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By STEVE MERLO, Contributing columnist
Local upland and waterfowl hunters will see their worst general season on record end Sunday, although several junior waterfowl hunts are still on tap for Feb. 1-2. Migrating ducks and geese have just moved into the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone and should make for great shoots for the kids and hunters of tomorrow. Contact Nick Stanley, acting refuge manager at (661) 725-2767 for information on Saturday's special shoot.
Quail Forever chapter forming
A host of outdoor-minded individuals have expressed an interest in forming a "Quail Forever" chapter in Bakersfield. Kern County sportsmen, faced with an incredible downturn in quail numbers due to the extended drought, are hopeful they will be able to make a difference in the birds' local management. The first meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, should draw enough upland hunters to support the nationwide organization and the good it provides for hunters and birds alike.
The 2-hour meeting will be at the Sugar Mill Restaurant, 2523 N. Chester Ave. The public is invited to attend to discuss that possibility.
Kern River Valley Trout Derby
Great news for fishermen: Despite extremely low water levels, the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce has announced that it will continue with its very successful trout fishing derby April 12-14.
Hal Roach, president of the organization, stated in a recent press release "that the derby is too big an event for the people of the Kern River Valley to simply cancel. Many of our merchants and motel owners depend on the derby each year for a substantial part of their income. The committee felt that not having a derby would bring a further detriment to the valley, and that's something none of us wants to see happen."
Roach added that the prizes and amount of tags will continue to be numerous, with total cash and prize payouts of $150,000 possible, including the top prize of a $25,000 award for that special tagged fish. The Chamber of Commerce can be reached at (760) 379-5236 or on at www.kernrivervalley.com.
The Bakersfield Friends of the NRA will hold a fundraising banquet and auction Feb. 1. The group cordially invites the public to attend the gala evening to help support individuals' constitutional gun-owning rights. A huge raffle will give winners plenty of outdoors-related merchandise, including guns, limited edition firearms, NRA-commissioned art, special ladies drawings plus many more items. The live and silent auction will also furnish buyers with some incredible outdoor gear, including guns, safes, art and other outdoor-related equipment.
Contact Dennis Bell (661) 809-7510; Mike Barrett at (661) 310-7050 or Coleen Morris at (661) 331-5273 for more info on this evening of fun, good food and camaraderie.
American Welding Clay Shoot
5 Dogs Shooting Range will host the American Welding Society's Winter Fun Sporting Clay Shoot on Feb. 15. Benefiting welding education and certified welding inspection certifications, the event will include lunch and beverages. First-place team prizes will be awarded, as well as individual high shooters. Also, a huge raffle will give away at least a dozen rifles, shotguns and pistols to lucky winners. Contact David Reeder at (661) 979-8712 or Josh Lightner at (661) 301-5481 for more information.
Let's Go Fishing class Feb. 18
Members of the Baby Boomer Generation wanting to learn how to fish can still sign up for the Levan Institute's basic fishing class Feb. 18 at Bakersfield College's Humanities building. The 6-9 p.m. class is taught by yours truly. Cost is only $15, to pay for classroom supplies.
The class will teach the basics of modern fishing, and is geared toward retirees who have worked their whole lives and now want to relax and go catch some fish. I'll be teaching knot-tying, proper hook sharpening, line replacement, licensing requirements, what gear to use, fishing facts, species identification and how, when and where to catch the big ones. Men and women are invited. Contact Miriam at (661) 395-4431 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited, so sign up as soon as possible.
Taft Sportsmen's Club
The Taft Sportsmen's Club's annual sporting clay shoot is set for Feb. 22 at 5-Dogs Shooting Range. The event benefits local scholarships and pheasant hunts. Some great raffle prizes, including lots of guns, will complement the awards for top shooters. Contact Tom Brown at (661) 978-1230 or Sandy Ross at (661) 979-8876 for more info.