California Hunting- Hunting Bear, Dear and Quail on Public Land

When you think about a hunting destination you think about Colorado Elk, White  Tail deer in Texas or the mountains of Pennsylvania. Truth is that California offers some awesome hunting. The destinations will take you to the Coastal mountains of Santa Catalina Island to the dark timber of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.

California Deer Hunting Map

If you live in the Los Angeles Basin, day hunting trips are possible if you know where to go.

Vally of Los Padres national forest

In the valleys and rolling hills on the back side of Mount Pinos National Forrest hunters can find a plethora of game animals. I event better yet you can hunt several species during the same hunting season!

The area in I am referencing is known as D-13 for deer season. It covers Alamo mountain and the surrounding base valleys in the los padres national forest. From mid October through the first week of November, three popular hunting species are simultainouly in open season: Deer, Bear and quail.

It turns out that these species are also present in the same game area. The game area ranges in elevation of 4100 feet in the valleys and rolling hills and up in snow line at the top of Alamo mountain at 7300 feet at it peak.

Deer and Bear are often seen in the open parks browsing on grasses and roughage. Bears are both in the valleys and mountains. We geared up in the quads and trucks and headed to the forest in search of bear or deer sign.

 

 

I got the opportunity to sport my new RRGC hat. I was very high VIZ and comfortable all day! Thanks Defrost for the cool hats!

 

Club membersvisited the area in search of all 3 of these game species. “Phish” “Broken Arrow” and Ziva the “hunting dog,” went looking for birds in the valleys. It turns out that they ran in to some covey and the dog did hunt!

From the accounts of “Empty Clip,” the dog bumped every bird on the hillside, the only problem is that she was 400 yards ahead of the hunters. Looks like, “no-hunt” may not be a lap dog after all she just needs more training. Its good news!

“Broken Arrow” claimed ridge line and skillet shot 3 quail in one shot! The unfortunate thing is that they tumbled down the hillside and as his bird dog, I retrieved them for him.

“Claim Jumper” and I glassed from a top of a ridge. The views were amazing but not much was moving so we road our quads to check on a game camera.

When we got the game camera, this is what we found!

It was a quick weekend outing in the local mountains. Proof positive that fun and adventure is only a few hours away. Get out there and experience the great outdoors!

Members present
Phish, Empty Clip, Langosta, Broken Arrow, Claim Jumper.

Animals harvested:

Quail 7, 2 rabbits and that’s all folks!

Langosta-45′

Legendary Hunting Cartridge- 300 Weatherby in Africa

Thomas Weiland once said, “…only accurate rifles are interesting.” It’s true, accurate rifles are really interesting. My Weatherby will rival any rifle 3x the price. You don’t have to be a rich person to own a high performance rifle. My Weatherby Vanguard is proof-positive of this fact. This rifle shoots 1/2″ MOA groups with hunting loads. It is a Sub- MOA rifle out of the box. With a few enhancements this rifle is down right awesome. Thomas Weiland would be fascinated!

For those of us that covet rifles that deliver extreme performance, the Weatherby brand is well respected. Roy Weatherby introduced the 300 Weatherby cartridge in 1956. He tested the cartridge on North American big game like Elk and later in Africa on Plains Game. In this article I will share with you some of my most memorable moments shooting the 300 Weatherby.

Best hunting Rifle Set up- 300 Weatherby

Elk hunting is synonymous with the 300 Weatherby cartridge. When considering an Elk rifle, I purchased a Weatherby Vanguard rifle chambered in 300 Weatherby.  The Vanguard is an entry level production rifle. I purchased the Vanguard (Weatherby’s entry level model) for a modest $650.00 (back in 2010). I did have some modifications made at the Weatherby custom shop. I had them install a new trigger and muzzle break. I also had them laser etch my name on the bolt.

The rifle is topped with a Leupold VX-3 variable power up to 14x zoom. I had the ballistic turret calibrated for the Barnes 180 Grain TSX bullet. This scope magnification range offers the most versatility to be able to make a good placed shot at many different distances.

Hand loading the 300 Weatherby

Let’s be frank, for those that shoot factory ammo, you are only tapping into a small fraction of the performance. The ‘old timers’ know what Weatherby’s can do! Experienced hand-loaders get excited about the possibilities of a high capacity case matched with a high performance hunting bullet.  Once a rifle is matched with the perfect bullet weight and muzzle velocity, things really get interesting! Perfecting this combination in your rifle can be a tedious endeavor but it is absolutely worthwhiled.

I loaded a Barnes 180 Grain TSX bullet to a velocity of 2,900 feet per second. My load is very specific I used H4831 SC because it is not temperature sensitive. I also produced ignition with a standard deviation less that 20 feet per second in a 5-shot test volley. You may also want to consider H4350 for similar results.

The 300 Weatherby can be much faster, up to 3,200 feet per second. However, at faster velocities, I was not able to get the 180 grain bullet to stabilized and reach sub-MOA accuracy (my personal standard 1″ MOA or better at 100 yards). At long range, stability trumps speed.

At 2,900 FS, the 180 grain bullets produced sub-MOA groups.  This bullet and caliber combination produces very impress knock down performance on heavy game animals. The bullets are also lead free so no need to worry about lead exposure in your meat.

Hunting Africa with 300 Weatherby

When I purchased this rifle, I never imagined that it would travel to Africa with me. It turned out to be a great choice in both rifle caliber and rifle configuration. African hunting offers a wide range of terrain.

In many cases wide open prairies and open mountain terrain. The animals that live there are also heavy on the hoof. Mature Sables weight 400+ pounds and so do wildebeests!

Mountain Zebra are also found in the highlands. These animals can see you coming from miles away. Most animals have a safety zone of approximately 400-500 yards. The 300 Weatherby can close that gap and be the difference between a trophy of a lifetime or a disappointing shot spanking the dirt.

Longest Shot on Game Animals

Sable Antelope

Sable at 440 yards– it was the first animal I harvested in Africa. The shot presentation was less than ideal. The trophy Sable was quartering away and walking to the right. He was so far away, with the naked eye he was a black dot in the yellow grass. From the prone position on a termite mound, I let loose the shot. The Sable bull collapsed as the bullet entered below the spine and through his heart. The bull never got up due to the hydrostatic shock so closed to his spine. A second shot was to minimize suffering and grant him a clean kill.

Blue Wildebeest 400 yards- These animals are the true athletes of Africa. They can run for miles without stopping. They heard together and run in circles to raise a cloud of dust to cover their escape path.

It was at Hunters Hill that I first saw these amazing beasts. But it was on Tommy’s farm Thandeka, that I harvested my first wildebeest.

 

Tommy’s ranch is located in Limpopo near the Botswana boarder on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. The old bull had parted from the his heard. He was hanging around some impala when I first saw him. His body was large and his horns impressive. He was a skittish creature, cautious in how it moved though the bush veld. Its judgement bering years of wisdom of its age.

It would be 3 days later when I would see him again. My PH Barry saw the bull as he inched out of the thick bush veld.

Feeling safe because he was 400 yards away. he looked straight at me, frozen still. hoping that he would not be seen. From a braced position, I fired a shot that struck him high on the shoulder. It was a double lung shot!  He still ran 400 yards away before we found him expired in the tall grass.

Truly a tenacious animal. The wildebeest back-straps, were the best game meat I enjoyed in Africa.

Kudu 200 yards- The grey ghosts of Africa. For Americans the Kudu is much like the North American Elk. Not in its looks but in its elusive nature. These animals are very light footed for their size. They live in the mountains and travel many miles every day in search of green grass. They are some of the most sought after game animals in Africa by American hunters. They taste delicious but they are also an amazing game animals to hunt.

They live in beautiful habitats, they travel in small herds and they are cleaver. In the picture above, you see my PH Jason and Master Tracker Lucas glassing the valley looking for Kudu. The grass is about 750 yards from our vantage point. A challenging potential shot but very plausible with a 300 Weatherby.

It took me 7 days and hundreds of miles to find my trophy bull. We traveled to different ranches in search of my trophy Kudu.  We saw Kudu every day at different distances. My Professional Hunter Jason wanted a bull that had ivory tips that pointed forward. This would insure that he was a mature bull. Since I was there for 21 days, we had the luxury of time and could afford to be picky.

During those first 7 days, the shot presentation ranged from 400 to 800 yards.   So we traveled and we traveled to neighboring ranches in search for my grey ghost!

On the 8th day we traveled to Comre,  a ranch located 2 hours from Hunters Hill. We saw Kudu on the 1st night there, but at last light it was hard to see the tips of the horns.

The next morning, the entire mountain side became alive. The mountain Zebra and Gemsbok could be seen feeding. Young Kudu cows and young bulls also came out to feed. Giraffes at the base of the hills with necks swaying from branch to branch.

In the morning be Brought out the spotting scope  and we glassed the mountains looking for the ghosts. On a clear day you can see 200 miles in any direction.

The marvel of Africas hypnotic beauty will stimulate your senses. The vastness of the valleys and the majesty of the mountains invigorates you to the core. At dawn you will realize that its a special place and the fellowship of the hunt as drawn you to travel 12,000 miles for the experience!

PH Jason drove the Land Cruiser to the back side of the mountain to a cliff overlooking a catch basin watering hole. That is were we bumped a small heard of Kudu. My trophy bull was in a small herd of seven. At 200 yards, the shot was not very far but it was a challenge.  They were trotting away at a brisk pace maneuvering through thick trees. I only had a small window between the brush to take a shot.

It took 3 shots to close the deal and harvest my amazing trophy bull Kudu. The first shot slowed him down, the second shot anchored him and the 3rd shot, lights out! We enjoyed him for dinner 2 nights later. The rest of the animal was shared with the camp staff and their family.

(It should be duly noted that no part of these animals went to waste. Any remaining meat was sold in local market as legal game meat. The trimmings and parts not fit for human consumption was fed to the resident lion pride held as pets of the land owner.)

**Kudu Tongue with a sweet mustard sauce!

In conclusion

Overall the 300 Weatherby deserves the reputation that it has garnered over the years. Not surprisingly, the 300 Weatherby is Weatherby’s most popular caliber. I enjoy shooting it and have come to love its performance on large bodied game animals. My Weatherby is now “Africa certified” and ready for our next hunting adventure!

Hunters are adventures. They travel to distant lands in search of adventure with a passion for wild things and the wild places they live.

I want to thank my good friend “Empty Clip” for taking the leap of faith and trusting me with the planning of our African adventure. It was a blast and changed the way we see the world of hunting and camaraderie among hunters/friends! It was 100%!

 

Langosta- 45

Copyrights reserved 2021

 

 

Club Event- Steak and Beans Dinner 2021

It has been a year of lock downs and disruption due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. After many Dark’ nights distinguished members of the Redondo Rod and Gun Club meet up at the club house for a Steak Dinner.

President Blank Page

Members are in good spirits has the meeting was called to order by President Blank Page on March 25, 2021 at 8:00pm.

Look through some of the happy faces with full bellies. On the menu was Costco Ribeyes, beans and potato salad! Enjoy the pictures!

Cast Away and the trouble makers!

Table full of trouble makers

Andre is a happy man, no one goes hungry at our events. Members have an opportunity to catch up and socialize.

Rooster Happy to have you back

Phish
Claim Jumper
Treasurer Speak Easy
Blind Spot and Empty Clip

It was a well attended event full of good cheer and great stories. More events to come.

Post Created May 15, 2021 by – Langosta_45

Fishing Private Charter Pacific Voyager

This was a private charter out of San Diego, CA. Anglers were in search of Blue Fin Tuna, Yellowtail and Yellowfin Tuna. Anglers showed up with a tackle arsenal    ready for Bear. 

Fishing destination- Mexican waters by Coronado Island

 

Members Present

 

 

Castaway

Claimjumper

Chuck

Defrost

Fogbank

Glen

Langosta

Raul

Speakeasy

 

The most memorable event was when Club member tossed his rod in the water during the frenzy of a “bite” that lasted over 40 minutes. Miraculously, the rod was recovered by a deckhand. Later we learned that this was the 3 time the same rod was tossed in the water. Perhaps Boomerang would have been a better club nickname. 

Subsequently, there was a trial and Name Given. For club members without a name, take comfort in knowing that your name will always be gifted in good humor and has to be tied to a really funny screw up! 

Many members limited out on Yellowtail and a few nice sized bluefin tuna stained the decks bloody. The trip was a great success since we did a lot of catching which is more fun than fishing! lol

The catch was broken down into delicious sashimi over the next 24 hours with much of it being enjoyed with family and friends. Below are some progress pictures of the fish being processed at home. 

The trip was so much fun, we are looking to book it on our yearly calendar of events. If you want to learn more about the Redondo Rod and Gun Club, please email us. 

Posted by 

-Langosta, Historian

Redondo Rod and Gun Club: 1st Annual Rabbit Derby

Rabbit hunt by legal take method allowed- rifle or shotgun. Lead free ammo. Game in season Jack Rabbit. A general Hunting license will be required.

 It was a good turn out with the following Hunters participating:
Castaway
Claim jumper
Chuck
Fogbank
Fowl
Jake
Langosta
Speakeasy
Tom



Every camping trip holds the potential of a great meal around a roaring fire.   This year was no exception, deer and beef Birria Soup, Garlic Shrimp, Antelope Burgers, Elk Steak wrapped in bacon and dutch oven Veggies!

 

Vic and Chuck shovel out some hot coals for- “Southern Comfort” during a chilly night! 

 

 

Hunting destination on public lands of Carizzo Plain. Hunters traveled by car and dry camped on Bureau of Land Management. Trip for most members was about 4 hours of travel from the clubhouse. The weather was mild and everyone was up for some adventure in the great outdoors!

Winner of the 1st Annual Rabbit Derby is Fowl. He won by a massive margin of 1 too Zero. That’s right Fowl was the only hunter that harvested a Rabbit. Congratulate Fowl next time you see him and offer to buy him a beverage!


It was a great trip with many laughs and fun filled memories with friends. Hunting is about adventure and experiencing the beauty and ruggedness of the great outdoors. Remember, bring a young person with you on your next adventure. The spirit of conservation and hunting is how our traditions live on. If you want to learn more about hunting and fishing contact us by email. We will continue with our weekly meetings on Thursdays once COVID lock downs end. 

Posted by:

-Langosta, Historian

How to Pick the Best Hunting Caliber for North America?

If you want to start a heated discussion, ask a group of hunters …. “What is the best hunting caliber for North America?” As a firearms geek, I love to partake in that discussion. In this article, I will cover how to select a rifle cartridge that is appropriately matched to the most popular Big Game species in North America.

In the United States we are truly blessed with a plethora of caliber options. Consequently, our bountiful caliber options can be overwhelming. This article is limited to cartridge selection and not the rifle platform. Rifle selection is an article in itself.  (In a future article we will discuss how to select the perfect hunting rifle) If you want to ‘dive in to the deep end’, read “American Hunting Rifles II” by Col. Craig Boddington.

There are three main considerations when selecting a hunting caliber.

a) What are you shooting at?

b) How far will you likely be shooting?

c) What is the availability and affordability of factory ammunition in that caliber?

The bullet weight must match the size of the desired game animal. If the bullet is too large, you will lose a tremendous amount of precious game meat. Conversely, if the bullet is too small, you risk never recovering the wounded animal. Let’s just establish the fact that a bigger caliber will not always compensate for a poorly placed shot. As a contrarian, Roy Weatherby would argue that velocity is a great compensator for a badly placed shot. With that said, hunters should strive for a clean shot that delivers a humane kill. Without question, velocity does enhance the killing power of a bullet. Higher velocity calibers generate more hydrostatic energy to muscle fibers and blood vessels. It is critical to find the right balance between lethality and meat loss. Achieving a clean kill is a hunter’s most virtuous endeavor.

North America Game Animals

North America offers various game animals whose flesh is coveted by Hunters. In the West, the Mule Deer, Elk, Bison and Pronghorn Antelope. Stretching from  East to Mid-west, White-Tail Deer, Black Bear and Wild Boar. As we consider a caliber for each animal, we must also consider the animal’s weight and distance the shot will be taken. Probable shot distance is based on the topography and density of indigenous vegetation. Wide open terrain with little tree cover offers longer range shots. Dark timber and dense forrest offers closer range shots.

First, consider the size of the animal and then context of the shot. The rolling hills of California’s Central Coast may offer 300–700-yard shots. Open prairies of Wyoming will offer +300yds shots at high wind. Rocky Mountain Elk are large bodied game animals. The Rocky Mountains of Colorado’s Elk country offer both short and long-range shots.  Let’s cover the options of cartridges by species and body size.

Whitetail Deer

Best Caliber for Deer?

I know, “more animals have been taken with a 30-30 Winchester than any other rifle.” I love the 30-30 and it will perform great with modern bullets on deer.  Let’s explore some additional options. For Whitetail and Mule, consider their size when choosing a rifle caliber.  A mature Doe can weigh between 95lb to 120lb. The corresponding bullet weights 70 grains to 90 grains. The potential shooting distance; up to 400 yards.

Common cartridges within these parameters include: 243Winchester with a 85 grain Barnes Bullet, 6mm Remington with a 85 grain Barnes bullet. A lighter recoiling option is a 22-250 Remington loaded with a 53 grain Barnes TSX. The popular 223 Remington is a great deer cartridge when loaded with a heavier bullet such as a 75 grain Hornady A-Max or 70 grain Barnes TSX (my preferred bullet). At 400 yards or less the 223 Remington and 243 Winchester are great low recoil cartridge options.

Texas Whitetail Doe

This season, I harvested 2 Whitetail Doe in Texas with a 223 Remington hand loaded with 70 Grain Barnes TSX bullets. Both Doe were harvested cleanly with almost no blood-shot to muscle fibers. Shots taken between, 75 yds and 100 yds respectively. This type of cartridge performance makes a good case study for the smaller and faster calibers. Conversely, the Whitetail Doe harvested with 7mm Remington cartridges, suffered significant blood-shot trauma resulting in excessive meat loss. I am not saying that you should not shoot deer with a 7mm, just know that you will lose a lot of meat if you don’t apply a headshot.

223 Rem Vs 243 Winchester

My 223 Remington loads proved to be an excellent choice for deer sized game animals. As a result, it is unlikely that I will ever hunt deer with any bullet larger than 100 grains.  Using larger bullets on smaller bodied animals may needless waste game meat.

Rocky Mountain Bull Elk

Best caliber for Elk hunting?

Elk meat is some of the most coveted game meat by hunters in North America. Rocky Mountain Elk hunting in the Flattop Mountains of Colorado offers Sportsmen a tremendous hunting opportunity. Elk are +400lb animals. A plausible shot distance for Elk can range from 80 yards to +400 yards. Appropriate bullet weight for Elk starts at 140 grains to 180 grains. Cartridges that offer those bullet weights are 270 Winchester, any of the .284 calibers like the 7mm Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, the 30 calibers 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Remington Ultra Mag, 300 Win mag and 300 Weatherby. In Elk camp, hunters typically shoulder a 30-06 Springfield, 300 Win Mag or the quintessential Elk cartridge, the 300 Weatherby.

30-06 Springfield

Personally, I have killed Elk with both a 30-06 Springfield and 300 Weatherby. My favorite rifle, a Weatherby Vanguard chambered in 300 Weatherby has ‘rung the bell’ of pigs, elk, deer and steel targets at 1275 yards. I keep the spent case and recovered the bullets of game animals harvested. They become part of my collection of memories associated with the hunt. Loading the ammunition also provides confidence in the performance of a thoroughly tested cartridge load.

Flat Top Mountain Colorado

My Elk hunting adventures took place in the Flattop Mountains along the east fork of the White River in Colorado. For context, the shots were at distances of 70 yards and 100 yards respectively. Ironically, this gun is set up for +700 yard shooting. The most memorable elk adventure was when I shot a trophy Elk from the prone position inside of my tent. The 300 Weatherby hammered a trophy “Wapiti” with a single shot 100 yards from my tent (More on that story to be posted)

SIDE NOTE:

Every rifle has a velocity that will increase accuracy. Bullet velocity can be inconsistent among different rifles of the same caliber. Hand loading is a good way to make adjustments to a cartridge and produce consistent bullet velocities from shot-to-shot.

My Weatherby Vanguard shoots best with a 180Gr bullet Barnes TSX bullet. In 2012, I harvested a respectable Elk with this rifle. The bullet crossed the Elk diagonally and was recovered from the opposite end of the carcass. It produced a wound channel 38″ – 42″ deep with a hydrostatic shock measuring 12″ in diameter. The bull Elk only moved 12 yards and expired. Below is a picture of the case and recovered bullet.

Barnes 300 Weatherby Bullet

Wild Pig

Wild pigs are some of my favorite game animals. They are tough, clever and tasty! I have dispatched pigs with handgun, rifle, spear and knife. Truly a working man’s game species. They are both prolific and affordable to hunt. With Pig, the scenario of the hunt is a major factor in cartridge selection. Hunters should choose wisely.

If you wound a pig with a poorly placed shot, you may not recover it. They do not bleed much if you foul a lung shot. These animals require a 130 grain minimum bullet with a 168 gr bullet being very appropriate. Head shots are always a good tactic for anchoring large hogs in deep cover. With hogs, a heavier bullet to the shoulder will anchor them effectively but you loose a lot of meat (head shots work best).

Pig Shot in head

Calibers for Pigs: 270 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmore, any of the .284 calibers like the 7mm Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, the 30 calibers: 30-30 Winchester,  308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield. You could use a 300 Win Mag with a lighter bullet 130-150 Gr. If using a heavier bullet, consider taking a headshot like in the picture above.

Pronghorn Antelope

Full disclosure, I have not yet killed a Pronghorn Antelope. I plan on hunting Wyoming for Pronghorn Antelope in 2021. Club member Fowl, has hunted Wyoming with success for several years and I plan to hitch along to learn the hunting area. Bullet weight for Antelope, 130 gr to 150 gr for shots up to 500 yards.

Pronghorn Antelope

Cartridge of choice would be 308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmore or 7mm Remington Magnum. I will hunt with my 7mm Remington Mag because it likes a 140 grain Barnes TSX bullets. This load allows the flexibility to take shots from 200 to 600 yards with a high degree of confidence. Granted a 140 Gr. bullet weight is a bit large for a Doe Antelope (they weigh 75 lb -110 lb). However, Buck Antelope weigh 100lb to 140lb with a probable long range shot at highwind.

In wide open country with longer shots (+450 yards), consider the longer/heavier 140 Gr bullet. Barnes also makes 120 Gr TSX Bob-tail bullet. This smaller bullet is better for Antelope body size; however, it is light for a longer-range shot +550 yards. This is why, I say context is everything! In preparation for this hunt,  I will experiment with both bullet weights and evaluate their respective performance at +500 yards. I will share those findings in a future blog article.

Synopsis:

North America hunting offers an exciting opportunity to hunt different terrain and diverse big game animals. I think that calibers that offer bullet weights ranging between 140 gr -150 gr bullets, offer the most versatility. These calibers will be suitable for 90% of North American hunting scenarios. Notice that I reference the Barnes Copper only bullets. Eating lead is not wise, especially when such a fenominal line of bullets are available to hunters.

The following cartridges meet these criteria:

270 Winchester

7 mm Remington

6.5 Creedmore

308 Winchester

30-06 Springfield

The next thing to consider is the statue and recoil sensitivity of the shooter. Smaller shooters may consider the 270 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmore and 308 Winchester

Selecting a new hunting rifle should not be stressful. Pick a hunting rifle cartridge that has a heritage and proven success in the field. Now you know how to match your bullet weight appropriately for the game of your next pursuit!

What are you thoughts? Please post you comments below.

-Langosta ’45, December 31, 2020