SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 12/31/14

After last week’s total skunk, not even seeing a duck, SoCalHunt was back at San Jacinto Wildlife Area to, hopefully, make an improvement on that last dismal (duck wise) hunting trip. I was in attendance today with both my usual hunting partners taking our chances on the sweat line again.

The weather had been rain on and off on Tuesday and when I got up around 12:45 to head out to pick up one of my hunting partners the wind was blowing pretty good but the streets were mostly dry. Our other hunting partner would meet us at SJ, as he was coming from the other direction, and since he could only hunt the morning he would have to leave before we would want to. As we drove down Ramona Expressway towards Davis Road we were met with gusty winds and a light snow hitting the windshield.

As I mentioned before one in our party could only hunt a short time in the morning so we were all crossing our fingers more then usual when we signed up on the sweat line list. At 3:30 the list went in and a few minutes later came back…38th on the sweat line. Well, one of us wouldn’t be hunting today and we all took off for an early breakfast. We waited around until all the blinds were taken and then signed up on the refill list so we could come back and get a blind later in the morning.

Usually we’d wait a short time and then hit Harry’s Café when they opened but today we left right away, in the other direction, towards Hemet, to partake at Denny’s since our buddy had to head off to work nearby. After breakfast our friend headed to work and we drove back to San Jacinto as the cloudy skies began to clear with the wind.

Once back at SJ we sacked out in the truck for a couple hours. A short time later, as we noticed a few morning hunters begin to trickle in, we walked up to the check station to wait for a good blind to come in. We waited around for a while and around 11 AM decided to take a blind that was in the middle of the wildlife area but had produced good in the past.

As we walked out to our blind my partner and I noticed a drake shoveler sitting on our pond near the blind. My partner quickly uncased his gun and loaded up just in time, and just in range to drop the young drake spoony. Not bad, just arriving at the blind and we already have a bird on the strap.

We unloaded our Ducks & Bucks cart and my partner and I went about setting decoys and setting up our blind. The wind was blowing about 15 to 20 and we had hopes that this would keep the birds moving today. Once set up, we settled in to wait for the birds.

It was another beautiful day with the blustery day blowing the clouds around as the skies cleared from last night’s storm.



The surrounding mountains held snow from last night’s storm.


A short time later a flight of several shovelers curved into the pond and over our blind. We both did another perfect “catch and release” of the ducks, blowing holes in the sky but not touching a feather, apparently. We repeated this a couple times with groups of both spoonies and teal. Long about 2 PM a group of 7 shovelers circled the pond and sat down just out of range outside our decoys. The birds appeared to be swimming in our direction, slowly, so we hunkered down, hoping they would swim into range. After about 20 minutes a flight of several teal came straight at our blind and being they were well within range we opened up on them. The little ducks scattered but nothing dropped from the group and the shovelers nearby in the pond exited stage right.

Maybe 20 minutes later a lone teal headed towards our blind and as I stood to shoot he pulled up like a missile, headed for the stratosphere. I fired and was able to knock him down with the third shot. He helicoptered down and on splashdown began to swim for the tules. I quickly loaded another shell and was able to stop his dash for the tules with one more shot. My partner ran out and quickly retrieved the bird. A nice drake green wing teal.


We had a few more groups of birds and a couple singles fly by but they were either out of range or we didn’t see them in time and about 3:30 PM or a little after it seemed that the birds quit flying. We decided, since it was still pretty cold, that we would start to pick up but we’d keep the shotguns handy just in case. From our blind we could see 4 of the parking areas in that end of the wildlife area and it appeared that most of the hunters had left already, maybe wanting to get home early to prepare for New Year’s Eve activities. We figured that this would mean that there wouldn’t be enough activity to keep the birds moving and, apparently, we were right. We didn’t see any more ducks flying in our area while we picked up.

So, as the sun set we headed back to the truck a little early and headed for home.




Well, 2 birds in the bag is better then a sharp stick in the eye and we did have a few opportunities, even though we didn’t connect on them. All in all a pretty enjoyable day, albeit a little cold today. Better then sweating it out in 80-degree weather in my opinion anyway. Hopefully I’ll be back next week for a refill. We’ll see how it goes. By the way – Happy New Year to all!


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