55 and just beginning to Hunt!
I spent a ton of time in the woods in northern Maine, living among the farmers and their families above Caribou.
During those years I learned a lot about survival in remote areas; how to farm; the value of family; self-reliance, and so forth.
Everyone owned a rifle (or two or three) and almost everyone, including my own clan, hunted. I never did, but wanted to.
In 1974, just shy of my senior year in High School, my dad moved us to Connecticut. I finished school, went into the Army, then College, then marriage, without ever having had my first "hunt" under my belt.
I had rifles when the kids were first born, (a Model 94 that I loved, a Savage Stevens Model 67 Slug Gun, and a Marlin 22) but got rid of them because the wife requested it.
Fast forward to these days, and I've been living in Connecticut now since 1974. I'm 55 and have grown children, and as you can see by my Avatar, grandkids.
There are "hunters" around here. I have met a number of them. I satisfied my desire for the outdoors with fishing; but once I got that "trophy" fish that was wall-worthy, I hung up my fishing pole.
Lately I'd been investigating more seriously, buying another rifle, and finally getting back to the hope of deer hunting. Not for the "rack" but for the meat. I have a passion for Venison (when it's cooked right).
I came close to buying a few different guns, and was mainly looking at lever action rifles in the .30-.30 catagory. The prices on Model 94's are way outa line (imho) and I didn't like the "top eject" of them, so I was seriously considering a 336C from Marlin.
Saturday, after much back-n-forth, I bought a 45-70 Marlin, (even though the ammo prices for these rounds are higher than the .30-.30 and am actively preparing my hunting pack; re-familiarizing myself with my compass; researching State requirements for a deer hunting license; watching videos about dressing a deer and other things, and so forth.
Because of my background in the woods, I am not a "city boy, gone country" as it were. I will not be going out in the woods without experience and am no "rambo" in my mentality. I have a respect for weapons that I learned years ago, and a calm approach to life.
I came here, to find a Forum, where I could meet other deer hunters who have been actually hunting. Yes I know a few in my real world, and get pointers from them, but I like the idea of being able to write out my thoughts, and get feedback in this type of setting as well.
Let's start here..........I am not intending to go on my first hunt until the fall of 2013. Between now and then, I'm gathering up my gear, (lots of free military stuff from my son-in-law who is a Captain in the Army, like boots, camouflage clothing, etc).
Years ago, when I bought my other rifles that I ended up having to get rid of, I was able to walk into a local gun shop, buy the gun and take it home. Not so these days, as ya'll know.
I ended up buying (as many do) from Cabela's Gun Library. This 45-70 is about 5 years old (not one made by the current owner-Remington). It's action is smooth, and the bore was clean (checked with a bore light).
The paperwork, and 15 day wait to pick it up was a bit frustrating, but I understand the need for these things, these days. I have a clean record and am an American Citizen, born and bred here, so it's just a hassle, not a concern.
When I go pick up the rifle on the 11th of November, I'll be buying a few more incidentals (strap, ammo, ammo lock box, lever action cable lock, binoculars, new compass, etc). Then it's "off to the firing range for zeroing in my rifle and becoming one with it, so that when I go out next fall, I am able to confidently and competently use the rifle for a clean kill.
Of course, the woods is my favorite place anyway, and I realize that sometimes a hunter will leave the woods having not taken even a single shot. For me, it's not about having a weapon I can shoot. It's about the meat. It's about the "being one with nature." It's about being responsible about my presence there, and respecting territory where other creatures live.
Most likely, I'll choose to do my deer hunting in Northern Maine, and Eastern Pennsylvania. So I've been looking online at the requirements for licensing in those States. I noticed a Lottery in Maine, and want to know more about "Lotteries" in general. Pennsylvania may have one, but I haven't gotten that far yet.
For now, I'm trying to find a Hunter's Safety Course to take, I'm trying to figure out what the "Connecticut Conservation ID" is all about, that I can sign up for at my local Town Clerks office, in the Town Hall. (Why is it needed; IS it needed; what do I have to "have" before I can get one, etc.).
I'm wondering if all the paperwork I did at Cabela's includes (by default) an "I.D." of some sorts already, since I've been run thru the State and Federal system.
It appears that, if I want to hunt in Maine, and you are from out of State, I will have to show evidence that I have had a hunting license in another State before. I could be wrong about that, but that's the way the questions seemed to read, on their Application Form. That would mean that I should probably get a license in Connecticut this year, even though I'm not intending to go hunting til NEXT year, so that when I apply for a Maine license next summer/fall, I can show that I have HAD a License before, in another State.
I'm thinking about fees, ($$) as well. A "Bow Hunter" friend of mine in New Jersey, was telling me, "hunting is a rich man's sport," recently. I can see how you can really wrack up the dollars on gear, ammo, licensing, etc.. I'd like to put that topic into a realistic perspective.
Hopefully, I have given you and others like you in this Forum, enough fodder to help me thru these beginning stages of getting out there to bring home a deer.
I'll look forward to chewing away at each of the topics I've introduced, and others I may not have considered, in an orderly fashion with you.
With your kind assistance, experience and knowledge, I can have that sucessful and safe "first hunt." Even at the respectable age of 55!
"If the river sounds; somethings coming"