SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 1/4/17

After last Wednesday’s good hunt SoCalHunt had an opportunity to try another afternoon refill hunt at San Jacinto.  Last Wednesday we had at least a few birds flying well into the afternoon, and with the weather lately here, and up north, I figured there was a good chance that more ducks had migrated.  Also, with more weather coming in, I was hoping that would be an extra push to get the ducks down to our area.

Davis Road was even worse than it was last week.  There was more water on the road and there were more ruts and bumps hidden below most of the standing water.  Tom Trakes, the boss at San Jacinto, had recommended that anyone coming in only try it if they have a four-wheel drive vehicle and it was plain to see why he recommended that.  After a slow bumpy ride up Davis Road I arrived at the check station to find only four trucks in the parking lot.  I’m guessing Tom’s reports on the condition of Davis Road had kept some away today.

When I entered the check station to put my name on the refill list I was pleased to see that not only was it the smallest refill list I’d ever seen, but there were several blinds already available.  I decided to wait a little while and see what came in since none of the available blinds were on my “favorites” list.  It wasn’t long until the very same blind my hunting partners and I had hunted last Wednesday checked in and I figured I’d give it a shot again.

I headed out and set up and was hunting by 12:30. Although the birds were flying in the area it wasn’t wide opened, with just a duck or two or three every 10 or 15 minutes, but at least I wasn’t looking at a barren sky, like the last few afternoon hunts.  A couple of the adjacent blinds were getting shots but the birds weren’t coming my way yet.

It was fairly cloudy today and the surrounding mountains, which were snow covered last week, and I’m sure still were, were hiding behind a layer of clouds today.

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About 1:00 pm I noticed a Cinnamon Teal drake swimming in my pond about 85 yards across the water from my blind.  I watched him for a short time and then lost sight of him as he swam down the dike.

About 1:45 pm a pair of Shovelers swung over the blind well within range and I executed a near perfect “catch and release”, missing them with the two shots I fired.  I say “near perfect” because to do a prefect “catch and release” requires firing all three shots…

Not long after that fiasco I was looking to my left when a drake Shoveler flew directly over my blind about 10 feet high from the right.  I, of course, didn’t see him until he almost knocked my hat off and he rocketed through the pond before I could even pick up the shotgun.

Just after 2:00 pm a Cinnamon Teal drake, likely the one I saw swimming across the pond earlier, swam around the corner of the tules right in front of the blind, saw me and jumped to fly.  I fired at the little drake knocking him down on the other side of a line of tules near the blind.  I quickly waded out to locate the bird but was unable to find him.  Apparently, he was still swimming when he hit the water and went into the tules to hide.  I searched for a good 15 minutes to try and find him but couldn’t locate him.  Damn, I hate to lose any bird like that but it happens.

As the day progressed the cloud cover started to break up, but, it didn’t last long and began to cloud up again.

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As always there were other “critters” to look at while waiting for the ducks to come in.  There were the usual plethora of coots and their almost as numerous buddies, the ruddy ducks.  Several times fellow hunters buzzed the blind, hawks looking for an unsuspecting marsh creature to snack on.  Black-necked Stilts also waded through the pond probing for a meal.

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Well, as luck would have it, that was it for my action today.  Several ducks flew in the area but not close enough for a shot.  I did see more ducks flying today than any afternoon so far this season, which was encouraging.  Hopefully more ducks will show up soon and hunting will get better.  Cross your fingers for that to happen before the season ends.

So, when the alarm on my cell phone announced the end of legal shooting time I packed up my equipment, gun and decoys and headed in under a quickly darkening sky that looked like it would rain soon.

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San Jacinto, due to the weather, is an iffy thing as far as access goes now.  We need the rain, and hopefully the weather will bring more birds down, but much more rain might close off access San Jacinto as Davis Road can’t take much more damage.  Cross your fingers that whatever rain we get brings the ducks in but doesn’t close off our access and maybe I’ll see you out at good old SJ.

 


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