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Orland: Northern CA dove action hit and miss at end

By BILLY DRIESSEN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 20, 2019

ORLAND — Every year it seems like there are giant flocks of dove everywhere you look until just before the season begins and they vanish into thin air. The first half of the dove season ended Sept. 15 on a mixed note.

THE FIRST HALF of dove season closed on Sept. 15 on a better note than it opened, and the second half opens Nov. 9. Migration day dove limits were taken by all 3 of On The Fly Outfitters’ clients, (left to right): Bill, Rich and Connor on Sept. 7 in 25 mph winds, which made for tough shooting. “We were fortunate and caught the birds on a migration day as they streamed over our field near Marysville in a strong wind,” said George Kammerer of On The Fly Outfitters. There were so few doves at his area on the opener he didn’t even hunt it, but they moved in during their migration.

“This has been a pretty tough dove season so far,” said Leo Driessen of Driessen’s Guide Service. “Reports from the valley up the interstate 5 corridor have been pretty scattered from one hunter to the next. The hunters that have the prime plots of private land next to a field of sunflowers always shoot really well despite the conditions while the public land hunters out behind Black Butte Reservoir and on the Sacramento and Feather Rivers have to really scout in advance of the season to find where the birds are flying on a regular basis and hope it stays that way once the season opens.

“The hunting seems to be improving through the season,” Driessen said. “Many people hunt the Sacramento River between Woodson Bridge in Corning and Irvine Finch in Hamilton City and the first couple of days were terrible out there. Opening morning there was hardly any gun shots and there were quite a few people out sitting with spinning wing decoys on the big gravel bars neighboring almond and walnut orchards, but there just wasn’t a flight. Most of the hunters you spoke with did very little shooting and the ones that had the big volleys of gun fire claimed it was simply trying to knock the same bird down with steel shot and many birds were hit and still got away. The following few days after the season opened the hunting improved significantly on the river when the hot weather returned and tractors began running in the orchards again, which chased the birds out of cover and got them moving and looking for water in the afternoon.

“I hunted private property a few days ago,” Driessen said. “Despite there being more shooting every day on the public land areas surrounding the river, a friend and I hunted some private property out of Corning that has shot really well for us in the past. We had good blinds to hunt out of and I shot my nice little over and under and we almost managed to kill our 2 limits of birds. Had we not sailed so many while using steel shot we might have limited out, no problem, but it seems like you just get more puffs of feathers than finished birds. Despite the fact we were on private land the big flights still just weren’t there. We never saw a single Eurasian fly through and when the birds did work it was just singles that came zipping through. Although the hunting isn’t wide open its still nice to get your eye on in advance of the Tule Lake duck opener coming soon,” Driessen said.

greatdovedayGREAT DOVE DAY — It was a successful day for dove hunting on Sept. 2 in Fresno County when limits were shot by Doug Liles, David Lock, Rodger Yarbrough, Jared Clark, Travis Lock, Dr. Clark and Scott Lock taking picture. All from Fresno and Clovis. “Now the dove enchiladas are to be made!” they said.

SLOW DOVE DAY — The opener of dove season wasn’t great for WON Field Reporter Andre Fontenot, but he still managed 8, despite a short-lived morning flight near Willows.

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