View Full Version : Want to get started hunting with my son in Alabama...???'s for the old timers.

January 27, 2005, 02:43 PM
One of the COOL things that's happening as a result of having moved to AL is that my 13 yr old son and I are growing closer. We get the Sportsman's Channel, and he's fascinated by the hunts. He's decided he doesn't want to hunt large game, but as a result of what he's seen, he's interested in hunting smaller game-- anything like Turkey, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, grouse, quail, duck, geese, and so on.

He's never hunted before, and it's been 25 years since I have.
How do we get into it?
I assume with bird-hunting, we need to buy shotguns.
What guns should I be looking at for him? For me?
Where do we find a place to hunt?
Guided, or...?
What else do we need to know?

Sorry for sounding so lost, but my focus has always been defensive pistol, so this is a whole new universe for me.
This kind of hunting just seems like such a great relationship-builder as well as a load of fun. We're both looking forward to the learning process.

Thanks in advance,

January 27, 2005, 04:13 PM
Well, welcome back to the bush, fields, woodlands, rivers and streams.... Your making a good choice to get back into it. You and your son will bond even closer with nature and when your out in it. It can't be duplicated by a single thing I can think of.

Well, let me start with the gun issue... You said he is 13 years old so I will assume he is of average build for a young man. I have a son of the same age so I will tell you what we have and do. We each have 20 gauge shotguns. I have a pump and he has a single shot. I may upgrade him in another year or two. I felt best with his first being a single for the reason to make your first and only shot count. That is how I was taught too. He has a 125.00 New England which is a nice American made product. Check out their website for all the products they make and a few new imports they sell too. My pump shotgun is a Charles Daly 20. It was just over 200.00 and I must admit it is an import. I think it is made in Turkey. It looks and feels just like an 870 from Remington. I like 20's for our turkey hunts in spring, bunny hunts in winter and a grouse or two in the fall. The 20 is a little less bark and bite and to be honest it is all we needed for our hunts. We don't duck or goose hunt. If that is a big part of your plan you might want to think 12 gauge. You will need to decide this on your own.
I would suggest a real good state atlas. DeLorme has just about every state in print. It is the best I have found to date. The atlas shows state, federal lands, parks, hunting areas, land forms, and about a million other very useful points. I think they average around 18-20 bucks. It was the best money you could spend. I plan our trips from start to darn near finish with mine. You can also contact US Dept. of Agriculture-US Forest Service for topo map guide and way to order. These are also great ways to research areas before you ever leave home.
I am unsure if you have been through a hunter safety class with your son? If not sign up and listen and learn. I think it is a great program to go through.
If your not taught any first-aid and buddy care in the class I would suggest you find one and take it too. It never hurt to be up on all we can before we go afield. Due to remote locations we hunt these classes can save lives if the worst should happen.
If your bank account is tight like mine is you can save on some issues that I will list now: Hunting clothes don't need to be much more than a pair of jeans, good boots, and upper garments for the weather your in. I was in the military so most of our camo is my old BDU uniforms and it works just fine. I would think if you went to an army - navy surplus store. A used uniform isn't all too much money. I would think a pair of pants and shirt/coat would be around 40.00. This woodland patern is a good one for my part of country. The brown patern would be good for early spring and late fall hunts in most parts of the midwest.... also at the army-navy you can find hats, gloves, rain gear, footwear, and I suggest a compass. If you have the extra money in your budget you could get a GPS too. I advise if you use a GPS also have a compass. My luck tends to make battery life short and when you need it most -it will fail. Practice with navigation items (maps,gps,compass, and study and know the areas you will be in before going).
As much as I hate cell phones I suggest take it along. I turn mine on only if I need it - otherwise it is off with full charge at the ready. While we are on the topic of safety I should add I carry a butt pack with the minimal smart safety stuff - first aid kit, whistle, flashlights, bic lighter, 20' of strong rope, small camp axe, multi tool -knife, safety blanket (foil type), and a few long life snack type items to have in there for that day when all goes wrong... and it happens trust me...
Well, that is the short list of getting started.... It is just that a start... I would try to buddy up with a local neighbor or friend who hunts and ask for some help and if they would mind to take you and your son out for a day of hunting. Your asking and looking into before jumping full into it is a wise and smart way to get back into a great thing. Let me know how it goes and if I can be of any further help to you....

You know your a good father for spending time with your son. This is the age when a lot of good kids don't have the right direction or leadership from someone close to them. I wish you the best of luck both at home and afield... Rojoe67 :D PS always pack a camera - I like the little reusable type... The pictures mean more and more as years go by.... ;)

ps... And :D be sure to have licenses and know all the game laws for what your hunting.... It is our responsibility as parents to make sure our sons and daughters are taught right and wrong in the field too.... :D

January 27, 2005, 04:29 PM
One more idea just came to mind:

Magazines are filled with lots of stuff......pick a good one and you and your son will enjoy it and learn while reading. A good survival book is worth the money too. Even if only 1 of every ten things you read sticks in your mind it could be a life saver in an out back - out far incident. I wish you the very best......good luck and shoot straight.... :D

January 27, 2005, 06:19 PM
Rojoe-- wow...THANKS! That's all really great info, and will be well put to use.
Re: the dad thing...when I turned 13, I basically became "invisible" to my dad...an annoyance, an expense and little else. I'm not going to let that happen with my kids. Now's probably when they need a Dad MOST, as they start dealing with the hard realities of adulthood in the 'real world'.

I'll check into all of the suggestions you gave.
Thanks again, and let me know if you come up with anything else.


January 28, 2005, 05:26 PM
Been doing a little informal research. It appears the focus of our interest is "upland game", which includes rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, quail, and other small game.

Can anyone provide some gun recommendations for a new 13 yr old hunter (strong, fireplug shaped) and myself?


January 28, 2005, 08:24 PM
im not an old timer but i think id like to throw in my two cents. you should look into a youth 20 guage for the boy and an adult sized one for you in either 16 or 20 its really all you need for upland and wont kick you like a 12 id agree with rojoe on the issue of single shot i learned with a single shot too and its a valuable lesson

as for rabbits and other smaller varmints id pick up a couple of used .22s with open sights, maybe and single shot for him and upgrade later and a bolt repeater for you. .22lr ammo is cheap to shoot, accurate enough and used guns are easy on the wallet right off the bat too. if your son decides to hunt bigger game like deer get him a .243 or a 7mm-08 theyre great starter rifles

thats what i add but i notice rojoe already covered most of it and everything else you need to know

January 28, 2005, 11:00 PM
When you fella's get your guns picked out be sure to get a lot of range time... It makes for a much better hunt if both of you are 100% with the weapon your using. I hate to sound like a mother hen here but SAFETY is SO important and never let yourself lack on safety. I sometimes get a little P.O.ed with some guys at the range doing unsafe acts while teaching their youth(s). We just can't do it......they are counting on us to teach them the right way so do it the safe way. Explain how to cross fences the safe way, how to carry a gun in the field while hunting, how to deal with a jam, how to break down the gun and give it a good cleaning after each range visit and each hunt....... Ok..... I am sounding like a hen here............ Good luck
Enjoy and let us know how it's going.... Each topic or questions you have -someone in here will be happy to give some advice......or try to help ya out...


January 29, 2005, 12:28 AM
Thanks to all for the suggestions.
Don't worry Rojoe -- I agree 100% safety FIRST last and always.

We're going to start with the hunter education courses, some range time, and work into it. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions and 'proud papa' moments to share as things progress.

By the way...I made some calls today trying to roust up the local hunter education course info, but the local guy I needed to talk to was out of the office.

January 30, 2005, 04:58 PM
Anybody familiar with these Rossi single-shot combo guns, where you can change the barrell out to accept a small rifle caliber OR a small shotgun gauge?

If the quality's acceptable, that might be a good choice for my son in .22lr/20ga. Here's a link:

January 31, 2005, 03:55 PM
For your son I would recommend a Rem 870 lightweight in 20ga.
My first gun was an 870 wingmaster lightweight at about that age and its very light and easy to handle, not to mention hardly any kick for a 13 year old. I just looked at Remingtons site and they only had youth models, I would be weary of a youth gun though becuase he will grow out of it quickly since it will have a shorter stock. A full size may be a stretch now but by hunting season it may not be. I still use mine to hunt with (I'm 22) I'm not sure the exact weight of my lightweight but the youth model on remingtons site was 6 lbs. You might want to lean toward the 870 express as well it should give you interchangable chokes. Also the advice about range time was good, with the combination of wanting to shoot things that fly, run, hop try to find a sporting clays range, it will give you clays in the air and bounce some off the ground. My dad had a couple of shotguns already when I got him re-addicted so as I progressed I got his gun and he got a new one. (Something to think about for choosing your gun, he's gonna want a 12ga. soon) Also with him just starting out a .22lr is going be harder for him hit squirrels with than a shotgun.(Hunting is more fun when you can hit your target, especially for new shooters)

January 31, 2005, 04:01 PM
Sorry, but I just checked out that Rossi thought I would add a little more. Single shots are good starter guns but remember he's not going to be a real good shot so he'll miss probably often, so that will be when a pump gun comes in handy. Once your in your swing and miss its generally easier to pick it up with a second shot without dropping the swing.

January 31, 2005, 09:21 PM
Thanks Boilermaker!

Good "food for thought".

aussie bob
February 1, 2005, 06:42 AM

I have to disagree with the comment about the pump action. I was introduced to shooting with a .22 rifle when around 12 years of age. It was a single shot Winchestor. The logic was that I had to make the shot pay off. It was also safer if I got a little excited, which needless to say a well controlled red blooded bloke like me would never have done. (Well up until I found out about girls then I guess I became a bit more exciteable.)

I remember going shooting with a bloke in his late teens. He took with him either a semi auto shotgun or semi auto .22 rifle. It used to sound like a war zone in the area he was shooting. His use of ammo would please any ammo manufacturer but his kills were minimal.

I would suggest a .22 rifle, bolt action preferably, so the speed loading and firing is reduced. The recoil is also very slight for a new shooter. Cost is bugger all and feeding it the same. More controlled practice, normally the better the shooter.

If you still want to use a shotgun then I suggest a 16 or 20 gauge U&O. Maybe even look at a gun with both 12 and 20 gauge tube sets available. It needs to be heavy enough to reduce the felt recoil and light enough for the kid to carry in the bush.

Teach the lad to shoot and hunt and not just how to spend money on wasted shots or wounded animals.

Cheers from down under
Aussie Bob

February 1, 2005, 09:34 AM
Aussie Bob-- Thanks.

I buy into the 'learn to make each shot count' mindset, and went ahead and bought the Rossi. One shot of .22, or one shot of 20 gauge. Aim small, miss small. Once he learns that, then I'll probably buy a Ruger 10/22 and a nice Wingmaster or similar; but foundations are critical to build properly, or the whole building is shaky.

There's also a Hunter Ed Course being taught in our town March 12-13th, and we're all signed up for it.

Thanks to all, and I'm looking forward to some really great times hunting in the near future with my son.

February 2, 2005, 07:42 PM
i agree with the single shot for learners idea and definetly the hunter safety course so it looks to me like you guys will be ready to hit the range and be out in the field in no time. keep us posted

February 2, 2005, 09:17 PM
The economy of the 22 makes it so nice to shoot and improve the basic marksmanship skills too. The combo 22-20 gauge seems like a real good pick......I am with you on it.... Good luck..........enjoy the times to share :)