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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I'm Jim, I'm 50 and I've never been hunting. I have several firearms and an RPAL. So far I've only been honing my marksmanship at the range. I just completed the hunter safety course and will soon receive the wildlife card.
I'm just interested in learning to live off the land, field dress an animal, process it etc.
I guess I'm wondering where a good place to begin might be? What's my next step as far as what licence/ stamp? What's a good animal to start with and so on. The government websites are exactly clear about what I need and when and where I can hunt and with which firearm. Maybe there's a group that I could join where I could go along with experienced hunters?
Also can I take a flint and steel in the woods instead of waterproof matches?

Thanks for any advice you can give .

Jim
 

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Good to see so many new people getting into hunting. There’s a lot to unpack in your question. But the easiest thing to start out hunting is small game, like rabbits and partridge. They tend to come out on logging roads or old bike trails to feed both early mornings and evenings especially. When in season for partridge which is (Oct 1st to December 31st) bird shot in #6-#4 in whatever gauge you have is most common.

Deer is probably the most popularly hunted. Also probably the biggest learning curve,in reading sign and finding a location. I’m not sure if there’s groups like what you’re looking for. But someone on here might offer some help. I can only offer if you’re free on weekdays afterChristmas, I run my rabbit hound every second day weather depending.
 

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Id start with small game and a shotgun with #4/5/6
Start walking the woods and looking for sign. Grouse starts in a few weeks as does duck season but as a newbie id wait on that unless you find someone to take you
Once November 16 rolls around and the hounds hit the woods youre welcome to join in.

Just so everyone knows, where are you? Are you willing to travel to join up?

Yes you can take flint and steel but you best show proficiency if stopped by a warden.

Someone may mentor you for deer season but probably not this year as all the work is done
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey thanks for the replies. I'm in the Kentville area in the valley. So what licence do I have to get and how does that work with stamps? Also am i right in thinking coyote is all year round? What licence do i need for that? The only shotgun i have is a Remington 870 tac 14 with 14" barrel so not really a bird gun. I could borrow my dad's savage semi auto I suppose. It's from 1953 though so I'd have to tear it down and check it's function. Yes I'd be willing to travel to meet up.
 

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I'm not going to try and give you a ton of direction as far as rules and regulations go, as there are quite a few members on this site that have years of experience in hunter education and are better suited to chime in, however I will agree with the above statements that small game is a great place to start. Ruffed Grouse (A lot of people call them partridge) are a fun and relatively easy game bird to hunt. They're basically a wild chicken, just a bit smaller, tastes about the same too! (It's important that you like to eat the animals you are pursuing fyi). To get started, you'll need a Wildlife Habitat Stamp (Roughly $5 if I remember correctly) along with a Resident Small Game License. These can be bought at any Canadian tire or DNR office. I see you have an 870 - 14" barrel might not be very useful unfortunately, my preference is a 26" barreled 20 gauge with the shot sizes mentioned above. But any regular sized hunting shotgun will do. As far as hunting grouse goes, walk any old logging road, skidder road, atv trail etc... and you'll probably do alright. Grouse are pretty abundant in NS though they seem to like areas with a mix of fur and hardwood trees the best (In my experience anyway). Biggest thing is make sure you're being safe and know what you're shooting at/whats behind it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm not going to try and give you a ton of direction as far as rules and regulations go, as there are quite a few members on this site that have years of experience in hunter education and are better suited to chime in, however I will agree with the above statements that small game is a great place to start. Ruffed Grouse (A lot of people call them partridge) are a fun and relatively easy game bird to hunt. They're basically a wild chicken, just a bit smaller, tastes about the same too! (It's important that you like to eat the animals you are pursuing fyi). To get started, you'll need a Wildlife Habitat Stamp (Roughly $5 if I remember correctly) along with a Resident Small Game License. These can be bought at any Canadian tire or DNR office. I see you have an 870 - 14" barrel might not be very useful unfortunately, my preference is a 26" barreled 20 gauge with the shot sizes mentioned above. But any regular sized hunting shotgun will do. As far as hunting grouse goes, walk any old logging road, skidder road, atv trail etc... and you'll probably do alright. Grouse are pretty abundant in NS though they seem to like areas with a mix of fur and hardwood trees the best (In my experience anyway). Biggest thing is make sure you're being safe and know what you're shooting at/whats behind it.
Thanks! How do I know where I'm allowed to hunt? If it's private property I have to ask permission, but how do I know if some random patch of woods is private or not?
 

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Thanks! How do I know where I'm allowed to hunt? If it's private property I have to ask permission, but how do I know if some random patch of woods is private or not?
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the rule is that if it is NOT posted (No Trespassing, Private Property etc..) you are aloud to hunt it. Keep in mind that is strictly for woodland, agricultural land you will definitely want to ask permission. I personally use google earth a lot to scout out areas I want to hunt, that way you know what's going on in those areas. Best advice I can give you is get away from other people. Marked hiking trails are a no go, active logging operations, christmas tree farms etc... stay away. With you being in Kentville, the south mountain has tons of fire roads/logging roads that are easily accessible and I will guarantee they have grouse and other game. Take a drive, find an old trail off one of the roads and go for a walk.

Side note: Once you figure out what you want to hunt, make sure you do some reading on the subject. Plenty of articles online that are extremely helpful when it comes to learning about the species you're after. Stuff like, terrain, behavior and even how to clean and process game will make a huge difference when you go into the field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the help. Just one more thing ...there must be a rule about how far away from the road i have to be to shoot. Right? So if I find a spot and park, i must have to walk in a certain distance. Sorry for all the questions, I've been in the woods my whole life, and I disassemble guns, clean them, and I'm a great marksman. Just never happened to go hunting
 

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welcome to the site and the hunting world.

you'll need a NS Wildlife Habitat Stamp - everyone who hunts or traps requires one as a MINIMUM. This stamp allows you to - purchase other hunting licenses, snare rabbits, hunt coyotes.
get yourself a small game license - its required to hunt grouse & pheasant. As mentioned by others, its a great start into the hunt world.

follow the 3 P's - plan, prepare & practise.

There's individual regs on small game, moose, bear, deer, etc - they are all under the NS Wildlife Act. Starting out I highly recommend knowing the NS Firearm & Bow Regs - theyre in this list, once again, under the Wildlife Act;

You will also want to look through the Summary of Regs - you get a paper copy when purchasing your stamp & associated licenses. Here's the on line link for hunt related stuff on the DNR site. Look under LAWS on bottom right for the Summary;

There's some great info on this site plus a wealth of info in the people on this site.
 

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How much woods travel experience do you have, can you go into a large wooded area a mile ( no path or road) and find your way back out. Ever had to use a compass to find your way. What would YOU LIKE to hunt.
As stated above read the game regulations required distances from road,houses etc.,are there as well as what weapon you can use.
MOST IMPORTANT KNOW WHERE YOUR BULLETS WILL GO BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND BEYOND STAY SAFE
 
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Learn as much as you can about the animal you wish to hunt. Then go into the woods and test what you learned. So learn to find and read sign, practice practice practice. Buy hunting equipment!
IMPORTANT- get out enjoy the outdoors, success is measured in terms of enjoyment and not by the amount of harvesting you do!
 

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As pointed out above, step 1 is to at least get your habitat stamp which comes with a summary of regulations booklet. Read it cover to cover! Memorize it if you can! Ask more questions to get clarification on here when something isn't clear after reading the regs.
Many of us would have started out hunting grouse/partridge and rabbits. To hunt those you need to buy a Small Game Stamp. Great way to start out . But, there are tons of articles out there about deer hunting too so there is no reason you can't give that a try this year as well. To hunt deer you need a Deer Stamp.
Get out, have fun and you'll learn a lot this year.
 

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I am confused with your questions in order to get your WRC card which you say is coming means you had to as you say taken the Hunter's ed course. Part of that process is how to access the very questions you are asking, such as game species and seasons. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt, I would download the wildlife act and the 2022 Regulations found on the very site where you had to register for the Hunter Ed course.
 

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Hey there! I started hunting when I was 50 as well!
I made a video of things I learned in the first year that you might find helpful:
As for what to hunt or how to get started, I'll echo what has been said.
First, figure out what you are interested in hunting. For small game you have snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, woodcock, snipe, ring-necked pheasants and squirrels. Given that you haven't hunted and you have a short-barreled 870, maybe start with squirrels. Find an area with coniferous trees, away from houses and roads (minimum setback is 182m from residences. More for schools). Get some #6 shot rounds for your 870 and go for a walk. You'll hear the squirrels chatter at you. They aren't as easy to hit as you might think and they tend to go quiet when you are close. Be patient and observant. They are also good eating but a bit gamey. That's probably the easiest way to learn the basics of hunting.
Hares are very fast so I ended up snaring last year.
Ruffed grouse are sometimes called ditch chickens for their tendency to hang out in ditches, especially in the late afternoons. If you can find an old logging road, especially one with some exposed sand and gravel on its edges at places, take a slow drive looking for the grouse along the road. They can be very hard to see. If you do see one, stop and backup until you are atleast 20 yards away. Then get out and walk away from them, toward the back of your car and get your firearm ready. Then move to the side of your vehicle for the shot. They tend to freeze when you are at a certain distance, but they will run if you get too close.
For deer, you will need hunter orange. For ducks you will need camouflage and likely chest waders. For geese, you will probably need decoys as well as camo.
Pheasants seem to hangout around wheat fields and the like so you'll probably have to get permission to hunt them.
Woodcock and Snipe are hard to find. I haven't seen any in my area. Most videos of people hunting them involve dogs.
I'm working on some followup videos that I will share here but they aren't ready yet.

Have fun!
 

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Statkit mentioned above :”For deer, you will need hunter orange. For ducks you will need camouflage and likely chest waders.”
Perhaps one of the Nova Scotia Hunter Education instructors on the site could give us the requirements as to when Hunter Orange ( not camo orange) must be worn in the province during the season. I only hunt grouse and general season for deer so I am not up on all the different requirements for Hunter Orange during the early bow and muzzle loader season. I always wear a Hunter Orange hat and Jacket/vest anytime I go to the woods during the hunting seasons.
 

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Statkit mentioned above :”For deer, you will need hunter orange. For ducks you will need camouflage and likely chest waders.”
Perhaps one of the Nova Scotia Hunter Education instructors on the site could give us the requirements as to when Hunter Orange ( not camo orange) must be worn in the province during the season. I only hunt grouse and general season for deer so I am not up on all the different requirements for Hunter Orange during the early bow and muzzle loader season. I always wear a Hunter Orange hat and Jacket/vest anytime I go to the woods during the hunting seasons.
Page 68 of the new book tells you when you have to wear hunter orange.
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Also page 69. The way I read it, hunter orange Is required during small game hunting of grouse and pheasants, rabbits and snaring, Also when hunting with bow, crossbow and muzzle loader during general centre fire rifle season and when hunting deer and bear during youth centre fire season.
 

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they really improved the Summary this year and have spelled out a lot of things to make some stuff less confusing.

Its a Summary of the various regs that fall under the Wildlife Act. For more detailed info and for info that does NOT exist in the Summary, you need to look at the various specific regs - see link in post #9.

The specific reg that addresses "hunter" orange is the NS Hunter Education, Safety and Training Regs.
 
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