Darxus

I hunted!

I hunted!

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2009-09-29
Didn't see a legged thing, about as expected.

First time I ever got around to hunting. Haven't gotten my hunting license yet, but I don't need one in my own yard. And I just need to be at least 300 feet from the closest house.

Part of my interest is predators that might eat chickens which I think I'm about to order. And all of those predators are currently in season (which still matters in my own yard).

There was definitely a predator of some kind. But most of the prints weren't fresh enough to tell more than pattern of tracks, including general size of the animal.

So I figured possibly fox, or maybe just house cat. I also saw tracks for rabbits (which I've actually seen), and something mouse like. Cute.

I wandered back into my woods around the South side of my property, and discovered that the growth is far less dense on that side. And North along my stream a bit. Getting my bearings and seeing what tracks there were to see. Lots of tracks in the snow, but none fresh.

I noticed activity tended to concentrate some under low hanging evergreens, so I picked a spot near some, and spent most of my time reclining against a tree there. Paying particular attention to the upwind direction.

I heard a dog barking way off in the distance, trees creaking against each other, a couple small birds, and I think nothing else but wind.

I continue to suspect I may have some advantage in spotting animals because of my visual search related brain damage. The part that's broken, which filters out visual background noise, isn't going to help anybody when animals are motionless. And I can see movement just fine. Methods I use to compensate for my visual search difficulty are what I think might help. "Is this item in my drawer a can opener? Nope. How about this one?" "Does this square foot contain an animal?"

When I decided to head in, I took a closer look at the tracks I had been staring at. I noticed drag marks. Then it became very clear where one animal pounced on another, and began dragging it off. And those tracks were fresher. The prints looked way too big to be a house cat. That was kind of exciting. I followed it to the North side of my yard, which was a little more difficult because it looked like it had doubled back on that path a few times.

After looking at the pocket guide to N.H. animal tracks, I'm fairly certain that the predator was a coyote (always in season) or fox (in season), and the tiny tracks were a white-footed mouse.

I am undecided on hearing protection while hunting, although I have noticed that the people who claim it doesn't cause significant damage don't seem to have done it for long. I didn't wear any today, partially because I expected chances of seeing something to shoot were so low.

I left my woods on the North side, with the incredibly dense small trees. Almost took my Ka-bar out to get the vines off of me. (I fully intended to field dress anything I might kill where it fell.)

My toes and butt (leaning against a tree) were coldest. Easy enough to fix. Ears and face probably come next. I had my hair out, which did a great job of keeping my head warm.


Update: I was hunting with my Bulgaria Arsenal SLR-95, which is one of the better semi-auto copies of the AK-47, with only 5 rounds in the magazine due to NH hunting law.
  • Use hearing protection. Guns are absolutely loud enough to cause hearing damage. People do not seem to understand that hearing damage is cumulative, and it only takes 90dB to cause damage. A gun is WAY over that. Sure, the damage isn't instant but it's scientifically proven to happen.

    Would you shine a laser pointer in your eye because someone did it once and didn't go instantly blind? It's the same deal.
    • I really have read plenty of comments along those lines based on significant personal experience.
  • 7.62 rounds seem like overkill for foxes and even coyotes, but will certainly end them. foxes tend to not be as big a deal as the coyotes though.

    do you have a .22LR or a .17? there's a couple models one can get, very accurate, and add a suppressor :) stupid coyotes won't know what hit them, and might stand around for more ;)

    if you know where they're going to be, and don't mind building a blind, and baiting them... all the more fun.

    300 feet always seemed bizarre to me, when even a .22LR can travel a mile.

    #
    • Sure 7.62x39mm is overkill. I don't own a .22lr or .17, or I probably would have used that.

      Hiding in a blind and baiting sounds like way less fun to me.

      300 feet sound great to me since it's easy enough to make sure that immediately after penetrating my target, a bullet will hit soft ground, with an extremely low chance dangerous ricochet. Also, because I'm sure that if discharging firearms no more than 300 feet from houses tended to cause injuries, I would know about it. Probably from law.
      • well, time to check out a .22LR then :) they say more deer have been taken with it, and it's very versatile, from sub-sonic shorts to high power varmint rounds. cheap too, just got 3300 rounds today for < $99. a ruger 10/22 with hammerforged barrel and scope should run $500 or less used, and is a tack driver. just the thing to harvest squirrels and rabbits.

        a .223 might be better for dropping a coyote at 100yds though.

        well, it's sniping predators ;) not game... one is a job, the other is ... more ... i dunno, sporting?

        well, i dunno about the drop on penetrating tiny prey.

        when i worked in action, the police range was on the other side of the hill from our large parking lot, and quite frequently we'd find lead in the parking lot, broken windows, dented cars, and a LOT of them hit the building. quietly taken care of by the town. speaking of legal ;)

        one of the worries at the range is "skipping", not so much a richochet, but like a stone on water, they've had some things leave the compound in odd ways.

        #
    • Also, I have every intention of hunting the same small game with my FAL, which is significantly more overkill, just for experience with that gun.
      • hah :)

        very much overkill, but "yee hah" :)

        still don't have a scope for mine... considering a shotgun first though.

        #
        • Bah, what do you want a shotgun for?

          FYI, if you want a shotgun useful for both home defense (short barrel) and hunting (long barrel), it looks like Remington (870) is the best option due to availability of magazine extension tubes.
          • mostly for "sporting clays", i was thinking of a semi-auto benelli; also useful for murdering birds should i care to do that... barrels can be had for swapping out for ... anything

            they just cost about what a brand new 870 with the proper barrel would ;P that said, my local guy will sell me a 870 with two barrels of my choice as a kit, for a decent price.

            in the other arena, i can very quickly obtain a 7+1 semi-auto with short for short money. could even be used for close range hunting and pest control. same model as featured in several movies not too long ago.

            but mostly, i want to do trap at the club. can effectively do that for cheap with the 870.

            #
        • Also, Saiga-12, AK pattern 12 gauge, 10 round detachable magazines.

          But nowhere near the versatility (without swapping ammo) or capacity of an AK in the original 7.62x39mm.
  • I don't know about hunting and I don't know much about guns... but wouldn't a semi automatic be a terrible gun to hunt with? Unless you can fire single shots off with it you're just losing accuracy from recoil, which seems bad.
    • Yeah, you don't know much about guns.

      "Semi-automatic" means you pull the trigger, and it fires one bullet. The "automatic" refers to the fact that it chambers the next round automatically. I don't think I've ever needed to tell anybody that before. Perhaps I should adjust my expectations.

      "Fully automatic" means you pull the trigger, and bullets come out until you let go. And basically all fully automatic guns are select fire, meaning they can be fired fully automatic, or semi automatic. Except those which are belt fed. Which are... big, and.... I think generally qualify as "crew served", meaning they're intended to be operated by more than one person. Inconvenient for hunting. There is no animal for which isn't far more convenient to hunt with a couple shots of a very powerful caliber.

      In general, I wouldn't say full auto would be bad to hunt with. You still have all your accuracy on the first round. Yes, you lose accuracy on the rest of the rounds, to varying extents depending largely on how well the barrel is vertically centered relative to your shoulder (muzzle rise - basically all rifle's barrels are above the center of their butt stock). Yes, this loss of accuracy is generally wasteful. But you're talking about wasting 24 cents per round, preferably in controlled ~3 round bursts. I believe police etc. who are issued with sub-machineguns (full auto in a pistol caliber, generally small) are told to aim for the crotch due to muzzle rize. Probably in a 2 or 3 shot burst mode.

      However:

      If, instead of hunting something harmless, you're defending against, say, zombies, every round you have quick access to is far more valuable, in which case, yes, full auto would probably be a terrible idea. Full auto is generally only ever useful at extreme close range, where I would really rather not be. So I have not spent the extra money for the ability to waste ammo. (The extra cost is entirely due to unconstitutional regulation. Full auto is easier to make than semi-auto.)

      Also, within sight of houses is a very terrible place to hunt with full auto. More stray bullets is bad. Especially with the muzzle rise caused by firing most full auto guns, you have less ability to make sure your bullets are going into the ground when they're done their job, instead of above the horizon.

      I am officially not awake yet. I'll try to re-check this comment later.
    • While I'm introducing terminology:

      Machine gun: Belt fed fully automatic.

      Rifle: Includes small (30 round) capacity fully automatic guns, such as the standard issue long arm of the US military (m16 and m4, which are AR-15 type weapons).

      Assault rifle: Only includes fully-automatic rifles. The original AK-47 design was a fully automatic assault rifle. My AK-47 is not an assault rifle because it has been cripled by US law to not include full auto.

      Also, US government defines these terms different from everyone else.
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