Ken Barnes photo 1

Pitcured are Kern County Sportsman of the Year past recipient Brad Peters with this year's honoree, Robin Brassfield-Cooper.

The 66th annual Kern County Sportsman's Night Dinner was held this past week at Hodel's banquet room with over 400 attendees.

Each year the "Sportsman's Night" committee proudly selects a deserving local individual to be Man or Woman of the Year. They are chosen for their work in promoting the great outdoors through unselfish work and contributions.

This year's honoree was Robin Brassfield-Cooper, owner-operator of Envirovac. Her company is one of the most prestigious environmental service companies in the country.

She is one of those people who "give back" to the community they serve, and for many years has aided several local charities, business associations, and youth development organizations throughout Kern County. There is no one more deserving of this award given during this event.

The dinner was hosted by California Waterfowl Association and featured dinner raffle tickets, silent auction, live auction, and various other raffles.

Children 15 and under received a free youth membership to CWA, a free CWA cap, and a tote bag that included a great duck call, among other items.

I cannot say enough good things about the work CWA does around the state of California to conserve waterfowl, wetlands, and hunting heritage.

In the last 25 years they have completed nearly 1,500 projects to protect, restore, and enhance over 500,000 acres, providing habitat for millions of birds and animals. Their Youth and Education programs have reached almost 340,000 children, young adults, and families to help create a better understanding of biology, conservation, and outdoor heritage. All efforts are supported largely by donations and over 1,500 tireless volunteers.

New California Gun Laws

Being a California gun owner is about to get even more complicated. Adding to a list of gun laws that are among the nation's strongest, we will now be looking at laws regulating ammunition sales...rifle, pistol, and shotgun ammo. You will not have to get a permit to buy ammo, but as of July 2019 you will need to pass a background check, which involves the vendor running your information through a California Department of Justice system to see if you are prohibited from owning guns. If you order ammo online and are having it shipped from another state, it must go to a licensed dealer.

If you have hunted in another state, you can bring up to 50 rounds back home with you that was purchased there. And, as of Jan. 1, 2018, all ammo must be purchased through a licensed vendor approved by the Department of Justice. There are also changes to the law governing types of guns, magazines and clips, and more. I suggest you go online and research all the changes and how they might affect you.

Where are the Mallards?

On a final note, I checked the shoot results for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge a couple of weeks ago, and the figures are still really low. On that particular day there were 54 hunters who bagged 124 ducks for an average of about 2.3 per gunner. Almost 70 percent of these were Teal and Shovelers. The one thing that caught my eye was there was not one single Mallard taken that day. Not one! This has to be a rare occasion for the refuge as it is a haven for these big birds.

I can believe it's true though because I have not taken one Mallard on my pond this year. Only a few Teal and some Widgeon. And, I am not seeing any flocks of ducks in the sky while I am out in the field, either.

We just need some cold, cold weather in the northern part of the state to drive these birds into our area. My hunting partner, Joe Covello, swears this will happen by mid-December because Steve Merlo told him so.

I keep praying.....Hold on....Maybe my prayers have been answered. As I am writing this column, I received the shoot records for the refuge on the 25th. Average about the same, but lo and behold...10 mallards taken!! Maybe??

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