SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 1/27/18

First off I want to apologize for the lack of hunting reports this season.  I did try the sweatline once, the Saturday after my last hunting report, but I wasn’t fortunate enough to get drawn low enough to get on in the morning and I couldn’t stay for the afternoon. After that was a short time of planned absence from SJ for Christmas holiday activities and guests visiting from out of state.  Then, raring to go…I got the creepin’ crud (flu?) that was going around, then my wife got it, and it hung on for a couple weeks for each of us, so…finally things were good to go again after a very long period of no hunting…with one day left in the season.  However, as luck would have it, the good thing was one of my usual hunting partners had drawn a low reservation number!

So, with reservation in hand, we arrived at the San Jacinto Check Station to pick our spot for the last hunt day of the 2017/2018 waterfowl season.  My other usual hunting partner was also available, but only for about the first hour, as he had to get to work after that, so he met up with us in the reservation line.  We were optimistic that we’d have a good hunt coming up today.

We picked our spot, one of our favorites, and headed out to set up.  Once we had the decoys set and the blind arranged we settled back with a cup of coffee to await the starting horn.  As the sun began to light the sky from behind Mount San Jacinto SJ showed us another great sunrise.

When the starting horn blew, it wasn’t long before we had several opportunities.  Each of us fired several shots, but nothing fell.  All three of us had the “I can’t hit nothing” ailment this morning.

As the sun rose higher the sky brightened and it was easier to pick out the birds flying in towards our blind.

Finally, a Teal flew in high over the blind and we all fired at it.  The bird folded (I think we all may have hit it) and it went crashing down, right into a thick stand of tules.  After an exhaustive search, the bird could not be located.  Shoot, I always hate to lose them like that.

It wasn’t long before my hunting partner that had to leave for work ran out of time and we wished him well as he headed back to his truck.  That left two of us to “defend” our blind from any encroaching waterfowl.

As the sun rose higher the conditions remained calm and the water glassy.  The light clouds enhanced the scenery and we enjoyed the views as we waited for more ducks to arrive.

After a short time, another Teal came in towards the blind and my partner had the shot.  The bird was hit, but not hard and actually flew a short distance before going down behind a thick stand of reeds.  After another long search, this bird was able to evade capture.  I’m sure it swam into the reeds after it went down.

We had several more opportunities and continued our “catch and release” hunting technique.  Blowing holes in the sky around the ducks and then watching them fly away.  After several birds escaped our efforts we were sitting in the blind when a group of four Cinnamon Teal drakes swam by close to the blind from behind some tules.  We stood and the birds jumped to fly and my partner was able to hit one hard, splashing it in opened water and winging another one that crash-landed next to the adjacent dike.  The bird that fell by the dike was still swimming and was able to quickly duck into some brush on the dike.  My partner went to retrieve his birds but the one that was still mobile either went over the dike unseen and into the next pond and who knows where from there, or continued down the edge of the dike, using the brush for cover and made it into the reeds at the end of the pond.  Another long search failed to locate this duck also but at least the one down on the opened water wasn’t going anywhere.  Finally, a bird for the strap.

Not long after this things began to slow down significantly, however, the wind came up fairly strong, which usually starts to move bird around, so we opted to stick things out a while longer.

For the next hour or so we caught and released a few more birds but the wind didn’t seem to be moving the birds much so we decided to call it a day.  We packed our decoys and gear and headed out with our lone Cinnamon Teal.

The next thing up for San Jacinto Wildlife Area is the 24th Annual Junior Hunt and Raffle next Saturday, February 3rd.  Hope to see a great group of Juniors in attendance next Saturday.  Hopefully, it should be a good hunt with the bonus of a great lunch and lots of raffle prizes for the Juniors.

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