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Friday, June 15, 2018
Shooting Sports Fair a total blast!

Wildfires are a huge concern!
Summer has just arrived in the southern part of the state and already there have been a couple of wildfires that threated wildlife, habitat and some structures. The Piru Fire burnt up nearly 100 acres of wilderness near Interstate 5 this past weekend. It was a quick response by local, rural fire departments and Cal Fire that held this blaze to a minimum, also thanks to a shifting of winds and higher humidity.

AIR SUPPORT FOR WILD FIRES — Helicopters and fixed wing bombers play a major role in putting out wild fires. Water and Phos-Chek helped put out a lot of hot spots that cannot be quickly reached by foot or fire fighting vehicles. This helicopter is sucking water out of Irvine Lake to help put out a wild fire in the Cleveland National Forest. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

Closer to homes was the wild fire that erupted over a week ago off Hwy. 71. This fire spread quickly to the southeast, burning dry brush and huge eucalyptus trees as flames dropped into Prado Basin. The fire started from an overheated car and jumped to the fields that surround Prado Dog Park. Again, a fast response by multiple fire agencies and with the help of air drops the fire was brought under control. It had burned right up to the lower duck ponds of the Riverside County Flyway Association, but no structures were involved. Clean up crews were kept busy for nearly a week after the fire was brought under control. as hot spots were still smoldering.

Western Outdoor News checked in with Andrew Madsen, Information Officer for the Los Padres National Forest based out of Goleta, (805) 968-6640, in as much as this forest will open up soon to Zone A deer hunting.

“Right now, the Los Padres National Forest is staged at it lowest level for fire control. Visitors to the forest can still have open fires in camp sites, but they are required to have a camp fire permit. We expect this lower level will stick around until mid-July when the level moves up to the next stage. When that occurs, all target shooting will be banned from the national forest and camp fires will be restricted to campground fire rings,” said Madsen.

Madsen went on to add, “Visitors to the Los Padres National Forest can simply go online to to obtain a camp fire permit or they can stop by any forest service office to get a permit in person from a ranger. Those who choose to go online are required to first watch an informational Cal Fire video before having the permit printed from this website.”

WON asked Madsen about the status of the Thomas Fire that started back in December of 2017.

“The Thomas Fire has burned, to date, over 272,000 acres of prime forest land. It was a huge fire for this forest and burned for months between the coastal range of mountains across to Highway 33,” Madsen said. “Fortunately, our crews and those of Cal Fire, have had help from volunteers who have come to the now blackened mountains to open roads and trails that were wiped out by this fire and the heavy use of big earth moving tractors. There are still some areas where there is no access and other trails and four-wheel-drive roads that not usable. It’s going to take a lot longer to open up some of the trails that lead off up into the wilderness, as it was a devastating fire and those early heavy rains made a mess out at lot of valuable terrain.”

As WON was getting ready to go press this week an urgent news release from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection stated a huge wild fire erupted in Lake County to the north of San Francisco. This fire was rapidly burning toward many homes in the area, which doesn’t bode well for residents, and many had been advised to flee their homes. Early reports stated that just a few homes were burned, but that more than 600 were in the path of this fire. The release further stated that 18 square miles had already been burnt.

Western Outdoor News went on to check in with Ron Gayer, master-guide on Indian Rock Ranch, (661) 809-1613, about conditions along the western slopes of the High Sierra Mountains.

“Right now, the grass is very high and extremely dry! Most all the ranchers in this mountain country are disking fire breaks along fence lines. Most forest fires in this country are a direct result of the general public having direct access to these oak covered mountain slopes,” stated Gayer.

Gayer is currently hunting wild boar and this past week he harvested a 350-pound boar on what was an excellent hunt. The slopes of the western High Sierra are home to lots of wild and feral hogs thanks to all the farming that occurs in the foothills and very huge acorn crops in the fall.

While the general Zone A rifle deer season doesn’t kick off until Aug. 11, archery hunters will head afield starting with opening morning on July 11. WON contacted Clayton Grant, owner of Bitterwater Outfitters, (805) 610-4521, about prospects for the upcoming Zone A hunts. Currently there are no fire restrictions in place for the southern portion of Zone A, but to the north there are concerns about extreme fire danger existing and the possibility of some forest land closures, open fire regulations and access restrictions.

“Last year we passed on a lot of small bucks as our hunters held out for bigger bucks,” said Grant. Conditions are dry but there is a good carryover of mature bucks on all of the private ranches we have leased hunting rights to. I would think that this season will see a good number of 3x3 racks harvested and some dandy blacktails measuring in the 22- to 24-inch class for those hunters booking a multi-day trophy deer hunt with us.”

Keeping up with non-toxic bullets for use in California, Winchester has just introduced a new copper bullet for this season. The new Der Season XP Copper Impact rifle ammunition provides devastating terminal performance on deer with increased weight retention and deeper penetration. “With Deer Season XP Copper Impact, Winchester continues its longstanding tradition of creating innovative ammunition that meets the needs of hunters and shooters,” said Matt Campbell, VP of Marketing and Sales for Winchester. Initial caliber offerings of the new ammo include: .243 Win. an 85 gr., .270 Win. in 130 gr., .208 Win. in 150 gr., .30-06 in 150 gr., and 200 Win. Mag with a 150 gr. copper bullet.


NEW COPPER BULLET AMMO FROM WINCHESTER — Deer Season XP Copper Impact ammo is now on dealer shelves and is available in a number of popular calibers.

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