How was Wed.

Baldplate

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How was hunting on Wed. From what little I have heard the north valley is doing most of the shooting, of what there is. I have not seen any recent bird surveys that show how many ducks and geese are in the valley after these recent storms. The surveys on the Sac refuge web page is last month 11/19 and the surveys from the klamath basin are from 11/7. Anyone hunt Kern lately, which unit is shooting the best. Any reports are welcome because I am stuck behind this desk until Dec 19. Good luck to all and please be safe.
 
O

outdoorsman

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Hunted refuge in the Grasslands with dad. Mixed bag of 12 ducks, lost 2 in cover.  Good number of birds.  Bagged a greenhead with a band, he's going on the wall !!
 

Matt Thompson

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It was my first trip to the Sutter NWR, but my buddy Mike had been there many times.  We teamed up with two of Mike's other buddies who had a slightly higher resi number.  We all made it to the hole we wanted and by the time we had all of the dekes in place it was almost shooting time.

The hole we were in has a reputation for greenheads so we were all dreaming of four limits of mallards.  Right after legal shooting time the birds started pouring in.  But it was about 90% widgeon and 10% mallard.  Other hunters in our vicinity were shooting.  Mike's buddies dropped a pair of mallards, but I was having trouble picking them out of the crowd. So I decided to thin the crowd a little and nailed a widgeon drake.  Well there went my 7-mallard limit but what the hell.  A little while later a gadwall drake glided in and hovered right over me.  That was too tempting so he went in the bag.  After the light improved and the birds thinned out Mike and I dropped a pair of mallards.  About midmorning a pair a widgeons worked in so nicely that I had to take my shot.  I only hit one and at first it appeared that I only sailed him, but then it dropped dead about 150-yards out.

I started to climb out of the tules, when Mike said he and his dog would go.  Now I should let you know that it would not be hunting trip with Matt and Mike without something wierd happening and this trip was no exception.  It took Mike and his dog about 5 minutes to get to where the bird fell.  From there they could see that it had been blown by the wind another 100 yards across the pond.  Mike gave the dog the line and off she went.  When she got close a seagull that had been near the bird took off.  When Mike got the bird from his dog he discovered that the seagull had already eaten about half of one of the breasts.  I knew that scavangers work the refuges, but I never realized you had to race them to your birds!

By now it was really slowing down so Mike's two other buddies decided to pack it in.  They left us their remaining shells which was really a blessing.  I was down to five due to the shooting of the birds described above and the missing of numerous other birds not described above.  

With the departure of our two partners and some of the other hunters in the area, Mike and I pretty much had the place to ourselves.  There weren't alot of birds around and most of them were extremely high.  It was suprising to me that they were that high because there was a strong south wind blowing.  But about every 5-10 minutes a bird or two would come around at a reasonable altitude.  Mike's a pretty good caller and his hail call would bring over for a look.  Most would do a quick fly by and then continue on to where ever they were going.  But a few would show more interest.  On those I'd join in and we team-call them into the glide path.  We were able to add a bull sprig and three more mallards to the bag that way.

We both had to get home so we pulled out about 12:30.  On the way out Mike's dog found a nice mallard drake crip.  That impressed me because two other dogs had just passed that very spot going the other way and had appearently missed it.

Matt in Chico
 

Jay

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Last Saturday me and another guy watched three or four gull try to pick up a dead bird floating out in the middle of the salt pond. They were just able to pick it up and then it would slip from their grasp. They tried to get that bird for 1/2 an hour till it finally floated to shore. We found the stripped carcass on the way out.

The time out before that a guy I was with plugged a widgeon out there and that bird was not on the water more than two minutes before it got a gull's attention.

Pretty agressive birds.
 

Mike Riley

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Must be the lack of crips this year with the decreased number of ducks.  Sunday sailed a greenie and waited about 15 minutes for the birds to stop working before I went to get it.  Got there and the dog scented it quickly.  Kicked a redtail off of it.  The bird had already been picked clean from the "shoulders" to the top of the head.  Why is it hawks always eat the neck area first?  Atleast the all the "meat" was entact.
 
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