Hunting Reports

Waterfowling now weather-dependent

BY BILL KARR/JIM NIEIEC WON Staff WritersPublished: Jan 02, 2019


WON Staff Writer

SUTTER — Ducks and geese in the Sacramento Valley have settled into their patterns as they learned where the no-hunting zones are, but any time there’s weather there’s the chance of a good shoot on both.

This is when you want to book a hunt with a guide, as they have the “prime spots” for duck hunting, normally bordering a closed zone or area of high duck concentration.

sutterbirdsSUTTER BIRDS — Mark Smith of Sacramento spent a morning in the blind with Capt. James Stone of Elite Sportsmen Guide Service and ended the day with a limit of ducks, despite spotty hunting with little weather.

WON Field Reporter Andre Fontenot sent in his report, “On Christmas Eve my buddy, Jesse Baniff of Santa Rosa, hunted our club in the Sutter Bypass. He had a slow morning and ended up with two teal and a spoonie. He went out again Christmas morning and had a little better day, bagging two teal and two spoonies.

“I headed up to my club on Thursday because the forecast called for a good wind,” Fontenot said. “ The wind was good, but there wasn't much flying. I got one wigeon and called it a day at 9:30. A friend hunted the same day east of me. He stayed out longer and he came away with one speck.

“On Friday, Frank Ginotti of Moss Beach hunted his club near Sacramento Refuge and he told me he saw three ducks and dropped one lone pintail,” Fontenot said. “His son Greg Ginotti, of Petaluma, headed up to Canby in northeastern California and his group of ten hunters came away with 14 honkers on Thursday. Franks also told me, "The boys in Canby limited on honkers Friday."

Saturday, Jerry Cardoza, of Garberville, hunted Fontenot’s club in the Sutter bypass with his son and they got a limit between them, five teal a pintail and a wigeon.

Guide James Stone sent in a photo with a caption that said, “Waterfowling has been off and on all week, and ‘Steve’ and ‘Steven’ found a decent day while hunting the Pleasant Grove area on Sunday with Elite Sportsmen Guide Service.”

Guide Scott Marglin of Fowl Weather Guide Service said that Dec. 24 was a calm, clear day, “not the best for duck hunting, but Jordan Glass of Elk Creek still managed a few decoying ducks while hunting with me.”

MIXED BAG — Waterfowling has been good on the weather days and so-so on bluebird days, but Saturday was a good day for "Steve" and "Steven" who hunted with Elite Sportsmen Guide Service out of their Pleasant Grove guide blind.

Sprig and teal make timely arrivals


WON Staff Writer

NILAND — Winter came on strong last week with below-freezing temps and strong winds and with those ideal waterfowling conditions came new flocks of duck and geese into this flyway. Mature pintail, flying in flocks of 2 to 10 birds joined the sky with large flocks of green-winged teal, which made for good gunning at refuges and duck clubs.

It had been slow hunting at Wister for the past month, but on Saturday that refuge finally came alive and produced the best shooting since opening day. White geese were still tough to come by, but more Canada geese were harvested as their population has pretty much peaked for the season.

Interesting to note: The following is a note from the refuge manager at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge in Wasco… “We are part of the government shutdown, sorry for the inconvenience, but we will be unable to send reports (comp counts) until shutdown is over.”

Wister Wildlife Refuge — It was a busy day at this refuge on Saturday for the nearly 200 shooters sitting in blinds. The total harvest was a high 495 ducks, which produced a 2.56-bird average. Top duck shot was the pintail with 152 killed to go along with 104 green-winged teal. Only 9 snows and a single honker were shot. This popular refuge shoots on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. For more details on hunting Wister Unit, call the DFW on-site office at (760) 359-0577.

Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge — For the 16 hunters out in the field hunting was off again for this southerly refuge on Saturday. Only 15 ducks and no geese were bagged to produce less than a one-bird-per-gun average. For more information on hunting this national refuge, which is managed by the Wister staff, call (760) 359-0577.

Finney-Ramer Unit — No report filed. Finney-Ramer is part of the Imperial Wildlife Area , located on the south end of the Salton Sea, is open to hunters 7 days a week under a self-registration and self-reporting system. For more details on this refuge is also managed by the Wister Unit call (760) 359-0577.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area — Overall hunting was slow for the Saturday hunt that produced less than a 1.5-bird average. Top ducks harvested on Saturday were the green-winged teal with 51 bagged to go along with 48 shovelers and 36 gadwall and no geese. On Wednesday duck hunters bagged a total of 256 ducks for a respectable 2.0-bird average with the shoveler and green winged teal topping the comp count list. Shoot days are Wednesday and Saturday and draw time is 3 a.m. For information contact the wildlife office at (951) 928-0580.

Lake Perris — No word on when this lake will begin shooting ducks again. Still awaiting details on a "hunt plan" for the future with the lake currently higher than last year. San Jacinto Wildlife Area manages this hunting lake.

Prado Basin — Large flocks of green winged teal arrived in Prado Basin last week and offered up some great gunning for those in duck blinds. The basin isn’t holding much water anymore, but ducks are still using this long-established flyway on their migration south. Clubs shot for better than a 3.5-bird averages for the Wednesday shoot and very light Santa Ana winds contributed to a 4-bird average on Saturday. Hunting was extremely slow on Sunday under freezing but blue-bird weather conditions.

Lake Henshaw (My Country Club) — For more information call (760) 782-3501.

San Diego City Lake Barrett — Duck hunting was slow at this lake for the Wednesday shoot that saw 10 hunters shoot only 14 birds, of which, most were divers. No report was filed for the Sat. hunt.

Kern Wildlife Refuge — No report filed this week. A web site is also available, fws.gov/refuge/kern, to access hunt results and other information about this popular southern San Joaquin Valley hunting refuge.

Cibola/Lower Colorado River — Canada geese continue to trickle in from the Great Basin along with a few more big puddle ducks. Hunting has been fair on the federal refuge and the South Ranch is still shooting decoying geese out of ground blinds. For information on booking a couple of days in a goose blind while staying in a South Ranch cabin call the Cibola Sportsman's Club at (702) 355-8784 or log on to their website: hunt4geese@yahoo.com. Contact the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge at (928) 857-3253 for shoot days and draw information on the Farm Field and open hunting on the Island Unit.

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