SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 12/10/16

After a month “off” of hunting due to some unforeseen circumstances (seems to always happen during hunting season) SoCalHunt was back at San Jacinto Wildlife Area to try another refill hunt.  Bird counts have been going up, not astronomically but some, but still headed in the right direction and the weather report was calling for cloudy conditions with even a small chance of rain in the morning. Also, I’d heard there had been a big freeze up north so I was hoping it had driven some bird down to us, finally.  I figured why not, beats not going any time.

Since it was Saturday I left a little earlier then I usually do when going for a refill because I figured the refill list would be a little longer today and I’d better get my name on there ASAP if I was going to get a spot.  While drving to SJ I encountered some fog but it wasn’t long before the fog lifted and before I even arrived it was clear the weather report I read was mistaken and it would be a day of bright calm skies.

When I pulled up to the check station parking lot I was surprised to see only about 10 trucks in the parking lot. When I checked the refill list at the check station I discovered I would be only a short way down from the top.  I signed on and sat down to wait for the waterfowlers out on the wildlife area to start trickling in.

Of course, as I always do this time of year on each visit to SJ, I deposited a toy in the Bryant Park Preschool Toy Drive box.  This is a great cause and a great community service the SJ Staff takes on every year.  I encourage all San Jacinto hunters to bring a toy to donate every time they come out.  Details of the toy drive can be found here…

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-annual-bryant-park-preschool-toy-drive-begins/

For some reason, today it seemed like most of the hunters were sticking it out and the ones coming in to give up their blinds did so at a slower rate than usual.  A few came in with some decent straps but it seems like a lot of the ones coming in early had goose…eggs (zero).  After a while one of my “old favorite” blinds checked in, with nothing, but I decided to give it a shot anyway as I have done well in this blind in the past.  So, at 10:30 I headed out to my hunting spot.

I set up the blind set the decoys out and was hunting about 11:30. As I was setting up I could hear occasional shots coming from some of the adjacent ponds so I was optimistic I’d get a crack at a few birds at least.  I settled back and waited…and waited…and…well, you get the idea.  I could still hear a shot or two around the area about ever 15 or 20 minutes but whatever they were shooting at didn’t want to come over to the area I was in.  The skies were a little hazy today, maybe because of the earlier fog, and the only clouds were high wispy cirrus clouds.  The recent colder weather had turned the leaves on some of the trees on the wildlife area to fall colors.

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About 1:20 a lone Green Wing Teal flew by way out in my pond, spotted my decoys, and made a wide turn, coming back right down the middle of my decoy spread about 10 feet off the water.  It was a perfect set up, I couldn’t miss this one…I shouldn’t have missed this one…I missed this one.  I couldn’t believe it!  I don’t know how I messed that one up but I did.  I must have picked up that box of shells that the factory forgot to put shot in.  Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Well, at least I got to fire the shotgun this time.  Better than the last hunt anyway.

So, after that poor performance, I set back to (hopefully) wait for more birds to show. As always there were other visitors to my pond.  Several fellow hunters flew by, hawks, looking for a duck or coot dinner.  A brightly colored Common Yellowthroat was flitting around the tules next to the blind, catching insects, and a large flock that I initially hoped might be a migration of snow geese arriving flew by at probably a thousand feet altitude, but it soon became clear that they were White Pelicans.

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Well, as it turned out the Teal was the only chance I got today at bagging a bird, but it was still a nice day to get out in the marsh and enjoy the scenery.  As the sun slowly set I bid goodbye to another day at SJ vowing to myself to come back out soon and redeem my poor shooting performance.

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