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Spring pig hunts offered in Yolo County; turkey season opens March 30

By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Yolo County is just across the river so you can go pig hunting at Bobcat Ranch on a single tank of gas.

The hunts, eight of them, will be offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife between April 3 and May 22.

Access to the 4,000-acre ranch, located in the Vaca Mountains just west of the little town of Winters, will be determined by a random drawing. Three permits will be issued for each hunt period. You can apply for all eight hunts, but there is a $10 fee for each application. Visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols to apply.

For information about Bobcat Ranch hunts and the SHARE program through which the hunt is offered, visit www.dfg.ca/wildlifehunting/share.

It’s my understanding there isn’t a massive pig population on the ranch. The hunts are offered to the general public to keep the population in balance with the environment.

 

Turkey season coming soon

 

The long-awaited and well-anticipated spring wild turkey hunting season is slated to open Saturday, March 30.

For turkeys, love is in bloom. Toms are fanning their tails hoping to attract a hen for the spring mating season. It’s this attraction that, if you can give that lonesome hen call, you can bring that tom into range.

However, as they are one of the most wary birds, absolute stealth is required. One or two hen decoys are almost a must. Throw in some competition. A strutting tom decoy can do real wonders.

If you don’t use a blind, then head-to-toe camouflage is required. Without a blind, never knowing when a bird might appear, you’ll need to sit absolutely still.

Hopefully by now, you’ve done some scouting. Birds generally nest in the same trees night after night. Scouting will be done, of course, during the day, when the birds have come down from the trees. To easily identify their roosting region, look for a considerable amount of droppings and feathers.

For hunting, you don’t need to be right under the tree they’re in, but fairly close by certainly helps. Once a female has mated with a tom, she’ll set up a nest on the ground. But, the tom is always on the prowl for a lady friend.

You need to be where you want to hunt before daylight, when the group comes down out of the trees. When they fly down, they’re mainly looking for food and water. However, a tom isn’t going to disregard the sound of a purring hen.

He could sneak in or come in with both afterburners turned on. You just never know. You just need to be ready at all times. He’ll put on quite a display for your hen decoy. If you have a tom decoy, he may challenge him to a fight for the nearby lady.

The season runs through May 5, giving you plenty of time to bag a limit. You can bust one tom a day with a seasonal limit of three.

Only a turkey with a visible beard is allowed. While generally the male has the beard growing out of the chest feathers, occasionally you might find a female with a beard. So long as the beard is visible, the turkey is legal.

Contact George deVilbiss at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.