SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 10/23/13

Once again this year, due to work responsibilities, Socalhunt couldn’t attend the opener this past Saturday, so today I made arrangements to meet one of my regular hunting partners at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for our season kickoff with an afternoon refill hunt.

I headed out early, hoping to get a good spot on the refill list, as it sounded like the Saturday opener was pretty crowded. When I rolled up to the lot there were quite a few trucks in the lot and we ended up down near the bottom of the third page on the refill list.

When my partner arrived he told me that he would have to leave about 3 o’clock as his dog was at the vet and he needed to leave about then to pick her up.  Also, since I haven’t mentioned it before, San Jacinto was socked in with fog, meaning the guys out on the refuge couldn’t see any distance to shoot their birds.

We waited for quite a while before some of the blinds started to check in and the results weren’t very good, for the most part.  Most of those checking in only had a few birds unless they decided to shoot a few coots or ruddys.  Also, being as far down on the list as we were when a blind came in someone ahead of us on the list wanted it so we continued to wait.  As we waited the fog finally started to lift and, although hazy, you could see plenty far enough for duck shooting.

Well, it got to be about noon and my partner decided that it wouldn’t be worth going out as he had to leave early so he decided to head for home without going out.  Me, well, I’m a diehard when it comes to duck hunting so I opted to stick it out and see if a decent blind would open up.

A little after noon I checked the board and noticed a blind that was opened that no one had claimed.  Although it wasn’t a real good blind I figured that was probably the best I was going to do as far down on the list I was so, as I always say, you’re not going to kill them sitting on the couch at home (or hanging around the check station) so I grabbed the blind and headed out.

I was set up and hunting just after 1 pm.  About 20 minutes later I saw a flight of about 5 or 6 pintail a few hundred yards up the pond.  They passed over a neighboring blind and they were able to drop one of the sprig as they passed.  No shot for me but at least someone close by was getting some anyway.  After that I sat looking at a generally empty sky.  It was real hazy and it seemed to make it hard to see any birds at a distance.  The Barisconi Hills were almost lost in the haze and you couldn’t even see the mountains behind the Badlands and they aren’t that far away.

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As the sun started to set the activity picked up some as I could hear more shooting in a few minutes then I had heard the rest of the time I’d been in the blind.  About 40 minutes before quitting time a lone duck flew over in range but I held off, as the bird appeared to be a scaup, and they’re closed the first 2 weeks of the season.  Finally, with only 12 minutes of shooting time to go, a widgeon hen flew in low over the decoys and I tried something different this time and actually dropped the bird instead of blowing 3 holes in the sky.

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That was the only opportunity I got today and I was able to connect, which felt good.  So, for my opener I fired at 1 bird and dropped 1 bird.  And, as usual, the San Jacinto sunset was worth the price of admission once again.

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Anyway, the way things are again this year I probably won’t get in as many hunts as I’d like, but you will see every hunt I do reported here on SoCalHunt.  I have a work obligation next Wednesday so the next opportunity, at least for now, is to hit good old SJ the Wednesday after next, probably for another afternoon refill.  Hopefully we’ll score a better blind and have more to report next time.


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