SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 12/9/15

Earlier this season SoCalHunt posted a hunting report where we had a plan. The plan was for my hunting partner to come out to San Jacinto for the sweatline drawing and get us a spot and then I would join him later when I arrived. If you follow SoCalHunt you know that, unfortunately, plan “A” didn’t work that time and we ended up doing plan “B”, an afternoon refill hunt.

Well, being the eternal optimists, we decided to try plan “A” again. My regular hunting partner was available to attend the sweatline drawing so he was present when the sweatline printout was posted on the check station window about 3:30 am. This time (drumroll please) the draw was kind and we were 2nd on the sweatline list!

My partner picked our spot and he headed out to set up our blind. He told me later that he wasn’t quite ready when the starting horn sounded and as the wildlife area came alive, with many simultaneous shots, the ducks began to fly with abandon. My partner told me that he had a couple of early opportunities, probably teal rocketing by, but was unable to connect right away in the poor early morning light.

After a short time, things slowed down somewhat and he said that the birds also seemed to calm down a little also. My partner had put out a trio of Bufflehead decoys, amongst the other decoys, and this apparently interested the local Bufflehead population. My partner told me that he had several groups of Buffleheads buzz these decoys and in short order he had four of the little divers on his strap.

Meanwhile, back at my place, when I woke up I discovered that my partner had texted me that he had a spot and already had birds in the bag. Due to my work the night before I couldn’t be there for the morning shoot but, in short order, I was on the way to good old SJ to join him.

Before I got there however, my partner was busy with the “task” at hand. Not too long after he put the quartet of Bufflehead on his strap a Green Wing drake came zipping down the pond and pulled up sharply when he stood to fire. He clipped the bird and it came down near the walkway to our blind, swimming for the reeds immediately after splashdown. He was able to finish it on the water before it could escape and add it to his bag.

Shortly after that, in pretty quick succession, two Shovelers were attracted to the decoys and he was able to harvest them for his strap also. I wasn’t even there yet and my partner had limited out!

When I arrived at the blind, finally, I found my partner whiling away the time by inspecting his eyelids for holes. I was pleased to see he had his limit and was also glad that he didn’t mind staying in the blind with me while I began to work on filling my strap.

When I arrived it was already getting warm and the air was dead calm with some high clouds to accent the scenery. The hills reflected in the still water of our pond like a mirror.

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I set up my gear in the blind and settled back to wait for some ducks to come in. Not long after settling in a lone Spoony hen came in, well within range and I executed a beautiful “catch and release” blowing three holes in the sky as she flew away.

A few more Shovelers came near, but not in range, and several Bufflehead skirted the pond out of range also. As the clock ticked away the remains of the morning the flights started to become fewer and fewer. Finally a young drake Shoveler decoyed beautifully into the spread and I was able to drop that bird with my second shot. Finally, one in the bag.

As noon rolled around the sky became more devoid of ducks, as is pretty much the norm for SJ when it’s calm and warm. As the sun started its downward arch the wildlife area grew quieter and the flights fewer.

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Finally we decided that it was probably over for the day and decided to start picking up a little early as my partner had put out quite a few decoys. Not bad for a sweatline draw for my partner, a limit before I even got there, and one additional bird added by me before noon.

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By the time we got to our trucks the sun was setting and we enjoyed another beautiful and unique San Jacinto sunset. No two of them ever seem to be alike.

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So a pretty good hunt today, for my partner at least, but, of course, I had fun too, especially with a great friend to share the blind. Today was probably a good illustration of how different morning and afternoon shoots can be at SJ. Although, if circumstances dictate that I have to hunt afternoons I’m still going. You can’t bag any sitting on the couch.

 


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