SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunt Report 12/18/10

Today we have another hunting report from SoCalHunt.

My hunting partner and myself ran out to San Jacinto Wildlife Area to try to get in on the sweatline drawing. Due to the “ducky” weather we figured it was worth a shot.

When we arrived at San Jacinto the parking lot was almost completely full! I suspect that a lot of people that were going to go to Wister decided to try sweatlining San Jacinto instead to avoid the legendary Wister mud. I’m not sure it was going to be much better at San Jacinto as Tom announced that, except for the main Walker parking lot (also know as the rainy day lot) we’d all be walking to our hunting sites, either from the check station or the Walker lot. This would mean a walk of more then a mile and a half through the slippery mud for some of the hunters today.

It looked like about 20 or so of the reservation cardholders were in line and, after the San Jacinto staff handled all of them, Tim brought out the sweatline bucket.

Tim drew the names and as he called the names on each card our hopes for a productive hunt dwindled each time our card didn’t appear. After several rounds of draws from the bucket we figured we’d start planning where we would stop for breakfast on the way home. Tim made one last draw from the bucket and, finally, we were the third of the three sets of names called for the last available spots. When we got to the counter we discovered that the only spot left was Bridge Street. Since my hunting partner had to be back home in the late afternoon our choices were to take Bridge Street or head for home. Well, we came to hunt so Bridge Street it was.

For those not familiar with the Bridge Street site it is a small pond off on its own on the very south end of the refuge. Bridge Street is nearly ¾ of a mile from any of the ponds on the private club south of San Jacinto’s blinds and nearly a mile and a half from the nearest blind on San Jacinto’s ponds. The pond is about 65 yards wide and 300 yards long. Again, due to the rain and mud, we had to park on Bridge Street its self and walk into the pond, approximately a ½ mile walk. We took minimal equipment and hoofed it in.

When we arrived we set up and just before start time we started seeing a few birds flying here and there. When the first shots were fired on the main refuge, and nearby duck clubs, several hundred ducks headed south, many of them flying right over us. This sounds great, however, most of these birds were way out of range by the time they passed over us. We managed to drop a shoveler and a pintail that were in range in the first ½ hour or so and then things dropped off fast. We had only a couple more shots during the next couple hours and missed on these birds. Finally about 9:00 we decided to call it a morning and my hunting buddy decided to walk down to the far end of the pond to see if anything might be home, hiding in the tules, before we leave. He managed to spook up a couple widgeon but they passed by me low across the pond and I couldn’t get a shot. Then a nice greenhead headed towards me out of the tules, gaining altitude fast. I took three shots at him but he kept going. A few minutes later a nice gadwall flew in from off the refuge and started into a landing pattern. I was able to knock him down as he swung wide of my partner on the other side of the pond. We collected our three birds, packed up and walked out the muddy road back to the truck.

Well, three nice birds for a quick morning session when we didn’t even think we were going to get on. Not too bad.

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