I have a confession to make: I have a thing for Israeli models. Wait. That’s not it. I’m not a hunter. Not yet anyway. Dan and I have taken a solemn vow to add more Bambi killing to this website. As part of that effort, TTAG’s top Jews are planning on violating the Torah to take down dangerous game. Starting with animals that don’t prey on humans and working our way up. Despite the tens of thousands of ad dollars we’re leaving on the table (at the moment) this isn’t a commercial decision. It’s a matter of life and death. Yes, even for us urban dwellers . . .

Americans have been moving from the country to the city for decades, so maybe it’s not surprising that researchers are finding a similar pattern among other North American apex predators.

That may be the stupidest lede I’ve ever read—apex predators are moving to the city in search of government housing? But there’s important info therein. Besides, the intro comes from csmonitor.com, a news org that’s about as likely to monitor the Outdoor Channel as Alona Tal is to keep an eye on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Where was I?

New research suggests mountain lions and bears may be following the urban pioneering of raccoons, foxes and, most notably, coyotes as they slowly encroach on major US metro areas from New Jersey to California. In the case of coyotes, they don’t even mind the density, with some coyote packs now confining themselves to territories of a third of a square mile.

A third of a square mile! That’s practically half of Rhode Island! But seriously, bad boys, bad boys, what you gonna do? What you gonna do when the coyotes come for you? Shoot them with a Ruger LCP? I said a pack of coyotes, and you’re not Governor Rick Perry.

Though [Ohio State University biologist Stan] Gehrt says the jury is still out on whether other apex predators will continue to seek closer human contact, anecdotal evidence in support of that theory continues to build. A mountain lion was recently shot near downtown Santa Monica, Calif., and a family of black bears has been observed rambling around Cedar Grove, N.J., a major suburban area.

Coyotes, meanwhile, have become commonplace in and around many cities, including Chicago, where Gehrt has followed coyote packs since 2000. Among many startling findings, Gehrt reported last month that urban coyote couples are 100 percent monogamous, even though there seems to be plenty of opportunity to choose other mates.

Oh great. So if you shoot a prowling coyote in your backyard you can spend the rest of your life feeling bad about breaking up a loving couple. Not that many two-legged males worry about that particular outcome.

Regardless, armed self-defenders in urban areas are on notice: it’s time to learn how to take down four-legged varmints. To that end, hunt! As csmonitor.com also points out, center mass never tasted so good.

Also, at the risk of inciting the usual carry gun argy-bargy, you may also want to pack something a little more, uh, forceful in the caliber department. And have a rifle handy during those year’s end backyard BBQs and forthcoming snowball fights. Just sayin’ . . .

[h/t Aharon]

103 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Learn How to Hunt

  1. “As part of that effort, TTAG’s top Jews are planning on violating the Torah to take down dangerous game.”
    ——
    So. Much. Win.

  2. I started hunting just a couple years ago. My grandfather passed away and I was given his Winchester 94 30-30. So far I’ve been learning a lot about what not to do, shooting small game (ok, one squirrel so far and with a .22 not the 30-30), and very nearly got my first deer last year. I found the spot, I have the antlerless tag, I sort of know what to do–I have high hopes that this will be the year I get my first deer.

    I’ll be taking my son out a few times for small game this year, and my daughter next year. If their fishing ability is any measure, they’ll be out-hunting me in short order.

      • Well have you ever tried to split one squirrel three ways?

        In seriousness, good to hear it shawmutt. If you’ve never had some, you’re going to love venison.

    • Last year was my first in the woods. Bagged 3. HB is right, venison is the best meat I’ve ever eaten, and it is the healthiest meat you can get. Preparing it is tricky due to the near 0% fat content, but once you have it down…now I’m hungry. Brb, going to cook up some venison chili.

  3. Not too many years ago a young woman was out for a jog in Canada and she was killed by coyotes.

    In Georgia, near where my sisters live a man and woman were killed by a pack of dogs. Being mauled to death by a pack of predators has to rate in the top 5 worse ways to go. The sad part in the Georgia attack a deputy that responded to the incident fired 1 shot and the dogs scattered and ran. 1 shot.

    As I’ve said before, whether you like guns or not, even if you want them banned you’re being foolish for not carrying a gun.

    • I didn’t think coyotes went after adults. Good to know.

      Back when I went through Basic/Infantry and Airborne School at Ft. Benning Georgia we were warned about the wild dogs and the packs on the base and to avoid. One night @2AM I was walking fire-guard duty out in the field and a few big dogs trotted past me. I held my empty M16 ready to strike them yet fortunately they offered no aggression.

    • Wow…crazy times. I’ve lived in rural and suburban locales in prime coyote country all my life, and I’ve never, ever heard of anyone being attacked by one, much less a pack. They’re all over the place — I can hear them yipping every night — but they’re shy and sneaky, so actually seeing one is really rare.

      But if they’re inhabiting urbanized areas, they’ve probably lost a lot of their aversion to humans, and might be more likely to attack.

      On the topic of dog maulings in general, I’d be more worried about that than coyotes. Out where my parents live, seemingly half the town has at least one or two poorly socialized “cattle dogs” that will chase and bite people, given half a chance. My dad was so traumatized by an encounter with a pack of them just outside town that he gave up jogging for a while. These days he takes a stout stick and a pocketful of rocks when he goes out running, and the dogs keep their distance now that they can see he means business.

      I’d tell him to take a gun along, but he doesn’t really believe in ’em (knows how to use them and has a .22 rifle as part of his rural tool kit, but doesn’t enjoy them and sure doesn’t want to carry one). And I have to admit his stone-age methods work well enough for what he needs.

      Maybe for most people, a simple “be prepared” would be a better mantra than “bring a gun.” When it comes to coyotes and other semi-urban predators, a walking stick (or even one of those alloy ski-pole looking things), or a decent sized pocket knife would probably be enough to save your skin. They’re smaller than you, and they’re looking for a meal, not a fight.

      But then there’s always bears… Heck, might as well cut to the chase and tote my 30-30 with me everywhere from here on out (though something tells me that wouldn’t go over well with the townsfolk).

      • I used to ride my mountain bike at night (with lights, of course) in the Big River Management Area in Rhode Island. Packs of coyotes used to run alongside me. It freaked me out the first time. They never did anything aggressive, I got used to them and I got the impression that they enjoyed the run. If I stopped for a rest or a water break, they got bored and sauntered away.

        There’s also at least one pack on Cape Cod. They must have walked over the bridges from the “mainland.” When they decide to howl, you can hear them for miles. And they’re BIG.

  4. I don’t know about cities or suburbs but I know for a fact coyotes are moving more where I live (south western Ohio, rural area). Growing up I might have seen 3 or 4 a year total, usually at night crossing a road, now they are yipping outside my window every night. Kind of unnerving sometimes.

    • I live in the coastal South Carolina region. I hear them often, and even spotted a few chewing on a fawn. There have been reports of black bears north of us in Myrtle Beach.

  5. Everyone who takes the concepts of survival and prepping semi-seriously and doesn’t yet have the hunting skills to put wild food on their table needs to learn those skills. I have never hunted before (except lizards when I was a young kid) and my plans are to start with small game ie rabbits, squirrels, etc and move up from there.

    • Squirrels will be easy enough, being that they are plentiful. Rabbits are pretty hard to find. If memory serves me, I remember you mentioning living in the northwest. Elk, mule deer, blacktail deer, whitetail deer, moose, mountain goat, and predators like bobcats, coyotes, and fox. Wow…I might have to make a trip up there. The hunting-washington.com site I referenced has me curious.

      • Yes, I live in Portland Oregon. Bummer about rabbit being hard to find since the meat is very low in fat and high in protein. Lots of folk out here hunt deer. I’m starting to become friends with a few of them. I’ll check out the site above. Thanks.

        • If you want low in fat and high in protein, then look at birds. Turkey, duck, goose, and pheasant are all very lean. As far as fat to protein ratio with meats goes, the rule of thumb I’ve always heard is “More legs, more fat.” Cows/pigs, then birds, then fish.

  6. Some top snipers, like Hathcock and Mawhinney, honed their craft hunting game. Second, if the zombies don’t get to them first, there will be plenty of tasty deer and hogs around when TSHTF. Third, if Mark Zuckerberg can do it, so can you. Finally, it’s an important American tradition and we don’t need to lose another one.

    • If TSHTF like in the great depression, there may be no game to speak of. In the souteast, SC in particular, deer were hunted to extinction. The had to transplant and breed deer to repopulate the species.

      • At least here in the south the hogs are breeding faster than they can be killed. And I hear its even worse down in Florida. So if the TSHTF, looks like there will be plenty of bacon and porkchops to go around. Oh, and boa constrictor too. I hear Florida is having quite the problem with them in the Everglades. Supposedly snake tastes like chicken, so that wouldnt be too bad to eat either I suppose…

        • Snake and gator taste kind of fishy. I think this has to do with the fact they’re cold blooded. You are spot on about hogs.

          I guess it depends on the way TSHTF. If it’s an outbreak or nuclear disaster, there may be enough of a decrease in the population to allow for wild sustinance. If it’s civil or economic collapse, not so much.

    • Think about all those hogs eating human corpses, and getting a taste for the meat. Before long, they’ll lose any fear of humans and go after the live ones. They’re aggressive now, imagine how bad it will be then.

      • I think you just came up with the plot to the next post-zombie-craze summer blockbuster.

        Or maybe Sci Fi original. One of he two.

  7. It’s not really “hunting” when they’re coming to you and most urban and sub-urban environments forbid discharging firearms as well a grilling with a rifle in plain sight. Maybe a compound bow…

    • Agreed, but local ordanance may prevent even a bow.

      I have foxes and coyotes in my backyard and a mountain lion was even spotted in my area in CT. Should I decide to take any of them out, I would be facing a fine and jail time. The police remind us to call animal control to do the dirty work. My neighbor and I use 22 pellet guns and try to wing them in the hind leg. That seems to work….but we have to many yummy deer/rabbit in the area so they keep coming back.

  8. My name is Sanchanim, and I have a thing for hot Israeli girls in uniform.
    Whew ok glad I got that off my chest….

    With urban sprawl, our four legged furry friends have had to cope with us living closer and closer. Just on my drive in we have wild pigs, deer, and a family of fox. Not to mention cows horses and the more domesticated stuff like sheep and goats.

    I remember hunting when I was little. I really enjoyed the time, and it taught me about putting meat on the table. Unless you are a vegetarian, it doesn’t come from McDonald’s or the supermarket. If you don’t live in California hunting can actually be a way to put meat on the table for pennies a pound. Wild game in general is also much healthier as well.
    Yeah I know I know the whole kosher thing.. Well I look at it this way. Israel slaughters roughly 20 tons of pork annually for it’s own consumption. Yup bacon cheese burgers, chops and the like…
    You don’t have to have it but you can get it if you want. Deer have a cloven hoof, so that is a no go as well, but then again it is also much healthier.
    So get out there and hunt, it is a great time, even if you don’t bag that trophy buck!

    Also it is a personal decision that unless in self defense I don’t hunt what I don’t eat, so mountain lions, bear, and such are out for me.

    • If I had my way it’d be legal to shoot down wild pigs whenever and wherever they’re spotted, as long as no people were in the line of fire.

      • Doesn’t Texas have a system like that? I always thought it was no permit required to hunt just written permission from the property owner. I think they’re even legally defined as a pestilence and in reality a lethal menace to everything from crops to children. They taste great too.

      • In most areas, wild pigs are legal to hunt year around. The only limiting factors where I live are ordinances that do not allow any firing in city limits. This includes BB/pellet rifles, bows, slingshots, or firearms. Any projectile. I guess spears, knives, and throwing stars might be feasable, but I’ll have to ask a local officer…one that I don’t find overbearing/oppressive that is.

        • Corryell County Texas has a $10 per head bounty on feral hogs (actually it’s $10 per tail), with a limit of $5,000 per hunter per year. I don’t think I’m going to get my 500 hogs this year…but I think I’ll be able to keep myself in 5.56 ammo for awhile.

    • Sanchanim, only animals that have cloven feet and chew their cud are kosher (clean). Deer have both attributes, and Deuteronomy 14:4-8 specifically mentions deer as being kosher.

      The issue among Jews is that animals cannot be eaten unless they are slaughtered in accordance with rituals, and the .30-30 ain’t one of ’em. As for sport shooting of animals — shooting only for sport and not for food or protection of self, domestic animals or crops — that’s considered animal cruelty.

      • “Deer have both attributes, and Deuteronomy 14:4-8 specifically mentions deer as being kosher.”

        My local rabbi said deer and rabbit are not kosher. If someone follows the teachings I think it is ok to hunt, kill, butcher, and cook a kosher animal if no other food is available. To prevent starvation I think any animal can be eaten. If I’m hungry and need to survival hunt deer for dinner or cool smoke a shark for jerky I’m doing it.

  9. Coyotes are all over the place in the lower 48. Generally they’re not that big so 9mm, .40, or .45 should bring them down well enough.

  10. I’d be more afraid of a pack of dogs than a pack of coyotes. Dogs tend to be bigger, stronger, and better fed, and will take out anything from other dogs to cattle. Packs will include pits and shepards, and are very capable of taking on humans. Coyotes generally hunt animals smaller than themselves, are opportunistic hunters, and will run unless cornered. With their small size, .22LR will take them down easily at 50 yds. In rifle calibers, Varmint Grenades are absolutely devastating and reduces risk of overpenetration. Around here, ranch rifles are usually .223s like the Mini-14, and are perfectly adequate. The real problem in urban areas is not the target, but what’s behind it. Big cats are another issue all together, but so far there are not a whole lot of them, even here in California (where they are illegal to hunt unless one has a predation permit).

    • I agree, a pack of feral dogs were killing calves out on the range here in NM. They ended up attacking a local man who raises horses. He only had a knife at the time; he drove them off after stabbing one in the chest. A neighbor came by afterward with a rifle and killed all five of them.

      • Now that you mention it, early man were able to chase down animals due to being able to travel long distances quickly(ish) since we can sweat and keep from overheating. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint.

        • I’ve heard stories of Native Americans chasing down deer over long distance and killing them with a knife when the deer collapsed.

        • Yes, it’s called cursorial hunting and we’re one of the species particularly well adapted for it. Jog along, keeping on the animal’s trail. They sprint away, but never sufficiently rest up. Eventually, they become exhausted and can’t continue and you go in for the kill.

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursorial_hunting

  11. I’d like to learn to hunt, but I don’t know where to start. None of my friends, family, or coworkers hunt.

    It doesn’t seem like something you can just jump in to.

    • Everything I learned I learned from the internet (and biology courses). I shot a lot as a kid, mainly .22, and had the basics of firearm safety from my grandfather. I joined the local sportsman’s club and use the rifle range regularly, took the mandatory hunter’s safety course, read up on hunting from the internet, and got out there and started hunting. I’ve been hunting state game lands since I started (I found that’s more about outsmarting other hunters than outsmarting the animals).

      It was quite a scene when I was cleaning my first kill. Me and the squirrel–and my laptop on the table next to me as I’m following step by step cleaning on a website. Damn near launched that squirrel 50 yards when trying to pull the skin off and the tail broke. A couple hours later I finally had the last of the skin off. I cooked that one squirrel in the crock pot and ate as much fur-ridden flesh as I could stomach.

      …it gets better…

      • “Damn near launched that squirrel 50 yards when trying to pull the skin off and the tail broke.”

        I laughed.

        But that is an important point: it’s not just getting the animal – you really need to know what to do with it *after* you get it. If you’re going deer hunting, have a good knife with you and know how you’re going to field-dress the carcass (there’s a couple of methods). Know how you’re going to get the deer back to your vehicle (hint: the bristly fur all points one direction) and how you’re going to transport the animal once it’s there. Know if you’re going to butcher the meat yourself or rush it to a meat packer. Et cetera.

        • “Damn near launched that squirrel 50 yards when trying to pull the skin off and the tail broke.”

          You owe me a keyboard. Coke has ruined it.

          Seriously, if you don’t have someone to mentor you, the technical info is all on the web for the taking. If you know land owners, hint to them that you are interested in hunting. Most will turn you down immediately if they have the idea you are trophy hunting, but if you reassure them you are hunting for meat, and will be willing to share, you will find them likely to oblige.

        • Yep. Squirrels are pretty nasty. Buffalo and venison are great, but squirrel not so much. Add pigeons to the list of things I won’t eat unless I’m dying. I’d rather eat a free range rat. Then again, I’d rather have bacon for pork tenderloin. It’ll change your perspective on things.

          Cabela’s has bison burgers that are pretty damn decent, if’n you want to try before going hunting.

        • “Cabela’s has bison burgers that are pretty damn decent, if’n you want to try before going hunting.”

          There’s somewhere in the US where you can actually hunt bison?

    • I’d suggest a one year’s sunscription to “Field and Stream” magazine and read all of every issue as one possible way to learn. And there are many great books on hunting available hopefully at your library. You’ll be learning how to identify habitat for different species, methods for getting close to your intended quarry, and the ethics of hunting. For today, download your states hunting/fishing regulations and see what is available to hunt, and what weapons are allowed, etc.

  12. Fall turkey season starts very soon in northern CA. I’m completing the classroom component of hunter ed on Saturday with my middle child, and we’re picking up two spiffy new Weatherby shotguns on Sunday.

    We are starting with turkey, but I’m already working on lining up a coyote hunt later in the year. I know a property owner in Ukiah who has been complaining that the coyotes have been hard on the squirrel/rabbit population, hoping we will be able to help her out with that…

      • The boy is thrilled to be getting a ghillie suit, which several northern CA hunters have recommended as great turkey camo for kids.

        I’m going with conventional camo and a “ghillie poncho”. Oh, and a nice comfortable seat pad for when we set up at the base of a tree.

    • Starting hunting by going on a turkey hunt is about like never playing football your entire life, then starting as one of the front four on a NFL team.

      Don’t get discouraged – you’re literally starting your hunting career on the most difficult end of the scale. About the only thing you could do that is more difficult would be to tell us that you’ve never hunted before, and this weekend you plan on going hunting for mountain goat or bighorn sheep.

      • Yes, understood. We are going to have an experienced hunter guide us on our first weekend out, but I’m fully aware that the odds are against us. It’s about the experience. And the excuse to acquire shotguns.

        Plan B: bringing home a frozen turkey if we don’t bag a live one by Thanksgiving… 🙂

        • Alphageek, everytime I go north of San francisco I see flocks of wild turkeys in the fields. My wife and I like to go to Bodega bay for lunch and I usually see some. Also up around Lake Berryessa.

        • JWM,

          We have a good crop of turkeys pretty much everywhere I’ve gone within 4 hours of the Bay Area this year. I’m just hoping they don’t all suddenly get 10X more crafty and hard to find during the fall season. At the very least I’m hoping to bag some on the ranches around San Leandro where we will have a local guide.

          Best part so far: our Boston Terriers go apeshit when I practice with the turkey calls. Something tells me I won’t be using them as hunting dogs anytime soon. Heh.

        • Hey, AlphaGeek…

          Why don’t you document the proceedings with a few camera shots, do a write up, and submit it to this site?

        • I’ll be taking pictures (when timing and environment permit) and I will think about submitting a story chronicling our adventures. Might be worth doing, already have a few funny moments in the journey despite it still being weeks until fall turkey season…

  13. Wow, this article has ironic timing. I’m going Deer hunting for the first time this Saturday. I probably will be lucky to get a shot but it will be fun.

    • Some get lucky and bag on the first day, some go years before getting their first. Don’t let the latter get you down. Be patient, quiet, and alert. Let your experiences give you a greater respect for your ancestors struggle to survive in a merciless world.

      • Thanks for the suggestions. I’m going, planning on being happy to just be out there. If I get a deer, all the better. Being outside and enjoying nature is the plan. Though I’m sure I’ll learn an appreciation for how my ancestors did it without modern firearms.

        • That’s a great attitude to have. You’ll have more shots on a pheasant hunt than a deer hunt, and they are often less challenging. I’ve been hunting deer for 20 years (half of that from out of state travel to WI), and I average a deer or two every other season or less. Read up, gear up, and enjoy the great outdoors. You’ll have plenty of time to appreciate nature, and getting a deer will be a bonus.

  14. I didnt look up the source of information or anything, but I know there’s some truth to a definite increase in incidents. I live in Alaska and there’s been tons of bears that have been tracked and proven to roam certain paths through anchorage. Bear and wolf attacks and aggression towards people seemed to happen all the time a couple years ago. Google it

    • If that were the case, wouldn’t we read reports of another dog knifed to death when police were in the vicinity? Ohh, wait…

  15. There’s a little factoid I’d like to inject here, and that’s the conservation and habitat improvement angle.

    Most urbanites are bombarded with self-serving “environmentalist” propaganda from various groups of self-anointed “stewards” of the wilds, peddling their credentials about how they’ve pushed for this, that or some other “wilderness” designation, roadless area or limitation on multiple use of public lands.

    I’m going to lay it on you dazzling urbanites who actually has done more for species conservation in the US than anyone else, and has done so for more than 100 years.

    Hunters. Sport hunters, specifically.

    Since the days when Teddy Roosevelt was president of the US, sport hunters have done more for conservation than anyone else. All of you who shoot anything, be it a rifle, pistol, shotgun, archery equipment, buy ammunition for same, etc all pay a federal excise tax that is earmarked for conservation uses. At least 10% of the price you pay for a firearm from the company that made it is taxation for conservation, and that’s before we talk about your local sales tax. The 07 FFL had to wrap that tax into the price of the firearm when it left their facilities.

    Hunters groups directly volunteer time and their own money for habitat improvement all over public lands in the US, which includes projects like re-seeding after fires, installing and protecting water sources (which is a big, big deal in the west – “no water, no life” is the rule in western habitats), species re-introduction (expanding elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, upland game and other species), improved access to streams, creeks and upper river reaches for angling, you name it.

    All of this comes from the “hook and bullet” crowd. Outfits like the Sierra Club don’t do jack by comparison. They’d like to claim such, but as a former member of the Sierra Club, I can assure you the brutal fact is that they talk a big game… and don’t do jack.

    The point I’m making is that you gunnies who don’t hunt or fish are already contributing to the effort through your FET’s on arms and ammo:

    http://www.ttb.gov/firearms/faet-faqs.shtml#tax_rate

    You have a right to the fruits of your labors, and even if you only want access to shoot on public lands, or hike in public areas, or go game-spotting, you’ve paid for it. You should take interest in these issues because it is your tax monies at work here.

    Now, as RF and Dan have said, being members of the 12 tribes, they might not have a natural country-boy background in hunting, and there might be other members of TTAG who aren’t exactly enamored of the “Shoot it Ned! It’s coming right for us!” crowd. And that’s cool. Still, the fact remains, you’re already involved, whether you knew it or wanted to be or not. The money we’re talking about ain’t chump change.

    • +1

      The “environmentalists” I run into that claim they are disgusted at my choice of freetime occupation are quickly quieted and humbled when I point this out to them. Then I lay the question on them “What have you done for nature lately?”. Most reply they went vegan or planted a shrub in the city.

    • Without hunting and hunting-related revenue, there might not be anything left to hunt. Hunters don’t just take, they give, and the give plenty.

      I also think that the game management agencies in most places do a pretty credible job of managing the wildlife and wildlife areas. Yeah, they can be a bunch of arrogant political hacks in some places, but in areas where the game managers are also hunters, they do a decent job.

      • Time and money! My WI deer licenses will be about $165 x 2 hunters, buffalo and elk tags are usually quite a bit more, not to mention African game licenses and the support they give to the local economies. Hunting is by and large a very good thing.

  16. That’s ridiculous. It’s good to know how to hunt. In fact, I want to know more about how to field dress an animal than what gear and equipment to use. So, RF and Dan, please get into that!

    What I don’t want to read about is trophy hunting. I have no respect for the trophy hunter.

    • +1 Hunting for trophies is vanity at it’s worst. If you happen to bag a buck of a lifetime while hunting for food, so be it. I also have an issue with hunting with dogs. Terrifying your game while hunting it makes it taste terrible, and is unethical imho. Now having a dog to retreive a goose or duck is another story. Swimming in full gear can be lethal.

      • @Rambeast

        Serious question here. I’ve never hunted and have no desire, but absolutely love the taste of venison. Were you being serious when you said that “Terrifying your game while hunting it makes it taste terrible”? As in, the animal’s sympathetic state can alter the way it actually tastes when cooked? Thanks.

        • Yes, having an animal that is in full fight or flight mode when it is killed, affects its taste. I’m not sure if it’s the adrenilin, or lactic acid in the muscles, or something else. You won’t notice it in an animal that staggers off 50 to 100 feet before it drops, but if it was chased by dogs for 20 minutes, there is a definite change in how the meat tastes.

      • Peritas, if you shoot a deer and it goes sprinting for a mile before it drops, all sorts of adrenaline fused hormones and such get in the meat making it taste funky. That’s why so many hunters aim for the cluster of vital organs, so the deer dies quickly without experiencing unending terror and the meat still tastes great.

        Having a pack of dogs chase your game and possibly tear it limb from limb is sadistic. A tried and true hunter makes his kill as humane as possible and has a deep sense of respect for the natural world to boot.

        • @Milsurp

          Thanks for the reply. I know very little about hunting and appreciate the information. I find it amazing that the endocrine mediators like cortisol, adrenaline, etc. would be present in enough concentration to actually change the taste of the meat, especially after cooking. Crazy!

          One thing I certainly did not realize was the deep respect and humanity towards the animals that hunters like you have. I had always assumed it was simply about the kill, and it didn’t really occur to me that the hunter would care about or try to minimize the suffering or even terror of the animal. I find it quite heartening, and you certainly have my respect.

        • It’s not the cortisol and adrenaline per se, so much as the immediate change they have on muscle metabolism. As soon as that chemical signal goes out, it’s “damn the lactic acid, Full Speed Ahead!” When the animal dies, all cleanup of metabolic waste products ceases and that’s the state of the meat you are stuck with.

          As to hunters’ sentiments toward their prey, anyone who fails to bring down an animal humanely is viewed with some degree of contempt. Wounding an animal without killing it is grounds for social censure and “gut shotting” an animal, so that it does die but takes a long time, is a source of profound shame.

          Personally, I skipped hunting the first year I was issued a deer tag because I didn’t consider my target practice up to that point to have been good enough.

        • This is BS and a wive’s tail. Created by wives who can’t cook. The biggest harm to the taste of venison comes from slow cooling and garden hoses. The hunt has nothing to do with it, IMO. BTW, this is coming from a guy who is more dangerous with a 60# bow at 60 yards than a Glock 17. For the uninitiated sometimes death by arrow isn’t pretty and involves significant tracking = adrenaline.

        • @Bear does kata

          That’s odd. The run/didn’t run comparison with a bow is the place I saw the flavor change.

          But it’s also important to get your animal dressed, disassembled, and in storage as quickly as possible. Treat it like any other meat you don’t want to go bad on the kitchen counter.

        • @ Milsurp calling BS on the spoilage due to adrenaline. I have killed and eaten many animals including deer. It is far more important to dress and cool quickly than to fret about an adrenaline/lactic acid dump. Finally, it is critical to not rinse your kill out with a garden hose before cooking or freezing. Water ruins meat. I wish I knew why.

      • @Peritas

        Milsurp Collector said it all. Adrenaline will ruin meat fast. Another thing that will affect the taste is an old rutting buck. In late rut (breeding season) the testosterone levels also affect taste. Processing will also make a difference. If you do it in the field, it will taste different (gamy some describe it). If you take it to a processor/butcher, they will normally let the carcass hang for a week to drain out as much blood as possible. You can also get it cut the way you like and have it vacum sealed and frozen before you take delivery. There are also the options of sausage, burger (mixed with beef if you prefer), jerky, etc.

        • @Rambeast

          Thanks for the info. It’s pretty amazing all the variables a hunter would have to take into account in order to get the best meat. I suppose this is the sort of collective knowledge that builds up over time as people hunt together.

    • Agreed. Trophy hunting is all ego and a total waste of life and sustenance. IF your meal ticket has a nice 10+ point rack, fine, as long as you use the meat.

      I’ve always thought if I got into hunting, I’d want to do it with a bow… But I think now, it would be good to be versed in all reasonable and legal methods, as if we did go “POOF”– no power, ammo could become a scarcity along with reload supplies (mostly the smokeless powder) so knowing bow/crossbow hunting would be a good thing.

    • What I don’t want to read about is trophy hunting. I have no respect for the trophy hunter.

      Which is exactly what I said, I just wasn’t being politically correct. If you find the right posts on here, I’ve said before that I have no problem with hunting for food – what I have a problem with is the creeps who just like to kill for the sake of killing.

      In fact, I want to know more about how to field dress an animal than what gear and equipment to use. So, RF and Dan, please get into that!

      There are plenty of sites for that. This is The Truth About GUNS. If they want to make a “The Truth About Hunting For Food”, go for it, but diluting TTAG is pretty foolish in my book.

  17. I’m not a Jewish, nor am I an expert on the Torah, but is really considered a sin to hunt? Being raised in a conservative Christian household, hunting as a hobby / sport was regarded as OK as long as:

    1) It cultivated a respect for Nature (God’s creation)
    2) You weren’t cruel (animal was killed quickly and painlessly as possible, not made to suffer)
    3) You weren’t excessive (killing just to kill) or wasteful (eating what you kill or giving away the meat to friends / neighbors, not just hunting for trophies)

    I think more hunting content on TTAG is OK, as long as the overall quality and interest of the site stays the same. It wouldn’t be the reason I visit this blog, that’s for sure.

  18. Now, I KNOW for a fact you didn’t just pull the typical “hunting animals is a step below hunting humans” line we see from the environmentalist anti wimps. That being said, I have yet to see a gun website that advocates such an attitude you’ve just described. I don’t spend much time on the computer with the exception of my email, updating my iPod, and reading this site daily so what do I know right?

  19. “Oh great. So if you shoot a prowling coyote in your backyard you can spend the rest of your life feeling bad about breaking up a loving couple”

    Clearly you’re not married. Probably doing the little guy a favor.

  20. I’m all for anyone learning to hunt. basic situation awareness in both self defense and hunting are a a plus. on the topic of apex predators before I moved from (deep breath) Massachusetts I’d have to chase large coyotes out of my yard in broad daylight when they were stalking my chickens. If i’d had a tag and a .22 there would have been a lot less shouting and a lot more pelts.

  21. WTF is that all about? Seriously, I know plenty of people who do or have hunted for food, including my grandparents who did so out of necessity during the Great Depression. And here comes you to imply that it’s all fun and games RACIST REMARK AND FLAME REMOVED Or at least leave your hipster neighborhood sometime and see that food doesn’t come from a Star Trek replicator in the back of the grocery store.

    [NB: Please do NOT respond to racist or inflammatory comments. Send a head-up to guntruth@me.com]

  22. Hunted since I was 14. I would recommend quail hunts for starters. Get a nice 20-gauge and go to the skeet range before hunting season and learn how to wing shoot. Then go to a private preserve. Expensive, but worth every penny! You WILL walk out with clean birds on the first trip, and quail is delicious! Quail hunts are just a TON of fun, the dogs make it great.

    Then again, there is nothing better than Sunday morning scrambled eggs with a big side of venison strips off from a roast you cooked the night before, and warmed up that morning in a pan with butter and onions -YUMMM!!!!

    J.

  23. Never be afraid to start hunting- it’s never too late. Dont invest in a bunch of camo and gear. Get the basics, don’t spend too much on scent blocking camo and get your ass in the woods. Scouting is vitally important to success overall to increase your odds. Most important is learning how to use natural concealment, wind, and NOT MOVING when concealment isn’t in your favor. Why do I say this?

    I was born a “city slicker” who was taught to shoot, fish, camp and hunt by a bit crazy but awesome uncle (RIP Unc) as a kid. In the limited time we spent together, I was the son he didn’t have and he was the Mentor I needed. We hunted with bow and 30-30 iron sights rifle in jeans, work boots and red plaid Woolrich jackets. I am certain that we smelled of BO (no running water at camp), bacon grease and fire while on the hunt. Side story; We ate bacon a lot because it was cheap, easy and the grease made squirrel taste like chicken cordon blue. The point is; there was no camo, no scent control, no special gear and no x scoped 5.66 super rifles. I don’t have anything against those things but you don’t need them to successful.

    Think about it this way; whitetails are tan and white. I have been within 20 yards of them and couldnt see them at ground level. If I didn’t move they couldn’t se me either. BTW, Black Bear is a different story. Unless you have jelly donuts or bacon on your person then you won’t see one. Good luck and get out there.

  24. “Among many startling findings, Gehrt reported last month that urban coyote couples are 100 percent monogamous, even though there seems to be plenty of opportunity to choose other mates.”
    Unlike most of the humans around Chicago’s worst neighborhoods.

  25. Hey guys go check out this website I use! It’s got great tips and tricks to a great hunting experience! This site will even teach how to master the art of bow hunting! Check it out!! The website is called http://learnhowtohunt.webs.com

    I have used it and everyone I know has used. Just go check it out it has some really helpful tips and tricks.

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