Show Notes:

Woodchucks, also known as groundhogs and whistle pigs, may be the single easiest type of game to start hunting. On this episode I talk about how easy it is to get started no matter what equipment you already have. 

Take Aways:

  • Woodchucks in some states can be hunted 12 months a year, with no limits. Any day you can find one, you can hunt it.
  • Though they do hibernate during the 3-6 coldest months of the year depending on where you live.
  • You can use almost any type of firearm to hunt woodchucks if it’s legal in your state. Rifle, shotgun, even handgun.
  • Woodchucks are menaces, their borrows can damage yards, fields, structures, etc. So they are hunted for pest control, not food.
  • You can hunt them up close, at a distance, or at very long range, whatever suits you and your equipment.
  • The only thing you need in Pennsylvania to hunt them is an orange hat and pretty much any gun potent enough to kill them.

Show Notes:

All animals are edible, but not all animals are tasty or healthy. On today’s episode I help new hunters navigate what common game animals are best to eat, which ones are questionable, and which to avoid.

Take Aways:

Almost anything can be palatable if cooked right, and somethings that are very unhealthy can be tasty. So the below classifications take both health and taste into consideration, it is not just a list of the things I like and don’t like. 

  • Best To Eat: Dear, Elk, Moose, Turkey, Pheasants, Grouse, Doves, Quail, Ducks, Geese, Sheep/Rams/Goats
  • Worth Considering: Squirrel, Rabbit, Wild Boar
  • What To Avoid: Crows, Foxes, Coyotes, Raccoons, Beavers, Muskrats, Martins, Fishers, Opossum’s, Woodchucks, Bob Cats, Bears, Porcupines and essentially anything that is a predator or a scavenger.

In the end, do your own research about health, and your own taste testing so you can come to your own conclusions. These recommendations are just a guide to help new hunters get started.

Show Notes:

The number one thing I have seen turn off new or potential hunters is them being pushed or made to feel like they need to hunt in some hardcore way to be successful or accepted. On today’s episode I shine the spotlight on this false, pride driven, and empty nonsense. And no, I’m not mincing any words! 

Take Aways:

  • You should hunt as often as you want, as long as you want, and the way you want in order to get the most enjoyment from the sport.
  • There is no wrong way to hunt unless it negatively impacts other hunters.
  • Hunting longer, harder, and more often does not make you a better person, and does not make you better than anyone else. It adds nothing to you except fun and experience. 
  • Most people who talk about how hardcore they are, are just blowing smoke, they are exaggerating, lying, or just plain trying to make themselves look good.
  • Those who really do hunt hardcore and still talk a big talk are just full of pride, and trying to make themselves sound impressive.
  • Much hardcore hunting is misguided, not strategic, and rather clumsily planned. You can often get better results by hunting smarter and easier.
  • Maybe 1 in 100 new hunters are interested in hardcore hunting, which means you will prevent 99% of new hunters from ever starting by running your mouth.
  • Do what you enjoy because you enjoy it. If you want to hunt harder then do it because you want to. Don’t let anyone else’s expectations, talk, or pride push you around.
  • New hunters need something that appeals to them, something to make them want to hunt. Don’t try to lift them up to your level, find out where they are and help them there.

 

Show Notes:

Crow hunting can be challenging but it’s not rocket science. With these three simple strategies should you be able to effectively hunt whatever type of land you have available.

Take Aways:

  • The Basecamp Method. This involves focusing your entire hunt on one location and preparing that location for optimum success. You will need a blind, lots of decoys, a good field of view, a loud call, and of course surrounding areas that hold crows.
  • Running And Gunning. Pack light, bring water, and plan on covering a lot of ground. Every half mile or so, find some cover and start calling. When the action dies down, move on to the next area.  This is also a great way to scout new locations.
  • Strategic Ops. Plan on visiting a handful of locations you have already scouted and verified, maybe 2-4 spots for a morning. Take a few decoys and pick good places to sit with some cover. Plan on spending an hour or so hunting each spot, unless the crows keep coming in. When things quiet down then pack up and make your way to the next location.

 

Show Notes:

In most situations, crow hunting is a game of hiking and stealth. You need gear that will enable you to easily cover ground and then remain undetected once you start calling.  On this episode, I talk about the basic gear you want for crow hunting.

Take Aways:

  • Footwear – I recommend some medium hiking style boosts that you can cover different types of terrain easily with. Heavy insulated boots aren’t needed because most of the time you won’t be sitting in one spot for very long.
  • Socks – This depends a lot on the season, but generally you need lighter socks than for hunting from a still position because you will be moving regularly.
  • Pants – A camo outer layer is needed, black or brown are the next best options
  • Jacket – Camo is best, and the weight depends on the season. A heavy coat is needed for winter, and a long sleeve t-shirt might be best for summer. 
  • Gloves – Light camo gloves for warm weather and heavier for cold weather.  Usually I end up using the light gloves in the cold too because depending on how much you walk, you may stay plenty warm.
  • Face – Some kind of face covering is important, you want to hid as much skin as possible.  
  • Head – Camo hats are easy to come buy, have one of every type of weather.
  • Backpack – A pack is important to hold your calls, water, umbrella, snacks, and anything else you might need.
  • Seat – Something light that can hang from your pack or belt is ideal to help you stay dry no matter where you site and make hunting a little more comfortable. 

Show Notes:

When it comes to crow hunting, you have a lot of flexibility for shotguns and shells. There is not really a wrong combination for the task, but there are certainly guns and ammo that are better than others. On today’s episode I talk about what new hunters need to know when it comes to the best firearms for crow hunting.

Take Aways:

  • Crow hunting is a shotgun sport.
  • The best shotgun for new hunters is the one you already have. The second best is the one you can buy the cheapest.
  • After that, most people should get a 12 gauge.
  • A 20 gauge is a good option for people who have a lighter frame, or if is going to be a gun shared with children. In this case, get an adjustable stock so everyone in the family can shoot it well.
  • A 16 gauge, 28 gauge, or .410 are all viable options, especially for smaller or younger shooters. But they are less common and there is less ammo variety available for them.
    • In my opinion .410 should only be used by small children, adults would be handicapping themselves with such a small load. There just aren’t enough pellets in there.
  • The ideal action would be a semi-automatic shotgun so that you do not need to worry about mastering one more skill when it comes to operating a pump action. But you cannot go wrong with pump shotgun, and they are cheaper, and readily available, and proven.
  • The best shells to use are target loads. There I said it. Target loads that are #7 or #8 shot. I typically use #7.5 shot because its readily available. 
  • High brass, express loads, or pheasant loads are not needed for 4 reasons.
    1. Crows are not as sturdy as people like to think, it doesn’t take much to knock them out of the air.
    2. Most high brass shells come with larger shot and fewer pellets per load, that trade off is worth it shooting pheasants, but not crows. You want as many small pellets as possible.
    3. You are going to shoot a lot of shells, target loads are something like 400% cheaper than more robust shells.
    4. You are going to shoot a lot of shells, you could injure your shoulder shooting 25+ high brass shells in a day. But 25 target loads wont bother you at all.

 

Show Notes:

Crow hunting is one of the most overlooked parts of our sport. Crows are one of the most fun types of game to pursue, and may be the single best place for new hunters to get started. On today’s episode I gave you an introduction crow hunting, including how you can get started and some basic tactics.

Take Aways:

  • Crows are in season for around 9-10 months of the year, from July to mid April in  my home state of Pennsylvania, and they can be hunted on Sundays when almost nothing else can be.
  • The two main seasons to hunt them are in the middle of winter and the middle of summer because there no other major hunting seasons and so few hunters in the woods.
  • All you NEED is a shotgun and crow call. Camo or black clothing is better but you can get by wearing whatever you have.
  • Having some decoys can be helpful because it gives crows something to see other than you! But you can hunt without them. Here are the crow decoys that I use.
  • You can hunt them any time of day, no need to wake up early or stay up late. 10:00 AM on a Saturday works perfectly!
  • You don’t need absolute stealth. Sure stealth helps, but this can be a social hunt. You can chat as you go.
  • Crow hunting helps you scout and explore new places that you might want to hunt in other seasons.
  • Crow hunting gets you outside and active at beautiful times of year.
  • Crows eat turkey and duck eggs and will attack and kill baby turkeys and ducks as well as many other game birds and song birds.
  • Crows are a pest and a menace animal, they eat crops, they make messes, they hurt farmers. Ever heard of a “scare crow” ? Famers use those to scare crows aware because there aren’t enough crow hunters. You are doing a public service!
  • You need no specialized skills for crow hunting, any beginner or group of beginners can do it. You just need a call.
  • Here are some options for crow calls. Inexpensive hand call. Modest electronic callFOXPRO electronic call (the one I use).

Show Notes:

A backpack is one of the most important pieces of hunting gear you can buy, you will likely use it hunting all different types of game, with all different types of clothing, firearms, and footwear. A good pack can literally last half a lifetime and go with you many more places than just the woods. On today’s episode I talk about what are the top five things to look for in a good hunting backpack

Take Aways:

  1. Concealment. A good backpack must have reasonable concealment. It should be some combination of camouflage, black, brown, or tan. It needs to blend into the woods well during all seasons and not be something that ever gives you away.
  2. Compartments. The right hunting pack for you should fit your style with the right number and size of compartments. I recommend simple and easy, the fewer pockets you have, the fewer you have to search through in a tree, in the dark, or when every sound and movement matters. But make sure you have a place to easily access a water bottle.
  3. Comfort. The best backpack for you is one you can wear all day. It shouldn’t be too big or too heavy. It should have good padding on the straps and against your back. And there should be strap adjustments as well.
  4. Waterproofing. Ideally your pack will be water resistant or water proof. If it’s not, you need to have a water proof backup plan. I keep a big plastic garbage bag inside mine that I can quickly put the pack inside of when needed.
  5. Cost. When it comes to hunting packs, the sky is the limit for price. But you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for a quality pack. The pack that fits you best may not even be a name brand. Set yourself a budget you are comfortable with and find the pack that best meets the above criteria for you. 

Show Notes:

If you spend more than an hour in the woods, there is a good chance you will need a bathroom break. What you are hunting determines the best tactics for relieving yourself. On today’s episode I talk about how and when to use the restroom with the least chance of disrupting your hunt.

Take Aways:

  • Contrary to popular belief, deer are not put off by the scent you leave from relieving yourself, in fact they may find it curious. You are more likely to spook a deer by being seen or heard. So the best option is to go right from your tree stand if possible with minimal movement or noise.
  • Turkeys and most birds can’t really smell, so movement and sound are the only things to concern yourself with.
  • Small game gives you maybe the most flexibility, most of these game animals don’t care much.
  • Predators do care, and you have to play the wind. If the wind is on your side then you have minimal risk using the restroom, if the wind is against you then it can ruin your hunt.  
  • The rule of thumb is anytime you are going to leave an area, use the bathroom then, as opposed to whenever you come into a fresh area.

Show Notes:

When it comes to hunting, there is a ditch on either side of the road. On one side people cannot find enough time to hunt. On the other side, people get out of control and hunt so much that it hurts their family or job. On today’s episode I talk about how to balance hunting and life, and that includes how to make time to hunt as well as set up guardrails for yourself. 

Take Aways:

  • Schedule time off for hunting each year, plan how many days and in what seasons, this will make sure you do it.
  • Schedule a Saturday every month for hunting. Some months this means going into the woods to hunt, other months it means target practice and scouting.
  • Use more of your time off for your family than for hunting.  Make it a point to never let this balance shift towards hunting and away from family.
  • Always schedule and talk about hunting in advance, never be a no show at work.
  • Always be willing to blow off a planned hunting day for something that is more important. Never blow off something more important for hunting.
  • Put first things first, honor what is most important, and you will earn the respect and flexibility you need to hunt.