SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 12/6/17

Well, if you’ve read my last few hunting reports, and have been keeping track of the hunt results here on SoCalHunt you know it’s been s-l-o-w.  However today there was a new aspect in the mix…wind!  Usually when there’s wind at San Jacinto hunting improves, a little at least.  So, with that in mind, I decided that it was worth it to hit San Jacinto for an afternoon refill hunt.

When I arrived, I was a little disappointed to see that the wind was pretty calm.  I walked up to the check station and donated a toy for the Annual San Jacinto Wildlife Area Bryant Park Preschool Toy Drive and signed in on the refill list.  There were about 10 groups of hunters signed up on the refill list ahead of me but, for some reason, there was only one pair of hunters waiting at the check station to refill and there were already several blinds available.  A couple of those available blinds are usually pretty good ones but I thought I’d wait a little while to see what came in.  Maybe I could do better.

It wasn’t 5 minutes later that the hunter from the exact blind I was hoping to get checked in.  He’d done okay, checking in three birds.  The two hunters that were there that were ahead of me on the refill list didn’t want that blind so I got my yellow card and headed out onto the refuge.

I got out to the blind, set up my decoys and other gear and settled into the blind and was hunting by about 11:45.  Disappointingly the air was calm and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the predicted “extreme” Santa Ana winds conspicuous by their absence.

As I sat in the blind the wildlife area was silent, in terms of gunfire at least, and although there were birds flying here and there they weren’t the right kind of birds (ducks).  About a half hour after I set up a lone hen gadwall came in low over the tules, saw my decoys and, without hesitation, pitched into the decoys and landed.  The gaddy was about 20 yards out from the blind sitting on the water.  I told myself if I missed this one I might have to give up duck hunting this year.  I stood up and the bird jumped and, I’m glad to report, I’ll still be hunting this season.  Finally, a bird for the strap and a nice one too.

I put my just harvested bird on the strap and settled back in the blind hoping to she had some friends in the area that would also come to visit.  While I waited, as is always the case at SJ, there was plenty of other wildlife to observe.  There was, of course, the ever-present coots along with what seemed like quite a few more hawks then usual today.  Several small songbirds visited, as did a shrike, which is a very interesting little bird.  This little predator is about the size of a large songbird.  He usually eats insects and small animals, like small lizards, and impales them on thorns, or barbed-wire fences which helps the bird tear them apart to eat.

There were also quite a few other “birds” in the air today.  A couple of KC-135 Stratotankers and a C-17 Globemaster and even a CH-54A Firefighting Helicopter probably headed to one of the big brushfires going on north of Los Angeles or further.

Well, the wind was off and on but it never rose to a level that would get the birds moving.  Maybe it was windier earlier in the day because I did find out later that the morning shoot was pretty good.  While I was there it never got over about 10 or 12 miles an hour.  Just about everybody in the part of the wildlife area I was hunting left by about 1:30 or 2:00 and when I left there was only one other truck in the parking lot for that area.  After I got my gadwall I saw a total of 4 other ducks before quitting time, none within range. So, as the sun set and legal shooting time expired I collected my decoys, gear, and lone duck and headed out.  I’ll be back soon to try it again.  At least I was 100% on my shots today, killed a bird with every shot took…one for one in other words.

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