Emilee’s First Buck

For many years running, the Holm family has donated a hunt to the Livermore-Pleasanton Chapter of MDF. And, for the second time, the Selna Family from Tracy has purchased the hunt and taken a “first” buck.

Here’s the story of Emilee’s first buck hunt as told by Bob Holm, who manages the Holm Ranch for his family.

For those who missed the fun Sat. when the MDF Jr hunt took place, we were successful again!!  Emilee, a 12 year old first time hunter,  finally scored after several close encounters.  About 3:00 P.M., after a good spot by my son, Bryan, we made our move on another buck.  After an hour-long stock we closed the distance to 150 yards.  Couldn’t possibly get closer as the grass we were belly crawling through wouldn’t cover a short rattlesnake.  As Em maneuvered into the prone position for the shot, the wile buck began to sence something was rotten in Denmark!!!  Even though the wind was in our favor apparently this animal was crafty enough to detect the six humans bearing down on him from above with ill intent.  His burst for cover and safety, a mere 20 feet, was cut short by double lung heart shot by “one shot Em”!!!
After much celebrating we moved into the less fun part of the hunt.  Turns out our shooter was not a huge fan of deer blood, but somehow seemed to have blood all over her before we were done and headed for the ranch!!!!!!  She got into the skinning and caping process with less fear of blood and was actually a help.
This girl is a trooper!  We side-hilled thru the wild oats in 95 degree weather for several miles with no whining and no quitting.  We hunted from 6:30 to 4:30 with time out for lunch.  I’m afraid her dad is in for lots more hunts for her…. she has the bug!!!

 Thank you guys for the help.  My reward is seeing Emilee and her Dad have that much fun!  Bob

Emilee crawled within close range of her buck.

Here are a couple more photos provided by Emilee’s father, Greg Selna.

Bob and family have a 100% record on this annual buck hunt.

Greg Selna has been a consistant MDF supporter and volunteered at the Purple Heart Outdoors Event a couple weeks ago.

Getting Kids Outdoors

Got this email from Sara Wilson, a lady who I’ve never met, but I think her program deserves attention. Here’s her self-described program and contact info. The Outdoors is good for kids.
Hi again Richhttp://freshairfundhost.com

I sent you a couple of emails over the past few weeks and I wanted to try one last time. As a lover of the great outdoors, I thought this would be an issue that you and the readers of Rich Fletcher’s Blog would care about. The Fresh Air Fund is in need of host families for this summer. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and home to a child from the city to give them a Fresh Air experience that can change lives. If you could help to get the word out it would really help us place these wonderful children into a loving host family for an experience that can change their life.

I’ve put together a social media news release, so please feel free to use any of the images, graphics, banners, or copy:

We also recently received a tremendous offer by a very generous donor who has pledged to match any gift given dollar-for-dollar during the month of June and today is the last day. I was hoping you could help by posting a mention, tweet, or by putting up one of our banners on your site. Please let me know if you are able to help and if you have any questions.
Sara Wilson,
Twitter @freshairfund

Thank you so much,


Turkey Season ends on Low Note, but First Hunt Still a Success

When I invited my young cousins to come turkey hunting, I knew it might be slim pickens. However, being their first hunt of any kind, I figured it would be worthwhile training.

A couple of weeks ago, I retook the hunter safety course along with my cousins, Orion and Max, 13 and 15 respectively. I was a little surprised that they were willing to invest the time – being urban youths from Berkeley, a concrete and asphalt town where skateboarding is king.

I was pleasantly surprised that they took a liking to the curriculum. The course was all about the right stuff and the boys ate it up. A follow-up turkey hunt was in order. I don’t know if it was what they expected or if they had any idea of what to expect, but we prepared by patterning the shotguns and making sure they could kill a turkey if the opportunity arose.

The hunt fell flat. We didn’t hear a single gobble or see a turkey or turkey track for that matter, but we gave it our all. Along the way we did see a few rattlers and other wildlife. The boys managed to catch a few bluebellies and knock off a couple ground squirrels with the .22. We had one of them for dinner – not too bad.

On Saturday afternoon we visited the site of a known rattlesnake den. Sure enough this is what we found – a Pacific rattlesnake. Earlier in the say we found a very young rattler. Notice the difference in appearance.

Young Pacific Rattlesnakes have diamonds like a diamondback rattlesnake

The boys shot plenty of clays with shotgun, .22 rifle and even my .22 revolver. I think they had a pretty good weekend. But, it was hard to tell on Sunday afternoon as they slept in my car in route home. After getting up at 4:30 AM, we were all pooped out including myself.

Turned out Orion was left eye dominant. He switched to left handed and shot well.

Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend a Success


Taylor McGannon with a nice gobbler.

Last weekend was the youth turkey hunt weekend. The weather was perfect and the birds were active. John McGannon purchased a turkey hunt at the San Jose MDF banquet and this was the perfect time to use his opportunity. His sons, Ryan and Taylor, had their chances and Taylor connected. Here’s his account of the event.


More Youth Hunt Photos

Here are some shots of the recent youth hunt. These were taken by Ron Spradlin.


Darron Solero, CWA Regional Director, set up the hunt and cooked the prehunt wild game feed of mallard and honker breasts. His son, Hunter, came along for the trip.

ron-and-robbie-around-the-fire-croppedRon and Robbie around the camp fire.

in-the-cattails-readyRobbie at the ready.

robbie-in-pond-moving-positions-croppedRich in the distance, Rob and Robbie on the move.

robbies-first-duckFirst duck, a hen pintail.

lola-hands-over-greenhead-croppedLola does the job on a greenhead.

robbie-with-greenhead-readyFirst drake mallard.

ron-and-robbie-at-the-hunts-endRon and Robbie at the end of the hunt.

robbie-with-ducks-geeseRobbie with his birds.

A First-Duck-Hunt Jackpot


Youth hunts are supposed to be a good opportunity, but this was ridiculous.

Fourteen year old Robbie was on his first duck hunt and he must have been impressed as we headed for the pond. Thousands of ducks and geese were rising from the marsh as we approached.

Snow geese were exploding from the water with a roar of wings. Pintail, wigeon and teal were zipping about. White front geese were making their signature yodel calls.

Our first set-up didn’t work out, so we moved a little closer to the grind and Robbie made the first attempts of his life to bring down a duck. Lola and I were there to retrieve the birds and set up in the cattails behind Robbie, his grandfather Ron Spradlin and my brother Rob. After the first shot I remember hearing some chuckling as Robbie got his first appreciation for the speed which ducks travel.

And, at the same time waterfowl went airborne in all directions. Spring, teal, wigeon, they were everywhere.

Now there were plenty of targets. After four or five whiffs in short order, I began to wonder how long it would take Robbie to get the hang of it. Then a flock of ducks came in low in front of us and down came a hen sprig. Lola did her work and we were on our way.

I think he hit three in a row including a greenhead that came to our calling. After a miss, he downed another greenhead. Impressive for a first duck hunt.

As the birds thinned out, we could see that quite a few wigeon were working another part of the pond a about 150 yards away so we shifted. On the way a flock of specs appeared and headed directly for us. We ducked into the cattails and Robbie reloaded.

On his first shot at a goose he connected and now were were cooking. Shortly after arriving at the next setup, several huge flocks of snow geese appeared on the horizon. The low-flying geese passed directly overhead and with three shots Robbie downed two.

A few minutes later severl groups of Ross’s Geese decended upon us and with that Robbie had six geese. Lola and I spend about a half hour rounding up snow geese which seemed to be dropping all over the pond.

At about 11:00 AM, Ron declared that he and Robbie had enough and we headed back to camp for sandwiches. What a day. In the end Robbie had fired almost two boxes of shells and had collected four ducks and six geese. What a first duck hunt.

Climb the Mountain, Catch the Fish, Utilize the Outdoor Classroom

A couple weeks ago, I spent a week with three friends hutning deer in the Hoover Wilderness. Although my initial efforts were focused on bringing home a bragging buck, the mountain quickly humbled my attitude and in the end, my trophy buck was only a young three-point.  It was still a trophy to me.

The altitude, the steep slopes and my no-longer-young body forced me to accept reality. However, during many of the rest stops required to make it to the top of the mountain, I was continually invigorated by the spectacular landscape surrounding me.

Many times I thought about the experience, available to most, but utilized by few, and how much people miss by not entering the outdoors. Hunting and fishing is a physical and spiritual experience that feeds my spirit and lifts me to be a more fulfilled, more fit and more spiritual individual.

However, in California today, the entire hunting and fishing culture is on the verge of collapse. The end of hunting and fishing won’t be by decree, ballot measure or lack of resource, it will just sneak up on us like global warming.

However, there is a great need for the outdoor experience and it has never been more important than today. Urban and inter-city youth need the outdoors. It’s a match like kids and dogs. A partnership between youth leaders in urban areas and those who manage California’s outdoor resources could produce a pipeline to transport a new generation of outdoorsmen and women to outdoor classrooms around the state.

This has been done before by many groups on small scale. It’s time to gear up. Without hunters and fishermen, California’s outdoor resources will become underutilized and underfunded. Without the outdoors, our youth will be denied the opportunity to be the best they can be.