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As season gets into gear, here’s some good events to attend during hunting season
CORONA — Upland game bird and waterfowl seasons are just about to open up and prospects for this season are exceptional. Mother Nature has put a lot of birds on the ground and nesting in Canada and the Arctic will fill our flyway with lots of ducks and geese.

Western Outdoor News has stayed on top of what hunters can expect and unless there is some really wacky weather prior to opening weekends hunters can expect limit or near limit shoots. The high country did get some snow and there were scattered showers and some rain in the foothills and high desert. It will likely be awhile before any new green vegetation emerges, possibly before opening day, and that growth might be hindered by a lack of follow up storms and warm windy conditions.


WON checked in with Harold Horner, of High Desert Guide Service based out of Victorville, for an update on how the last storm might affect chukar and quail hunters heading out into the desert region on opening weekend.


"Jim, I am heading out this weekend to look for birds. There were plenty of them out there prior to this storm, but I kind of think that the rain might have scattered coveys a little more. I don't know how easy hunting will be. My guess is that the birds will be spread out over wide areas and possibly head to some of the more remote and rugged areas as soon as they feel hunting pressure. Hunters are going to be forced to get off well traveled roads and plan on doing some serious walking if they hope to walk off a mountain with a limit of chukar opening day. The rains could have held off for a couple of weeks and that would have made everyone much happier. We'll just have to wait to see how opening day comp counts turn out," said Horner.


Wister Wildlife refuge is looking very good and is currently holding lots of ducks. Most of the ponds have been flooded and the water level is being kept low this season to allow puddle ducks to get to vast amounts of feed easier. The refuge saw about 50 speckled bellied geese show up this past week, which adds more options for opening day hunters. Not much rain fell in Imperial Valley, it was mostly scattered showers, but they experienced quite a bit of wind as last week's storm pattern blew through.


Everyone cannot head out to a mountain or duck blind every week of the season, but there are some events coming up that should help fill in the hunting related calendar for those looking to find out more about places to hunt, outfitters and at the same time support some worthy fundraisers and conservation programs.


One of the premier hunting events of the upland game bird season is the annual Sportsmen Helping Children Pheasant Hunt. This year Raahauge's Pheasant Club will host the 14th Annual hunt that will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The event is sponsored by the California Sporting Goods Association and over the years this group has contributed in excess of $1,400,000 worth of sporting goods and recreational products that have benefited many Southland children's Centers and Foundations, including Team Cody of Camp Pendleton.


This an excellent hunt for any hunter, our group, that wants to get out and have fun while hunting for prime ringneck pheasant. In addition to a good outing, the food is awesome and  each hunter will receive a Hunter's Gift Package valued at over $500. In addition to a good shoot there will be a catered lunch followed by a silent auction, raffle and live auction. Western Outdoor News has supported this venue for many years and we'll be there again this year to take photos in the field. For more information on attending this event, booking a group spot or making a donation contact Dave Rickrode at (818) 670-7055 or Doug Forde (949) 713-9098. The hunt starts at 7:30 a.m. with registration, followed by a pancake breakfast and ends with the Children's Organization Presentation at 1 p,m.


Another event that should be put on a "things to do list" is to make plans to attend the 7th Annual California Waterfowl Imperial Valley Duck Dinner that will be held in Niland on Dec.10 at the Niland Chamber Building. This event will take place during the peak of the duck season and just about the same time that most of the white geese are expected to arrive in Imperial Valley.


The cost to attend the carne asada dinner is only $20 and for those who purchase an early bird ticket prior to Nov. 20, they will receive $300 in general raffle tickets. There will also be a special drawing for a Remington Versa Max shotgun with only 30 tickets to be sold. The event begins at 6 PM for cocktails followed by dinner at 8 p.m. For more information on tickets contact co- chairmen Frank Theodoropoulos at (714) 227-3304 or Hollis Daker at (909) 615-6329.


There is a new brand of shotgun shells that has been making noise among wing shooters. RioAmmo, based out of Tennessee, is offering a hot new waterfowl load in their BlueSteel ammo line that pushes hard #3 steel shot out the barrel at 1550 fps. In addition to hard hitting steel ammo the company also produces field and competition ammo for 12 and 20 ga. bores that is made right here in the USA.


"Our ammo is comparable to any other steel shot ammo on the market. It's offered at a better price point ($13.49 for a box of 25 rounds), the powder is very clean burning and the knock down power of our loads will kill ducks at extended ranges. While we make some of our own shotgun shell ammo here in the states the bulk of our waterfowl loads are made in Spain at the Maxam Co. factory. This explosive company is where our unique powder is manufactured under the direction of the Outdoor Group," said Andy Street of Rio Ammo.


Locally RioAmmo is available at More-N-More Sporting Clays located in the San Fernando Valley and at the Prado Olympic Shooting Park in Chino Hills.

pheasant hunting friends

PHEASANT HUNTING FRIENDS Dave Rickrode and Mike Raahauge have been good friends for a long time. These two avid sportsmen will be sharing in the co-hosting of the 14th Annual Sportsmen Helping Children Pheasant Hunt that will take place a Raahauge's Pheasant Club on Nov. 1. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

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