SoCalHunt Hunting Report for 11/9/11

Once more SoCalHunt hit the sweatline at San Jacinto Wildlife Area. Once all the reservation holders were taken care of and heading out to their blinds the sweatline drawing was on.

This time we were drawn near the end of the sweatline drawing and there were only a few spots left to choose from. But, at least we weren’t shut out and we were on our way to hunt, especially since we could only stay until about 9:30 this morning meaning waiting for a refill spot was out of the question. We decided to pick a spot we’d never hunted before and were off to set up.

The hunt area we picked didn’t have a designated blind and when we arrived we tucked into the natural cover as best we could. Because of the time change Sunday morning we had an hour less to set up and that, combined with being one of the last out of the sweatline bucket, meant that we had just slightly less then an hour to set up before start time. We decided to go with only 15 decoys because of the time factor and also because the pond at this location, although long, wasn’t very wide.

Early after starting time we had a few chances but didn’t connect on any of these. The area we were hunting was pretty much smack-dab in the middle of several other blinds and to get to us the ducks would have to maneuver between these blinds to get into our area. Many times we had birds coming our way only to have the surrounding blinds knock them down before they could get too us.

Although it was an absolutely clear day, without a cloud in the sky, the wind was blowing about 15 to 20 miles an hour and we had high hopes that this would keep the ducks moving. As the sun peeked over Mount San Jacinto east of us we could see duck flying all over the refuge.

At one point my partner went to check on what we thought was a possible crippled bird that was in our pond and he ended coming back with a little ruddy. As the morning progressed we continued to see birds drop to the guns of the surrounding blinds. These guys could shoot! It was nice to see the birds falling for them but a little frustrating as we weren’t getting many chances ourselves. Finally a couple of teal made it through and I dropped one at the far end of our pond. She was swimming as soon as she hit the water and headed straight for the tules. I tried to stop her with another shot but she made in inside the reeds and despite searching for her I was unable to recover her. Man, that is frustrating to loose a bird like that! As the sun climbed higher we could see that there was still some snow on the surrounding mountains but it looked like substantially less then was there on Saturday.

After a short time a small flock of teal dove into our pond and we opened up on them. One of the cinnamon teal hens dropped out of the group and splashed down hard right in front of our blind. We were both shooting so we couldn’t tell which one of us brought her down. It was now getting real close to when we’d have to pick up and head for home and just minutes before we were going to call it a day a group of wigeon made it through the gauntlet of the surrounding blinds and headed our way. One of the hens swung in lower then the rest of the group and both of us fired at her. She sailed over to the other side of our levee, obviously hit, and my partner went after her. He immediately found her folded up right against the bank of the neighboring pond.

At that point it was time to pick up and we headed to the check station with our three birds.

So, we had a nice morning of duck hunting and were able to come home with a few ducks. Where else but San Jacinto could you do a morning duck hunt and be home before noon? Hopefully we’ll try it again next Wednesday (I have something going Saturday so I’ll have to skip that one).


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