NEED ADVICE - complete newbie here


New Member
Feb 4, 2012
Hi there.

Complete newb here so please be nice.

The lowdown:

Husband is interested in learning to hunt etc. He is also a complete newb. We both don't come from families that hunt or do anything of the sort. We were both born and raised in Los Angeles (that should give you an indication of our expertise in the matter). But he's always wanted to get into this sport and I figured this would make a great birthday present - getting his feet wet. He seems to think he can just go out there and start shooting at things. I think differently. I'm sure there is a lot that needs to go on before he should step out there into the "wild" - classes? licenses? guides?

My reasons for wanting to know the proper steps are twofold. One - respect for the sport (I'm sure there are rules of hunting etiquette, etc that should be learned first and followed) and secondly, I rather he didn't get shot or shoot anybody else in the ass. (Although with his life insurance policy, he IS worth more dead to me than alive - but nevertheless, I'd like for him to stick around for awhile longer since our baby is just 4 months old.)

So please help. Anybody in the LA area or Southern California area? I understand there are classes to take (online and followups), certificates, licenses, etc? Suggestions for outings? Are there any companies that do guided hunting trips, lessons, etc? Do you start off hunting small animals (rabbits, pigeons, etc) before you can move onto bigger game?

Basically what he wants to do is to experience the entire process of hunting an animal, and then preparing it (skinning and whatnot), to cooking it, and finally to serving it as a meal.

And if it matters any, his birthday is in early March so is this something that I could put together for him by then? And what costs should I be aware of?

THANK YOU in advance.
You have your hands full with this one. I would reccomend taking a hunters safety class to start you off. I am sure there are multiple people in the LA area, I am only familiar with the San Diego area and people that have the safety courses you can take. Do you have anyone that you could shadow the first couple of years/times out in the field? Hunting is very serious and things can go wrong quiclky if you make bad decisions. There are multiple people on the site that live in the LA area and hopfully they can answer more of your questions.

Best of luck to you and your husband,

Larry Cochran
Hunter safety course is the place to start.I would not recommend taking it on line.There will be questions that cant be answered on line that an instructor will help to answer. Remember safety is the goal and that's hard to get from answering a few questions on line.

Next he will need some sort of weapon gun or archery. Then spend some time at the local range learning to use the weapon safely. While at the range start talking to people. People wont give up info right away,need to build a relationship with them first.

Spend time on the forums,read hunting magazines,find people that hunt and talk to them.
Get some maps and find legal places to hunt.Trespassing is a big deal.

There are outfitters and guides that you can hire but they can be expensive.

Good luck
Thanks for the feedback! I guess I'll start with the safety courses since they are required anyways to get a hunting license. Hopefully in the classes, the instructors will have more info about local areas or guides.
Larry - actually that's exactly what I'm looking for .. somebody with experience who would be willing or is looking for company on one of their trips in the LA area. That way he/she can show my husband the ropes. Don't know if anybody is that nice or patient though but hey, it's worth a shot. Hence me poking around in these forums. :)
There was a guy that posted about 6 months back that was looking for a hunting partner. He knew the spots and was willing to teach and split gas. I'll see if I can search for his old post.
Very refreshing to hear from someone that is interested in a sport that doesn't get much support in this part of the world. As an introduction I would suggest that you and yours should just go out without any perceived notions about what you want to have happen and spend some time in wild places.Try and find some spots close to where you live so you can go often and walk, look and listen to what is around you, take some binoculars if you have them as it will give you a better chance to see what is there. Be quiet, move slowly, keep the wind in your face and whisper to communicate as wild animals are very keen to the human voice. Go off trail where allowed so you can possibly find and observe what others may have passed by. So Cal is full of canyons so with a little work you should be able to find places that if you watch and listen will teach you scores about how animals behave and from there you will begin to understand how to get close and take an animal.

As far as taking an animal for the table as mentioned by the previous posts it is mandatory to get your hunter safety and become safe and compotent with your hunting tools before taking to the field with them.

There is an old written journal from the 1800's on how someone becomes and matures as a hunter, it begins with just wanting to take an animal then turns toward how many that can be taken then towards collecting a special one and goes onto just being out there and enjoying what the creator has given us and having the opportunities presented. Every aspect is great and worth the effort if you love the outdoors.

If you currently don't own equipment designed to take animals please spend the time to find which way you desire to hunt and seek people that are in the know about how to safely use the weapon. take lessons from them until you are proficient. To kill an animal for consumption means you owe them the responsibility of killing them with the least amount of trauma and stress. All of us on this forum support you and are willing to help as we can.
Hey snake charmer,

Thank you so much for the reply. That was really eloquent. Really brings forth the side of hunting, I think, that isn't usually seen, but I find the most intriguing - the spirituality of the craft and the respect for the act of taking a life in order to nourish human life. I think I might even just print that out and have the husband read it (when I'm ready to spring the surprise gift on him, that is).

I think I might be getting closer with my search now...

Does anybody have any experience or know the following people? Would you recommend them?
Hi Viview,

Welcome to the board - you have come to the right place regarding info and good people. We are glad you have signed up and look forward to watching you and your husband grow with this great heritage.

Highly Recommend
I saw that you were looking at the post "Hog Hunting Descanso, Ca." this morning and the light bulb went off. You nailed it! Get with Doug and Michelle from and attend some of their classes. All of their classes are set up to teach folks of all skill levels regarding hunting and outdoors.

Start off with the hunter safety class. His shooting, game butchering and GPS navigation classes are extremely informative and recommended too. Every level of hunter can learn from Doug and Michelle. If your husband attended all of the above classes - he would have all of the necessary knowledge to get started with confidence (and probably know more than most regarding specific disciplines).

The information you will get from these two folks is well worth your drive. Give Michelle a call, you won't be disappointed. Her number is: 619-445-2305

As far as - I have known Bert and Kris Claassen for 23 years. Definitely a great fair chase hunt but your husband needs to gain more experience. I would suggest getting involved with Doug and Michelle first then contact Bert and Kris.

Also go to the SCH main page and click on the "Hunting Info" tab at the top There is alot of information to be gained. One more site with good and important general information is the California Fish & Game site - take a peek:

Let us know how it all works out!

As my brothers have already mentioned, an education in hunter safety is first and foremost...and for good reason. Aside from all the legal aspects being a safe, and responsible, hunter is key in the current political climate that this state is in. Responsible stewardship of the land and the animals it bears is paramount in maintaining and preserving out hunting priviledges. It's the unsafe, uneducated, and irresponsible hunters you hear about; not the law abiding, hard working men and women out there doing their best to do it right. And it's those "undesirables" out there who ruin it for the rest of us. They give us all a bad rep, fuel the fire for the anti's and give them the ammunition they need to close hunting areas. So get educated and be responsible.

A hunter safety class will usually give some survival tips as well. I know, I's California and you think there is no way you'll ever get lost or stranded...but it happens and having an idea of how to stay safe, warm, and alive is a good thing to go into the field with.

I congratulate you on your quest to get your husband into the wilds this state has to offer. If only there were more wives like you, we'd all be happier men! Just don't blame us when he decides to hunt longer!

Oh, and one more thing. Look in to getting him a membership to the National Rifle Association (NRA). They're the biggest proponent for us Americans to maintain our RIGHT to bear arms. Without them, who knows what this country would look like today.
Ditto to what everyone else is saying. Hunting successfully is a highly specialized skill. It takes many years of intense mentoring and lots of hours in the woods to be efficient at this sport. Try not to be in a hurry to have a total hunting experience (Meat on the table.). Sometimes the mistakes are the best part.

My suggestion is start practicing now and wait for dove season (Sept. 1st) If you go to the right spot, doves are easy. The key is to have that all-important "positive 1st experience." If you don't want to wait that long go see my neighbors Doug and Michelle McClanahan. If you want to step up to a larger world, go on a guided hunt. Try Catalina Island Deer hunts, Camp 5 Outfitters in Pasa Robles or Tejon Ranch. Those hunts can be a little pricey but well worth the $ most of the time. It beats the heck out of going out 20 times in the Cleveland National Forest without the benefit of experience, then seeing nothing.

Just a thought!
I found this on the web posted on another forum. But it is sage advice.

"Jim Zumbo, Craig Boddington, Ron Spomer and Wayne Van Zwoll are all solid contributers to the modern hunting literature. Through their gifts (both hunting and writing) they make us better hunters. Whether it is letting us learn from their mistakes or by teaching us new techniques,they help us harvest more game. But I suggest looking to the oldies, the fathers of the outdoor writing craft, to learn tricks that you might have not used.

I chose to shoot the 270 winchester because I grew up reading every Jack O'Connor piece I could get my hands on. Magazine article, book chapter or biography I would absorb as much hunting knowledge as I could from this wise old wizard of the hunting tradition. Elmer Kieth, Robert Ruark etc are in the same boat. Their stories might be half a century old but they were taking part in the same primal pursuit that we are. The technology might have changed, the equipment might have changed, the sizes of the game populations might be different... but the drive and pursuit is the same.

So hop on ebay or amazon and look for some of this old wisdom. You might just end up needing a bigger book shelf!"

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