Youth waterfowl hunt Feb. 3-4, many special events planned


By JIM MATTHEWS

www.OutdoorNewsService.com

There will be two youth-only waterfowl hunting days next weekend, a weekend after the close of the general waterfowl hunting season tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 28).

Only hunters with junior licenses aged 17 and under can hunt these two days (although they must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult), and all public hunting areas across California are having special events for the junior.

At the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in western Riverside County, junior hunters must check in by 3 a.m., but they will get a pancake breakfast before going to the blinds. Then they will have lunch and participate in a raffle for donated prizes. There will also be other activities. For more information on the activities at San Jacinto, call the wildlife area at 951-928-0580.

Similar activities are being held at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, and hunters can call 760-359-0577 for more information.

While both of these areas issue reservations by drawing, walk-on blind sites for juniors will be available at both locations. Both are also going out of their way to make sure all junior hunters are accommodated.

There is also a first-come, first-serve junior hunt at Raahauge’s Duck Club in Prado Basin in Corona. It is open to the first 20 junior hunters who make reservations. For more information, call 951-735-7981.

Water for Wildlife sets its

slate of 2018 project dates

Water for Wildlife, a group of dedicated volunteers who maintain and construct wildlife water drinkers across the Mojave Desert, has set its slate of 2018 work projects, according to club president Cliff McDonald.

The 2018 dates are Feb. 8-11, March 8-11, April 5-8, and May 3-8. The first three projects will be north of Interstate 15 between Halloran Springs and Mountain Pass. The final project will be in the eastern Sierra Nevada in the Goodale area north of Independence.

The first project will provide general maintenance on three or four guzzlers, depending on the number of volunteers who show up to help with the work effort. The group will be camping north of I-15 at the Cima exit just off Excelsior Mine Road. Breakfast and dinner will be provided to volunteers Friday morning through Sunday morning.

If you would like to volunteer or want to help with the costs of maintaining the guzzlers, contact McDonald at 760-449-4820 or e-mail bigmc@citlink.net.

During 2017, the volunteers completed maintenance on 15 wildlife drinkers, and over the past 12 years 166 different water projects have been completed.

High Desert California Deer Association

next meeting Feb. 15, banquet Aug. 18

The newly-formed High Desert Chapter of the California Deer Association will have its first regularly-scheduled meeting beginning 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15 at Georgio & Luigi Pizzeria Sports Bar and Grill, Victorville.

Local CDA members and all deer hunters in the region are encouraged to attend to discuss work projects on nearby public lands and make suggestions for changes in deer management to help local herds.

This newly-formed group is currently the only chapter of the CDA in Southern California, with the suspension of the San Bernardino-based chapter. This new group will be taking over existing projects and initiating new work efforts. It has also set a date -- August 18 -- for the annual fundraising banquet formerly run by the San Bernardino chapter.

For more information, contact Karen Shackelford at 760-948-0127.

29th Isabella Lake Fishing Derby March 24-26

The 29th Annual 2018 Isabella Lake Fishing Derby will be held March 24-26 this year, and there will be a $10,000 top prize for the longest trout entered during the three-day event. Entry fee is $30 per person or $65 for a family (two parents and up to three kids, additional kids are $5 each). There will a total of over $40,000 in cash and prizes, and a special raffle for a new Crestliner 1450 Discovery boat valued at over $16,000. For more information or to register, go to www.kernrivervalley.com.

Moore N’ Moore Sporting Clays reopened Wednesday

After being nearly destroyed by the Creek Fire that swept through the Angeles National Forest in December, Moore N’ Moore Sporting Clays reopened this past Wednesday. The makeshift office is a container unit, but the phones and computers are working. For shooters, the good news is that all shooting stations are available.

There will be a special reopening 100-target event Feb. 4. The Big Bonanza Blast will give member prices to everyone who wants to shoot -- $45 for targets and lunch -- and an even greater discount to members at $38.

For more information, call 818-890-4788 or e-mail info@moorenmoore.com. The range’s website is www.moorenmoore.com.

Bighorn taken in November is new world record

The huge desert bighorn sheep taken by Jason Hairston, Dixon, Calif., in early November in the Orocopia Mountains near Indio is now officially the world record for the Nelson subspecies, the California state record, and the third largest desert sheep of all time.

The huge ram, nicknamed Goliath, officially scored 190 4/8 points net (191 7/8 gross) on the Boone and Crockett scoring system this week.

This was announced just before the auction of the California sheep tag at the Foundation of North American Wild Sheep fundraising dinner in Reno. Hairston, guide Jake Franklin, and the sheep’s immense horns were at the dinner and on display during the raffle, and the California tag sold for $200,000 this year. Hairston bought his tag at last year’s event, spending $235,000 because he knew the money was all dedicated to sheep management in his home state of California.

There have only been two desert sheep larger than Goliath ever taken, and they were both of the peninsular subspecies in Mexico. California has a large population (800-plus) of this subspecies thanks to years of intense management funded by the state’s sheep hunting program and auction tags. While this subspecies is still listed as threatened in California, the current population is well above the threshold that could allow delisting in California.

The Nelson subspecies has recovered across its range in California (over 5,000 animals) and the desert Southwest, thanks to management, water developments, and translocations funded by hunter’s license dollars.

END

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