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Hunting Report

Not much duckin’ last week, but now it’s a different story

BY BILL KARR/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 12, 2018

SACRAMENTO — Writing this on Sunday evening is kind of moot as far as waterfowling goes, because what happened last week, or even today, is no indication of what duck or goose hunting is going to be like tomorrow. And change is in the wind! Literally. Incidentally, the Klamath Basin defrosted last week!

The ducks and geese are down in the Sacramento Valley, evidenced by anyone driving anywhere in the Sac Valley nowadays, with thousands of ducks and geese plugged up on unhunted flooded rice fields everywhere. That all changes with weather, and weather is in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday, which will shake things up big time.

colusakillersduckCOLUSA KILLERS — Duck hunting went from “no” to “go” over the weekend when the Stafford family of CICC Outdoor Adventures in Colusa, consisting of Cade, Quinn and Regina shot limits of birds from their guide blind near Colusa Refuge.

The rain and winds will move ducks and geese, and the shift will result in hunters scoring well for a few days, but that will be in next weeks report.

Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures in Colusa summed it up pretty well: “It was a very slow week for waterfowling in the valley! Plenty of birds around, but with this spring like weather, they just don’t move much. However, on Saturday we had the fog and the Colusa area was a free-for-all! Limits were the rule and then today, Sunday, we were back to mediocre shooting with blinds averaging 8-12 birds each. Hopefully the weather sets in like predicted and we get back on track.”

WON Field Reporter Andre Fontenot sent in his report: “What a rough week it was. Earlier I took the 4-hour drive up to Whiskeytown Lake because I heard of a good winter kokanee bite. I fished five hours and didn't even get a bite! Off to my duck club in the Sutter Bypass on Friday and I only managed a snow goose. I missed a spoonie than came in and that was all the shooting I had. My friend Jerry in the other blind ended up with three (widgeon and two spoonies). Jerry also returned to the club the next day (Saturday) with his son and he told me the teal showed up, they both limited (11 teal and three widgeon). After hearing of their success I decided to head up the next day (Sunday), it was horrible! Nothing was flying, it was my first skunk of the season!

Down in the San Joaquin Valley, WON Field Reporter and photographer Bill Nakaki has been sending in photos of limits of ducks all week, but most are teal with a few big ducks mixed in from the Hollister Gun Club in the North Grasslands.

goinggreenheadGOING GREEN(HEAD) — “Clark, Justin and Erik” hit the ice in the Klamath Basin with Phil Brown of Wild Times Guide Service during one of the all day hunts on the Tulelake Refuge . It was a long wait, but the birds poured out of the closed zone and into the decoys at about 2 p.m. The trio held out and were able to hammer the greenheads out of flocks of 50 to 100 birds mixed with wigeon, pintail and mallards.

“Mike Keely shot a limit today, Sunday, by 8 a.m.,” Nakaki said. “He doubled on mallards then added 5 teal to round out his limit. We had the CWA Freedom Fighters Vet Hunt today. I shot a limit, but it was tough.” We’ll have the whole story on the veterans hunt and photos in the next issue of WON.

The Klamath Basin experience a big weather shift and went from frozen solid to open water in a week. Here’s the report from WON Field Reporter and owner of Wild Times Guide Service out of Tule Lake: “Waterfowl hunting in the Klamath basin has been pretty tough this past week. The lack of winter storms and frozen clear conditions and full moon are not making things easy. There are still quite a few birds in the Basin, but they really do not leave the closed zones to feed until late in the day . We have been frozen in for weeks and there has not been any open water to hunt, that is until Thursday!

“The weather started to warm up, the wind blew and almost overnight everything thawed out,” Brown said. “This has been one of the quickest thaws I have ever witnessed. Right now conditions have changed completely, so it is going to be a couple of days before the birds figure out what to do with all the new open water, but the birds are here, and there are a bunch of new birds showing up every day. Over the past few days there have been snows, specks, swans and pintail showing up. It seems like the birds are coming back from the Sacramento Valley. It is tough to tell right now, but it looks like the last part of the season is going to be good with all the open water and fresh birds in the area, the conditions are prime !”

REFUGE STRAP — Kenneth Kramer of Dixon, with a limit of ducks, mallards, wigeon and his pintail, that he shot at Sacramento Refuge. Kenneth hunted a blind last Saturday when it was blowing good.

SLOW DAY DUCKS — Ed Schrader of El Dorado Hills, front, hosted Army soldier Ian Hoke, middle, and Tony Williams of Modesto to a morning hunt at the Spoon Devil Duck Club near Willows on Dec. 27. Clear, calm weather made for slow shooting, but the group still scratched out a greenhead and juvenile snow goose. Photo by WON Staffer Pat Young

quailpointchukarQUAIL POINT CHUKAR — Joe Galletti, 11 years old, had his first successful hunt at Quail Point Hunting Preserve on Dec. 31 with his grandfather George Galletti and father Jesse. The birds were pointed by his dog, “Skip,” and shot with his .410 shotgun.

THE LAST DOVE hunt of the year was great for WON reader Garrett Paz and longtime friend and old high school AG teacher Jim Looper. “The dove action had been slower as it got colder. With food being scarce in the area this time of year, the 100-acre farm in Wilton had plenty of it for numbers to still hang around. It was more of a pass shoot, as the harvested corn field we have been hunting in all of the second season had been depleted of food. We still managed to fill our 15 bird limits before the morning action stopped.”

plentyofspecksPLENTY OF SPECKS — Chris Sanders and Rob Harris hunted with Laughing Duck Guide Service at their guide blind in the Upper Butte Basin and ended up with 7 specks and some ducks, too. Guide Robert McCrary called the birds in.

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