The humane hunter

By Dudley Wooten - PDT Columnist

As we hunt, we would hope we’re all humane hunters, wouldn’t we? How would we evaluate that? I would think the humane hunter values the reverence of the hunt, nature, and nature’s bounty. I would hope the hunter would want to treat the animal with respect and care to minimize its pain or suffering.

How would we do all this and still harvest deer, turkey, rabbit, squirrel, etc.? I’m sure it needs to be a basic part of the plan from see to can’t see. From the time you enter the field or woods, to the time you leave, it’s about a reverence for their world out there.

As you plan your hunt, you select a weapon that will provide a clean, swift kill on that animal. You then practice on targets until you are confident your groupings of (3) are in a 2 inch circle. Now when hunting occurs, you’re ready.

As you enter the hunting zone, you’re in the stealth mode. You’re there to slip into place as being unnoticed, not announcing, “Here I come.”

This is probably the areas where most young hunters screw up. They don’t practice and they don’t slip around quietly enough. If we’ve done our homework so far, all we have to do now is set-up in the “scouted” spots and stay still.

Oh, yes, then there’s takin’ the shot. Yes, I said, “The shot.” It just takes one well-placed shot to kill whatever you’re after. The key words are “one” and “well-placed.” You shoot like you practice.

(A) You squeeze the trigger (you don’t pull it suddenly)

(B) You’re set up and you use a rest or shooting sticks (just like you practice).

You have more rounds with a rifle or shotgun but with a muzzle loader you only have one shot anyway. Hunting with a muzzle loader is a very good way to make you a better shot.

I’ve killed 3 deer on two occasions in one setting with a muzzle loader. You need several things to fall into place. It is first and foremost that you have the element of surprise. Secondly, this factor is greatly enhanced if they’re past you and looking away. The third element is having your plan and executing it.

You’re already concealed and laying behind a log when the shooting starts. This is no random drive-by shooting, it’s an ambush.

As you dropped the first deer, all of you that was showing 75 yards away, was your camo muzzle loader and cap above the log. Then you disappear in the black powder haze behind the log again. I can lay on my back and reload in 30 seconds with 50 caliber quick loads and then peep over the log again and get the second shot off, with a very slow smooth move. You squeeze that one off and reload the same way. At this point the group still hasn’t located who’s messing with them yet and most of the time, they won’t run until they know where to run away from.

I’ve killed two deer at a setting quite a few times but 3 deer at once with a muzzle loader is a pretty good trick. To do it twice is a very good trick and I suppose some luck involved.

It’s usually about now – trying to get that third shot on standing, nervous deer that the jig is up. It’s like

trying to get a shot on a turkey, deer, or squirrel in a group. There’s a lot of eyes looking for you now and you’re probably not slow or smooth enough not to be seen at this point. You’ll be lucky to get that third safe, accurate shot off and if they’re bolting now, why shoot?

We’ve been in the shooting arcade mode and now it’s time to get a grip on the reverence and humanity of it again. Mother Nature has offered up her bounty. We now get into the field-dress/hiding mode and go get the little red truck into the load mode. It’s usually downhill not too far from where the deer are dropping for me. That’s the plan.

This is line backer/ country boy mentality:

(A) It’s a lot more fun to hit than to be hit

(B) It’s better dragging downhill than uphill

© It’s absolutely best to drive uphill, load, and drive out

That’s the m/o 3 times last year. Sounds like a plan.

By Dudley Wooten

PDT Columnist

Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be contacted at 740-820-8210.

Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be contacted at 740-820-8210.