SOUTH CAL WATERFOWL REPORT
NORCO - Teams of upland game bird hunters gathered in the hunt lodge at Raahauge's Pheasant Club during a foggy morning last week in Prado Basin. While the big outdoor fire broke the morning chill, fresh donuts and hot coffee and a lot of hunting stories passed the time until club owner Tony Heady gathered the hunters together to go over safety rules for the field and then arranged the vehicles in order for the short run to the pheasant hunting fields.
After a great season of offering Southland hunters good upland game bird hunting with strong flying ringnecks and excellent cover, it would be the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance that would host a group of wing shooters on the last day of pubic hunting offered by the club this season.
"We just thought it would be a great way to introduce sportsmen to our Alliance of conservation organizations, the outdoor industry, those that support science-based management and the preservation of our hunting rights in California. Being able to enjoy a first class pheasant hunt, share conservation and political agendas and end the day with a traditional Mexican lunch and raffle in a hunting environment would be the perfect venue to wind down the hunting season," said Gretchen Heffler, Southern California Director of Development for COHA.
TURNER'S OUTDOORSMAN TEAM HUNTED OVER PUDLEPOINTERS - The Turner's team shot well under the leadership of Rob Zuback, Director of Sales for Turner's, while shooting with store managers Joe Crump, Amanda Hada and Roy Garcia in support of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance event. Doing the dog handling chores was Liza McNamee and her two fine Pudlepointers Falco and Hope. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC
Winter rains had really helped the mix of native cover in all of the pheasant fields with standing oats knee high, as hunters arrived at their designated shooting sites where dog handlers where ready to head out after the sun baked off the morning fog.
Teams of up to 5 shooters were spread across the vast fields allowing plenty of room for the dogs to work and ample cover for tight holding pheasant. The group from Turner's Outdoorsman stores had a huge field, as did the Outdoor Channel team, the conservation team supporting the upcoming Hoag/552 Charity Shoot(April 30) captained by Ron Roach headed out and WON teamed up with veteran upland game hunters Gerry Unis of Tustin and Herb Frommholz of Costa Mesa to work behind Unis's young German Shorthair Pointer Rex and this editor's Timber.
The heavy dew of the morning stuck to the leaves of the tall oats, which made for tough hunting until the first winds of the morning allowed the dogs to work scents left by tight holding pheasant. While the roosters flushed wildly in the more open cover, the hens were a little more hesitant about flushing from the thick cover, which would test the patience of the pointer and those ready for a shot.
The morning's hunt went off without a single hitch and everyone returned to the club house for a cold one, a chance to talk about the birds shot and missed and what hunts were planned for hunt next season.
Bill Gaines, President of COHA had flown into John Wayne Airport that morning and was talking with hunters and guests as Western Outdoor News arrived on the scene.
"California Outdoor Heritage Alliance is dedicated to working on hunting conservation. The Alliance does a lot of political work with the legislature in Sacramento. Our goal is to protect the passion of hunting among all sportsmen and protecting the enjoyment of hunting. We have a big fight here in California as there are only 270,000 licensed hunters in a state of 38 million people. The animal rights folks want to end all hunting in California. We deal with the hunting issues and one of our main goals is to keep the Department of Fish and Game focused on game management and also to promote game species and use of funds for our native game," said Gaines.
Gaines also went on to tell the group that the Alliance does not want the legislature to take over. The money that hunters spend for licenses, tags and stamps should go towards the species that they are designed to support. We started COHA back in 2006 and our voice is being heard. Our group is all about hunting and right now we are sponsoring 3 bills in the legislature that support hunting and gun owners rights.
"COHA is a 501(c)4 Political Advocacy organization dedicated solely to influencing legislative, regulatory and administrative policy decisions which promote wildlife conservation and our outdoor heritage," added Gaines.
After Gaines finished his short, but very to the point presentation, food was served and then came a raffle and live auction. COHA had received the support of a number of outdoor related companies and sponsors including: Buck Knives, Turner's Outdoorsmen, Division Six Sports, Hornady, Western Outdoor News, the Outdoor Channel, Irvine Lake, Marina del Rey Sportfishing and art dealer Mark Stewart.
Hunters are urged to join COHA to help them fund their quest to protect our rights. Members of the Alliance and the general public can access the important work that this organization is doing by logging on to their web site at outdoorheritage.org.
Another pheasant hunt in support of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance is being planned for the fall of 2010 at which the entire 400 acres of prime pheasant fields will be opened up to upland game bird hunting teams. It should be another great bird hunt for Raahauge's Pheasant Club and advance reservations can be made by calling Heffler at (760) 722-6697.
FATHER & DAUGHTER TEAM UP FOR HUNTER SUPPORT - Ron Roach and his lovely daughter Sarah enjoyed a successful day in the field at Raahauge's Pheasant Club as they participated in the 1st Annual California Outdoor Heritage Alliance shoot. Roach is also co-chairman of the Hoag/552 Celebrity Shoot that will be held on April 30. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC