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Night Hunting

Small Game & Varmit hunting Talk

Night Hunting

Postby FireCloud » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:29 am

The nice warm weather this week has made me want to hunt all week long but work has prevented me from getting any time off to go. However, I had a light day today so I decided to do a little night hunting tonight. This is the time of year when I like to eliminate as many pest animals as I can, like coyotes, fox, raccoons, possum, armadillos, or similar animals that like to prowl at night.

I headed out about 10 pm to my tree stand to sit and watch the food plot area for a couple hours. The temperature was about 60 degrees but it was a little windy with 12 mph winds from the south. The wind was not in my favor but the bright, full moon made it extremely easy to see. The moon was just starting to clear the treetops giving me enough moonlight over most of the plot area to see the crosshairs clearly and not even need my light. All I needed was a target to shoot.

Earlier in the afternoon I pulled the card from my camera and when doing so, was hooted at by one of the owls living on my land. It was sitting in the big oak about 10 yards from my game camera and watching me pull the card. It was the closest that owl has been from me in the three years I have owned my land. He decided to fly off after watching me for a minute to a more distant tree. But when I returned tonight for my hunt, he hooted once at me from the big pine at the far end of the food plot. I think he had plans on hunting the plot tonight instead of letting me hunt it.

There was not any action for the first hour or so. As midnight drew near, I heard something coming up the trail I use to get to my stand. I got ready and shortly a large armadillo made his appearance. Armadillos can move quickly and this one scooted across the clearing rapidly without stopping until he reached a brush pile just past my tree stand. He then proceeded to dig for grubs for a few minutes. The rascal never turned his head where I could get a clear shot at it but instead kept his butt facing me.

Armadillos are very tough critters and without a head shot, a .22 is not going to produced a clean kill, so I waited hoping he would eventually give me a better shot. When he finally did move to a new location, he once again moved at a rapid, non-stop pace, presenting no shot opportunity. I don't attempt shots with my .22 at moving targets. This time he entered the woods and headed off to the west, not to be seen again.

I waited another 30 minutes but nothing further appeared so I returned to the house down the east trail. As I neared the edge of the woods, I heard deer moving around. When I rounded the corner to enter my side yard, I was able to see and hear a group of two or three deer trot from my yard into the woods and circle around my position. They had been eating acorns, as they often do, under the oaks in my side yard.

As is often the case, the deer visit my yard after I leave the house and head into the woods. Tonight when they heard me walking back, they never snorted nor made a panic exit but simply moved back into the woods to avoid me, circling to cross behind me where I had just walked. I am sure they wondered what the heck I was doing going hunting at night! I am hoping if they think I am hunting them at night (which I am not!), then they will stop being nocturnal in order to avoid encountering me on my night hunts.

Although I did not get rid of the armadillo nor see any other varmits to shoot, it was a great night to be outdoors! :)
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby LazyGhost » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:03 pm

Picturing you sitting in the woods at all hours of the night does make me chuckle! :D Especially since I know your property is on the edge of a subdivision with several homes bordering it. Ya never know when some honeymooning teens might come wandering down one of your well established trails. And then theres the hoodlums that might be wanting to slip across your property to see if a neighbor forgot to put the lawn mower up. Your neighbors would do well to treat you with respect because you are their backyard neighborhood watchman.

I got to sit in a stand for a little while this afternoon and it sure felt good. Ya see, the last few nights ive heard some splashing in my pond. The first few times I heard it I figured it was maybe a deer crossing in the shallows. Yesterday it dawned on me it was more likely a beaver. Also, I got home early enough yesterday to sit on the porch at primetime and see if anything came out. Well, a huge coyote came out across the pond levee and layed down for a minute or so and then meandered its way off. Anyhow, theres a stand setup down there and I sat there this afternoon ready to take out the first varment I saw. I didnt see anything but it was a successfull hunt. I think I ruled out there being a beaver. I found out I still have some nice sized fish in the pond! :D I figured last years drought had finished em off but I saw plenty of them this afternoon and a few of em were doing some splashing. I hope its not just a bunch of carp!

In any case, it felt good to sit there during primetime again. I didnt realize I was starting to miss it so much.
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby FireCloud » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:57 pm

I'm glad you were feeling well enough to get back in the stand. We talked about you today at the South Hunt and hoped you were getting past all the crud you have had.

My influence is going to rub off on your one of these days and you will start hunting more. There is something to hunt any day of the year, 24/7/365 in Mississippi. Season never closes on varmits and it is open on so many other game animals for most of the year. I'll bring my distress call over one afternoon and we can do some rabbit distress calls to see if we can get a few of the yotes into shooting range. It's a good time to get rid of them right now before turkeys start nesting too!

If you have carp left, we need to get out bows out and do some bowfishing while the water is still down. That would be a great project to do too and get some of them out of your pond. We can just throw them up on the bank to feed all your buzzards! :rotflol:

I am going out to my stand for a couple hours tonight also. Hope to at least polish off that armadillo if he comes back through. It nice out at night and the moon is bright when it can peak through the clouds. Great time to hunt.

I often surprise folks cutting through my land. I was sitting on the creekbank a couple weekends ago late one evening with my rifle and heard a lot of noise coming through the brush. I was about 25 feet high on one of the banks of a ravine and watched as two teenage guys came wading up the creek, one with a machette in his hand. I was motionless in full camo and just waited until they were right under me, then hollered down "What are you guys doing on my land?" You should have seen them jump. when they heard me speak and looked up to see a guy right above them with a gun! :D They were, as everyone else, tresspassing but were only looking for shark's teeth. I let them go and instructed them to come ask permission next time they want to search.

If any come through at night, they will be even more startled as I am out on my land at night quite a lot. Normally I don't ever turn on a light as I go through the woods as I know where everything is and I like practicing "commando" moves silently at night. Mostly it is just the deer I startle but you never know when some of the neighbors might be out there too!
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby saddaddykiller » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:06 pm

FireCloud wrote:I'm glad you were feeling well enough to get back in the stand. We talked about you today at the South Hunt and hoped you were getting past all the crud you have had.

My influence is going to rub off on your one of these days and you will start hunting more. There is something to hunt any day of the year, 24/7/365 in Mississippi. Season never closes on varmits and it is open on so many other game animals for most of the year. I'll bring my distress call over one afternoon and we can do some rabbit distress calls to see if we can get a few of the yotes into shooting range. It's a good time to get rid of them right now before turkeys start nesting too!

If you have carp left, we need to get out bows out and do some bowfishing while the water is still down. That would be a great project to do too and get some of them out of your pond. We can just throw them up on the bank to feed all your buzzards! :rotflol:

I am going out to my stand for a couple hours tonight also. Hope to at least polish off that armadillo if he comes back through. It nice out at night and the moon is bright when it can peak through the clouds. Great time to hunt.

I often surprise folks cutting through my land. I was sitting on the creekbank a couple weekends ago late one evening with my rifle and heard a lot of noise coming through the brush. I was about 25 feet high on one of the banks of a ravine and watched as two teenage guys came wading up the creek, one with a machette in his hand. I was motionless in full camo and just waited until they were right under me, then hollered down "What are you guys doing on my land?" You should have seen them jump. when they heard me speak and looked up to see a guy right above them with a gun! :D They were, as everyone else, tresspassing but were only looking for shark's teeth. I let them go and instructed them to come ask permission next time they want to search.

If any come through at night, they will be even more startled as I am out on my land at night quite a lot. Normally I don't ever turn on a light as I go through the woods as I know where everything is and I like practicing "commando" moves silently at night. Mostly it is just the deer I startle but you never know when some of the neighbors might be out there too!



...
be careful out there at night walking around without a flashlight....never know when someone might think you are a deer or something
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby FireCloud » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:08 am

SDK, I just got back in. Did not see anything tonight. The temp started dropping and I have been up since 5 am so I called it a night.

When I stood up in my stand to leave, I heard a deer move behind my stand on the opposite side of the ravine. I waited and moved into a better position to see, but could only hear her moving around in the woods. She was headed for the crossing and probably was coming into the food plot to feed but I am not hunting deer and didn't want to be in a position of having a gun and flashlight looking for deer. So I left my big 18 volt light in the stand and just walked on back to the house. I always carry a back up LED light and if I need it, I would turn it on. But the moon was so bright tonight, I could actually see the entire 35 yards across my food plot without needing any light and I just walked on down the trail without using my back up light.

When I started to leave my stand, the deer was on the trail headed my way and she snorted as I approached her and trotted off a short distance to let me pass by. I have been getting several pictures of a young doe coming into the food plot alone and I am pretty sure that was the deer tonight.
I didn't really want to disturb her so I just went on by her without trying to see if I could spot her.

I had hoped to get lucky and catch a varmit or two out or maybe a raccoon but tonight all was quiet and calm. Nothing but the lone deer was moving around in the woods near my stand. It sure was a pretty night out.
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby saddaddykiller » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:31 am

do you ever try calling for coyotes at night...i was thinking about trying that in some of our foodplots to kill some coyotes but i dont have any nightscopes
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby FireCloud » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:31 pm

Yes, sometimes I do try calling for yotes, fox, bobcats, or any other predatory varmits by using my rabbit distress call. I actually went to my stand this afternoon about an hour before dark and did some calling off and on. I did not see anything today and came back in fairly early.

The coyotes seem to visit my area at random times. I have not heard them lately but when they do come through they sure let you know! I tend to hear them more in the spring when there are lots of newborn critters for them to kill and eat.

I don't have a night scope either. But last night was a full moon, and while the moon is not up enough until about 10 pm, once it is up, you have plenty of natural light on a clear night to see to shoot up to about 35 yards or so with any normal scope. I carry a good 18 volt flashlight if I need it. Mostly I use the light for raccoons, possums, and armadillos.
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby saddaddykiller » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:52 pm

FireCloud wrote:Yes, sometimes I do try calling for yotes, fox, bobcats, or any other predatory varmits by using my rabbit distress call. I actually went to my stand this afternoon about an hour before dark and did some calling off and on. I did not see anything today and came back in fairly early.

The coyotes seem to visit my area at random times. I have not heard them lately but when they do come through they sure let you know! I tend to hear them more in the spring when there are lots of newborn critters for them to kill and eat.

I don't have a night scope either. But last night was a full moon, and while the moon is not up enough until about 10 pm, once it is up, you have plenty of natural light on a clear night to see to shoot up to about 35 yards or so with any normal scope. I carry a good 18 volt flashlight if I need it. Mostly I use the light for raccoons, possums, and armadillos.


yeah i have a rabbit distress call too but ive never used it.....i may go try at night but i am scared of black panthers and bigfoots...i hear coyotes at our deer camp 90% of the time im up there..at night...they are very loud and it always sounds like its a several of them.......is coyote hunting at night legal though???
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Re: Night Hunting

Postby FireCloud » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:59 pm

Yes, it is legal to hunt all nuisance animals at night in certain situations. Like everything now days pertaining to hunting, the rules are bizzare and excessively complex. You absolutely MUST get a copy of the rules, which are in a PDF file on the MDWFP website, under "Nuisance Animals" and study them.

First, only six animals are classed as nuisance animals. They are nutria, beaver, fox, skunks, wild hogs, and coyotes.

Second, the regulations allow hunting of these six animals on private lands "at any time with no weapon restriction" from March 1 until the opening of deer archery season.

Third, during the open seasons for hunting, from the start of deer achery season through the last day of February, there are certain restrictions for hunting nuisance animals. Night hunting for these animals can be done with our without lights. Thus "spotlighting" is perfectly legal for hunting nuisance animals at night. However there are weapon restrictions that apply, which require use of only standard 22 caliber or smaller ammo or shotgun ammo no larger than number 6 shot.

Fourth, day time hunting of these 6 nuisance animals during any open hunting season is further restricted to the use of whatever weapons are permitted for the open hunting season.

Fifth, the regulations above apply, as stated to hunting on private lands. Hunting on public lands may, or may not, be allowed and may be subject to other restrictions and rules. Check with the public lands managers to be sure of all the applicable rules.

There are some special rules on hunting wild hogs that do not apply to hunting the other 5 species listed above. Be sure to read all the rules and understand them before you attempt to night hunt. Most people incorrectly believe it is illegal to hunt game at night. That is completely false. Subject to the rules mentioned above, you can hunt nuisance animals on private land 24/7/365 including at night and you can use spotlights. However be SURE you understand the rules and abide by them fully as most likely if anyone sees you hunting with a lights and shooting your guns at night, they will likely report you as "spotlighting and shooting deer."

Finally, the game laws also allow you to legally hunt certain game animals at night, in addition to the 6 nuisance species listed above. You can, when the seasons are open for example, hunt possums, raccoons, frogs, etc. at night, all using guns or other permited weapons and using lights. Thus at various times of the year, you can legally hunt at least 9 different species of animals at night.

Good luck on your night hunts.
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