Sportsman’s report: Planning for camping, hunting, and fishing | Sports


It is time to look past the muddy, cold mornings and imagine making breakfast on your camp stove. 2023 looks to be a year of outdoor fun. One year ago, we were in the steel grips of Covid. Many activities were on hold for fear of spreading or contracting the disease in any ‘crowd’ activity. It seems that the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror, birds are flying, forests are recovering, lakes, streams and reservoirs are coming back to life after years of fires and crippling drought.

Campground reservations should be at or near the top of your list for this ‘recovery’ year. There are so many publications giving advice on camping it is hard to point out a single book or guide that will help you plan the year ahead. A search of image Google, “Book: camping California” and was rewarded with hundreds of publications to guide us in our quest for new campgrounds or the how to process of making that key reservation. 

One guide that looks promising is a Falcon guide: Camping Northern California. Falcon guidebooks have emerged as a valued guide on rock hounding, they have two for California, North and South. Rockhounding and camping can be one in the same, however many people concentrate on coastal camping, a favorite among campers. The Falcon guide would be a decent first step. Another book by Moon publications is written by the famous outdoor writer, Tom Stienstra. The search also brought up guides to the state park system, links there will give you good advice and it is free. The Google search also brought up a tool bar of links to; Free Camping, Beach Camping and many other ‘categories’ for your search. One bit of advice, include your campers in the search, even little ones love to be involved.

There are also out of state camping guides, a favorite is Reserve America, their guides are thorough and provide estimates of how soon you can and should book the popular sites. Their site is also broken into regional guides, Western U.S., Northern regional and so on. Reserve America is also the most used camping reservation tool for booking your trip. Travel Oregon is another excellent resource for the camper or hotel traveler. Their current news release includes “52 Adventures to take in 2023” The site also has click through topics; Places to visit, Things to do and a ‘trip planner’ link. In all an excellent resource for camping in our beautiful next-door state.

Hunters should be looking ahead to plan the fall seasons. Applications for specific zones are not due until the first week of June, the planning stage is now. Hunters can use back country zones that are not subject to the luck of the draw. Hunting zones A, B-1,B-2 and so on will provide advance planning for the outdoor trips.

Rockhounding in the western states can include some beautiful camping experiences. There are some excellent references and guides for your trip. A favorite guide is the lineup of Falcon rockhounding guides. Keep in mind many trips are in desert locations, if you plan your trip early, like May and June, you are less likely to suffer extreme temperatures. 

Beach camping has its own charm, cold, fresh air off the Pacific makes for happy lungs. That large body of cold water helps keep temperatures within a range of comfortable, and not so comfortable, zones. Those summer nights roasting weenies over the fire pit are the stuff of memories, especially if a child is snuggled up with a bobbing weenie stick, is part of the experience.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.


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