How would you advise a new hunter?

sky hawk

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
The other thread got me thinking...

A friend from church approached me in the fall, and after telling him about about bird hunting out of state, he said he had been thinking of taking up bird hunting. He wanted to hunt, but didn't think big game was his thing and thought he would enjoy wingshooting. He lives in the Charlotte area and wanted to know how to get started, how much it would cost and where to go. He's late 30's, a professional that makes good money.

After I gave him a realistic 10-min. assessment of the cost and culture of NC duck hunting (piedmont and eastern), the lack of opportunities for quail and grouse in our state, and what is required for a good dove hunt or an outside chance at woodcock, I felt like I didn't have much to offer him as far as a real expectation of a positive experience. He has no personal connections to other hunters, farmers, or landowners. The best thing I could think to tell him was to pay an outfitter and go hunt with a guide twice a year.

I hate to get someone excited about something that will just lead to endless frustration. I tried to give him as accurate of a representation of bird hunting opportunities in our state as I could. So my question is, how would you have answered that question? Buy a duck boat and several dozen decoys and drive 4 hours? Go to a preserve? Start talking to farmers? Go walk for miles on public land until you see a game bird?

This discussion has played out several times with younger, suburban men who really want to learn to hunt but don't know where or how to get started. Outside of inviting them with me (which I have done) how can I help them? The most common suggestions I have heard are "take up squirrel hunting" and "just go to Uwharrie". I'd like to offer them a little more than that.
 

ECU_Pirate

Eight Pointer
What about wood duck hunting? Requires minimal to no gear besides a gun and some waders. Takes little time, most are done flying in the first 30 min of shooting time. Dont have to get up super early due to low preparations required. Find a good swamp near by and it most likely holds wood ducks. knock on doors or maybe find a deer hunting club with good swamp and make an arrangement to only duck hunt after deer season for a lower price.

Wood duck hunting can be super fast action. Also a good chance to shoot some Mallard, Wigion, and Teal as well.
 

para4514

Eight Pointer
What about float hunting for wood ducks? Duck stamp, steel (or other non-toxic) shot and borrow a canoe/kayaks. This past year would have been a challenge, but with typical rain it is usually pretty safe. Lots of rivers and streams that could be hunted between bridges. Don't have to be there too early. Early season not too cold. Opportunity to "scout" the streams during the summer and fish while you go. If someone is there a couple hours before you and missed a few shots ducks will still be around. We always carried a crow call (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) and looked for squirrels in overhanging trees. Lots to hold a new hunters attention.
 

Bailey Boat

Ten Pointer
At least with bird hunting you can go to a shooting preserve to get your quail fix.
You must not hunt much. Preserve quail is like shooting sparrows in your back yard, young, stupid and need a boot to the butt to get them in the air.

When I Pheasant hunt KS and SD we get plenty of quail action also and the guy I took a few years back never even got his gun to his shoulder before the birds were well out of range. All he said was there were impossibly fast, as I picked up my 2....
 

CRC

Old Mossy Horns
Sorry but wild quail have declined tremendously in NC since the 1970s.

Many hunters to get their dogs on birds turn to shooting preserves.

If you want to snub flight conditioned quail, be my guest.

Many hunters don’t

They don’t have access to quality property loaded with quail and the CURE project on game lands has largely been a bust except Suggs Millpond
 
Last edited:

wcjones

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Out of state upland hunting can be done real cheap. We go every year and the only thing my wife complains about is the fact I’m gone for a week.

I would say go with a guide the first time and then figure it out from there.

I benefit from 40 years of my family going upland bird hunting so I know I have a skewed perspective

Including license it costs about 500 bucks per person for us to hunt public lands in Kansas every year.

With a little common sense and the right bloodline you can train your house lab to be a serviceable flusher

I would stick to the skeet/trap shooting instead of preserve birds. I would rather go shoot my sister in laws backyard chickens.


As far as stuff to do around here....there are still grouse to be found he just has to be willing to put the miles in. Nothings wrong with squirrel hunting and that will get him use to safely carrying a gun around the woods. There are a ton of good options. He just needs someone to take that step to invite him along.
 

bwfarms

Six Pointer
He can cut his teeth on crows. They are fun to call in and by golly when they come in groups it's a hoot. They do wise on fast so you have to change it up and hunt other places.

As far a waterfowl, I learned on my own for the most part. I have about $300 tied up in waterfowl decoys and waders. Often I went by myself with gun and waders then shot pheasants as I came out. People overcomplicate things.

You don't need a dog, it does help because they hear the buggers in the grass and can retrieve. If you can kill the birds, it is like hitting a golf ball in the rough. It's just a matter of walk and pick up.
 

Bailey Boat

Ten Pointer
Sorry but wild quail have declined tremendously in NC since the 1970s.
Name a single area with a hunt-able population..that's available to the public..

Many hunters to get their dogs on birds turn to shooting preserves.
I can see that but it doesn't teach the dog anything except what one smells like.. and I can do that with a bottle of scent..

If you want to snub flight conditioned quail, be my guest.
If you call a 36" X 36" box "flight conditioned, then I was correct, you don't hunt much..

Many hunters don’t

They don’t have access to quality property loaded with quail and the CURE project on game lands has largely been a bust except Suggs Millpond
@wcjones said it right, recognize the short comings of NC and find a state that DOES have good upland hunting. I go to WI twice per year, KS, SD, TX and a couple of others based on my mood. Rarely do I spend more than what he quoted, about 500.00 per week.... It ain't hard....
 

nckeith

Eight Pointer
My advice to a novice hunter especially for game birds would be start with sporting clays. Get dialed in with wing shooting because you are not going to get many shots in the wild in N.C.
You may even meet like minded people with dogs and or out of state recommendations. It can save a tremendous amount of time and money going with someone already dialed in to a particular state.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
Me personally, I’d tell him to forget about hunting for a couple years and join a skeet or trap club or sporting clays. Clays are fun and addicting. If he enjoys that, invitations to hunt will come. I’ve also known several very good clay shooters who couldn’t care less about hunting but have nothing against it, they’d rather shoot clays. Your friend may just find out that he enjoys the shooting sports more than hunting. Either way both will make your wallet a lot lighter. Lol
 
I’d tell him that you understand he wants to wing shoot and dove season is not that far away. Dove meat ranks a little lower than several other game I can think of but should tame his desire to wing shoot. Ask him if he prefers attaining fine table fare to accompany his efforts. If he responds that good food is what he is after tell him that there is a chance to get both the best meat in the woods and wing shooting for a very low initial cost. Ok.. so we will settle on a 20 or 12 gauge to accomplish harvesting both quarries. (Don’t like picking shot out of my squrriels) I’m confident if he eats a properly cooked squrriel that no one will ever have to coax him to spend time in the outdoors. His curiosity will naturally lead into pursuing other game. Get him thinking the full circle approach. He will thank you years down the road.
 
Last edited:

Moose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
Hunt deer, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, swan, geese.... hunt things we got especially a new hunter. Turning him lose on quail or grouse is setting him up for frustration and disappointment. Turning on to preserve birds is just wrong way to start. Nothing against preserve hunts just they ain't hunts. Might as well take to ashborough and do an African safari.
 

thelivecanary

Six Pointer
Just tell him to got to public lands and go for a hike with a gun. Go with someone who has some experience and just go for a hike. If you see a squirrel, rabbit or bird it's a hunt, if not it's a good hike.
 

nchawkeye

Old Mossy Horns
Yep, put him on squirrels and rabbits...When I was much younger I use to bust brush piles to jump rabbits, have killed as many as 5 in a morning with no dog...He can also pay for some of the European Tower pheasant shoots if he wants to get a lot of shooting in...
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
I'd hate to bring a new hunter into a duck addiction in this state, it's just not healthy. Does he have a family?

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 

Ceehawk37

Four Pointer
There are a few pay dove shoots I hear about every year down here in S.C. I haven’t been on one here but used to go on a few back when I lived in Alabama. It’s how I got introduced to hunting and it’s usually a fun time when the birds are flying. Might be the best way for him to figure out if it’s his thing. Most hunts are 50-100 bucks and it requires little in the way of initial start up cost (gun, shells, and a chair). If he really gets into it then he can drop the coin on other more involved hunts.
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
Ok, I’ll go against the popular opinion and say shooting preserves are a great avenue. Some of y’all must go to shitty preserves because good ones have birds that fly good. No, it’s nothing close to a wild bird, but they get up and get out and don’t light back down in 20 yards.

For no other reason, new hunters will get to see dogs do some pretty cool stuff. If I was a new hunter, the dogs alone would be enough to put lead in my pencil.
Plus, they get to enjoy the table fare. I’ve said it before, preserve quail and pheasants are “edible skeet”........😂😂😂
 

sky hawk

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I think preserves have their place, but I don't call it hunting. I call it dog training. And you can eat your training birds, unlike pigeons. Most of the birds I have used have flown very well. My opinion is if you think of it like "edible skeet" or dog training, then you will enjoy it, and it will serve it's purpose. If you try to pass it off for wild hunting, it seems like a charade. I source my own birds and use them on a friends preserve only to get the dog some more reps if it's been awhile.


I'd hate to bring a new hunter into a duck addiction in this state, it's just not healthy. Does he have a family?
Having seen the angst it causes in others, I have to agree. He has a wife and daughter.

I don't think he's after food, although he has had my bacon-wrapped doves. I think he wants the experience. He enjoys offshore fishing. I think he was looking for something on the hunting side closer to Charlotte, that would be an enjoyable hunting experience.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
The other thread got me thinking...

A friend from church approached me in the fall, and after telling him about about bird hunting out of state, he said he had been thinking of taking up bird hunting. He wanted to hunt, but didn't think big game was his thing and thought he would enjoy wingshooting. He lives in the Charlotte area and wanted to know how to get started, how much it would cost and where to go. He's late 30's, a professional that makes good money.

After I gave him a realistic 10-min. assessment of the cost and culture of NC duck hunting (piedmont and eastern), the lack of opportunities for quail and grouse in our state, and what is required for a good dove hunt or an outside chance at woodcock, I felt like I didn't have much to offer him as far as a real expectation of a positive experience. He has no personal connections to other hunters, farmers, or landowners. The best thing I could think to tell him was to pay an outfitter and go hunt with a guide twice a year.

I hate to get someone excited about something that will just lead to endless frustration. I tried to give him as accurate of a representation of bird hunting opportunities in our state as I could. So my question is, how would you have answered that question? Buy a duck boat and several dozen decoys and drive 4 hours? Go to a preserve? Start talking to farmers? Go walk for miles on public land until you see a game bird?

This discussion has played out several times with younger, suburban men who really want to learn to hunt but don't know where or how to get started. Outside of inviting them with me (which I have done) how can I help them? The most common suggestions I have heard are "take up squirrel hunting" and "just go to Uwharrie". I'd like to offer them a little more than that.
I think you gave him some good advice.
With youth and money he has the resources to enjoy hunting and determine how far he wants to go with the sport.
a logical progression would be oufitters, then PL and club where we actually have game.
I love quail myself, live where 5 coveys in an afternoon was possible, but it aint happening again. so you do other stuff.
Have him join the DU, NWTF deal, he'll make contacts that can help.
If he fishes offshore then he should have some contacts downeast that can be turned into some hunting fun.
the hunting network is pretty big once you get started.
And as we all know if you want and have the means you can buy hunting success. Sometimes that is what/all it takes.
 

41magnum

Ten Pointer
Ok, I’ll go against the popular opinion and say shooting preserves are a great avenue. Some of y’all must go to shitty preserves because good ones have birds that fly good. No, it’s nothing close to a wild bird,
Agreed, and birds we get or hunt in Glendon are raised in loooooooooong chicken houses, and the grand kids run thru them mulitple times/day to teach them to flush "wild"......and boy do they!
Not sure of the preserve near our Zoo, though.
 
Top