Monday, May 3, 2010

Hunting With New Friends
Many of you know that I am a frequent contributor over at I have met some wonderful people from the forums and look forward to meeting more. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Mike McNamara. He's a local hunter, archer, a just a good all-around guy. We immediately hit it off and decided that at some point in the near future we'd do some target shooting or hunt together.

For the past three weeks, Mike and I had been playing phone tag, text tag and shooting emails back and forth. Seeing as it is the off-season for many animals we decided to go do some jackrabbit hunting and do some scouting near Hesperia and the San Bernardino National Forest. We had both done some research and if anyone hunts Southern California they will tell you one thing - it is HARD finding good public areas to hunt! I love a challenge, but this can make your brain shrivel in despair if you aren't careful. We had looked at the maps, asked around and we came to the conclusion that we'd go check out an area that Mike had been to and see if we could fling a few arrows at some jacks. 

We met up Sunday morning in Tustin and all I am glad Mike had his 4-wheel drive vehicle. My car wouldn't have been able to handle the terrain we traversed.  We hit a few areas near the SBNF and found it all posted or no access. The terrain was very steep and not ideal for jack hunting. So we drove and chatted and shared many of our personal hunting adventures. One of my favorite things about hunting is just getting to know someone and hearing what they have to say. Mike and I had plenty to share with one another along the way. Mike has a passion for hunting like I do and by the time we got to the area we had mapped out we were both ready to shoot something. Unfortunately for us, that area is now all posted with No Trespassing signs. Now, I don't know if it's private land and they just recently posted it or if it's public land and some of the guys put up some small signs just trying to keep everyone else out. Either way, Mike and I were not about to breach the perimeter of the property.

As we sat in the truck and contemplated our next move we realized that doing more research, printing out the maps and talking to the biologists in the area is essential before a hunt in Southern California. Most hunters won't give up their spots, for good reason, but the biologists may offer some advice. From what I have heard, the biologists who hunt are pretty tight-lipped and those who do not may share a tidbit or two, but are quiet as well. Have any of you experienced that? It's sad to hear that.

The drive back to Orange County was filled with future plans for some target practice and some hunting. To me it was a successful day. Two more hunters have shared their knowledge with one another. We realized what we need to do for any future hunt to be more successful in SoCal and we have a plan. While each of us having families and taking care of them is our #1 priority, we will still get out and hunt when we can.

While the hunt didn't produce any meat, Mike and I became friends. It's proof-positive that if you are willing to help out a hunting brother and spend some time getting to know one another that you can build a bond that will hopefully last a long time. Hopefully, our next hunt will be full of adventure and produce some meat for the freezer. Until then it's target practice and dreams.

1 comment:

  1. Al, sounds like you had a great day inspite of lack of trigger pull. Your dealings with biologist I think is pretty typical and I'm not to sure why some of them are tight lipped. Even when you ask about Moose or goat or sheep they are pretty vague and there really isn't any reason to be because there is so few tags given out. My guess is they are afraid someone will come back after an unsuccessful hunt and blame them for their failure. If you get in tight enough with one, they will give out information but there again its pretty general, but in the long run, thats good enough for me. My father in law is the champ when it comes to working biologist so we usually leave that up to him. This reminds me of an experience we had last year with a couple - I may have to blog about it.