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Hunting Report

Sacramento: Ducks, geese descend on Klamath Basin

Slow in Sac and San Joaquin

BY BILL KARR/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 07, 2019

SACRAMENTO — The main migration of ducks and geese hit the Klamath Basin this past week just as some of the major water areas got flooded up on the far north refuges, and hunting is the best it’s been in years up there, according to Wild Times Guide Service. Almost all of the duck and goose hunting in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys are ­entirely based on bad weather days.

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COLUSA BIRDERS — Larry Vannorsdale Sr. and Jr. had a great hunt in the north wind last Tuesday near Colusa Refuge ending up with 22 birds, a mix of ducks and geese while hunting with CICC Outdoor Adventures. The wigeon was the predominant duck on the strap.

Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures has been having banner days when the wind blows. “Another good week of hunting for us,” Stafford told WON on Sunday. “We only hunted Tuesday and Wednesday, as we had north wind both days. Both days ended up with heavy straps. We have now hit the November lull so I will guide on days with wind or if a storm comes in, but I’m not seeing much in the forecast through mid-November. We are going to buckle down and get all the guide blinds set in the coming week. Before long we will get a change in the weather and I want all the blinds ready to go! There are plenty of birds around the valley, both ducks and geese, but we are going to need some weather to get them killed.”


Guide Scott Marglin of Fowl Weather Guide Service said he’s not up and running yet, and water was just starting into his fields. By the time you read this, he should be ready to go and taking reservations!


Phil Brown of Wild Times Guide Service in Tulelake gave a glowing report of the Klamath Basin, “Water! Lower Klamath refuge is flooding up quickly now and the ducks and geese are loving it. It took awhile for the birds to find the freshly flooding areas in the hunting area, but right now the refuge is in prime shape — the best we’ve seen in years! The recent aerial survey showed good results, with big numbers of ducks and geese on the Lower Klamath side. As of now, unit 6A, 6b1, 4C, 7B , 9a ,and 4a are flooded and huntable.


“The weather has not been too cooperative,” Brown said. “The mornings have been cold, but it warms up quickly. It’s hard to believe we are already into November without having any stormy weather. The cold mornings have the birds out and feeding for the first few hours and the hunting has been good. On the Tule Lake side, the hot spots have been Sump 1b and the Freys Island unit for ducks. Goose hunters are scoring on Canada geese and a few snows and specks in the dry fields.”


grasslandlimitsGRASSLAND LIMITS — Dan Daniels of Salinas and Paul Dietrich of Palo Alto show off their opening day limits of teal, a couple of pintail and a few spoonies. They hunted at their club in the South Grasslands. Ron Sadly took the photo and WON reader Jeff Goyert sent it in.

Leo Driessen reported on the Tule Lake area on Sunday, and said, “I had the rare opportunity to hunt Tule Lake by myself this weekend. It’s nice having the company of family and good friends while you are out hunting, but If I’m being honest, not having the workload that goes along with having 5 to 6 hunters and multiple dogs in the field was a nice treat.


“I took my son Billy’s German shorthair pup ‘Dixe’ with me to retrieve my birds, and together we enjoyed a great weekend,” he said. “Saturday was pretty dang cold and there was thin sheets of ice forming and temperatures were well below freezing, but the birds worked into us really nicely and it didn’t take long at all to have a limit of mostly mallards and a brace of drake wigeon. The water level has been dropping in the lake and ‘Dixe’ really struggled against the thick and soupy muck and near freezing water, but she retrieved all of my birds except one.


“Sunday conditions were a little tougher, the birds still flew but there were more long periods without seeing anything fly and out of nowhere you’d have a pair come through,” Driessen said. “By mid-morning we had a mixed bag of teal and mallards to wrap up our hunt. If water levels keep dropping along with temperatures it won’t be long before the lake begins to freeze up tight.”


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FRED FRANKLIN, left, Jim Quickstad, center, and Jim Smith, right, with the birds they shot with Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures after a great north wind goose shoot near the Colusa Refuge. The ducks were non-existent, but the geese filled the void!

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A GOOD DAY — WON Field Reporter Andre Fontenot with six specks, a bull sprig and spoonie he shot hunting a private club near Marysville last week in District 10.


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