SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 1/14/15

Today SoCalHunt hit San Jacinto Wildlife Area again for our last chance this season at a morning hunt. No reservation again but we had high hopes for a low sweat line draw to get out in the morning. Today was unique as this was the first time this season that both my regular hunting partners were available.

0300 and we walked up to the check station to submit our names for the sweat line drawing. At 0330 the list was taken in and shortly thereafter the list was posted on the check station window. Not a great draw but good enough that we had a chance to get out in the morning. Unfortunately, for us, it appeared that most of the reservation holders had decided to take advantage of their reservations. By the time we were called to the check station there were only a couple of marginal blinds left. Now it was decision time. Go out in the morning to a marginal blind or take the first spot on the refill list and hope that we get out to a good blind and the birds would still be flying. We chose the refill list.

Anyway, we hung out for a while and then it was off to Harry’s Café for a great breakfast. After a leisurely breakfast we returned to SJ to wait for a great blind to check in. We waited a while and finally one of the best blinds checked in with a decent strap of birds from the morning hunt. We were issued our yellow cards and it was off to the blind. We were set up and hunting right about noon.

Even though the day had started off cold it had now progressed to mild temperatures and bluebird skies. There was still some snow of the surrounding mountains, indicating that it hadn’t been that warm the last couple weeks.

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We sat back and waited for the birds to fly. After about an hour or so a nice drake pintail looped in to our pond but stayed out of range as he scoped out our decoys. He, apparently, didn’t like something and headed out, out of range never offering any of us a shot. Not long after that a teal streaked through out pond, unfortunately, also out of range. We could hear an occasional shot from other parts of the wildlife area but as the day went on it seemed they were fewer and further between. As we waited for the ducks we enjoyed the usual activity in our pond. There was, of course, the usual complement of coots in the pond, fighting and feeding. An occasional hawk flew by and there were numerous black birds in the surrounding trees.

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Around 3:45 a lone shoveler drake swam around the tip of the tule patch about 40 yards out from our blind. One of my hunting partners happened to be looking at the right place at the right time and when the bird realized his mistake and jumped to fly my partner was able to quickly bring his shotgun into action and bagged him with one shot. So, finally, a bird on the strap. Hopefully more to come.

Well, that wasn’t to be and the lone spoony was the last duck we saw. About 20 minutes before quitting time we decided to start picking up, my partners getting the decoys rounded up while I picked up the blind. Just in case I left my shotgun loaded but no duck appeared. As the sun dropped behind the Bernasconi Hills we finished picking up and headed for the trucks.

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Well, one bird in the bag, better then nothing again but it would have been nice to get a few more. But as they say, if it was too easy it would be shooting not hunting. The bonus today was being in the blind with two good friends which was well worth the trip.

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So, as things stand now I have one more day this season I can make it our to San Jacinto, hopefully. I’ll give it a shot for a refill next Wednesday and hope the birds decide to fly in the afternoon for the end of the season.


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