Long story short, 5 years ago my hobbies revolved around shooting sports, but I haven't ever hunted anything but birds. With a baby on the way, I decided to get a bow so that I could get "trigger time" in my basement (I live in Overland Park). I had a bow as a kid but hadn't shot one for probably 25 years. That has evolved to where I really want to get out with my bow and do some hunting. I also want to get proficient enough that I can take my two boys (oldest is currently 4). Hunting isn't something I grew up with but I want my boys to have it as a part of their life. The question is where do you start?
Being a KS resident, it would be great to hunt my state. I also have family with a few hundred acres in NW Missouri a little over an hour from my home. My thought is to hunt that farm next year.
So, have any of you picked up bow hunting without a mentor later in life or have any recommendations on where to start?
You can get your children interested in hunting by spending time with them scouting, target practicing, shed hunting and even hunting. Just remember to not push them too hard and listen to want they want to get out of it.
As for mentors, this site has plenty of people willing to share advice. Read through some of the hunting threads and you'll get a feel for the people who are willing to help, you might even find someone that lives near you to help you personally scout and set up stands. Don't be afraid to ask questions, I'm sure you've heard the sayings "the only dumb question is the one you didn't ask" or " their are no dumb questions just dumb answers".
So, good luck on your new adventure and welcome to the site.
Copperhead, I want hunting as a part of my sons lives because I think it is a vital connection to our world that most people miss out on. It connects you with your food source and the world around you. Most people barely notice a tree let alone a rub or a bedding area as they walk through the woods (if they ever walk through the woods). I also think there is something therapeutic about being in the outdoors. We ski and just being in the mountains does wonders for me. I want them to have more of that and less tablet, phones, social media etc. Last but not least, I think it could be a huge bonding thing. As all hunters do, I have great stories with family and friends from bird hunts and I want them to have the same opportunity. I would just like to expand beyond the occasional pheasant hunt and think bow hunting something that can put meat in the freezer accomplishes more of what I want to accomplish. Would we trophy hunt some day? Probably, but that isn't the point for now.
I am not trying to get out this season. I am just trying to lay the ground work for next season. Ever since I got my bow 5 years ago I get the itch this time of year. My oldest is getting to the point where we could start doing some scouting and make it fun for him so it is time to start planning. If I come across somebody who wants to show me the ropes this winter then that could change I guess. Not too focused on finding a new place to hunt when we have a family farm that isn't too far away that we have access too. Scouting that farm is a different story. I know where they should be based on the topography, but I don't know what is there yet.
Thanks again for the input
Thornton, I'm totally on board with that thought process. In fact, I am actually looking at a new bow for two reasons related to what you mentioned. 1) the new cams make a heavier pull feel better than my CRX 35 which tops out at 60 lbs 2) with a higher let off the new bow is easier to hold on target for longer. I don't really care about speed but the speed will certainly give me some ability to take a heavier arrow. The hoyt hyperforce at 70lbs. is my target right now. Your point about blood trailing is a concern of mine. The last thing I want to do is lose an animal
Having access to your family ground is a great start. I would get out there maybe over the holidays and do some scouting based on the topography you noted. Hopefully your farm offers a combo of food sources and good cover. Start by going where you think the deer may be. Look for the trails and tracks. Rubs should still be very noticeable to confirm there is/was buck activity. While there, look at natural funnels to focus deer movement. Start looking at what may be a good tree to put a stand. Be mindful of wind direction in these selections. Pick at least one location for each wind direction where you would be down-wind from expected travel routes. Your hunting spots have to consider wind direction. AND entry/exit routes which do as much as possible to avoid alerting the deer.
If you have the means to put a camera or two out between now and next fall that would be big.
I'm not sure how equipped you are at present time, but off season is a good time to pick up deals on whatever you need. Archerytalk.com has a great pre-owned supply in their classifieds. Bowhunting can get costly quick, but it does not need to be. You will learn to appreciate good equipment though. Good clothing is pricey but makes a big difference enabling you to stay on stand longer and more comfortably. Decide what kind of tree stand you want. Mobile (hang on's, climbers). Or for family ground a few ladder stands might work well. And for the love of god WEAR A SAFETY HARNESS!
Practice, practice, practice. Make sure your bow fits properly. This is huge for proper, consistent practice. Have it tuned to you by a pro shop or someone who knows what they are doing. It's best to practice in similar scenarios to hunting. If you can shoot from an elevated position, it will help you learn shot angles. Shoot with hunting gear on if you can.
Study deer anatomy and vitals. Where the lungs are. Where the heart is. The deers angle, your height in a tree will determine where you need to aim.
It's way down the road, but have a plan for when you do harvest a deer. Field dressing, getting it to your truck, where to have it processed. Oh...blood trailing is a whole other topic.
I can almost guarantee, the first time a deer approaches in range, offering a shot, that adrenaline rush you get, will have you hooked for life.
So much stuff. But that's a start at least. Good luck. Lots of us are around to help you get started.
The farm is a cattle farm so a lot of pasture. It has timber, a small stream, some ponds and has row crops to the south and west borders. There is one area that has about 20 acres (if memory serves me right) of pretty solid timber. The power company put lines through a while back so cleared an alley through the timber that connects the corn field to the south (Not ours) with open pasture (ours). We've seen what looks like a bedding area in that field. There isn't a ton of elevation change but there is probably a 50-75 ft of difference from the north side of the timber to the south so they can get lower in the field at night and there isn't anyone back there except for hay season.
I'm planning to put up some cameras to make sure I'm not totally wasting my time there.
In general I'm a gear junkie. I just enjoy reading about things I'm interested in so I need to read up on some of the stuff you brought up. If you have any recommendations on stands, ground blinds, camo etc....pass them along. At this point I just have a bow and the desire to hunt with it.
I bought Steve Rinellas book so I'm hoping that will help me plan out the after the harvest portion. I don't want to screw up the processing/handling. If I sit in the woods with the peace and quiet and never see anything I will be fine. If I hit something and waste the meat it would really bother me.
Thanks again fellas
Writer, I planned on the pop-up blinds simply to keep them out of a stand at such a young age, but I hadn't considered your point about the camo. What is the special hunts wildlife and parks thing you mentioned? I am not familiar with that.
I will also look into Turkey season as you mentioned. To be honest, I don't care for wild turkey too much but if I can line up a food bank or just a friend who wants the bird then that would be great practice and another way to get out with the bow. I know there is turkey on that land because we see them regularly.
Thanks again. You guys are great
I've never enrolled in a special hunt, but they are through the kdwp. Keep tabs on ksoutdoors.com through the year. I would guess you being near KC would provide numerous opportunities .
I live in Lenexa. You're not supposed to say you're from Johnson County on here. That makes you a non resident to some. :)
There's an archery range in Shawnee Mission Park that's $7 a year and rarely crowded.
Also, powder valley shooting range has 3D targets and a elevated platform you can shoot from.
You have land to hunt. Go hunt, make mistakes, learn from them, have fun.
I bet you are probably talking about powder creek. I haven't shot my bow there, but I've been there countless times with a shotgun in my hands so I will check it out next time I go. The place I have been shooting my bow is prairie center. It has a range out to 50 yds, a walk back course and a platform to shoot from as well. It is out off of 135th and the range is free and open all day every day. I haven't ever been out there when I couldn't shoot, but it is a little busier from time to time.