Article about DWU fields in Niland

EL CAZADOR

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Al Kalin
Imperial Valley Press

The mother of all dove hunts

Free hunting areas in Imperial Valley are four times larger than last year

Last year Leon Lesicka of Brawley, founder of Desert Wildlife Unlimited, along with the organization’s membership, created 700 acres of food plots near Niland using game bird heritage funds to attract doves for the Sept. 1 opener.

Hundreds of hunters flocked to the numerous locations and were amazed at what the small group had accomplished, but this year the food plots have been increased to four times the size of last year and the hunting may be as good as it was 45 years ago.

Finding hunting spots open to the general public is becoming increasingly difficult with every year. Outdoorsmen couldn’t believe the signs posted around the game bird heritage food plots last year that welcomed them to the fields, and most hunters had no problem bagging limits within hours as both mourning dove and white-winged doves blackened the sky over the lush wheat and safflower fields on opening day.

Thanks to increased funding from the California’s game bird heritage program, DWU was able to increase the food plots to 2,581 acres for the coming season. This may represent the largest undertaking of its size in the United States.

Last week I drove along the East Highline Canal between Calipatria and Niland reviewing the thousands of acres of food plots and couldn’t believe the number of mourning dove and white-winged dove moving back and forth between their roosting areas and hundreds of acres loaded with mature wheat, safflower and milo.

This program is designed so all the food plots are near thousands of acres of citrus orchards, where the birds can roost nightly as well as being able to escape from predators and intense hunting pressure. Hunters need to realize though, that the citrus orchards are entirely off limits to all types of hunting. Nice, juicy citrus doesn’t sell well with lead pellets inside.

Portions of each food plot have already been chopped to scatter the seeds. By opening day the entire acreage will have been chopped to lure the doves.

There was some confusion last year and a few hunters questioned whether it was legal to hunt the game bird heritage food plots, fearing they may have violated federal and state laws regarding hunting over baited ground. An August 2000 publication from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service titled “Dove Hunting and Baiting,” states although it’s against the law to spread harvested grain over a field to attract doves, it’s not against the law to grow the grain and then chop it to spread the grown seed, nor is it against the law to hunt over the chopped fields.

But attempting to hunt ducks and geese on these manipulated fields is strictly against the law. Hunters can rest assured that the California would not be spending $60,000 on any game bird heritage project if it could be deemed unlawful.

The president of Desert Wildlife Unlimited, Johnny Gibson, and past president, Norm Wuytens, both from Brawley, have worked hard with Lesicka to prepare the ground, plant the seed and help irrigate the food plots. Western Farms, CalEnergy and Marlin Medearis from Brawley donated most of the farmland being used this year and the state Fish and Game, Wister Unit loaned some of the farm equipment to DWU.

The Imperial County Fish and Game Commission donated much-needed funding to ensure the success of this project. Other generous donations came from Quail Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Safari Club of San Diego, Titan Corp. and the Imperial Valley division of General Dynamics. Imperial Valley seed brokers Jim Austin, Robin Lemaster and Keithly-Williams Seed Co. donated seed for the project.

“During my whole life, I have enjoyed hunting, so whenever I can put something back for the future generation to enjoy, it gives me a good feeling,” said Lesicka. “Thirty years ago the opener of dove season was one of the most important events of the year for our local economy. I hope to see that happen again.”

According to Jim Chakarun, manager of the Imperial Valley Wister and Finney-Ramer units, hunters can expect to find food plots similar to those planted by DWU at numerous state locations.

“One location on the Finney-Ramer Unit, known as field 138, accessed from Rutherford Road, was too popular last year,” said Chakarun. “This year only 40 hunters at a time will be allowed in the field. As hunters complete their limits and leave the field, new shooters will be rotated into the vacant spots so a maximum of hunters can enjoy the facility. Also new for this year, on field 138, will be a special zone built for disabled hunters. For more information about hunting the state areas in Imperial Valley contact the Wister Unit at (760) 359-0577.

Valley outdoorsmen should seriously consider joining Desert Wildlife Unlimited. It only costs $10 a year and I guarantee your donation will be wisely spent to help the wildlife in Imperial County. Send your tax-free donation for membership to DWU, 4780 Highway 111, Brawley, CA 92227 or call (760) 344-2793 for more information.
 



OC hunter

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Instead of sending in my money to WON, I sent it in to DWU. Have they printed the addresses or locations of the plots yet?
 

JustBob

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The locations with GPS coordinates are in the August 16th Western Outdoor News page 28.
 

Maverick

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Anyone got a copy of WON? I don't subscribe and it was to late by the time I heard about the listing of fields. Is there any where that has the listing other then WON?

thanks Chris
 

spectr17

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I was going to post the locations but left my copy of WON at the firehouse. Hope it's there tomorrow. If anybody else has the GPS coordiantes please post them.
 

HiiidyHoHunters

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Okay, here's the locations per WON.

GPS Coordinates Irrigation Canal Gate # Nearest Crossroads

W 115 31.515 Lateral R - Gate 13             Alcott and Pound                   N 33 13.632
W 115 33.668 Lateral R - Gate 114           Pound and Hazard                 N 33 13.203
W 115 31.417 Lateral Q - Gate 17            Simpson and Merkley             N 33 11.253
W 115 25.581 East High Line (EHL) - 27A  Wirt and Bowkes                    N 33 07.537
W 115 22.546 Lateral D - Gate 2              Yocum and Albright                 N 33 06.452
W 115 21.595 East High Line (EHL) - 3A    Pound-Hazard-English             N 33 13.197
W 115 32.708 Lateral Q - Gate 22            Pound and Hazard                  N 33 13.201
W 115 33.225 Lateral Q - Gate 25            Wilkinson and Young              N 33 08.257
W 115 22.837 East High Line (EHL) - 12    Nider and Pound                    N 33 13.347
W 115 28.033 Side Main (SM) - 2             Welch-Pound-Blair                  N 33 13.576
W 115 28.545 Side Main (SM) - 3             Welch-Pound-Blair                  N 33 13.639
W 115 29.065 Lateral R - Gate 4              Wilkins and Winslow               N 33 17.565
W 115 32.062 Niland Delivery (ND) - 55A   English and Winslow               N 33 17.867
W 115 32.407 Niland Delivery (ND) - 57     (Field 1) English and Winslow  N 33 17.741
W 115 32.455 Niland Delivery (ND) - 57     (Field 2) Davis and Howell      N 33 18.424
W 115 35.304 Niland Delivery (ND) - 410   Howell and Hwy 111               N 33 18.422
W 115 35.304 Niland Delivery (ND) - 412   Winslow and Davis                 N 33 17.989
W 115 34.794 Niland Delivery (ND) - 310   Beal and English                    N 33 14.938
W 115 32.290 Lateral U - Gate 6              Beal and English                    N 33 14.938
W 115 31.681 Lateral U - Gate 2              (Field 1) Beal and English       N 33 14.938
W 115 31.935 Lateral U - Gate 2              (Field 2) English                    N 33 16.251
W 115 33.217 Lateral Y - Gate 10            Gillespie and English              N 33 17.114
W 115 32.708 Niland Delivery (ND) - 106   Wilkins and Z Drain               N 33 16.914
W 115 31.588 Niland Delivery (ND) - 52B   Winslow Road                       N 33 17.987
W 115 33.229 Niland Delivery (ND) - 304   (Field 1) Winslow Road          N 33 17.987
W 115 33.480 Niland Delivery (ND) - 304   (Field 2) Beals Road              N 33 14.543
W 115 28.881 East High Line (EHL) - 38 thru 40                                            


If anybody has a hard copy and a chance to proofread this, that would great.  I would feel bad being a freshie and sending people on a wild goose chase in the middle of the Salton Sea. Thanks
 

HiiidyHoHunters

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PS

I've never been to Niland let alone that part of California.

Hopefully I can make it out there this Saturday and help tag the pheasants and take a look around the area (what time does Starbucks open?).

If someone could tell me which of the locations is "hot" I'll plug it into ye ole GPS and follow the little pointer.

Thanks

Oh yea if anyone sees a 20 year old fellow with a piece of metal in his chin wandering around aimlessly trying to find Gibson Tools, please point him in the right direction.

Thanks

Steve
 

EL CAZADOR

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HHH from NB,

Take lots of water with you, it's been in the 90's by 8am and over 100 by mid morning. Do you have a scanner? If you do, maybe you could scan the doc and post in here.

Thanks
FullSack
 

HiiidyHoHunters

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Sorry no scanner. It didn't post the way I typed it but I typed it line for line per the way it was in WON.
 

tinner

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hiddyho good to meet you. my father-in-law has been hunting the same spot in niland for the past 30 some odd years.i have gone twice. this will be my third year and it sounds like it might be a good one. he and my bro-in laws say the population has been declining for several years now. the two times i have gone there were plenty of birds but if any of you saw me shoot sat at 3b you will know why i didn't limit. birds or no birds i will be hunting with family and enjoying it to the fullest.
 

wildbirdhunter

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I do hope the GPS Coordinates are not correct as printed from WON because some of them will land you out in the desert. I have plotted most of the coordinates and it looks as if Leon has been working really hard because the last time I had head he only had 7 fields and I have plotted over 20 fields so I don’t think this is correct. I may be wrong and do hope so if not WON needs to do some work on QA and checking facts

WBH
 

Cazador Suerte II

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Send your money to

Leon Lessika
Desert Wildlife Unlimited
4780 Hwy 111
Brawley, California 92227

He is responsible for creating all of these fields. Show your support with $$$$$!
 

spectr17

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The coordinates HHH posted are what's in WON, but the fields are NOT in order. The field listed as second is actually field #8 in the map below. I plotted the 3rd field listed (Simpson & Merkley) with my topo software but the coordinates put it just west of Hwy 111. The only field on the map between Simpson and Merkley is way east along the Highline Canal.Careful putting those coordiantes in your GPS, they may be off. The coordinates are also in WGS 84 DATUM and not NAD27 so check what your GPS is set to in the setup menu. If wrong, you'll be off by a couple hundred feet.
 

spectr17

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After plotting some more of the fields from the WON coordinates that HHH posted, I found they were not the same as the map above. The coordinates on the DFG page Karstic posted match the map above.

In other words, the WON coordinates don't match the above DFG map. If you want coordinates to match the DFG map use DFG's coordinates at

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/reg5-6/uplandfields.htm

We really need to have all the fields verified if they don't match the map in the field.
 

HiiidyHoHunters

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I'm confused as to which fields are which.  I thought the WON fields were the DWU fields but it appears they were DFG fields which are now incorrect.  More the reason to shoot on down there tomorrow.  How long does it take to get there from Newport Beach??? Thanks
 

tinner

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hiiidyho, niland is roughly 2 12 hours from diamond bar, and you are about 20-25 minutes from me. that puts you just under three hours from niland. allthouhg i am not sure if there is a more direct route(north east ) then coming north on 57 to the 10 fwy and then heading east
 

Marty

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With light traffic, it takes me 2-¼ hours to Indio and roughly another 30+ minutes to Niland.  That's traveling from the Y (5/405) up the 5, 55, across the 91, 10, to the 111 and down.
 

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