I would say stick with your .223 as it is for now,because when you hunt in the day light you will be all set and my opinion is that with your scope on its lowest power you will be able to shoot at night if the spotlights are any good.
Go buy yourself a couple predator calls the closed reed type, that means the reed is inside the call, maybe a dvd about the sport ,watch it ,then go someplace way away from everyone a start making some noise , you will make mistakes we all have and still do. Here is a good site to check out
lots of good info and people.
Just me but when I want to try something and a "club" tells me that all my equipment is wrong it makes me want to prove them wrong. Anyway good luck and hope you have success.