New Hunter - Small Game Questions
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Thread: New Hunter - Small Game Questions

  1. #1
    Fawn JR8899's Avatar
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    New Hunter - Small Game Questions

    Hello all, I have been browsing these forums for quite some time and it has helped a great deal up to this point. I am as new as new can be - just passed my hunter safety last weekend. I have a few questions regarding small game. I have some out of state buddies that will be home in NJ in December and will be gracious enough to take me under their wing to do some waterfowl hunting. In the meantime, I'd like to get out into the local woods and see what I can do. From everything I have read it seems squirrels will be my best chance at success by myself. (Open to other suggestions as well) I have done plenty of homework and I think I have a good plan together with gear, gun, and strategy. My question really boils down to if I can be pointed in the right direction as to where. I live in Essex county and from what I gather my best bet is in a local state park. (Note: my first available to hunt will be next weekend which coincides with the opening of pheasant season. So I think it would be best to avoid the WMAs, I think.) Any suggestions as to where I should start? Ringwood SP, Wanaque, wawayanda SP, Abrab Hewitt? Ideally I'd like to be withing an hour of West Essex. Lastly, like anything, there seems to be a great deal of debate about which # shot. I will be using a 12ga and it seems #4, #5, #6 are the most common. My thought was to go with the #5 just to split the difference. Any and all help would be very much appreciated! Thank You!!

    -JR

  2. #2
    Monster Buck jumpthestring's Avatar
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    if i was you , i would get a pheasant stamp and hunt bershire valley. do your homework and talk to people about different areas they stock there. i did very well yrs ago there. good luck . i always like #6 high brass for pheasant. woodcock , squirrel, rabbit, etc low brass is fine . good luck

  3. #3
    Fawn elrod624's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR8899 View Post
    Hello all, I have been browsing these forums for quite some time and it has helped a great deal up to this point. I am as new as new can be - just passed my hunter safety last weekend. I have a few questions regarding small game. I have some out of state buddies that will be home in NJ in December and will be gracious enough to take me under their wing to do some waterfowl hunting. In the meantime, I'd like to get out into the local woods and see what I can do. From everything I have read it seems squirrels will be my best chance at success by myself. (Open to other suggestions as well) I have done plenty of homework and I think I have a good plan together with gear, gun, and strategy. My question really boils down to if I can be pointed in the right direction as to where. I live in Essex county and from what I gather my best bet is in a local state park. (Note: my first available to hunt will be next weekend which coincides with the opening of pheasant season. So I think it would be best to avoid the WMAs, I think.) Any suggestions as to where I should start? Ringwood SP, Wanaque, wawayanda SP, Abrab Hewitt? Ideally I'd like to be withing an hour of West Essex. Lastly, like anything, there seems to be a great deal of debate about which # shot. I will be using a 12ga and it seems #4, #5, #6 are the most common. My thought was to go with the #5 just to split the difference. Any and all help would be very much appreciated! Thank You!!

    -JR
    Dude we are literally almost in the same boat. Newbie - focused on squirrels for now. Also live in Essex County. Went to Black River WMA a few weekends ago for my first hunt attempt. Rocking a .22 air rifle, came up empty (only had a few hours) but would be down to meet up and gang up on those squirrels..

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  5. #4
    Dominant Buck longbow's Avatar
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    Agree with jumpthesting. Hunt on the fringes of the madness and maybe get a nice pheasant. Good luck.











  6. #5
    Dominant Buck ithaca10's Avatar
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    hit the field up in the flatbrook and than the swamp plenty of property up there and you can wait until the first wave goes in. 12 gauge #6's high brass.
    longbow likes this.

  7. #6
    Fawn JR8899's Avatar
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    Interesting.. Thank You. I guess I'll have to take a deep internet dive into pheasants as well. Would still love to hear from any of the squirrel hunters out there.

    And elrod definitely.. I plan on some solo exploring at first but wouldn't mind meeting up with another local guy. Shoot me a PM

  8. #7
    Non Typical Pintail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR8899 View Post
    Hello all, I have been browsing these forums for quite some time and it has helped a great deal up to this point. I am as new as new can be - just passed my hunter safety last weekend. I have a few questions regarding small game. I have some out of state buddies that will be home in NJ in December and will be gracious enough to take me under their wing to do some waterfowl hunting. In the meantime, I'd like to get out into the local woods and see what I can do. From everything I have read it seems squirrels will be my best chance at success by myself. (Open to other suggestions as well) I have done plenty of homework and I think I have a good plan together with gear, gun, and strategy. My question really boils down to if I can be pointed in the right direction as to where. I live in Essex county and from what I gather my best bet is in a local state park. (Note: my first available to hunt will be next weekend which coincides with the opening of pheasant season. So I think it would be best to avoid the WMAs, I think.) Any suggestions as to where I should start? Ringwood SP, Wanaque, wawayanda SP, Abrab Hewitt? Ideally I'd like to be withing an hour of West Essex. Lastly, like anything, there seems to be a great deal of debate about which # shot. I will be using a 12ga and it seems #4, #5, #6 are the most common. My thought was to go with the #5 just to split the difference. Any and all help would be very much appreciated! Thank You!!

    -JR
    If squirrels are the game go with #4's bigger pellets pack a better punch and there are less of them in a given load. Full choke will keep things tight.( it will also keep you from losing a animal to a hole in the tree from a light hit) Squirrel hunting is a sit and walk game. if you hit the woods at day break you won't need to sit too long. first couple of hours in the morning and the last hour of the day are best. Squirrels are some of the best eating game out there you just need to get a few for a meal.
    JR8899 likes this.

  9. #8
    Non Typical Stan Putz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pintail View Post
    If squirrels are the game go with #4's bigger pellets pack a better punch and there are less of them in a given load. Full choke will keep things tight.( it will also keep you from losing a animal to a hole in the tree from a light hit) Squirrel hunting is a sit and walk game. if you hit the woods at day break you won't need to sit too long. first couple of hours in the morning and the last hour of the day are best. Squirrels are some of the best eating game out there you just need to get a few for a meal.
    Great advice. Only thing I would add is that as the season gets later & colder, they move less. October & November are the best months, I've found.
    JR8899 likes this.

  10. #9
    Fawn JR8899's Avatar
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    Sounds good. Thanks guys

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