Deer hunting season swings into high gear this month and hunters may find the recent rash of fires in Northern California to be less than a deterrent in most cases.
According to Paul Wirtz of the Department of Fish and Game, the opening of deer zone D1 in western Siskiyou County has been delayed two weeks and will now run from Oct. 3 to Nov. 1.
Also, the U.S. Forest Service has closed portions of zones B1 and B2, but Wirtz said the closures represent no more than 15 to 20% of the zones.
Hunters are urged to check with the USFS or the DFG for details on the closures.
"There is still a lot of unburned territory out there," Wirtz said. "The fires have altered the distribution of the deer herds, but deer have a habit of going back to their old haunt even though the area had been burned."
Because the fires burned mainly patches of territory, hunters will have better access and the deer could become more visible.
The long term effects of the fires been termed positive in that the new vegetation will be young and nutritious and more easily accessable, compared to the tall dense brush that burned, which Wirtz termed "not fit for man or beast."
Caviar lovers in Southern California may be able to get their roe right from the source in the near future as white sturgeon are scheduled to be planted in the Santa Ana River Lakes on Sept. 24.
The planting of 100 sturgeon in Santa Ana River Lakes and an additional 100 in Irvine Lake will take place during a ceremony conducted by Outdoor Safaris Inc., operators of the fishing concessions at the lakes.
W. D. Ray, chairman of the Board of Outdoor Safaris, said this prehistoric fish--its evolution has been traced back 250 million years--is known for its longevity and size, having reached upwards of 20 feet in length and 1,800 pounds.
The fish normally inhabit the Pacific side of North America from San Franciso to Alaska and are found in salt water as well as fresh water lakes and rivers.
The sturgeon, bought from the Arrowhead Fishery at Red Bluff, Calif., for the Orange County lakes, are said to be in the 10-pound range with the exception of one fish six feet in length, weighing 70 pounds. A one-fish limit will be imposed.
The International Game Fish Assn. has come out with its bi-monthly list of world angling records. Those caught in California include:
--A 9-pound 4-ounce spotted bass caught April 1 by Gilbert J. Rowe at Lake Perris. His fish ties the previous all-tackle record, also caught at Lake Perris.
--A 34-pound 5-ounce California halibut, caught by Beth Ochoa in the Santa Monica Bay, a new women's record in the 16-pound test line category.
--An 8-pound 14-ounce California halibut, caught by Peter R. Wight in the Santa Monica Bay, a men's record in the two-pound test category.
Recreational fishermen say they are enjoying the best salmon fishing since 1982 in the San Francisco Bay area, with up to 40-pound salmon reported.
"The fishing has been good all season, but it's been fantastic the last couple of weeks," said Ted Varena, captain of the Miss Farallones fishing boat.
Varena said the salmon average four to seven pounds, with a "good sprinkling" of 10- to 20-pounders.
The salmon have gathered eight to 10 miles outside the Golden Gate for about five weeks, according to Bill Mattlin, owner of the fishing boat New Easy Rider.
Wildlife rangers at Darwin, Australia, captured a cream-colored crocodile, the first known albino crocodile found in the wild, the Associated Press in Australia reported.
The 13-foot saltwater crocodile was taken alive from the McArthur River, 434 miles from Darwin, as part of a program to remove crocodiles from populated areas.
Rangers said the crocodile, known as "Yellow Fella" by local aborigines, is about 40 years old.
The agency said it is only the third known albino crocodile in captivity in the world. The others are at a neighboring crocodile farm in northern Australia and at Attagawa zoo in Japan.
While taking aim at a flying duck in the rushes of Sarykamysh Lake in Soviet Central Asia, a confused hunter instead ended up with a fish which fell from the sky, the Soviet news agency Tass reported.
It said the hunter spotted a large drake and took aim, but before he pulled the trigger the duck flew off, trailing a thrashing pike.
"The pike apparently caught the duck to eat it for lunch, but when the bird gained height the fish had to let it go--only to end up in the hunter's bag," Tass said.