Our hunting guru, Tim E. Hovey, provides our readers with an inside look at the upcoming second half of California’s dove season with a great how-to story appearing in our November California Sportsman.
Here’s a sneak preview of what Tim wrote:
The new hunters for this season were all pretty familiar to our hunting group. This year my regular hunting buddies brought their kids along for the opener. Not as observers, but as newly licensed, California hunters. We set them up near the decoys and in open areas where they could test their shooting skills. We let them take longer shots so they could see that chances for success increased dramatically if they waited for the birds to enter their effective range. Each kid, Andrew, Adrian and Alyssa, all shot birds during the opener, and each one had an amazing time. I was impressed with their attention to safety and I made a point of telling each one that I would hunt with them anytime.
On the last day of the September dove season, I took my daughter Alyssa out for a morning hunt. We arrived at a new spot before sunrise and got things ready. I found an open area nearby and set up the decoy spread. Using a few large tumbleweeds, I quickly constructed a makeshift blind around our shooting position. The pending sunrise was at our backs and I could not remember creating a better set up for hunting dove.
As soon as the sun broke the horizon, the birds began to fly. The week before, I had noticed that birds leaving the orchards cut through this open area on their way to feed. Now, almost in a flood, they were flying right over our position. Some broke from their flight to investigate the decoys. I watched one slow slightly on Alyssa’s side. She swung her shotgun, matching the bird’s path. She led it slightly and fired. The dove folded in flight and dropped to the ground. I don’t remember my first dove, but I will forever remember that bird.
Mourning dove are plentiful, challenging and fun to shoot. The effort and gear needed is minimal, and it’s an activity the entire family can enjoy. California offers two seasons, generous bag limits and plenty of opportunity. Despite their challenging speed and aerobatics, in the right areas, new hunters will have numerous opportunities to hone their shooting skills. If you’ve ever thought about giving it a try, please do. Hunting is an activity best experienced with good friends and family. Get a group together and start your own tradition. You won’t be sorry.
To see Tim Hovey’s full story and others like it, subscribe to California Sportsman today. Click here for details.
Photos courtesy of Tim Hovey
As hunters, we always want to remember our adventures in the field. Sharing our trials and successes of the hunt with others is as old as the activity itself. Whether it’s taking photos of the event or preserving part of the animal to commemorate a milestone, remembering our field adventures is an important part of the hunting tradition.
Most hunters opt for the standard shoulder mount to immortalize a successful trip. They’re stylish, traditional, and the workmanship of many of today’s taxidermists is amazing. However, they can be expensive, bulky and take several months to a year to get back to you depending on how busy your taxidermist is.
Many outdoors enthusiasts may not realize there is a cheaper, and in my opinion, more attractive alternative to the standard shoulder mount to remember a successful hunt. A European mount is simply the skull of an animal cleaned, whitened and suitable for display. Over the years, the techniques used to process an animal head into a European mount have evolved.
For cleaning skulls, taxidermists no longer prefer the old methods of soaking a head in water until the meat falls off (maceration) or boiling the skull. Serious skull cleaners use dermestid beetles.
For close to 15 years now, I’ve maintained several large colonies of dermestid beetles for skull-cleaning purposes. During that time, I’ve learned a great deal on how to culture, care for and utilize the beetles for cleaning bones. What started as an interesting hobby has grown quickly into a thriving Internet business, and my preferred way to remember my adventures in the field.
Probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get regarding the beetles is if they will harm the living. This species has absolutely no desire in anything other than dried-out, dead meat. They don’t bite and are essentially harmless. They do require good ventilation and a working temperature of between 70 to 85 degrees, which makes cultivating this species in California relatively easy.
More adventurous individuals may want to consider starting their own dermestid beetle colony. They’re easy to raise and maintain, and many beetle culturists are available online, providing information on raising and caring for your own colony. Dermestid Inc. (dermestidbeetlecolonies.com
), an online dealer in dermestid beetles, offers informative DVDs, beetle starter kits and all the information required to successfully culture beetles.
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Look for Steve Carson’s annual report on the Irvine Lake Nov. 1 trout opener in the soon-to-be released November California Sportsman. There’s no wonder Steve always seems to get excited about this Orange County staple for anglers. Look at some of the trout that have been pulled from Irvine’s waters:
Photos courtesy of Irvine Lake
Get Steve’s full report and more great photos in the November issue of California Sportsman. To subscribe, and get $10 off a one-year subscription ($19.95 for 12 issues of your local fishing and hunting news), click here.
Apologies for not getting this in sooner. Ironically part of what slowed me down is being able to reach several wild pig hunting guides for a story that ultimately fell through. But here goes:
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Photo courtesy of Lake Jennings
By Chris Cocoles on Oct. 22
They are not quite as outrageous as the “Austin Powers”-inspired “sharks with frickin lazor beams attached to their heads“, and there is no evidence of ill-tempered mutated sea bass in any of the Lake Jennings “lightning trout” that will be stocked in the San Diego-area trout fishery. But these seem like pretty funky fish for Jennings anglers to catch.
Lightning trout will be stocked in Jennings twice in the spring. These are essentially rainbows, but with a twist: with vertical stripes and a golden color to them.
“People are really interested in them,” says David Acevedo, the head ranger at Jennings. “They’re just a unique strain of fish. The thing with them is, they do grow a little slower. That’s one reason for us putting them later in the early spring. They really have to get to a good size. They are great fish. They’ll bring a lot of excitement, and it’s going to be nice to have something a little different. But they’re the same as the Sierra bows. The (lightning trout) are a good fishing fish.”
As the Nov. 1 trout opener approaches, Jennings will be receiving almost weekly plants of more traditional rainbows from the Mt. Lassen hatchery.
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By Chris Cocoles on Oct. 21
Look for a story on the November issue of California Sportsman on the woes that plagued the Alturas area when the partial government shutdown closed the Modoc National Widlife Refuge and canceled plenty of waterfowl hunters’ trips during the early October opening in the Northeastern Zone. Many hunters probably won’t get back those missed opportunities, but at least some good news came from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Here are the list of formerly closed areas that are back open for access, per the DFW r:
• Colusa NWR, (530) 934-2801
• Delevan NWR, (530) 934-2801
• Kern NWR, (661) 725-6504
• Merced NWR, (209) 826-3508
• Sacramento NWR, (530) 934-2801
• San Luis NWR, (including Kesterson, Bear Creek, Freitas North), (209) 826-3508
• Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, (760) 348-5278
• Lower Klamath NWR, (530) 667-2231
• Tule Lake NWR, (530) 667-2231
• Modoc NWR, (530) 233-3572
• Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR, (510) 792-0222
Here’s hoping these re-openings will provide a fresh chance for those outdoors enthusiasts who were locked out for most of the first half of October can get back outside and enjoy the fall in California.
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Lake Del Valle Fishing Report
October 18, 2013
The water temperature is 68 degrees at the end of the dock. Fishing hasn’t changed very much from this week to last week; with weather still cooling off. Striper bite has slowed down best thing to throw out is Anchovies, Sardines, Worms, or Jigs. Topwater lures, Crank-baits, and Jerk-baits still haven’t really been getting their attention as much. Hetch Hetchy and the Lower Narrows are the best places to fish for Stripers. The Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass bite has slowed down even more this week, you need to really go looking for them using Rat-L-Traps and Lipless Crank-baits out at Swallow and Heron Bay are best places to try for Bass. When fishing for Catfish try using Chicken Livers or Anchovies in the Lower Narrows and South End near the down trees. Trout bite still picking up and they are surfacing in the mornings and evenings; best thing to throw out are Crank-baits and other steady retrieving lures, Power-bait, and Night Crawlers. Brighter colored Powerbait such as rainbow or chartreuse is what works the best right now is the East beach. There has also been luck down the dog run trail near the lower narrows for those who don’t mind a little bit of a walk.
Photo Courtesy of Lake Del Valle
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Northern California salmon anglers can still fish until Dec. 15. And while the bite will really slow down if much-needed rains fall, guide Rick Kennedy of Tight Lines Guide Service (888-975-0990; fishtightlines.com) continues finding big kings in the Sacramento River. Here’s Rick’s report:
We spent the last two days fishing the Sacramento River in the Sacramento Metro area. It didn’t take long to remind myself how this area can be either on of off. Monday we fished hard for several hours for nothing more than a slight grab. As a guide days like this keep you up all night thinking what could I have done different and what will I change tomorrow. Well, today we launched at the same time, started in the same place with the same lures and within an hour and a half we had five nice salmon up to 35 pounds in the boat. We got our first five fish quickly and needed one more for full limits for our clients. We had that number six fish on four times but couldn’t seem to get him to the boat. All our fish were caught trolling down river on the outgoing tide.
Brothers Brandon, Brogon and Brett Abril with their salmon. Brandon is from Vacaville, Brogon and Brett from Pittsburg.
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