I’ve often said that the reason I enjoyed the old Andy Griffith Show so much was because I practically grew up there. Growing up in Orland was as close to living in Mayberry as you could get without being a member of the cast.
My family moved from the Los Angeles area to Orland, a small farming community at the northern end of California’s Sacramento Valley, in 1960. By the end of our first day in school, my brother Kenny and I felt as if we’d lived there all our lives. The following Saturday, we joined several of our new friends and walked the railroad tracks to Stony Creek, where I caught my first smallmouth bass and began a childhood adventure that would last until I left for college years later.
Saving California’s remaining abalone fishery from money-hungry poachers is a daunting task. By telling the stories of dedicated wildlife officers in my upcoming sequel to “Badges, Bears, and Eagles,” I hope to educate the public and, in some way, help conserve this precious resource for law-abiding sportsmen and future generations.
Growing up in the tiny farm town of Orland at the north end of California’s Central Valley, a pheasant sighting was a daily occurrence for me. These beautiful Asian transplants were so plentiful, and pheasant hunting was so popular, the annual season opener was practically a national holiday.