Jim Niemiec's Blog

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Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Monsoonal rains good for chukar and quail
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Kern Wildlife Refuge has an early opener

Hunt hogs, exotics and turkey with Bitterwater Outfitters

With over 135,000 acres of ranch land and timber country Bitterwater Outfitters, based out of Paso Robles, offers hunters a wide variety of big game animals to hunt along with just about every species of upland game bird found along the coastal range of mountains. Western Outdoor News received a call from master guide Clayton Grant with an invite to come up and hunt the last week of the Zone A deer season, with the added mention to purchase a wild pig tag as the properties that were to be hunted had good hog populations as well.

The arrival at hunt camp at the end of Bitterwater Valley found unusually hot conditions with the temp holding at near 95 degrees. The plan was to hunt dove that evening and then head out for big game the next morning when it would be a lot cooler. While dove were few and far in between we did manage enough mourning dove to top off a meal of barbecued pork chops. Joining WON in camp was long time subscriber Western Outdoor News Jake Brower and his father RB, both of Orange County.


AN EVENING HUNT PRODUCED THIS HEFTY BOAR — Western Outdoor News hunting editor Jim Niemiec dropped this 150-pound boar in its trackswith one shot from his Weatherby Mark V in 7mmMag caliber at just under 150 yards. Pictured with the hunter and hog is veteran guide Matt Murry who has over six years experience hunting big game and turkey in the Paso Robles area. PHOTO BY GUIDE MICHAEL RENTERIA OF BITTERWAER OUTFITTERS

Rigs were ready to roll out just prior to daylight with our party hunting a 4,000 acre ranch just outside of San Miguel. There was a small flock of Rio Grande turkeys crossing the road and a couple of does standing off a canyon side as guide Matt Murry headed up a draw. Just a few minutes into the hunt a group of 20 hogs was spotted moving across an open hill side within 150 yards of the vehicle. Both Jake and RB existed the hunt rig chambering a round as Matt called out which hogs to shoot. Jake targeted in on the biggest boar of the group which ended up weighing over 200 pounds and sported lower tusks measuring 2.5 inches, while RB took a meat pig.

The day warmed up quickly withjust about all game heading for shade in the deeper canyons, except for one small forkie that bounced out of rifle range and escaped. With two hogs already shot it was time to head back to hunt camp where the pigs were cleaned and then hung in the huge refrigerated storage locker and plans for the evening hunt were discussed.

This hunting editor would be hunting deer and hogs with veteran guide Matt and assistant guide Michael "Eagle Eyes" Renteria. The evening hunt would take place on a 25,000 acre working cattle ranch in the rugged mountain country to the east of Parkfield that was loaded with game. The drive in to this property saw a big covey of valley quail explode out of a roadside brush pile, a lone hog run across the road and acoyote moving through the short wild wheat field,all of which were good signs of what was to develop.

It was still very warm as the Polaris Ranger headed up into the high country but there were only a couple of does spotted, plenty of dove around cattle troughs and a small group of little piglets running well behind an older sow but no sign of a buck. The hunt rig was stopped overlooking a huge bowl of golden wheat and small draws leading up into rocky outcroppings. Renteria spotted a black boar three ridges to the east feeding downhill and Matt confirmed that it was a shooter hog.

"You want to shoot that hog," asked Matt, and my strong positive response was "sure!"

It would take a while to reposition the ATV and hopes were that the hog would stay out in the open and not drop down into one of canyons in that bowl. Luckily for us the hog was spotted out about 150 yards working down along the edge of shallow dry creek bed. It was a good angle for this shooter and the big black hog was easy to pick up in the Leupold 3x9 scope mounted on a Weatherby Mark V loaded with 120 grain Barnes copper TTSX cartridges. The shot was true to its mark and the 150 pound boar went down in a pile of dust.


ONE BIG TUSKER — Jake Brower of Orange shot this 200-pound boar just after daylight out of a group of hogs running across the face of an oak studded hillside. This boar had lower tusks measuring 2.5 inches and was shot with a Sako rifle chambered for a 275 Roberts cartridge 115 grain copper bullet. Brower was on a guided hunt with Bitterwater Outfitters on a ranch just outside of San Miguel. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

"Nice shot Jim," stated Matt, as it was time for high fives all around for a well placed single shot.

The hunt continued but no bucks were spotted on that ranch, but more hogs were moving around just before sunset. While skinning the hog back at camp the plan was made for an early morning departure to another ranch outside of San Miguel.

The earlier start got Matt and this shooter on the property just at daylight and a little low pressure system was passing through making for much cooler hunting conditions. Hogs and birds were just glanced at while the deer spotted were glassed pretty hard as this was the start of theblacktail rut along the coastal range. We looked over a couple of spikes before dropping on to the face of oak studded hillside where Matt spotted a nice forked horn blacktail.

"There is your deer Jim if you want to shoot it, see it right there standing under that big oak that's loaded with acorns ready to drop," stated Matt. My reply was a firm "No, that forked horn buck is too small." Part of Bitterwater Outfitters game management plans are to let small bucks grow up to be shooters in the years ahead and I wanted to contribute to that valued conservation management program for this outfitter.

Back at hunt camp WON had time to sit down and visit with Clayton Grant as we talked about the many hunt packages offered by Bitterwater Outfitters.

"Jim, you have been a friend, good hunter and have seen the big game and upland game birds on our hunting leases and I really appreciate the many hunters that come from reading Western Outdoor News.Our hunt programs have really taken off in the past couple of years and veteran hunters, youths and women are keeping our five guides very busy. Thankfully we have so many ranches with prime habitat that we are able to not over hunt any one ranch. Our huge pasture range is ideal for exotics, there are hogs everywhere this year and we are really looking ahead to an excellent spring turkey season, not to mention our special quail hunt package," said Grant.

To book a hunt any time of the year with Bitterwater Outfitters just log on to their web site at or give Grant a call at (805) 610-4521. This is one hunting operation that offers up a very well managed hunt and most always ends up being a true hunting experience with success in the pursuit of native game.

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