SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 12/11/13

Today SoCalHunt was back at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for an afternoon refill hunt along with my usual hunting partner.

We got a little later start then we would have liked and as we drove down Davis Road, towards the check station, it was with a bit of trepidation about our chances of getting a good spot today.

When we arrived at the check station parking lot we were pleasantly surprised to see only about a dozen or so trucks parked there. We checked in and put our names on the refill list and found that we were down near the bottom of the second page, which was pretty good for as late as we had arrived.

We only waited a short while and one of the blinds that I would count in my top ten choices came in.  To our surprise no one above us on the refill list wanted the blind so we swapped our day passes for it, took off from the check station lot and headed for our assigned blind.  We had only been waiting about a half hour and we were in the blind, set up and hunting at 11:00 AM.

When we arrived the conditions were clear and somewhat cold with a little breeze.  As we set the decoys the tules in the pond and Bernasconi Hills reflected in the rippling waters of our pond.

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We settled in to wait for some ducks to come by and we didn’t have to wait long.  Birds were flying and we had a couple of small groups of ducks cross our pond but out of range.  After only a half hour we were concentrating on a group five ducks circling near our pond when we heard the familiar sound of duck feet skidding to a landing on the water.  While we were watching the ducks that were flying at a distance a shoveler hen had snuck in and landed in the decoys, only about 20 yards from our blind.  The bird was on my partner’s side and we stood up to flush her off the water.  She jumped and started to fly but my partner dropped her with one shot.  So we were off to a good start with a bird down after only a half hour of hunting.  My partner retrieved his duck and we settled in to wait for more.

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In the next half hour we had two pair of ducks slid in behind us, unnoticed, until it was too late to shoulder our shotguns.  That was just as well as, if we would have dropped any of these birds, they would have likely fallen into the tules and been lost.  At about 12:30 a small group of honkers headed our way but a neighboring blind opened up on them at extreme distance and they were off for greener pastures (and quieter receptions).  After that it was almost as if someone had flipped a switch. We would see an occasional duck at a distance but none came even near close enough for a shot.  We could hear some of the neighboring blinds occasionally taking a shot but there was nothing in range for us.

Just a couple minutes before quitting time a small group of honkers, likely the same ones we had seen before, headed right for us.  At about 100 yards they veered off and at the same time a couple of widgeon came right over us.  Since the geese were out of range and heading away my partner tried a shot at the widgeon but didn’t connect, just as the alarm on my cell phone, indicating quitting time, sounded.  So, after what seemed to be a good start things fizzled out and we ended up with a single spoony for our efforts.

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Well, that was it. And, although we didn’t get much shooting, it was still nice to be out on the wildlife area enjoying the scenery, wildlife and some good company in the blind.  So, as the sun set we picked up and headed for home.

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Anyway, we had hoped, with the cold weather this week, some more birds would have migrated down but, so far, it appears the main migration from the north hasn’t arrived yet.  Hopefully the next time we hit good old SJ they’ll be a few more birds in the area.


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