American Handgunner March/April 2013 Digital Edition - Page 32

HANDGUNHUNTING tIPs, tecHNIQUes AND PoLItIcAL INcorrectNess J.D. JoNes he hilly country of eastern Ohio is simply beautiful in the fall. This evening driving east with the sun shining on the early colors reminded me in a week or so the colors would be at their peak. Assuming of course we don’t have a storm to destroy the foliage. Hunting seasons are either starting or in full swing. I’m leaving for a deer hunt in two days and by the time you get this hunting will be over for another year. Perhaps it’s time to sit back, relax and review the past season’s hunting. You did hunt, didn’t you? Shame on you if you didn’t. You missed one of the better things in life. Spending some time in the outdoors seriously hunting — or just enjoying being outdoors and not caring about the everyday stressors of life — heals things. Okay, so maybe you did hunt. Were you successful in putting meat on the table and a rack on the wall? Good for you if you did. If you didn’t, that’s okay too. But a successful hunt is always a bit better than one where a shot isn’t fired — or where one is fired and it misses! It certainly happens, and I’ll be the first to confess it’s sometimes downright demoralizing when it does. A memorable deer like this one — and the story surrounding the hunt — is what keeps drawing hunters back to the woods each year. Don’t stay home next year! investing in Ammo L ets take a look back and see what we did wrong — and what we did right. How much trigger time did you invest in before the hunt? Yeah, I know —investment. Ammo and time are investments. The current cost of factory ammo is horrible. Reloading helps, but ammo cost is still significant if you shoot a lot. Most everyone’s time is at a premium, with too many “have to do things” on your mind, when you’re trying to get that trigger time in. Did you get out to do some preseason scouting, or put in a little time with the bow getting to know the area you’ll hunt later? No? Well I never get the opportunity to do that either. Just go where you always go and most of the time it works out. Sometime’s there’s a new dog in the neighborhood, sometimes the coyotes have excessively thinned the herd and worse yet, there is a posted sign where you usually park the rig. If you were lucky and none of that happened, and your hunt went fine, did you really not see anything that first morning? Was it because you set up, so deer moving toward you got your scent while still a quarter-mile out? Did you pick a good spot on a hillside and watch squirrels all day? Take a nap while the big guy moseyed past hot on the trail of a doe? Andy, your hunting buddy on the other side of the valley is wondering, ”Why the hell isn’t he shooting?” That can be the hunting story of the year and yeah — you’ll get tired of hearing about it, while the buck gets bigger and bigger with each telling. And we keep going back year after year for more of it. J.D. has hunted over the entire world, having taken some of the most exotic game imaginable. yet, a deer hunt in his native state of Ohio is still a highlight for him every year. Hindsight h, and did you take the right gun? Could you have gotten the big guy with a scoped gun instead of iron sights? Just maybe though, thinking it over you can look back and see some judgment calls you might have done better on. One I can recall is taking a new guy in the group to the spot I had intended to hunt and setting him up. I went to another place while he dropped a big buck. I confess it sort of made me feel foolish and a little envious. What I really felt later on was pissed, as the new guy took off with the buck without a word of thanks for the help he got in setting up, dressing the deer, dragging it out — and was never seen again. Don’t let that sort of a situation ruin your next hunt. Plan ahead regarding the hunt location, your gear, guns, ammo and keep an eye on who you’re hunting with too! O * 32 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2013

Page 31 ... Page 33