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Hunting and fishing highlight dove opener

By Frank Galusha
09/03/14 -- Hunters who joined the Wren Family Dove Hunting Club this year enjoyed a great shoot, some of the best in the region, according to CA DFW Game Warden, Jess Mitchell. The warden stopped by the club ranch on Elder Creek in Tehama County to check licenses and tags around mid-day on Monday.

Frank Galusha, Michael, holding the dove, and Steven Taylor, sons of Bill Taylor of Los Gatos Photo courtesy of Bill Taylor
Michael, holding the dove, and Steven Taylor, sons of Bill Taylor of Los Gatos had a great time, according to their dad, who submitted this photo. Photo courtesy of Bill Taylor

Nine members of the club took limits of mourning and Eurasian doves, a bag of fifteen birds each and some were back in camp before 9 a.m. said Jon Wren, who has organized this hunt for nearly four decades. Fourteen other hunters took near limits -- 13 birds or more -- on opening day. John Johnson of Paradise was the first to be back in camp with his limit on Monday, Wren reported. Great hunting continued on Tuesday for those who could stay.

One new club member, Bill Taylor of Los Gatos and his two sons, Michael and Steven thanked Wren for their great opening day experience (see photo above). “It was an outstanding adventure for us! I love meeting new people who share my values, and seeing new country. The ranch was beautiful, we shot our share of birds, and the boys had a great time!” Taylor said.

Six of the hunters were gals and most of them got at least a few birds, Wren said. On the next day (Tuesday) Peter and Matthew Birsinger brought back ten birds each early in the morning.

Most of the birds were concentrated at the eastern half of the ranch, a long way from my set-up, which included four decoys mounted on dead bamboo poles. I had scouted the area Sunday evening. I picked a good spot and was lucky enough to find some empty buckets on which I could sit. Before leaving, I had cut down the bamboo and trimmed each pole with my knife so they would hold my decoys securely. Since the poles were 8 to10 feet long I was able to place the decoys near the top of the bushes that ran through the creek bottom. The decoys were in clear sight but only one or two birds stopped to investigate, a fatal error for one.

The day was accompanied by a strong 30 mph wind that made pulling up and staying on the birds very difficult for me and my pop-gun .410 gauge Winchester Wingmaster but that’s all I’ve used on dove and I’ll never change.

By 10 a.m. the heat was in the high 80’s which made hunting unthinkable for me and my nearly 11-year old Black Lab, Kohle. Out of deference to her age, I stuck as close to camp as possible and carried a quart of water, which I poured into my cap for her to drink. During the morning, I took about six shots and saw several other birds too late so my bag had only the one bird. Several other hunters had the same results…some of us just were not in the right place.

Fishing as well as hunting

 bluegill and bass, photo by Frank galusha
The Wren Family Dove Hunt has a great “ace in the hole,” a small pond that is loaded with bluegill and bass. This gave Kohle a great place to cool off in the afternoon and I was able to land three blue gill and one bass in an hour or so. I used meal worms but had I been able to catch any of the millions of grasshoppers in the area, the fishing would have been even better. Photo by author

Kohle walked into the water and stayed there safe from the heat. The cool water refreshed her significantly and in addition to helping me land a couple of fish, she swam back and forth across the lake just to show me she still had a lot of strength. But it is the family-type atmosphere that is the major draw at this club.

“Getting comments from families really makes my day,” Wren said. “We also really enjoyed having the girls out there with us as well as four junior hunters. Everyone got opportunity and we had a great time sharing adventures during brunch, which was served between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.,” Wren said.

“We expect to have about 15 parties back for this weekend and members can hunt and fish as often as they like until September 15,” Wren said.

The club accepts about 55 members and is often sold out by July 15. To reserve a spot for 2015, call Wren at 530-343-4573. There are always Port-a-Potties at the campground. Tents, trailers and motorhomes are always welcome. All BBQs will need to be located in the kitchen/barbeque area due to fire danger. OHV’s also come in handy for scouting and getting to your chosen hunting spot quickly. A small pop-up shade is important if you can stake it down securely or weigh it down with buckets of sand.

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