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In search of hunting mentor

MistamanMistaman BrevardPosts: 7 Deckhand
Hi, my name is Alex and I'm 26. I've lived in East Central FL for about 10 years now and have been interested in hunting ever since. I didn't realize how readily available it is to the public until about a year ago. I've done a lot of primitive camping, backpacking, shooting and hiking. Some here, some in southern California which is where I'm from. (Don't hate me right off the cuff from that last statement) I have 4 kids and am currently working as an EMT. I've been doing various trade work since I moved here and am comfortable with hard work, heavy lifting and making the best of everything. I have a bit of pride and the thought of reaching out on a forum for help didn't cross my mind until I saw a few other posts here doing the same. 

I'm the youngest in my family with my brother being 13 years older. Grew up with a single mom and was raised split time by my grandparents due to my mom's work schedule. My granddad is a retired naval officer and, though he could shell the hell out of an area, wasn't much of a hunter or fisherman. That's not to say we never tried but growing up it was a bit of "the blind leading the blind" and we were okay with that. It made the trophies that much more exciting. Unfortunately, he lives out in SoCal still with the rest of my family.

I've completed my NRA hunter safety course and am still waiting for my range day so I can finish the license. I have a Remington 700 in .308 and an AR in .223 and I'm hoping to find someone on here who's willing to help me out in return for either some work or to play pack mule. I have a strong back, strong legs and a hell of a lot of determination. 

I'm clean cut, clean shaved, and try to mind my manners and tongue as best as I can. If anyone has any advice or is willing to help me out it would be greatly appreciated.
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Replies

  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 2,777 Captain
    Quota points are the currency of public land hunting. Accrue points or get a permit and offer a guest hunt to a knowledgeable hunter. I’ll school anyone for a day of hunting on my own on a quota permit. 

    I speak from
    personal experience. Lots of guys talk a good game of interest is putting in effort. I cut 3-4 guys out of my apprenticeship program every year because they really expect somebody (me) to put them in front of a game animal and they get to “pull the trigger.”  

    Otherwise, hunting is really easy, get out there until you are successful. Plenty of YouTube to teach you. 


  • MistamanMistaman BrevardPosts: 7 Deckhand
    edited May 10 #3
    I understand completely, it’s part of why I’ve never been a fan of reaching out for help or advice. That’s what I’ve been doing so far and I’ll be honest, it’s filled in a bit of gaps for what I don’t already know. My biggest issue right now is KCOL are the only areas that offer year-round hog with no quota so i had been debating going down there to scout it out. I have a jon boat and a jet ski but everywhere I look it seems like it’s only accessible with an airboat. 

    I also don’t have really any “knowledgeable hunters” in my circles. I’ll get out there or other places and just get comfortable with it for when season does eventually come. I’ve mostly been looking at WMAs for hog hunting as a start. 
  • josh_scott84josh_scott84 Palm HarborPosts: 1,070 Officer
    What's East Central, FL work out to? Vero Beach?
  • MCSHunterMCSHunter Posts: 803 Officer
    You sound like a hard working respectful young man. Wish I lived closer so I could help. I love mentoring young hunters and have done it several times. Keep plugging away and learn from every trip to the woods.
    Good luck
  • MistamanMistaman BrevardPosts: 7 Deckhand
    What's East Central, FL work out to? Vero Beach?
    Close! Brevard.
  • josh_scott84josh_scott84 Palm HarborPosts: 1,070 Officer
    You have a fair amount of public land near you. I would start with finding several locations close to you and visit them as often as possible. Sometimes I'm solo scouting and other times I'm hiking with the wife and kids. The latter are generally less fruitful but any time spent in the woods is beneficial.

    Public land map
    https://myfwc.com/media/1406/huntingwmamap.pdf

    Understand that It can be hard to find someone to invest their time to mentor you. Don't let that discourage you, just be aware of the situation. In the meantime, start teaching yourself. You literally have nothing to lose.
  • MistamanMistaman BrevardPosts: 7 Deckhand
    You have a fair amount of public land near you. I would start with finding several locations close to you and visit them as often as possible. Sometimes I'm solo scouting and other times I'm hiking with the wife and kids. The latter are generally less fruitful but any time spent in the woods is beneficial.

    Public land map
    https://myfwc.com/media/1406/huntingwmamap.pdf

    Understand that It can be hard to find someone to invest their time to mentor you. Don't let that discourage you, just be aware of the situation. In the meantime, start teaching yourself. You literally have nothing to lose.
    Thank you so much! I'll start looking into that tonight!
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 1,276 Officer
    South of KCOL is KRPUA. Sounds like you should check into it. +\- 1.5 hrs SW of you.
  • MistamanMistaman BrevardPosts: 7 Deckhand
    Thank you, I will!
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 10,462 AG
    I have found that the Non Quota Hog hunt areas about a week after they open the Hogs have gone Nocturnal and you can walk by them all day...and they ain,t moving. Or their 10 miles away in a non hunt area.
    I'd still go because it never hurts to walk the woods.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 3,345 Captain
    edited May 11 #12
    You might want to invest in a Mossberg or Remington 12 GA pump shotgun.  A shotgun will expand your opportunities.  Good luck!
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 2,777 Captain
    Pinman said:
    You might want to invest in a Mossberg or Remington 12 GA pump shotgun.  A shotgun will expand your opportunities.  Good luck!
    00 buck shot was on sale at Rogers sporting goods 25/box for a good price. That is good pig medicine. 


  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 4,938 Captain
    edited May 12 #14
    I agree... a shotgun and 00 buck will expand your opportunities and get the job done.  These were taken on public land close enough to the OPs coordinates for him to utilize frequently. 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 4,938 Captain
    edited May 12 #15
    You can always invest in a knife as well. They work as good as any firearm,  but you will probably need a dog or two which makes it a long term, daily money draining endeavor. 

    Another opportunity nearby the OPs coordinates.  ;)


  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 2,777 Captain
    .243 works also. 


  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 4,938 Captain
    Indeed,  243s work very well....as does a 9mm with the right bullet... ;):D
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 2,777 Captain
    Big Mak said:
    Indeed,  243s work very well....as does a 9mm with the right bullet... ;):D
    Bow can be very good, was this last year. 



    But don’t count out muzzleloaders, only hunted pigs one day last year. Ran out of ammo and had to put my apprentice on three pigs for him to get one, or I would have done a lot better. 



    Put a new hunter within 30 yards of three big pigs and he shoots the smallest one….
  • MistamanMistaman BrevardPosts: 7 Deckhand
    Big Mak said:
    Mistaman, you live in a reasonably good target rich environment. While having someone show you the ropes will help your learning curve,  you can get out there and start on your own. 

    Here is my advice: Don't have high expectations in FL hunting. Prepare to deal with heat, bugs, people, and  getting a wet rear end. There will be no shortage of any of the four. Scout often, move slow,  look and listen. Start out on Google earth to narrow down some likely areas to put your boots and legs to work.  You're looking for terrain or foliage changes that create edges or pinch points that will kind of congregate animals or force them to walk in a fairly predictable path. Get familiar with your local wmas. Read each brochure thoroughly! The rules on each are/can be different. Talk with people. You never know what door it might open for you. 

    All of the advice and hints you have received is solid. A shotgun is going to be a great way to go. Preference points are the currency for much of our public land hunting in FL. You will have to learn to play the game. Invite someone to come hunt with you on a hunt if you're drawn. There are some excellent hunters (I am not one of them) around here who will gladly join you and share their knowledge.  Sweat equity is a great payment from a new guy for an invite. 

    You're on the right track.  Don't give up if you can't find a teacher.  Go out and start learning on your own,  and be respectful to your fellow hunters.  It will ultimately go a long way in advancing your quest...

    Lastly,  if you ever get invited to hunt with a guy named Ray,  drop whatever you're doing and go.  :D
    So would using a shotgun step around the rules and regs for hunting at certain times since it isn't a "centerfire rifle" by technicality? The issues I've had so far are with seasons, aside from hogs being year round in a few spots near Kissimmee, there doesn't seem to be much you can do unless you wait for those few weekends a year.

    Also, what is a preference point? I keep seeing people mention those. I know what quota permits are I just need to mess around on the permitting site a little. 

    Thank you all for your replies and your help. 
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 3,345 Captain
    You get a preference point when you apply for a Quota hunt (not all of them though) and dont get it. It bumps you up in line for the next year. Most hunts generally take 2-4 points to get.  

    A shotgun will allow you to hunt small game seasons for hogs where restricted to no centerfire rifles and some Quota hunts where rifles arnt allowed (although Ive heard they might allow rifles now for small game, but havnt checked into it)
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 4,938 Captain
    edited May 13 #22
    Shotguns will open up bird hunting as well as being a efficient "big" game tool in heavy brush.  It will also open up certain areas and hunts that are shotgun only. 

    Preference points: you get a point for each hunt that you apply for,  each year you don't get drawn. Some of the better areas take 3, 4, 5 or more points to get drawn. That's where the romp and stomps (non quota areas) get used to satisfy your thirst to hunt with any regular frequency. Find your nearest non quota area and start learning it now.  You will likely be utilizing it more often than any other place in FL.  You will also learn to be a better hunter overall on these places by putting in the amount of work required to be successful. There are a few guys on this forum who are extremely proficient and highly successful using the WMA system. When they are talking, listen intently to their advice. It will pay you dividends down the road. 
  • Grove1Grove1 Posts: 88 Deckhand
    edited May 13 #23
    Many WMA's have a separate small game season (some places this includes hogs, some places it doesn't - have to read the regs for each WMA). The amount of hunters out during small game season is usually very limited (an exception would be a WMA that allows hogs during small game season AND actually has hogs). But often you will have the place to yourself. Good time to scout and/or squirrel hunt (or bird or rabbit). Go to a WMA during small game season with a 20 ga shotgun and some 6 shot and start walking (and if they allow hog hunting, throw a few 00 buck in your back pocket just in case).

    Also, don't be afraid to meet people when you out hunting (actually, there are a few you should be afraid of). But I have actually made several really good friends meeting other hunters out in the woods and being cordial. The vast majority of other hunters will nod and say hello and want to be left alone, and a small percentage are degenerate a-holes, but there is a decent percentage that will help you out or that you will end up being friends with. Just have to use your intuition when dealing with people.
  • josh_scott84josh_scott84 Palm HarborPosts: 1,070 Officer
    No sidestepping.

    A Shotgun is dead center legal.

    It's the most versatile firearm in my opinion. You can legally and efficiently hunt everything from small rabbits to big bucks if using the appropriate loads for each. If you are going to start with any firearm for hunting, a shotgun is the way to go. Also one of the more affordable firearms as well. You can get into a 12 gauge Maverick 88 (Mossberg 500 step-brother) for around $200ish.

    Florida Gun Trader .com is your friend
  • FloridahuntFloridahunt Palm BeachPosts: 246 Deckhand
    I love my maverick 88. Reminds me of a Remington 870 without the rust. I suggest gun broker.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 10,462 AG
    You can almost kill a Russian Tank with one of them Mossberg Street Sweepers...
    And the Remington 1100 works real nice on Elk as well...
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • Tony RomaTony Roma Posts: 2,094 Captain
    There are guys that post on here that are absolute stone cold management area killers. But that doesn’t happen with a 20 minute walk in the woods once a month. These dudes are passionate about their craft, boots on the ground, water up to there chests, sleeping on the ground the night before turkey opener. 
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 2,777 Captain
    Prayer is key. Finished my Rosary for the people of Ukraine today walked 100 feet and this one and it’s buddy popped up. Schnitzel!!!



  • MistamanMistaman BrevardPosts: 7 Deckhand
    Thank yo all very much for the advice. I used to have an old Maverick 88. I learned how to do all kinds of things with it. I thought it was the perfect cross between a 500 and 870 for half the price of both. It's seeming like a shotgun is the way to go. Man, all of this has completely changed my thinking. I'm really glad I made this post. 
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 2,777 Captain


    Any sane person would have quit before this one. Hot and dry. 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 4,938 Captain
    edited May 15 #31
    H20, you're going to end up with Cardiovascular disease before you're 40 from eating all that schnitzel.  ;)
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