CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

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.”
When things go bad in blind
Finally new flocks of teal, sprig, spoonies, gadwall and Canada geese are now winging through this portion of the Pacific flyway, offering up pretty good gunning for those hunting refuge hunt sites, those shooting out of above ground blinds and shotgunners coming up out of covered goose blinds.

This WON hunting editor just has to pass on what took place this last week on a couple of waterfowl hunts. New flocks of puddle ducks arrived in the more than half flooded Prado Basin providing some pretty good shooting for those in dry blinds and hunting out of boats. This hunter drew a pretty good blind selection at a club owned and operated by the Riverside County Flyway Foundation and prior to shoot time, lots of puddle ducks were working over ponds and landing among decoys. All showed promise of a good duck shoot.


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WHEN THE BENELLI M2 SHOT JUST FINE — WON hunting editor Jim Niemiec bagged this limit of ducks while hunting in Prado Basin with his yellow Lab Sierra. His Benelli M2 performed flawlessly, but since has had two problems with the firing pin inertia spring that has cut a couple of duck hunt short. JIM NIEMIEC FILE PHOTO

The first duck this hunter shot was a green winged teal and my yellow Lab Sierra did a good job at retrieving it and I only fired one round out my Benelli M2 auto-loader. I grabbed another Federal Black Cloud #3 shotgun shell and filled up the magazine to be prepared for the next flock of birds that will hopefully wing within shotgun range.


A flock of sprig began circling the blind and after three circles one bull sprig cupped and started to settle down into the decoy spread in front of the blind. It was at about 25 yards and I came up with the Benelli shouldered with the front bead on the nose of that sprig and pulled the trigger…click! Hoping it was just a slight malfunction, I reloaded and got ready for the next group of ducks to cross over the blind. Again, all was set to make a killing shot, but nothing happened when I pulled the trigger. Thus, ending my morning’s hunt.


Plans had already been made to head over after that morning’s duck hunt and do a season closing Canada goose hunt at the Cibola Sportsman’s Club South Ranch. I was out of the blind by 6:30AM, with just that single green winged teal and was hopeful of borrowing a shotgun from a fellow hunter to avoid having to make the drive back home in traffic and then make the 4 hour drive down to Cibola. One hunter I asked had only a 16 g. side-by-side with no goose loads and a second hunter had his prized Winchester Model 12 that wasn’t up to loaning either.


Arriving at South Ranch, too late for the evening hunt, I went to work on getting my 50-year-old Remington Model 870 cleaned and ready for action the following morning. I had “officially” retired the old 870 with its F-grade walnut stock and fore-end, but felt it was worthy of another Cibola Valley goose hunt.


Canada geese numbers in Cibola Valley are very high this year, but they have become pretty decoy shy. South Ranch guide Bob “Budda” Fields said that each day offered up a shot at decoying honkers.


In anticipation of shooting a couple of mallards before the geese started moving up the valley, I loaded the old 870 with Black Cloud #2’s and would later switch out triple BB’s when geese began to fly.


I then made my biggest mistake of this year’s hunting. Switching out the duck loads, my first round was a heavy load of Federal Premium BB’s, backed up with T shot. A lone honker made the mistake of locking in on the South Ranch decoy spread and fully committed to the spread of decoys behind my blind. I waited; Sierra sat still. At 25 yards I got up, shouldered the 870 and missed that bird! I think the pattern out of that old full choke barrel was a tad too tight for such a close shot. The second round, from the slower recycling pump, hit the goose in the belly and that shot dropped both feet of that big honker, but it continued to wobble off towards the closed portion of the federal refuge. I have no idea where the third shot went, but it likely missed its target. Unfortunately, that goose likely ended up being dinner for a coyote or flock of vultures, as there is no way that honker would be able to fly again once it was on the ground.


This was the second time that Benelli M2 had a firing pin malfunction. It was just as couple of seasons back when the same scenario occurred at a prime southland duck club. It was a morning similar to this past week’s hunt when there were flocks of puddle ducks working ponded water. After the first shot, the Benelli wouldn’t fire again, and I walked out of that blind with a single bird, as other hunters were well on their way to limits.


After that hunt, I took that M2 into Bolsa Gunsmithing, 714-894-9100, for repairs to the firing pin mechanism, including a replacement spring and it had performed perfectly up until this past week’s hunt.


Time to call Bolsa Gunsmithing.


Co-owner of Bolsa Gunsmithing Jason Nash, answered the phone and after talking about the firearm repair business and family updates, I told him about the problem with my Benelli.


“Jim, didn’t we just fix that firing pin problem a couple of years ago?”, asked Nash.


My answer was, “Yes, and it has shot just fine until this last hunt. Is there any problem with the firing mechanism of the Benelli M2?”


Nash’s response was, “We have a lot of customers who shoot competitively all the time. Those that shoot a Benelli bring their shotgun into our gun shop every year to have the inertia spring replaced. It’s just a matter of whether you close the bolt or not that puts pressure on the spring and as a result the system will not allow that shotgun to fire safely. While I am not sure it’s a failure of the spring, it’s a good place to start. Bring the shotgun in to the shop and we’ll check it out for you. This spring issue is just not a problem with Benelli auto-loader shotguns, we often find the same spring related problem with Beretta’s.


Hopefully, I will be able to get over to Bolsa Gunsmithing to have the spring replaced and firing mechanism checked out before the waterfowl season ends, but I am not going to change the barrel of that old Remington 870 that is NOW fitted with a modified choke barrel.


• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. 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.



Junior waterfowl hunts and turkey tune-up
It’s looking like this year’s Junior Waterfowl hunts will be successful. Refuge staff and volunteers have been busy getting everything in order for these year ending hunts. Already there are birds arriving at refuges and duck clubs that are migrating north out of Mexico and there should be plenty of teal and spoonies flying over ponded water to provide excellent opportunities for young hunters.

Avid waterfowl hunter, Carlos Vega passed on the following information to Western Outdoor News about what’s being planned for Wister’s Jr. hunt.


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Jr. HUNTRESS AND HER FIRST DUCK — Aubrey Allen, age 8, killed her first duck at Wister Wildlife Refuge last year. The duck was a banded gadwall. PHOTO COURTESY OF CARLOS VEGA


“The junior waterfowl event for Wister Wildlife Area will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8 and it will begin after hunting hours expire. The event is open to all junior hunters and their adult non-hunting partners. The event will include food, fun, contests and a lot of great donated giveaways as the event ends. This year’s event will start roughly around 6 p.m. and will take place near the Wister check-in station off Davis Road and Hwy. 111. Families and friends are all invited to share the evening with youth hunters and all present should enjoy listening to the junior hunter duck calling contest,” said Vega.


Vega went on to add, “This a great event not only for future hunters, but also for their families. The event is run on 100 percent donations, so in order to give the event everything we can, we count on everyone to help out. Those attending should bring their own folding chairs. So, if you would like to make a donation please call co-chairman Devon Vega at (714) 658-4658,” added the Sr. Vega.


According to Scott Sewell, Wildlife Habitat Supervisor II, who heads up both Wister and the San Jacinto Wildlife Area told WON that everything will be ready for the Junior Hunt. Wister will offer hunting on both Saturday and Sunday, while San Jacinto will only be open for the Saturday shoot. The procedure for blind selection will start at 3AM with reservation card holders having first pick, followed by those putting in for the sweat line.


Thomas Trakes, Wildlife Supervisor at the SJWA, says that the blind draw will be held at 3 a.m. and there will be a pancake breakfast served by SJWA staff and volunteers. There will be some prizes and gifts for youth hunters and even Honky Tonk music during the lunch break. After the event ends, hunters will be able to return to drawn blinds and hunt until shooting time ends.


Kern National Wildlife Area, located near Wasco, will host a big Junior Hunt on Saturday. Helped by the refuge staff and lots of effort by members of California Waterfowl (CWA) and Ducks Unlimited (DU) this refuge should offer very good duck shooting. According to Nick Stanley, Refuge Project Director, draw time will be 2.5 hours before shoot time and those junior hunters on the call list will begin picking blind sites 2 hours before shooting begins.


Stanley then added, “There will donuts served early the morning and lunch will be served to everyone in attendance starting at 10:30 a.m. and lasting until 1 p.m. with all the food being donated and served by the Tulare Basin Wetlands Association. There also will be a big raffle and gifts from CWA and DU and a duck mount will be donated to some lucky junior hunter by John Kent, owner of Wildwings Taxidermy. As it stands right now, Stanley says the refuge is pretty well staffed and they hopefully will not need additional volunteers.”


For more details on attending the Kern Junior Hunt contact the refuge office at (661) 725-2767.


The annual Spring Turkey Tune-Up, sponsored the San Diego Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be held on Saturday Feb. 22 starting at 8:00 a.m. at Lake Sutherland. According to event chairman, Steve Turigliatto, this turkey tune-up event will be helpful to all turkey hunters. Events that will take place during the day will include: shooting range, a huge raffle, gun raffle and pig hunt raffle.


According to Turigliatto more vendors are welcome and volunteers are needed to attend the gate, parking, registration and turkey hunting information booth. For additional information or to volunteer time contact Turigliatto at lovesprig@yahoo.com.


• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. 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.


Cibola Valley loaded up with geese and ducks
After last week’s full moon phase and below freezing temps in the Great Basin, geese and ducks have started their winter migration big time. Western Outdoor News had booked a 2-day hunt at the Cibola Sportsman’s Club’s South Ranch, (702) 355-8784, well over a month ago in hopes of good timing for the hunt. Just prior to heading off to the ranch, WON received a couple of complaints about the status of hunting conditions on the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge.

The drive to South Ranch would take this hunting editor right past refuge offices off River Road in the rural town of Cibola and hopefully would offer a chance to talk with the new refuge manager.


After taking the Goose Loop tour of the closed portion of the refuge, which showed thousands of Canada geese, snow geese and more ducks than this outdoor writer has ever seen on the refuge in nearly 40 years of hunting around Cibola. I stopped by the office and was greeted by a couple of mid-western volunteers, as I waited to talk to Nancy Spencer-Morris, the new refuge manager, who I had met up with as our vehicles crossed paths on the refuge tour.


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CIBOLA REFUGE LOADED WITH WATERFOWL — Thousands of Canada geese, snow geese and lots of mallards and widgeon are packed into the loafing pond on the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

After introducing myself, I asked the new manager a few questions about what was going on at the refuge and told her that WON had received a couple of refuge complaints. “Just forward or have those complaining call me and I will handle them,” she said. I countered with the fact that refuge phone lines don’t work very well and she agreed they were having phone problems.


Moving on to basic concerns about the status of the Farm Fields, low water in the loafing ponds, blinds, cutting of wheat crops and current waterfowl numbers, Morris said, “The Farm Fields are hunting, as is the Island Unit and Heart Mine Marsh”. She didn’t want to talk about blinds or cutting the wheat and she said I would have to get bird count numbers from the biologist. She said that there were problems in both refuge ponds and that the refuge crew was working on a broken water line and trying to locate a breach in one the levees. Logically, one would think that the refuge manager should have a current waterfowl count at hand. I then asked for a time to tour the refuge with her the following day and she said she would be busy the rest of the week. Thus ended an all-too-short meeting with not much accomplished.


Upon arrival at South Ranch’s hunt cabins I met up with Capt. Buzz Brizendine of San Diego who would be my hunting partner and master guide Bob “Budda” Fields who was just coming in from the ranch’s hunting area.


“We are seeing lots of geese and ducks flying across the ranch and every day has offered up some shots at big Canada geese. I would think there are about 3,500 honkers here now, along with 2,500 snow geese and thousands of big puddle ducks. Get settled into your cabin and then plan on meeting me out at the pond for an evening hunt and let’s hope that the nightly flights south to Cibola Lake will bring some flocks of honkers to within shotgun range,” said Fields.


The geese started lifting off the refuge to the north of South Ranch, but they were taking the river flyway, less than a half-mile from our blinds. We were able to harvest one honker out of a flock of a dozen birds, so it appeared it was a good start to the hunt.

The South Ranch ponds were being flooded with fresh water and green fields of mixed clover, alfalfa and some native grass made for a great decoy spread behind a row of pit blinds. Unfortunately, the geese in Cibola Valley followed sandhill cranes on flights to the west all morning, thus avoiding the expert calling and flagging being done by Fields.


southranchhonker
SOUTH RANCH HONKER — Capt. Buzz Brizendine of San Diego holds up a big Canada goose he shot while hunting last week at the Cibola Sportsman’s Club South Ranch. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

For that afternoon Western Outdoor News had set up a meeting with John Rosenveld, president of the Friends of Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, to talk about refuge problems and issues with the refuge manager. Also, joining in on the meeting were Rosenveld’s wife and Friends VP Mike Tommaney.


“We had met with Nancy months ago to talk about cutting the wheat in the Farm Fields, putting tops on the blinds and benches for hunters that were being donated to the refuge by the Friends of CNWR. We informed her that cutting the wheat and letting it lay on the ground would benefit all wildlife in the valley floor and told her that the Friends had paid for the leveling and planting of the wheat. We paid to have wheat planted by a local farmer for a couple years in this hunt unit. We also wanted to put covers on the pit blinds and she wouldn’t allow us to do that right up to the day before the annual Youth Hunt.”


Rosenveld went on to add, “She asked for all our keys to the refuge to be returned and said we needed new release forms to access refuge property. She also was very hesitant about the Friends putting out benches for hunter use in the Island Unit. She just isn’t being very cooperative with our volunteer group even though we have donated a lot time and money to make this a good hunting refuge for all.”


As the meeting was winding down, Rosenveld offered up the following quote from the refuge manager that kind of sums up her position on hunters, hunting and conservation: I am not going to open up a supermarket for the hunters.


As to the future of goose and duck hunting at the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, one would hope that the Friends of CNWR and the refuge manager can work things out to continue to provide hunting opportunities.


Western Outdoor News asked Fields about the next month of goose hunting at the South Ranch. “We are seeing only about half the number of Canada geese that should arrive in the valley by the first week of January. I think we won’t see many more white geese, but when those ducks start moving around more, our ponds should attract mallards and sprig during both the morning and evening shoots.”


It would be this WON hunting editor’s recommendation that a goose hunter should book at least two days of hunting at the South Ranch and take advantage of being able spend a couple of nights in a cabin or the bunk lodge.


• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. 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.



Dove hunting Baja Sur again
It was well over 50 years ago when this hunting editor last hunted dove down in Baja Sur. My first dove hunt was by way of an invitation from Chuck Walters, owner of Rancho Buena Vista, to fly down to La Paz, take a taxi to his resort located on the Sea of Cortez (East Cape), write a feature story for Western Outdoor News on the great fishery and enjoy an evening or two of dove and duck hunting.

Back in those late 1960 years it WAS still legal to hunt birds in Baja Sur. In those olden days, Cabo San Lucas was still just a fishing village with a cannery, there was no international airport and it was just a dirt/gravel road from Los Barriles to Cabo (which was often washed out). Finally, Walters could no longer purchase ammo in La Paz for his hunting friends and resort clients, but reloading of shotgun shells was still allowed. As I recall, during that same era, Bud Parr, owner of the Cabo San Lucas Resort, also offered dove hunting as part of a package.


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THE OLDEN DAYS OF BAJA SUR DOVE HUNTING — This photo is of Chuck Walters, who owned Rancho Buena Vista for many years. This dove hunt took place in the early 1970s before the governor of Baja Sur shut down the sales of shotguns and ammo. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

Walters suggested we bring our own ammo to hunt. We crossed the Tijuana border with a full case (20 boxes) of Remington #8 dove ammo and checked into the airport for a direct flight to La Paz. The ticket agent tagged the ammo as part of our luggage and we headed up to the bar prior to departure. A few minutes afterwards, an agent announced that Mr. Niemiec should return to the ticket counter…oh boy! The agent was very friendly and spoke good English, “Mr. Niemiec I am sorry but we cannot fly that ammunition down to La Paz. You need to take it back across the border.” It was almost departure time and taking it back into the United States was not an option if we were to make the flight to La Paz with our wives. The agent then offered an option…


“Just leave it here with me and I will store it in the office and you can pick it up and take it back to the States upon your return. I will make sure it is safely secured for you.” While we didn’t get to do much hunting that trip, the marlin fishing was outstanding and yes, the ammo was waiting for me upon our return to the old Tijuana airport.


On one of our subsequent trips to hunt with Chuck, my hunting partner (Tommy Forbes of the Grant Boys) and I loaded up a suit case with 12 ga. wads, #8 shot, primers, some extra spent shells and powder to make sure we would have ammo available for hunting. That was our last dove hunt in Baja Sur, as the governor closed down all hunting and the ownership of firearms was greatly regulated and strictly enforced.


Now let’s fast forward to last week, when the Niemiec family headed down to the East Cape to spend Thanksgiving at Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort, info@hotelbuenavista.com., to check on the late fall fishery for pelagics and billfish.


Co-owner and General Manager Axel Valdez met us upon arrival and we talked about fishing and other activities.


“Jim, I know you love to fish, but also I read your weekly hunting columns in Western Outdoor News. Esaul (Axel’s brother and food and beverage manager for Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort), has just started offering guided dove hunts on private ranch properties close to the resort. Winds are expected to blow soon and I’ll talk with Esaul about taking you and couple of other resort guests out on a morning dove hunt. Would that work for you and your son Brook?”


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BAJA SUR DOVE HUNTING SUCCESS — Outfitter Esaul Valdez, co-owner of Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort, shows off a handful of white winged dove harvested during a hunt over Thanksgiving. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC


Everything was set for the dove hunt after a couple of good days fishing for dorado and striped marlin, and Esaul would pick us up at 6 a.m. for the drive to one of his permitted rancheros.


In the dark, the crew-cab pickup arrived with Esaul and we headed north on Mexican Hwy. 1 toward the old gold mining town of San Antonio. During the drive, I had a chance to talk with Esaul about his new outfitting business.


“We offer very good white winged dove hunting on at least three private ranches here in Baja Sur. Hunting clients will stay at the resort and be able to mix fishing with dove hunting. It’s a long dove season here in Baja Sur and there is great fishing in the Sea of Cortez during the late summer and early fall months. For duck season we will also offer hunt packages”


Hunt package(s) offered by Esaul, on his Facebook page valdez@outfitter or by calling (624) 129-6526, are pretty much semi-inclusive. Dove hunters have two choices when opting to hunt with ValdezOutfitters.


The basic hunt package includes the following: Transportation from Buena Vista Beach Resort to private ranches, dove hunting license, shotgun use (Beretta or Remington 870), refreshments during the hunt, cleaning of dove accompanied by a professional and licensed guide. This price of this package is only $300 per hunter. The second option includes: 1-night accommodations at Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort, dinner and breakfast and two dove hunts, one in the morning and the evening hunt. Shotguns shells are priced at $15 per box and are available in both 12 and 20 gauges.


There was no reason to be at the watering hole at daylight, as white winged dove fly much later in the morning than do mourning dove. The private ranch we were hunting consisted of 5,000 acres of cactus and Baja timber. The sun was just starting to crest a nearby mountain range when we set out for the morning hunt. Heavy rains had pounded Baja Sur for a couple of weeks and everything was a lush green. Heavy dew dripped from nearby cactus and the grass was calf-high. Dove began to move pretty slow on this particular hunt, but many birds just winged overhead well out of shotgun range. We did harvest some white winged dove, but Valdez apologized for the less than “hot barrel” action he expected.


“When it’s dry here in Baja Sur, dove flock to watering holes on our ranches. It is just too bad that those heavy rains dumped so much rain, as it really dispersed the dove. Upon your next trip to Los Barriles we’ll do little more scouting before your arrival,” said Valdez.


• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. 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.


Guides’ thoughts for hunting winter hogs
Winter weather has finally kicked in along the West Coast and those extremely dry hillsides will soon be showing some greening up. Hogs have been feeding on acorns under the shade of oaks since they started to fall last month. Most of the barley and wild oats have either been harvested or eaten up by large groups of hungry wild pigs.

Western Outdoor News contacted Chad Wiebe of Oak Stone Outfitters, based out of Bradley, to get his thoughts on hunting winter hogs.


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CENTRAL COAST BOAR Young L. Zerbe of Monterey made a good shot on this huge boar. It was his first wild hog and he was hunting with master guide Chad Wiebe of Oak Stone Outfitters. PHOTO COURTESY OF CENTRAL COAST TAXIDERMY


“In the winter, our tactics change quite a bit from summer time hunts and the dryer months. Hogs in the winter tend to be much more nomadic, especially once the acorns drop. We try to find a high vantage point and rely on glassing larger areas than we do on summer hunts. Once spotted, we will try to get closer by stalking a group of pigs feeding with their heads down. Any rain, like that one that blew through this past week, is obviously a huge help in detecting fresh sign — we don’t get that luxury very often,” stated Wiebe.


“We are seeing lots of pigs on our guided hunts. During the fall we would catch them coming to and from limited water sources, which made for good stalking and taking killable shots at a variety of boars, sows and meat pigs. Now that we got some rain I would think that pigs might start rooting more often looking for wild onions and other tuber plant life,” said Clint Miller of Miller Bros. Expeditions.


Miller went on to add, “Hogs were coming down in the valley floor for a food source and a drink and then heading back up into the dense cover of surrounding mountains. With this past week’s rain, we’ll likely be spending more time hunting the hills. There are plenty of pigs all along the Central Coast and this Parkfield area offers up prime hog hunting.”


Hog hunting guide Lincoln Raahauge, Raahauge’s Hog Hunting Guide Service, (951) 833-8116, based on a ranch northeast of Bakersfield, has a new property to hunt hogs. The ranch consists of 31,000 acres, is located in the foothills of the western High Sierra and varies in elevation from 1,500 feet clear on up to near the timber line at 7,000 feet. This ranch is privately owned and Raahauge has exclusive hog hunting rights to the property. The ranch has a very huntable established population of wild hogs. The cost of a wild pig hunt is $1,500 and the hunt package includes: 2.5 days of hunting (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), hunts are conducted by licensed hunting guide, Lincoln Raahauge, ranch style meals are part of the experience, experienced dogs are used, in the field transportation via ATV is included as are comfortable mountain cabins.


Ron Gayer, the head guide for Indian Rock Ranch, located in higher foothills above Glennville, 661-809-1613, hunts hogs on this beautiful ranch property. On a recent WON turkey hunt with Gayer, we watched a huge 325-pound boar rooting the side of a nearby hill as we headed out to a nearby turkey blind overlooking a spring. That boar sported tusks so long that you didn’t need bios to see the ivory. While the ranch offers mostly turkey hunts, wild pig hunting can be a good option. According to Gayer, currently the wild pig population that moves through the ranch are pretty well spread out as they root under the oaks and onto some food plots for tubers and other plant life.


Clayton Grant, master guide of Bitterwater Outfitters, (805) 610-4521, based out of Cholame, hunts on nearly 300,000 acres of private ranches along the Central Coast for hogs, coastal blacktail deer, turkey and exotics, including Tule elk. Most all of the ranches hunted by Grant hold good numbers of hogs, some sporting huge tusks. Hogs are not hitting newly planted barley fields as the seeds haven’t germinated yet. During cooler weather, hogs will stay out a little longer in the morning and head to feed and water late in the afternoon. With darkness now at about 5:30 p.m., the hunting day is a tad shorter than during the spring, summer and early fall months.


• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. 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.


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