SAN JACINTO — Heavy rains and some flooding might affect the migration of northern birds into this portion of the Pacific flyway. Fields and catch basins that flood during the peak of the migration south often will hang birds up as they have new places to feed and loaf along the Pacific Coast. Reports from refuges and clubs this past week didn't show any significant increase in the number of puddle or diving ducks, although there were a few more flocks of Canada geese in the air and it appears that the Wister/Westmorland area could reach peak numbers by mid-December.
There hasn't been much in the way of below freezing temps in the Columbia or Great basins that would have kicked out more birds and the weather for the next week is kind of on the mild side for this time of the season. Things could change quickly with a massive cold front pushing down from Alaska and hopefully that will occur prior to the Christmas holidays when a lot of waterfowlers head out to favorite hunting spots.
IMPERIAL WILDLIFE AREA–WISTER AREA & UNION TRACT — Duck hunting remains on the slow side for Wister and there wasn't much in the way of good white goose hunting this past Wed. There were 111 shooters in blinds and they harvested just 138 ducks, 24 snows and 2 Canada geese for a 1.48 average. The top duck on the comp list was the wigeon with 46 bagged. No report was filed for the Sat. shoot.
WEEKEND AT WISTER — This past weekend, John Klein and his 13-year-old son Justin “ finally got a draw” and it paid off very nicely. “Our success was truly due to the great neighbors we had all around us,” said John who e-mailed us. “No one was pass shooting, and birds were only shot when dedicated. Justin got to break in his early Christmas present the Stoeger M3500 on his first ever Snow, and then two more after that. He was so excited he was shaking it was a lot of fun, watching him watch the birds work the area and lock in. Oh yeah Dad was able to nail a couple snows and a few ducks also. What a great weekend!”
SAN JACINTO WILDLIFE REFUGE — It was another rather dismal couple days of duck shooting at this refuge due to a lack of new birds in the area. On Wed. there were 114 hunters in blinds and they shot just 113 ducks and one Canada goose for an average of just under 1 bird per hunter. On Sat. hunting tailed off even more for the 155 hunters in blinds as they shot a total of 131 ducks and no geese for low .85 average.
KERN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE — Hunting at the Kern refuge continues to improve as more wetlands are created and additional shooting sites become huntable. For last Wed. there were 63 guns in blinds and they combined to shoot 220 ducks for a 3.2 per shooter average. The top duck harvested was they northern shoveler with 69 bagged followed by the gadwall with a total of 64 reported shot. The Sat. shoot saw 92 shooters in blinds and they shot just 189 ducks for a 2.1 hunter average, but an indication of how slow hunting was were the 27 additional coot shot that were added to the comp list. The best blinds were located in Unit 1A which shot for a 4.8 per shooter average.
PRADO BASIN DUCK CLUBS — Hunting for the three clubs located in the basin was off again for the second week in a row. There were just a few new mallards and gadwall flocks that arrived last week, but no new divers or green-winged teal. There were reports for both the Wed. and Sat. shoots that indicated there are a few more Canada geese winging over the basin, but not decoying at all. Raahauge's Duck Club continues to offer day shoots by advance reservation by calling (951) 735-7981.
LAKE BARRETT-SAN DIEGO — Hunting was off for both the Wed. and Sat. shoots and there was little in the way of hunting pressure. Ruddy ducks are the main duck being shot out of shore line blinds. On Wed. 5 shooters bagged just 14 ducks with a mix of divers and puddle ducks making up the comp list. For the Sat. shoot a total of 14 hunters headed out to blinds and they killed 19 ducks of which 10 were ruddy ducks.
CIBOLA, AZ — Canada geese continue to arrive in Cibola Valley with some of the newer birds decoying pretty good. Hopefully that massive storm front in the Great Basin will move more ducks in the Lower Colorado River area.