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Beginning larger game

I have been an occasional upland bird hunter for the past ten years, and picked up sporting clays this summer. I am interested in engaging in bigger game hunts (Elk, Bear, Bighorn), but have no experience with these types of hunts at all. I am assuming a good starting point would be deer? Any recommendations for starting points for these kinds of hunts and also what a good gun starting out would be? I currently own two shotguns, but no rifles.

Critter's picture
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What state do you live in and

What state do you live in and do you have access to permits for deer, elk, bear, and bighorn?  I would suppose that you have access to deer since they are everywhere but the rest can be a problem for you since you will need to hunt out of state and apply for permits in drawings. 

For a rifle it is wide open.  For the larger animals besides deer I would suggest nothing smaller than a .270 Winchester in a bolt action rifle.  A 7mm Remington mag is a fairly popular round for all of the animals along with a .30-06.  Then there are the new short magnums in .270 wsm and .300 wsm that a lot of hunters are using and like quite well.   

I would suggest that you head down to your local gun shop and take a look, find one that fits and then ask more questions. 

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I live in Ohio, close to the

I live in Ohio, close to the KY and IN borders.  The hunt club I shoot in KY offers Deer Hunts, so I thought that would be a logical starting point.  In terms of the bigger game I would be paying for guided hunts out of state on those locations.

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I would talk to other members

I would talk to other members of the hunting club and see what they recommend for a rifle in the areas that they hunt.  Some may have a restriction on what you can use. 

For your guided hunts in other states I would strongly look at what I suggested in my first post.  If the short magnums don't look right to you then you can take a look at their longer belted cased rivals such as the .300 Winchester and Weatherby magnums.  But the .270 Winchester and .30-06 will get the job done just as well. 

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What would be the best scope

What would be the best scope to start out with on deer hunting? I have been reading a 3x9x40 is the standard. I was wondering if that's still effective under 100 yards? Should I go smaller? 2x7?

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Location: Western Colorado
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Just about about all my

Just about about all my rifles carry a 3x9x40 VXII by Leupold scopes and I really haven't seen a need for more power out to 600 yards and I haven't had a problem with real close shots under 20 yards with it on the lower powers. 

A lot of it comes down to personal preference on what you want in a scope.  I don't like fancy gagets in them such as rangefinders or target turrets.  I just want a plain old scope that works every time that I don't have to fiddle with.     

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Hi. I have a Benelli R1 with

Hi. I have a Benelli R1 with picattinny rail system, I am trying to find the best 1" mounts for the scope. I have bought the Leupold VXII as you suggested 3x9x40 which needs a 1 inch ring. I'd like as low as possible, and from what I've read the "lows" will clear. All I can find from Leupold is the Quick Release model for a picatinny. I'd prefer standard as opposed to the quick release levers. Keep it simple.

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Welcome!  First of all, I

Welcome!  First of all, I know alot of Ohio is shotgun only, correct?  Except that it sounds like you are in the Ohio River Valley, which allows rifles.  If that's the case, what Critter said is good.  As for animals, I would start with deer, and maybe look into shooting a doe for starters.  Alot of those clubs have some sort of QDM, and try to harvest does to keep the population in check.  As Critter says, talk to the other members.

 

Good luck!

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Location: Colorado Springs, CO & Fort Myers, FL
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Welcome to BGH!  You have

Welcome to BGH!  You have some outstanding deer hunting in Southern Ohio, Kentucky, and Southern Indiana... so I suggest to start your big game hunting experience hunting deer in any of these states.  Ohio does not allow the use of any rifle for deer hunting.  Kentucky and Indiana allow the use of rifles for deer hunting.  But don't let that stop you from hunting southern Ohio as they have some outstanding whitetail hunting there... you just have to use your shotgun.  I highly suggest a 12 guage with a rifled barrel - preferrably with a scope... and I'm partial to using Hornady slugs.  If you live in Ohio and want to hunt deer as an out-of-state hunter I would highly suggest Kentucky then.  As Critter has provided there are several excellent rifles he suggested.  As Ca_Vermonster and Critter have provided - talk to the people in your gun club as well as they will have some great info on deer and other big game hunting opportunities.  If you are looking to elk hunt I highly suggest you read the following - http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/ElkHuntingUniversity/Pages/ElkHuntin... Good luck and let us know what you end up doing! 

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Location: SK Canada
Joined: 03/31/2009
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30-06

mjbaus; The guys have given you some good advice on calibers here: I personally would opt for the 30-06 from the mentioned calibers, simply because of the factory bullet selection.

 Just my 2 cents

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Thanks everyone for your

Thanks everyone for your help.  I did contac the club in Kentucky and he said mainly .270 or .30-.06 are used there.  Would this gun also be suitable for larger game suck as an Elk or Bear or is that a completely different rifle?  I have ONLY shotgun hunted so very ignorant to this.  Also, would anyone have suggestions on sort of practice and prep for this kind of shooting?

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