Pictured is columnist Ken Barnes with a nice bevy of ducks bagged during a private hunt around the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuges.

Well, here we go again. Just like dove season, 67 years and counting. It sure doesn't seem like nine months since I was picking up decoys from my pond and storing them away.

Now I am cleaning them and getting ready for this year. I missed opening day this year for a good reason. My old pal Steve Merlo used to say it was not worth hunting until the first of December. And usually, he was right.

But, I skipped opening this year because my hunting partner Steve Newbrough, along with my two sons Mark and Steve, decided to try and plant some new duck foods into our pond this season. They began in August when we first had water available, and have been been tending to it ever since.

Too much water and some of the seeds do not grow well. So, there was not enough water on opening day for a hunt, and we are just letting nature take its course for another few days.

The good news is that the Kern National Wildlife Refuge really started off with a bang. Opening day showed just over a five bird average per hunter, and the following Wednesday it only dropped slightly to just over four birds.

Even though the majority of birds were teal and shovelers, there were a good number of big ducks like wigeon, pintail, and gadwall that were also bagged. And a few mallards.

This is probably a good time to give a great shout out to California waterfowl. They work hand in hand with all of the wildlife refuges throughout the state during the year to help enhance waterfowl projects. The following was printed in the last issue of their magazine about what they are doing to aid the Kern National Wildlife Refuge....

"Unit 2A. . .We reduced high and low spots to improve wetland management for food production, and increased floodable habitat by 100 acres, increasing hunter capacity by five. We installed a levee dividing the unit into separate north and south units, as well as water control structures to maintain efficient water usage and flow. We also removed invasive salt cedar vegetation to maximize food production within the unit. The units will be flooded for the 2019-2020 season and are scheduled to be open for hunting. The northern unit had excellent timothy growth take place while the southern unit is still recovering. Look for improved growth over the next three years. . . .Units 2 and 3. . . Last year we installed 10,500 feet of 30 inch pipeline to increase water efficiency and allow spring irrigation of wetland habitat. Water recirculation in spring/summer of 2019 improved greatly, producing more waterfowl food. The units are completely recovered and ready for the sesason."

And let's not forget California Waterfowl's upcoming "Kern County Sportsman's Night" on Saturday, Nov. 23. They will be honoring Jim Roberts with the CWA Service Volunteer Award of Excellence. Jim has devoted countless hours and energy promoting and funding waterfowl throughout the state.

For information contact Rich Christie at (650) 665-9740 or Tickets are also available at most local sporting goods dealers.

How about closing with a few remarks from the website Nor Cal Refuge and Rice Hunters:

"The opener was insane! Birds everywhere!"...."Great afternoon shoot on the Kern opener."...."Had a great opening weekend."...."Priceless memories with my son."...."Couldn't have asked for a better opening day."...."Yesterday was a good day at Sac Refuge. A good wind blowing helped me with my limit."

Well, now I'm starting to get a little excited. Hopefully, all these good vibes will blow south into our end of the valley in the coming weeks.

(2) comments


Look at those beautiful murdered ducks. It's a crime against nature. You dont need those ducks to survive. Shame on you.

Gene Pool Chlorinator


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