I just got a pre season report from a friend's dad. To put it in perspective - this person has hunted Wister every year for more than 30 years (he can tell you how they came up with all those strage blind numbering schemes over the years), he lives in AZ but moves into a trailer down by Wister for the duck season. He hunts every hunt day of the year. He keeps a log book that includes the date that the geese show up each year with uncanny accuracy. To say he is Mr. Wister would be an understatement.
All that to say, he said that this year was the worst he's seen. Virtually all the blinds are dry and they haven't even started flooding anything yet. The only area that had water and a couple of ducks was Y15. 513, which is normally one of the first picks opening day is bone dry. He made a pretty pointed comment that the new manager hadn't done a thing. He's been around long enough to see many of them come and go so take it for what it's worth.
I was heading down there until my friend (son of Mr. Wister above) got a Kern res. This info would probably have changed my mind though. That's a long drive to sweatline it for a dry spot on a refill. I could be out in left field so take it for what it's worth but that's a long drive for almost anyone so you might want to check some more before heading down there.
If your hearing info about poor management, don't write write about it on some web site, write to the state on their web site. Let me help you get started:
WHERE'S THE WATER? and I do pratice what I preach.
Not to be contrary to you Songdog , but I heard at the calling seminar at Turners tonight the Wister was about 70% flooded. I think the best thing would be to call the refuge and ask. Somewhere in the waterfowl forum Jesse has the number listed. Then you'll know.
Subj: Re: What the hunters are saying
Date: 10/5/2001 9:27:09 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: JAnderso@dfg.ca.gov (John Anderson)
Thank you for expressing your concerns about conditions your friend observed at the Wister unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area. I have passed your concerns on to the Region 6 supervisor that oversees the wildlife areas down south.
If you have any additional questions or comments, feel free to write again or call me at one of the numbers listed below.
Just got back from Wister and Cibola. I may have rained down there and some of the roads were slippery. Davis was slick and the roads into the sites looked kinda muddy. Yi5 and the T;s looked dry. Wherever there was water on the clean up day still had ducks. The newly flooded not so many. Saw two coyotes on English rd and Noffsinger intersection. Also a bunch of pheasants over by 115B. We're either shooting tthe sea in our boat , going to WU or sweat lining it. Seems like it's gonna be good for a few in the am then they are gonna raft on the sea. just like last year. We hooked up our trailer in Niland then drove over to Cibola. Wanted to get a lay of the land so I won't have to fumble in the dark. We saw a bunch of quail, Sandhill cranes and 6 deer. We checked out the Island unit but didn't see much cause the roads had No Vehicle signs. We also looked at the hart mine marsh. Seemed like a poor area for ducks. looks like it will take few trips to learn this area.
My Wister info is totally second hand. I haven't been down there since the dove opener. The guy that provided the info is a good guy and knows the area well but I'd just consider it one data point and call down there like you suggested.
Past experience has shown though, that if they flood the areas too late the birds aren't use to sitting in there (what we all count on for opening day). That results in that 10-15 minute flury first thing in the morning when you can't tell what kind of duck you're shooting at and then silence the rest of the day.
Re: what Hortuna said - probably a good idea. I've hunted Wister for about 15 years but it seems to be going down hill each year. At least on the things that they can fix. I know they can't magically produce more ducks for everyone but...
I was #99 in the sweat line on opening day last year and ended up with a refill spot about 2:00p. The beef I had wasn't being #99, it was that as guys were coming in checking in their limits and turning in their cards, it would take the guys working at the refuge about an hour or more to make those spots available again. One guy was busy checking out his buddy's new car stereo for about 30 minutes. Then they all went to lunch at the same time for an hour, etc. No huge big deal, more so just the fact that you could really tell that they could have cared less about getting guys out of the parking lot and into a blind. The other refuges I've been to in the southern half of the state almost seem to go out of their way (not always but most of the time) to point you in the right direction if you're new, give you a tip here or there, etc. Just a different attitude.
Re: a spot to consider for #2 - I'd look at 513 pretty hard. Pretty good bet you'll find a limit of ducks there. Do make sure to check the board and see that there's water there though.