SoCalHunt Hunting Report for 12/7/11

SoCalHunt was once again at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for an afternoon refill hunt. This was another solo hunt since no one could get free today to go with me.

I arrived at the check station about 10:30 and signed up on the refill list. There was about ten or twelve other hunters waiting for refill spots when I arrived. There were a few blinds available but I opted to wait and see what would become available, hoping to get one of the “prime” blinds.

About noon a hunter checked in with a full limit and I was able to refill the blind he came out of. I drove out to the parking area, pulled my gear out of the truck and walked out to the blind with my gear in tow in my Ducks and Bucks cart. The wind was starting to blow about 10 or 12 miles an hour and conditions looked good.

As I was pulling my gear out of my Ducks and Bucks cart, before I could even uncase my shotgun, a bufflehead zipped by well within range. I quickly set out my decoys and arranged my gear in the blind and I was hunting at 12:45. A few birds flew by, none within range, and after about two hours I hadn’t fired a shot. At this point a lone bufflehead snuck in unobserved and landed in the decoys. I stood up and the bird jumped up to leave. I had to let him go a short distance as I was lined up on an adjacent blind and didn’t want to take a low shot like that in their direction. When the bird cleared the blind I fired and splashed shot in the water right behind him, the second shot splashed right in front of him and he kept going. The little bufflehead pulled up and circled back, giving me a third opportunity higher in the sky and, wouldn’t you know it, I missed that one too.
Kind of an inauspicious start.

A short time later a cinnamon teal rocketed by and I dropped him with one well-placed shot. A little more like it. Now more birds were starting to move although the wind was starting to die somewhat. No too much later a drake spoony came in high and I nailed him with one shot. He folded up and splashed down hard, almost hitting one of my decoys. He landed a few feet from the tules and right in the reflection of the sun off the water so I couldn’t see him because of the glare on the water. By the time I got over to where he had splashed, he was gone. I searched the tules but he must have only been winged and swam into the tules when I couldn’t see him due to the sun glare. Boy I hate to loose a bird that way, especially since he looked like he was hit hard when he came down.

A little while later I hear the sound of ducks landing in the water, obviously nearby if I could hear that, and I look over the edge of my blind and there’s a pair of shovelers swimming in my decoys. I stand up and they fly and I drop the hen. Not long after that another teal swoops in low and I fire twice and splash her about 20 yards from the blind.

A few more shovelers and teal come by and I have a couple more opportunities but don’t connect on those. Just as the sun is going behind the hills a drake spoony come in high and I drop him with one shot. In the last half hour of shoot time I have a couple more birds come in but most of these are out of range or I’m getting the butt end view as they leave because I was looking the wrong way when they came in. So as the sun sets the day ends.

Not bad again for an afternoon refill. 4 birds, and a limit was possible, had a few things worked differently. Again a great day at San Jacinto.

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