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Looking for Hunting Mentor

jdavisjdavis Jacksonville, FLPosts: 8 Deckhand
Hi, my name is Jack. I’m a young guy looking to start hunting here in Florida. It’s always been a dream of mine, but I didn’t come from a hunting family. I just did the hunters safety course and got my hunting license.  I figure that the best way to learn any new skill is hands-on from somebody experienced, so I’m searching for someone who’d be willing to go hunting with me and show me the ropes.  I live in Jacksonville, but I’d be willing to drive a bit.

Replies

  • jdavisjdavis Jacksonville, FLPosts: 8 Deckhand
    If anybody is interesting in taking a newbie out, let me know! Thanks :)
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 8,162 Admiral
    While it will probably be a bit hard to do I would suggest that somehow giving folks more information about yourself would help generate a response.

    Perhaps take a few minutes and write up something of a bio.......with an idea of why you want to hunt as part of it.

    I know that sounds intrusive but you've got to realize that you're asking someone to engage with you, as a stranger, in an activity involving firearms and in situations where there is often the chance to really screw up. As a old guy I truly believe that it is necessary and proper that we nurture along the next generation. And I say that because the history of hunters is that they have historically been on the leading edge of conservation, something we truly need.

    It it's all about using a gun and killing something rather than learning not just about what you seek to harvest but also about the land and the environment, the shifting seasons and all the rest......well.......to invest the time in someone most of us would want to not only be helping a young person experience that primal human experience of doing it yourself but also nurture along someone who will, in his turn pass along the same.

    So.......more information.

    And if you are reticent to do so on the open forum do so in some other way. And do know, there are more than a few here suitable to mentor. Big Bend Brian being at the top of the list.
  • jdavisjdavis Jacksonville, FLPosts: 8 Deckhand

    @bswiv thanks. great point. Here’s a bit about me:

    I grew up with my 3 siblings in Jacksonville, and I’m currently a senior at the University of North Florida.  I am studying psychology, and am planning on getting my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  I want a career in counseling, specifically working with men mental health and men’s groups.  I enjoy playing guitar, jiu jitsu, and being outdoors.  

    My grandfather was a hunter. We were very close. Unfortunately, he passed away before we got the chance to go hunting together. But ever since I was a kid it’s been a dream of mine.  Last year, my girlfriends dad took me quail hunting and I fell in love with it.  I soon after signed up for a hunters safety class and got my license — a huge step for me towards a dream ive had since I was 10.  I have experience with guns, and plan on buying my first firearm soon.  

    I am now at the point where I am searching for some sort of guidance to help me get started. You can only learn so much from YouTube. I am willing to shadow, observe, and listen — I think that’s the only way to truly learn anything.

    Thanks again. 


  • Cast_N_BlastCast_N_Blast JaxPosts: 1,437 Officer
    Ok since you're wearing a Dead shirt I'll bite... send me your info in a private message and I'll take you along on a duck hunt this fall if you're interested. Thats all I can offer as I only hunt waterfowl. 
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 8,162 Admiral
    Ok since you're wearing a Dead shirt I'll bite... send me your info in a private message and I'll take you along on a duck hunt this fall if you're interested. Thats all I can offer as I only hunt waterfowl. 
    I missed that the first time!!! And he's got a little JG going too!
  • Tony RomaTony Roma Posts: 1,121 Officer
    Cast and blast gave you a huge opportunity , I wouldn’t waste it, guy knows what he’s doing. I to was in your situation, grandfather hunted and had all the cool stories but by the time I was old enough he wasn’t in any condition to take me out. I took my hunters safety class and started trying to figure out the wildlife management area situation in Florida. Buy a management area stamp and start walking around in the woods. The only way to be a successful hunter in Florida without access to a large private tract is boots on the ground. If you read the hunting forum on this site you will find a wealth of knowledge. I started out turkey hunting on management area and eventually had success. Killing a deer, Turkey ,or hog on public land in my opinion is a huge accomplishment and not many folks have the time or patience. In short it can be done without a mentor but if brothers on this site are willing to reach out take full advantage. Good luck sir and please keep us posted. 
  • DoradoDreaminDoradoDreamin Posts: 2,105 Captain
    Unfortunately, I'm too busy starting a new company right now to help you but hang in there and don't give up.  I was in the same situation 40 years ago.  Grandfathers hunted but died too early.  Dad took me 3 or 4 times when I begged but he was not really a hunter.  Spent years trying to learn how to hunt on my own and believe me it was tough back then with no internet/videos/mapping programs.  It was a long time before I got my first deer.  Eventually it all came together though.  I've since helped 5 folks start their hunting careers because I know how hard it was for me.

    Florida is tough hunting but there is plenty of land to hunt if you work at it.  As mentioned, spend some time reading about our Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).  I spent 20 years hunting Osceola National Forest and have a lot of great memories from out there.  That's only an hour or so away and does not require quotas for most seasons.  Get out there and spend time walking around and scouting.  If you want to deer hunt you will need to get some other gear besides a firearm or bow.  A climbing tree stand and a Thermacell are almost a must.  One to get above the thick FL vegetation and one to keep you from falling out while swatting the mosquitoes lol.  Best of luck!

  • Rookie77Rookie77 Posts: 120 Deckhand
    There is some good info above. Get a management area stamp and start exploring. Get the OnX app to navigate and mark things you see---game, water holes, game sign (scat, rubs, evidence of feeding, etc).  You can also use the Avenza app and download the WMA map. It will show where you are on the map as you move around. I suggest starting with squirrels during small game--not as many hunters out, you can wander around without messing up the hunts of others in stands.  Things you learn hunting squirrels translates well to other hunting and you'll have a higher likelihood of success starting out. Also, I personally like the idea that there shouldn't be people in the woods with high powered rifles when I'm wandered around (shotgun and rimfire only during small game). Pick one or two WMAs close to you and focus on them. Might not be the best hunting in the state, but the closer they are to you, the more you will go. The more you go, the more you learn. I also suggest getting a 12 ga shotgun. Doesn't have to be fancy--a decent pump will do. With a 12 ga, you can hunt anything in FL depending on the loads you use, and I've never heard a hunter say "man, I wish I'd never bought a shotgun". 
  • Rookie77Rookie77 Posts: 120 Deckhand
    Also, I forgot in my novel above....if you PM me, we might be able to find a time to chase some squirrels. I'm in the Lake City Area. 
  • jdavisjdavis Jacksonville, FLPosts: 8 Deckhand
    Thank you everybody for the advice.. @rookie77 that sounds great I will pm you. @Cast_N_Blast I sent you a message.  Thanks again :)
  • erik-the-rederik-the-red Posts: 111 Deckhand
    Hey buddy I dont know a lot. I started out the same way you did. I was 34 when I took my hunter safety course with a bunch of 14 to 17 year olds. I have got into bow hunting. It is very addictive and kinda sucks in Florida due to the heat  and mosquitoes. Andrew's wma has a pretty good hog hunt. I really enjoyed that. I am part of a club in steinhatchee. I can probably put you on a pig. Let me know if you want to just go shoot or hunt. I dont know how much of a mentor I could be though. I can tell you all the mistakes I have made.
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 8,162 Admiral
    I've been following this  one because young people are so darn important.

    So.....let me make another suggestion or two that may be of use.

    First though.....UNF......how old I am.......well..........one of our daughters is the second generation to graduate from there. Which gives some insight as to how OLD I am, which I hope will carry some small weight when you consider the next couple of suggestions.

    First off......read "Looking For Long Leaf".......it'll give you some idea of how changed Florida, actually the whole SE US, is from what it was. And then read the FWC's Bear Management Plan ( It's here https://myfwc.com/media/21923/2019-florida-black-bear-management-plan.pdf ).

    And then join one of the environmental organizations, because hard as it can be to understand at times they are hunting and fishing's best friend. 

    Now the Bear Management Plan is kind of windy and long, but, read it for the history. Same with Looking For Long Leaf. There are bits of information in there that will make the time you spend in the woods more enjoyable, and I think too help towards the understanding that any animal harvested is simply a bonus to the "experience".

    What you'll also gain from those readings, and do know there are many more of similar value out there, "My Life As A Turkey' being up there, is not just a greater appreciation of the environment you will be "hunting" in but also will arm you with information that'll be of value when the time comes to defend your choice. And do know.....the time will come.....and only reason and science prevail, or should prevail. 




  • MikeGonzMikeGonz South BahiaPosts: 346 Deckhand
    bswiv said:
    I've been following this  one because young people are so darn important.

    So.....let me make another suggestion or two that may be of use.

    First though.....UNF......how old I am.......well..........one of our daughters is the second generation to graduate from there. Which gives some insight as to how OLD I am, which I hope will carry some small weight when you consider the next couple of suggestions.

    First off......read "Looking For Long Leaf".......it'll give you some idea of how changed Florida, actually the whole SE US, is from what it was. And then read the FWC's Bear Management Plan ( It's here https://myfwc.com/media/21923/2019-florida-black-bear-management-plan.pdf ).

    And then join one of the environmental organizations, because hard as it can be to understand at times they are hunting and fishing's best friend. 

    Now the Bear Management Plan is kind of windy and long, but, read it for the history. Same with Looking For Long Leaf. There are bits of information in there that will make the time you spend in the woods more enjoyable, and I think too help towards the understanding that any animal harvested is simply a bonus to the "experience".

    What you'll also gain from those readings, and do know there are many more of similar value out there, "My Life As A Turkey' being up there, is not just a greater appreciation of the environment you will be "hunting" in but also will arm you with information that'll be of value when the time comes to defend your choice. And do know.....the time will come.....and only reason and science prevail, or should prevail. 




    Maybe consider laying off the booze???
  • Drift TideDrift Tide Posts: 187 Deckhand
    MikeGonz, your profile indicates you've only been on the forum for 5 weeks, so am assuming you have no idea who you just insulted.  Ben has provided an enormous amount of useful information to this site over the years, and has been an ardent supporter of the hunting and fishing community.  If you knew how small your post makes you look in that regard, you would offer an apology.
  • MikeGonzMikeGonz South BahiaPosts: 346 Deckhand
    MikeGonz, your profile indicates you've only been on the forum for 5 weeks, so am assuming you have no idea who you just insulted.  Ben has provided an enormous amount of useful information to this site over the years, and has been an ardent supporter of the hunting and fishing community.  If you knew how small your post makes you look in that regard, you would offer an apology.
    I apologize, sir. 
  • MikeGonzMikeGonz South BahiaPosts: 346 Deckhand
    Now, I will offer a real answer.

    Email Ted Turner about a 100 times. Tell him your situation and desire. He will answer, eventually.

    If that doesn't work, call Ray Pearce in Albany. Be extremely polite. Offer to work in exchange. 

    Be prepared to work, be prepared to kiss butt.

    And some advice, cut your hair. Appearances count with these guys. 
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 8,162 Admiral
    MikeGonz said:
    Now, I will offer a real answer.

    Email Ted Turner about a 100 times. Tell him your situation and desire. He will answer, eventually.

    If that doesn't work, call Ray Pearce in Albany. Be extremely polite. Offer to work in exchange. 

    Be prepared to work, be prepared to kiss butt.

    And some advice, cut your hair. Appearances count with these guys. 
    H said a very true thing here. Appearance will count. Regardless of what Hollywood and the rest of the media tells you how you dress sends a message. Mind you.....the Dead t-shirt counts as a positive as some of us here are OLD. In fact.....just to sidetrack for a moment.....dig up the Bellamy Brothers, "He's an Old Hippy"......pay close attention to where he gets sent on his "senior trip".
  • Family TraditionFamily Tradition Posts: 101 Deckhand
    I too was a little shocked at the stab at Ben. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben several years ago on Lake George while gator hunting. Probably one of the nicest, most genuine people I've had the pleasure of meeting in my 43 years here. He went out of his way to assist me and a friend drag our gator back to the dock as my friends vessel had higher gunnels and it was proving difficult to roll the gator in our boat.
     I'm always impressed by Ben's knowledge and willingness to share with all of us on the forum. The posts he's written on here have always been super informative and fun to read in my opinion. So thanks for all the help here and on the water years ago Ben, you sir are a true sportsman and a friend to all who enjoy our outdoors here in Florida. 
  • MikeGonzMikeGonz South BahiaPosts: 346 Deckhand
    I too was a little shocked at the stab at Ben. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben several years ago on Lake George while gator hunting. Probably one of the nicest, most genuine people I've had the pleasure of meeting in my 43 years here. He went out of his way to assist me and a friend drag our gator back to the dock as my friends vessel had higher gunnels and it was proving difficult to roll the gator in our boat.
     I'm always impressed by Ben's knowledge and willingness to share with all of us on the forum. The posts he's written on here have always been super informative and fun to read in my opinion. So thanks for all the help here and on the water years ago Ben, you sir are a true sportsman and a friend to all who enjoy our outdoors here in Florida. 
    I apologize to you too. 

    I just gave the kid a billion dollar chance. 

    I will try to do better.
  • jdavisjdavis Jacksonville, FLPosts: 8 Deckhand

    @erik-the-red Awesome. I will pm you

    @bswiv Thank you for all the advice, I will get on that reading. 

    @mikegonz Founder of CNN Ted Turner? … alright! If you say so! Thanks a bunch.

    To all: Yes, maybe it is time to cut my hair and go ‘to work in tall buildings,’ as John Hartford would say. 

     

    Thanks again to all.

  • ChonggChongg Posts: 755 Officer
    edited July 2020 #22
    Oh man, now a John Hartford lyric? I am also an adult onset hunter and know where you’re coming from. I’d like to help anyway I can, but I’m barely going to have time to hunt this deer season as it is, so I probably won’t be much help showing you around. But I’m happy to answer your questions and offer advice. Maybe come small game season or turkey season you can tag along for a hunt. I PM‘d you my cell.
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 8,162 Admiral
    So.......let's talk about the hair thing for a moment.

    Consider it not as knuckling under but as a way to have more $ and time to spend on fishing and hunting. With a bonus.....if you are lucky.

    Let's say you get 10 haircuts a year at....how much are they now?......$20? At least that's what Louann said. Carry that forward 40 years........$4000.

    And to have $4000 to spend you have to make at least $5500, so the government can get it's share.

    Add in the time......400 hours, with driving counted. And then add the extra time washing long hair takes, which requires extra water and soap.

    And do remember those are WAKING hours, which translates into 25 days. Or if you'd like, that's 10 40 hour weeks of work!

    Tell me........you can't find a more enjoyable way to spend that money and time?

    Yes. I know. So even short hair needs cutting. This is where the bonus comes in, if you can work it out right. As this is a "family forum" I'll leave the specifics to your imagination but I can tell you from experience that having the 16 year old girlfriend and then the 19 year old wife cut your hair for what is now on 43 years is way better than any ugly old barber. And however good your imagination is.....it was/is better than that!

    So.....to sum it up......I just explained to you how to have three things ALL young men want......more money, more time and more......well......you know B)




  • jdavisjdavis Jacksonville, FLPosts: 8 Deckhand
    @bswiv Good point... My gf has been asking to cut my hair for a while now, maybe I'll give her a shot. 
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 8,162 Admiral
    jdavis said:
    @bswiv Good point... My gf has been asking to cut my hair for a while now, maybe I'll give her a shot. 
    "MAYBE".......you said "MAYBE".......?!?!...........

    Post a new picture when you figure out what the right answer to her question is.
  • rummya87rummya87 Posts: 24 Deckhand
    edited July 2020 #26
    I'll bite on this too.  First off, you're welcome to roll with me.  I'm an attorney most days, but I also started guiding because (a) office life sucks and (b) I wanted to pass the traditions I've had to learn, on my own, over the last two decades since I also didn't come from a hunting/fishing family.  I have been wanting to offer opportunities to college-age folks to interact with the outdoors.  I sure wish I had those opportunities when I was in college.  I learned on public ground and fished out of a gheenoe or a jon boat. 

    We can start with a marsh hen hunt. Once you get to learning, then you try the tougher, more hardcore stuff, like duck hunting, or public land bowhunting.  Gotta start easy and build your confidence. @Cast_N_Blast is offering an opportunity at a very (very, very, very) coveted spot in his duck blind.  I will say, though, If you try to roll with @Cast_N_Blast on a duck hunt on day 1 of your hunting career, you might get a little bit ... overwhelmed.  Go to my website in my signature and you'll find my cell.  Feel free to text or call.  

    Second.  Never cut the hair and keep wearing those dead shirts.  If you cut your hair and start working in tall buildings, you too will soon find that the real you will fail to abide by the rules and boil hard to get to the surface again. 
    Capt. Rami Ashouri
    Saturiba Company
    https://www.northeastfloridafishing.com
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 8,162 Admiral
    rummya87 said:
    I'll bite on this too.  First off, you're welcome to roll with me.  I'm an attorney most days, but I also started guiding because (a) office life sucks and (b) I wanted to pass the traditions I've had to learn, on my own, over the last two decades since I also didn't come from a hunting/fishing family.  I have been wanting to offer opportunities to college-age folks to interact with the outdoors.  I sure wish I had those opportunities when I was in college.  I learned on public ground and fished out of a gheenoe or a jon boat. 

    We can start with a marsh hen hunt. Once you get to learning, then you try the tougher, more hardcore stuff, like duck hunting, or public land bowhunting.  Gotta start easy and build your confidence. @Cast_N_Blast is offering an opportunity at a very (very, very, very) coveted spot in his duck blind.  I will say, though, If you try to roll with @Cast_N_Blast on a duck hunt on day 1 of your hunting career, you might get a little bit ... overwhelmed.  Go to my website in my signature and you'll find my cell.  Feel free to text or call.  

    Second.  Never cut the hair and keep wearing those dead shirts.  If you cut your hair and start working in tall buildings, you too will soon find that the real you will fail to abide by the rules and boil hard to get to the surface again. 
    We could surely have a discussion here as to the "rules"..............which is why the politics section got shut down years ago. I explained what enlightened self-interest leads one to. And do know, it's often hard to know in life whether you're braking a rule or simply running to catch up to the herd as a social norm changes. Which of course means that those not changing are actually breaking the NEW RULE.

    Life is odd that way.
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 4,258 Captain
    edited August 2020 #28
    Jack- perhaps also consider the mentor within so to speak.
    Whenever possible, get out there on your own. Each excursion will build experience. Enjoy! 
    You are lucky to live in Jacksonville.
    As someone else suggested, Osceola National Forest offers broad hunting opportunities without much in the way of quota limits. And a superb landscape, an ideal “ Classroom”. 
    Perhaps secure permits for Guana, Jennings, Cary and other area WMA but even if no permit, explore those areas off season, with hunters’s view.
    Study Aldo; “ A Sand County Almanac”
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
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