BY JIM NIEMIEC
LAKEVIEW – Duck hunting season got off to a pretty darn good start this past weekend. Ducks had been building up in numbers at both San Jacinto and Wister Wildlife refuges for the past couple of weeks and stuck around to reward hunters. San Jacinto Wildlife Area shot over 1,000 ducks for better than a 4-bird per hunter average. Also, in the San Jacinto Valley it was reported to WON that it was near-limit shooting for of the Mystic Duck Club. Most of the birds shot were a mix of big and small puddle ducks. Very few diving ducks were reported except for 54 ring-necked ducks at SJWA and some ruddy ducks.
Wister also shot extremely well on Saturday for 392 hunters who killed a total of 1,557 ducks and no geese for a 3.9-bird average.
Wister Wildlife Refuge – Green winged and cinnamon teal topped the comp counts on opening day with a total of 1,100 teal bagged to go along with 206 pintails. Hunting dropped off for the Sunday shoot that produced only a 1.5-bird average for the 190 hunters out in blind sites. No geese were harvested over opening weekend. 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 – Only ducks could be hunted on Saturday, but it was a high average for the 29 hunters who bagged 124 ducks for a 4.25-bird average. Top duck shot was the green winged teal with 77 taken. The white goose season for Imperial Valley will not open until Nov. 6. 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 seven days a week under a self-registration and self-reporting system. For more details on this refuge, which is also managed by the Wister Unit, call (760) 359-0577.
San Jacinto Wildlife Area – This refuge offered up excellent hunting on Saturday for the 236 hunters who showed up to pick blind sites. There was a total of 1,030 ducks shot to go along with a handful of geese the combined produced a 4.30-bird average. Top duck on the game strap was the northern shoveler with 344 bagged to along with 255 green winged teal and 122 cinnamon teal. This refuge 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/fishing lake.
Prado Basin Wetlands – Hunting in the basin got off to a pretty slow start for the three duck clubs behind the dam. Most of the ducks shot were teal and local mallards, but there were a few Canada geese bagged as well. Clubs reported just under a 3-bird-per-gun average with a few limits harvested. This week’s rain storms could see water back up behind the dam. Patrick Raahauge, of Raahauge’s Duck Club, reported that more ducks are arriving daily.
Lake Henshaw (My Country Club) – Waterfowl hunting will not start until December. Reservations are a must and there will be a daily drawing for blind sites. For more information call (760) 782-3501.
San Diego City Reservoirs – No report filed for this past week.
Kern National Wildlife Refuge – This refuge will not open until Nov. 20 due to a lack ponds and wetlands. For additional information on hunting Kern call (661) 725-2767 or for the hunter information hotline call (661) 725-6504, which is updated after each shoot day. A website is also available to access hunt results and other information about this popular southern San Joaquin Valley hunting refuge.
Cibola/Lower Colorado River – Just ducks on the refuge and a few dark and white geese are flying across the valley. A little early for winter flocks of Canada geese to
arrive, but this week’s weather could see more honkers show up. 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 email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge at (928) 857-3253 for shoot days and draw information on the Farm Fields and open hunting on the Island Unit.