Kids have blast at Saltwater Anglers annual fundraiser
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By Bill Hanson  March 29, 2013 12:00 am

The Sportsman’s Report

The Saltwater Anglers’ annual fundraising dinner was held last week, and more than 400 folks braved the beautiful night and shared an excellent meal, or at least a good meal served on a paper plate with plastic fork and knife. 

Cutting into slices of tri-tip with a plastic knife was an experience in itself. There was the usual assortment of local bait shops, tackle shops, commercial party boat captains and purveyors of rods, reels and makers of lures guaranteed to tempt your prey. 

What? The fisherman is going to sue the makers of a rubber squid if he comes home empty handed? After dinner, the usual long and boring raffle, live auction, special drawing and other games of chance to part you and your money was part of the evening. 

In truth, it was all for a good cause, helping preserve the saltwater fishery and getting together with people with a like interest in saltwater fishing. There was one unusual element of this evening. The kids’ raffle was open to any kid 16 and under. The older kids were not so excited until they won something. It was amazing; every kid won. 

They handed out one raffle ticket to each kid. As they drew and drew more winning tickets, the kids really got into it. They walked off with fishing poles, pole and reel combos, tackle boxes and sacks of fishing stuff.

One little girl came back to the table with an ear to ear grin. Her prize was a pink fishing pole and pink reel. Ella Hart, age five and pretty in pink will be a fisher for life. One sister/sister combination was too cute, Julia Sandstrum age two won a tackle box big enough for her to sleep in. Stuffed with lots and lots of fishing tackle, the box weighed more than her little self. She got a binky and a clean diaper out of the deal. 

Her older sister, Annika age five took home a huge bag of fishing tackle including rubber “wo-u-ms” her mom cautioned her not to eat them.

Turkey season opens

The big news today is the spring wild turkey opener, which begins Saturday, March 30, one-half hour before sunrise and ends one-half hour after sunset on May 5. Turkey season has become one of the most popular outdoor events ever. Practice your gobbles, chuckles and purrs. 

The toms will only come to a call in the spring. Be sure there are no other hunters nearby. If they can’t see through your camouflage, they might just take a shot at your bush that is gobbling.

Reading the current issue of “Turkey Country.” I came away with a deeper understanding of what turkey hunting has become in America. Back in the 70s, a turkey was a derogative expression – “That guy is a turkey.”

Today, it means investing in everything in camouflage, including underwear. You will also need a good camouflage shotgun, shells, boots, stands, decoys, and if you are really serious, a camouflage SUV. In the end, it is cheaper to buy frozen turkeys at the store and shoot them with BB’s to get that real wild turkey experience. One section of Turkey Country is “Ask Dr. Tom.” 

He says he opened the crop of an old bird and counted 563 grasshoppers. 

Now, it is just an opinion, but a guy who opens up a wild turkey and reassembles 563 chewed up grasshoppers might have too much time on his hands. To find out more about the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) go to and find out how you can become a member and help support the effort.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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