Fast Doves, Fast Fun!
Less than three weeks from now a lot of shotguns will come out of the gun safes in California for the kickoff of the state's upland game bird seasons. The dove opener is on September 1st. The dove season in California always starts on the first day of September, no matter on which day of the week it falls. This year's opener is on a Sunday.

Reports indicate that the number of birds looks good as long as a surprise cold front or rainstorm doesn't come through shortly before opening day. (That seems hard to even contemplate, considering all the 100+ degree days we've been baking in lately.)

The DFG reports dove numbers to be the same or higher than last year in their survey areas that cover the counties between Fresno and Bakersfield.

Shooters will find that the doves will fly from their roosts to the fields at first light or a bit before. After feeding until about 9 a.m., the birds will feel the need for water and head for their favorite watering hole. This gives hunters a second opportunity if they set up on the wrong field or haven't taken a limit by then.

Doug Roth of Camp Five Outfitters reports doves in good numbers on their nearly 70,000 acres of leased hunting property around the King City/Paso Robles area. Roth tells us that with all those acres they will have plenty of room for wing shooters. His hunters will be shooting over barley, wheat and safflower fields. He also has plenty of water holes and each group will have their own so you won't have to worry who is swinging a shotgun near your pond. To book a hunt with Camp Five Outfitters, contact Roth at (831) 386-0727.

The area around Williams, California north of Sacramento is loaded with doves according to Tom Dermody. Dermody still has some openings for dove hunters on property west of Williams. Bring lots of shells. Contact Dermody at (530) 473-2503.

Those hunters who wish to hunt farther north can contact Bill Burrows at the Burrows Ranch Hunting Club. Burrows has 4,200 acres west of Red Bluff and hunters get a chance to hunt fields and his water sources. Bill and Kay Burrows make you feel like you are part of the family when you hunt at their place. You can contact them at (530) 529-1535.

If you are interested in an organization that can provide dove hunting as well as other hunting opportunities throughout the year, you should investigate Wilderness Unlimited or Golden Ram Sportsman's Club. Both of these organizations have a number of different properties around the state and can provide you with private property on which to hunt various game and game birds/waterfowl. Check out Wilderness Unlimited at and Golden Ram at

For those of you want to hunt public property and didn't get in on the reservation drawing for a number of the wildlife or refuge areas around the state, here is a rundown on areas you may want to give a try:

Tehama Wildlife Area - East of Red Bluff
Black Butte Reservoir - East of Chico
Upper Butte Basin Wildlife Area - West of Gridley
Oroville Wildlife Area - West of Oroville
Spenceville Wildlife Area - East of Marysville
Gray Lodge Wildlife Area - East of Live Oak
Sutter Bypass Wildlife Area - West of Yuba City
Colusa Bypass Wildlife Area - North of Colusa
Feather River Wildlife Area - South of Yuba City
Daugherty Hills Wildlife Area - East of Marysvile
Auburn State Recreation Area - Near Auburn
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area - East of Davis
White Slough Wildlife Area - West of Lodi
New Hogan Lake - East of Stockton
New Melones Lake - East of Oakdale
Cache Creek Wildlife Area - West of Williams
Indian Valley Wildlife Area - West of Williams
Cow Mountain Recreation Area - East of Ukiah
Mendocino National Forest
Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area - South of Sonoma

Areas in Central California near I-5 and Santa Nella
Los Banos Wildlife Area
Salt Slough Unit of North Grasslands Wildlife Area
China Island Unit of North Grasslands Wildlife Area
O'Neill Forebay Wildlife Area
Little Panoche Reservoir
San Luis Reservoir
Gadwall Unit
Dos Amigos Wildlife Area
Upper and Lower Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Areas

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