WASCO — Tough, tough and tough. Closing week of the state’s waterfowl season didn't offer up much in the way of good gunning for the SoCal portion of the flyway.
Even with two storm fronts pushing through there were not a lot of new birds to move around. Kern shot for a low average on both shoot days and San Jacinto didn't do that much better on its last regular shoot of the season on Sat. and Wister hunting was really tough.
Looking back on the waterfowl season it was kind of a bummer for most avid duck hunters. The season started off very good and then went flat, picked up a little with gadwall and wigeon showing up on refuges and duck clubs. Many birds moved south by mid-December leaving lots of hunters shaking their heads as to why there weren't more birds following good pre-season predictions. Green-winged teal and shovelers made up the bulk of the birds shot as the season ended.
ONE MORE WEEK, JUST THE KIDS — Waterfowl season ended for the adults last weekend, but the youths still have their weekend before it all finishes up. See results inside. A late-season hunt made for a pretty shot of Ali Pfleger with a limit of drake sprig in the Imperial Valley while hunting with her dad, Tom.
Next weekend refuges and some duck clubs will host Jr. hunts. Wister will shoot both Sat. and Sun. with a lunch on Sat., San Jacinto will only shoot on Sat. with a pancake breakfast to be served at 3 a.m., Kern will host a youth hunt on Sat. and Raahauge's Duck Club will also have youth hunting for the weekend. For general information on hunts, luncheons, arrival time and other details contact refuges and clubs at the following numbers: Wister (760) 359-0577, San Jacinto (951) 928-5278, Kern (661) 725-2767 and Raahauge's at (951) 735-7981.
IMPERIAL WILDLIFE AREA – WISTER & UNION TRACT — Duck hunting for the closing weekend was very poor with few ducks or geese shot. There were 234 hunters in blinds and they only shot 214 ducks and just 5 geese for a season low .9 per gun average. Spoonies were the top duck on the comp count with 88 bagged to go along with 37 green-winged teal. Union Tract didn't shoot that well at all as it only reported a .3 bird per gun average for the Sat. shoot. On Sunday, both refuges shot poorly with a lot of zeros posted at the checkout station on Davis Road.
SAN JACINTO WILDLIFE REFUGE — It was pretty tough hunting at this refuge for both the Wed. and Sat. shoots probably due to the fact that there weren't many new birds using the wetlands. For Wed. there were 146 guns in blinds and they shot 350 for a 2.4 bird average, which was topped by 175 shovelers bagged. On Sat. the refuge saw 163 shooters head out to blinds and they shot only 209 ducks for a 1.28 bird average and again it was the shoveler with 106 shot, that topped the comp list.
KERN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE — This refuge didn't shoot all that well during closing week due to a lack of birds and some pretty foggy conditions. Last Wed. saw 106 hunters in blinds and they shot a total of 188 ducks for a 1.8 bird average. Top ducks shot were shovelers 59, gadwall 46 and cinnamon teal 31. For Sat. the refuge hosted 114 shooters who bagged just 181 ducks for a season low average of just 1.6 birds per gun. Shovelers and gadwall topped the comp list.
PRADO BASIN DUCK CLUBS — Hunters in some of the better shooting blinds did okay, but the lack of new birds in the basin made for tough hunting for most hunters. Some rain, light fog and not much in the way of heavy rain didn't improve hunting that much for closing weekend.
LAKE BARRETT – SAN DIEGO — No report for the last hunt on Sat. was sent, likely due to the closure of the road to the lake for muddy conditions. The Wed. shoot was just fair with 8 hunters out in blinds shooting 34 ducks for a 4.25 per gun average. The top duck shot was the ruddy duck with 28 bagged.