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Outrigger
09-25-2010, 12:07 PM
I wanted to touch upon a breadth of topics so bear with me if this seems a bit of a rambling inquiry.

A new friend of mine recently pulled up stakes and relocated to Frederick, Maryland. That area in western Maryland, I know, is pretty bucolic and gets some of the heaviest falls of snow that sweep across the region. It’s also mountainous, so the wilderness, my friend boasts, is just outside his front doorstep. He was gushing over the fresh local produce he could snap up and the opportunity to hunt the land for deer. He’s ex-military (USMC), and he and his brothers and uncles are lifelong hunters. Well, as fate would conveniently intervene, I invited myself along one of his deer hunts this season and I’m in a bit of need some advice…

My first and foremost concern is keeping warm. By warm, I mean snug as a bug in a rug warm. I don’t want to be shivering out in the woods, with snot-sicles drooling down my face, putting my time in for a chance at a deer. I already have tons of those pocket warmers, but I could use some advice on clothing. What type of outfits would you recommend, and where would I start with a purchase?...Bass Pro..LL Bean..Cabelas?…Most of the hunting shows I’ve been watching of late, those guys go with outerwear that is a separate jacket and pants versus the full-body suit. Also, what type of under layering would you recommend? I’m not sure what type of hunting we’ll be doing; from a blind, a tree stand, or hunting afoot in the woods, but if we’re splashing through frigid creeks with snow underfoot, I’d like to be, at the minimum, over-prepared…

My college roommate from NC was a big-time hunter, and it’s been one of my regrets that I didn’t take the time to learn more about hunting and what he was handed down from his dad and granddad. He hung one of his treasured trophies in our dorm room and I woke up to it every morning for about two years…In his own humble-minded way :rolleyes:, I think he must have invited everyone on our campus to come by and gawk.

At some point I’d also like to own my own rifle and I don’t quite know where to start…make?..model?..caliber?...My roommate took down his hugest buck with a .30-06 I think. I’m a bit on the smaller side, so maybe toting some .50 cal cannon across my back, along with all the other appurtenances, might prove a bit unwieldy and work somewhat against me. What would you do for the scope and are they universally mounted? On this show I saw, this hunter touted his optics because it was waterproof and fog-proof. I’d also, at some point, like to hunt a wild boar to harvest the meat too.

Lastly, I thought I’d share an awesome venison chili recipe that I made a couple of months back. My older brother’s wife’s family are hunters in Missouri, and they handed me some ground venison and venison tenderloins. Here is the recipe…

http://endofthevine.blogspot.com/2009/04/venison-chili.html

I only used the ground venison and I omitted the green bell peppers (don’t like that in my chili). While I didn’t have mushrooms on hand, I did add the drained cans of sweet corn and black beans…It was a homerun.:D:beer: Indeed it is sweet, smoky and delectably spicy…

SmoothLures
09-27-2010, 07:47 AM
Now, 20 degrees is about as cold as it gets here though I did kill a buck when it was 17 degrees the year before last (walking in to boot, I was happy I didn't have to sit in the cold :D), and I can't remember when we had snow during deer season, so take it for what it's worth, but dress in layers!!! Thermal underwear, insulated coats (rated for expected temps), gloves that fold back fingerless for when you shoot with Thinsulate, very good quality thick wool socks and insulated boots are nice. Lower body usually just gets 2-3 layers from me and I'm happy. Sweat pants (scent free along with the other gear) and my camo BDU pants are usually good. Most important of all keep your head covered up!! You loose so much of your heat through your head, if you stop that heat loss the rest of you won't be too cold.

Now EVERYONE has their opinion on deer rifles...almost any round put through his lungs will down him within 50 yards. Make a bad shot and you might never recover him. Put your time in on the range, don't rush your shot on your animal, focus on having the crosshairs right where they need to be and squeeze the trigger. I shoot a .30-06 and a .243. A .243 is plenty for deer down here. If you only see one rifle in your future, a .300 Win Mag is awfully heavy for deer but you can adjust your loads to your game. You can take anything in North America with it no questions asked. From antelope to grizzly bear.

For a dedicated deer rifle I like the .25-06 or .30-06 loaded on the lighter end. If you don't have much room in your stand to maneuver a short action rifle will be shorter and a little lighter and you may like that better, that's when my .243 gets the most use. A 7mm-08 or even a .308 would be nice as well. I know several guys who love the 7mm-08.

Bigger is not better. Bigger rounds do not make up for poor shooting.

Spend plenty on your optics. If you get a $600 rifle and a $50 WalMart scope, you have a $50 rifle. Anything with Zeiss or Leupold will be excellent.

Outrigger
09-28-2010, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the heads-up. Over the weekend I swung past a gun shop and rifle range about an hour away. The guys there were hugely helpful. They pretty much echoed your advice on the choice of gear and what not. They also invited me out to the range one weekend to fire some of their rifles and get a feel for what I’d be inclined to buy.

Thanks again…

runincode
09-29-2010, 08:55 AM
SmoothLures is right, if you put a scope on a rifle get a decent one. Zeiss, Leupold, Unertl and Nikon also makes a decent one. I've got an old Marlin 444 lever action without a scope that I beat the brush with, but on a stand I use a Remington 700 7mm-08 with a 6x Unertl scope. I'm a big fan of 308's and 7mm-08's, but the best thing is to use what fits you best and comfort: weight, recoil,auto,bolt,single shot,lever or pump action.

RuddeDogg
09-29-2010, 12:02 PM
Even though I stopped hunting.....(for now), it has been my experience and my opinion that the three most important investments you will make for hunting are these......

1-CLOTHING.......Ya really don't need to spend a boatload of money, unless you want to. Buy clothes that fit well and feel comfortable. Where you will be hunting and when are factors that you will want to consider.

2-YOUR WEAPON...... Here again, the money you want to spend is on you. I will say this though, the first gun shop you walk into askin about a good deer rifle and the guy behind the counter hands you a thousand dollar gun.....go somewhere else. They're just tryin to make a sale. I'm a big fan of the .308. Great all around caliber and packs a good punch. But do take the offer that you were given and try out different weapons. Here again, you're gonna wanna go with a gun that feels good in your hands.

3-BOOTS....I think this is the MOST IMPORTANT one here. Again, the money you want to spend is up to you. I will say there are two brands that I would with and that's ROCKY and DANNER. You're gonna want to make sure that they are comfortable, NOT TIGHT. I had a pair of ROCKY Bear Claws that lasted 15 seasons. What I did for me was I bought a pair a 1/2 bigger than my foot size. I wear a 10. I got a 10 1/2. Next I got the Dr. Shcoll's insulated inserts and the ones for big and tall guys.I took out the factory insert and put the other two in and it was like walking on your bed. I don't care what any one says, your feet get wet or cold and you day of huntin will suck a$$.

All the rest will come as you go. Good luck and good huntin.

SmoothLures
09-30-2010, 08:22 AM
I don't care what any one says, your feet get wet or cold and you day of huntin will suck a$$.

Great point. Walking through dew covered grass before dawn gets your pants legs and boots wet. Ask me how I know. Don't do it.

YakAttack
09-30-2010, 10:18 AM
I agree with Rude Dogg on boots. Consider getting a pair that's a little loose, leaving room for thick, warm socks. When your body temp starts dropping, the first thing to get shut off from blood flow is fingers and toes... You feel it quickly. With your fingers at least you can put them in your jacket. Your toes are pretty much stuck where they are... Tight boots only help cut off blood flow.

As far as clothing, layers. Again, not too tight, for that only cuts off circulation. If you have a long hike into the woods, you might want to put your top layer in a bag until you get on the stand. If you get hot walking (you will, even if it's very cold) and start sweating a lot it will get really cold once you sit down.

As far as caliber, I like the .308. It's slower and heavier than some but very accurate. Many choose 30-06 or even .270 or .243. The most accurate gun in its class is the Savage. Google the stats. The accu-trigger has an ultra-light pull but the design makes it very safe. The Weather Warrior model would be my choice, particularly in the snow or rain.

Whatever rifle you get - if you're not that familiar with rifles - be aware that these high powered rifles have extremely long range. Know what's behind your target, and don't make the mistake too many novice hunters do and use that range to reach out to an animal that you cannot see clearly.

A friend of mine told me about a lesson his dad taught him when he was young. He pointed out a "turkey" in a tree. Once the kid was all fired up and begging to shoot it his dad moved in closer and showed him that it was another hunter in a tree wearing a black jacket. From their angle his blaze orange hat was concealed. This is how people get killed.

Be careful and good luck!

RuddeDogg
09-30-2010, 10:56 AM
Great point. Walking through dew covered grass before dawn gets your pants legs and boots wet. Ask me how I know. Don't do it.

Yep. Made that mistake ONCE. That's all it took.

rattler
10-01-2010, 01:08 AM
Even though I stopped hunting.....(for now), it has been my experience and my opinion that the three most important investments you will make for hunting are these......

1-CLOTHING.......Ya really don't need to spend a boatload of money, unless you want to. Buy clothes that fit well and feel comfortable. Where you will be hunting and when are factors that you will want to consider.
Get cloths that wic moister away. Layers.
2-YOUR WEAPON...... Here again, the money you want to spend is on you. I will say this though, the first gun shop you walk into askin about a good deer rifle and the guy behind the counter hands you a thousand dollar gun.....go somewhere else. They're just tryin to make a sale. I'm a big fan of the .308. Great all around caliber and packs a good punch. But do take the offer that you were given and try out different weapons. Here again, you're gonna wanna go with a gun that feels good in your hands.
This depends on the longest shot you will need to take.
3-BOOTS....I think this is the MOST IMPORTANT one here. Again, the money you want to spend is up to you. I will say there are two brands that I would with and that's ROCKY and DANNER. You're gonna want to make sure that they are comfortable, NOT TIGHT. I had a pair of ROCKY Bear Claws that lasted 15 seasons. What I did for me was I bought a pair a 1/2 bigger than my foot size. I wear a 10. I got a 10 1/2. Next I got the Dr. Shcoll's insulated inserts and the ones for big and tall guys.I took out the factory insert and put the other two in and it was like walking on your bed. I don't care what any one says, your feet get wet or cold and you day of huntin will suck a$$.

All the rest will come as you go. Good luck and good huntin.
I agree. If your feet get cold, YOU ARE COLD!!!!

Great point. Walking through dew covered grass before dawn gets your pants legs and boots wet. Ask me how I know. Don't do it.

I grew up hunting the Dismal swamp and the Blue Ridge Mts. 30-30 in the mts and a .338win in the swamp. When I got to MI, WOW. 56below with the chill and I was still fine. WARM FEET. Get a 30-30. Good to 100yds and has taken more deer than any other. I had a friend in MI that shot 7m08. he loved it. Took deer. All had 2-3 holes in them. Cheap scope. I like a 30-06 for distance and knockdown. My 762X39 has less kick and works as well.Good luck. Eat what you kill.

surfchunker
10-01-2010, 02:02 AM
I wouldn't hardly call Fredrick western md but they think they are ... lol I'm from Western Md ... but like anywhere else weather varies ... it can hit 60 some days at the begining of season but by the end it could be 0. Boots are so important ... wear them around the house to break them in before you get to the woods incase they hurt your feet and need to take them back ... I like insulated coveralls ... no air gap between top and bottom and seems like I have more freedom of movement in them ... then layer underneath according to the weather ... wash them in scent free detergent and store in a bag outside somewhere away from odors and make sure your odor free as well ... Guns well everybody has their favs and most will kill deer with a good shot ... a 308 is a great all around caliber and shooting a 150 gr bullet it's a deer killer ... My favorite scope is a bushnel elite 3200 ... cost around $200 ... for a head covering I love those polar fleece balaclavas from walmart ...

Outrigger
10-01-2010, 03:28 PM
Appreciate all the seasoned suggestions/recommendations on the outfitting guys - you've helpfully got me steered in the right direction. I'm pretty swamped with a return to school, but I'm hoping I can accompany my friend before the semester winds down.

Oh yeah...congrats on the anniversary with the Mrs surfchunker. My girlfriend has been nagging me to take her on a woodsy camping trip to the Shenandoah.

Thanks again.

surfchunker
10-01-2010, 06:02 PM
Thank You and Your Welcome ... Canaan Valley is Great too but getting a little late in the year for that

RuddeDogg
10-01-2010, 06:12 PM
Glad I could help.

rattler
10-01-2010, 10:54 PM
Appreciate all the seasoned suggestions/recommendations on the outfitting guys - you've helpfully got me steered in the right direction. I'm pretty swamped with a return to school, but I'm hoping I can accompany my friend before the semester winds down.

Oh yeah...congrats on the anniversary with the Mrs surfchunker. My girlfriend has been nagging me to take her on a woodsy camping trip to the Shenandoah.

Thanks again.

Parkway. Big Meadows camp ground. I do agree its getting late. Take your girl and enjoy. There are some campgrounds outside of Lurray, if you want to do the Tourist thing. Everyone needs to once in their life.