Hunting Report

More ducks show up

BY BILL KARR/WON Staff WriterPublished: Dec 06, 2017

Waterfowling ticked up a notch

GRIDLEY — Geese are still thick throughout the Sacramento Valley after an early move south some weeks ago, and more ducks showed up in the delayed migration last week.

This reporter saw saw flights of hundreds of pintail near the upper Butte Basin during a hunt on Wednesday with new guide Robert McCrary of Laughing Duck Guide Service, son of well-known waterfowler Bob McCrary. We shot 3 snows, a speck and a mallard that morning, and they shot two more specks and a wigeon that afternoon.

delevanlimitsDELEVAN LIMITS — Hunting was great during the north wind last week when guide Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures took Mark Harrison out to his guide blind next to Delevan Refuge and the two of them shot 14 ducks, 6 specks and a snow goose!

Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures said, “We had a great week of hunting. Between the days with a little breeze and the days with a little fog, we shot well almost every day. The last few days it appears as if some new birds have arrived. Birds with thick feathers, skinny breasts and shiny white with no stains yet. All of that points to new birds making their way into the valley. It should bust loose as soon as the full moon begins to disappear. Cold temps and dark nights will have the birds moving more during the day.” Hunting was great during the north wind last week when guide Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures took Mark Harrison out to his guide blind next to Delevan Refuge and the two of them shot 14 ducks, 6 specks and a snow goose!

Cameron Tucker of Tucker’s Guide Service said, “This weekend I was very wary of how hunting was going to play out due to the big bright full moon and lack of colder weather. Beginning of the week started out slow, but fair. Saturday I guided Darrin King and his son, Joey. They purchased my trip from the Half Moon Bay Ducks Unlimited Banquet. They had a great morning shoot, shooting their limits of ducks. Their bag was a mix of mallards, wood ducks, teal, and a sprig. Sunday I guided a crew of hunters that came up from Fresno, and the flight from Saturday to Sunday seemed a little slower. They finished up with 12 ducks: Mallards, teal, and a wigeon. There’s a good number of birds in the valley, and I expect the tail end of this moon phase for action to really heat up.”

WON Field Reporter Andre Fontenot said, “Kevin Eck walked into Delevan at 2 pm today (Sunday) with two buddies and in two hours they had their 21 ducks! On Wednesday I saw the wind would be blowing around 10-15 mph so it was time to hunt my club. I headed up to my club in the Sutter Bypass, pulled into the parking lot and yes, it was blowing. I made to walk to my blind for the day, settled in and ducks were everywhere, landing in my decoys. I decided to pass on shooting teal and spoonies (mistake) and try for the bigger ducks. I had plenty of shots at big birds but couldn't hit a duck to save my life. Mallards coming in cupped, missed, and I repeated this scenario many times. I finally dropped a wigeon. The winds died down about 9 a.m. and the flight stopped. I wished I had all those teal and spoonie shots back. Around 9:30 a flock of greenwing teal buzzed me and I was able to double. About 15 minutes later a bigger flock buzzed me and I tripled on them! Now I'm feeling a lot better, I got my "mojo" back. I finished my morning (and limit) off at 10 a.m. when I called a single spoonie in and dropped it on my third shot.

llanosecosecretLLANO SECO SECRET — Waterfowler Bob McCrary sent in this photo from two hunters who shot an 80-acre “honey hole” by Llano Seco on Wednesday, and they shot 11 ducks, 5 specks and a pair of snow geese.

“On Saturday I headed up to Little Dry Creek with my oldest son, Josh,” Fontenot said. “He had drawn ressie No. 2. I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas when I saw this draw. We chose blind 3. A good number of ducks were flying around at shooting time and I began firing away. The problem my son and I ran into was, we were in a pit blind surrounded by high grass and tules. Once you dropped a duck and jumped out of your blind, they were gone to hide under the numerous tule patches and grass in the pond. We were helpless without a dog. When we called it a day at noon we had lost 6 ducks and only had one drake woodie in the bag. The guy at the check station told me the average so far has been about 1 duck per hunter. Now I wasn't feeling so bad.

“On Friday, my blind partner, Kevin Eck of Discovery Bay hunted our club and told me things were slow, but he was able to come away with 5 ducks. I also spoke with my friend, Phil Fee of Tiburon. He shot his club near Dunnigan and had a limit of ducks including 2 mallards, a bull sprig, 2 gadwall, a canvasback and a spoonie before 9 a.m.

Down in the San Joaquin Valley, WON Field Reporter Bill Nakaki of Tracy said, “It's been pretty slow hunting but it seemed to me a few more birds are starting to show up.” He hunts the Hollister Gun Club in the North Grasslands. He said that John Cerruti and Joe Galletto hunted together and managed limits of mostly cinnamon teal and some green on Saturday. “I hunted with David Ishizuka and we also got limits, but it took us longer. Joe and John were done by 9 a.m.”

veteranshuntjamesVETERANS’ HUNT — James Hamilton, left and Ryan Labar, right, both U.S. Army veterans, pose with their ducks and volunteer guide Bill Holmes, center, at Lower Klamath NWR. The hunt was sponsored by California Waterfowl Association and local businesses.

pheasantsareinPHEASANTS ARE IN season, and you can’t start a pheasant hunter out too soon! Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures took this photo of his nephew, Mason Scott, with their limits of wild pheasants shot on Nov. 23. “It was his first time out with uncle Casey and he had a ball!” Stafford said. “We may have recruited a new hunter to the mix.”

geesearebackGEESE ARE THICK in the central valley, while ducks seem to be lagging in their migration, and a hunt with guide Robert McCrary of Laughing Duck Guide Service on Wednesday with WON Staffer Bill Karr produced 3 snows, a speck and a mallard in the morning. They shot 2 specks and a wigeon in the afternoon.

geeseaplentyGEESE APLENTY — Scott Marglin of Fowl Weather Guide Service took Jordan Glass of Elk Grove, pictured, hunting with him in a flooded rice field in Richvale for a good number of geese, but not many ducks. “I hope the cold temperatures coming this week up north will bring some ducks down,” he said.

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