Smell not sight Some hunters say that it doesn’t make a difference if the hunt is done during the day or during the night but the element of light is one thing that animals are cautious about. Animals have a very keen sense of smell so a hunter needs to keep this in mind to make a successful kill. Upwind or downwind placement is important to consider. Right equipment The time of the hunt will determine the equipment used by the hunter. A night hunter will want a hunting lamp of some type with him. Heat detecting sensors or night vision goggles are quite expensive, but a good lamp can be very helpful when hunting at night. Safety

Hunting by day can be deemed as safer than a night hunt, or vice versa – opinions vary. During the day, there may be several other hunters and this creates a risk of accidentally being shot. Many people have been injured or killed because they were mistaken for prey. Night hunting is not without its risks either, as hunting at night can actually be scary. Laws There are state laws which specify the times when certain animals can legally be hunted. One MUST consult the local law officials in the desired hunting area before he decides whether to hunt by day or night. The basics of hunting don’t really differ whether hunting by day or by night. There are certain advantages that come with both and one must decode which to choose to be able to make a successful kill.

Scouting the Topography Scouting the Topography when Hunting Many people view hunting as a dangerous yet exciting and enjoyable sport. There are many factors about the surroundings that hunters need to take into consideration when engaging in hunting activities. Hunting is a sport which does not only involve physical activity; it is intense when it comes to strategies, and the use of common sense to be able to get that elusive trophy. Different elements such as safety, preparation and physical condition come

into the picture in hunting. No one should hunt without the proper safety measures, good physical condition and preparation. Scouting the hunting area’s topography is one of the key elements taken for granted by many hunters. These hunters simply want to go out and try to make the kill without thinking like a predator. Hunting is more than having a gun, it requires preparation and strategy. Topography Topography is defined as the precise and detailed description of a region or area. It usually involves the description of the surface features of an area. These pieces of information are important when hunting. Solders don’t go to war without knowing precisely where to go and how maneuver in the battle area. This is the concept applied in utilizing different tools to become familiar with the topography of a hunting area. This article gives some tips which could potentially help hunters use their knowledge of a territories’ topography to become successful in hunting. Manual Scouting There are different ways of scouting the topography of a hunting area. One is by doing it manually. This may sound very arduous and painstaking; but it is considered the best way to scout an area. Basketball players practice their ball shooting on the same court where they will be playing the real game. This is also applicable to hunting. When a hunter scouts the area where he will be hunting, he becomes familiar with the terrain. In terms of topography, the hunter will be able to get an in-depth view of

the area. Topographic maps won’t provide the benefits gained by actually seeing and feeling the whole area. These maps may not be as accurate as they seem, so the best way to scout is by doing it manually. Choosing Sites to Scout A useful tip in scouting the topography of a hunting area, if there is limited time, is to walk a portion of the area – preferably a quarter of the entire area. Choosing an area to scout may be tricky, but hunters can gather much needed information by doing preliminary research before scouting. A hunter may ask the services of a guide or may ask the residents of the area about where the prey will most likely to be found during hunting season... Standing site Scouting the topography will enable a hunter to determine the best site for the standing site. A standing site should elevated and hidden discreetly so that the animals are not alerted or alarmed. Topographic maps Maps are pertinent tools for any person who is engaging in any outdoor activity, especially hunting. A topographic map illustrates the different features of an area such as the hills, streams, etc. Here are some useful tips for hunters who are not familiar with reading topographic maps:

- The lines in the map are called contour lines. When contour lines are close together it depicts a cliff(s) or steep bluffs. The flat regions are depicted by widely spaced contour lines. . -The lines never intersect or crossover each other: these lines depict the surface of the area and one should not expect to see intersecting and/or crossing lines. -Lines which appear V-like depict stream valleys and rivulets. Scouting on-line and through Aerial Photos Many websites offer interactive topographic maps and aerial photos of hunting areas. You can surf the net to find these useful resources. Scouting the topography of a hunting area is an important step in hunting preparation. Hunters should not take this step for granted because it is a basic foundation for the proceeding steps that follow. Scouting Your Game Scouting the Game Hunting is a very popular sport in America. People have been lured to hunting by the risks and dangers that come with it. It is also a sport which utilizes a wide array of equipment, which makes it attractive to people. Just as important as knowing the terrain and other topographical

information, there are many other factors that can determine the satisfaction gained from a hunting trip. It is a sport where patience, stamina and the mental capacity is tested. Hunting is a time consuming sport because it includes pre-hunting preparations such as scouting; and the factors listed above are very much tested during hunting. Importance of scouting Soldiers don’t go to war just for the sake of going to war. Hunting can be comparable to a war: no one should ever go into it without the proper preparation as someone might get hurt or killed. Scouting is very important in hunting. Scouting the topography is one thing, and scouting the game itself is another as it makes hunting easier and more enjoyable. Scouting lays the foundation for every step that follows. The total picture will give the hunter much needed information to bring home his trophy. There are several different ways of properly scouting prey. This article tries to give relevant tips on how to effectively scout for game. Pre-season scouting Scouting before the start of the hunting season is very important for hunters who want to be successful. It gives a hunter pertinent clues regarding the feeding and bedding patterns of the animals, their watering holes and their trails. Pre-season scouting is particularly important in hunting small game animals such as prairie dogs and wolves. These animals are very agile and smart and the only thing that allows a hunter to successfully hunt them is to

use the information gained during the pre-season. Preparation is the key to success in hunting. Post-Season Scouting Many hunters lose their interest in post-season hunting activities because they deem them boring and inactive. However, if a hunter is really serious about getting better at what he does, he will understand the importance of post-season scouting. Michael Jordan never became the best just by shooting during his games - he sweated it out during the post-season and improved his skills. Post-season scouting gives a hunter much needed information which he can use during the next hunting season. During off-season, the trails of the animals such as deer are revealed more clearly because all the dirt and fallen leaves are not visible. Following the trails can lead a hunter to the area where the animals bed. It’s all about learning an animal and thinking like the animal that will eventually lead to the trophy. Stand placing The location and preparation of a hunting stand is very important. The stand should be about twenty to a hundred yards away from a major game trail if the hunter is using a rifle. If the game trails are not clearly visible, one would assume that a game trail is present between a feeding and bedding area. The stand should be at least 15 feet from the ground and should be placed beside or in trees which would provide good covering for the whole stand. Placing a stand near small trees does not work.

Droppings and other elements There are many different elements which can be used as guides in scouting for prey. Animal droppings are a good indication or the location of prey. Other things such as trails, scrapes, and rubs should all be taken into consideration when trying to locate the animals. Hiding Stands Again, stands are very important tools in hunting but they can also be deterrents if they are not hidden properly. A hunter must be able to find creative ways to hide his stand such as pulling the branches of the trees that are beside it and tying them to provide cover or he may opt to bring his own branches and arrange them in an orderly manner to hide the stand. Scouting is a very important aspect of hunting. It’s not all about pulling the trigger, but also about the journey towards pulling that trigger and bringing home a trophy.

A Still Hunt Still Hunting Techniques One of the most exciting things about hunting is that there are many ways to do it. There are also many different weapons and methods that can be employed in hunting. This may be one of the reasons why hunting still is a very popular sport in America despite the apparent dangers that come with it.

Still hunting is deemed to be one of the most difficult ways to hunt. It involves a lot of stamina and of course, a lot of patience. However, if it is mastered, it can be a very productive way to hunt your game. What is still hunting? Still hunting, as the name implies, involves slow movements through the cover. It involves stopping every once in a while so as not to disturb the senses of the animal being hunted. Its ultimate goal is to be able to get within a target range to make the kill. Some people might actually think of it as taking a very slow walk while hunting, but in reality it is so much more than that. It takes a lot of familiarity with the area, a lot of patience in making movements and a lot of passion to be able to make the kill. This article tries to look at the different measures that one must undertake to successfully make a kill when still hunting. Here are some of these tips: 1) Schedule your hunt Still hunting can be done any time, however, just like any other method, there are certain times when still hunting can deliver the best results for a hunter. Still hunting is best done during windy or rainy days. These types of weather make a prey, especially deer, move slowly and cautiously. They are usually lying down and rarely move during these times. A very hot day can also be a good time to make a still hunt. Deer eat only during sunrise and sunset, which decreases the chance of a hunter to legally hunt using a stand. He may just as well go out and still hunt during the hot

summer days. 2) Location When a hunter is still hunting, he should go to the places that he considers remote. These remote areas are rarely being used by other hunters and this will increase the chance of a still hunter to making a kill. Another important advantage of going to remote areas is that most of the time, when prey is being hunted too much in a specific area, they tend to move to areas which are not yet being hunted. This provides more opportunities for a still hunter. 3) Following tracks Like a skilled predator, a still hunter must be able to use the different elements that were left behind by his prey; the most common of these elements is the foot tracks. In still hunting, it is very important to look at tracks and if a set is found the hunter should cautiously follow the track, especially a fresh one. 4) Move with the wind Moving with the wind is a hard skill to master, but it will deliver results because it will allow a hunter to move around without disturbing the senses of the prey. 5) Movement around the area If you are finding it hard to look for fresh tracks or other elements that may have been left behind by the prey, you can move through the woods using a

fan-shaped direction, moving back and forth. This will allow you to effectively cover a larger area in the smallest amount of time. 6) Mind your motions Being patient is one of the key factors in still hunting. You must be able to control your movements so that your steps make no sound and to move like the wind. Unnecessary movements such as coughing or scratching can trigger other sounds which will be heard by the prey. 7) Steps In still hunting, a general rule of thumb should be practiced - take 3 steps and stop. When a still hunter stops while walking, he must be able to survey the area including the ground that he will be stepping on to avoid making unnecessary noise. These are some of the basic steps to be used when making a still hunt. First time still hunters can be disheartened by the amount of skill and patience that is necessary when still hunting. They must remember that practice is the foundation of success and they should keep on trying.

Stalking Learning How to Stalk a Prey is Essential to Hunting For anybody who is new to the sport of hunting, one of the first lessons they must learn if they want to catch their prey is the art of stalking. This is an

essential skill that hunters need to master to become successful at hunting. How to stalk It is important to tread lightly on the ground so you do not alert the nearby animals of your presence. The smallest sound a person makes can cause the potential prey to evacuate the scene: leaving a novice hunter in the middle of the forest with nothing but a cold trail, and a feeling of great disappointment that he will carry with him on the way back to camp. This is one of the tricks that more experienced hunters have learned to master, and what every neophyte hunter needs to learn in order to have any success in hunting! Watch where you are going It is important to always be aware of where you are at. Individuals, who are walking through the forest, should always be aware of where they are placing their feet. Being careless about where they are stepping can cause injuries. Accidentally stepping on a slippery spot, a cluster of twigs, or worse a small snake could lead to disaster! Tread quietly and lightly Hunters need to be aware of how they are moving when they are walking through the wilderness. Being quiet will help hunters stay out of the radar of the game they are eyeing; also, potentially dangerous animals. Instead of catching their prey they might end up being preyed upon!

It is important for inexperienced hunters not to drag their feet when they are walking, even if they become tired. They need to lift up their feet and take light, easy steps when they are walking to minimize the noise that they are making. They should not kick things that block their way and need to learn to make their way around them. Hide in the bushes There are many things in the wilderness that will help you gain the advantage over your prey. Fallen trees, shrubbery, and such can help a hunter disguise his movement. Hiding in the shadow is also a good idea, if they do not want to be detected. This will help a hunter stay out of view while he is stalking his prey. Do not get lost Hunters need to be aware of where they are going. They should be careful that they do not become too engaged in stalking their prey: so much so that they forget where they are heading, or how to get back. Hunters need to be aware of their location at all times. It would be wise to carry a compass with them, and some form of communication to the outside world, like a cell phone. Also, when they are going on hunting expeditions alone, they should inform someone they know of their destination. Footwear matters It is important for individuals to wear the proper type of shoes or boots that

will give them maximum protection. They need to keep in mind that they could be out in the field for hours and hours. Comfortable footwear will keep the feet from developing blisters.

Be careful when stalking big game A person should never hunt big game alone since large animals, such as bears, or lions do not tend to attack as often when they see hunters in group. Always be alert when hunting for big game, since these animals are extremely dangerous. They can potentially kill hunters if they are not being careful, especially if they are posing a threat to the animal. If the worse case scenario happens, and a hunter gets attacked by an animal such as a lion; they should never allow themselves to be pinned to the ground. As much as possible, they should fight with all their might, remain standing and grab stones, and rocks to throw at the animal to attempt to drive it away. One of the reasons why it is always better to hunt in teams is that when one person gets attacked the others can come to his rescue. Hunting may not be for everyone, but for those who are avid enthusiasts of the sport hunting is a way of life. Stalking is an important technique that helps hunters catch their prey and is something those who want to master the sport must learn to do effectively.

About Hunting Dogs Why Every Hunter Needs a Hunting Dog Hunting dogs are a special breed of dogs that have been trained to support humans when they are hunting. They are extremely useful to humans because they can perform many tasks that are beneficial to people. They are especially useful to hunters during hunting expeditions; since they can help them find their prey. Hunting dogs come in various classifications such as: hounds, gun dogs, terriers and curs. Hounds- Hounds are grouped into sight hounds and scent hounds. Sight hounds specialize in tracking down their prey by keeping them in their sight. They are experts when it comes to detecting movement because they have great vision. Characteristically, they have long legs, ears that have small flaps, and a very powerful cardiovascular system. They are extremely agile, which is advantageous since they have to chase fast animals on the run. Scent hounds- Are hounds that hunt using their sense of smell to track their prey. They have larger nasal cavities which helps them follow the scent of the killed or wounded animals, or fallen prey. These hunting dogs are trained to perform these tasks starting when they are just pups.

Some hunters train their hunting dogs to follow scent by familiarizing them with the scent of the blood of the prey. They leave a trail of blood that leads to a piece of meat on the field and let it sit out for a while: then they instruct their hunting dogs to track down the scent of blood. When the hunting dogs have found the end of the trail they are rewarded by signs of affection and praised by their master. The purpose of this training is to familiarize the dog with trailing the blood and the scent of a fallen game so they will be ready when it comes time to go on a real hunting expedition. In some states such as Michigan, Vermont, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, and New York just to name a few using dogs to retrieve deer and other large prey is legal. In other states this practice has not been adopted so hunters, who are thinking of taking their hunting dogs with them on their expedition for this purpose, need to check the regulations and rules of the state. Gun Dogs - Are hunting dogs that help their master retrieve their shot game, including birds. They are also sometimes called: bird dogs. There will be more discussion of hunting dogs in the next chapter. Terrier - This is a type of dog that was originally bred for the purpose of hunting and slaying vermin. Curs - This is the term usually used for dogs that are not purebred and is often deemed derogatory. But cur also applies to the types of hunting dogs that have been developed in the United States for the purposes of assisting in hunting. They are known for their great hunting skills and abilities. Taking care of hunting dogs

Hunting dogs need to be kept in good shape so it is necessary for their owners to carefully attend to their health; they should given a healthy diet. There's always the risk of the dog becoming overweight if its diet is not carefully supervised. Some dogs, such as greyhounds need special attention when it comes to their diet. They are better off eating three small meals a day, because they have the tendency to become bloated if they attempt to eat heavy meals. Greyhounds are extremely susceptible when it comes to pesticides, chemicals, and even medication; even flea collars can be harmful to a greyhound. Hunting dogs constantly need to exercise to maintain their agility and keep them in top shape. Their nails need to be trimmed at least every 2-3 weeks and hey must be given regular baths to keep them clean. Socialization Hunting dogs should be trained to socialize with people, especially if the hunting dogs are also the family’s’ pets. Owners should get them accustomed to interacting with different types of people. Some hunting dogs are sociable by nature, such as a greyhound. Remember that hunting dogs are predatory by nature. They might pose some danger to small animals, pets, and even small children if they have not been trained to refrain from acting upon these instincts. Hunting dogs are a great companion to any hunter since they can perform

tasks that humans find extremely difficult. This is why hunting dogs are priced according to their capabilities. They are truly remarkable creatures that will be beneficial to any hunter.

Finding Your Downed Game Different Methods Hunters Can Use to Track their Downed Game For most hunting enthusiasts, hunting the prey is the most exhilarating part of the sport. This is when great hunting skills, a little bit of ingenuity, and years of experience get put to the test. But once this part is over, then comes the laborious task of trying to find their fallen game. This is the part that gets a little bit tedious, and frustrating; especially to those who spend numerous hours trying to find their game, but with no success. The problem with not locating your downed game Hunters can take hours and hours to track down their downed prey, but sometimes this effort is not even enough to guarantee success. Some of them even defer the retrieval of the downed game until the next day. The problem with practice is this is that there are many predatory animals lurking out in the fields or woods. When this happens and the fallen game is left unattended for a long period of time, the other animals take this opportunity to feast on what they deem to be “a free meal”. Upon their return in the morning, the hunters find their downed game in dire condition -

usually with most of the precious meat already gone, and what remains completely ruined. Hunting Dog One of the best, and if not the most effective ways to track downed game is to have a hunting dog to assist you. Hunting dogs are trained exactly for this purpose: to assist hunters when they are hunting. Hunting dogs can track down game by following their scent. They are a special breed of dogs that have the skills to support hunters. These dogs have been trained to hunt since they were pups. Some hunters train their dogs to find their prey by training them to follow a blood trail: in a field they might set up a blood trail that leads to a piece of venison, etc. They would allow the blood settle for a while; then send their dog to follow the trickles of blood that lead to the end of the trail. Once the hunting dog has completed the trail he is rewarded with praise and signs of approval. This will help the hunting dog get acclimated to the scent of the prey. An example of a hunting dog that assists hunters is a retriever. Retrievers are skilled at retrieving birds that have been shot in the fields or wilderness. They are often taught to pick up a downed bird with their mouth and deliver it back to their master without damaging the bird. Follow the sign The best way for those who are hunting without a hunting dog to find their

fallen game is to remember where the animal has headed and the approximate distance from the hunter. Hunters should head toward where they saw the animal last before they took their shot. They should look for a trail of the wounded animal, such as: trickles of blood, broken twigs, footprints, etc. This will help them determine where the animal can be located. They can start their search by circling the perimeter of the area in which they think the animal was shot. If they see a pool of blood or hair, they can then follow the trail. It is important to be careful when treading the ground because the hunter might accidentally overlook or destroy signs left by the wounded animal... Ask others for help If the hunter has spent hours, and hours with no results in finding their downed game, he can always turn back to his camp and ask others for help. The important thing for the entire search party to remember is to practice caution while searching the ground so that they do not accidentally trample any signs that might have been left by the wounded animal. Once the downed game has been located; and if it is still exhibiting signs of life, what hunters must do is finish it off quickly with a gunshot. Anyone who chooses to participate in the sport of hunting should take this activity very seriously. Making a great effort to ensure that they practice caution, safety procedures, and ethical hunting methods to make certain

hunting remains a safe activity for everyone involved.

Hunting Small Game - Rabbit, Squirrel Raccoons Small Game Hunting Tips for rabbits, squirrels and raccoons Small game hunting includes waterfowl such as geese, ducks, and quail; rabbits, hares, squirrels and several other small animals which are not included in the category of big game hunting. The types of guns used differ with each kind of game. “Small powered” rifles are ideal for squirrels and rabbits, although some prefer “small gauge” shotguns. Whatever type of gun you use, make certain that you are trained properly in the handling as well as the care of your firearm. Familiarize yourself with your gun. Before going on an actual hunt, practice shooting from different distances and create situations to imitate an actual game hunt. This will prepare you for the actual hunt and ensure that you will not be disappointed. More importantly, make certain that you are aware of the regulations in your state and have all the necessary permits. When hunting for squirrels: • Try to hunt when it’s raining. When it is drizzling, squirrels are much

active than usual. • Experienced hunters track squirrels by sound, and not so much by

sight. A wooded area offers many clues such as the swishing of branches, chattering, nuts falling, or the sound of a squirrel gnawing on an acorn. • Watch your step and stalk as quietly as possible. Avoid stepping on

dried leaf covers. • Never hurry to pick up a squirrel that is hit unless it is just crippled

and could escape; pause a while, listen and examine nearby trees, there might be others nearby. • Wear camouflage clothing. After shots are fired, squirrels normally go

into their holes, stand still, or lay flat against tree branches to hide themselves. When you are wearing camouflage, you can just sit down and wait. When hunting for raccoons: You need to have at least one good hunting dog: you can not hunt any other way, even if you have the best hunting equipment. • The “.22 caliber rifle” is the ideal firearm for hunting raccoons. Always

familiarize yourself with your gun. • Flashlights are essential in raccoon hunting, as you are hunting in the

“dark “. Search the internet or a sporting goods store for flashlights made especially for hunters. Never forget to always carry spare batteries.

Raccoons prefer living close to a water supply and near corn fields. Ask

permission from farmers so can hunt raccoons; most farmers are very willing to allow you to hunt raccoons as they are very destructive to growing crops. When hunting for rabbits: • Apply the “leapfrogging” technique, where several hunters cover an

area for a period of time, then move to another area. • Commonly rabbit hunters wear blue jeans, but these offer very little

protection. Purchase a pair of tear resistant pants that will protect you from briars or shrubs to help you hunt more effectively. • Wear neon orange caps so that other hunters can see you even when

you are far away and not mistake you for prey. • A shotgun with improved “cylinder choke” and # 6 or 7-1/2 shot

shells, is ideal for rabbit hunting, because cottontails jump into thick cover very quickly. This firearm has a wide and heavy “shot pattern” that can efficiently hit a rabbit without much damage to its meat. • Instead of looking for rabbit bodies, search for a rabbit’s eyes; their

eyes are dark and round and stand out against the bushes: they are easily seen by an observant hunter. • Rabbits are nervous animals and do not handle tension well. By

walking slowly through the bushes then suddenly stopping for about ten

seconds, then walking again, rabbits assume that they have been spotted and run. Here are some shooting tips for safety: • • • • Treat every gun with the respect that a loaded gun demands. Watch your gun’s muzzle. Unload your gun when you are not using it. Make certain that the barrel is free from obstructions and the

ammunition that you are using is the appropriate size for the gun. • • • Be certain to identify your target before taking a shot. Never point your gun at anything other than when aiming to shoot. Never jump over a fence, climb a tree or jump a ditch carrying a

loaded gun. • • Take care of your gun by cleaning it after every use. Do not shoot any hard, flat surface as ricocheting is possible

Hope you find your prey and bring them home! Good Luck!

Hunting Game Birds - Pheasant, Quail, Grouse, Partridge & Wild

Turkey

Hunting game birds

Hunting game birds can be fun as well as challenging. Before you go hunting, here are tips for safety:

Every shotgun must be treated as though it is loaded all times and

carefully handled.

• shot.

The safety should be kept on up until immediately before you take a

Keep your shooting finger away from the trigger, resting it behind the

trigger guard.

Be very sure of your target and when in doubt, do not shoot; be

mindful of the position of blockers as well as walkers.

Never attempt shooting at “low flying” birds.

Be familiar with your gun’s range.

Wear a neon orange cap or vest so that other hunters can see you

from a far distance.

Pheasant hunting tips:

Pheasants choose thick cover such as tall grasses for resting, so you

can find them in these areas.

A dog is essential when hunting for pheasant. It will locate birds that

“hold tight”.

Any breed of dog can do the job, as long as your dog works closely

and carefully listens to you, and is not too active - running too far in front and flushing the birds too soon. See the chapters on hunting dogs and retrieving your game.

Most hunters know that by quietly and slowly walking “back and forth”

through the field, the birds are flushed or they move ahead of the walkers offering blockers on the other side of the “cover” a shooting opportunity.

When hunting on large areas like corn fields, "blockers" are necessary.

Because pheasants can run very quickly, “blockers” or hunters who are positioned at the other end or side of the area can shoot the birds as they break from their cover. “Blockers” compel the pheasant to hold much tighter therefore blockers and walkers both have more “shooting action”.

Turkey hunting tips:

Before setting out to hunt turkey, cut several branches and twigs for

breaking up your “outline”.

Take the time to determine where the feeding, strutting or roosting

areas are. Knowing these will enable you to anticipate the turkeys’ movement and set up ahead that movement making it easier to shoot in range.

If after a few days you are unsuccessful, do not give up, as time goes

by, you learn and become more adept.

It is a misconception that when a turkey sees a hunter and runs, the

hunt is over. Just wait about 30 minutes and change your position before doing another “call”. They have a tendency to return.

When using decoys use one “tom” and two hens. The “tom” then will

be jealous and will take charge. So position the “tom” in a manner that will give you a good shot.

While walking, move slowly and do some soft “calls” occasionally. This

will mimic a stray hen moving and can possibly attract a “big tom”.

Wear camouflage clothing that appears to be leaves and has the colors

of your surroundings.

If you “roosted” a turkey, move away about 100 yards, position

yourself, and let out several yelps and flap your arm like a turkey wing for a few seconds. You will have a satisfactory response.

Try locating turkey in the evening prior to your hunt the next morning.

If you are not successful then just continue the search in the morning: by covering an adequate area; stopping to call about every 100 yards, and listening for a gobble. When you hear the gobble, quickly set up - there is the possibility that he is headed toward you.

Find a spot to sit on either near a large tree trunk or a rock large

enough to conceal yourself when the turkey passes by, blocking you from

his sight, as you get into your shooting position.

Always take along a small, lightweight folding stool or an inflatable

seat pad when turkey hunting. These are very handy and comfortable to sit on during your wait.

Hunting game birds offers a different kind of challenge and accomplishment. As long as you are hunting, just be sure to stay safe and enjoy each and every shooting opportunity. It is not the hit that is so satisfying; it is often the shooting that challenges the hunter. Practice, practice, practice!

Hunting Water Fowl - Duck and Goose

Tips for Hunting Water Fowl

Determining when the shot will be called may take years of constant practice to perfect. When a group of hunters enters a blind, determine which one will take responsibility for “calling the shot” when birds approach; this usually is the most experienced hunter in the group.

The technique to be used is evaluation and analysis of the bird’s movement to predict when the birds will arrive and how close they will be coming in.

This is crucial because you should not let a flock circle or pass several times before you deciding to shoot because every time the flock passes, there is a big possibility that the birds will recognize movements and move on.

When there are enough birds within range, then a shot must be called. There are exemptions; for example, there will be times when several hunters may not be in “position to shoot”, particularly when hunters are spread out across a field.

In this case, only those who are “in position” should shoot. Call the shot and grab the opportunity. Waiting for perfect timing might take too long and

the birds may move out eliminating the possibility of a “perfect” shot...

Here are more tips:

1. Search the field to determine where birds rest throughout the day. When hunting for ducks in the water, search the water area; when hunting for geese on land, monitor them to recognize their feeding ground.

2. Follow several flocks.

3. As much as possible, never hunt in their feeding fields on the first night;

be patient and wait for the next day to hunt. The reason for this tactic is that if you attempt to hunt them in the evening, the birds may not return to the area.

4. Place your “decoys” where birds can spot them, preferably near the center of the water or field. When hunting geese, never place the decoys near brush piles, fence lines or areas with high vegetation as geese tend to avoid any rich covering that could hide a predator.

5. When field hunting, on a strong windy day, set decoys “downwind” of vegetation or hills as geese and ducks choose to land and feed during periods of high wind.

6. Set up a "landing zone" or a “hole” in the decoys and spread them to imitate the position of “landing birds” to increase shooting opportunities; water fowl, geese specifically, choose to land in areas where other fowl will not harass them.

7. Position several hunters, pits or blinds near the “downwind” side of your decoys as well as near the landing zone; geese and ducks normally land short of the decoys.

8. Never shoot when birds are approaching at a high altitude; just keep calling. Normally they will circle over a field several times before they land.

9. When hunting during periods of strong wind, and you notice that birds are landing or circling downwind of the decoys; other hunters can position themselves downwind for shooting opportunities since ducks will land short of the decoys.

10. Make certain that you are alert and can see clearly in all directions from your position, as the moment they begin to respond they can “come in” from all directions.

11. Display decoys that are very realistic; full bodied decoys work the best as hard hunted and older birds can be easily fooled.

Fowl will visit different areas throughout their migrating season. The water conditions, hunting pressure, and agricultural harvest all determine the attitude and reaction of birds at any given moment.

With the proper anticipation as to the birds’ reaction, you can successfully shoot them.

Because birds prefer a food source close to their roosting areas, concentrate on those locations that have resting sites and food sources in proximity. .

The success of water fowl hunting greatly depends on several factors; determining food sources and roosting sites, choosing the right decoys and the proper places for them, your position for a good shot, and using strategies so that birds can not detect your presence. In conclusion, it takes a lot of experimenting to determine what works best for you.

Have fun, and enjoy your experimentation; in time, you will come to know more about your prey and enjoy hunting more and more.
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