Mar 4, 2021

Spring issue on its way to members

The Spring issue of California Waterfowl has begun landing in members’ mailboxes. Not a member? Not a problem. 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 as well.

Here are some of the highlights of the Spring issue:

Collecting carbon. Harvesting carbon could be a big part of funding future wetlands restoration. An innovative new pilot program is designed to show landowners and the state that river habitat could be a major player in sequestering harmful carbon from the atmosphere and creating a healthier California. CWA is working with River Partners to restore a 98-acre parcel near Colusa and a 100-acre swath along the Kern River near Bakersfield. The success of this pilot program could break open a whole new funding channel for private landowners and land managers.

Update on Klamath. Jeff Volberg, CWA's director of water law and policy, writes about low precipitation so far this year, but also notes that there is hope: The important refuges in the Klamath Basin may get relief through a plan to secure as much as 30,000 acre-feet of water from ranches in Oregon. We also take a deep dive into the tragic botulism outbreak at the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake national wildlife refuges last summer: A By-the-Numbers graphic uses new data to show which ducks were affected by the outbreak (spoiler alert: California ducks). If you want to stay informed of the latest developments at the refuges, the good news and the bad, click here to sign up for our free Save Lower Klamath! eNewsletter.

New gear. Benelli's new 20-gauge Super Black Eagle 3 leads off our reviews of the latest gear. Editor John Geiger shouldered the shotgun in a late-season greenhead hunt and put it through the wringer. Bottom line: The light gun has a high price tag, but mounts and shoots like a 28-gauge and was a pleasure to hunt with. Jeff Smith looks at a new call from Big Lake Products, Emilia Maduri tries out a pair of Drake women's waders and Robert Eddings upgrades to a SportDOG FieldTrainer 425x Add-a-Collar system for his Lab and Brittany.

Black bear on a log

Animal rights activists have made it clear that they want to ban bear hunting in California. Photo by iStock/Lynn_Bystrom

Advocacy. In the Advocacy column, presented by Federal Premium Ammunition, Vice President for Legislative Affairs and Public Policy Mark Hennelly says there are many bills in Sacramento and D.C. that could infringe on your rights as a hunter. He notes the efforts to ban bear hunting in California and the Biden administration's talk about restrictive gun legislation. Yet, gratefully, a handful of bills could improve habitat and waterfowl numbers. For the latest info on legislative action, sign up for action alerts here.

Skills (print issue only). Shotgunning expert Phil Bourjaily offers tips for off-season practice that will pay off in the blind next season. Hint: He’ll give you a few high-quality excuses to get out to the club to shoot more clays.

California Wood Duck Report (print issue only). Each year we take a look at all the good work from the 400-plus volunteers in the world's largest grassroots science project, the California Wood Duck Program. 2020 was a tough year all around, but still the group managed to maintain 4,647 nest boxes and confirm the hatching of 28,832 ducklings. That's impressive. We list the name of all of the volunteers and tell the stories of a few, like Jackson Holme, 10, Dominic Gillibert and Girl Scout Jordan Murphy. We also reveal the winner of the 2021 Bellrose Award and fondly remember Steve Simmons and Iva Rogers, two program founders who passed last year.

Also, click here for entertaining stories from people who are new to the pursuit. They talk about the obstacles and joys of duck hunting.

And lots more...

As always, you'll find our Canine Corner column, presented by SportDOG Brand; Cuisine; Hunter Health and much more.