Sep 3, 2020

Fall issue on its way to members

The Fall issue of California Waterfowl will soon be landing in members’ mailboxes. We’re delivering many timely articles and stories for you to dig into as you prepare for the 2020 season. Not a member? Join now by clicking here, and you’ll be on the list to get future issues as long as you remain a member. Then email Editor John Geiger at to get this issue mailed to you.

Here are some of the highlights of the Fall issue:

Fall Flight Forecast. California hunters have been waiting for opening day, and it’s just about here. But will we see a lot of ducks? That question is especially hard to answer this year because major breeding population surveys were canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. However, California Waterfowl’s Caroline Brady reached out to her extensive sources and colleagues to find out what biologists and land managers across the Pacific Flyway are seeing on the ground and in the air. Brady, CWA’s waterfowl programs supervisor, reports that conditions varied wildly from the Arctic to the Grasslands.

We’ve been working on your wetlands. CWA biologists have been managing many projects across the state on public land and CWA land open to the public to improve habitat and hunting access. We give you a roundup of sites where this team has restored habitat, created access to hunting areas, fixed pumps, controlled invasive weeds, made nesting cover, built pipelines to increase water-delivery efficiency and many, many other works to improve wetlands and bird habitat. You can also see an interactive Project Map that shows where we’ve been working hard where you hunt.

2020-21 season dates and shoot times. Figuring out when seasons open and where you can legally hunt can be confusing. Our handy poster and a pullout pocket guide put all the dates, shoot times, bag limits and more into one easy-to-read format. You can also click here to order a large, 24-by-18-inch poster for your club, man cave or she-shed.

Calamity at Klamath. The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is a duck factory when it comes to producing mallards and other species. But the refuge is experiencing historic natural drought, as well as a lack of water deliveries plus a subsequent botulism outbreak that has killed an estimated 40,000 birds this summer. Jeffrey A. Volberg, CWA director of water law and policy, reveals CWA’s efforts, and the work of our partners, to save the refuge from further calamity and get critical water deliveries to the refuge.

Honker havens. Canada geese are not the No. 1 species of choice for California goose hunters. Not even close. But they do create a target-rich opportunity for those who want to get in on early season hunting. Environmental scientist Dan Skalos writes about where large flocks of geese hang out this time of year and notes that many are considered a nuisance by homeowners, land managers and even golf course groundskeepers. This creates an opportunity for waterfowlers to help control a burgeoning population and get in some quality trigger time. Skalos, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, gives practical tips to find legal places to target honkers and get your season off to a bang.

Gear Guide. Regular contributor to California Waterfowl, Phil Bourjaily, curates the best new equipment for any kind of goose hunting, plus a number of gadgets and gear waterfowlers would want to have in the blind this season. From magnum decoys and the bags to tote them in, to bargains on shells, to new calls that will get the birds’ attention, Bourjaily reports on gear that’s worked for him in pursuit of geese. Click here for the latest gear.

Canine Corner. During the hunkering down of the COVID-19 pandemic, dog trainer Josh Miller recalls some of the best retrieves from last season. Miller of SportDOG® Brand reminds us of what we have to look forward to this season as the hard work we’ve (hopefully) invested in our four-legged friends is on full display.

Advocacy. Mark Hennelly, CWA’s vice president for legislative affairs and public policy, spearheads CWA’s efforts in the state Capitol to support policy and laws that benefit waterfowl, wetlands and hunting. The Legislature recently adjourned but many bills sit on the governor’s desk to be signed. Hennelly details some of the more onerous bills — many of which died in committee — but could re-emerge in the next session. For the latest info on legislative action, sign up for action alerts here.

Cuisine. New this issue, California Waterfowl welcomes Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley to the ranks of contributors. Jenny lays out a delicious way to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Her step-by-step recipe for wild duck with herb and cream sauce also gives general tips you can use to prepare any type of waterfowl for the table. Jenny was raised in Southern California and now lives in Nebraska. See her blog to check out other great recipes and tips. She’ll be back in the winter issue, and we’re expecting a yummy recipe for braised duck and beans!

Hunter Health. Dr. Jeffry Metheny writes about how to avoid lower-back problems that might otherwise keep you sidelined this season. He prescribes a regime of simple, proven stretches and exercises that will keep you limber and help you avoid injuries.