Good results from upland game birds
The Sportsmanís Report
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By Bill Hanson  November 22, 2013 12:00 am

There are so many things out there to do this time of year, it’s hard to fit them all in.

Upland game birds, including wild turkey and ring-necked pheasant seasons, are in season and producing good results. In the fall turkey season, remember two things other than the obvious things you learned in DFG training. 

First up, fall turkeys do not come to any kind of call. On the other hand an old tom can’t help but gobble back if you lay a coyote call on them, a great way to locate birds. Turkeys seldom travel alone, so any response means hide and try to sneak up on them. Preston Smith hunts turkey with a bag of popcorn and a nine-iron. Pheasant season is still open, and there are some great places locally to hunt them. My first choice is the marshland trails near the Vallejo causeway just downstream from the Sonoma Raceway. The other option is to join a club, which will sell 10- and 20-bird cards so you can hunt often.

The regulations cover many game birds, but I have never hunted Ptarmigan simply because I cannot pronounce it. With a name like Ptarmigan, the bird should be left to perch in a pear tree in that Christmas song.

The regulations also cover snipe hunting. My first snipe hunt was in the Boy Scouts. The regulations say you can take only eight a day. My snipe hunt was at night, and other scouts new to snipe hunting were also given bags. At some point, the boys with the lights took off and well, lets’ not spoil snipe hunting for the young ones.

The webfoot hunters can take solace in the fact that total bird counts are high again this year, but the downside is no rain. On warm days, the birds are flying high and it is hard to get them to come to your decoys. Be sure to check the regulations on the Fish and Wildlife web pages: and drill down to get the latest changes.


Crab, mushroom update

• Dungeness crab season is not dependent on the rain. In fact, a storm often means the ocean is like a Maytag washer and you should go duck hunting.


• Mushroom hunting is just starting to wake up from a sleepy time. More rain should make them fruit. Aim for chanterelle in the evergreen oaks and near Huckleberry.


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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