SoCal duck counts take a big drop
BY JIM NIEMIEC
NILAND – Duck hunting could not be much slower at least for those waterfowlers that headed out to southland refuges and a few duck clubs this past week. Not only does it appear as if the ducks decided to head south into Mexico, but the lack of weather has kept many ducks loafing on non-shootable waters. Those storms up to the north might trigger a migration down through this part of the Pacific flyway, but that likely won’t happen until after this holiday weekend.
Wister Wildlife Refuge – Light hunting pressure (95 guns) on Wed. produced a total of 195 ducks and 22 snow geese for a 2.0 average. On Sat. a total of 208 hunters were in blinds and they combined to shoot just 282 ducks for a 1.3 bird average. The Sun. shoot was also very poor with under a 1-bird per hunter average. It appears that at least there are pintail to be harvested, with a one bird limit, as over 100 were shot this past week. The arrival of more diving ducks at Wister should help gunning overall. 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 – Hunting in generally slow for this unit with just a few ducks shot on Wed., but there were 8 snows geese bagged on Sat. No report from the Sun. hunt. 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 including Mystic Lake – The Sat. shoot was awful at this refuge that reported 184 hunters only shot 103 ducks and no geese for a low .56 per bird average. Wed. produced a total of 184 ducks for the 168 hunters in blinds for just a 1 bird per gun average. Top ducks shot on both shoot days were gadwall, teal and shovelers. 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. San Jacinto Wildlife Area manages this hunting/fishing lake.
Prado Basin – Overall hunting has been slow, but there were a few more new ducks arriving with widgeon and some pintail showing up on comp counts reported. More Canada geese were also reported winging over the basin.
Lake Henshaw (My Country Club) – No report received. 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 – Not many ducks on Barrett Lake this past week with hunters bagging just about a 2.5-bird average of mixed puddlers and divers.
Kern National Wildlife Refuge – Bird counts were slow for the Wed. shoot with only 123 birds bagged by 55 hunters that produced a 2.25 bird average. The Sat. shoot was even worse that produced only 78 ducks for the 55 hunters in blind sites with widgeon and shovelers being top birds bagged. Top duck on the comp list for Wed. was the shoveler with 61 killed. 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 – No reports were sent from Palo Verde Wildlife Preserve or Cibola National Wildlife Refuge this week. 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 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.