Dove hunters across the state can pull out their shotguns for the first of two season openers on Thursday.
It’s the busiest hunting day in California, with more than 40,000 hunters, from beginners to the most experienced, expected to be on the prowl, said Lt. Doug Barnhart of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The first season runs two weeks and ends Sept. 15, followed by a second hunt period Nov. 12 to Dec. 26.
The daily bag limit remains 15 doves, mourning and white-winged, up to 10 of which may be white-winged.
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Possession limit remains triple the daily bag limit, with hunters to have 45 birds in possession (no more than 30 white-winged). There are no limits on spotted dove and ring-turtle doves. The non-native Eurasian collared dove can be hunted year-round with no limits.
At the Los Banos Wildlife Area, conditions are looking the best in three years, according to manager Bill Cook.
Hunters without reservations can enter a lottery from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday to win one of 100 lottery spots.
The lottery determines who can enter the wildlife area first after reservations. Reservations are valid until one hour prior to shoot time. After that, the wildlife area will fill-in for any walk-up hunters. Beginning at noon, hunters will be able to sign in and enter on their own, Cook said.
Game wardens during last year’s opening day made contact with nearly 1,300 hunters across Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, Inyo and Mono counties, with just 66 citations issued, according to Barnhart.
The most common violations were hunters caught trespassing, using an unplugged shotgun (more than three shells in the shotgun – chamber and magazine), or not having a license.
Hunters must have a valid hunting license with an upland game bird stamp (if the hunter is 18 or older) and Harvest Information Program validation.
A no-shoot zone extends around the Fresno-Clovis city borders. Across Fresno County, it’s illegal to shoot a firearm within a quarter-mile of any incorporated city. In rural areas, hunters must be at least 150 yards away from homes or barns, and 200 yards from any artificial water source for wildlife.
Shoot time for doves is one half-hour before sunrise to sunset.
6:01 a.m. the expected time of first shoot in the Fresno area
▪ Other important laws and regulations to follow:
▪ All hunters – including junior hunters – are required to carry their hunting license with them.
▪ No trespassing. Hunters must have written permission from the landowner prior to hunting on private land.
▪ Bag limits apply to each hunter and no one can take more than one legal limit per day.
▪ It is illegal to shoot from or across a public roadway.
Mile High Tri – The annual USA Triathlon-sanctioned event will return Sept. 18 to Shaver Lake.
The Mile High Triathlon features two courses, Sprint and Olympic, that can be done individually or as part of a relay.
The Sprint course features a 400-yard swim, 11.4-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run. The Olympic course has a 1,200-yard swim, 25-mile ride and 6.2-mile run on the Camp Edison trails.
Wetsuits are allowed. Registration starts at $110 for the Sprint and $125 for the Olympic. Those not looking to bike or swim can sign up for 5K or 10K run/walks. Registration for the run/walks starts at $25.
Sign up online or in person on the day of the event from 6:30-7:30 a.m. Races will start at 8 a.m. (Olympic), 8:30 a.m. (Sprint) and 8:40 a.m. (run/walk).
Grizzly Century returns – After last year’s fire season and smokey conditions forced organizers of the Grizzly Century to cancel, the scenic ride through the central Sierra Nevada is on track to make a comeback.
Scheduled for Oct. 1, the event offers three routes, all starting and finishing at the “exact center of California” in North Fork.
The 100-mile Grizzly Century has more than than 9,082 feet of climbing along the Scenic Byway, taking cyclists up Minarets Road to the turnaround point just below Squaw Dome, loop back counter-clockwise on the Byway, passing Bass Lake before arriving in North Fork.
Other options are the 60-mile Metric Century and the 24-mile Loop the Lake course.
Sign-ups begin at $35 for the 24-mile ride and $50 for the Metric and Grizzly rides. Tandem options also are available. Proceeds from the race will go towards the Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway, town restoration and other projects in the North Fork community.