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#581972 - 04/26/13 10:17 AM Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA
Rocket62 Offline
10 point

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 3140
Loc: Owens Cross Roads
Hi, I am 51 years old and I've wanted to deer hunt all my life. I havenít been fortunate enough to have anyone to take me under their wing and teach me about the sport though. I also havenít been fortunate enough to have access to deer hunting land. I've had a lot of experiences hunting duck/geese/dove but nothing else. I have never actually been deer hunting before but I plan to go on my first deer hunt this fall and I have been getting ready for this for the past two years. I am posting this thread in hopes of gaining tips and advice from you guys with experience. Since I have never been on a deer hunt, my knowledge is limited to what Iíve been able to find in books, on this forum, and around the www. Obviously, I have no real world experience/knowledge. Anyway, here is my history so far Ö I know itís a long read but then again, itís a long story. Please add your two cents in a reply Ö

Getting Armed Ö
A few years back I realized that I was probably not ever going to find a friend or family member to indoctrinate me into the sport and I deemed that unacceptable. So, I started trying to educate and equip myself by scouring the hunting forums. Of course I discovered that just having a good rifle/scope and being able to use it was a sport in itself. I decided to acquire a good firearm and get good at using it and maintaining it. My brother-in-law in FL gave me a vintage (1958) Remington 721 30-06 with an old Redfield Tracker scope on it Ö What a beautiful piece of equipment it is Ö



So, I needed to learn to shoot/maintain this firearm. I got a membership at the Blue & Grey Rifle and Pistol Range near Guntersville Dam since it was only 20 minutes from my home. To make a long story short, the scope was way off and I couldnít hit the broadside of a barn with it. So Ö off to Gander Mountain I went and bought a Caldwell Lead Sled. I was able to sight in my rifle fairly well and over a couple of years I got my pattern down to under 3 inches at 100 yards and a little over 4 inches at 200 yards. Maybe not stellar shooting but from what Iíve read, good enough for North Alabama deer hunting.

After spending so much time with this gun I realized several things that I felt were going to hurt my ability to bag a deer. First of all, this gun is really heavy. As I will discuss below, I intend to backpack into public lands so carrying a ball and chain like this is gonna be tough Ö Second, the recoil of this rifle is so strong it sends me into the next county. Iíve learned to shoulder it good enough that getting bruised is not an issue any longer. However, my concern is resetting for that possible 2nd shot. Both of these issues led me to start looking for another rifle. I asked around and found that the 243 with a 100 grain load is a popular choice around here. A family friend that collects and trades guns suggested that I get a Tikka T3 Lite. He also suggested a Nikon Monarch scope with a 50mm objective as it gives a sharp image in low light conditions. So, I bought the T3 Lite and equipped it with a Monarch 4-16x50 scope. The whole unit weighs about 6 lbs Ö perfect for backpacking. When I took it to the range to sight it in I was really surprised to find that it patterned within 1Ē at 100 yards on the bench rest. I also found that it was easy (relative to the 30-06) to reset quickly for a 2nd shot as the recoil was much less. The best part of this : I sold a bunch of crap on EBay to raise the cash for it so it cost me nothing Ö Anyway, here is a snap of my gun/scope :



Finding Land Ö
Not having any family or friends with land that I can hunt, I went about looking for public land to hunt. I am somewhat limited in the type of land I can hunt as I do not have an ATV or a 4WD truck. Iím working on getting a 4WD truck but times are tight and I canít just run out and buy one right now plus I donít have enough crap to sell on EBay to pay for one.
Living in North AL I found that Skyline WMA is a popular place. I dug in on this forum and the WWW to learn all I could about the area. I also am a Google Earth Pro user so I have scoured the areasí satellite imagery and elevations data Ö just like in a high end video game. I found references to lots of places in the WMA, found their GPS coordinates, and marked them with a pin. I also got the WMA permit map and stretched it over the area so I could see the WMA boundaries. I started analyzing the terrain looking for somewhere I could backpack into and camp. Here is a snap of the whole WMA :



I quickly ruled out the Poplar Springs and Jacobs Farm tracts as they evidently have tremendous hunting pressure. I ruled out the Big Coon tract as I clearly would need an ATV to hunt the area and to retrieve any deer I might kill there. That left the Walls of Jericho tract Ö I spent hours looking over this area with GE and Iím thinking that I could camp at Clark Cemetery and hunt just south of there along Turkey Creek. The only downside I see is that if I kill a deer there, I will need to find a route for sled dragging it out and that whole process will probably take hours Ö I plan a 2 day backpacking/exploring trip there in a few weeks to check it out. Here is a snap of the area Iím talking about :



Like I said, Iím posting this looking for help/info on this area. If you think Iím crazy please let me know why. Iíd sure appreciate any helpful information on this area. Also, is there a healthy rattlesnake population at Skyline that I should be on the lookout for?

Thanks,
PHL
_________________________
When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can.

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#581984 - 04/26/13 10:30 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
You do not, I repeat, do not! Wanna drag a deer back up that mountain. Trust me. I hunt the walls also, you will need a four wheeler to recover it if your camping at the cemetery. If your limited I would hunt the side of the mountain e trail is on. You won't have to go as far on a drag, and there is a campground at the top of the walking trail. I camp up top most of the time


Edited by I_hate_poachers (04/26/13 10:31 AM)

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#581987 - 04/26/13 10:34 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
And yes watch out for snakes. I see your spot now. I have walked off at the horse trail. But down that way is getting close to the wma border( not really I just looked haha) I have hunted the field your pin is on. Never seen a buck , but did manage to kill a doe there.

Friend that was with me the next gun hunt shot what he thought was a doe, turned out to be a button buck, at your mill creek pin, just north of the cemetery. We backpacked the deer out, it only weighed around eighty pounds. Talking about wore out.

There is only a few weekend gun hunts. I'm sure if you kill a deer somebody would recover it for you, I know I would do it for you.


Edited by I_hate_poachers (04/26/13 10:53 AM)

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#581989 - 04/26/13 10:39 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
Rocket62 Offline
10 point

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 3140
Loc: Owens Cross Roads
Thanks. Not sure what you mean by "e trail" though ... checked the WMA map and didn't see it. I'm not committed to hunting that spot but I wouldn't mind gettign a doe.
_________________________
When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can.

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#582005 - 04/26/13 10:54 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
The trail. My bad. Either one of em, horse trail or cemetery trail. Its a long ways down that mountain and back up, especially with a deer. I wouldn't hunt all the way down without a atv. I'd just go a bench or two down or three. Could show you a awesome spot below the horse trail. In-between the top and your marker


Edited by I_hate_poachers (04/26/13 10:59 AM)

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#582012 - 04/26/13 10:59 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
Rocket62 Offline
10 point

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 3140
Loc: Owens Cross Roads
Man I'd love to see it and would greatly appreciate it
_________________________
When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can.

Top
#582015 - 04/26/13 11:03 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
the walls is like my second home. I love it, it's my favorite place in this state. Shoot me a message when you get ready and hopefully our schedules will work out for me to tag along.

Only down side is everything is green, it will be a different world once winter gets here again. And there is so much land down there, and so many good spots, it will take many trips to know were your going, walking in at 3 am tends to get you turned around if you don't watch it, steep hollers and a lot of small bluff lines

Bring lots of water


Edited by I_hate_poachers (04/26/13 11:07 AM)

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#582020 - 04/26/13 11:10 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: I_hate_poachers]
Rocket62 Offline
10 point

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 3140
Loc: Owens Cross Roads
I'll do that. I'm planning a camp trip tentatively for May 17/18 and a friend may be coming with me ... roughly 3 weeks from now. We want to hike in that Friday and setup camp at Clark Cem then explore the Walls trail. Saturday morning to afternoon will be exploration time ... schedule is flexible though. I'd really appreciate your help and I hope I can return the favor sometime.

I have a water filtration/purification system that I bring in my backpack ...

Just for fun, here is a snap of the area with the WMA boundaries on it :

_________________________
When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can.

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#582038 - 04/26/13 11:37 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
We camped at the cemetery twice. It's a hassle to haul all the gear in and out. That's why we would always shoot the first deer we seen. That way you can get the atv's down there legally, and haul the gear back out on it.

Looking forward to going, havnt been since January.

And yeah that border is a little further away than I thought. Looks like several hundred acres further haha


Edited by I_hate_poachers (04/26/13 11:38 AM)

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#582163 - 04/26/13 02:38 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
Blackhawk Offline
8 point

Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 1940
Loc: Huntsviille, al.35816
i learn ed from y dad after i got back from iraq that a lot of land there is private proprty you need a wma map/permit downloadable from the game and fish web site. those hills are steep if you walk them you will see how bad. patience hunting deer. hunt the bottom near the fields on the south west part of the wma i was told.
_________________________
Mike crenshaw O I F veteran
Remington woodsmaster742in 30-06
Knight Disc Extreme 50 cal.
Weather by Vanguard 243 Win diamond infinite e7028" the crush 350
Barnett jackal crossbow cx, surge arrows 20"L
Rage Hypodermic std 100 grain.
slick trix bh

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#582199 - 04/26/13 03:42 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
Only bad part about hunting the southwest part, it's a long ways from the road. Probably close to 2-3 hours. And it takes even longer comin back up.

I suppose if you happened to kill a deer way down in there, and didn't have a atv to recover it, you could take a large back pack or duffle bag ect and quarter up the deer down there and back pack it out. And if it happened to be a buck, cape it as well.
You would wind up doin that anyway with no atv. After about two hours of dragging up that mountain, the thought " what the hell was I thinking" will be kickin in grin

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#582216 - 04/26/13 04:09 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
Blackhawk Offline
8 point

Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 1940
Loc: Huntsviille, al.35816
oh OK i have not walked any of skyline since my stroke i bet i can't walk it.
_________________________
Mike crenshaw O I F veteran
Remington woodsmaster742in 30-06
Knight Disc Extreme 50 cal.
Weather by Vanguard 243 Win diamond infinite e7028" the crush 350
Barnett jackal crossbow cx, surge arrows 20"L
Rage Hypodermic std 100 grain.
slick trix bh

Top
#582218 - 04/26/13 04:14 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
Blackhawk Offline
8 point

Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 1940
Loc: Huntsviille, al.35816
the road across from the range i have deer hunted an hunted turkey back there. i have seen two turkeys out of range , but one doe came to the road and went back into the woods.
_________________________
Mike crenshaw O I F veteran
Remington woodsmaster742in 30-06
Knight Disc Extreme 50 cal.
Weather by Vanguard 243 Win diamond infinite e7028" the crush 350
Barnett jackal crossbow cx, surge arrows 20"L
Rage Hypodermic std 100 grain.
slick trix bh

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#583100 - 04/28/13 05:27 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
hawgwild Offline
10 point

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 2851
Loc: boaz
Leopard, I admire your dedication. I've always wanted to do a pack hunt.

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#583125 - 04/28/13 06:01 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
Ben2 Offline
Closet Snake Lover & Deer Poop Expert

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 3218
Loc: Coach Gus Malzen
Leopard this is just a thought but you may want to look into getting in a club. It may cost some money but you would be around other hunters and I would imagine they would be more than willing to teach you some stuff and you could learn a lot from watching them. For example cleaning a deer for the first time is no easy chore and watching them do one or two will help you a bunch. I think a new comer to the sport may benefit and see a few more deer by joining a club.

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#583136 - 04/28/13 06:16 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Ben2]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
Originally Posted By: Ben2
Leopard this is just a thought but you may want to look into getting in a club. It may cost some money but you would be around other hunters and I would imagine they would be more than willing to teach you some stuff and you could learn a lot from watching them. For example cleaning a deer for the first time is no easy chore and watching them do one or two will help you a bunch. I think a new comer to the sport may benefit and see a few more deer by joining a club.


good advise ben2. You would benefit a lot from it, and im sure another man in the club would help you recover a deer.

There is many more options you have. You could hunt bear den point, across from the cemetery trail. terrain is not as rough, and would be somewhat ideal for someone without a atv

The spot you have marked, from the top of the mountain, descends over a 1000 feet. trail is much longer. another spot you might try on public land is henshaw crossing, i know a couple men who shot deer there this year. And its walk in only.
usually only around 4-6 vehicles in the parking lot

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#583139 - 04/28/13 06:19 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Blackhawk]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
Originally Posted By: Blackhawk
the road across from the range i have deer hunted an hunted turkey back there. i have seen two turkeys out of range , but one doe came to the road and went back into the woods.


Across from the range is another descent spot. trail is smooth, ive seen honda civics back there. its usually very crowded though

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#583318 - 04/28/13 11:25 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
paintrock Offline
4 point

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 391
Loc: AL
just take a left at the old gas station at a Y on 79 and go about 2 miles. About 100yds before the shooting range (on the right) take a right. their is a camp ground on the left as you go in. hunt around the powerlines on both sides of the road. you can go almost everywhere in a 2wd truck. I've killed a lot of deer in this area including a few decent bucks. It's relatively flat ground and hard to get lost if you got a map. No need for GPS.


Edited by paintrock (04/28/13 11:26 PM)

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#583472 - 04/29/13 10:05 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
Rocket62 Offline
10 point

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 3140
Loc: Owens Cross Roads
Joining a club isn't in the cards for me as I can't really afford to right now. I'm trying to do everything on the cheap when I can ...

Again, I don't have a truck and won't be able to get to many areas unless I'm willing to hike/backpack in.

I'd sure like to have someone walk me through field dressing my first one but if I don't have any help, I'll do it anyway and do my best. If I mess it up then chalk it up to experience and do better the next time.

BTW, can I field dress a deer in the WMA?

I've looked at bear Den too ... only problem is it doesn't have a campground near it. Will look at Henshaw crossing ... isn't that in the heavily hunted Jacobs tract?

The target range ... isn't that area heavily hunted?

_________________________
When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can.

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#583515 - 04/29/13 11:24 AM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
Yes henshaw always has cars in the parking lot, but not to many.
Yes Anywere near the target range is under a good bit of pressure, lots of folks, but lots of land as well.

And there is a camp spot close to bear den, right across the road. It's not on the map, that's why you can't see it

And I'm not sure if it's legal to field dress in the wma, but I sure hope so, cuz I've done it a few times


Edited by I_hate_poachers (04/29/13 11:28 AM)

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#583590 - 04/29/13 01:34 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: I_hate_poachers]
Rocket62 Offline
10 point

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 3140
Loc: Owens Cross Roads
I'd been thinking about packing a climber, strapping it to my pack. But I was just in Gander Mtn and saw this ... It weighs 17 lbs but rolls up tight enough that I could strap it to the outside of my pack ... If I hunted below the HB trail or at Bear Den, don't ya think this would work?

_________________________
When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can.

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#583612 - 04/29/13 02:14 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
Shoot yeah it would work. But you don't even really need that. It will let you get away with more movement. But if I'm makin the journey, like going hours from the road, less stuff the better, you would have just as good of chance without it, just some good camo and sit straight on the ground, just bring a cushion.
But if you hunt close to the top, I will show you camping spot up top, I would use a climber over there at bear den, bear den point trail is pretty long but you don't really have to go to far to see deer

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#583614 - 04/29/13 02:19 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
I took a climber way down one time and we didn't kill a deer that weekend so had to tote it back out, won't be doin that again. Any time after that I just started sitting on the ground when we went all the way to the cemetery and hunted the other mountain

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#583637 - 04/29/13 02:48 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: I_hate_poachers]
Rocket62 Offline
10 point

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 3140
Loc: Owens Cross Roads
I'm thinking that until I get the hang of what will spook deer and what won't this would be nice but ... I suppose I need to decide after I figure out where to hunt.

My tent weighs 6 lbs so if I leave it behind and take this then I only add 11 lbs to my pack.
_________________________
When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can.

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#583645 - 04/29/13 03:02 PM Re: Tips for deer hunting Skyline WMA [Re: Rocket62]
I_hate_poachers Offline
6 point

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Jackson co
You ever climb before? Get a harness if you plan to.
I sit on the ground on gun hunts most of the time.
But a stand or a blind is a must for bow hunting

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