SACRAMENTO — Reports of poor duck hunting despite the storm last week came in from a number of sources, while other clubs did well, with the key ingredient being water, and proximity to where the ducks are. This week's incoming storm was also well-received.
For instance, this writer's club between Sacramento and Delevan refuges did well in the wind and overcast, with everyone scoring ducks every day they hunted, and Rick Raeta of Wilton limiting out on big ducks, and adding 2 specks and 4 snows to the count during a solo hunt the first day of the storm. Of course, our area has had water since before season.
OPENER DUCKS — Eric Little hunted with WON Staff Writer Bill Karr at his blind between Sacramento and Delevan refuges, and while they didn't score limits, the shoot was a good one! WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR
A lot of hunters are still without a flooded spot to hunt, and WON Field Reporter Andre Fontenot has this to say: "Sorry nothing for you this week. The guys I usually get reports from are in the same boat as me, no water yet and no one hunted the refuges."
Yee Vang of Broadway Bait, Rod and Gun said "duck hunting was poor last week and the storm didn't help much. Rain doesn't help, we need wind." In the upper Sacramento Valley, however, there was wind with the rain, and hunting was generally very good, with plenty of birds in the air over flooded ponds."
WON reader Vince Sargentini hunted his club at the northeast corner of Sacramento Refuge on Saturday and Sunday.
"I had heard that the morning shoot produced a few limits of ducks, so I got to the club at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday and headed out to the northernmost blind in the cut rice," he said. "I managed to down 3 snow geese in the remaining time I had. I went back out on Sunday morning to the same blind to calm weather and a spoonie was all I could manage. Then I moved to the natural part of the club about 8:30 a.m. and just about as soon as I got into the blind, I had a duck in the water. Wand when the dog fetched that one, I dropped another. In ;ess than 5 minutes and I was up to 3 ducks. By 10:30 a.m. I had my limit of specks (2) and 6 ducks. At that point I called it quits.. A pretty good morning despite the lack of weather."
Pete Camarda at the Late Water Duck Club in the Grasslands reported that the Saturday shoot was much better than he expected. "We had a clear sky and no wind on Saturday — your typical bluebird day — and I didn't think we'd fire a shot, but we wound up with 8 ducks and had enough missed opportunities to kill limits. The birds were a mixed bag of teal and spoonies."
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in the South Bay area has been doing well hunting the East Gustine Tri Gun Club getting lots of teal and lots of sprig. On his last outing, he was done by 8 a.m., all on teal.
DUCK HUNTING WAS great last week, thanks to an early season storm that brought in rain and wind, stirring up the ducks and geese in throughout the north state. Parker Brodehl, 10, with his 3-legged dog "Blanche," show off the strap of ducks he shot Saturday, Oct. 20, at Kesterson Refuge. His limit of 7 ducks consisted of 2 bull sprig, a hen mallard and 4 drake greenwing teal, shot with 25 shells!
Jim Sheetz hunted the Wingsetter Duck Club near Turlock on Saturday and didn't kill a bird. They saw thousands of birds flying along the San Joaquin River at 800 to 1000 feet, but had only one opportunity to kill anything. "We had a couple of wood ducks buzz us and we didn't get them--that was it!!
Hunting on Franks' Tract in the Delta was a matter of how good your decoys, blind, and calling were. Decoys fouled with water hyacinths, dry brown brush on the blind, and poor calling guaranteed a lousy hunt.
A good friend of WON Staffer Pat Young spelled out the key to success. "I get to the blind with fresh brush every week and fix up the cover, then spend some time clearing all the weeds off the decoys so they float right, then get into the blind to hunt. The other guys in the Tract have been sitting in the blind since shooting time twiddling their thumbs, wondering why no birds will work their set-up. The aggressive calling brings the birds in for a good look, they like what they see, and you get to kill some birds. On Saturday we shot 13 ducks and a speck for three guys. We had 9 mallards, a teal, a wigeon and a spoonie. Several of the blinds on the Tract never fired a shot. My son and his buddy went out on Sunday and they shot 7 ducks — another successful day on the Delta!!"
Deer season ended in the D3-5 zones on Sunday, and while some hunters never scored, others found big numbers of deer moving around after the snow last week.
According to WON Staffer Pat Young, hunters were out in force in the El Dorado Forest earlier in the week trying to fill a tag and the recent snowstorm helped a lot. Pete Robinson at the Georgetown Ranger Station validated 8 bucks this past week after the snow hit the high country. "I signed off on four forkies, one big one, three 4x4's, and a 3-pointer right after the snow stopped. All the bucks came out of the Nevada Point Ridge area and the flats below Loon Lake along Gerle Creek."
Mike Nielsen of Tahoe Topliners was out Sunday trying to fill his second D-Zone tag on Sunday when WON called. "We're down by Ice House Reseervoir and there are a lot of hunters out. Yesterday my buddy killed a forkie near here, but we haven't seen much today."
JJ Ramos of Manton reported that a friend of his killed a big forkie in the Tehama Wildlife Area on the opening day of the G1 hunt. "My buddy said he had only been hunting for 20 minutes when he bumped into this big 2x2--one shot and the hunt was over!