SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 11/21/12

SoCalHunt was back again at San Jacinto Wildlife Area, this time for our first morning hunt of the season. We had managed to pull a good low reservation number and hopes were high for a good morning. We got in line with the other reservation holders and awaited our turn with good old Tom at the check station desk to pick our spot.

Once we had our blind we headed out to the refuge to set up for start time. As we drove out we ran into some fairly thick fog that actually made driving out to the blinds an exercise in caution. Even though I know the roads at SJ like the back of my hand the turns would emerge out of the fog abruptly which meant our speed had to be kept down slightly, although we had plenty of time due to the low reservation number.

We humped our gear out to our blind, of course, utilizing the Ducks and Bucks decoy cart, which floats, to get our stuff out to our island blind. Once we arrived we set about setting a small decoy spread and getting our gear arranged in our blind. As we busied ourselves with this task the fog started to lift and reveal a nice clear, starry sky. It always amazes me how many more stars you can see in an area like San Jacinto by just being a few miles from the city lights.

Once we were set up we waited for starting time. As we did, and as the light started to gather, we saw a couple of flights of birds, by their whistling I identified them as wigeon, swooping down into our pond and landing at the far end. As start time approached a wall of fog suddenly rolled in and visibility went from hundreds of yards down to about 25 yards or so. No one on the refuge shot early today and as starting time rolled around several shots rang out, although not as many as I expected to hear, likely because of the visibility problem the fog produced. We didn’t see a bird within range for several minutes and when we did see a couple they were here and gone before we could even shoulder our shotguns. The fog hung in for over an hour until the sun was well over the horizon before it began to burn off.

As the fog began to lift some we had one large duck, although I couldn’t identify the species due to the fog, come within range but we couldn’t connect on that one. As we sat in the blind, waiting for more opportunities, we had teal buzz by at low altitude several times, however, we either weren’t quick enough to get a shot off when we saw them loom out of the lifting fog or they were already on their way out before we did see them, (looking right when we should have looked left and vice-versa).

Finally probably about 8:30 or so, (I didn’t look at my watch), the fog lifted and we were able to actually see across our pond.

About 9:15 a lone gadwall hen came in towards the blind and pulled up sharply when she saw us stand to shoot. I was able to hit this bird with my first shot and she landed like a rock in the water not 10 yards from the blind. A short time later the blind in the pond behind us opened up on something and a mallard hen wrapped around the tree behind our blind and crossed our pond. We both fired at her as she crossed our pond and I downed her a good distance from the blind with my second shot. After I collected the mallard we had a few ducks come close to being in range but not quite so we didn’t have any more opportunities to bag any more birds. About 11:30 we called it a day and picked up or gear and headed in. So two good birds is better then a sharp stick in the eye but I think the fog handicapped us during what should have been to prime time of the morning.

Anyway, hopefully we’ll be back for another try next Wednesday.

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