Waterfowl hunters awaiting arrival of more ducks and geese
BY JIM NIMIEC
Scroll to the bottom for the CDFW weekly statewide duck counts.
Niland – As anticipated, with the early arrival of over 10,000 white geese into Imperial Valley, and the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge having to keep snow and Ross’ out of irrigated rye grass plots, goose hunting on Saturday was exceptional for those in blinds for the shoot at Wister. Good duck numbers were also posted for both the Wed. and Sat. hunts with a mix of big puddlers, teal and shovelers accounting for the bulk of the waterfowl killed. One refuge that didn’t shoot that well on Sat. despite bad weather was Kern that reported only 80 ducks killed, which is far below their seasonal averages.
Wister Wildlife Refuge – The white goose harvest for the Sat, hunt produced nearly 200 (of those reporting) snow and Ross’ geese to go along with 468 ducks killed. The average for the 231 hunters in blinds was just over 2 birds a gun. Pintail (81) and 52 gadwall were killed to go along with 170 mixed green winged and cinnamon teal. The Sunday hunt was slow with only 9 snow geese bagged along with 78 ducks for less than a 1-bird average. 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 – No report filed with WON for this past week. 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 – Gadwall and teal accounted for most ducks killed this past week. With a total of 321 combined hunters for both shoot days that just barely produced a 1.5 bird average. 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 – Despite heavy showers and some wind, hunting was slow overall for those in duck blinds behind the dam. According to a report from Patrick Raahauge, owner of Raahauge’s Duck Club, hunters averaged just a little over 2 birds a gun.
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 – Duck hunting success dropped this past week down to a 2-bird per shooter average. Both big divers and teal accounted for the bulk of birds harvested. Hunting pressure was light both shoot days.
Kern National Wildlife Refuge – Duck hunters were not very happy with the Sat. hunt that saw 62 hunters bag only 80 ducks despite rain and wind in the valley. Hunting also had slowed for the Wed. shoot at Kern that saw 50 hunters harvest 140 ducks for just under a 3 bird average. Top duck on the comp list was the shoveler with 82 bagged. 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 into WON from Palo Verde Wildlife Preserve or Cibola National Wildlife Refuge this week. The first new flocks or Canada and snow geese showed up this past weekend with that frontal passage. 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.