|Ocean fishing slows to a crawl
The Sportsman’s Report
The ocean is done cooperating with fishermen, divers and small boats. The report is showing 15-20-foot seas with an eight-second interval. Even the seals are sitting on the coast highway having a warm latte and a snail.
Deer hunting in the northern part of the state is taking a storm break, although the wet in the woods helps hunters dilute their scent and muffle their steps.
Duck hunting is coming…nimrods love a hard nor’easter. After the last two years of low rainfall, we are all hoping for off-and-on rain through spring. Salmon and steelhead will use the high water to move upstream to spawn.
On the mushroom front, the North Coast is just beginning to show its strength. A recent foray yielded golden chanterelle and a few king bolete. The Sonoma County Society (SOMA) leads trips every month. Check them out at www.SOMAmushrooms.org.
I was lucky enough to hook up with Carol Ralph president of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), who led a field trip to Horse Mountain. Under her patient and kind guidance, the group was able to learn about native flora in the outback. Her husband, C.J. Ralph, is an expert ornithologist. His quick wit and sharp eyes made the outing all the more enjoyable. C.J. can call a bird with a convincing chirp or warble on the spot.
One of our group, David from New Zealand, found a perfect golden chanterelle on one of the walks. They are always a delight to find. Carol is also an expert in tree identification.
It is gratifying to know one pine from another and to see the difference in the most common cedars. By the end of the day, I was able to tell the difference in some of the low growing browse I’ve lumped together in the past under the heading, chemise, or shirt.
Turkey season looms
The fall turkey season is bearing down on us, so be sure you are properly licensed and tagged. For the old toms, go with big and hoary, and save their beards and tail feathers for your den.
If you are hunting for the table, aim for the smaller ‘Jakes’ birds born this year or last. They are excellent in a turkey-roasting bag with some herbs and an apple. The fall turkey season is different in that they will not come to a call.
Breeding season was last spring, so their interest in fighting over hens is ice cold in the fall.
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.