3000 Pheasants Spotted in Imperial Valley

Droopy

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3000 Pheasants spotted in Imperial Valley and all on public huntable land

That’s what you will say after helping us next Saturday June 8th early
51 West Rutherford Road
Meet at Gibson Tools
West of hwy 111
South of Calipatria
North of Brawley

Duncan Hunter has made available to Desert Wildlife Unlimited “AKA” Leon Leseka 3000 pheasants for Hunting.  The roosters are to be released on the land that Leon has worked so hard on this year for public upland hunting.  The private but donated land is all in the Niland area and has been deemed undesirable by farmers.  Add sweat, blood, water, seed and a truckload of money and wala the hottest public Dove hunting spot in all of California.  Leon says the dollar value of what has gone into these parcels is at $120K and counting.   Many non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the preservation and reestablishment of crucial upland game bird habitat like San Diego Quail Unlimited and San Diego Pheasants Forever among many others have backed Leon and his work.  This year what put him over the top was a grant from the DF&G upland stamp monies to the tune of $60K.   Our Stamp money could not have gone to a better project because when Leon spends $1.00 he gets about $3.00 out of it,  that’s the magic of how he puts things together and works the system.   If the State spends $1.00 at the long end of all the red tape 2 years later there sets a nickel or a lost ledger of were the dollar went.  The planting of different grains and the layout of his many fields with the removal of tamarisk have been an experiment that has gone very well, nothing like what has been put together in the past.  The Doves including many White Wings have shown up earlier than ever before and are holding.  Coveys of Quail are seen around the fields were bad reports are coming up and down California this very dry year.  Leon has already released 1,000 pheasants and Bob Forrester has more for back up.  The emergency of this email is that we have no place to raise the gift chicks that Duncan Hunter has arranged!  In true Leon fashion he wants to build a giant pen but needs help now!  This will be a celebration of what can be done for upland hunters.  Leon needs some men to stand behind him on this.  You will need gloves, shovel, hat, hammer, and pliers.  We need 40 to 50 people to frame a 100’ by 300’ pen in one day.  If you tell enough people and arrange a meeting place to go we will have enough time to take a break and see the fields and maybe shoot a few clays or mix in a predator hunt. Leon wants me to keep a contact list so email drewp@cox.net or call SDQU at (619) 669-3739 and leave a message and call back number.  Or keep up to date at  http://www.jesseshuntingpage.com/ go to the talk forum for upland game and read the updated post.   If you can not make it but want to support Desert Wildlife Unlimited call Leon Lesicka for other info at (760) 344-2793.  If this was a break through anti-hunting gathering 100’s would show but this is just the opposite.  So I hope to see you there.                                      

                                                                                      Thanks Drew
PS
other recent Leon news:
http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/2002/05/nr/CDDn..._localized.html
 



KID CREOLE

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Drew,

Can you post a date?

I might be able to help out with some materials, especially if you can use some 3/8 yellow poly rope, I have miles of it.
 

EL CAZADOR

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Kid

Saturday June 8th.  It's listed on the top of the post.


Hew Drew, glad you've decided to post again.  You've been lurking for way too long!!

I might be able to make this, I'll have to see.
 

Marty

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:frown-blue:

Man, I wish there had been a little more notice.  I have already promised to take the boys to the Queen Mary Train Show on Saturday.  Bummer.  Maybe they'll understand...

Anyone else trying to attend?
 

MapMan

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I would also love to attend however I have a party that day for my son's 7th birthday. Don't think it would go over very well if I was not there on his birthday! I am giving him his first bb/pellet rifle. Something he can carry and shoot when I take him on a couple of easy quail hunts this year.  
 

Droopy

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I just talked with Leon for an update he is providing materials, coffee & donuts, plenty of cold water, and lunch.  He would like us to show-up around 7:00am but understands that some people maybe late coming from Orange County, Riverside, and San Diego or further.  People have been asking could he use some extra nails, 2x4’s etc, etc.  He said if you got it bring it.  I’m going to find out more about saws and generators.  He did ask for 2x6’s and ¼’’cable long lengths.  Building plans so far include setting telephone poles 4’ down that stick up 8’ and using them to stretch the ¼ ‘’ cable across to hold up the netting.  His contact for netting dried up so if you have a contact or know a commercial fisherman with extra, let him know.  We are going to build some framing using 2x6’s in between the telephone poles.  He already has the military style brood house for the chicks which is shipped 50% hens this shipment to start.  Many to follow.  The Hens are to be delivered next Thursday and stay in the brood house for about 6 weeks before heading for the big pin.  He wants to get everyone on this one big day to frame the pin and has a little time to cover it in the next few weeks.  Survival rate once released should be higher then usual since they are to be introduced into pheasant heaven “Leons Fields” with good cover, food, edge and water.  More predator control would not hurt.

Many Quail Unlimited Groups and Pheasant Forever Groups are planning on sending some help from all over California.  This is an Emergency situation with very short notice and I know some promise’s can not be broken.  So I would like to encourage those who can make it, to do so.  Those poles’s sound heavy and I could use you on the other end.  

If you can’t support Leon with time, try cash.

Send your membership no application necessary to;

Desert Wildlife Unlimited
Imperial Valley Chapter
4780 Highway 111
Brawley,  California  92227
Leon Lesicka 760-344-2793

$10.00       1 year
$100.00      Lifetime

Include: Name Mailing Address and Phone#

Leon is old school no email.
 

JBarn3

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Droopy, If I get my truck put back together by saturday (new cylinder rings) or can hitch a ride, I'll see what I can do about making it out there. Where can I find more info about Desert Wildlife Unlimited?
 

EVAN III

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   I would also like a little more info. Leon sounds like he's doing his share, I have to build a BBQ for someone this weekend but if I can get out there I like to go.

                                EVAN III
 

Droopy

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DWU's work in the desert has stretched over nearly three decades and includes major guzzler and water source work that has helped maintain desert wildlife populations, including mule deer and bighorn sheep.

Finding pheasants


Returning Imperial Valley to prime hunting area is one goal

By Ed Zieralski
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

November 18, 2001

EL CENTRO -- Don Barthel calls it an "explosion of color," that magical moment in a pheasant hunter's day when a rooster rises from the brush, shows its colorful ringneck and noisily cackles its way into the desert sky.

"That's what it's all about," Barthel said last Saturday during the traditional pheasant opener in California.

Scan the fields of Imperial Valley on that day, any Saturday or Sunday in November and early December, and behold the sights and sounds of a different part of the country. You'll see Southern California fields turn Midwestern, with lines of hunters in fluorescent orange, walking in a line behind dogs to flush, pursue and shoot pheasants. There aren't nearly the numbers of pheasants here as in South Dakota or Iowa, but here, just as there, the hunter spirit is willing, even though the birds often are not.

"I missed my shot at one, a big wild bird, but I got that explosion of color I was looking for," Barthel said.

Chances are the bird Barthel shot at is an offspring or one of the actual birds planted by Bob Forrester of El Centro. For the last five years, Forrester has been growing and planting between 1,000 and 1,200 pheasants a year in Imperial County.

Forrester gets the birds -- roosters and hens -- as day-old chicks, and then he grows them in an incubator before transferring them to a rearing pen.

"A lot of people think I grow and plant these birds for the state, but I don't," Forrester said. "The Imperial County Fish and Game Commission pays for them out of the fine money the wardens get here in the county from fishermen and hunters who get citations."

Forrester, whose grandfather ranched here and whose family name is on a main road here, said the county was duped by one land owner who allowed pheasant stockings on his property only to later close it to the public and charge people to hunt.

But Forrester and others here are offering solutions. Forrester said the next batch of birds, and many after that, will go to the new DFG public hunting lands near Niland. The DFG's Upland Game Bird Heritage Fund will be used to plant those fields with grain crops and provide better habitat for pheasants on more than 2,000 acres of what has been fallow ground.

That will help, but it likely will be awhile before Imperial Valley returns to its prime as a pheasant hunting destination.

Forrester said pheasants were introduced to Imperial Valley in the 1920s and 1930s.

"I hunted them when I was 10 years old," said Forrester, who is 75. "And they were blue-back pheasants, smaller and snappier birds and really hard to hunt. These Afghan and Mongolian pheasants we have now aren't as tough as those were. Back then, the state planted 15,000 birds a year. A lot of those birds went into Mexicali, because some of the guys planting them took the birds across the border instead of planting them here. I know that for a fact. That's why there is such good pheasant hunting in Mexicali."

Forrester said the state, except for stocking birds for junior pheasant hunts, halted its pheasant program in Imperial Valley in the 1970s. And a storm wiped out Forrester's pheasant farm in 1976.

By the 1980s, the wild pheasant population in Imperial Valley had dropped measurably. Leon Lesicka of Desert Wildlife Unlimited said the area's clean-farming practices contributed greatly to the decline. Instead of hiding in rows of crops left standing, the birds seek drainage ditches and canals, not nearly as conducive for survival as edge-rows of crops.

Desert Wildlife Unlimited has joined with Forrester to offer a public solution to provide hunting grounds and offset the trend of pay-to-hunt fields here. The conservation group is using Game Bird Heritage Fund money to lease land in the Niland area and plant crops and produce habitat to attract doves and hold pheasants.

Lots of Forrester's birds, their offspring and the offspring of earlier birds planted by the DFG provided thrills on opening day last week.



Construction started on wetlands to clean up drain water  2000-05-16


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 16, 2000
CONTACT: Susan M. Giller (760) 339-9417

Imperial - Imperial Irrigation District crews working with earth movers and tractors have begun the process of transforming a 68-acre parcel of river bottom scrub land into a series of wetland ponds to improve the quality of agricultural drain water and the New River and to provide new wildlife habitat.

IID, working in partnership with Desert Wildlife Unlimited and numerous other agencies, is developing the constructed wetlands under a $3.75 million federal grant. Terms of the grant call for the constructed wetlands to be monitored for three years to test its effectiveness at improving the drain water quality.

"We're excited about this project," said John Curtis, IID Water Department construction superintendent. "It's very challenging. This land has never been used, so the soil takes a lot of work. But it will be a beautiful wildlife habitat when it's completed."

The wetlands under construction sits on a narrow strip of IID property north of Imperial that is tucked in the river bottom between the Rice 3 Drain and the New River just off Forrester Road. The drain collects water used to leach salt from farm fields as well as surface runoff. Drain water dumps into the New River and ultimately into the Salton Sea.

The project relies on nature's own cleansing ability to improve the quality of drain water. Nature takes time and distance to clean polluted waterways.

In the constructed wetland, drain water will flow through a labyrinth of channels to give nature the time and distance it needs to dispose of the nutrients, pesticide residue and silt it has picked up. Water from the Rice 3 Drain will enters the wetlands through one of two 9-foot-deep settling ponds. Most of the silt and pollutants drop out of the water here.

Next comes a series of wetland ponds where fingers of land will be constructed to create a maze of shallow channels through which water will move slowly. Vegetation planted in the ponds will filter nitrogen, phosphates and heavy metals from the water.

The drain water will percolate through the wetlands, shedding its pollutants and improving its quality for about five days before flowing into the New River.

"The driving impetus for the constructed wetlands project has been talk for 20 to 30 years that something should be done on this side of the border, on the local level, to clean up the New River," said Elston Grubaugh, principle technical advisor of the Resources Planning and Management Department.

That concern led Leon Lesicka, head of Desert Wildlife Unlimited, to work with U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter. Hunter appointed the Citizen's Congressional Task Force to come up with grassroots solutions. IID is one of the agencies serving on the task force. The task force proposed developing the constructed wetlands and worked with Hunter to obtain grant funding for the project. The grant includes funds for the Imperial wetlands and a 7-acre constructed wetlands being built on county property in Brawley.

Curtis said the Imperial constructed wetlands, on a sliver of land nearly a mile long, is a huge undertaking on previously uncultivated land. It took nearly two weeks to clear the site of scrub brush before work could begin. Now, about nine operators using Caterpillars and other heavy equipment have been moving about 8,000 yards of dirt each day to develop the wetlands.

Curtis said he expects IID crews to complete construction of the Imperial wetlands by mid-July. Then volunteers will plant the vegetation that will help clean the drain water.

"There has been tremendous community support for the project, from Imperial Valley College, from high schools, Desert Wildlife Unlimited and throughout Imperial County," Grubaugh said. "And there is growing excitement from those involved as we get closer to completion





Money helps dove habitat
By AL KALIN
Special to Western Outdoor News
BRAWLEY - Give $40,000 to a state bureaucrat to create a habitat for doves and he will subtract
his administrative costs, study it for five years, and then tell you the money is all gone and not an
acre of dove habitat to show for his efforts.
Rut give the same $40,000 to Leon Lesicka of Brawley and within nine months he and his
friends from Desert Wildlife Unlimited will have turned 700 acres near Niland into a dove
paradise. A recent tour of the property showed lush grain fields crawling with thousands and
thousands of whitewing and mourning dove feeding on the mature seeds.
Lesicka, founder of Desert Wildlife Unlimited (DWU), and the organization's small membership
have been improving wildlife habitat in Imperial and Riverside counties for over 30 years. DWU
is best known for its work in the eastern part of Imperial County where they have constructed
over 100 drinkers for desert mule deer and bighorn sheep. Each drinker is attached to a large tank
filled by runoff from summer storms. When full, the tank at each drinker can furnish wildlife in
the area with drinking water for up to two years without being replenished.
Five years ago Lesicka approached DFG specialists with the idea of using Game Bird Heritage
funds, collected from the Upland Gamebird stamp, to plant food plots for doves in the Imperial
Valley. He felt it would provide an unrestricted, free hunting area for dove hunters.
Unfortunately, the chronic bureaucratic shuffle developed and nothing happened for many years
in a row.
But things changed for the better last year when Lesicka talked an enthusiastic Curt Taucher,
DFG Regional Director, into allowing DWU to do the work with $40,000 in funding. With
Taucher's promise that Lesicka would have "free rein" of the project and not have to work under
the guidance of any bureaucrats from Sacramento, the project was launched with addition
funding from the Imperial County Fish and Game Commission.
Norm Wuytens, the past president of DWU, along with the current president, Johnny Gibson,
both from Brawley, worked with Lesicka to find landowners around the Niland area who would
donate the land, rent free. Most of the 700 acres donated by U.S. Filter, Cal Energy, Norm
Wuytens, and Marlin Medearis of Westmorland, was too steep and rocky to farm economically,
but for the purpose of dove habitat, it was just fine. What made the properties even more alluring
to doves were hundreds of acres of citrus groves close by, which the birds could use to roost.
Once the ground was acquired Lesicka, Wuytens, and Gibson tilled and planted the soil. Because
funds were limited; it was impossible to plant the entire 700 acres. Instead, they planted narrow

One Hundred Fifth Congress
of the

United States of America

AT THE SECOND SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the twenty-seventh day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight
An Act
To direct the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to conduct a feasibility study and construct a project to reclaim the Salton Sea, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE. - This Act may be cited as the ''Salton Sea Reclamation Act of 1998''.

SEC. 201. ALAMO RIVER AND NEW RIVER IRRIGATION DRAINAGE WATER.

 (a) RIVER ENHANCEMENT. -
 (1) IN GENERAL. - The Secretary is authorized and directed to promptly conduct research and construct river reclamation and wetlands projects to improve water quality in the Alamo River and New River, Imperial County, California, by treating water in those rivers and irrigation drainage water that flows into those rivers.
 (2) ACQUISITIONS. - The Secretary may acquire equipment, real property from willing sellers, and interests in real property (including site access) from willing sellers as needed to implement actions under this section if the State of California, a political subdivision of the State, or Desert Wildlife Unlimited has entered into an agreement with the Secretary under which the State, subdivision, or Desert Wildlife Unlimited, respectively, will, effective 1 year after the date that systems for which the acquisitions are made are operational and functional -


I hope you do not need more info then that to want and join.
 

yotegetter

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I'd like to help out as well, but I'm putting in a sliding door in the kitchen. I'll send some cash to help out.
 

Cazador Suerte II

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This guy deserves a lot of credit for what he has done,  Way to go!

My check is in the mail.
 

spectr17

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Let's go people, if you can't attend the pen raising give up that week of beer to send Leon at least $10.00.

Droopy, I'm going to try and make the pen raising. If I'm a bit late in Calipatria will you guys still be around the Gibson Store?

Jbarn3, where are you at for a ride? I'll be heading out from Redlands?
 

Droopy

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Thanks from me, Yotegetter & Cazador SuerteII.  I’d like to see Leon get as much encouragement as possible, he deserves it.   It must get lonely plowing the fields at 5:00AM to beat the 105 degree temp by 9:00 AM.  You know how it can get out there.


Jesse, you have done as much as Leon has done for us.  This site is Free? Are you nuts? Where are all the Flashing banner ads that say congratulations, you won?  This is the cleanest site I have ever seen, me and my new 19’’monitor appreciate it. But really the tree huggers have been so organized and everyday I see how you bring us together.  Sometimes in the field we forget that we are all on the same team when it rains lead.  But the enemy is the one who is pushing us so close together. I’m looking forward to shaking your hand.


As Jesse said it’s time for everyone to belly up to the bar and buy a round for Leon and don’t forget Jesse.  Go ahead Jesse treat yourself to one small banner ad just no flashing please.


The Project is taking place at 51 West Ruherford Road behind “Gibson Tools”.   Leon says way in the back.  He is going to try and have a sign out front.


I got a call from Guy Earl, who has a 120 acres Duck Club and is excited about the new wheat fields all around his club, imagine that.  Can you say Honkers?  Anyway he sounds really cool and not a bad guy to make friends with.  Not any of my other friends have their own duck club.  If you want to go out Friday to get a fresh start on Saturday he can take up to 12 guys for free at his hunting lodge.  Bring a sleeping bag and you’re welcome to the kitchen. He plans on expanding his club this year.  So remember to bring your cardboard and easy marker that says, “I will dig for honker time”.  Call his cell phone at (949) 300-8047 or g.earl@pacbell.net.


I’m leaving from Jamul (East San Diego) if you need a ride call (619) 669-3739 leave a msg.
 

EL CAZADOR

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I think I'm getting swayed to the valley this weekend, just might need to make the trip.

Drew - I'll be in town Friday night, maybe we can get together for the ride on Saturday.  You know how to get in contact with me.
 

JBarn3

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Ok Droopy, that post convinced me, I'll Join.

No way the truck is gonna be ready for this weekend, dont have the rings yet, but I'm working on getting my dad to get out there this weekend too, if so, my transportation is handled. If not, I've had a ride offered, so either way, I should be there.

I know this isn't much notice, but anybody else interested in finding somewhere to camp Saturday night and shooting some predators on Sunday?

I imagine the yotes are just as excited as we are about the prospect of "3000 Pheasants in Imperial Valley and all on public huntable land"
 

EVAN III

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   Droopy,
Thanks for the info! It sound like a great org. Let me see if I can put off the BBQ building, and get out there. Big Kudos for all involved in the project. Well you can add one new member. Well see how it goes, hopefully I can get out there.

  Anyone have directions from the chino area? Is it around wister?

                          EVAN III
 

Marty

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Calipatria is a small, one-stop, town south of Wister/Niland.  About a ½ hour drive further.  Rutherford Road is ½-way between Calipatria and Brawley.
From Chino, get to the 10E.  On the far side of Indio, take the 111S as if heading to Wister.  Keep going south of Wister and thru Calipatria.

Maybe someone can put up a sign at Rutherford.   Just a plain flourescent orange arrow would work.  
 

wildbirdhunter

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I'm free for saterday now so I will see you guys out a the site that day. WHB
 

spectr17

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I got  ahold of Guy Earl and he has a place to crash out Friday night in Calipatria if anyone wants to go down early. His phone number is in the post by Droopy above.

I'm still planning on showing up but the Saugus fire broke loose today and they pulled one of our guys up to the fire line. I may have to go next. We'll see.
 

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