New to Vandy and Hunting

71FatFish

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Hello! I've just PCS'd in to Vandy from the UK. I'm new to hunting but want to get into it. I've done some bunny blasting when I was a teen (our ranch had a jack rabbit infestation) but no other real hunting experience. I'd like to get into big game and boar hunting. I'm very familiar with firearms but don't currently own any rifles. Hopefully I'll be picking up a Savage Trophy Hunter XP in 6.5 Creedmoor next month.

My motivation to start hunting now is a desire to get outdoors more and unplug. Two years ago I was watching MeatEater on Netflix and my son, now 10 years old, asked me to take him hunting. Since then he's been committed to being a game warden when he grows up.

I'm solidly in my mid thirties so asking for a mentor is supposed to be embarrasiing, but none of that matters to me. I'd be interested in going out with anyone willing to have a tagalong. I have not completed any of the hunter's ed requirements and don't posess tags or any of that. I am unsure if I need any of that if I don't have a rifle and don't shoot. Otherwise, I'm here to soak up some of the local knowledge.

I'm also looking to get started with fishing in the area. I've spent a lot of time lake fishing for rainbow trout in the mountains of central Utah (home), but haven't done any regular fishing in years. My two kids (10 boy, 7 girl) are all over my back about going. Unfortunately my pole, a cheap fiberglass pole I had for at least 20 years, has finally died, so I need a new pole too.

I look forward to meeting y'all and getting out into the field.


-Ben
 

Bigolwiggler

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Welcome aboard . I guess that you are at Vandenburg AFB . or (Vandy) I dont know much of the military slang : )
I think that the first thing you need to do is to get your hunters safety course for you and your son out of the way . There might be an age restriction for your daughter ?
Here is a DFG link to get you started ;


There is a LOT of old posts here archived that you can soak up info from. I think that the old posts tend to have a lot more specific info. In the last several years a lot of us a more tight lipped about specific areas because so many people read our posts via the internet ... and our secret spots aint so secret anymore. Loose lips sink ships lol. But once folks get to know you and see that you are serious, you will get quite a few P.M.s from individuals so hang in there.

Im glad to hear of your interest in hunting. California has it challenges but with some experience , research and boots on the ground you can become consistently successful. The opportunities are here. I live at the other end of the state from you .... the opportunities seem to be a bit better up here .....in my humble opinion.

I am especially glad that you are wanting to show your kids this lifestyle ! Most kids in California think that meat only comes from styrofoam trays .

Hit a garage sale or pawn shop for some at least mid quality fishing rods for your family . The opportunities abound for fishing.
Before the 2020 hunting season is here you can be gearing up for that too.
Get on the search engine here and push the buttons on your keyboard until your fingertips start bleeding.......you will find good info.
Sometimes its a very good option to go to google then add "Jesses" to what ever you are searching for. For instance , if I was looking for info on X3 (deer hunting ) the search engine here wont find it because "X3" does not seem to meet the search criteria . But a google search for "X3 deer hunting jesses" will bring up a LOT of old posts from this site .

Wishing you and yours a long and enjoyable life in the outdoors. Don't let California schools get in the way of your children's education ; )

BOW
 

71FatFish

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Ya... I never understood the attitude that some have about sharing information about their hunting grounds yet want more hunters. That's okay, maybe my opinion on that will change over time.

Thanks for all the information. Yes, Vandy is short Vandenberg. I don't intend to stay in the Santa Barbara/San Louis Obispo County area. I'll start there as I get my feet wet. I'll spread out as experience and finances allow.

I have been teaching my children from birth that meat comes from animals. I don't shy away from honest discussions with my kids as long as they remain at least mostly age appropriate.

I look forward to my time here in California!
 

Bigolwiggler

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Ya... I never understood the attitude that some have about sharing information about their hunting grounds yet want more hunters. That's okay, maybe my opinion on that will change over time.

Thanks for all the information. Yes, Vandy is short Vandenberg. I don't intend to stay in the Santa Barbara/San Louis Obispo County area. I'll start there as I get my feet wet. I'll spread out as experience and finances allow.

I have been teaching my children from birth that meat comes from animals. I don't shy away from honest discussions with my kids as long as they remain at least mostly age appropriate.

I look forward to my time here in California!
Once you find some killer hunting grounds .... and then you share it over an internet forum like this .... then you show up to some of these hard found hunting places .... after MUCH hiking and scouting ..... and find 3 trucks there with six people hunting it ..... you will understand what I am talking about . Pretty basic . You will understand some day young grasshopper... you will understand ..... ; ) Can I hear an amen ? This hunting stuff is serious business... not just an NFL football game... sitting in your recliner ; )
BOW
 

Bigolwiggler

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I was really just trying to get you started and really encourage you . But I was also trying to give you a taste of reality .... not being mean at all.... just being real . Don't let me discourage you at all ....k ? I will post some of my good fishin spots here for everyone to see .... but buck hunting / bear hunting spots .... hmmmmmm.... probably not .... at least until I get to know you . I would PM you some spots though ...
People who camp out at my place and hunt here are pretty appreciative ...... but it takes me a while to get to know them before I give an invite .
BTW .... thank you very much for your service to our country .... the USA .... best place on Earth to live . I mean that . Thank you for keeping us FREE.

BOW
 
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ltdann

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I've hunted VAFB almost 30 years. I can't think of a better place in CA to take up hunting. 88,000 huntable acres, year around wild pig, awesome quail population and a good sized deer herd and a generous 45 day season. The state deer success average 15-18% and I'd bet VAFB is around 50%. We joke that Stevie Wonder could shoot a deer there.

The folks at the game wardens office will get you hooked up with what you need and the rod and gun club offers a decent range and firearms expertise, along with a butchering hut and chill box.

Plenty of locals in the Lompoc area that hunt the base and after meeting a few of them, you'll be set.
 

71FatFish

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I was really just trying to get you started and really encourage you . But I was also trying to give you a taste of reality .... not being mean at all.... just being real . Don't let me discourage you at all ....k ? I will post some of my good fishin spots here for everyone to see .... but buck hunting / bear hunting spots .... hmmmmmm.... probably not .... at least until I get to know you . I would PM you some spots though ...
People who camp out at my place and hunt here are pretty appreciative ...... but it takes me a while to get to know them before I give an invite .
BTW .... thank you very much for your service to our country .... the USA .... best place on Earth to live . I mean that . Thank you for keeping us FREE.

BOW
I understand what you're saying. Intellectually I get it. I just can't reconcile the position that people want the hunting community to grow but don't want to share. I get it though, people find something nice and don't want to lose it. I'm not worried. I didn't think you were being mean or anything (I'm not easily offended anyway).
 

71FatFish

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I've hunted VAFB almost 30 years. I can't think of a better place in CA to take up hunting. 88,000 huntable acres, year around wild pig, awesome quail population and a good sized deer herd and a generous 45 day season. The state deer success average 15-18% and I'd bet VAFB is around 50%. We joke that Stevie Wonder could shoot a deer there.

The folks at the game wardens office will get you hooked up with what you need and the rod and gun club offers a decent range and firearms expertise, along with a butchering hut and chill box.

Plenty of locals in the Lompoc area that hunt the base and after meeting a few of them, you'll be set.

I've been talking to the folks over there at the Rod 'n Gun club a little. Unfortunately the range is closed to high caliber rounds and handguns, so I won't be shooting a 6.5 Creedmoor there until they can figure out what is going on with the range. They also don't have instructors for Hunter's Safety courses so I'll have to do that somewhere else. I'll probably just do the online class. I've been around wildlife and firearms my whole life. I grew up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere in central Utah. I spent nearly 10 years in law enforcement between civilian and military life and I have 3 combat tours under my belt. I expect I'll need to study up on some of the California specifics and maybe some breed information and I'll be alright. That being said, I'm not suggesting that I know everything and there's nothing new to learn. That would be far from the truth. In fact, I don't have a lot of experience with long range shooting so I'm sure there is a lot to learn from the guys at the club range.

I'm sure I'll be terrible at the spot and stalk type hunting but that's what I want to do. Tree stand hunting does not appeal to me much. Everytime I go out I'll get better, and with an open season on boar, I'll practice on them. Since they have such a heightened sense of smell, It'll be a bit of a challenge. If I get good with them, I assume I'll fair well with other animals. Like most new hunters, I'm not so comfortable with the field dress and butchering part. Apparently you're not really supposed to do that on Vandy anyway (at least for boar? I'm not entirely sure), so I'll be able to take it to the club and get some good hands on instruction or at least some fair guidance. Like anything else though, I'll be down there building relationships.
 

ltdann

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The secret to hunting VAFB IS spot and stalk. I'm not saying walking for mile upon mile, but rather go from high spot to high spot and glass. I call it a "modified safari" style.

I glass a spot for maybe 20 minutes, hop in the truck and move to the next spot. Once I spot a likely candidate, I head in on food and advance to contract. Not many places you could put a tree stand anyway

IRT to rifle hunting, these deer on VAFB should let you get within 200 yards, easily. that's a chip shot for a 6.5.

To be honest, I rarely need to take shot past 150 yards. So much so that I haven't shot a deer with my rifle in many years. Most of my deer are taken with rifled shotguns at ranges of less than 100 yds, the last two were under 50. The rifle areas get beat up by hunters pretty quick and there's a whole lot less pressure in shotgun areas.

The sage brush and manzanita do a good job of hiding the deer, so I use that against them and use it sneak up on them.

Get yourself a set of shooting sticks with a nice Y-yoke on top, something like a bog pod. It's extremely helpful in the thick brush. It's rare that you can go prone or take a shot from sitting or kneeling. It's almost always standing, and there's never anything to lean on or rest a firearm on.

What's the deal with gun club? It was just Thursdays that high ower was closed?
 

71FatFish

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The secret to hunting VAFB IS spot and stalk. I'm not saying walking for mile upon mile, but rather go from high spot to high spot and glass. I call it a "modified safari" style.

I glass a spot for maybe 20 minutes, hop in the truck and move to the next spot. Once I spot a likely candidate, I head in on food and advance to contract. Not many places you could put a tree stand anyway

IRT to rifle hunting, these deer on VAFB should let you get within 200 yards, easily. that's a chip shot for a 6.5.

To be honest, I rarely need to take shot past 150 yards. So much so that I haven't shot a deer with my rifle in many years. Most of my deer are taken with rifled shotguns at ranges of less than 100 yds, the last two were under 50. The rifle areas get beat up by hunters pretty quick and there's a whole lot less pressure in shotgun areas.

The sage brush and manzanita do a good job of hiding the deer, so I use that against them and use it sneak up on them.

Get yourself a set of shooting sticks with a nice Y-yoke on top, something like a bog pod. It's extremely helpful in the thick brush. It's rare that you can go prone or take a shot from sitting or kneeling. It's almost always standing, and there's never anything to lean on or rest a firearm on.

What's the deal with gun club? It was just Thursdays that high ower was closed?
Apparently the current base commander is not waiving the range safety failure from 2017. It is failing to meet 100% of the Surface Danger Zone clearance requirement. It was waived by the previous Wing Commander, but the new Commander is not waiving it.
 

ltdann

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sigh, here we go again. The EOD guys only occupy that position on Thursdays.
 


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