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Thread: Public Land Recommendations for Pheasant Hunting in Northern CA

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Lathrop, CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Public Land Recommendations for Pheasant Hunting in Northern CA

    I am looking for some help in finding some public land to hunt pheasants on in Northern CA (I live in Lathrop). I was raised in WA state and hunting up there had lots of wildlife areas and public land was marked with "Feel Free To Hunt" signs, but I haven't come across anything like that since I moved down here a few years ago. Since the move I haven't had a chance to take my lab out and both of us are looking to get back into it. Pheasant would be ideal, but I'm also open to any areas good for quail and chukkar as well. Any suggestions or just pointing me in the right direction on where to start would be a huge help. I appreciate it.

  2. #2

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    I wrote a long reply with I think helpful information. I hit the reply button and it disappeared into space. I don't feel like doing it all over again so if a moderator can recover it, please post it here.
    If not, the executive summary is, you're screwed for "Feel free To Hunt" type access, pheasnt hunting in Calif. has crashed except for planted birds even on the wildlife areas, some chukars in coastal range most east of Sierra Crest on public land or Bakersfield South in low access areas in low population numbers, best bet is to learn the BLM land and National Forest East of you for Mountain Quail and Sooty Grouse. Go to CADFW site for more maps and info.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Benicia, CA
    Posts
    141

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    Yeah, if youíre in it for the birds youíre going to be disappointed. For me, itís about getting out and letting the dog do what she loves to do. Your best bet would be to find a California wildlife refuge close to you. Get out there now. Talk with the unit manager or the unit biologist. Theyíll tell you what the hatch looks like. Itís not going to be amazing and there will be a ton of pressure on opening day. After that you can expect to put miles on your feet to maybe see a bird. There are better wildlife areas than others, and itíll take some trial and error. Now to cost... in order to hunt most good refugeís, youíll need to buy a type A season pass, or day passes. I think itís around 13 trips to break even. If youíre also a duck hunter then it should pay for itself if youíre a refuge rat! Other than that, bird clubs. But like anything, itís expensive and isnít wild birds. Iím sure I missed some things and youíll get some more chime inís.
    Last edited by Beniciahd; 08-28-2018 at 06:28 PM. Reason: Odd characters

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Lathrop, CA
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback guys. I've heard it's tough hunting out here but I just love getting out with my dog, letting him run and get in a good hike, with the chance of jumping a couple pheasants and quail along the way. Chukkar would also be a fun one. I'm down for buying passes, but I am not a huge fan of bird clubs so will probably stay clear of those. However, I went to the CDFW website and found an environmental scientist listed for upland bird management and reached out to him via email. He sent me back a nice description that may or may not help other so I'll just paste it here.

    There are public lands owned and operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) which include Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves, both allow for hunting. You can visit our online interactive map of all CDFW properties called the “Lands Viewer”: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/Viewer to retrieve hunting information for any of our properties including what species may be hunted, methods of take, additional restrictions, maps, phone numbers, etc.

    Our CDFW Wildlife Areas are classified as either Type “A”, Type “B”, or Type “C”. The type A & B areas generally have large water features suitable for hunting waterfowl and these areas generally restrict access to certain number of hunters on certain hunt days. The type “C” areas are generally dominated by uplands and these areas do not limit access to a number of hunters or particular hunt days; you can simply walk on and hunt any of these areas. Hunting on CDFW Ecological Reserves is by reservation or by draw only and only for specific species.

    Some Wildlife Areas in your region with opportunities for dove, quail or pheasant include:

    Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area
    O’Neill Forebay Wildlife Area
    Volta Wildlife Area
    Los Banos Wildlife Area
    North Grasslands Wildlife Area

    CDFW also offers “special hunt” opportunities for new hunters, youth hunters, women hunters, mobility-impared hunters or other individuals who have limited experience or opportunity to hunt on their own. Most of these are available to the public via a random draw. Visit: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/ApprenticeHunts/Default.aspx for more information.

    Finally CDFW offers some limited access to private lands through its S.H.A.R.E. program (Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement). I think that most of these hunts are for big-game species but I know that there are some available for turkey as well… visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share

    United States Forest Service lands offer lots of opportunity for quail and turkey and the USFS also has an interactive property map for information specific to individual forests and management units:
    https://www.fs.fed.us/ivm/

    The BLM likewise has an online interactive map of their lands in California, which can help you find the contact information for various administrative units. Hunting is generally allowed on BLM lands and there are some good areas north and south of the bay for dove and quail. Note that some locations have restrictions so always check with the proper field office to be sure of any area specific regulations: https://www.blm.gov/maps/frequently-...ted/california

  5. #5

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    It's all about managing your expectations regarding pheasant hunting in Calif. If you're OK with a long walk and letting your pooch have a good time you'll enjoy yourself. You're started on the right path by investigating the help you can get from CADFW and other agencies' personnel. There are pheasant Co-ops that make planted birds more of a wild experience since they have way more acreage than the strictly buy birds by day hunt or season card. You never know where they plant the birds on the co-ops. Some are better than others so ask here if you find one you're interested in. Pick a wind strong day and even planted birds can give you a challenge. Your dog will never know the difference

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    central california
    Posts
    4,592

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    There are definitely still pheasants around on most type A and B areas, not a lot and not easy to hunt but when you do get one it's a trophy. I had a decent season last year and shot 6 roosters but let double that fly without ever shouldering my gun since I was trying not to shoot birds my pup didn't handle right. There's very good quail hunting for all three species and then a few grouse and chukars. The hunting here is better than advertised in my opinion but it does take several years to get lots of spots and covers figured out. Good luck out there, if you see a white tacoma with a setter and a three legged springer make sure to stop and say hi.
    "The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship"

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7

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    shot 6 roosters but let double that fly

    You are definitely King Bee based on my info.
    Foxmann250, let us know how your year goes. Remember they now do plant birds on the wildlife areas so finding out when they occur will be a guide to when to go or maybe based on your preference, when to avoid the area. You'll have fun once the heat and smoke goes away.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    central california
    Posts
    4,592

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    That's just experience from last season, it was decent and this one should be better. I didn't have a day out where the dogs didn't put up at least 5 birds and only a couple i remeber where I didnt have a shot to take if i wanted to. Lathrop is a tough one, do you go north to the Sac valley areas or South to the grasslands? Either way, after opening weekend I suggest hunting the stuff others won't like fields of star thistle, cockle burrs, and 8' tall poison hemlock (I think that's what it is) and don't be scared to wear muck boots or waders, the roosters don't mind wet feet and neither do I.
    "The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship"

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    central california
    Posts
    4,592

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    I take that back, we did have one day last season where we didn't move a pheasant. OP, look at my thread "A season with the hounds" the pics don't account for all the birds, just the extra memorable ones from last season.
    "The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship"

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10

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    Foxmann, check your PMs.

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