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BobbyDigital

New Hunter - No experience!

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Hey guys - I am a brand new hunter (hunter ed this weekend). 29 yrs old, no hunting relatives. Really excited to get out there and give it a shot. Bought a compound bow back in spring and have been practicing daily to warm up for the fall. Also got my firearms ID and purchased a shotgun in hopes of getting into some ducks/turkeys. Plan on hunting NJ public lands with a friend of mine who is also new to hunting.

 

Been researching like crazy on the internet and reading books to make sure my skills are up to snuff in case we do land something. Anyone have any experience in WMAs recently? Are they as packed as I've been reading online?

 

Hope to see some of you out there! Cheers.

 

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Welcome to the site. Everyone here is very positive and helpful. With the exception of 2 or 3 people, but you will find this site knowledge and enjoyable. I was lucky enough to secure some private land so I'm not familiar with the WMA. I would suggest meeting people that have a common interest in hunting and even ask if you can hunt on their land. You would be surprised how many people let you. Good luck

 

 

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Welcome to the site. Everyone here is very positive and helpful. With the exception of 2 or 3 people, but you will find this site knowledge and enjoyable. I was lucky enough to secure some private land so I'm not familiar with the WMA. I would suggest meeting people that have a common interest in hunting and even ask if you can hunt on their land. You would be surprised how many people let you. Good luck
 
 
Thanks bud! That's good to hear. Looking forward to picking some brains. I do have a private land connect in Sussex county (girlfriends dad is a farmer) but I wanna give public land a shot. Did too much scouting to go to waste haha. Good luck this year!

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Welcome to the site. Lots of good info and people on here and I think you find it highly enjoyable. Ask any questions, only way to learn. Have fun in Hunter Ed and best of luck as a new hunter. :up:

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Welcome to the site. Lots of good info and people on here and I think you find it highly enjoyable. Ask any questions, only way to learn. Have fun in Hunter Ed and best of luck as a new hunter. :up:
Thanks!

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Welcome to the site. Where are you taking your hunter ed this weekend? 

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Welcome to the site. Where are you taking your hunter ed this weekend? 
Thanks! Black River WMA for bow and gun.

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1 minute ago, BobbyDigital said:

Thanks! Black River WMA for bow and gun.

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Perhaps I’ll see you on the shotgun range. Good luck!

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Perhaps I’ll see you on the shotgun range. Good luck!
Awesome! Thanks bud.

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Bobby welcome and good luck with your first season.  You will likely make some mistakes but you also learn so much from those mistakes. Ask questions if you have them and most of the people will give you great feedback.  There is a large wealth of knowledge on this site

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Bobby welcome and good luck with your first season.  You will likely make some mistakes but you also learn so much from those mistakes. Ask questions if you have them and most of the people will give you great feedback.  There is a large wealth of knowledge on this site
Good to hear - thank you!

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No reason why you can't enjoy yourself and be successful on public land.

I started hunting just about 4 or 5 years or so ago - started late in life. I have a mix of private and public land I can hunt. I have a few friends from church that own some private land they let me hunt - so I lucked out there. My first year hunting, got my first spring turkey on one of those properties. When I started goose hunting, one of those friends let me hunt their farm and I've been having a great time doing that. So, if you can get access to your girlfriend's family farm, don't overlook that - even if it's for something other than deer (groundhog hunting anyone?! your girlfriend's dad would probably love you if you took some of them off his farm! That and yotes!).

That said, I really enjoy hunting public land only because its so much larger than the private land I have access too (thousands of acres versus tens of acres :)) and the terrain can be different depending on where I go (and if you are up north, you have the mountains to play in!). I personally don't like hunting the same spot over and over again. Staring at the same trees time after time gets boring. I hunt because I like being outdoors, and going to a variety of places makes it fun and less mundane.

The downside is, yes, certain spots will have other hunters you run into. That's either a good or bad thing - depending how you approach it. I've actually met some very nice hunters while on public land. One guy I regularly hunt with now. We met while goose hunting on a WMA, and now we do that regularly at the spot we met at. Last year, he took me to a new spot I wasn't aware of and we hunted there one morning, and I took him out a couple times last crow season to do some of that. Another guy I met just last year - he pulls up next to me in the parking area while I was getting ready to pheasant hunt by myself, and before I can get much more than a "hello" out of my mouth, he asks me, "Do you want to hunt with me and my two dogs?" Uh... YEAH! :D I had a great time that day!! So, yes, you will run into other people. But take it as an opportunity to meet other hunters, you never know how it will work out. That said, you will get the negative side of things on public land - like last deer season, after I had scouted a spot all summer in Wharton, put up a stand, baited, hunted it September and October, only to have a guy come and set up a stand about 50 yards away. That was annoying. I took my stand down and left. Silver lining is I put a note on his stand, and he called me back and told me he didn't know I was there and that he felt bad I left and that he wasn't even able to hunt much there. Oh well. Silver lining #2 - I moved to hunting on the ground in a spot about a mile or two away - and I ended up getting my first deer about 2 weeks later  :up: When life gives you lemons ....

As for thieves, don't leave anything out in the woods (trail cams, stands, etc) that you aren't willing to lose. Funny thing is, almost all the stuff I've ever had stolen was on private land! So private isn't a panacea to avoiding thieves.

Sorry - this post was longer than I thought it would be when I started :} In short, public land is fine. Go have fun!

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No reason why you can't enjoy yourself and be successful on public land.
I started hunting just about 4 or 5 years or so ago - started late in life. I have a mix of private and public land I can hunt. I have a few friends from church that own some private land they let me hunt - so I lucked out there. My first year hunting, got my first spring turkey on one of those properties. When I started goose hunting, one of those friends let me hunt their farm and I've been having a great time doing that. So, if you can get access to your girlfriend's family farm, don't overlook that - even if it's for something other than deer (groundhog hunting anyone?! your girlfriend's dad would probably love you if you took some of them off his farm! That and yotes!).
That said, I really enjoy hunting public land only because its so much larger than the private land I have access too (thousands of acres versus tens of acres ) and the terrain can be different depending on where I go (and if you are up north, you have the mountains to play in!). I personally don't like hunting the same spot over and over again. Staring at the same trees time after time gets boring. I hunt because I like being outdoors, and going to a variety of places makes it fun and less mundane.
The downside is, yes, certain spots will have other hunters you run into. That's either a good or bad thing - depending how you approach it. I've actually met some very nice hunters while on public land. One guy I regularly hunt with now. We met while goose hunting on a WMA, and now we do that regularly at the spot we met at. Last year, he took me to a new spot I wasn't aware of and we hunted there one morning, and I took him out a couple times last crow season to do some of that. Another guy I met just last year - he pulls up next to me in the parking area while I was getting ready to pheasant hunt by myself, and before I can get much more than a "hello" out of my mouth, he asks me, "Do you want to hunt with me and my two dogs?" Uh... YEAH! I had a great time that day!! So, yes, you will run into other people. But take it as an opportunity to meet other hunters, you never know how it will work out. That said, you will get the negative side of things on public land - like last deer season, after I had scouted a spot all summer in Wharton, put up a stand, baited, hunted it September and October, only to have a guy come and set up a stand about 50 yards away. That was annoying. I took my stand down and left. Silver lining is I put a note on his stand, and he called me back and told me he didn't know I was there and that he felt bad I left and that he wasn't even able to hunt much there. Oh well. Silver lining #2 - I moved to hunting on the ground in a spot about a mile or two away - and I ended up getting my first deer about 2 weeks later  :up: When life gives you lemons ....
As for thieves, don't leave anything out in the woods (trail cams, stands, etc) that you aren't willing to lose. Funny thing is, almost all the stuff I've ever had stolen was on private land! So private isn't a panacea to avoiding thieves.
Sorry - this post was longer than I thought it would be when I started :} In short, public land is fine. Go have fun!
Really enjoyed reading your post. Very excited to get out there and make those kind of connections when I can. Great stories! I'm in Warren county so I can hunt those mountains (and plan to). I really enjoy the outdoors as well, I hiked a lot as it was and scouting gave me an excuse to do it more often. It was great. Also, I'm interested in hunting from the ground too.. I see most guys hunt from a tree stand. Do you use a blind setup or still hunt? Would love to hear about your methods for hunting from the ground. Thanks again for your post!

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You don't want to ask me what my methods are :lookaround:- I'm still a noob, still don't know what I'm doing half the time, and only have the one deer to my name :) I normally hunt from a climber (for public land) or a tree stand. I did hunt from a pop-up ground blind last year, but that was private land so I wasn't too worried that my blind would get stolen - I just left it out there (alternative is just make yourself a natural blind).  As for that one and only deer I got, I got from hunting on the ground - all I did was get in pre-dawn, brought a small folding stool and my bow with me, and sat down next to large fallen tree next to a water hole where I saw deer tracks from past scouting trips. I don't think it was 6:45am when a small 6pt buck came walking right on the water's edge, just like my scouting suggested would happen ... got my first deer and I don't think I was sitting more than a hour. B) It never works out for me like that - that was like a bolt of lightning from heaven :) I find myself more and more wanting to hunt other things than deer - squirrel, waterfowl, upland game, crow, predator - it's all fun to me.

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The one and only RZA is here on NJW&W.  Welcome! You can have great success on WMAs. Some of them are better than others.  Do your homework and don't be afraid to ask questions here. There are plenty of folks in your area who can give you a hand if you need it.

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All I hunt in NJ is public.  We are very successful but do a lot of scouting and go in deep. Good luck and have fun!! 

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The biggest piece of advice I can give ya is give it time. At first (and it can be a few years) you’ll make a lot of mistakes and it can be frustrating. Take your time, eventually you’ll learn from the mistakes, have an idea of what your actually doing in the woods and why and become successful on a consistent basis. Until then enjoy it for what it is and take it all in. If you ever need something I’m in Warren county and about the same age. 

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Welcome to the site Bobby.  There is a lot of good public land available, just take the time to check out a bunch of spots to avoid the crowds.

Most important, enjoy the experience and have fun.  You will make a lot of mistakes, learn from them and learn to laugh at your mistakes instead of getting frustrated.  We've all been there.  

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Welcome to the site. There are plenty of deer on public land. Just do the scouting before season and make sure you hunt the wind. Some times you can use the pressure of the others on public land to your advantage. I hunt both public and one private land. Have taking more good bucks off public land than my private. Good luck and and there are lots of good guys on here for help :up: 

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Welcome aboard!  Spend as much time as possible in the woods, scouting, talking to other sportsmen and women out there, knock doors asking for permission to hunt properties and offer to do some work around the property and supply them with some of your bounty if u r successful, map out WMAs and learn them, research two, county, n state parks to see what hunting opportunities they offer,  and keep practicing at your skills with the tools of the trade!!  Good luck!!

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Look at less popular wma’s ones that don’t have great big dirt roads that are heavily used.

bowhunting you will see way less people then during firearms season for deer.

and if you plan on hunting deer with a shotgun make sure it’s not on a wma that releases pheasant or quail.

 

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Welcome to NJWW. Good luck with your new hobby. It’s an addiction for some of us. We have a good post on here about shot selection that you would benefit from. I will see if I can revive it for you. Launching an arrow at an animal requires the utmost respect and responsibility. 

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