2020 Hunting and Fishing in Review
It started out with big hopes and dreams of a monster buck decorating my living room wall and ducks flying into my decoys and a never ending supply of ammo, but things began to change slowly and over time I was left with some mixed emotions but, all in all, not a terrible year but yes it was a difficult year.
I enjoy varmint hunting and starting around the first part of April I start hitting the Prather Ranch and Alturas Ranches and shoot squirrels (squeakers) off the alfalfa fields. This last year in 2020 I had several very good squeaker shoots. I could call it a squeaker hunt but there is very little hunting involved its more “target practice” than hunting. I had several days where I shot over 600 rounds in a day, this was a combination of .22LR, .223 Remington, and .243 Winchester. This year I purchased a Gamo .22 caliber pellet rifle that will shoot a cooper pellet 1300 feet per second and I am looking forward to the new and more affordable experience.
Fly fishing for Trout was absolutely incredible in 2020 ! I had one of the most successful seasons I have ever had, maybe even the most successful season ever. I ended up with some phenomenal trout and all on a fly, and I was able to locate some new areas and I will be covering these new areas this year in my new trout fishing blog coming soon.
B Zone archery season was a mess. In Northern California, the Forest Service shut down several of the national forests and limited access roads in other areas due to the high fire danger. Sierra Pacific shut down all of their Northern California properties due to fire danger in some areas even BLM was restricting access but for the most part BLM stayed open. I am afraid that this is just the beginning and now that the anti-hunters in the state legislature and in the various state and federal agencies have learned that they have a new tool to enforce their anti-hunting agenda and that they will be using “Fire Danger” to limit, restrict or even close hunting seasons throughout the state. I am not saying we didn’t have fire danger in Northern California, the drought, the wind and the excessive heat really made things dangerous for fire fighters and those of us that live in the areas where our “pucker factor” goes up every time we hear a siren know this too well. I am saying we need to keep an eye on them and watch for overuse of the term “Fire Danger”.
Although, I personally didn’t get a buck this year I had my opportunities and passed on a couple of small ones early on (wont make that mistake again) and still had a fun year. I also met up with another hunter named Ben and his family. I was envious of Ben and his three sons hunting and camping together. Oddly enough I am the only one left in my family that hunts, and I don’t have any sons to hunt with and my daughter and son-in-law are just not interested in hunting, so to see this family all hunting together makes me feel good.
My wife had a wonderful deer season and was able to take home two very nice deer. A very nice 3x3 in B Zone and a nice buck out of X2. When you consider that she is significantly disabled and has deer hunted for many years without getting buck, so this was truly “Her year”. Congratulations to her.
I wasn’t able to Pigeon hunt this year due to wildfires but Dove season was okay. I wouldn’t say it was great by any standard, but it wasn’t terrible. I wasn’t able to travel to the places I usually go due to wildfires and Covid, so I guess it was okay for the amount of effort I was able to put into it.
Pheasant season was great, I was able to shoot my share of the birds and had several very good days. In the past I have had some difficult pheasant seasons due to this, and that, but this year really renewed my interest in shooting roosters and I am already planning a big upland year for 2021 and have even purchased a new Lab puppy to add to my hoard of hunting labs. Only this one is different she is a Pointing Lab from a kennel that specializes in pointing labs and her parents have an enormous amount of awards so to say I am looking forward to pheasant season is an understatement.
Waterfowl season was a bust. I was able to shoot a few birds but right in the middle of the season I ended up catching the dreaded Covid-19. Not only did I catch it but my wife caught it as well and it was a huge gut punch right in the middle of December. I was sick but to tell the truth I have been sicker I just had a severe cough that wouldn’t quit for almost two weeks. She ended up in the ER and spent 6 days in the hospital. It was a close call, but she made it. Then in January right on time both of my female labs came into heat, so my waterfowl season ended early.
So it was a rough year but still a good year, anytime you can come home from a hunt or a year-long season and everyone is still healthy and happy it’s a good year.
As slow as the season was and with the wildfires, riots, Covid-19 and other restrictions and other activities or, lack thereof, it was a difficult year to find something positive to write about. But I promise you in 2021 I will be bringing some new articles and even some youtube videos for your enjoyment and I hope to see many of you in the field, on the mountain and in the stream in 2021.