Lake Sutherland - San Diego

whitehunter

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I can't believe it, but I was lucky enough to be drawn for the Lake Sutherland hunt in San Diego county.

Is there anyone out there who has turkey hunted this place in the past? I could use all the advice & intelligence on the place that I can get before I hunt there. I'll be hunting Wednesday, April 10th.

Specifically, I am wondering if the birds react to pressure from the first few hunts, and if they do, What do they do? Shut-up, move to another area, hide, ect. Or are there so many birds there, that what little pressure they get, it doesn't effect them much.

Need help if you can offer it!!!!
 

marnus

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I was drawn last year.  I hunted the last Sat. of the season.  What area are you hunting.  I don't know how they are doing it this year, but last year there were 3 zones.  One you had to take a boat across the lake, another one was right past the concession stand, back by the camping area, and the third was way back in the east arm.  I forget what that area was called.  That was the area I hunted in.  You could drive all the way back there.  Real nice area.  Only problem was by that time of the season the birds were pretty spread out.  I don't think it helped with the other hunters going in there either.  Another problem was the coyotes.  I had 3 lay down about 25 yards from me right away in the morning.  Saw those guys 3 times that day.  Also the rancher back there drove his atv through there twice.  By the end of the day all I saw was one hen about 500 yards away.  Congrats and good luck.
 

whitehunter

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Thanks for the reply. I am hunting the same area you did. It's area 1. Sure hope that rancher is busy fishing or something the day I am there. I think the picnic ground is open to me too since that is the handicapped and kids area on Saturdays only.

On Saturday, the day of the seminar, three jakes came right through the picnic area and gobbled at all the people setting up the seminar at 7:30am. I wasn't there to see it, but everyone was talking about it. Those birds will be nailed first weekend!!

From what I can gather, the arm of the lake stretching south-east is full of little draws and creekbottoms with climbing hillsides that hold birds. They use the lake for water and move up and down the hillsides during the day foraging for food.

Your experince with the coyotes bothers me. I might have to lay the law down with those dogs first thing in the morning to save the remainder of the hunt. Did you hear much calling? If not, would you attribute it to the late date, or too much pressure, or
that the birds moved on. Did you see fresh sign when you were hunting? Where exactlly in the area did you hunt? Did you hear how the other guys did across the lake in the other unit? How late did you hunt? What was the weather like the day of your hunt?

Sorry about all of the questions, but I like to get all the info I can about a place I've never hunted. It's a one day thing. No time to scout or make mistakes in the field!!!! Thanks for everything!!

(Edited by whitehunter at 9:26 am on Mar. 6, 2002)
 

marnus

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I went out to the lake the Sunday before my hunt and talked to the guy working down at the ramp and he told me I could go back and scout the area.  I forget how many gates are on that road going back there, I think there is 3 or 4.  Anyway, the last gate was the only gate that had a no trespassing sign on it so I didn't go any farther.  Found out on Sat. morning that we could go through that gate also.  Real nice area back in there.  The only place I seen any sign was on the road going back there I saw some tracks.  Didn't here any gobbling.  The other guys that were supposed to hunt across the lake didn't show up till noon and I don't think they even went hunting.  It was very nice that day, sunny and very warm.  I hunted all day.  I don't know if you can change, but if you can hunt that handicap area, that might not be too bad.  The lake is really down and the only water back in that arm is quite aways from the road.  The cover is really thick down the road until you get to the area I hunted in.  (Past the last gate.)  If you get a chance this weekend or next, go down to the lake and see if they will let you take a walk back there.  That way you will have at least some idea of what it looks like instead of going in blind in the dark that morning.  Good luck.  
 

foulshot

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Whitehunter & Marnus, Welcome to Jesses if no one hasn't welcomed you yet.  

Whitehunter, I was going to try and make the draw for Sutherland also,but I went to the Yote hunt out at Wister instead.  I have never hunted at Sutherland, but in the general area.  I think the guy who works the lake is named Mike, not sure though.  Iv'e met him at the waterfowl draw, he's a real nice guy and will probably give you info if you ask.
There was a fire over by Ramona a while back which hopefully pushed some birds towards Sutherland, but not to many. I'll be hunting somewhere up there in Natl forest land. The only thing I can say is hope it doesn't rain.

Did they have the maps with areas marked available at the tune-up?  If so were they worth buying?
 

whitehunter

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Marnus & Foulshot,
Thank you for your replies!!

Marnus - Thanks for the tips. I am going to talk to Mike at the boat dock about scouting it the Sunday before my hunt. What time of the season were you there? Did you have any coyote problems? Did you set-up & call, or walk & call? Decoys???

Foulshot - Thanks for the warm welcome. If there were marked up maps at the seminar, they went quick. The sign-up board had a topo map of the lake showing the unit boundries. No copies available to us though. As far as the "marked-up" forest service map that was there, any area with "red" markings on them seem to be pounded by the local hunting pressure every year. My best hunting is in areas not listed on the map. I think the best rule of thumb this year down there will be to find water & the birds should be close by. The drought is killing the public land opportunites down there by concentrating the birds around the water sources, which seem to always be on private land or in remote canyons. I am thinking of hunting Laguna rec area with my bow!! I must be a glutton for punishment!! Most of my hunting this year will be done north of So. Cal.
 

marnus

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I was there the last Sat. of the season and that was May 5th.  In the morning I sat and called alittle and then walked in the afternoon.  Used a decoy in the morning.  I think you will have a better chance earlier in the season than I did later on.  I don't go to the turkey seminars where they post all the spots of public land that have turkeys and I try not to go those places and hunt.  I can't believe the amount of people that hunt on opening day off Boulder Creek road.  Scary.  Good luck again and let us know how you did.
 

foulshot

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Whitehunter, your'e welcome!  I was just curious about the maps because I know that means a lot of guys are not going to do any scouting.  My opening weekend spot is usually not on the map, whew!
I went up there last night and besides the rain, I feel pretty good about opening weekend. No visible tracks due to the rain, but I did see some other sign. I don't blame you for wanting to go the the rec area, very low pressure.  A guy I work with saw a group of birds in the Descanso area, but all near private land.  No Nat'l forest anywhere nearby.
Marnus, I know what you mean about Boulder Creek.  What a nut house.
 

whitehunter

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Foulshot & Marnus,
Thanks to you both for your help & advice. Please feel free to email me if you wish to hunt together this season. I'll be going to the Sacramento area at least once and hunt locally on daytrips during the week.

Best of luck this season!!
 

marnus

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Hey whitehunter, good luck tomorrow.  Did you get a chance to scout the area?  Post up and let us know how you did.  Good luck.
 

whitehunter

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Thanks Marnus! Yes I did scout it. The roads had fresh mud on it and there was "some" sign. The birds are there, but it might take some work. Looks like the weather will cooperate, so I have no excuses!!

Was up in the San Bern's over the weekend in the Seven Oaks area. No birds, no sign, no sounds, no nothing in that area at all!!! And on top of it, my daughter got her first tick!! I hate those bugs!! Looks like Sacramento and beyond for me starting this weekend. Our local stuff either has too much pressure on it, or there are no birds where they used to be or should be.

WE NEED THE RELOCATION PROJECTS TO START HERE AGAIN!!! I spent my $500 at the O.C. NWTF Banquet this year and don't have much to show for it other than a dinner, membership and a fun evening. Which is OK, "BUT" I'd better see those projects start here again in the south, or that money is going elsewhere next year. Either CDA, RMEF, or MDF is where that money will go if the NWTF doesn't get those turkey relocation projects going again here in the south. I only have enough for one organization a year and I will spend it where it serves all of us the best!! I hunt year-round for all types of critters, just like all of you, and spending my money in one bucket doesn't make that much sense. Maybe that money will be better served with some other group.

Oh well, I'll hunt 'em where I can get 'em, and that's up north!!!
 

Rattler

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I got picked and hunted Sutherland (Area 1) last Wednesday.  We struck out.  We hunted the fine looking meadows on the east side of the area (Lots of cattle back there).  There was a golden eagle working the ground squirrel holes back there that stooped on our dekes...pulling up at the last second when they did not move.  We saw nothing all day ...UNTIL while walking back (At 4PM) we saw 2 hens run up an oak lined ravine not 75 yards from the second gate on the dirt road.  There was a metal pipe culvert under the road where they ran up and I marked it with a couple of rocks piled on top of each other.  We never went up hill....MISTAKE!  We had a good view of the lake bed (dry alot) and saw no birds (Except mallards and crows)I know better, but got lulled into the meadows closer to the lakeshore. If you drew Area 1, hunt as close to the 1st gate as you can without cramping the youth hunter's style.  They typically hunt the first gate.  BUT do yourself a favor...scour the topos and aerial photos and find a clearing with oaks UP THAT HILL...I'd say at least 150 yards UP.  If you drew Area 2, hunt the East side.  The guys hunting Area 2 saw two hens on the E-NE side.  The gobbles we did hear were around 8AM well up the hill...and up from the second gate.  Good Luck...and don't get sucked into hunting the lakeshore meadows UNLESS you see birds down there.  We saw 2 more hens near the boat dock when we were leaving. They were  heading SE...in the general direction of the 1st gate...but UP hill.   The hunt master briefed us well, but what happened LAST year did not happen this year, so hunt the way YOU HUNT...not just according to history.
I hope you guys get one (TWO).  Let us know.  Good Luck - Rattler
 

whitehunter

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Rattler-
Thanks for the advice, even though I just read it the day I got back. No bird, but I hunted the draw you were talking about. I even saw your rocks. I actually hunted every draw on the arm. At least three of them I walked as far as I could into them. My plan was to walk the entire length of the arm in blue-light and shock gobble for a bird. There were no gobbles anywhere. The birds are definitely in their lull, but they weren't even gobbling on the roost. WEIRD!

Well, plan B was to hunt the draws and that's what I did. No nothing. Very little sign. Less that when I saw during the scouting trip. We saw a hen back at the rock point feeding in the grass and dusting herself. She was alone unfortunately. The kid's blind killed the first bird of the season. He finally got one of those jakes. We sat in that blind between noon & 2 trying to get the other jake to come back. He was probably trying to figure out what happened that morning. By the way, the draw you had marked has at least three fire ant hills in the "sweet oak bottom" that's up there about 100 yards or so. Can you imagine sitting on one of those in the dark after following a gobble up that draw? OH BOY!!!!

My opinion is that they need to lay off those birds until the water level comes back up. Whatever birds are in the lake area are being hit hard. I'd say most of the birds are holding on the private property behind the lake. They also should cut the hunts in half and spread the dates out, kind of like Spenceville's approach. The hunts would be a little more consistent.

Looks like a trip to the Sacramento area is on the radar!!!
 

Rattler

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WH,
     I concur about the lull.  If they shut up, I shut up.  Limited light clucks and purrs with dekes is the way I hunt the lull.  Key is to find droppings and stake out that area when shock / calling  goes south.  The more droppings, the more time the birds spend there.  If you can find day olds (or less) and older ones in the same 50 yard area...well, there you are..a sort of turkey core area.
 I used to hunt Beal AFB alot (for ducks and geese) and I'd scout Spenceville for turkey but never got drawn.  Ventana WA and most of the huntable part of Los Padres NF still offer decent odds.  
 Sutherland had less apparent  sign than ANY where I looked in CNF.  If I had not seen the birds at the Tune-up, and the hens on the way out...I might have thought it was a "snipe hunt".  Got a flier today for NWTF banquet.  They also want us to put the squeeze on DFG for more transplants, etc.
 Time has run out for me in SoCal after this year.  I am moving to Nevada in the Summer, but, I will maintain an out of state license (100 bucks well spent), so I can hunt California, IF/WHEN I don't draw a turkey tag in NV.
 Anybody out there ever hunt Churchill or Lyons County in Nevada?
In the meantime I will keep at it and who knows, maybe the second peak will be in the next couple of weeks or so.  I think we caught the tail end of the first peak O day...anyone agree with that?  Hunt the good hunt - Best - Rattler
 

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