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Thursday, May 24, 2018
Nesting conditions mixed
Friday, June 15, 2018
Shooting Sports Fair a total blast!

Show time, new Browning ammo and big game drawing deadline
Perhaps the highlight of hunting’s off-season will be the Shooting Sports Fair that begins this coming Friday, June 1 and runs through the weekend at Raahauge’s Shooting Complex in Corona, co-sponsored by Mike Raahauge’s Shooting Enterprise, Turner’s Outdoorsman and most all firearms manufacturers and shooting and hunting related accessories. It’s sure to be a great way to spend the day shooting a wide variety of rifles, shotguns and pistols in just about every imaginable caliber. Experts will be on hand to make sure this is a safe event for all ages who will be stepping out on to the firing line.

browningsnewbxdBROWNING’S NEW BXD WATERFOWL AMMO — Duck hunters should be pleased with the new #3 non-toxic shot that is now available from Browning. Available in both 12 and 20 gauges this new ammo has a muzzle velocity of 1450 fps.

Western Outdoor News plans on spending quite a bit of time at Sports Fair checking out the latest in firearms and ammunition and of utmost importance talking with guides, outfitters, conservationists and others representatives of the hunting and shooting world in hopes of staying on top of what’s going on outdoors.

Browning will be introducing a new waterfowl load that is sure to be successful for those shooting out of a duck blind or from a pit blind while hunting Canada geese and snows. The new load is named BXD Waterfowl Ammo and it’s available in both 12 and 20 gauges in 3-inch shells. The new shot size is #3 non-toxic shot with a muzzle velocity of up to 1450 fps.

For years this waterfowl hunter has opted to shoot #3 shot out my Benelli M2 auto-loader for most all duck hunts with good success. Seems that #3 shot patterns well out of a modified choke for both puddle ducks and big divers and even downed a passing honker this past season while hunting out of a duck blind in Prado Basin.

The deadline to apply for California Big Game Drawings is fast approaching with a deadline of midnight on June 2. There are a variety of ways to enter in for drawings for antelope, elk and bighorn sheep and premium deer hunt tags. Applications cannot be mailed or faxed to the DGW in Sacramento, but can be submitted online, purchased at a licensed agent’s business or applied for over the phone by calling 800-565-1458. Hunters applying for any tag must have purchased a 2018 hunting license and there is a non-refundable processing fee of $8.13 for each application submitted.

Hunting results for big game harvested in California remains pretty high according to reports published by the department. Hunter success for pronghorns averages between 50 and 90 percent with Zone 4 Lassen being on top with 94-percent success; for bighorn sheep most hunters are successful but there were two zones (#2 & #6) that had zero success, and with the many elk hunts available the overall average was nearly 100 percent, except for a few zones where no elk were harvested. There are a lot of premium deer hunts available all over the state and success on deer hunts varies greatly from zero success to 100 percent, with zone X averaging about an estimated 50 percent and apprentice hunts hitting nearly 100 percent.

It’s looking like it should be a great nesting season for mourning dove, as the hatch is well underway and likely white-winged dove will also enjoy a very successful hatch out in the desert regions. Reports from afield indicate that the Eurasian collared dove is still building up in numbers and that even a no limit, full year round open season, has not reduced the number of these larger dove across most of the western states. Small flocks of mourning dove continue to fly over fallow fields in Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties, and outfitters reporting very good dove nesting along the Central Coast. Up into Kern and Inyo counties there is also plenty of water and native feed to build up a very large population of this year’s mourning dove chicks. Next week’s hunting column will cover the outlook for upland game bird hunting in northern Mexico.

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