The Beginning of The Addiction – The First Time

Since we’re pretty much all under “house arrest” to one extent or another I figured I’d take a ride in the way-back machine and relive my first waterfowl hunt, the beginning of the addiction.

The exact date is lost in the fog of time, but it was somewhere around December 1975.  I’d been hunting a couple of years by then, but I’d only hunted upland game.  My one and only shotgun at the time was a 20-gauge Ithaca 37.  My dad wasn’t a hunter, nor was he a fisherman but, to his credit, he never tried to block me from developing a love for both these outdoor sports.

At my work at the time one of my coworkers, who was sort of a mentor to me, was also interested in hunting but had even less experience then I did.  As we talked while we worked and at lunch breaks, we’d many times pour over the Western Outdoor News, which I think was either a quarter or thirty-five cents back then, and we would read the reports of the waterfowl harvests at the Wister Wildlife Area.  There were often pictures in WON of the hunters and their straps sometimes showing limits of pintail, which had a seven-bird limit back then, along with limits of Snow Geese, which I believe was three back then.

Well, we were impressed.

We talked it up and decided, “Hey, we could do that!”  So, a plan was formed.  One Friday afternoon we would drive down to Wister and bag us both a limit of ducks and geese.

Of course, some preparation was necessary.  Neither of us had any waterfowl equipment.  My buddy had some fishing waders and he already owned a 12-gauge but all I had was my little Ithaca, no waders, no camo, no proper ammo, no decoys.

I was a duck hunter extraordinaire already…right?

I hit the sporting goods store at Puente Hills Mall.  Yes, they had a sporting goods store there at the time, and they even carried guns, ammo, and hunting gear.  In fact, some may not believe this, but a few years later I bought my deer rifle, a Remington 700 7mm Mag, at the JC Penney’s Store at Puente Hills Mall.  Can you imagine what would happen nowadays if you walked out of a major mall with a boxed rifle under your arm?  Nobody gave that a second look back then.  But, let’s get back to the subject of this story.

Anyway, as luck would have it, they were having a sale on decoys, so I picked up a dozen pintail decoys.

I also picked up a couple of boxes of 12-gauge #4 lead shot.  Yup, that was long before the lead ban.  Also, I picked up a pair of cheap vinyl stocking foot waders. I had a pair of high-top sneakers at home to cover the stocking feet.  Last was the state and federal duck stamp to add to the hunting license I already had for upland hunting.

Of course, by this time I was about out of money and I still needed a shotgun because the little 20-gauge I had wasn’t going to cut it for geese.  Even though back then, you could walk out of the sporting goods store with a gun in five minutes, unfortunately, you still had to pay for it.

Here’s where another friend came to the rescue, or actually his father came to the rescue.  His dad owned an old Winchester model 1897 shotgun.  For those unfamiliar with the Winchester 1897, it was the second pump-action shotgun designed by John M. Browning in, of course, 1897.  They were produced until 1957 so I’m sure this one wasn’t 78 years old, but I’ll bet it was a good 40 years old at the time.  After explaining my situation with the upcoming hunt, the old 1897 was kindly loaned to me.

So, after borrowing from my fishing gear to rig the decoy anchors we were fully armed and ready for our trip.

My hunting buddy picked me up on the assigned late afternoon in his Dodge two-wheel-drive pickup (this will be important later in the story) and we headed down to Wister.  After an approximate four and a half-hour drive, we pulled in off of highway 111 and into the check station parking lot.

We got our names in the lottery for the sweatline draw and waited with great anticipation to see when our ping-pong ball would drop out of the bingo ball cage.  As I recall we were drawn not too far from the top and so headed for the truck to attempt to get a little shut-eye before the wind-up alarm clock went off at 0300 for us to get back to the check station and pick our spot.

As we slept..sort of…the constant tick, tick, tick of the wind-up alarm clock seemed to get louder as the appointed alarm time approached.  Added to the excitement of the first duck hunt I don’t think either of us got more than a half-hour sleep total.

When the alarm finally rang, we jumped out of the truck and headed up to the check station to pick our spot.

Since we had no idea what we were doing, when it was our turn to pick our hunting spot it was kind of an eeny-meeny-miny-moe situation.  So, after picking our hot-spot and paying for our day passes, which you bought at the check station in those days, we grabbed a map of Wister from the check station counter and were off to our big waterfowl adventure.

The wind was blowing hard, maybe 30 mph or so and the sky held broken clouds.  There had been no rain, and it wasn’t threatening any, just those big puffy clouds blowing across the sky, hiding and revealing the moon and the star as they wind hurried them along.

We got down to the crossroad that would lead to our hunting spot and turned left off of Davis road.  As we drove down this road, we saw a sign indicating that our parking spot was coming up soon and, near as we could tell, we had to transition over to the adjacent dike to enter the parking area a couple hundred yards down the dike.  Just after we started down the dike, we noticed a puddle of water on it that was probably five feet across covering the top of the dike.  It appeared that the adjacent pond had just overflowed onto it.  Being Wister newbies we didn’t give the puddle a second thought and charged right through it in my buddy’s two-wheel-drive Dodge pickup.

Of course, if you’ve ever been to Wister, you probably know what happened.  Yup…we sunk her right down to the axle in the middle of the puddle.

We didn’t have a shovel, not that it would have done much, and, apparently, we were the last ones headed out to that particular hunting area as no one else came up behind us that might have helped.

After about an hour of pushing from either end of the truck and attempting to use one of the hubcaps as a makeshift shovel, we concluded that we’d have to walk back to the check station to get some help.  All the other hunters were already in their hunting areas and setting up so it was a long walk with no prospect of a ride.  Now, remember this was well before cell phones so the only way we were going to get help was the payphone on the side of the Wister Check Station.  As we walked towards the check station, we could hear whistling wings above us and make out ducks flying back and forth above us in the gathering light.  When start time rolled around about a hundred shotguns opened up all over the wildlife area and we could even see an occasional duck falling out of the sky as the hunters connected with their prey.

We finally got to the check station and called the Auto Club for a tow.  I guess they don’t do this any more down at Wister or maybe it was because we were just in a puddle and the area was generally dry, but we managed to get the auto club to come out and pull us out of the puddle.

Once we were free, we jumped back into my friend’s truck and managed to get to our parking spot without further incident.  We were generally covered with mud and the truck was too, inside and out.  When we finally got our limited gear out to our hunting spot it was about 8:30 am.  We’d missed the best shooting of the day, however, the wind was picking up even more and the Snow Geese were beginning to fly.

We quickly threw our dozen decoys out and basically just hunkered down on the dike near the hunting spot stake and waited for whatever might come along.  We didn’t have to wait long.

Several times flights of magnificent Snow Geese flew right over us fighting the strong wind, just seeming to hang there in the sky not 30 yards above us.  We fired and fired yet nothing fell.  Occasionally we could even hear shot drumming off the wing feathers of the geese, yet they didn’t come down.  Either the #4 shot didn’t have enough oomph or the wind was blowing our shot strings way off course.

Finally, on one of my shots, a “golden bb” broke the wing of one of the Snow Geese and it nosedived into our pond with a huge splash.  I quickly set the shotgun down and “ran” (as much as you can run in Wister mud) to claim my prize.  I thought it was dead as it hung limply as I carried it back across the pond, but it was apparently only stunned by the hard splashdown.  As I approached the dike it woke up and began to beat me with its wings and scratch at me with its claws.  The only thing I could think to do was to stumble the last few steps to the dike and bash its head on the barrel of the old Winchester.  That ended the fight.

So, finally, I had my first waterfowl and my first goose.  It wasn’t long after that my buddy was able to also scratch down a goose except his was actually dead on splashdown and didn’t fight him when he brought it back.

After a few more unsuccessful shots on the geese by both of us, things started to slow down and I thought I’d take a short walk down the dike just to stretch my legs.  I got about 75 yards down the dike and just as I was about to turn around and walk back to our hunting spot a drake pintail jumped out of the brush near my feet.  It didn’t fly very well and, looking back, I believe now that it was probably a cripple that escaped in the morning shoot, but I was able to connect on it and also harvest my first duck.

We hunted a little while longer, but the ducks were no longer flying, the wind had slowed down, and the geese that were still flying were now flying well out of range.  We finally called it a day at about 1 pm.

So, that’s it.  That’s how it started.  I’ve been chasing them for 45 years now and hopefully will be doing it a while longer.

2020 California Game Warden Stamp Now Available

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the 2020 edition of the Warden Stamp is now available.  Unless you’ve been in a coma or something for the last seven years, you’re probably aware that the Department of Fish and Game changed its name on January 1st, 2013 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  With that change our good old Game Wardens were designated as “Wildlife Officers”, and it even says so on the Warden Stamps since 2014, but most hunters and fisherpersons still call them “Wardens” and the DFW is still calling this the “Warden Stamp”.

The new Warden Stamp, for 2020 is now available for purchase online via the CDFW online license services (ALDS).  To purchase the new Warden Stamp, just follow the link below to purchase via the ALDS system.

Click on the below link to go to the Warden Stamp page and follow the instructions to buy it online:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Warden-Stamp

The Game Warden Stamp isn’t really a “stamp” for your license, such as your federal duck stamp is, although the name might lead you to believe that, rather it’s a roughly 3” x 3” decal.

The 2020 version of the stamp is a deep blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of a Dorado, one of our prized migratory game fish that are caught offshore in Southern California almost every summer, in case you’re not familiar with them.  (see picture below)

The DFW still has its entire series of Warden Stamps available.  If you like a prior year’s design better than this year’s or would like to collect the entire series, they are all still available, from the first one in 2010 up through this year’s stamps.

The 2010 version is a green shield with a Warden’s badge and an elk silhouette on it.  The 2011 version is a light blue background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a trout or salmon on it. The 2012 version has a dark brown background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a California quail on it. The 2013 version has a gold background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a duck landing on it. The 2014 version has a red background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a lobster on it. The 2015 version of the stamp has a wood grain background with a Warden’s badge and the shadow of a bear on it. The 2016 version has a blue background with a Warden’s badge and the silhouettes of two bighorn sheep on it. The 2017 version of the stamp is a green background with a Warden’s badge and drawing of a sturgeon. The 2018 version of the stamp is an orange background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of a Warden K9. The 2019 version of the stamp is a dark blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of two snow geese flying.  (See pictures below). If you like them all you could buy one, or more, of each one if you want to.

The stamps are $5 each and the funds go into a special account. The money is used to provide our Game Wardens with additional equipment, training and new programs, such as new communications and surveillance devices, protective equipment, training in specialized areas, new law enforcement programs to assist them in their duties.

Due to State budget cuts, non-hunting / fishing politicians feel that the DFW is a “painless” way to cut back on the budget by giving the DFW less to do more with.

Quoting the DFW website on the Warden stamp:

” The Warden Stamp Program was initiated in 2010 to address the need for better equipment and training for the state’s wildlife officers and to provide funding for special law enforcement programs. All funds raised from the sales of the stamp go to purchase necessary equipment for wildlife officers and to support CDFW’s K-9 program.

“Those who purchase the Warden Stamp – hunters, anglers and non-consumptive users – appreciate and want to conserve our state’s amazing natural resources,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Purchase of the stamp demonstrates public support of wildlife officers and allows them to do their jobs more safely and efficiently.”

Approximately 465 wildlife officers patrol and protect 159,000 square miles of California’s natural habitat and 200 miles out to sea. Though their primary function is to enforce California’s Fish and Game Code, they may be called upon to enforce any of California’s laws.

Wildlife officers patrol on foot, on horseback, by plane, boats and in a variety of vehicles. They investigate reports of violations, collect and preserve evidence, write reports and testify in court.

Wildlife officers are also expected to promote and coordinate hunter education programs, collect and report information on the conditions of fish and wildlife and their habitat and represent CDFW at local schools, meetings of hunting and fishing clubs and other community events.”

Now – back to me…

As I’ve said every year that I’ve written about the Warden Stamp, the important point here, in my opinion, is getting the money to the “boots on the ground”.  If your $5 (or more, if you can afford it) results in some equipment, training or what have you that helps catch a poacher in your area the payoff may be more game or more fish for you and yours to legally harvest.  And, the bottom line is, that’s what’s important.  As for the “stamp”, stick it on your truck, ammo box or tackle box, stick it in a drawer, throw it away if you want, do whatever you want with it.  The important thing is to help give our Wardens the tools they need to protect our hunting and fishing heritage.

Now, as I have done every year since 2010, excuse me while I pull up the ALDS on my computer and order this year’s Warden Stamps.

 

San Jacinto’s 26th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Great Success, February 8th, 2020

As always, I want to say that there were so many great sponsors, volunteers, and so many that supported the Junior Hunt event with prizes, assistance, and food they deserve another big thanks from all of us.

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt is an outstanding event to cap off a great season of hunting for our Junior Hunters.  The Junior Hunters had some good waterfowl hunting and, as always at the SJ Junior Hunt Event, they also came away with some fantastic prizes at the lunch and giveaway at mid-day.

As is the tradition at SJ, the Juniors and their adult mentors were treated to a great breakfast of pancakes and sausage with coffee and hot chocolate.

After a great breakfast, the Juniors and their escorting adults headed out to the Wildlife Area to set up and wait for the starting horn blast.  The hunting was fairly good this year and many waterfowl were harvested by the Junior Hunters.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here…  https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2020/02/08/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-26th-annual-junior-hunt-saturday-2-8-20/ )

When lunch rolled around everyone assembled at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize giveaway. Lunch was fantastic with the Juniors and their adults dining on BBQed hamburgers and hotdogs donated by Angelo’s Burgers and Quail Forever and pulled pork prepared and donated by John Ross from Dee’z Boy’z BBQ in San Jacinto.  Tom Trakes’ daughter provided and decorated a fantastic cake for the event.

This year’s Junior Hunt was dedicated to the memory of Easton Parker, also known as “Beaston”, one of the SJ Junior Hunters that sadly passed away this past year from a brain tumor.

After lunch the event everyone was excitedly waiting for, the prize giveaway was conducted.  There was so much support for this year’s Junior Hunt that all the Junior Hunters received at least two raffle prizes each!  The prizes ranged from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, and a plethora of other assorted hunting and outdoor gear.  Needless to say, all the junior hunters went away happy.  There were several “Grand Prizes” at the event.  5 firearms given away and a German Shorthair puppy, donated by Chaz Prato was also one of the grand prizes.

Tom wanted me to give a special thanks to Quail Unlimited for sponsoring the shotgun raffle earlier this past year for the two shotguns at Bass Pro Shop.  Through their generosity, quite a bit of money was earned which allowed many prizes to be purchased for the event, along with two of the shotguns given away to the Juniors Hunters.  Tom also wanted to thank Bass Pro Shop for assisting with a place for the earlier shotgun raffle by QU and for giving the SJ crew a great discount on the prizes they bought for the event which made the money spent go much further.

After the raffle, many of the Junior Hunters went back to their blinds to finish out their day, and their waterfowl season, hunting.

The Junior Hunt was an outstanding event, as it usually is.  As I’ve said every year and will repeat again as I fervently believe it, the Juniors are the future of our sport, so it is vital to keep them interested and involved in waterfowl hunting.  San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt definitely goes a long way towards that goal every year.

Tom told me he’d like to thank, as well as I would myself, everyone who donated prizes, food, labor or anything else towards this event.  We all should also thank the San Jacinto crew for, as usual, going the extra mile to help make this event happen. We all appreciate all your hard work.

So, another Junior Waterfowl Hunt is in the books.  Check out the pictures below of the 73 Juniors Hunters that participated this year and the beautifully decorated cake Tom’s daughter worked so hard on.  This was a great event to celebrate the 26th annual waterfowl hunt at San Jacinto Wildlife Area and a great way to usher in what will hopefully be a lifetime of waterfowl hunting for the future of our sport, the Junior Hunters.

Also, off the subject of the Junior Hunt, but since I have your attention, Tom told me that he expects to have a cleanup day scheduled some time in March to start the process of cleaning up the Wildlife Area in preparation for next season and he also wanted me to remind everyone that the annual Hunter’s Education Class, which is required for new hunters to obtain their license, would likely be conducted in May.  Watch here on SoCalHunt for the dates for those events when they are set.

Here’s just a few photos of the Junior Hunt event.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Kern National Wildlife Refuge 2019/2020 Season Long Stats

The end of the 2019/2020 waterfowl season at the Kern National Wildlife Area revealed some interesting stats for the number of birds checked in and the per hunter average take.

2375 adult and 117 junior hunters (2492 hunters total) harvested a total of 1798 Northern Shovelers, 298 Mallards, 1227 Gadwall, 478 Widgeon, 483 Pintail, 1549 Green Wing Teal, 803 Cinnamon Teal, 605 Redheads, 14 Canvasbacks, 108 Ring Necks, 6 Scaup, 161 Bufflehead, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Blue Wing Teal, 2 Eurasian Widgeon, and 88 Ruddy Ducks. There was also 1 duck listed as “other”.  In addition, there were also 1 Canada Goose, 1 Ross’ Goose, 3 Snow Geese, and 14 White Fronted Geese taken at Kern this season. 75 Coots were also checked in for the 2019/2020 season at Kern. This figured out to a total of 7657 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, 7732 waterfowl taken for the season. The per hunter average take for 2019/2020 season came out to 3.07 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 3.10 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season, there were 103 more adult hunters this season over last and there were 17 more junior hunters for a total of 120 more hunters accommodated in 2019/2020 season compared to the 2018/2019 season. (This includes the Junior Hunters from the Junior Hunt). As for the birds, I’ll list them with a plus by the number or a minus by the number to indicate how many more or less of each type of bird was bagged this season over last.

There were +144 Northern Shovelers, +76 Mallards, -91 Gadwall, no change in the Widgeon (478 this season, 478 last season), +6 Pintail, +406 Green Wing Teal, +302 Cinnamon Teal, +191 Redheads, -11 Canvasbacks, +41 Ring Necks, -20 Scaup, -76 Bufflehead, -7 Goldeneye, +6 Wood Ducks (0 last season), -8 Blue Wing Teal, +2 Eurasian Widgeon (0 last season), and -14 Ruddy Ducks.  There were also -2 ducks listed as “other”.

For the Geese numbers, there was no change in the Canada Geese (1 this season, 1 last season), +1 Ross’ Goose (0 last season), -2 Snow Geese, and +5 White Front Goose.

There were also +33 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of +731 Ducks and Geese taken and, with the Coots included, +764 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were +0.15 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, +0.16 waterfowl this season over last season.

So, there you have it, the year-long stats for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge.  As compared to last season’s stats it appears that many of the species had more birds and almost as many species had fewer birds harvested. However, the species with increases picked up quite a few more birds in most cases and the species that had fewer, in most cases, had only a small number fewer.  Overall Kern had good averages most of the season and ended up with a slightly higher per hunter average than last season.  Hopefully, the breeding populations will do their thing up north and we’ll get the weather needed to drive the ducks south early in the season and things will improve again next season.

Hunt Results for Kern National Wildlife Refuge Junior Hunt, Saturday, 2/8/20

The waterfowl take for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Junior Hunt gave the Junior Hunters a great average bag for their efforts. Cinnamon Teal were in the first position for number of ducks checked in with Shovelers found in the second spot.  The Kern NWR Staff reported that the results for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/8/20 were as follows:

31 junior hunters bagged 22 Shovelers, 4 Mallards, 19 Gadwall, 11 Widgeon, 9 Pintail, 14 Green Wing Teal, 30 Cinnamon Teal, 4 Redheads, 8 Ring Necks, 1 Bufflehead, and 6 Ruddy Ducks.  No Geese or Coots were checked in by the Juniors at Kern on Saturday.  This worked out to an average bag of 4.13 ducks per Junior Hunter and, of course, with no Geese or Coots to figure in to the total, 4.13 waterfowl for each Junior. Out of 13 reservations issued, 5 arrived on time to claim their hunting spot.

There you have it, the final hunt of the 2019/2020 season for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge.  Congratulations to all then Junior Hunters who participated in the harvest.

Watch here for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge season-long stats report soon.

 

 

Wister 2019/2020 Season Long Stats

The end of the 2019/2020 season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area revealed the following stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

3966 adult and 266 junior hunters (4232 hunters total) checked in a total of 878 Northern Shovelers, 354 Mallards, 938 Gadwall, 515 Widgeon, 1175 Pintail, 2407 Green Wing Teal, 919 Cinnamon Teal, 101 Redheads, 10 Canvasbacks, 52 Ring Necks, 12 Scaup, 174 Bufflehead, 4 Goldeneyes, 63 Blue Wing Teal, 10 Mergansers, and 85 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, there were 1 Cackling Goose, 6 Canada Geese, 4 Ross’ Geese, 335 Snow Geese and 2 White Front Geese bagged at Wister this season. 216 Coots were checked in for the 2019/2020 season. This worked out to a total of 8018 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in, 8234 waterfowl. The per hunter average take for 2019/2020 figured out to 1.89 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots included, 1.95 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season, there were 637 fewer adult hunters this season over last and there were 52 fewer junior hunters for a total of 689 fewer hunters accommodated in 2019/2020 season compared to the 2018/2019 season. (This includes the Junior Hunters from the Junior Hunt weekend). As for the birds, I’ll list them with a plus by the number or a minus by the number to indicate how many more or less of each type of bird was bagged this season over last.

There were -304 Northern Shovelers, -139 Mallards, +53 Gadwall, -482 Widgeon, -765 Pintail, -42 Green Wing Teal, -486 Cinnamon Teal, -216 Redheads, -6 Canvasbacks, -107 Ring Necks, -11 Scaup, -27 Bufflehead, -18 Goldeneyes, -3 Wood Ducks (0 this season), -57 Blue Wing Teal, +4 Mergansers, -1 Whistling Duck (0 this season), -4 Surf Scooters (0 this season), and -140 Ruddy Ducks.

As for the Geese numbers, there were +1 Cackling Goose (0 last season) +1 Canada Geese, -4 Ross’ Geese, +183 Snow Geese and -15 White Front Geese.

There were also +75 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of -2584 Ducks and Geese taken and, with the Coots included, -2509 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were -0.26 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, -0.23 waterfowl this season over last season.

As you can see this season shows a decrease in almost every species of waterfowl taken, some satanically, with only Gadwall and Snow Goose showing any real increase.  Also, the stats show a significant decrease in hunters utilizing Wister this season compared to last.  The bottom line is there were 14% fewer hunters this season taking 24% fewer waterfowl.  Hopefully, we’ll get some weather up north early next season to drive the birds south.  Hopefully we’ll have a large breeding population this year and more birds migrating down next season.  Hope to see you out there next season.

 

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area Junior Hunt Weekend, Saturday – 2/8/20, Sunday – 2/9/20

The Junior Waterfowl Hunt weekend at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area resulted in great averages for the Junior Hunters on Saturday. Green Wing Teal were the most numerous birds taken with Shovelers taking the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/8/20, was as follows:

40 Junior Hunters checked in with 33 Shovelers, 12 Mallards, 21 Gadwall, 12 Widgeon, 24 Pintail, 41 Green Wing Teal, 20 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Ring Neck, 4 Bufflehead, and 2 Ruddy Ducks. There were no Geese checked in by the Junior Hunters on Saturday. Also, the Junior hunters didn’t bag any Coots on Saturday. This worked out to an average bag of 4.25 ducks per Junior Hunter and, of course, with no Geese or Coots to add in, 4.25 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. Out of 104 reservations issued only 21 showed up on time to get their hunting spot.

The average take of waterfowl for Sunday, the second day of the Junior Hunt weekend, at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, was quite a bit lower than Saturday’s great average.  Gadwall and Green Wing Teal shared the first spot for number of birds taken with Snow Geese found in the second position. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Sunday, 2/9/20 was as follows:

18 Junior Hunters checked in with 1 Shoveler, 1 Mallards, 5 Gadwall, 2 Pintail, 5 Green Wing Teal, 3 Cinnamon Teal, and 2 Bufflehead. 4 Snow Geese were also included in the bag at the Junior Hunt on Sunday. No Coots were brought in to the check station by the Juniors on Sunday. This came out to an average of 1.06 ducks per Junior Hunter or, with the Geese included, 1.28 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. Out of 104 reservations issued only 7 arrived on time for their spot.

So, there you have it.  The 2019/2020 Waterfowl Season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area is history. Watch for SoCalHunt’s Season-Long Stats report for Wister coming here soon.  It’s been another great season with preparations soon to be underway for next season. Hope to see you out there.


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