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OUTDOOR NOTES / PETE THOMAS

Doves Don't Figure to Be Lonesome Long

August 23, 1995|PETE THOMAS

Hunters are gearing up for the annual assault on the most popular game bird in California--the dove.

Opening day, as usual, is Sept. 1 and thousands of Southern California hunters will flock to where doves flock, notably the agricultural fields of Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Barring thunderstorms or a drop in temperatures before the opener, hunters should be able to bag their fair share of mourning and white-winged doves. Early prospects are rated above average in most areas.

But hunters in the popular Imperial Valley might find farmers less tolerant than they have been in the past.

Seems one careless hunter last year decided to shoot at birds in a date grove. The ultimate result was a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed against a local farmer by a European customer who bit into a date loaded with bird shot.

"I suspect that if hunters are seen anywhere near date groves this year, the sheriff's department or I will be asked to take action," said Rusty McBride, a game warden based in Winterhaven.

Still, McBride said most land owners do not have problems with responsible dove hunters during the two-part season, Sept. 1-15 and Nov. 11-Dec. 25.

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A 60-acre parcel of prime dove habitat, controlled by the Department of Water Resources, will open to dove hunters for the first time.

The area, 15 miles west of Bakersfield, was seeded with a safflower crop due to be cut before the opener, which should make for excellent hunting.

There is a hitch, though. The area will only be open Sept. 1-4 and only 200 hunters, selected by drawing, will be allowed.

The four-day hunt is divided into five periods: Period 1, Friday morning, Sept. 1; Period 2, Friday afternoon, Sept. 1; Period 3, all day Saturday, Sept. 2; Period 4, all day Sunday, Sept. 3; and Period 5, all day Monday, Sept. 4. Each period will accommodate 40 hunters.

Applications on letter or postcard, with name, address, hunting license and telephone numbers and desired hunt period in order of preference, should be mailed to Kern Fan Dove Hunt, Department of Fish and Game, 1234 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno, Calif., 93710. They must be received by 5 p.m. Friday.

A second DWR area, 1,200 acres adjacent to the California Aqueduct near the town of Huron on the Kings-Fresno county line, will be open for the first time, first come, first served. Details: (209) 222-3761, extension 132 or 165.

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Southland anglers who remember what an albacore is--they haven't shown within range of the San Diego fleet in 10 years--might get their hooks into some with a trip to Central or Northern California.

The Marauder, from Paradise Sportfishing in Avila Bay, located a school Monday after an 80-mile boat ride to an area 30 miles off Point Sur. More than 30 were landed.

The Flying Fish out of Caruso's Sportfishing in Sausalito reported similar success off the Gum Drop, a seamount 45 miles outside the Golden Gate.

A commercial boat late last week boated 70 fish off the San Juan Seamount, prompting Louie Abbott at Harbor Village Sportfishing in Ventura to make the 130-mile run beginning Monday night.

Abbott hadn't reported to the landing as of Tuesday afternoon.

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Thanks to the unseasonable abundance of squid in local waters, the fleet has been having better than average success getting the yellowtail and white sea bass to bite at the Channel Islands.

The yellowtail at San Clemente have been the most cooperative. But the sea bass bite at Catalina and the northern islands hasn't been bad. One of the better counts was turned in by the Daiwa out of 22nd St. Landing in San Pedro: 51 sea bass from 20-30 pounds.

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Hurricane Flossie is long gone, but she left behind plenty of debris, which brought an invasion of dorado. The playful game fish can't resist floating objects. From Aug. 12-18, Gaviota anglers caught 269 dorado.

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