SoCalHunt Hunting Report for 1/14/12

Despite the low average numbers SoCalHunt was back at San Jacinto Wildlife Area to try another solo afternoon refill hunt (I just can’t stay away). I arrived at the check station and signed in on the refill list. There didn’t seem to be too many hunters waiting to refill but as the day progressed it appeared that a lot of the hunters that were out there from the morning were going to stick it out and not come in early.

Finally, about 11:30, I decided that I’d take one of the blinds that was available since it looked as if this would be about as good as I’d be able to do considering where I was on the refill list. The blind I chose has been, in the past, a pretty good blind so I figured that was as good a chance at bagging a bird or two as I was going to get.

I took off and arrived at my hunting site right at noon. As I unloaded my gear and gun the neighboring blind opened up on some ducks and missed and the three birds headed right for me. I had just uncased my shotgun but hadn’t loaded it yet and I scrambled to grab a couple shells out of my blind bag before the birds got to me. Unfortunately they were faster then I was and I couldn’t get the shells into the gun before they were out of range.

I finished setting up and settled in to wait for whatever might fly by. The sky was pretty cloudy, almost looking like it could rain, and it looked much more “ducky” then the hot bluebird weather we’ve had lately.

Right at 1:00 I noticed what appeared to be a teal swim into my end of the pond from behind some tules. I picked up my binoculars to try and confirm that it was a good duck and not just another ruddy and as I was looking at it the neighboring blind opened up on another bird and the teal jumped and flew. I dropped the binos and grabbed the shotgun and the teal headed out of the pond to the west. The bird suddenly made a turn towards my blind and came into range. I fired at it and hit it with the first shot, although it continued to fly, I fired at it again but missed and it turned away from me and then crashed in a cloud of dust in the field at the north end of the pond. I waded over and found the bird without too much trouble and collected a nice green wing teal drake. Finally after two skunks in a row I had a bird in the bag!

The only other possible opportunity I had came about an hour later when a spoony hen swam up behind my blind and jumped up to fly away. I actually heard her take off before I had seen her and by the time I was able to pick up the shotgun and turn around she was gone.

The rest of the day was watching coots and ruddy ducks swimming in the pond, watching the numerous other birds on the refuge, watching the changing clouds and, finally, another spectacular San Jacinto sunset.

Quitting time rolled around and I collected my lone teal and headed for home.

Well, things have been unusually slow, especially for this time of year. But, what are you going to do? You can’t hunt ducks in your back yard. We just need a little weather up north to change things but time is running out with only four more hunt days left in the next two weeks at San Jacinto. I’ll be back again before the season’s over. It’s a long wait until next October.

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