Happy Hunting Interview With Ronnie Theobald
By Mara Dobyns
Meet Ronnie Theobald PGA Head Professional at Bailey Creek Golf Course. Sure golfing keeps him busy in the spring and summer but what does he enjoy during the off season? Hunting. “I have been hunting since I was 9 years old. I was raised in a hunting household and my Father taught my brother and myself how to be responsible hunters. When I went away to college I was lucky enough to make friends with Harry Boyle who is a former World Champion Duck Caller and professional guide for over 30 years. I have spent the last 12 years hunting 2-3 days a week with him and learning all the tricks that he has gained over his lifetime of duck hunting professionally.”
Why hunting? “For me hunting is all about the experience and being outdoors with good friends. Even if we don’t have any game to bring home its still a good day. Watching a duck work a duck call and drop down into your decoys is what its all about. Watching a good hunting dog work is also one of my favorite parts…Like my boy Ace! I also really enjoy cooking and eating the game! I can’t say I am always happy about waking up early in the morning, but it is always worth it.”
He has learned that the perfect day isn’t always what you expect. “A perfect day of hunting to me is a good 10-15 mph wind, cloudy overcast day, not raining but looks like it could at anytime. Many hunters love to hunt on stormy days, but I have learned that rain doesn’t do anything for the hunting…It needs a good wind to make the day.”
Ronnie hunts almost every species of bird that is legal although his favorite birds to hunt are doves and ducks. Since dove season is right around the corner Ronnie wanted to share a recipe for a wonderful dove appetizer that I actually had the pleasure of trying at a recent get together and let me tell you, it was incredible and there wasn’t a person in the room that wasn’t asking for more.
Dove Appetizer Recipe:
Credit for the recipe goes to Scott Leysath
20 dove breast halves, boneless with skin removed
2- to 3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (store bought or your own mix)
1 4 oz can diced fire roasted chilies (Ortega type)
7 medium-sized firm tomatoes
1-1/2 cups shredded jack cheese
Toss doves in olive oil and then season liberally with Cajun seasoning. Heat a heavy duty pan on high heat until very hot. Add dove breasts and cook on each side until well-browned, but not cooked past rare to medium-rare. Remove doves from pan and allow to cool. Slice tomatoes into 20 slices. Place cooked dove on tomato, top with diced chilies and jack cheese. Place under a preheated broiler until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
One of Ronnie’s favorite spots to hunt in Northern Caifornia is Walker Lake. Here’s why: “When it has water I love to hunt Walker Lake, but I also enjoyLake Almanor and hunting the flooded rice fields in the valley. Walker is always fun to hunt because it gets little pressure and there are so many fun spots you can set up at.”
Ronnie’s final piece of advice is perfect. “When it comes to tips and tricks everyone will have different suggestions. The only advice I really like to give people is to emphasize the importance of scouting. If the birds are not working a certain area it doesn’t matter how good your decoy spread looks or how well you call. So spend some time scouting the area you plan to hunt and you will definitely have better results.”
Follow this link: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/classes-home-study.aspx for a list of hunter safety classes offered in or around your area or go here: http://www.huntercourse.com/safety/practice-test.aspx to practice for the test! Have fun and remember to hunt safely!
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