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Dove hunting poor to fair near Red Bluff

By Frank Galusha
09/03/13 – Dove hunters averaged around five birds in the northern region on opening morning despite nearly ideal conditions if the bag was about the same as what I saw at Wren’s Dove Camp west of I-5 between Red Bluff and Corning at midday on Saturday.

“The west end of the camp shot fairly well on Sunday morning and Sunday evening with some limits taken, but you definitely had to be in the right spot where hunters in either direction on the flight line could not shut off the flights or take birds before they got to you,” said Camp Host Jon Wren.

 Wren’s Dove Camp, Palestinians emigrants, Anwar Nasser, Ramzi Hihi, Sam Nasser, Brewed Awakening Coffee Shop, Berkeley, Dove hunting, California dove hunting, outdoor recreation, outdoor sport, my outdoor buddy
Regulars at Wren’s Dove Camp each year are three Palestinians emigrants, Anwar Nasser, Ramzi Hihi and Sam Nasser, owner of the Brewed Awakening Coffee Shop in Berkeley.

The birds in the area were highly concentrated, hanging mostly in dry creek channels and the lines of trees that note their existence in areas that usually accommodate grazing cattle. The camp is approximately 5,000 acres so it has plenty of spots to set up your own decoys as the season progresses.

“In recent years, changing agricultural practices, especially the planting of orchards as opposed to alfalfa or other food crops north and south of the camp, has had an effect on flight patterns,” Wren noted.

A nasty kidney stone, which was being subdued briefly by powerful drugs, prevented me from filling my spot at Wren’s this year, but I was able to get my wife to drive me to the camp for the opening day hunt lunch where I got to meet many of those who have been hunting with the host and his amiable daughter, Heather, for many years.

Heather Wren, Jon Wren, duck hunting, Paradise, myoutdoor buddy, my outdoor buddy, outdoor recreation, outdoor sports, California Dove hunting, Dove hunting
Heather and Jon Wren are hosts of the hunt on property they lease. Jon has run the camp for 35 seasons. Heather is sporting her AllurebyLinz fishing blade earrings I give her at the Chico Sportsman’s Expo last April.

While there had been no rain, Sunday was exceptionally cool for that part of the valley this time of year. The morning sky to the east had been covered with clouds, which kept the sun from bearing down on the hunters. Even at noon the skies were still mostly cloudy and the temperature was in the mid to high eighties.

Joel Bootfeld, Red Bluff, Sherri Russell Meline print, Dove Stamp, Jim Crumpler, Novato, Steve Johns, Cottonwood; Tommy Lee, and Dr. Dale Mendenhol, my outdoor buddy, dove hunting, california dove hunting
A drawing was held after lunch for numerous valuable prizes. Joel Bootfeld of Red Bluff won a Sherri Russell Meline print of the 2010/11 CA Dove Stamp. He is surrounded by (l-r) Jim Crumpler of Novato; Steve Johns of Cottonwood; Tommy Lee of Novato, and Dr. Dale Mendenhol of Red Bluff.

Most of the hunting at Wren’s is done in the bottom of a creek which runs from the northwest to the southeast. The doves tend to fly up and down the creek bed rather than over the cow pastures, which concentrates the hunters, and those hunters who are at the head or tail end of the creek get most of the shots.

Once the birds know the game is on, they get very wary and often tend to fly like jets, low to the ground, very direct and too fast to let the hunter get a good bead, at least that was my experience last year.

Larry Main, Deanna McCoy, Heather Wren, Jon Wren, duck hunting, Paradise, myoutdoor buddy, my outdoor buddy, outdoor recreation, outdoor sports, California Dove hunting, Dove hunting
Larry Main and his daughter, Deanna McCoy, of Paradise, both had five birds although there was a dispute pertaining as to whether or not one of the 10 was a dual kill.

A few more in the camp had half a limit for their morning’s work; most others reported taking fewer birds or none; however, the evening hunts are usually better at Wren’s and the wind was rising when we left the camp around noon. Upon leaving, we ran into a CA DFW game warden, Jeremy Bonesio, who told us the hunters he had checked that morning in surrounding areas had averaged around five birds per gun. There simply was not a lot of birds in this part of the valley this year.

During the drawing I was lucky enough to win a fine self-inflating camping mattress that had been donated to the hunt by some of the hunters who came from Sports Authority stores; Patrick Wilson of the Vacaville Store and Kyle Collins of Sports Authority in Roseville.

I was thankful for this because I’ve been using a mattress patched in numerous places after it had “survived” a bear attack on my camp during a duck hunt in 2001.

Wren’s is open for members only for the first 15 days of the season. There is a small pond on the property, which is open to fishing for bass, bluegill and catfish. The dove don’t use this area so members take rods and are well-rewarded for tossing small spinners and flies into the pond which is loaded with hand-sized bluegill. Since the above-mentioned kidney stone has passed, I intend to visit the camp again before the season is over with both fishing and dove hunting on my mind. If you wish to take part in this camp next year, call Wren at 530-343-4573. You’ll meet a great bunch of guys and it’s always a lot of fun to talk with other hunters about their experiences.

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