While the opening day of duck season isn’t an official California holiday, most of us have it circled on our calendars much like we did as kids with birthdays and Christmas. That is why we here at California Waterfowl know that well-managed waterfowl habitat is the gift that keeps on giving. Working year-round to get ready for this day, CWA helped dozens of hunters celebrate opening day with a great overall take on our four properties that had opening day hunts.
As the newest addition to CWA’s growing stable of hunting lands, all eyes were on Sanborn Slough and it did not disappoint. Spread out over four of the seven blinds on the property, the 10 lucky hunters who got in on opening day brought down a total of 44 birds for a 4.4 average. The overall variety of the haul was spectacular as wood ducks lead the way with 11, followed by nine gadwall, eight mallards, seven shovelers and six wigeon. A pair of green-winged teal and a pintail rounded out the numbers.
“Our hunters loved the newly added hunting opportunities at Sanborn Slough, especially enjoying the boat ride, boat-in blinds, and working birds in a natural marsh,” said Jeff Smith, CWA’s Hunting and Education Programs Supervisor.
Butte Creek Island Ranch, located adjacent to Sanborn Slough, was the big winner on the day bringing in an excellent 5.75 average. The property, graciously donated by Diamond Benefactor John Simmons in 2016, was in the first year of a new configuration. Completely redesigned and engineered during the off-season, BCIR now features two large ponds with four evenly spaced blinds, one of which was floating. Wood ducks were the flavor of the day here as they represented 43 of the 46 birds taken.
Down at the Suisun Marsh, the 20 hunters who boated out to their blinds at Grizzly Ranch brought down a healthy 61 birds. The harvest there was mostly split between green-winged teal (28) and shovelers (25). Trios of both pintail and wigeon along with a pair of mallards filled out the bags. Mallards have made up a greater number of kills since opening weekend, though.
Over at Denverton, also in the Suisun Marsh, mallards were the second-most common bird in the bag (6) behind green-winged teal (11).
“We are energized about the 2018-19 waterfowl season,” Smith added. “The addition of Sanborn Slough with the combination of our other properties has elevated our Hunt Program to new levels.”