Theirs a newsletter, Western Birds, that is published by Jim Matthews. Every newsletter gives you different guzzlers in the So. Cal. area. Better yet, he lets you know about the good bird hunting areas in So. Cal. This is his number 909-887-3444.
I think as a practical matter there are very few guzzlers in this State that are not known by at least a quite few people/hunters. There must be records that are kept etc by the various agencies controlling the land on which they are placed. I think the thing that keeps the pressure down at a given guzzler, is not so much the lack of knowledge, but rather the remote locations.
The newsleter is a good idea and I'll subscribe, but it'd be nice to know how he learns the locations. You'd think there would be some public source of information pertaining to the locations of facilities on public lands.
Far as I know there is a public location listing guzzlers -- the local DFG office. I'm pretty sure that's the source of the guzzler locations listed in the newsletter mentioned up above -- but without the GPS coordinates. I think you have to review the maps and then take your own notes on the locations. As I recall, when I got info from the newsletter years ago, the publisher of that newsletter went out and found each one and took his own GPS readings -- lot's of work if someone wants to do it themselves. I feel it's ok if people compile and share guzzler locations, just as long as they share the rule about hunting around them. Most people don't know it, but if they are hunting in an arid location that has sloping hills, they are probably hunting near guzzlers anyway. I was shocked to find guzzlers up here in the Sierra Nevada foothills on BLM land, which is sparse here, and adjacent to prime Sierra National Forest land. My experience has been that it is easier to cover a lot of territory by vehicle and foot to find coveys, than it is to find the guzzlers that may contribute to holding those coveys in the area. Also, besides being remote, those areas are often extremely brushy and provide plenty of cover if the birds get pressed in any legal way. Just my opinion.
For $30, I purchased a map-book that showed the location of over 1,500 guzzlers in Nevada. I don't think owning the book was harmful or bad for the hunting habitat. It just gives you a starting point on areas to hunt. States like Nevada and Arizona are more willing to help hunters while California thinks it is necessary to keep guzzler locations secret. I don't know of any agency that will give out the location of guzzlers. I also subscribe to Western Birds. Jim gives you areas to hunt, not just guzzler locations.
I agree with Hronk. When I lived in SoCal, I spent months riding and hiking in the high desert looking for guzzlers. Over the years I put together a list of about 25 guzzlers from Red Mountain, to Victorville to Barstow.
Twice, Matthews listed a previously "secret" guzzler in his newsletter and both times those guzzlers went from solid producers to bird free in under a season's time.
I always wondered if Matthew's gave up his little honey holes to the public, like he gave up mine. I'll bet not.
And Bill W., there are guzzlers in the Mojave that haven't seen a man in years. Even more so since so many bans have been put in place against ATVs and motorcycles.
It seems hard to belive that an area would go "bird free" as a result of hunting pressure brought on by publication in a hunting newsletter. Heck, everything I've ever understood about gamebird biology has told me that hunting pressure has almost no effect on year to year bird populations. While it is true that significant hunting pressure can push burds out in the short term, I'd say environmental factors produce a far more significant impact. If you had a top bird area go bird free, I'd guess that it was far more likely due to poor brood survival the prior spring than anything Jim Mathews published.
I know that upland birds have the capacity to migrate but it should not be counted on. If you hammer the existing population till depleted and conditions aren't right you've wiped out that resource for awhile. Things haven't been right, at least where I hunt, for quite awhile. One of the main reasons for not sharing hunting spots (other than somebody shooting YOUR birds) is eventually a lot of someones will be there. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. In a large area it might not be a factor but for a guzzler it is. Just having a lot of people checking it is bad enough but then you always have those armchair guys. If they can't actually park on it or close to it, they place their chairs and cooler on it and wait. I know everyone doesn't do it but it only takes a few to force game to dehydrate or get shot that'll end it for the rest of us.
I don't think the book I have that shows 1,500 guzzler locations in Nevada has negatively affected the upland bird population. It says right in the book that it is not important to locate the exact position of the guzzler and to walk right up to it. Rather it gives you an idea of areas to scout. (I found an area that had about 12 guzzlers in one square mile and tried it.)
Besides, ATV and Cattle are worse than any hunter. A great idea would be locked gates. I know of a couple of guzzlers south of Barstow that are about 1/2 mile behind a locked gate. The gate keeps hunters from driving right up to the guzzler and keeps the off roaders out of the area. Naturally, this has developed into a great spot. If not a guzzler map, they could come out with a map that detailed areas that are good habitat and contain guzzlers without giving the exact location of all the guzzlers.
It may not have hurt in NV but they also don't have 33,000,000 people in the state like we do here in CA.
As much as I'd like a book, I'd be disappointed if one came out. All you have to do is go get Bob Robb's book on pig hunting in CA and then go to the various public land spots that he points out. You'll find pig hunters every day of the year at every spot... no pigs though.
WON published a few very specific turkey hotspots (turn left at the oak tree and set up ther) a couple of years back. One was a place that I'd been a number of years before and never seen another soul. I pulled up the evening before opening day and there were no fewer than 30 trucks parked at the end of the road (20+ miles off of the pavement).
That's the problem if you give a few specific spots. I also encountered the same problem with a WON article. All I am saying is that if they printed a map that showed areas available or open to hunting and bounderies. Something like a 1:100,000 BLM map. It doesn't have to show exact spots or guzzler locations. It would be nice if we did something other than the useless and outdated "Guide to hunting Quail in California" from the DFG. By the way, only 225,000 Resident hunting licenses were sold this year! Down from a high of 500,000 in 1981. We have to do something to encourage hunting!
I'm all for encouraging hunting. I see my kids getting interested in the sport and it pleases me. I also see that in 10 years I'll be hunting with them in any other state than here. If we weren't populating like crazy, passing anti-hunting laws, and doing everything we can to discourage wildlife from thriving there'd be more hunters. California is a state like no other and water plays (especially in the last 15 years or so) a major part. I went to the F & G offices several years ago and got the locations of all of the guzzlers in SoCal. I keep meaning to visit them all but time doesn't allow. Honestly I can say that I still get birds and guzzlers aren't a factor. I'll guarantee that if I post a map with a guzzler (I suppose you'll want the one that isn't bone dry) or the area close by, I won't have to visit it much longer. I understand the frustration of trying to find spots but until people can be more responsible, maybe this secret should be kept. Why not try finding water sources on a topo map? That always seems to work for me.
Bill W., if we're talking about chukar, and I know I am, they are one of the easiest birds there are to over hunt. All you've got to be willing to do is keep on walking and you can chase, shoot and kill most of the covey. They don't simply hide in heavy cover like quail; chase them uphill, pick the highest spot and they'll be there, almost every time. Do this day in and day out, and it won't be long before the covey is gone. I know. I've seen it happen.
And, no, it's not about me keeping honey holes to myself, although that would certainly be my right. There are a few guys on this forum that I have given detailed directions to, and I did it because all appeared to be hard working hunters who deserved the information.
If you would like to try an experiment, simply give directions on this limited forum to your favorite spot, and I can guarantee you that you'll have company at that spot by this weekend.
I spent several weeks every year searching for guzzlers, and it was a blast. And, to me, finding the "spot" is a big part of the game. Much more fun than simply finding coordinates on your GPS.
Greenhead, I really couldn't argue the point with you as to whether you could shoot out a given covey given the time and inclination to do so. I don't doubt that you could. I'm also sure that if a single spot received consistient pressure over the course of a season, the hunting would suffer. That's really not what was I was talking about though. I haven't experienced either of those scenarios in spite of the fact that we've apparently hunted chukar in some of the same places (ie Red Mountain). Most of my hunting has been out away from the hevily hunted areas of southern california. I don't know if it's those areas you refer to. My experience has been that while it might be possible to shoot every last bird, that's not what happens. Rather, even in a heavily hunted area, the birds get scarcer as the season goes on and the hunting success drops off. The season ends and assuming brood survival is good, the birds are replenished. In areas that are "way out there" such as Red Mountain, Mojave, Independence, or the mountains Northeast of Ventura county, the hunting pressure has little impact on the numbers of birds I've seen.
We'll have to agree to disagree as to whether we think publishig the locations of guzzlers would result in poorer hunting over time. It sounds like at least one guy (Jim Mathews) publishes some every month. While I wouldn't doubt that a newly published spot recieves a bump in pressure for a few weeks, whether that makes a difference in the long run is debateable. I suppose the the guys who have been long time subscribers to his newsletter can answer the question of whether he ruins hunting spots by publishing them.
As far as giving up honey holes, I don't think I asked anyone to post theirs. I just asked if anyone knew of a governmental source for the info. I agree that finding spots is fun. Most of my hunting over the past twenty years has been in the mountains northeast of Ventura (Las Padres N.F.) and while there are guzzlers to be found, there are also numerous year round natural sources of water. It has generally been those that I have concentrated on over the years. Certainly in places like Red Mountain/Randsburg area guzzlers are the only game in town and when I go out there I hunt near one of the two guzzlers I know out there. So while I certainly have "found" my share of water sources over the years, now that we are in the computer age, I thought it might be worth seeing if there was another way to augment my search for info.
I don't doubt that if I posted a hot spot I knew of I might get some company that weekend. But whether that's going to ruin a spot is a whole different story IMO. The hunting pressure in this state is dropping, not going the other way. It's still high to be sure, but I think the guys who are inclined to go out and seriously chase quail or chukar know the spots they can find birds on and do so. Whether it's a guzzler, a natural spring, or an irrigation relalated water source the fact is that in Southern and Central California there are plenty of places to go out and knock down some quail or chukar. It's always nice to hunt new areas which is why I and others look for spots.
I'd have to strongly disagree with the comment that hunting pressure is dropping in CA. I've hunted here for over 20 years and it continues to get heavier each year. At the refuges, in the Nat'l Forests and on BLM land.
[Stepping up on soapbox] If the increase in hunting pressure was from what you find in 90% of these people here at JHP, I'd be all for it. Unfortunately, my imperical experience along with the vast majority of those that I talk to in the field and here, is that the increase has been in the "slob" hunters not the respectable folk. The number of road hunters, poachers, etc. is what it on the rise.
The point that Greenhead makes is not that you're going to shoot every one of the birds in the covey, rather it's that if you push these birds too hard and take too many you'll seriously decrease the odds that they'll make it through the year. Hunting around a guzzler consistently just pushes the remaining birds somewhere else - either they find water or die. Pretty soon, that covey disappears. Shoot quail until the end of legal shoot time when they're roosting for the night and you'll see the populations drop dramatically. Quail don't do well on the ground as singles at night. If they're not in a tree, off the ground with a bunch of their little feathered kin, they're much easier prey for the coyotes, bobcats and foxes. That's the very reason that they make you stop shooting turkeys at 4pm.
Now, most folks who have hunted for a few years know this and have the where with all to realize that if they give the birds 30 minutes before dark to covey up and find a roost that they'll have better shooting when they come back next time. It's the guys who only hunt occasionally who figure "not my problem, I'll never be back here again". Nobody ever litters in their own back yard... [step down off of soapbox]
And by the way, nothing against Jim M. personally, but you have to remember that these newsletters are how he puts food on the table, so his primary goal here isn't the betterment of the hunting comunity it's to feed his kids.
Hunting pressure gone up over the last 20 years?????
Maybe you are hunting some VERY well known spots that are always mentioned in Western Outdoor News, Wingbeat News, local papers, etc.
1980 - 500,000 Resident hunting licenses sold
2001 - 225,000 Resident hunting licesses sold
I've averaged over 100 days a year in the field for close to 20 years now. In all that time, I've never been checked for a license... even at the refuges (unless you count the checkstation where you fill out your card).
License sales aren't a legit indicator when you consider the type of people I'm talking about here...
They may be less hunters, but there's also a lot less hunting area than there was 10-20 years ago. Use to hunt in Lancaster/Palmdale. Now theres' almost 1/2 million people living there. It's like that all over So. Cal.