Umarex Gauntlet


Jim Niemiec's Blog

WON News Column
by Jim Niemic

Passionate about the sporting life, Jim Niemiec has spent his life enjoying the outdoors, hunting and fishing around the world and as a writer he’s just as passionate about  informing the public of opportunities. 

Niemiec has searched out the best destinations and reports conditions accurately, but he has also  dedicated countless hours to conservation groups (national and international) in hopes of “preserving our rights and opportunities to hunt for future generations.”
Post-opener turkey tips from pro guides
Opening weekend of the spring turkey season saw mixed success in popular hunting areas of Southern and Central California. Most all the hens waited until conditions afield were ideal before dispersal, but there were some areas where nesting conditions were approaching ideal status earlier in the month that saw hens pretty much spread out. Reports from guides over opening weekend indicated that toms were pretty vocal on the roost, but once the gobblers hit the ground they were usually silent, as they likely followed flocks of hens and jennies off into feeding spots.

With ample ground cover, lots of running creeks, streams, stock ponds and great overall field conditions, this coming nesting season should produce a tremendous hatch of chicks. With high protective cover and lots of bug life, poults should have a good chance at survival and become young jakes and jennies later this fall.

BIG RIO GRANDE/HYBRID JAKE — This 17-pound jake was shot late last spring on Indian Rock Ranch while WON’s Jim Niemiec was on a guided hunt with master guide Ron Gayer. It sported a 6-inch beard, but lacked full tail feathers. The hunt took place on a working cattle ranch located on the western slopes of the High Sierra. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELKRON98@BAK.RR.COM

Western Outdoor News checked in with a number of top turkey guides to find out what turkey hunters can expect the rest of the season in the way of turkey movement, calling, decoys and tips for success during post-opener hunting trips.

Master guide Ron Gayer, or (661) 809-1613, filed the following report: “Indian Rock Ranch, where we hunt turkey, is at the elevation along the western slopes of High Sierra where the weather plays an important role during the spring turkey season. There has been some rain and cold temps and turkeys were still pretty much bunched up over opening weekend. That bodes well for the remainder of the season for those who opted to pass on opening week and book a turkey hunt later in the season. There is a good population of gobblers on this ranch and I would expect they will become pretty active now that some warmer weather and less clouds have set in. I would expect full dispersal of the hens on this working cattle ranch should produce good hunting right up through the end of the spring season. When the sun came out this past week, turkeys were out and about and there were some big gobblers out strutting around.”

Jim Martinez, master guide with based out of Paso Robles, enjoyed success over opening week for his clients and reports that there are very huntable numbers of mature gobblers out and about.

When asked to pass on a tip or two for the remainder of the spring season, which runs through May 5 for the shotgun season, while archery turkey hunting continues until May 19, Martinez told WON, “As we all know, the latter part of a spring turkey season can get tougher. I normally do less calling and set up with less decoys while in a ground blind. Also, I don’t find that putting out a jake decoy works late in the season, but then there are guides that always put out a jake in hopes of getting an adult tom’s attention.”

Martinez went on to add, “It’s always a good idea to try and pattern the movement of turkeys so that there will be options when things just don’t seem to be going right. Later in the season gobblers are likely to be on the move looking for a receptive hen to breed. Spring turkey hunters need to be patient, especially on hot days when birds seem to hang under the shade of live oak, chaparral and head-high sage brush.”

Guide Ryan Piltz of Oak Stone Outfitters had the following tips to pass on to WON for those who will be hunting later in the season.

“Roost setups are more advantageous during the late part of the season when a lot of the hens are bred and possibly already nesting. This means that the chances of a tom roosting with hens that are willing to bread is a lot less likely than earlier in the season. This is your chance to be the hen that tom is looking for in the early morning. Make sure to set up within 100 yards, if possible, to the roost site. Once he starts making some noise on the roost you need to let him know you’re there. Some soft tree yelps and purrs to start with should get that tom fired up. This would be the ideal time to do a fly-down cackle with some wing flaps and maybe some scratching of the leaves to mimic a hen who just flew down from a roost and has started feeding. Once you believe the tom is on the ground is when it gets tricky during the later part of the season, said Piltz.

Piltz continued with the following, “Using decoys could be a problem during the late season. There is a good chance the tom has already seen some decoys or has been shot at over a decoy, so they tend to be nervous about them. Motioning in your decoys will go a long way this time of the year. However, my advice would be to back yourself up to some thick cover and leave the decoys at home. Have the caller sit back 20 or 30 yards behind the shooter in thick cover. What you are trying to prevent here is the tom coming in and seeing nothing and then getting spooked. If he believes there is a hen there, but he cannot tell because of the cover, then he will mostly likely come in for a closer look.”

In addition, Piltz went on to advise, “If you do decide to use decoys during the late season, I would advise in not using a male decoy. With tempers flying and hunting pressure being high, these toms have most likely gone through a lot during the season. They can easily get scared off from a male decoy because they have either gotten their butts whooped earlier or have seen a decoy before… just a hen setup seems to be less threatening.”

This WON hunting editor has often hunted Rio Grande gobblers late in the season and would like to offer up the following tips. It can get pretty warm after sunrise and turkeys don’t like to spend much time walking around in hot weather. Toms will follow hens into thick shaded cover where they will spend most of day scratching around for a mix of tubers, acorns and insects. If you can spot a group of birds walking down a dry wash, try to get ahead of that flock of birds and wait for them to pass by moving into an ambush position. Be careful where you reach, however, as many of these dry creek beds are loaded with poison oak.

Another tip I would like to pass on for those hunting the late season is to be prepared to move around a lot after fly down. Toms will be on the move looking for that receptive hen and they could cover a lot of hills and valleys during the day. Wildlife biologists report that a turkey can walk 5 to 7 miles day, usually in a huge circle, and then head back to their roost tree. During the tail end of the spring season, don’t always expect a tom to return to the same roost tree. It kind of depends on a lot of different factors as to where they decide to spend the night. Again, be patient out there, as many gobblers are taken in the late afternoon.…

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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

It’s rattlesnake time afield
Warmer weather and longer spring days are combining to bring rattlesnakes out of winter dens. Already there have been a number of reports from hog and turkey guides being passed on to Western Outdoor News about seeing more and more rattlers about, and fortunately no one has called in to report being bitten to date.

With those heavy rains over the past few months, hillsides are alive with wild flowers and the growth of native grass and wheat is covering vast hillside across the state. Even areas along the western slopes of the High Sierra are seeing an emergence of green vegetation, thus offering ample cover for rattlers and other critters.

teachadogTEACHING A DOG TO AVOID RATTLESNAKES — Snake Avoidance Training is a good way to protect a gun dog from an encounter with a rattlesnake. This training is important, especially for dogs that primarily hunt upland game birds. The above photo shows expert dog trainer Web Parton handling a live rattlesnake, while keeping Jim Niemiec’s young Lab Sierra in check. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

For those heading out on opening day of the spring turkey season, words of caution should be passed along. When this WON hunting editor sets clothing aside for any spring turkey hunt, there is mandatory gear to pack. There are two areas of the body that are likely to be targets when a rattlesnake is encountered afield. One is on a leg when stepping over logs and rocks, in knee high grass or when walking along a game trial. Another part of the body that offers up an easy strike for a snake is when a hunter reaches for something with either arm or hand extended.

On all spring turkey hunts, and often in the fall as well, this hunter wears Rocky snake boots that cover the lower leg up to the top of your calf. IF, I am heading into snake country, ie…Texas, Arizona or Mexico, I will bring along a pair of Realtree camo gators for additional lower leg protection. There isn’t much offered out there in the way of arm or hand protection, so my advice would be to not reach blindly around a dead tree for additional blind coverage. While most turkey hunters wear gloves, they are usually lightweight and don’t offer up much protection from the sharp fangs of a snake.

Having encountered a number of rattlesnakes while on a spring turkey hunt over the years, I can recall two recent events. Usually mornings are on the cool side when setting up in a turkey blind during the first few weeks of the spring turkey season, and such was the case on a hunt with Roger Miller and Sons Expeditions (805-459-5883) based out of Parkfield. With a morning temp in the low 40s, usually rattlers won’t be too active and are less likely to strike. As the day warms up, they become more active and such was to be the scenario for the afternoon hunt after having a big tom not closing the distance to offer up a good shot.

I was hunting with guide Clint Miller and he dropped me off to a spot overlooking an established travel route for the ranch’s turkeys. To get a good view, this hunter opted to set on a dead fallen ancient oak tree. A few hens were spotted along with a couple of young jakes, as they slid off the side of the canyon. In order to get to a better advantage spot, in case a big tom was to follow, I moved quietly down slope using the dead tree to conceal my movement. I was more concerned in watching the turkeys move rather than where I was placing my feet. I don’t hear all that well, so I depend on my eyes to often warn me of danger. With just a glance down on the ground, a black timber rattler was all coiled up in a strike position. Needless to say, it was blocking my stalk on the turkey and took a much higher priority than shooting a tom. Backing off, the snake dropped into its den under the oak with its head sticking out.

Young Miller came up to me as I awaited him on the dirt road and I told him of my rattlesnake encounter. We returned to that oak and located the snake, which had now moved out of its den and was coiled up in a striking stance. It didn’t take much to think about as Miller dispatched that snake with a .22 Mag shot out of his Ruger rifle. When stretched out that snake was five feet long and had a set of 10 rattles on its tail.

Another snake encounter worth mentioning took place while turkey hunting on a My Country Club leased parcel down by Lake Henshaw. It was a very warm morning but toms were in a vocal mood with a number of gobbles right off the roost. Unfortunately, those toms were hened up and moved off into the thick over of chamise and sage, thus requiring us to move around a lot. Setting up under the cover a huge oak with ample ground cover, it offered up an excellent blind as two long beards approached out of the nearby sage. These birds provided a good shot that made two turkey hunters very happy.

It was mid-morning and the temperature was climbing up to near 80 degrees. Our path would take us across an old paved road to get back to the 4WD vehicle. Stepping out of a culvert we spotted a long black snake slithering across the road. It was a huge Mexican rattler, not a Mojave green though, but very dangerous. Its track appeared to get across that hot road and into the shade of a nearby oak tree. My guide opted not shoot that snake, for some reason, and I only hope that passing on that kill might offer up some kind of protection for any future encounter(s) with rattlers.

Due to higher than normal ground cover for this spring season, turkey hunters need to be very careful as to when they step, reach or sit down. This hunter always shoulders a Hunters Specialties Strut Seat on any turkey hunt. Not only does it keep your fanny dry, but it also rises you up off the ground that often affords a better view and shooting plane when it comes time to pull the hook on that strutting tom in the decoys. Having that seat makes for a much more comfortable sit and allows for backing up to a tree trunk, thus requiring less concealment and could assist in keeping you out of harm’s way when a rattler slitters though dense ground cover.

Turkey hunts don’t require the use of a gun dog and that’s probably a good thing, as the chances of a dog getting bitten while moving through thick ground cover is highly likely. With snake avoidance training for sporting dogs now available an owner can safely turn a trained dog loose to play or hunt even when snakes are out and about. Raney Ranch Retrievers (858-414-8258) located at a working ranch overlooking Lake Henshaw, will conduct snake avoidance classes on May 10 and 11.

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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

New turkey ammo introduced
ANOKA, MN — Shot shell manufacturers have really improved on the performance of shot and velocities over the past quarter of a century. Since the federal requirement that all waterfowl be harvested with non-toxic shot, the shooting sports industry has spent millions and millions of dollars and a lot of field testing in developing more effective sporting loads. Federal Premium Ammunition seems to have taken the lead in shotgun shell improvements, but Winchester, Browning, HeviShot, Kent, Remington, Fiocchi, Rio and now Aguilar all produce some very lethal shotgun shell ammo.

Non-toxic shot is now required for turkey hunting in California since the passage of Assembly Bill 711 back in 2013, and this state could be the only state in the U.S. with this regulation in place. Not only do turkey hunters have to hunt with non-toxic shot, but shot size is limited to nothing larger than size #2.

federalheavyammoFEDERAL’S NEW BLENDED HEAVYWEIGHT TSS AMMO — A mix of tungsten shot sizes makes this new turkey load very effective and hard hitting.

Leading off with new ammo for the 2019 turkey season is the announcement by Federal Ammunition of its new blended HEAVYWEIGHT TSS turkey ammo in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation. The new HEAVYWIEGHT TSS expanded Federal’s lineup by adding loads with two sizes of shot to increase overall pellet count and the number of hits on target. The new shot shell offerings combine No. 7 and No. 9, or No. 8 and 10 size pellets of Tungsten Super Shot to deliver the extremely high pellet counts and dense patterns turkey hunters are constantly striving to achieve. Federal TSS shot gun shells are available in new 3.5- inch shell, 12-gauge ammo, and for 20-gauge, 3-inch ammo. This ammo comes in five-count packs and retails with a suggested MSRP from $46.95 up to $63.95. Federal also has delivered TSS .410 shot shell ammo that is getting the attention of many avid turkey hunters.

Federal’s Director of Conservation Ryan Bronson had the following to say about Federal’s partnering up with the NWTF, “We support NWTF’s hunting heritage and conservation mission across the board. That’s why we print NWTF logo clearly on our Premium turkey packaging. This means a portion of the proceeds of each and every box sold is donated to the NWTF.”

Browning Ammunition recently introduced its most dominant turkey load for this coming spring turkey season. TSS Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) Turkey gives turkey hunters a new edge in the field, loaded with the densest shot available and offered in duplex payloads. The high density of TSS shot, puts more pellets and more energy on target for optimum pattern performance. Browning says that its new TSS ammo is the Ultimate Turkey Load, with a pattern nearly 60 percent better than lead with more energy and heavy impact. The Browning TSS Tungsten #9 pellet is similar in weight and energy to a #5 lead pellet. That allows for twice the number of pellets while maintaining the energy and lethality of each of those pellets. Browning offers TSS ammo in 12, 20 and .410 ammo with a muzzle velocity of 1200 fps.

Hevi-Shot ammo is popular with many turkey hunters, likely due to its strong performance in killing a gobbler at long range. The new Hevi-X Strut turkey ammo from HeviShot is a tungsten-based turkey load that offers higher energy on target than lead due to a payload that is HEAVIER THAN LEAD # 6 tungsten pellets layered over HEAVIER THAN STEEL HEVI-X #5 tungsten pellets, plus a higher launch speed. This new shot shell turkey ammo allows for more than 50 percent more energy than conventional # 6 lead and all the loaded pellets of TSS #7 turkey loads at half the price. Muzzle velocity of HeviShot’s 12- and 20-gauge turkey loads is at 1450 fps, while their .410, 3-inch ammo has a payload of 9/16 ounces and puts TSS tungsten shot out the barrel at 1250 fps.


POINTER’S NEW .410 SEMI-AUTO TURKEY SHOTGUN — Lightweight shotguns are fast becoming the trend for spring turkey hunting. The POINTER Phenoma .410 — from Legacy Sports International — will likely kill a number of toms this spring.

Kent Cartridge Co. has added a new turkey load to its fine line-up of shot shell ammo. The double-based Powder HD Hull Tungsten Matrix turkey ammo offers the utmost in ultimate performance. The tungsten matrix is the most innovative non-toxic shot on the market, produced specifically to mimic both the physical and basaltic characteristics of premium lead shot. It consists of a blend of pure tungsten powder and polymer binding, which is guaranteed to hit harder than any other non-toxic shot on the market. Because tungsten replicates lead, it allows a turkey hunter to shoot smaller shot sizes and puts more pellets on-target. Available in both 12 and 20-gauge ammo the muzzle velocity of these shells varies between 1525 fps down to 1350 fps with payloads ranging from 1.5-oz. down to 1-oz. Kent also offers upland game bird shot gun shell ammo with bismuth shot.

Winchester Ammunition offers its Extended Range bismuth ammo for turkey hunting. The precision cast bismuth shot is combined with Shot-Lock technology for optimum on target performance. Extended Range Bismuth puts twice the number of pellets in a 20-inch circle at 60 yards!! According to Winchester, bismuth shot launches from a barrel nearly round for extremely tight long-range patterns and has devasting terminal on-target performance. Available in only 12-ga. shotgun shells it caries a payload of 1 5/8-oz., with a velocity of 1200 fps and comes in a 10-round box.

With development of effective tungsten shot for turkey hunting there are two new .410 shotguns now on dealers’ shelves for this coming turkey season. While most toms are harvested with a 12 or 20-ga. shotgun, the trend to light-weight shotguns is gaining strength.

Andy McCormick, V.P. of Sales and Marketing for Legacy Sports International, is confident that he will harvest all three of his California Rio Grande gobblers with the newly introduced POINTER Phenoma .410 ga. semi-auto shotgun, from Legacy Sports International, when matched up with Federal Premium TSS turkey ammo. Also stepping in with a new .410 shotgun for this spring season is Stevens’s by Savage Arms. The new Stevens’s .410 single-shot, break action shotgun is simple and incredibly reliable and the 26-inch barrel is optimized for Federal HEAVYWEIGHT TSS payloads.

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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Add Black Brant hunt to your bucket list
It had been some 40 years since this Western Outdoor News hunting editor had hunted Black Brant down on San Quintin Bay in Baja Norte. That first trip down Baja was prior to the construction of Hwy. 1, which entailed pretty much of a very bumpy 1½-lane road. That hunt was put together by Jim Cauley, President of Baja Hunting Association, and would be a combo hunt for duck hunting in the Rio Hardy River system, a stop off at Rancho El Coyote to hunting with Enrique Meling, then head south for a morning’s Brant hunt and the trip would end with a pheasant hunt in Mexicali.

After the mid-morning quail hunt, we headed south to San Quintin only to find out the Old Mill had no rooms left. Back tracking into town we found a hole-in-the-wall motel that charged all of $15 for a room with two very hard beds.

LIMITED OUT ON BLACK BRANT — Matt Dutra of Benicia shot his daily limit of Black Brant at San Quintin Bay while on a hunt with BajaHunting. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

The next morning a well-used panga was waiting for us at the old wooden boat ramp. Cauley had forgotten to get a Brant stamp and was unable to hunt, so I opted to borrow his old 12 ga. Browning O/U rather that shoot my 20 ga. Model 870. The captain was all decked out in a yellow slicker, the front of the boat was piled with crab pots and commercial fishing gear, there were rod holders in the oar locks and a pile of one-gallon bleach jugs painted black and white. As it turned out, I was the only hunter on the huge bay. Motoring out to a rocky point, we put together a seaweed blind, strung out the line of plastic bottle decoys — all tied together with fishing cord — and then this sole hunter sat down on a lava rock and waited for the tide to change, while the boatman moved across the bay and took a siesta.

With little tidal action, no wind and plenty of room for Brant to flock up and loaf, it was a waiting game. Finally, the tide was up to the kelp blind, decoys swung in the breeze and Brant began to fly. The first flock didn’t decoy that well, but the next flock of some 20 black geese winged into the spread. A double on the first shot and picking up the third bird winging away rewarded this hunter with a limit and that Brant hunt was over. The panga came over and helped retrieve the Brant, it was back to the dock and we were on our way to Mexicali to hunt native ringneck pheasant in an old rusty Ford 150 pickup.

Now let’s jump ahead to this year’s Safari Club International Hunters’ Convention in Reno. Arturo Malo, outfitter for BajaHunting at, has been a good friend of Western Outdoor News for nearly a quarter of a century. WON has hunted Mexicali native pheasant, dove and Gambel’s qual with Malo a number of times and we often talked about a Black Brant hunt in San Quintin. Walking up to Malo’s booth he offered the following, “Jim, I just had a cancelation for the last week of Brant season, would you like to join in on that hunt?” asked Malo.

It didn’t take any time to acknowledge the invitation and lay down a deposit for that hunt opportunity. The all-inclusive Black Brant package hunt offered by Malo includes: van pick up in San Diego, the drive down to San Quintin (about 4 hours south of Tijuana), great meals, lodging, shotgun and guides for three days of hunting. The only out-of-pocket expenses incurred are shotgun shells at $20 a box, your tips and hard liquor.

BANDED BLACK BRANT — Many Black Brant are banded at their breeding grounds in Alaska. This hen Brant was too young to fly when it was banded this past summer. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

San Quintin Bay is the end of the southerly migration route for Pacific Black Brant. They start their migration in early October and fly mostly non-stop directly to San Quintin, where there is an abundance ofeel-grass (this sea-going goose’s only main source of food).

The terminus of the Black Brant Pacific population is pretty much at San Quintin, although there are small populations farther south along mainland Mexico clear on down to eastern estuaries along the Sea of Cortez, just outside of Los Mochis. The population of Brant in San Quintin Bay is estimated to be more than 15,000 birds based on recent Mexican wildlife biological waterfowl counts. The world-wide population of Brant is around 120,000 birds, of which 15 percent are harvested each year.

Depending on tidal flows, which can be extreme in this huge bay, dictate hunt departure time, but normally it’s a first light run out to shore line blinds sites. Pangas and guides, now outfitted with floating decoys and blind material are standing by the Old Mill dock ready to hunt.

When tides and conditions are right, five-bird limits of Black Brant can be killed within a few hours. Each guide has his favorite hunting spot that can vary from a natural lava rock blind to a strand of native bay grass where makeshift blinds are erected at water’s edge. Brant raft up in huge flocks among oyster farms where they are mostly left unmolested to ensure a healthy and very huntable population of geese for years to come. During the course of a morning’s hunt, the blind location could be moved a number of times depending on tidal flows, wind and movement of Brant around San Quintin Bay.

Black Brant hunting is a unique experience. These geese are very vocal on roost or on the wing and are mostly jet black with ultra-white rumps, underside and ring around their neck. They decoy extremely well with the average shot taken with birds cupped and right over the decoys are at ranges from 20 to 30 yards. Multiple doubles and triples are pretty much expected, as small flocks of Brant settle into the split decoy spread.

LAVA ROCK SHORE LINE BRANT BLIND — Natural lave rock blinds along the shores of San Quintin Bay offer up excellent hunting sites when decoying Black Brant. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

This WON hunting editor was teamed up with Matt Dutra of Benicia, Calif. and this would be his first Brant hunt, as he hunts ducks mostly over open wasters up in the Bay Area from floating blinds. The guide moved us a couple of times during the morning hunts to ensure better shooting opportunities and it rewarded us with full limits on day-1 and near limits the following two hunts. Most all the other hunters at the Old Mill camp limited out all three days, so it was kind the luck of the draw for guides even though they did try to move hunters into hot shooting blinds later in the morning.

As mentioned earlier, blinds are pretty much natural with the best shooting taking place out of ancient lava points that have been used for years. Some guides will opt to set up along a sea grass shore using palm frond and camo netting, and all hunting is done while sitting on a milk crate. (Note: This hunter opted to take his Realtree camo duck seat cushion. )

Most hunters are back at the Old Mill in time for lunch and siesta, but there are other hunting options available for quail and dove in season. Also, there is a fleet of Parker sport fishers standing by to take anglers out the fishing grounds to fish for yellowtail, white seabass, tuna and a variety of bottom dwellers. hunts San Quintin Bay during the peak months of January through the end of the season that occurs on the last Sunday of February. Black Brant hunting is very popular and easy to get to, especially for those living in California. Hunting takes place only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to keep hunting pressure in the bay at a minimum and Malo limits the number of hunters by offering only 7 blinds/boats with two hunters each. All hunts are organized on designated tides, which are the optimum for Brant hunting.


LOS MOCHIS, MX —Western Outdoor News was notified by Bobby Balderrama, outfitter for the Sinalo Pato Duck and Dove Club (800-862-9026) that the duck season for mainland Mexico (Sinaloa state) has been extended through March 24. Daily direct flights from Tijuana (San Diego cbx) to Los Mochis are now being made by Volaris Airlines for the 1-hour and 40-minute flight and air travelers can save time by using the new border crossover bridge.

SAN QUINTIN BAY "DOUBLE"  — WON hunting editor Jim Niemiec dropped this “double” on Brant last weekend while on a hunt with outfitter Arturo Malo down in Baja Norte. JIM NIEMIEC FILE PHOTO

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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Hunting, shooting and more at FRED HALL Long Beach show March 6-10
It was decades ago when a show produced by Fred Hall gathered a group of firearms manufacturers, retailers, guides, shooting accessory companies and hunting related businesses to produce the first hands-on shooting venue in the west. While there was a lot of interest and the shooting bays at the old South Coast Gun Club were very busy, there just wasn’t enough participation to continue with this type of consumer gun show.

Boy, have things changed over the years.With today’s modern firearms and archery gear, a wide variety of AR style rifles, tactical firearms, an almost unending selection of accessories, along with a multitude of big game and upland game birds to hunt and outfitters/guides offering exceptional hunting opportunities, gun shows have fast become part of the American lifestyle.

FISH AND GAME HUNT WAGON — This old time DF&G wagon will be on display at the Long Beach Fred Hall Show. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

A few years back, Fred Hall Shows started offering exhibitor space to hunting, shooting, retailers and other shooting sports companies and today the Long Beach show will have no less than 30 exhibitors at this year’s show.

Just last month Safari Club International put on their Hunters’ Convention in Reno to the enjoyment of thousands of hunters and that was followed up by SHOT Show in Las Vegas that drew record numbers of manufacturers, dealers, distributors and members of the working press. For Western Outdoor News readers who missed attending SCI or were not registered to attend SHOT Show, making plans to attend this year’s Fred Hall Long Beach Show is a must.

Whether you are looking to purchase a new rifle or shotgun, book an elk, hog or turkey hunt, check on a gun safe, see what’s new in optics and shooting sports accessories or look over some fine hunting knives the Fred Hall Long Beach Show is the place it all can happen. Turner’s Outdoorsman will man a lot of floor space and have plenty of hunting and shooting products available to shoulder with a knowledgeable staff to answer questions. Make sure to stop by Jimmy’s Outdoors for some great close-out deals on camo, hunting packs and other accessories and learn more about hunting and shooting opportunities while stopping by the NRA or California Rifle and Pistol Association booths.

Oak Stone Outfitters is a repeat exhibitor at the Fred Hall Show and offers up some outstanding hunting opportunities. Under the stewardship of master guide Chad Wiebe, this guide service hunts on over 60,000 acres of prime leased hunting ranch properties along the Central Coast. WON has hunted with Oak Stone Outfitters for over a decade and can attest to the quality of the hunts and the high success rate afield. Whether one is looking for a big old Rio Grande gobbler to hunt, a trophy blacktail buck, mean old tusker or a record class Tule elk, stop by and talk with Wiebe about booking the hunt of a lifetime. Also exhibiting at the show and hunting along the Central Coast for hogs, turkey and blacktail deer are Avila Guided Hunts and Roth Guided Hunts.

RIMROCK BUCKS AND BULLS — Make sure to stop by and talk big game hunting at this booth. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIMIEC

Most show attendees will be looking to book hunts or destination fishing trips here in California and Mexico but there are many other exhibitors that offers a huge selection of options. South Africa will be well represented for those looking to hunt plains game, while elk and mule deer camps in the Rockies are options. Make sure to stop by the Love of the Hunt Outfitters and West Canyon Ranch booths to check on elk hunts in both Utah and New Mexico. One longtime exhibitor at the Fred Hall Show is Clark’s Outdoor Sporting Adventures and it would be worth the visit to see what kind of show specials this booking agent is offering.

This year’s show will also feature a large African safari display and other hunting/shooting exhibits. Make sure to stop by and visit with the representatives of Udells Guiding and Outfitting and Urge2Hunt to book a dream hunt.

In addition of booking a hunt checking out a new rifle, make sure to stop by and visit with exhibitors offering other services. The Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, located in Las Vegas, shoots on over 550 acres of range land and offers 60 different courses in handgun, rifle, pistol and youth safety instruction. All shooters, whether sport or bench enthusiasts, should check out the hearing protection a the SportEAR booth.

Rounding out the list of shooting related activities taking place at this year’s Fred Hall Show plan on attending the following events: The Evike Soft Air Range, the Umarex Air Gun Range, CR&PA BB gun range, California Deer’s Laser Shot game as well as the California Youth Assoc. laser shot game and Calif. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife trailer.

TURNER’S OUTDOORSMAN’S GUN BOOTH — Check out new firearms and hunting accessories at the Turner’s Outdoorsman’s booth. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

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