SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report, Wednesday 1/22/14

SoCalHunt, once again, headed back today to San Jacinto Wildlife Area to wind up the 2013/2014 waterfowl season. If you’ve been reading my reports here this season you know that, due to work obligations this year, I’m pretty much stuck doing afternoon refill hunts.  Today my usual hunting partner had gone ahead of me to get his name in the sweatline bucket and try to get a blind for the morning and then I would join him when I arrived.  We had tried this once before this season and the first time we ended up going with “plan B”, meaning that he didn’t get pulled for a blind out of the bucket and was on the refill list.  As I drove up Davis Road towards the check station the day looked promising.

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Well, as luck would have it, when I arrived my partner was still in the parking lot so it would be another “plan B” day. My partner was in a real good spot on the refill list however and we were optimistic we’d draw a good blind when the morning hunters started to come in.  Also today my partner had brought a friend of his along.  He wasn’t a hunter (yet) and wanted to come along to see what duck hunting is all about.

As we waited for a good blind to come in, the morning hunters checking in were, for the most part, carrying light straps with most only checking in two or three birds.  Also, it seemed like the blinds we were set on refilling were sticking it out and not coming in, perhaps because it was the last Wednesday of the season.

Finally about 11:45 one of the blinds we were waiting for checked in and we dropped our day permits at the check station counter and headed out to hunt.  Since there was three of us today we figured we’d put out a good size decoy spread and see if that would help pulling in some birds.  When we got to the blind my partner and his friend started setting out the decoys while I set up the blind.

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The day had developed to be very warm, almost hot, and the bluebird skies were nearly still for the most part, with an occasional slight breeze.

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As we had walked in towards our blind we had seen a couple of the neighboring blinds score a few birds so we were optimistic about our chances, however, once we got into the blind someone turned off the duck switch and we only saw an occasional duck at extreme range.

We sat in the blind “impressing” (maybe) our novice with our duck hunting stories and enjoying the sights and sounds of the marsh.  Just after the sun dropped below the Bernasconi Hills a pair of Ring Necks came in towards the blind on my partner’s side and he nailed both of them.  The drake was down for good but the hen was swimming and he tried to administer a finishing shot but she kept moving, making it to the tules.  My partner went after her and went around the end of the tules and out of sight looking for her.  Moments later we heard the report of his shotgun again and watched him reappear carrying a duck.  He went over and retrieved the drake and headed back for the blind.

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When my partner arrived back at the blind he had not two Ring Necks but a drake Ring Neck and a Hen Redhead.  He explained that, while looking for the hen Ring Neck that had escaped the Redhead had jumped out of the tules and he had bagged her instead.  Unfortunately he was unable to find the hen Ring Neck.  We put the birds on our strap and settled back in the blind hoping we’d get at least one more chance before quitting time.

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Well, that was not to be, so, as the sun set and the clock hit quitting time, we packed up our gear, retrieved out decoys and headed for home with another waterfowl season in the books.

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So, that’s it for us this season since neither one of us can hunt the last day on the wildlife area this coming Saturday.  This year was very slow for us.  But that’s just our personal circumstances this year.  From our observations, it appeared that most days the morning hunters were doing all right so if we could have got some morning hunts in I’m sure that would have helped our season totals.  I’m not complaining, that’s just how it is and I wouldn’t trade being out on good old SJ for anything.  It’s not always about killing a pile of birds anyway.  As an added bonus today it looks like we may have created another duck hunter as my partner’s friend enjoyed the day and is looking forward to attending San Jacinto’s Annual Hunter’s Education Class in April so he can get his hunting license for next season.  When the date is set for the Hunter’s Education Class you’ll see the announcement here, on SoCalHunt.


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