Introducing Myself - A brand new hunter

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  • Roxiheart

    Member
    Jun 6, 2022
    3
    Baltimore, MD
    Hi there everyone,

    It's cool to have found this site! I'm glad to be able to connect with like-minded people. I've been interested in guns for a long time and I figured that there's no substitute for real-life experience. At some point you just have to jump in.

    A bit of background on me - I've completed the hunter safety course and have been researching white tailed deer in preparation for the upcoming hunting season. I'm mainly interested in guns for hunting, but I also think that they are a cool item to collect. I have shot a lot of guns but never owned one myself before. I'll be buying my first gun very soon, most likely a 30-06 or maybe a 30-30? I would like to be able to use the same rifle for elk hunting or similar (once I have several years under my belt and a lot of practice) so having a rifle that can move up with me in game size is somewhat important to me.

    Since this is my first ever gun purchase I would be happy to hear what others recommend. I will have a little while to practice and work on my marksmanship before the upcoming season.

    One question that I have - how do you go about finding private land for hunting? I am happy to work in exchange for land use, but this is something that I am unfamiliar with as I am new to the sport.

    Many thanks and I look forward to talking with you all. :)
    Roxi
     

    budman93

    Ultimate Member
    Mar 1, 2013
    5,261
    Frederick County
    30-06 is a good caliber but its really a bit overkill for deer in this area. Deer are not that big and there are not a lot of long shots. You might find it a lot more pleasant to go with something lighter for deer, 30-30 isnt bad, .243 is a great choice. If you need something bigger later you can always add a 30-06 for not a lot of money. 6.5 Creedmoor is pretty popular as well, also more pleasant to shoot than 30-06.

    It can be pretty difficult to find private land to hunt on in Maryland unless you already know someone with land. Sometimes even then its not easy.
     

    4g64loser

    Bad influence
    Jan 18, 2007
    6,233
    maryland
    Welcome to the insanity that is MDS.

    Congratulations on obtaining your hunters safety card. The 308 and 3006 rounds are very versatile and remain popular for big game hunting. Both, particularly in lighter rifles, tend to generate significantly greater recoil than a more east coast deer appropriate choice. As budman says, a 243 or 6.5 creedmoor (or just about any of the midsize 6 and 6.5mm rounds) will be more enjoyable to shoot in a light rifle. If you are set on a one rifle solution for north america, I vote for 3006. You can use 125-150gr for closer shots on eastern whitetail and go up as high as the 220s for larger hooved or bear species. When a friend's daughter decided to take up hunting, he set up a 243 for her and she took her first buck at a laser measured 325yds using a sierra 85gr hpbt. The buck piled up in less than 30yds.

    Finding land to hunt here is difficult unless you have some sort of personal connection. Even offers of help with repairs on equipment and the like have failed to find me such an in. If you have special skill sets like a veterinarian, I suspect that you will succeed where others have failed but general (even somewhat specialized) labor offers seem to be a nonstarter. Much of this is due to larger tracts being leased for hunting by individuals, clubs, or a lease management company like HLN.
     

    Roxiheart

    Member
    Jun 6, 2022
    3
    Baltimore, MD
    Hell yeah, I appreciate the great responses so far. Thank you for the additional information on the rifle suggestions, I definitely will check out some different options when I go shopping and see what feels best in my hands. It is helpful knowing that I can go pretty far down in size while still ethically dropping decent sized game.

    I appreciate the HLN suggestion and will see if there's a similar website for an area near me.

    For other parts of Maryland, I know that we have public parks that have hunting days - has anyone experienced or done this before? I don't mind using public grounds but I think that I would feel safer and more comfortable in a private setting at least my first few times.
     

    sbowers

    Active Member
    Jun 15, 2012
    225
    There are so many options for a hunting rifle and caliber less options for finding private land to hunt on.

    While I appreciate the sentiments of others about “overkill” on whitetail, I don’t fall into that line of thinking. If you want a versatile rifle I’d recommend 270 Win, 308, or 30.06. All would be suitable for a whitetail and elk.

    Personally, I have rifles in all of the calibers mentioned above plus more and generally grab my 300 WSM even when hunting whitetail, because I shoot it the best.

    If you’re looking to accumulate rifles you could hunt whitetail 260 remington, 25-06, 243 and then buy a 30 cal rifle for your western hunt.

    Take a look at Wildlife Management Areas and other public land hunting options. Make sure you scout where you hunt, have a plan to get in and get out and have fun.
     

    4g64loser

    Bad influence
    Jan 18, 2007
    6,233
    maryland
    Public hunting land can be good but it can also be very bad. This board (and many others) are full of stories of bad experiences on public ground. This is most particularly true during rifle season. I know a bowhunter who hunts only public land and sees no need to change. On the flip side, I know people who have had unpleasant confrontations with others over locations, downed deer, etc.

    What region of the state are you in? Many here have unusual knowledge of the public lands around the state and could probably provide advice on the ones to explore or stay away from.

    Are you a member of a gun club, range, or other group that is focused on the shooting sports? These are full of people who would likely be open to sharing their opinions on hunting with you as well. Like all opinions, you should vet and aggregate them but even the most calcified among the membership can still probably contribute something of value to your search for information.
     

    Hibs

    Active Member
    Dec 23, 2015
    934
    Maryland
    Not sure why no one has recommended to look into a Straight Wall Cartridge. This is a caliber restriction is a large part of the state for deer hunting, must be a straight wall cartridge, i.e. 350Legend, 450Bushmaster, 45-70, etc

    Lots of options for rifles in those calibers. ARs, single shots, bolt actions, lever guns.

    I’d also look into archery hunting to give you more access and more time to hunt.
     

    chilipeppermaniac

    Ultimate Member
    MDS Supporter
    Welcome to the insanity that is MDS.

    Congratulations on obtaining your hunters safety card. The 308 and 3006 rounds are very versatile and remain popular for big game hunting. Both, particularly in lighter rifles, tend to generate significantly greater recoil than a more east coast deer appropriate choice. As budman says, a 243 or 6.5 creedmoor (or just about any of the midsize 6 and 6.5mm rounds) will be more enjoyable to shoot in a light rifle. If you are set on a one rifle solution for north america, I vote for 3006. You can use 125-150gr for closer shots on eastern whitetail and go up as high as the 220s for larger hooved or bear species. When a friend's daughter decided to take up hunting, he set up a 243 for her and she took her first buck at a laser measured 325yds using a sierra 85gr hpbt. The buck piled up in less than 30yds.

    Finding land to hunt here is difficult unless you have some sort of personal connection. Even offers of help with repairs on equipment and the like have failed to find me such an in. If you have special skill sets like a veterinarian, I suspect that you will succeed where others have failed but general (even somewhat specialized) labor offers seem to be a nonstarter. Much of this is due to larger tracts being leased for hunting by individuals, clubs, or a lease management company like HLN.
    It will also depend on if a hunter is in a Shotgun only county.

    In this case, a good 12 gauge with a rifled barrel and scope mount will serve him well.
    I have a Mossberg 500 Pump with such a setup and a 3x-9x scope
     

    4g64loser

    Bad influence
    Jan 18, 2007
    6,233
    maryland
    It will also depend on if a hunter is in a Shotgun only county.

    In this case, a good 12 gauge with a rifled barrel and scope mount will serve him well.
    I have a Mossberg 500 Pump with such a setup and a 3x-9x scope
    OP was very specific about using a rifle and, as a fresh graduate of MD hunter safety, most likely was just briefed on the various county restrictions.

    Also, I suspect that OP is probably her, not him, based on the name Roxie. That's usually a diminutive of Roxanne.
     

    Cal68

    Ultimate Member
    MDS Supporter
    Oct 4, 2014
    1,933
    Montgomery County
    Welcome to MDS from Montgomery County. I am not a hunter, so while I cannot give you any advice on your questions, I know that there are a lot of very well informed folks on MDS that will be able to help you out.

    Cal68
     

    axshon

    Ultimate Member
    May 23, 2010
    1,934
    Howard County
    Welcome to the board!

    YMMV: I've found public land hunting in MD to be a little difficult but not impossible. MD DNR will send you a set of PDF maps when you buy the public land permit. You'll get a lock code for a bunch of fenced parking areas too. You can scout most of those areas ahead of time and you will want to do that. The parking areas can be hard to locate. The DNR maps are junk. My advice when you get to the woods is to stay on the right side of the law (don't bait, stay inside approved hours) and stay friendly. Most of the folks you meet in the woods on public land in this area are either very experienced and have a few spots they love and keep secret or new and do a lot of stomping around through the woods. Developing it as a craft is tougher on public land. If you are in decent shape, pick some of the larger tracts and hoof it to the areas farthest from lots. Bring a garden wagon in your vehicle to drag your harvest back since motorized is not allowed. Dragging even a little deer back 3/4 mile is heart attack country. Learn to field dress properly. Clean meat is tasty meat.

    In terms of private land, your best bet is a club, unfortunately. $$$$ but you often get nice blinds and maybe a maintained herd. WV has lots of public land too but again, some of that country is hard to get to.

    If you're serious about getting deer, you might want to invest in a bow as well. Archery season is WAY longer than the couple of weekends available for firearms.

    Good luck!
     

    chilipeppermaniac

    Ultimate Member
    MDS Supporter
    OP was very specific about using a rifle and, as a fresh graduate of MD hunter safety, most likely was just briefed on the various county restrictions.

    Also, I suspect that OP is probably her, not him, based on the name Roxie. That's usually a diminutive of Roxanne.

    4g64,. I suspect you are right. Apologies to Rox if she is a lady hunter. Gender doesn't matter, however my question about counties to be hunted still applies as my answers will depend on variables in order to answer her, how do you go about acquiring permission to hunt and what gun to acquire.

    I have permission in Carroll, Baltimore and Harford Counties, so I need at minimum a shotgun which can be used in all counties. Then if I choose to hunt deer in Carroll, or other game such as elk, hogs, buffalo etc in other states, I can choose rifles that best suit the hunting area and game there. Hunting deer in bean fields likely would be best served by something like a .270, 30-06,.308 or even the .243, 25-06 etc as mentioned with the right bullet weights. These guns I like whether field or woods hunting from tree stands. At one point, I had all but the .243. I also have a 30-30 I like to use while walking and hunting off the ground in thicker woods.

    Ps. Other fine calibers for deer like the 6mm as mentioned are good. .308, 270, 280 7mm mag,. 300 win mag, 300 wsm are reach out n touch the long range deer or elk sized game. Ammo availability is more of a factor these days than I like, but thank the govt for that.
     
    Last edited:

    chilipeppermaniac

    Ultimate Member
    MDS Supporter
    As for acquiring permission to hunt lands, I found it best to hunt with other hunter friends who have permission who have a relationship with land owners that can ask for permission for you to join them. Also, if you know any or befriend farmers who you can then ask. I've hunted public lands in Western MD. Went with friends who knew where to go out there. And, another option is to put in for the " managed " hunts in the schedule found in the hunting rules manual the DNR provides for hunters at the places that sell hunting licenses. Good luck and happy hunting.
     

    outrider58

    Eats Bacon Raw
    MDS Supporter
    Jul 29, 2014
    49,521
    Welcome Roxi!

    Depending on the county you'll find yourself hunting, you may need a 'deer' shotgun, as many counties in Md are straight walled cartridges(like the 350 Legend) or shotgun only. I am a huge fan of the Savage 220. It is a 20ga bolt action shotgun. They are deadly accurate.
     

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