Hunting Games

Being a young male I have spent a considerable amount of time both hunting, and playing hunting games. I have played, or attempted to play, several hunting type games.

My game experiences have been mainly focused on a pc; I have attempted several games on a PlayStation 1 and 2, but those were all so colossally bad I have not attempted them in a while.

PC
I have played a few games on a pc, here are some of them:

Hunting Unlimited (Various year versions): Hunting Unlimited is an okay game on the pc. The last version I played was around 2008, but most aspects of the game were very similar in the earlier versions. There are a variety animals, from Africa and North America, the graphics were okay the last version I used. Hunting was done by wandering around until you find a group of animals.

One point of note on this game was that unless you used the biggest gun and shot right between the eyes, an elephant could not be killed unless you hit it between 21 and 23 times with any weapon anywhere on the animal.

Deer Hunter by Atari This is the best hunting game I have played.

There are several types of deer to hunt, not any other types of animals, and hunting can be done by wandering around, or (rarely for a game) from a stand. There are a variety of weapons which work realistically, you can even shoot the flying birds. The shooting is accurate and if you hit a deer in the leg or too far back you will not get it.

I recommend this website: Hagadoo.com, for additional maps which were user created with interesting new places to hunt.

Console (Playstation and Xbox)
The main games I attempted on a console had a Cabela’s name on top.

Cabela’s Big Game Hunter & Dangerous Hunts These two games have had a few versions but the ones I played had poor graphics and awful game play. Once you arrive on a map you look for a glowing red dot and proceeded to follow that dot until you reach the animals, which you spook because you are mindlessly following a dot and don’t see the animals until you are right on top of them.

Wii

I have not tried a hunting game on a Wii but I suspect that if you are playing on a Wii the parts of hunting we like in real life may be dumbed down too much to bear any relation to hunting.

You may just want to look for a Wii game where you shoot things rather than try to find a hunting game.

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Adventures in Hunting Property Ownership

Last Friday my dad and I went to our hunting property to burn brush piles and see if any trees had fallen across any roads. There was still some snow on the ground and some melting.

For about the third time we got a truck stuck on the road on the way in. You wouldn’t think that a 4×4 truck would get stuck in 8 inches of snow, but when it is wet and heavy it packs tight.

We didn’t have a winch, or chain, or shovel, or anything to help us get out. (Our shed’s door was also frozen shut.) We were totally unprepared and at 4:45 on a Friday night. When we saw that we would not be able to push it out we called for a tow truck. (My U.S. Cellular phone works nearly everywhere. Dad’s AT&T phone works nearly nowhere outside of large cities.)

The tow truck driver asked where we were. “Oh,” he said, “over by [redacted] just past the [redacted]. I was there last week. Got stuck, can’t come.”

We ended up getting the guy who does all of our excavating to come out with his bigger heavier truck and a a big strap. Its good to know people out in the country with big trucks.

***

One year our hunting property was logged. The loggers did not haul the logs out very quickly so they ended up digging big ruts in muddy spring road.

Later on dad was driving my truck into the land and he got it stuck by having the wheels not touching the bottom of the ruts and having the bottom of the truck sitting on the mound in the middle of the road.

I remember him saying, “You’ve never gotten your truck stuck before, have you?” I responded, “I didn’t get it stuck this time.”

***

1. Gravel roads are better than mud.
2. Be prepared to dig yourself out of snowy roads.

Hunting Knives

A knife is an essential piece of deer hunting equipment.

Knives are needed for field dressing, skinning, removing meat, cutting open the packaging for other equipment, etc.

There are many uses for knives and essentially infinite knife options. Lots of knives are cool and interesting. You can always make up an excuse to get another knife. I always keep one in my car as an emergency tool. I also carry a small spare in my camouflage pants. A pocketknife was always carried by our grandfathers and you might be surprised at how often a pocket knife is useful when you carry one around. I also keep a knife in my bow case, because I can.

What sort of knife should you get for deer hunting?

My uncle, who is more knowledgeable on the subject than I am, doesn’t care what knife he uses so long as it is sharp.

Knives made out of poor metal will not hold a sharp edge for long and are more dangerous than knives made out of quality metals.

I’m afraid that I don’t know which knives are made out of quality metals and which ones are not. I do know that if you get a knife made by a brand like: Buck, Gerber, Kershaw, or SOG then you will likely have a quality knife, even if you paid little for it.

Your deer hunting knife should have a blade around 3-4″ long. A shorter blade will mean that you will be required to do more work in any cutting job. Smaller blades will also be more likely to break than bigger ones.

You don’t want a blade that is too much bigger than 3-4″ because one job your hunting knife will do is to field dress a deer. Field dressing requires having the whole knife inside of the chest of the deer. A really big knife will be too big to be maneuverable.

The height of the blade and the shape of the blade make certain jobs easier or harder. To fillet fish you want a long thin blade, and to field dress deer I quite like the thick and tall blade on my knife. I don’t know much more than that about blade shapes. I say: knives are cool and cheap, buy a bunch and try them all to find the one that you like best.

There is really only one important decision that you need to make: fixed or folding.

A folding Buck model 110 is the standard deer hunting knife and it has been used for decades. I used one for about ten years, and my dad has used one, or another, for all of his hunting life. Folding knives are good because they can be folded into a small item without an exposed blade and without need of a sheath. A folding knife can be slipped into any pocket and you should get one at least as your backup.

Any time I hear from, or read, a knife expert they point to the ease of carry you get with a folding knife, but they invariably prefer fixed blades. A fixed blade knife is sturdier and stronger than any folding knife can be. The first time I field dressed a deer with a fixed blade knife I was very much impressed with how much easier it was to work with. The big disadvantage of a fixed blade knife is that it requires a sheath; without one you are carrying an exposed blade. If you get a fixed blade knife, then there is no point in getting anything other than one with a full tang. Full tang knives are just all around better than partial tang knives.

So what you want for your hunting knife is a quality knife, with a 3-4″ blade, and preferably a fixed blade model. You should also have a spare, at least in your car, because knives do break and they can get dirty when you need a clean one. I recommend getting a fixed blade knife for your main use and a folder to keep as a spare.

Where do you get your knife?

Amazon.com is always good for buying stuff.

Another place that you might look is Smokey Mountain Knife Works. They have all sorts of knives at all sorts of prices.

Expect to spend $10-200 on a hunting knife.

The standard Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter costs $47 and is always a good choice.

BU381

I am currently using a Rough Rider Wood Hunter. Its very cheap at $11, but I have zero complaints after using it on around six deer so far. I quite like it.

RR844

Smokey Mountain Knife Works is good just for looking at all of the weird knives too. Why would someone buy a knife like this:

RR1188

Deer Window Stickers

Its been a while since I posted here. I went to The Private Man’s meet up and didn’t feel like posting for a while.

I plan on posting about every Tuesday and Thursday during the off season. I need to spend more time on my hunting book.

***

One thing that I notice about other hunters is their desire to decorate their trucks with stickers of deer. Its one thing to have a sticker that says, “I hunt;” like this one:

bear_deer_beer_t_shirt_stickers-rc967740803a04d299c00379c470582a3_v9waf_8byvr_512

It is stupid, I think to have a sticker on your truck of other people’s deer. I have seen many trucks with window stickers showing off famous large bucks shot by other guys. Why would you do that? Do you have pictures of other guy’s wife and kids in your wallet too?

(Apparently you can buy a reproduction of some of those big bucks too.)

If you are going to have a deer sticker on your truck, then get something like the Browning Buckmark.

Having your sticker say: “I paid a company to do their advertising for them.” is better than saying, “Sombody else shot a big deer.”

Blog Stuff

I’ve been posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday here. I’m going to post less frequently here because I am writing a book on deer hunting and I need to spend more time doing that.

I still expect to post every week and I will be posting more from my forthcoming book.

12 Steps for Blood Trailing Deer

My cousin hit a buck with her bow last fall. We didn’t find it.

The most important part about finding a deer is shooting it well. In any case, what you should do after shooting a deer is:

1.) Look for where the deer was when you shot it (this is where you’ll start looking for blood)

2.) Notice how the deer acts after the shot (humped back means gut shot – wait more than 3 hours)

3.) Watch the deer for as long as you can

4.) Memorize each tree, rock, bush, grass, etc that the deer goes by (you’ll need to find these spots while on the ground)

5.) Find the arrow (not always possible)

6.) Note what the arrow looks like: dark red blood means heart, bubbly light red blood means lungs, non-red materiel means guts

7.) If you think you hit the heart/ lungs wait for an hour, if you hit further back, then wait for several hours before following the trail

8.) Follow from where the deer was shot until you find blood, even if you saw the deer a long way ahead

9.) Lift your feet, do not kick around leaves that may have blood

10.) If there’s no blood, then follow the stirred up leaves

11.) Understand that if the deer does not drop inside 70 yards, you are unlikely to find it

12.) If you don’t find it listen for crows the next day, they may have found it

My Book: Chapter 3: Antlers Not Horns

(Much editing will occur before being finished. Questions, suggestions, and criticisms appreciated.)

A deer’s antlers are an object of admiration and desire for many.

One common misconception among non-hunters is that a deer will grow one point for each year that it is alive. This is not true. As I described in the previous chapter, a bucks antlers will generally be of an approximate size, and point number, which will be about the same as other bucks of the same age and of the same general location.

The way hunters describe a deer’s antlers is either as the deer’s age group, 1 ½, 2 ½…, as the antler’s width, as its point total, or as its “score.”

You can generally tell the age of a buck by the size of its horns, but this is not always accurate. A 1 ½ will have two points to eight points. No matter the number of points a 1 ½ will have antlers that go straight up from the head and not spread away from each other for more than a few inches.

It was once often thought that the 1 ½ bucks with only two points (spikes) had inferior genetics to the others. And many hunters shot those small bucks so that they wouldn’t breed. I don’t believe this to be true. A buck’s first set of antlers is usually small and they will be bigger next year no matter how big they were the first year.

I read a magazine article written by the owner of a deer farm who described a buck of his. That buck had two points at 1 ½ and, with better food and less stress than it would have in the wild, it eventually grew antlers bigger than the world record. Deer grown on farms can get to be amazingly big, but they do not meet the requirements in order to become world records.

If you are going to say that spikes have inferior genetics, then say it because you want an excuse to shoot a buck and not because you believe it to be true.

If you want to describe a buck’s antlers by its actual dimensions, then the standard way to do so is by its width and number of points. I may say, “I shot a 14 inch eight.” And all hunters will know that the buck I shot has its beams 14” apart and has eight points. The first day I ever went deer hunting my dad shot an 18” ten. Once you see, and measure, enough bucks, then you will know exactly what that means.

The most accurate way to describe a buck’s antlers is by its score. In a later chapter I will describe how to score a whitetail buck yourself.

A game animal’s score will be its Boone & Crockett score. Boone & Crockett (or B&C, www.boone-crockett.org) is an organization that, among other things, keeps the world record book for North American big game animals. B&C has scored North American big game animals for more than 60 years, doing it the same way. They keep records for bears, elk, moose, bison, walrus, etc.

For better or worse, right or wrong, a game animal’s score is its B&C score. There are other scoring systems, such as the Buckmasters scoring system. But unless you read the Buckmasters magazine or watch their TV show you will never hear of their scoring system. One other antler scoring system is the one from the Safari Club International (SCI). While doing research for this book I rediscovered the SCI scoring system, but I am unable to learn about it without paying to join SCI. (Note to SCI: if you want your scoring system to become more widely used, then make the system more freely available.)

If you shoot a buck with a gun or bow, hit it with your car (not recommended), or find it dead, then it may potentially become a B&C world record. There are some requirements including: shooting your animal in “fair chase” and the official scoring must be done after a 60 day drying period.

Pope & Young (P&Y) is another game animal record keeping organization, which favors hunting with a bow. There are many other requirements, but P&Y will accept the scores only of game animals shot with a bow. P&Y uses the same scoring system as was invented by B&C.

The B&C scoring system favors symetricalness. A deer’s antlers are usually symmetrical, but B&C is very picky about both antlers being the exact same size.

We will look at scoring in a later chapter, but a few more points before moving to the next subject.
The B&C and P&Y world record books are the records of game animals that reach a certain size.

A deer’s antlers may be typical, or non-typical. A typical set of antlers, roughly, is a set of antlers with the same number of points on each size, and for whitetails all points stick up from one of the two main beams. Non-typical antlers may have drop tines, stickers, bifurcated tines, etc.

In order to be entered into the World Record book a typical whitetail must net score at least 170. And a non-typical whitetail must score at least 195.