Looking for people to tag along with

Robertp75

New Member
Dec 1, 2018
5
8
3
19
What’s up guys, I’ve grown up wanting to hunt and never got the opportunity. Now that I am old enough I want to learn and become a good hunter. I’ve purchased a rifle and some other gear but, my only problem is, I don’t know anyone who knows how to hunt or anyone that knows someone. I’m not looking to take over someone’s trip but i just want to get the feel of it and learn the basics so I can eventually go out on my own. If anyone knows anyone or any group that hunts that are open to new people please let me know.
 

ilovesprig

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 3, 2012
9,200
4,551
113
Escondido
Robert,

Welcome to SCH.....Invest in a shotgun and you'll have way more opps to meet like minded guys.....CWA, NWTF, QF, hunting clubs, and other organizations have meetings, banquets, and work parties here in SoCal.....Get involved and doors will open.

ps....Pick a game animal, bird, or varmint and learn about that.....Lots of good threads here to get you started.
 

longbowhunter2

Well-Known Member
Oct 16, 2013
5,261
2,061
113
on the mountain
Hi Robert
Welcome
Start posting and asking questions.
Read the Ca Fish and Wildlife reqs.
Until you know it well.
By posting you are letting people get to know you.
Get ONXHunt app. On the smart phone.
Start walking Public land like National forest and BLM.
Lot of hunters here on same issue starting out.
What Ilovesprig said is very good info.
What Waterdog said is important
Which county are you in.
Those who are near you can reply.
Good luck
LB
 

TheGDog

Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2018
899
636
93
WGG
Robert, I DID exactly what you are seeking to do, starting in 2014.

I vaguely remember my Dad did some Pheasant hunting somewhere with agricultural fields when I was a kid occupying myself popping frogs in a ditch with a Daisy BB Gun, but that was it as far as my exposure to hunting. Fast forward to 45yo and a few marriages later, the idea comes around in my head again, figure I ain't getting any younger, better get on that now!

If one of your goals is a Deer, there are some things you will need to understand and wrap your head around.

Chances are very high you're going to have to do it Solo. Most people, do it Solo.

In the beginning when I researched it, I read that it typically takes 3-to-5 years before a new hunter makes his first big-game kill hunting public land in SoCal. I accomplished it in 1yr and 13days. And the only reason I did so was because of being dedicated to this pursuit. I scouted all that year. Minimum of 2 weekends each month, tried to make it 4 each month. In all that time I saw 25 Does... but only 1 Buck... (and best believe I brought that mofo home with me!).

It's gonna kinda work like this... at first, during the year, you be picking some places to go scout in that you saw in a Satellite view using some logic and reasoning. At first, when you go visit these areas... you'll puss-out and go to them after the sun is already up. You'll be an idiot and walk around constantly the whole day, maybe even blow thru your water and learn the hard lesson of how much water you actually need, and the lesson of not bothering to climb back out of some place until the sun goes down outta the sky a bit.

If you're lucky, you might notice some places of foot traffic where the deer prints are of decent size and the tracks look like they could possibly be newer in age. Or perhaps you find a property line bordering public land and there's a break in the fence, or a place where the barbed wire is unusually low because a tree died and fell over onto it... and you look at that ground and you can tell the critters have been making use of that bit of luck.

Then... since you're dedicated and doing it all year... you'll get "lucky" one day and get caught out in a monsoon. Hopefully you weren't an idiot and you packed some rain gear like you should EVER TIME YOU EVER GO OUT!!! The beauty part of that is the rain wipes the slate clean for tracks. So on the hike back out you'll see some brand new tracks and be able to make note of WHERE you saw those tracks on your GPS with a waypoint.

By this point, hopefully you've ordered yourself at least 2 trailcameras and matching Python cable locks for them. Also by this time your eyes should start to get pretty good at noticing game trails (little foothpaths of traffic typically on the sides of hills, but not always on hills). On your hikes ins and hike outs LOOK UP!!! LOOK UP!!! STOP LOOKING AT YOUR DAMN FEET!!! You're never going to see anything if you're looking at your feet all the damn time!! You'd be amaze how much action you'll see once you start getting in the habit of looking up a lot more.

And always always always while you're out and about, you should be trying to walk around quietly. You'll end up walking past a critter that was hunkered down and playing the waiting game waiting for you to pass by a safe amount of distance before they break from cover and sneak away. It's a survival defense strategy and they're darn good at it sometimes.

Many places though...walking thru quietly is simply impossible due to the dried oak leaves super mega loud crunching. I different tactic is required in these areas.

Once you've been checking out an area a number of times while the sun has been up, placed up cams and come back to check them and "Behold! Eureka!! OMG I'm not just some idiot walking around alone in the forest there actually ARE freakin bucks out here!" It will do MUCH to rejuvenate your spirits and persistance in this pursuit.

Now my friend, is where I tell you one of the most important rules about hunting/scouting in SoCal. If you ain't out there BEFORE the sun comes up.. and if you ain't staying out there until the end of light... you ain't gonna see hardly anything. You've got to understand somethings. These deer are either getting moisture from the plants they eat, or getting it from watering sources they must expose themselves to great risk to go to. It's especially more risky to do so during the day. SO... during the day, they are all about the shade, and all about being hidden so then can finally get some sleep, and all about finding places that happen to have a nice cool breeze (I'm of course now talking about the warmer months of the year, which is most of them in SoCal). And if they can, I'm told they'll find an elevated position where they can see a wide FOV, and that the wind comes to them from behind so that their noses can warn them about anything their eyes aren't pointed at. And I've also been told that bucks will seek out these places which seem desolate and why would anybody go there? But they do so because they are impossible to walk thru without making a sh!t-ton of noise so it helps alert them when they're trying to catch a snooze.

So ok... now let's say that you're at a point where you've consistently captured some bucks on a trail camera. And it's about to begin the deer season in the states deer zone you've chosen to get your tag in. What's next GDog?

At this point, the assumptions are that you've already got yourself equipped and experienced to where you can hike-in to a spot... leaving your car at between 3am-4am in the dark... to hike let's say about 6-7 miles in, with the goal to arrive there 30min before sunrise.

At this point in the game, your goals are scent control protocol, getting to your spot quietly and undetected, and KNOWING THE WIND so you can be picking a spot to sit at with your concealment gear on where your scent WON'T blow to a direction you believe they will be coming-in from.

SIDE NOTE: This is where all your pre-season scouting pays off dividends! You use the pre-season scouting to do things like note WHEN and HOW the direction of the wind changes depending on the time of day it is at this particular spot. You actually sit-down at these various spots you're thinking might be good ones to sit at. Can you see well from here? (Mihgt look like a good spot, but when you sit down you realize aw poop can't see over to there because blah blah blah is in the way) Can you shoot from here? If need be...NOW... pre-season... is the time to be bustin' out with a hatchet or a saw to trim away branches or deadfall that might impede your moment of truth. ALSO its a great time to be yanking around pieces of left-behind deadfall the forresty service trims off and just leaves on the ground to make them into ground blinds. ALSO... that great spot to sit at?... How long does it remain in the shade? You may need to either pick another spot OR just realize that this spot is only going to serve you until up to X o'clock at which point you'll have to move over to this other tree over here. Your movements stick out like a sore thumb when the sun is shining on you! RE: Movements - When you're on your sit.... if you feel you need to turn your head to look into another direction... it should take you about 7 seconds to turn your head 90 degrees. Once you are in your sit spot. Seriously seriously seriously focus on not freaking moving, not making a sound. Don't sniff, don't cough, don't clear your throat. Learn to be ok with having a drip of snot hangin' off the end of your nose. Only after you've slowly checked for the coast to be clear on both sides do you then reach-up a finger to quietly wipe away the drip. Learn to look to the sides with your eyes first, then if need be... consider if it is necessary to slowly rotate your head in that direction. I have to wear glasses all the time now so unfortunately my ability to do that is severely limited these days.

On your way in.... you stash your tent and related gear near around the spot you think you're going to set the tent up at later, like maybe mid-day you come back and deal with setting it up. You take off the sweatied-up shirt you had on for the hike-in, replace it with a fresh one, maybe even re-spray with scent killer. Focus the spray on the stinky parts, pits and crotch and buttcrack. (I'm not making that up, read the directions on scent killer products!)

RE: Concealment gear - I cannot recommend enough getting yourself at least a set of 3D Leafy concealment gear! Together with a Mesh facemask. I used to use a ThermaCell device to try and keep the flies away and all that. But ever since I started using Leafy suits and Mesh Ghillie suits together with Mesh facemask... once you settle in and are not moving anymore. The bugs don't know you're there and leave you alone. You occasionally get one that might land on your glasses, but a soft quiet blow of air shoo's 'em away.

On the topic of concealment, you're there on your sit... Oh sh!t!, Oh Sh1t! OH SH!T!!!... OMG.... Here comes a Legal Buck! IT's finally happening!!!

Don't freakin' Blow it for yourself... whether bow or rifle... when possible, you want to wait until his eyes goes behind a tree or bush before you draw that bow or raise that rifle. If that's just not possible... if he's in a relaxed state and is occasionally lowering his head to the ground... THAT is when you draw your bow or raise your rifle. If you don't have that luxury... he's just tooling by... buckle-up buttercup 'cause you're going to have to draw your weapon and aim altogether in one motion because once he sees your motion he'll likely pick up the pace of his walk to a trot, won't be a Stott just yet because he's not sure what you are because of the concealment gear.

SIDE NOTE: On your bow, you should have your draw weight set to a poundage where YOU PERSONALLY can pull it back ninja slowly and quietly directly back... without all this pointing the bow up at the sky business and lowering it as well down into the pull... and also you should be able to do it without any grunting from the exertion.

Like an idiot... my dumb a$$ goes and orders a 70# draw-weight bow. It arrives at my door. Excited I grab it to pull back and...Yeah... that's not happenin'. Luckily this particular one allows adjustability. For me that magic number wound up being 54 Lbs of draw weight. Don't be a dummy like and order a 70# draw weight. TOTALLY not necessary at all.

Now... some personal notes: I highly recommend that you talk to your Dr and get an Rx for a limited number of Tylenol #3's or an opiod like Percoset or Vicodin if that works for you (I can't do Vic's, my skin itches horribly on that stuff) if you can swing it. You'll explain to them that it's for your hunting pack so that in case...er...check that... WHEN... you get injured, you can limp your sorry a$$ back to your vehicle. Also... you will likely want it for the first time you get to pack-out an animal on your back. On the pack-out.. life gets serious REAL DAMN QUICK!!

Let's take a moment to talk about money. If you are serious and committed and know for sure that this is something you want to do and you are committed to sticking with it... you need to do yourself and your body a BIG HUGE FAVOR and buy yourself a serious hunting pack. On my first pack-out it was a used BadLands 2200. Not a bad pack, mind you... but... the hip belt kept on loosening back up. So I kept having to cinch the heck out of it. And it's just not as nicely designed for the hauling out meat aspect of it. OMG... over the next 3 days all the skin on my abdomen started to redden and blister from all the abuse it rec'd that night on that packout! I was freakin' out, thinking to myself "OMG!!! WTF?? Does this happen to everyone who packs out an animal?" So of course I asked around and showed the pics and NO... a BIG FAT NO... this does not happen to everybody. It only happens when you're not using good equipment, and equipment that's NOT properly adjusted for your bodies dimensions too.

And be prepared... chances are highly likely that when that magical moment happens and you get your first deer... once you raise to standing by walking your hands from all fours... to onto your knees and up your thighs until you're vertically upright... you won't want to have to do that again, so you're highly likely to decide "Naw bump that.... I'll come back for the tent and stuff." RE: The pack-out. I strongly urge you to have at least 1 nice carbon fiber trekking pole with you in your pack. When you are hiking back out... especially on downhill slopes with all that weight in your pack... scary sh!t will happen where without a trekking pole... your feet may slide and for a brief instant your upper leg will be pointing one way, and your lower leg will slip and twist and point another way sending frightening messages from your nerves to your brain that Holy Sh1t, we almost just snapped our knee right there! DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN! On the pack-out, learn to take shorter, more sure-footed steps than you're used to. You will feel motivated to hustle and want to push it to get this weight off your back... just DON'T DO IT! And remember how I talked about those Tylenol #3's? Yeah... now's the time for one of them. But only 1!! If you take more than one... from all the squeezing that's going on from your pack-belt... you'll get all kinds of acid reflux if you try to take 2. An electrolyte supplement is crucial on the packout too. The very second you feel your calves get any kind of crampy, bust out with the electrolytes and aminos. Also... if you're just not pissing hardly at all on the packout... that should be your cue that you ain't drinkin' enough. I'm telling you all this because it's crazy important to make sure you're not fatigued any more than you have to be on the packout. Anybody who's every rode MotoX or Desert will tell you that fatigue is when crashes happen, and that's some isht you DO NOT want happening in the middle of the night with a big ol' bag of bloodied-up Deer meat strapped on your back, believe that Jack!

After you've finally read all this, hit me up on this thread with any other questions. Since I very recently went thru learning all this starting from scratch, I'm betting I can give you exactly the answer you're looking for that will keep you from wasting time and money.
 

Robertp75

New Member
Dec 1, 2018
5
8
3
19
Robert, welcome. Where are you located?
Hi Robert
Welcome
Start posting and asking questions.
Read the Ca Fish and Wildlife reqs.
Until you know it well.
By posting you are letting people get to know you.
Get ONXHunt app. On the smart phone.
Start walking Public land like National forest and BLM.
Lot of hunters here on same issue starting out.
What Ilovesprig said is very good info.
What Waterdog said is important
Which county are you in.
Those who are near you can reply.
Good luck
LB
Thanks for the welcoming, and I am from Los Angeles but willing to travel to hunt.
 

Robertp75

New Member
Dec 1, 2018
5
8
3
19
Robert, I DID exactly what you are seeking to do, starting in 2014.

I vaguely remember my Dad did some Pheasant hunting somewhere with agricultural fields when I was a kid occupying myself popping frogs in a ditch with a Daisy BB Gun, but that was it as far as my exposure to hunting. Fast forward to 45yo and a few marriages later, the idea comes around in my head again, figure I ain't getting any younger, better get on that now!

If one of your goals is a Deer, there are some things you will need to understand and wrap your head around.

Chances are very high you're going to have to do it Solo. Most people, do it Solo.

In the beginning when I researched it, I read that it typically takes 3-to-5 years before a new hunter makes his first big-game kill hunting public land in SoCal. I accomplished it in 1yr and 13days. And the only reason I did so was because of being dedicated to this pursuit. I scouted all that year. Minimum of 2 weekends each month, tried to make it 4 each month. In all that time I saw 25 Does... but only 1 Buck... (and best believe I brought that mofo home with me!).

It's gonna kinda work like this... at first, during the year, you be picking some places to go scout in that you saw in a Satellite view using some logic and reasoning. At first, when you go visit these areas... you'll puss-out and go to them after the sun is already up. You'll be an idiot and walk around constantly the whole day, maybe even blow thru your water and learn the hard lesson of how much water you actually need, and the lesson of not bothering to climb back out of some place until the sun goes down outta the sky a bit.

If you're lucky, you might notice some places of foot traffic where the deer prints are of decent size and the tracks look like they could possibly be newer in age. Or perhaps you find a property line bordering public land and there's a break in the fence, or a place where the barbed wire is unusually low because a tree died and fell over onto it... and you look at that ground and you can tell the critters have been making use of that bit of luck.

Then... since you're dedicated and doing it all year... you'll get "lucky" one day and get caught out in a monsoon. Hopefully you weren't an idiot and you packed some rain gear like you should EVER TIME YOU EVER GO OUT!!! The beauty part of that is the rain wipes the slate clean for tracks. So on the hike back out you'll see some brand new tracks and be able to make note of WHERE you saw those tracks on your GPS with a waypoint.

By this point, hopefully you've ordered yourself at least 2 trailcameras and matching Python cable locks for them. Also by this time your eyes should start to get pretty good at noticing game trails (little foothpaths of traffic typically on the sides of hills, but not always on hills). On your hikes ins and hike outs LOOK UP!!! LOOK UP!!! STOP LOOKING AT YOUR DAMN FEET!!! You're never going to see anything if you're looking at your feet all the damn time!! You'd be amaze how much action you'll see once you start getting in the habit of looking up a lot more.

And always always always while you're out and about, you should be trying to walk around quietly. You'll end up walking past a critter that was hunkered down and playing the waiting game waiting for you to pass by a safe amount of distance before they break from cover and sneak away. It's a survival defense strategy and they're darn good at it sometimes.

Many places though...walking thru quietly is simply impossible due to the dried oak leaves super mega loud crunching. I different tactic is required in these areas.

Once you've been checking out an area a number of times while the sun has been up, placed up cams and come back to check them and "Behold! Eureka!! OMG I'm not just some idiot walking around alone in the forest there actually ARE freakin bucks out here!" It will do MUCH to rejuvenate your spirits and persistance in this pursuit.

Now my friend, is where I tell you one of the most important rules about hunting/scouting in SoCal. If you ain't out there BEFORE the sun comes up.. and if you ain't staying out there until the end of light... you ain't gonna see hardly anything. You've got to understand somethings. These deer are either getting moisture from the plants they eat, or getting it from watering sources they must expose themselves to great risk to go to. It's especially more risky to do so during the day. SO... during the day, they are all about the shade, and all about being hidden so then can finally get some sleep, and all about finding places that happen to have a nice cool breeze (I'm of course now talking about the warmer months of the year, which is most of them in SoCal). And if they can, I'm told they'll find an elevated position where they can see a wide FOV, and that the wind comes to them from behind so that their noses can warn them about anything their eyes aren't pointed at. And I've also been told that bucks will seek out these places which seem desolate and why would anybody go there? But they do so because they are impossible to walk thru without making a sh!t-ton of noise so it helps alert them when they're trying to catch a snooze.

So ok... now let's say that you're at a point where you've consistently captured some bucks on a trail camera. And it's about to begin the deer season in the states deer zone you've chosen to get your tag in. What's next GDog?

At this point, the assumptions are that you've already got yourself equipped and experienced to where you can hike-in to a spot... leaving your car at between 3am-4am in the dark... to hike let's say about 6-7 miles in, with the goal to arrive there 30min before sunrise.

At this point in the game, your goals are scent control protocol, getting to your spot quietly and undetected, and KNOWING THE WIND so you can be picking a spot to sit at with your concealment gear on where your scent WON'T blow to a direction you believe they will be coming-in from.

SIDE NOTE: This is where all your pre-season scouting pays off dividends! You use the pre-season scouting to do things like note WHEN and HOW the direction of the wind changes depending on the time of day it is at this particular spot. You actually sit-down at these various spots you're thinking might be good ones to sit at. Can you see well from here? (Mihgt look like a good spot, but when you sit down you realize aw poop can't see over to there because blah blah blah is in the way) Can you shoot from here? If need be...NOW... pre-season... is the time to be bustin' out with a hatchet or a saw to trim away branches or deadfall that might impede your moment of truth. ALSO its a great time to be yanking around pieces of left-behind deadfall the forresty service trims off and just leaves on the ground to make them into ground blinds. ALSO... that great spot to sit at?... How long does it remain in the shade? You may need to either pick another spot OR just realize that this spot is only going to serve you until up to X o'clock at which point you'll have to move over to this other tree over here. Your movements stick out like a sore thumb when the sun is shining on you! RE: Movements - When you're on your sit.... if you feel you need to turn your head to look into another direction... it should take you about 7 seconds to turn your head 90 degrees. Once you are in your sit spot. Seriously seriously seriously focus on not freaking moving, not making a sound. Don't sniff, don't cough, don't clear your throat. Learn to be ok with having a drip of snot hangin' off the end of your nose. Only after you've slowly checked for the coast to be clear on both sides do you then reach-up a finger to quietly wipe away the drip. Learn to look to the sides with your eyes first, then if need be... consider if it is necessary to slowly rotate your head in that direction. I have to wear glasses all the time now so unfortunately my ability to do that is severely limited these days.

On your way in.... you stash your tent and related gear near around the spot you think you're going to set the tent up at later, like maybe mid-day you come back and deal with setting it up. You take off the sweatied-up shirt you had on for the hike-in, replace it with a fresh one, maybe even re-spray with scent killer. Focus the spray on the stinky parts, pits and crotch and buttcrack. (I'm not making that up, read the directions on scent killer products!)

RE: Concealment gear - I cannot recommend enough getting yourself at least a set of 3D Leafy concealment gear! Together with a Mesh facemask. I used to use a ThermaCell device to try and keep the flies away and all that. But ever since I started using Leafy suits and Mesh Ghillie suits together with Mesh facemask... once you settle in and are not moving anymore. The bugs don't know you're there and leave you alone. You occasionally get one that might land on your glasses, but a soft quiet blow of air shoo's 'em away.

On the topic of concealment, you're there on your sit... Oh sh!t!, Oh Sh1t! OH SH!T!!!... OMG.... Here comes a Legal Buck! IT's finally happening!!!

Don't freakin' Blow it for yourself... whether bow or rifle... when possible, you want to wait until his eyes goes behind a tree or bush before you draw that bow or raise that rifle. If that's just not possible... if he's in a relaxed state and is occasionally lowering his head to the ground... THAT is when you draw your bow or raise your rifle. If you don't have that luxury... he's just tooling by... buckle-up buttercup 'cause you're going to have to draw your weapon and aim altogether in one motion because once he sees your motion he'll likely pick up the pace of his walk to a trot, won't be a Stott just yet because he's not sure what you are because of the concealment gear.

SIDE NOTE: On your bow, you should have your draw weight set to a poundage where YOU PERSONALLY can pull it back ninja slowly and quietly directly back... without all this pointing the bow up at the sky business and lowering it as well down into the pull... and also you should be able to do it without any grunting from the exertion.

Like an idiot... my dumb a$$ goes and orders a 70# draw-weight bow. It arrives at my door. Excited I grab it to pull back and...Yeah... that's not happenin'. Luckily this particular one allows adjustability. For me that magic number wound up being 54 Lbs of draw weight. Don't be a dummy like and order a 70# draw weight. TOTALLY not necessary at all.

Now... some personal notes: I highly recommend that you talk to your Dr and get an Rx for a limited number of Tylenol #3's or an opiod like Percoset or Vicodin if that works for you (I can't do Vic's, my skin itches horribly on that stuff) if you can swing it. You'll explain to them that it's for your hunting pack so that in case...er...check that... WHEN... you get injured, you can limp your sorry a$$ back to your vehicle. Also... you will likely want it for the first time you get to pack-out an animal on your back. On the pack-out.. life gets serious REAL DAMN QUICK!!

Let's take a moment to talk about money. If you are serious and committed and know for sure that this is something you want to do and you are committed to sticking with it... you need to do yourself and your body a BIG HUGE FAVOR and buy yourself a serious hunting pack. On my first pack-out it was a used BadLands 2200. Not a bad pack, mind you... but... the hip belt kept on loosening back up. So I kept having to cinch the heck out of it. And it's just not as nicely designed for the hauling out meat aspect of it. OMG... over the next 3 days all the skin on my abdomen started to redden and blister from all the abuse it rec'd that night on that packout! I was freakin' out, thinking to myself "OMG!!! WTF?? Does this happen to everyone who packs out an animal?" So of course I asked around and showed the pics and NO... a BIG FAT NO... this does not happen to everybody. It only happens when you're not using good equipment, and equipment that's NOT properly adjusted for your bodies dimensions too.

And be prepared... chances are highly likely that when that magical moment happens and you get your first deer... once you raise to standing by walking your hands from all fours... to onto your knees and up your thighs until you're vertically upright... you won't want to have to do that again, so you're highly likely to decide "Naw bump that.... I'll come back for the tent and stuff." RE: The pack-out. I strongly urge you to have at least 1 nice carbon fiber trekking pole with you in your pack. When you are hiking back out... especially on downhill slopes with all that weight in your pack... scary sh!t will happen where without a trekking pole... your feet may slide and for a brief instant your upper leg will be pointing one way, and your lower leg will slip and twist and point another way sending frightening messages from your nerves to your brain that Holy Sh1t, we almost just snapped our knee right there! DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN! On the pack-out, learn to take shorter, more sure-footed steps than you're used to. You will feel motivated to hustle and want to push it to get this weight off your back... just DON'T DO IT! And remember how I talked about those Tylenol #3's? Yeah... now's the time for one of them. But only 1!! If you take more than one... from all the squeezing that's going on from your pack-belt... you'll get all kinds of acid reflux if you try to take 2. An electrolyte supplement is crucial on the packout too. The very second you feel your calves get any kind of crampy, bust out with the electrolytes and aminos. Also... if you're just not pissing hardly at all on the packout... that should be your cue that you ain't drinkin' enough. I'm telling you all this because it's crazy important to make sure you're not fatigued any more than you have to be on the packout. Anybody who's every rode MotoX or Desert will tell you that fatigue is when crashes happen, and that's some isht you DO NOT want happening in the middle of the night with a big ol' bag of bloodied-up Deer meat strapped on your back, believe that Jack!

After you've finally read all this, hit me up on this thread with any other questions. Since I very recently went thru learning all this starting from scratch, I'm betting I can give you exactly the answer you're looking for that will keep you from wasting time and money.
Thanks a lot for taking your time to provide me information GDog, I honestly learned a lot from what you said. Right now I’m on the 10 day process with my rifle. I have binoculars coming in the mail. What else is a bare minimum that I need to scout? Bare minimum to hunt? I know you listed a few things but I honestly can’t afford to go out and purchase all that stuff at once. Yes I am committed to start hunting, it’s something that really excites me. I will eventually get everything you suggested and whatever else I need but just not all at once.
-Robert
 

longbowhunter2

Well-Known Member
Oct 16, 2013
5,261
2,061
113
on the mountain
Robert, I DID exactly what you are seeking to do, starting in 2014.

I vaguely remember my Dad did some Pheasant hunting somewhere with agricultural fields when I was a kid occupying myself popping frogs in a ditch with a Daisy BB Gun, but that was it as far as my exposure to hunting. Fast forward to 45yo and a few marriages later, the idea comes around in my head again, figure I ain't getting any younger, better get on that now!

If one of your goals is a Deer, there are some things you will need to understand and wrap your head around.


Chances are very high you're going to have to do it Solo. Most people, do it Solo.

In the beginning when I researched it, I read that it typically takes 3-to-5 years before a new hunter makes his first big-game kill hunting public land in SoCal. I accomplished it in 1yr and 13days. And the only reason I did so was because of being dedicated to this pursuit. I scouted all that year. Minimum of 2 weekends each month, tried to make it 4 each month. In all that time I saw 25 Does... but only 1 Buck... (and best believe I brought that mofo home with me!).

It's gonna kinda work like this... at first, during the year, you be picking some places to go scout in that you saw in a Satellite view using some logic and reasoning. At first, when you go visit these areas... you'll puss-out and go to them after the sun is already up. You'll be an idiot and walk around constantly the whole day, maybe even blow thru your water and learn the hard lesson of how much water you actually need, and the lesson of not bothering to climb back out of some place until the sun goes down outta the sky a bit.

If you're lucky, you might notice some places of foot traffic where the deer prints are of decent size and the tracks look like they could possibly be newer in age. Or perhaps you find a property line bordering public land and there's a break in the fence, or a place where the barbed wire is unusually low because a tree died and fell over onto it... and you look at that ground and you can tell the critters have been making use of that bit of luck.

Then... since you're dedicated and doing it all year... you'll get "lucky" one day and get caught out in a monsoon. Hopefully you weren't an idiot and you packed some rain gear like you should EVER TIME YOU EVER GO OUT!!! The beauty part of that is the rain wipes the slate clean for tracks. So on the hike back out you'll see some brand new tracks and be able to make note of WHERE you saw those tracks on your GPS with a waypoint.

By this point, hopefully you've ordered yourself at least 2 trailcameras and matching Python cable locks for them. Also by this time your eyes should start to get pretty good at noticing game trails (little foothpaths of traffic typically on the sides of hills, but not always on hills). On your hikes ins and hike outs LOOK UP!!! LOOK UP!!! STOP LOOKING AT YOUR DAMN FEET!!! You're never going to see anything if you're looking at your feet all the damn time!! You'd be amaze how much action you'll see once you start getting in the habit of looking up a lot more.

And always always always while you're out and about, you should be trying to walk around quietly. You'll end up walking past a critter that was hunkered down and playing the waiting game waiting for you to pass by a safe amount of distance before they break from cover and sneak away. It's a survival defense strategy and they're darn good at it sometimes.

Many places though...walking thru quietly is simply impossible due to the dried oak leaves super mega loud crunching. I different tactic is required in these areas.

Once you've been checking out an area a number of times while the sun has been up, placed up cams and come back to check them and "Behold! Eureka!! OMG I'm not just some idiot walking around alone in the forest there actually ARE freakin bucks out here!" It will do MUCH to rejuvenate your spirits and persistance in this pursuit.

Now my friend, is where I tell you one of the most important rules about hunting/scouting in SoCal. If you ain't out there BEFORE the sun comes up.. and if you ain't staying out there until the end of light... you ain't gonna see hardly anything. You've got to understand somethings. These deer are either getting moisture from the plants they eat, or getting it from watering sources they must expose themselves to great risk to go to. It's especially more risky to do so during the day. SO... during the day, they are all about the shade, and all about being hidden so then can finally get some sleep, and all about finding places that happen to have a nice cool breeze (I'm of course now talking about the warmer months of the year, which is most of them in SoCal). And if they can, I'm told they'll find an elevated position where they can see a wide FOV, and that the wind comes to them from behind so that their noses can warn them about anything their eyes aren't pointed at. And I've also been told that bucks will seek out these places which seem desolate and why would anybody go there? But they do so because they are impossible to walk thru without making a sh!t-ton of noise so it helps alert them when they're trying to catch a snooze.

So ok... now let's say that you're at a point where you've consistently captured some bucks on a trail camera. And it's about to begin the deer season in the states deer zone you've chosen to get your tag in. What's next GDog?

At this point, the assumptions are that you've already got yourself equipped and experienced to where you can hike-in to a spot... leaving your car at between 3am-4am in the dark... to hike let's say about 6-7 miles in, with the goal to arrive there 30min before sunrise.

At this point in the game, your goals are scent control protocol, getting to your spot quietly and undetected, and KNOWING THE WIND so you can be picking a spot to sit at with your concealment gear on where your scent WON'T blow to a direction you believe they will be coming-in from.

SIDE NOTE: This is where all your pre-season scouting pays off dividends! You use the pre-season scouting to do things like note WHEN and HOW the direction of the wind changes depending on the time of day it is at this particular spot. You actually sit-down at these various spots you're thinking might be good ones to sit at. Can you see well from here? (Mihgt look like a good spot, but when you sit down you realize aw poop can't see over to there because blah blah blah is in the way) Can you shoot from here? If need be...NOW... pre-season... is the time to be bustin' out with a hatchet or a saw to trim away branches or deadfall that might impede your moment of truth. ALSO its a great time to be yanking around pieces of left-behind deadfall the forresty service trims off and just leaves on the ground to make them into ground blinds. ALSO... that great spot to sit at?... How long does it remain in the shade? You may need to either pick another spot OR just realize that this spot is only going to serve you until up to X o'clock at which point you'll have to move over to this other tree over here. Your movements stick out like a sore thumb when the sun is shining on you! RE: Movements - When you're on your sit.... if you feel you need to turn your head to look into another direction... it should take you about 7 seconds to turn your head 90 degrees. Once you are in your sit spot. Seriously seriously seriously focus on not freaking moving, not making a sound. Don't sniff, don't cough, don't clear your throat. Learn to be ok with having a drip of snot hangin' off the end of your nose. Only after you've slowly checked for the coast to be clear on both sides do you then reach-up a finger to quietly wipe away the drip. Learn to look to the sides with your eyes first, then if need be... consider if it is necessary to slowly rotate your head in that direction. I have to wear glasses all the time now so unfortunately my ability to do that is severely limited these days.

On your way in.... you stash your tent and related gear near around the spot you think you're going to set the tent up at later, like maybe mid-day you come back and deal with setting it up. You take off the sweatied-up shirt you had on for the hike-in, replace it with a fresh one, maybe even re-spray with scent killer. Focus the spray on the stinky parts, pits and crotch and buttcrack. (I'm not making that up, read the directions on scent killer products!)

RE: Concealment gear - I cannot recommend enough getting yourself at least a set of 3D Leafy concealment gear! Together with a Mesh facemask. I used to use a ThermaCell device to try and keep the flies away and all that. But ever since I started using Leafy suits and Mesh Ghillie suits together with Mesh facemask... once you settle in and are not moving anymore. The bugs don't know you're there and leave you alone. You occasionally get one that might land on your glasses, but a soft quiet blow of air shoo's 'em away.

On the topic of concealment, you're there on your sit... Oh sh!t!, Oh Sh1t! OH SH!T!!!... OMG.... Here comes a Legal Buck! IT's finally happening!!!

Don't freakin' Blow it for yourself... whether bow or rifle... when possible, you want to wait until his eyes goes behind a tree or bush before you draw that bow or raise that rifle. If that's just not possible... if he's in a relaxed state and is occasionally lowering his head to the ground... THAT is when you draw your bow or raise your rifle. If you don't have that luxury... he's just tooling by... buckle-up buttercup 'cause you're going to have to draw your weapon and aim altogether in one motion because once he sees your motion he'll likely pick up the pace of his walk to a trot, won't be a Stott just yet because he's not sure what you are because of the concealment gear.

SIDE NOTE: On your bow, you should have your draw weight set to a poundage where YOU PERSONALLY can pull it back ninja slowly and quietly directly back... without all this pointing the bow up at the sky business and lowering it as well down into the pull... and also you should be able to do it without any grunting from the exertion.

Like an idiot... my dumb a$$ goes and orders a 70# draw-weight bow. It arrives at my door. Excited I grab it to pull back and...Yeah... that's not happenin'. Luckily this particular one allows adjustability. For me that magic number wound up being 54 Lbs of draw weight. Don't be a dummy like and order a 70# draw weight. TOTALLY not necessary at all.

Now... some personal notes: I highly recommend that you talk to your Dr and get an Rx for a limited number of Tylenol #3's or an opiod like Percoset or Vicodin if that works for you (I can't do Vic's, my skin itches horribly on that stuff) if you can swing it. You'll explain to them that it's for your hunting pack so that in case...er...check that... WHEN... you get injured, you can limp your sorry a$$ back to your vehicle. Also... you will likely want it for the first time you get to pack-out an animal on your back. On the pack-out.. life gets serious REAL DAMN QUICK!!

Let's take a moment to talk about money. If you are serious and committed and know for sure that this is something you want to do and you are committed to sticking with it... you need to do yourself and your body a BIG HUGE FAVOR and buy yourself a serious hunting pack. On my first pack-out it was a used BadLands 2200. Not a bad pack, mind you... but... the hip belt kept on loosening back up. So I kept having to cinch the heck out of it. And it's just not as nicely designed for the hauling out meat aspect of it. OMG... over the next 3 days all the skin on my abdomen started to redden and blister from all the abuse it rec'd that night on that packout! I was freakin' out, thinking to myself "OMG!!! WTF?? Does this happen to everyone who packs out an animal?" So of course I asked around and showed the pics and NO... a BIG FAT NO... this does not happen to everybody. It only happens when you're not using good equipment, and equipment that's NOT properly adjusted for your bodies dimensions too.

And be prepared... chances are highly likely that when that magical moment happens and you get your first deer... once you raise to standing by walking your hands from all fours... to onto your knees and up your thighs until you're vertically upright... you won't want to have to do that again, so you're highly likely to decide "Naw bump that.... I'll come back for the tent and stuff." RE: The pack-out. I strongly urge you to have at least 1 nice carbon fiber trekking pole with you in your pack. When you are hiking back out... especially on downhill slopes with all that weight in your pack... scary sh!t will happen where without a trekking pole... your feet may slide and for a brief instant your upper leg will be pointing one way, and your lower leg will slip and twist and point another way sending frightening messages from your nerves to your brain that Holy Sh1t, we almost just snapped our knee right there! DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN! On the pack-out, learn to take shorter, more sure-footed steps than you're used to. You will feel motivated to hustle and want to push it to get this weight off your back... just DON'T DO IT! And remember how I talked about those Tylenol #3's? Yeah... now's the time for one of them. But only 1!! If you take more than one... from all the squeezing that's going on from your pack-belt... you'll get all kinds of acid reflux if you try to take 2. An electrolyte supplement is crucial on the packout too. The very second you feel your calves get any kind of crampy, bust out with the electrolytes and aminos. Also... if you're just not pissing hardly at all on the packout... that should be your cue that you ain't drinkin' enough. I'm telling you all this because it's crazy important to make sure you're not fatigued any more than you have to be on the packout. Anybody who's every rode MotoX or Desert will tell you that fatigue is when crashes happen, and that's some isht you DO NOT want happening in the middle of the night with a big ol' bag of bloodied-up Deer meat strapped on your back, believe that Jack!

After you've finally read all this, hit me up on this thread with any other questions. Since I very recently went thru learning all this starting from scratch, I'm betting I can give you exactly the answer you're looking for that will keep you from wasting time and money.
LOL hell of post I like it.
 
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TheGDog

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At first for Binos, either 8x or 10x, (PS, make sure at least 42mm!!) cause ya figure you're going to be using them hand-held. I usually use 8x's because they are easier to hand-hold and easier to get on target with for checking something that you *think* might be an animal. Normally though... just wait and keep watching, and if no movement at all.. more than likely it's just vegetation... yet again... messing with your mind and making itself look like something you're wishing was there.

Get in the habit of putting the lense covers back on after each use. Not as important of the objective ends since they hang off your bino harness and point downward, but on the eyepiece ends its definitely helpful, cause sweat will drip onto em otherwise.

Water: Platypus Big Zip 3 liter is most economical while still having all the features you need. I also use Vapur water-bag-bottles as well. to Carry a liter or two of either water or amino recovery stuff already mixed up. They are nice to have once already at your sit. They are easier to drink from quietly, and as they empty, you get back space in your pack! DO NOT hang one of those on your hip if you're working thru nasty buck-brush! It WILL pierce them. ALSO... another benefit of having the extra water-bags with me is that if you have a main bag fail on you and develop a leak. You're not completely screwed. You at least have some other water to get you back outta there. Running out of water is terribly freightening business. You DO NOT wanna go there!

Goto REI and buy those Eagle Creek super thin nylon zippered bags they have for organizing the stuff you're going to take in your pack.

In one I do medicines. Allergy eye drops, Imodium (ALWAYS TAKE THIS!) I get Acid Reflux easy so I always take Zantac's. I take breath-right strips and Zrytec pills as well. Helps me to not sniff out there where I go because at times there can be a sh1t-ton of irritants in the air. Pollen, Bark, I dunno. Lip Balm. And a small tube of Preparation-H. Don't laugh, with all that sitting, you couple that with having a bad day in terms of going #2 (remember the Imodium?) . Some sports cushioned blister tape. Using a small one of those bags I keep that on my hip belt. In another one I keep in the pack I have Quick-Clot and self-adhering Gauze roll, and several of the largest sized waterproof adhesive bandages. ALWAYS bring AT LEAST two different forms of lights source! And make sure to bring extra batteries for both of them! I also have hats and beanies that have LED lights built into them. They are very cool for when you're in the tent looking for something, or when you get back to the truck and are putting stuff away. Make sure your headlamp has a low a high and a red beam. A low beam of like around 40 lumens is usually all I ever use because I'm paranoid about running out of light when out there and they usually can run like 8 or 9 hrs on that low setting. If you can... its better to find a backup flashlight with a clip that can clasp to your caps visor if possible. They are not as common to find though.

In another larger zippered bag I have my kill-kit. The envelope with your hunting license and the tags in it, a pen. a ziploc with a healthy number of 14" zip-ties in it. A small ziploc with 3 or 4 pairs of Nitrile gloves in it.

You need a Havalon replaceable scalpel blade type knife for processing the animal. They don't weigh anything and ya can bring a few more blades along. Look on YouTube and watch how to do "Gutless Method" for removing the meat from the deer. Watch this video MANY times at first. Pay special attention to how to get at the Tenderloins! You don't want to mess up and leave this behind because you didn't know any better! You're also going to need another traditional knife to backup this one. I use a more traditional knife for making those cuts where the knife blade will be scraping across bone, such as separating the foreleg at the knee joint, and when making that backstrap cut where you're sliding your knife along the rib cage. The initial cut beside the vertebrae I do that with the Havalon. Also I use the more traditional knife for separating the skull from the spine at the Atlas joint. Watch videos about doing that too! You're going to need a multi-tool so you can have Pliers and a Screwdriver with you as well. I've had to tighten-up the screws in my Tripod stool more than a few times. The pliers with wire cutters can be helpful for cutting snapping-off a bunch of annoying branches that are poking into you where you're backed up into a tree for your sit. Also the pliers are a neat way to snap off a Rabbits feet and head when cleaning them! (Just did that last night actually!). These days in my pocket I carry a Leatherman Skeletool CX. Gives me pliers, screw driver and a knife to backup the Havalon, and only weighs 5oz.

Also in the kill-kit you're going to need game bags. People will tell you you can just bring pillow cases. It'll work, but that's dumb. They are "heavy" and bulky. What I now bring that works phenomenal? Kifaru (a company that makes high-end hunting packs and other hunting gear) has these meat bags that are crazy light and tuff! I put the meat in one of those... (it holds it into a nice tall cylindrical shape that easy to fit in your pack) and I use an Alaskan game bag for the hide and skull. I zip-tie the game bag onto the antlers to close it and ensure it won't come off in transit.

Always throw-in at least one microfiber wash-cloth into your hunting pack. When clean, they can wipe your optics. And... give you something to help wipe your hands and knives clean with when you get lucky. BTW, re cleaning your hands or stuff in the field. Learn how to put water into your mouth... then spit out a thin stream of it to efficiently allow you to rinse stuff off without wasting much water at all.

Buy a Klymit Kush inflatable sit pad. Even though you'll probably get a Tripod stool that you'll bring with you for your sit... you can get real sore from the long hours on the darn thing and being able to introduce that inflatale pad you can move around every so often is really helpful.

At some point... you will likely encounter a scenario where a tree has fallen over onto a trail you're wanting to proceed on... and it happens at a place where there might not be safe options in terms of going around it. So having at least a small slim folding pocket bone saw and a super lightweight pack hatchet can prove helpful. I have an 11oz Elk Ridge pack hatchet. I wrapped Hockey Stick/Tennis Racket grip tape around its handle. Works great. (You just have to understand how to use one properly. And understand that if its something sizeable, it could take a bit to chop at it enough to where you can break it off.) I recently had to bore a whole thru 3 trees that fell onto the trail at a point where the detour is very cliff-like. So on one of my trips out there I decided to leave a little early in the pm and spent some time hacking thru it just enough so that I could crawl thru it with my pack still on and didn't have to expose myself to the huge risk of going around on that cliff-like side anymore (and on the other side is a very sheer rock face so going that route would require back-tracking down the trail and finding some spot where I could get up there and all kindsa bad noise so I said to myself bump that.

You'll want a separate zippered bag also for storing your hard plastic cathole digger on some pouch on the outside of your pack. Besides doing the polite thing of burying your waste, they can be helpful for flattening out the spot where you're going to pitch your tent at. Digging out rocks and weeds, etc so the surface can be flat.

I always wear camo'd liner gloves. Keep your hands from getting sun-burnt. ALWAYS bring a pair of colder weather gloves too! I always bring an extra pair of liner socks and Merino wool socks. At hot days, it gives you some non-sweatied up socks to change over into so your feet don't get as hurt. When your socks get wet the fibers can be rough/murder on your skin. On cold days... if your sokcs happen to manage to get wet (like stepping into an area that you didn't know was like quick-sand...yeah... that actually happened!) you have another dry pair to swap into.

Also... they have these paracord bracelet things with click closures. Get one of those also. they are a great way to ensure that something you're tying onto the outside of your pack doesn't get lost if the tying straps should come undone. You have that paracord thing running thru something of the item and clicked throw some kind of loop on your bag. This works really good when sending your kids away on a campout with scouts too. Teaching them to secure the whatever to their bag with those paracord bracelets. And..ya know.. if you ever get in a jam, it's alos more paracord at your disposal.

RE: Snack foods - Honey Stinger Waffles!!! Squeezable Applesauces are a bit of a luxury but quick and easy and very refreshing. The rest I'll leave up to you. I get acid reflux easy so I have to spend a lot of time finding what works decently for me.

Also... lil side note. I store my GPS inside a thin tube of microfiber cloth so screen doesn't get scratched in the pack. When I transport trailcams I put em into thick knee high Moto/Soccer socks also for same reason so they don't get scratched.

You'll also need to get yourself an Ammo wallet so you can store more rounds in your pack.

When you get your BearSpray, make sure the holster it has for it has some kind of retention strap, otherwise what happens is when you sit down on a rock for a second out on the trail... or plop down on the ground in the shade of a tree because you're dying from heat... the damn BearSpray canister will silently slip right out of a holster with no retention strap on it. No bueno.
 
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TheGDog

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What did you get for a rifle?

Oh... BTW.. that have that same self-adhering camo wraps for your rifle. They work great. Just remember that if you ever get caught in the rain... when you get home... take them off!!! And Clean, dry and re-oil the metal. Otherwise it's holding moisture against the metal and makes it rust!

Eventually you'll need to take them off and do that stuff anyway because the sweat and oils from your hands will get into the fabric and that can also cause rust to form.
 

TheGDog

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OH yeah... BTW... if you look into buying a fixed blade knife... know this... you need to find one with a sheath where the whole entirety of the knife is held down below the belt line. Otherwise... when you strap on your hunting pack.. it's a pain in the a$$ because the top of the knife gets pushed by your hip belt and causes the sheath to need to awkwardly rotate to one side or another so the top of the knife can fit under your hunting packs hip-belt.

Frankly that issue baffles me that hardly any of the manufacturers handle this properly! You'd figured they'd all know about that problem, but whatever.
 

TheGDog

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Another thing... re: tracks - In time you will learn to look for a very well defined outline on the track (signifying the wind hasn't had time yet to blow on it and soften the edges of its outline). And learn how to notice if the earth inside the track happens to have an ever-so-slightly darker color to it, signifying it has some moisture in it. With our hot sun and hi temps thats one of the very few indicators of how recently it happened.

Also... morning dew on grasses and leaves is an awesome Tattle-Tale as you start going into the colder months! In our colder months, when some water actually hits and condensation becomes more heavy over night... the grasses grow a lil bit and it becomes much more clearly defined and easier to see if they've been recently passing thru that line you spotted thru a meadow, connecting to another cluster of oaks.
 

ilovesprig

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My "attention to detail" skills have been honed by over 25yrs of computer programming. It's a curse really. Most humans don't like somebody with that level of attention to detail. Their attention spans can't support it.
I really like common sense.
 

TheGDog

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I really like common sense.
Common sense is a funny thing.

You grow up experiencing the world thru your own brain and mind and thought processes... the natural tendency is to just assume what you'd consider to be "common sense" would be something everybody would know.

But then... you have to grow up and get a job and move out of the house... and that's when it hits you... "OMFG!!! The world is absolutely FULL of stupid people!!!". And the sheer magnitude of what percentage of the masses falls into this class of folks is STAGGERING!
 

ilovesprig

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Common sense is a funny thing.

You grow up experiencing the world thru your own brain and mind and thought processes... the natural tendency is to just assume what you'd consider to be "common sense" would be something everybody would know.

But then... you have to grow up and get a job and move out of the house... and that's when it hits you... "OMFG!!! The world is absolutely FULL of stupid people!!!". And the sheer magnitude of what percentage of the masses falls into this class of folks is STAGGERING!
Yes, they're called democrats...…...lol
 

longbowhunter2

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Common sense is a funny thing.

You grow up experiencing the world thru your own brain and mind and thought processes... the natural tendency is to just assume what you'd consider to be "common sense" would be something everybody would know.

But then... you have to grow up and get a job and move out of the house... and that's when it hits you... "OMFG!!! The world is absolutely FULL of stupid people!!!". And the sheer magnitude of what percentage of the masses falls into this class of folks is STAGGERING!
Yes some don't have any.