View Full Version : Mixed bag at Cottonwood

12-27-2010, 8:35 AM
December 26 began with a late start to Cottonwood which lies just South of Wister. I havenít hunted ducks for quite a while and donít have all the modern techno stuff that I read about. You know what I mean; a dog thatís smarter than I am, camo-wear, camo-gear, camo-gun, and a camo-trailer loaded with decoys. But, I used to jump shoot on the farm land along the Santa Ana river successfully and I remember distinctly, that ducks do fly over land as well as over water. The tricky part with jump shooting is to be patient and not get jumpy and shoot at a bird that could never be retrieved. There were hunters in blinds over a wide area that were blasting away at ducks and that kept them wary and looking for better routes to safe haven. A couple of other W.U. hunters I met had camped out Christmas day and night and said they had only taken 6 ducks in two days of sitting in a blind.

So, with a pocket full of tungsten purchased from Graf & Sons, my 16 gauge Wingmaster and a nearly empty day pack, I trudged off into the mud to hunt between the flooded, water fowl fields and the many irrigation canals and ditches that lined the farms in the area. It rained recently and the mud was ankle deep in too many places.

After a couple miles of walking in warm, humid weather under a clouded sky, finally, a single hen that had been floating in a canal amongst a bunch of coots took to the sky as the coots flapped and squawked back up the water way. One shot brought the duck back down to the middle of the canal which was only about eight feet wide and I made an easy retrieval. It was about noon and I decided to call an end to water fowling for the day.

Back at the truck I exchanged the tungsten for a box of number eight lead and headed to areas that I new harbored quite a few cotton tails and where I had jumped numerous quail in early September while dove hunting at Cottonwood. The bunnies didnít begin showing themselves until mid afternoon but there were no quail to be seen anywhere. Not even quail tracks in the mud. There were pheasant tracks, raccoon tracks, people tracks, dog tracks and tracks from hand pulled camo-carts loaded with decoys.

I had really thought I could limit on the bunnies, but the cloudy sky was darkening and I was, again, a couple miles from the truck and headed back with only two rabbits in my bag. About a half mile from the truck a bunny bounced across an open space 50 yards ahead and I went back into stealth mode, sneaking and stalking forward when suddenly two roosters bolted into the gray sky. The lucky one headed straight South and the other directly towards me and into my game pack. I checked my cell clock and it was 4:37. Plenty of legal shooting time left, but it was getting dark fast. And then, the quail showed. I dropped one, marked where it hit, and watched the covey fly into to a brown field of stubble on the wrong side of a deep impassable ditch. Wow. Another 50 yards or so down the muddy path and another covey of quail hit the sky but I had already emptied the Wingmaster; it was just to dark.

Maybe News Year Day Iíll go back

12-28-2010, 7:51 AM
Nice job I wish there was pheasents close by. Good luck on the next trip out