Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Dawn of a New Era for the SoCal Bowhunter!

It is the dawning of a new era for the SoCal Bowhunter. Prior to moving to California from New York nearly a decade ago, I utilized my archery equipment and firearms to hunt. I focused on bow hunting mainly, but I also loved using my rifles and shotguns. When I moved to CA, I left my firearms in the care of my family and focused strictly on bow hunting. That time has come to an end. My rifles are now here in California and it is time to get them prepped for hunting! (It only took me ten years!)

Many of you are probably asking why I am moving away from bow hunting. I'm not leaving bow hunting behind at all! I have chosen to also utilize my rifles in California because I want to fill my freezer. I am out of red meat. Plus, I have the opportunity, so why pass it up? I want to hunt as much as I can, the most efficient ways possible. Most of the time I will continue to focus on bow hunting, but I also want to improve my odds. I also want to enjoy the hunting experience more. With the drought and so many hunters out here, breaking out the boom stick is a viable option.

To get things rolling, I have have installed new Vortex scope rings and a new MINOX ZA 5 3-15x50 scope on my Remington 270 WIN. This will give me incredible clarity, even in low light conditions, and with the ballistic reticle, I can shoot out to 400 yards comfortably. I know on paper I can shoot out to 500 yards, but with a 34-37" drop I think I'll stick to closer ranges with this weapon.

Brett and I ventured out to Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall, CA last night to sight our rifles in for this weekend. Yes, Saturday is the firearm deer season opener and we aim to be out there. Pun intended. Am I excited? You bet I am! I haven't hunted deer with a firearm at all in California, so this is going to be a new adventure for me. 

Brett and I drove an hour and a half last night to get to the only rifle range open past 5 PM. Brett was sighting in his .30-06 and I my .270 WIN. We were zeroing in for 200 yards. His first two shots were off the target, so we knew something was wrong.We spent some time with his scope and had a difficult time getting it zeroed in. When it was my turn, I was very high, but adjusted the turrets easily and I got a bit ahead of myself by adjusting too far. I feel like I wasted a couple rounds there. Our bullets have to be non-lead rounds out here, so as you can imagine they are not cheap. I shot nine shots total and got in a decent spot, and decided to let my barrel cool while Brett tried again. His shots went wide again and we then realized his turret locked up. It was a complete mess! Neither one of us could figure out what the problem was. Even the range manager couldn't get it to move. Talk about frustrating.

Back on the bench, I shot another 5 and got even closer while Brett tinkered with his scope as light was fading. Fortunately the range is lit up, but my targets were fairly dark at the center making it difficult to pinpoint the exact bullet hole. Then, by some miracle, Brett finally got his scope turret to adjust and was able to get closer yet. It was go time!

My next 3 shots put me in a great group. I adjusted slightly and my last 3 shots were exactly where I needed to be. I was ecstatic! I set my rifle down to cool and we looked over his rifle. I peered down his scope and saw that his lens was foggy around the edges and the clarity wasn't very sharp. I offered up my rifle so he could look down range with the ZA 5 scope and the smile on his face was priceless! He looked at me and said, 'I need to get me one of these scopes!' I completely agree!

We left the range in good spirits and talked hunting the entire drive home. We will probably be the only ones wearing blaze orange on Saturday, but we will be out there ready for a deer or a bear.  I hope everyone stays safe out there and fills their tags humanely. Enjoy yourselves and be aware of your target AND what is beyond it. I am looking forward to your successful hunting stories next week!


  1. As much as I appreciate the dedication of the guys who go 100% archery only, I never understood it. One of the main reasons I picked up the bow was to expand my opportunities and experience, not to limit it. I love bowhunting, but I also love rifle hunting (and muzzle loader, and shotgun... etc.).

    Anyway, neither here nor there, I guess. Glad to hear you've got the rifle and are headed out to sling some copper! Good luck!

    1. Thanks Phillip. I am looking forward to getting out there!

  2. Good luck Al! Hope you fill that freezer this fall. I'm a hunting opportunist and I will use whatever legal means necessary to hunt. I'm also a little bit on the unlucky side so every chance I have to raise my odds helps! Haha

    1. Thanks Adam! Anything I can do to increase my chances now is good in my book. I love getting close to the animals, but I am also limited on time this year. Hoping to even it out a bit! Good luck to you, too!

  3. I have been on-the-ground crossbow hunting for 8 years with great success. Pretty good summary of the report. Thanks.