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Can someone please help me learn to hunt in western Washington  RSS feed

 
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Hi everyone! I've always wanted to learn to hunt but I never had any chances to. I've been shooting since I was a kid and I've been through the Hunter's Safety Course. I just got out of college last year and now I'm living in the hood canal area. I would really appreciate it if anyone could recommend ways for me to connect with people who could teach me more. I'm interested in hunting both small and big game.

Thanks!!
 
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Try this: The Art of Hunting Big Game in North America

by Jack O'Connor


Not the same as hands on, but an excellent read. It's not really that hard, walk slow, feel the rhythm of the forest. Watch for sign, leave your safety on until you are ready to pull the trigger, aim true, pull the trigger.

It's after you pull the trigger that the real work begins.

I live and Hunt in Alaska, I hunt for food, I respect the animal and give thanks. I don't enjoy killing and wouldn't give a plug nickel for anyone that does.

In my opinion anyone that trophy hunts is broken.

Good Luck.



 
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Hi James!  Some states have programs that line up new hunters with experienced folks, sometimes game wardens.  I see it more often for fishing and it is often oriented at younger kids though.

I'd do some online searching for private programs like that.  Maybe the local Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Unlimited, Elk Club of Washington, etc have a program that you can get in on (fyi I made up that last one but there is an elk club I believe). 

Another good way would be to talk to people at work, family gatherings, bars, church, gun/sports club, Cabelas hunting department, etc and see if you accidentally meet a hunter.  Not to generalize, but I'd think your best bet would be an older gentleman.  Once we get to a certain age, it's more fun to help a kid get their first deer than it is to get our own deer.  Especially if that kid is happy, respectful, a good listener and full of excitement and questions.

Another resource, maybe not quite what you're after though, is youtube.  I've shot plenty of deer over the years but never butchered one myself.  Youtube got me through the process nicely yesterday when I did it for the first time.

Good job getting your hunters safety course completed, that's a good hurdle to have completed.
 
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I know this pain - my grandfather is a seasoned hunter and trapper, but in his early 70s, I can't ask him to take me all over the mountains to learn his secrets. It's hard to find someone with mutual time commitments that can make this kind of arrangement work.

Just wanted to say though, I think it's awesome you're taking the education so seriously. Have you tried posting on local sites, or do you worry about stranger danger? I know we have a local traditional bowyer that offers free archery lessons with your purchase, I've always wanted to nag him to take me hunting - that guy can drop a bull elk with a long bow!
 
pollinator
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Everyone has given you some great advice.

I have heard that it is best to start with small game like rabbits or squirrels.  And some suggest playing a "mock" hunt with a camera.

I only know about deer hunting. Unfortunately we are all the way across the country from you, I wanted to mention that my husband has been talking "Day Hunts" for two years now.  He would take a person out to the stands, let them pick which one they want, show them the trails and probably if the person asks ... where is the best place to hit the deer for a quick kill.  This info is also probably found in books/internet.

Ask at your local sporting goods store, maybe a Mom + Pop type, if they know of "Day Hunts" or "Guides".  A "Guided" hunt would be prefect for you but maybe a little expensive.  You might also ask about "Meat only" hunts as they are usually cheaper because no trophy deer is involved only "cull" deer. 

I have seen ads on Craig's list where folks are looking for a place to hunt and the fee is the meat.  Also you might barter work for a hunt. I would be cautious with Craig's List and met the folks at a local business to talk.
 
James Landreth
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Thank you all for the suggestions everyone. Robert, thank you for the book recommendation--I'll check it out. I've butchered domesticated animals so I have some experience with that aspect, but I'm sure it's harder when you're out in the field and don't have all of the same equipment.

Thanks for the suggestions, Mike. I'll consider contacting the local game warden; I hadn't thought of that.

Destiny, I've tried finding people through Facebook. I'm no longer on Facebook though, and my efforts weren't very successful. I'm about to move towns so I might try at the local church. The church where I live now doesn't have a single person who hunts and barely anybody fishes, but a lot of these people here aren't really the sort (moving from Ashland Oregon back up to western Washington). I might try Craigslist. Stranger danger doesn't usually worry me too much, but since I would be going into the woods with another person and a firearm, I probably should take some care.

Thank you for your suggestion, Anne. I've considered bartering with people in exchange for foraging on their property, so maybe in exchange for hunting wouldn't be a bad idea.

I've learned a lot of things from books and YouTube, but for some reason, I'm way more cautious about learning hunting that way. It just seems like something that you would want to have a mentor for, since it's a pretty involved set of processes. It also just seems like something that would be really fun to learn from someone else.
 
pollinator
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I live in WA, however I am not in a place to mentor as I have not been hunting in a long time due to being rather nomadic and moving states every few years. If I felt confident in my skills and knowledge to mentor I would enjoy giving back, but I will likely be looking for a mentor myself in the future when I have time to start hunting again, just as a good refresher and to get local knowledge of the area I live in.

Another forum that might be helpful in locating a mentor, and might just be a fun one too, is BushcraftUSA. It is a bushcraft forum and plenty of folks on there do hunt. There is a pretty good contingent of WA members who do have regular meet ups and camp outs. I am also a member over on BCUSA, though have yet to make it to one of the meet ups, but have had friends who have and they said it was a good group of people.
 
James Landreth
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Thanks Devin. I'll give that site a shot
 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Look up see more bucks, whitetail ambush secrets on youtube. These guys know their stuff and a lot of hunting when it comes to deer is (apparently) in creating habitat that deer want to be in and hang around in, during daylight hours.
Ive registered on their website to get access to additional videos and it taught me loads. And No, I dont get any kickbacks from them. Just good sound advice that I stumbled across.
You can also go to hingecut.com - another website from the same group of guys, I bought Dr Jims book on setting up habitat and plan on implementing a lot of his suggestions in my 30 acres of forest. Good luck.
 
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First you have to hunt where the animals are. You can contact your state biologists who will point you towards good places of habitat in your area. Preseason scouting is huge towards being successful. Rifle season tends to be more competitive than bow so numerous scouted areas are needed to allow you your own space. We are modern man, we walk like it and animals hear and know our sound and scent. You have to take measures to minimize both of these. Hunt into the wind, learn about thermals in the mountains and how to use them, deer and elk do. Listen a lot, cup your ears and pay attention to even small sounds. Learn patience, sit for an hour so the woods goes back to normal before you begin your slow "still hunt". Hunt every hunt as if you will be successful, by that I mean be prepared to properly care for the animal as in game bags, tarps, ropes, pack frames, saw, anything that ensures the quality of the meat. Hunt up hill pack down if you can. Carry a compass always and check directions before entering the woods, Gps's are great but can fail. Get topo maps and learn how to read them. In areas that are mostly steep locate those out of the way "benches", little flatter areas, again preseason scouting. Big bodied elk like them, deer don't seem to care. Learn to call, with so much info out there you will easily find the calls that work for the season and animal you are targeting, just use them wisely and sparingly. Over calling might work on a mad rutting bull but talking to guys who successfully call will help you recognize when and how. Lastly be a thinking hunter, your brain is your best tool, recognizing a situation and capitalizing on it makes for a happy hunter.
 
James Landreth
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Thank you for the advice, Arlie
 
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Hi James, I'm in Seattle and in a similar situation. I have been informally asking around for the last year, but without result. If you would ever like to team up for an expedition or find any good leads on finding a mentor, I'd be interested. Thanks for a useful post thread. Good to see others are in the same position!
 
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Some of you might find this program of interest. It teaches hunting in a spiritual light, emphasizing the connection to land and nature at it roots.

Located primarily in Kettle Falls, WA

www.HumanNatureHunting.com

I'm familiar with the program and happy to answer questions.
 
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