Thursday, August 16, 2018

Backcountry Hunters Sporting Clays Shoot


Monday, August 13, 2018

SHARE Program to Offer Wild Pig, Waterfowl, Pheasant, Quail and Dove Hunts this Fall

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program will provide public access for hunting on properties in Colusa, Merced, Santa Barbara and Solano counties this fall.

For the first time, SHARE will offer deer, quail and dove hunts on a new property in Santa Barbara County. Harrington Farms is 785 acres of farmland and rolling hills consisting of oak savannahs and juniper-sage woodlands east of Hwy 33. Deer hunters must have a valid D13, D11, D15 or Archery Only (AO) deer tag. Only non-lead ammo will be allowed on this property. The hunts will take place September 2018 through January 2019.

SHARE is offering nine archery-only wild pig hunts at East Park Reservoir located in Colusa County, approximately 45 minutes west of Maxwell. SHARE hunters will have access to 600 acres of oak woodland on the south side of the reservoir for these hunts. CDFW will randomly draw one permit (good for two hunters) for each hunt period. The hunts will take place October 2018 through February 2019.

SHARE will also offer seven wild pig hunts from November to December at Rush Ranch, located in Solano County. Rush Ranch is a 2,070-acre open-space area bordered by the Suisun Marsh. Two permits (each good for two hunters) will be randomly drawn for each period. SHARE hunters will have access to 1,000 acres of the ranch for these hunts and will be able to camp in a designated area for no extra fee.

SHARE is also offering waterfowl, dove and pheasant hunts on the wildlife management area at the city of Merced’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The property is located five miles south of the City of Merced and is tucked between sloughs and agricultural fields. The seasonal pond and wetland on the property provide cover and forage for waterfowl, dove and pheasant and 300 acres will be open to hunting. Successful applicants will be allowed to bring a hunting partner or non-hunting partner.

Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply for these hunts through the Automated License Data System. An $11.62 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Application deadlines are 17 days before each hunt.

To apply for these hunts, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales, log in to your account and select “Purchase Licenses.” Then select “2018 – Hunting, 2018 - SHARE Hunts Multi Choice Application,” then select specific hunt periods.

These opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers private landowners liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. For more information about SHARE opportunities, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/SHARE.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Your Chance to Help California's Bighorn Sheep

This came through my email tonight and I thought it wise to share. Please read and if you can help, please do! Feel free to share with others.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW), the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS) and the National Park Service (NPS) are requesting help from volunteers to haul water to three big game drinkers (Kelso, Kerr, Vermin) within the Mojave Preserve during the weekend of August 17th-20th. All three drinkers are used by desert bighorn sheep along with many other species and due to the lack of rain this year all three drinkers are at risk of running dry before the end of summer.

We can use all the help  we can get to help layout hose, man the pumps and shuttle trucks with water tanks from the water truck to the drinkers. We'll have plenty of pumps and hoses but if anyone can bring a pickup with an empty bed, or an off-road water trailer, we can sure put you to good use as well. The Preserve is providing a water truck and water buffalo which combined can hold 3000 gallons. SCBS will have some 250 gallon cage tanks for the back of pickups but if you have your own, we'll use it. Extra ratchet straps are always helpful too.

If you have a large water trailer (or water truck!) that is best suited for on-road use, we can use you at the staging area to avoid tripping all the way back up to Baker for refills.  If you don't have a 4x4 but want to help, we can fit you in another truck as a passenger/spotter - be sure to let us know so we can make an effort to arrange it that way.

NPS and CDFW folks will start laying out some of the hoses on Friday (Aug 17th), if you're available to help please contact Debra and Ashley (emails below). Otherwise SCBS folks will be meeting at Camp Cady on Friday evening to prepare equipment, load equipment onto Big Red and cage tanks into volunteer trucks so that we are ready for an early start on Saturday to beat the heat. Show up in the afternoon or any time before 6 am Saturday. There are a few rooms in the bunkhouse but it will be hot and you might prefer camping out on a cot. There is plenty of space to spread out. On Saturday morning we will head from Camp Cady to Baker to load up on water (thanks to Baker Community Services.) Timing can be subject to delays but we should be at Baker around 7 am or so. If you are not inclined to camp at Camp Cady or you're a real early bird then you should plan to get to Baker about 7 am at the latest and watch for us.

Thank you for your time and if you are available to help all or any of these days (Aug 17-19th) please RSVP to the email addresses below:

Steve Marschke (SCBS): stevemarschke@gmail.com
John Roy (SCBS): johnandlindaroy@yahoo.com
Ashley Evans (CDFW): ashley.evans@wildlife.ca.gov
Debra Hughson (NPS): Debra_Hughson@nps.gov

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Product Review: GreenBelly Meals


When it comes to food to pack for hunting I like to have variety. I hunt hard and I like to eat, so I want something that will fill me up, be nourishing, and it has to taste good. A good balance of protein, carbs, and needed salts are a must. For the last few scouting trips I have packed Greenbelly Meals for my meals with some interesting results.






I tried out all three flavors:
  • Dark Chocolate Banana
  • Cranberry Almond
  • Peanut/Apricot

Each 650+ calorie, ready-to-eat meal is divided between two bars in one convenient pouch. They are made from all-natural and gluten-free ingredients. Each pouch contains 1/3 of your daily nutrition, so planning out meals is easy. What I liked right away is that I didn't have to pack anything to heat up water in order to eat. I could tear open a pouch and eat right away. The packaging is excellent for keeping the meal secure and to allow it to close (zip lock shut) if you don't finish the meal.


My first impression of the Greenbelly meals is that these taste really good! I started off with the chocolate banana. I knew I'd be scouting in 85-100 degrees and I didn't want the chocolate to melt. The aroma is great and flavor is excellent. These taste really good (did I say that already?). They are a bit salty for my liking, but I understand you need to replenish the salts in your body when exerting yourself like I was. Even still, I'd like to try some that weren't so salty.

Side Note: While the pouch seals well and is a great size to fit in my pack, they are noisy! If you are hunting you'd likely consider a different way to bring these out. I'd suggest taking them out of the original packaging and vacuum sealing them as individual bars (I'll get to why in a second). That would allow for a quieter experience. I also think these crumble very quickly inside a pack. I found that if i did not put these at the very top of my pack, they bars got a bit crushed into more of a granola and not a bar. That's why I think I would vacuum seal individual bars the next time out. That being said, these do take up less space that your typical backcountry meal pouch and that alone is a major plus.

These are made to be a meal, but I found that while biking or hiking longer distances, eating an entire meal was not a good idea. These are REALLY filling! Along with the salts, you need to drink plenty of water to get these to digest properly. I was better off eating one bar vs. two. If it was the end of the day and I was back at camp then I would slowly eat both. I nearly lost my breakfast a few times due to eating an entire pouch while glassing and then biking a few more miles. I learned the hard way so you don't have to.


Once I had reached my destination (or end of my one way bike/hike trip) I parked under a tree with some shade and ate the peanut/apricot. This was a great combo of flavor. I ate in half-hour increments as to not fill my stomach too quickly. I was able to seal the bag, take a nice nap, and eat the rest when I woke up. I knew I was going to be climbing uphill for a few miles and needed the energy.

Some of the best things about the GreenBelly meal are that they are great for hunting in SoCal. You can't have a fire right now, so it's great to have a meal like this to open and eat. They taste great and fill you up. Gluten-free means more people can enjoy them. They don't melt in the heat like a candy bar or trail mix with chocolate, and they are easy to eat! I can see these being great for a 2-3 day hunt, but I would get bored eating the same thing everyday. I plan to pack some other snacks like jerky and nuts as well.

Overall, I was impressed with how good these taste, fill you up, and keep your energy level up. I did not have a favorite because I liked them all! I will take these out again for sure. A three-pack will cost you $22.99 which is really good considering what competitors will charge you for a meal that you have to prepare (and these taste better!). If you plan on hunting for longer periods of time and need more meals, you are better off buying a bulk pack and dividing it up accordingly. I would certainly recommend these to hunters looking to pack lighter, not have to cook anything, and who want good nutrition while hunting. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Trail Cams and Trash - A Saturday Story

Out of shape. I must have repeated those words a dozen times as I biked up the mountain incline. The benefit was that each time I had to stop, I glassed the hillsides and ravines. In a short time I glassed up two bucks, one legal, and watched them go where the others had gone a month before. It was a successful trip yet again!

Ramon and I biked in to where we had set our trail cameras. We picked up some trash we found and then grabbed our cards from the cameras. We were excited to have plenty of images of deer (many doe with fawns), one medium-sized cat, a two-legged mammal in plaid, and squirrels. With plenty of battery life left, we downloaded the pictures and reset the cameras. We then hiked up a bit further and set another cam along a cervid highway. I have high hopes of seeing something legal!

We came down the hill to find trash in odd places. When Ramon said he found a recent sardine can I about puked. Who the heck would eat sardines in this heat? Either way, he picked it up and I continued to find more trash. We both filled bags and pack out what you see below. We found even more down a steep drainage to be removed at a later date.

It makes me sick to see such disregard for our public lands. If you bring it in, TAKE IT BACK OUT! I kept laughing when I looked at the "YOU'RE #1" balloon and kept thinking that isn't the finger that comes to mind with all of this trash. We will continue to clean up after others as we want the land to be clean and free of man-made debris. 

The season is looking promising and we are eager for opening day in two months. I hope the temps drop a little, but the deer are moving! What has your scouting looked like? Any good news to report?