Dove season begins |

Dove season begins

The opening of dove hunting season is this Wednesday. There have been a few specialty hunting seasons open in August, but dove is the traditional ” first hunt” of the fall. In fact, more people hunt doves than any other game species in California. There is a split season with the first part ending on Sept. 15.

Doves are migratory birds that inhabit our area during the warm weather months and then move south. The biggest impediment to good hunting is a cold front with rain to move in off the Pacific. Last week, a front came through and brought rain as far south as the Klamath River. It moved some of the birds down from the far north end of the state to our area, but our birds are still in the local area.

The best prospects for hunting will be to shoot on private property if you have access.

For the unattached hunter, the Spenceville Wildlife Area is a good bet. It is located just east of Beale Air Force Base off Smartsville Road. This State Wildlife Area has a year around manager Tim Caldwell. Spenceville is funded by upland game bird stamps and has continued to receive funding unlike the Oroville Wildlife Area. Caldwell has planted 10 plots of safflower to attract game birds to the property. He has “shattered” the seed heads as he knocked down the dried plants to scatter the seed.

These areas will be the prime areas to hunt near this week. As a matter of good protocol please do not walk out into the safflower field to hunt. This will drive the birds away and limit everyone’s success. The ideal would be for hunters to set up along the approaches to the fields. These planted plots will see the most hunters.

If you want less crowded conditions, look for birds near water sources. There are numerous irrigation ditches, creeks and ponds on the 11,000 acres of Spenceville. The doves will be attracted to water sources in this dry heat. Doves will also tend to use creeks as flight paths. East-west oriented drainages will be utilized to commute between the valley and the foothills.

Caldwell will be on site during the season. He will be checking with hunters to determine success rates and to see the quality of the birds taken. If you go to Spenceville, you might want to bring some bass fishing gear along. There are some good bass ponds in the area.

Other fish and game dates in our area in September include the mountain quail season Sept. 11, general deer season for the west slope Sierra on Sept. 25 and the second free fishing day Sept. 25. Please check all DF&G regulations at the Web site .

Salmon fishing has been on-again, off-again in the Feather River. We just passed a full moon which might indicate a new push of fish moving into freshwater from the salt. The numbers of salmon going over the Red Bluff fish ladder, on the Sacramento River, this past weekend were 32 Saturday and 105 Sunday.

This year to date 3,700 fish have passed the dam, last year by this date 11,131 and passed the dam. The question is: are they late or are the numbers down?

I will be conducting a steelhead fishing class through the Sierra College Community Education Classes, Sept. 25 & 26 at Sierra College. Look for the “Kaleidoscope” class catalog to be in the mail soon. These catalogs are usually available at local post offices.


Denis Peirce writes a weekly column for The Union and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. He may be reached via e-mail at

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