The daunting task of picking up all of the decoys and getting everything put away until next season is finally over!!! All 5 of the guide blinds are picked up, cleaned out, and ready for the work to start prior to next season.
All in all it was a different season in my opinion. At season end we had taken just under 1,500 birds with the guide service, which is a number considerably lower than that of a great season. Most of my fellow duck hunters said the same thing about the season being different! Some guys had the best season in years while others struggled to kill birds all season. I have been asked several times recently what I thought was the cause of the slow season for most hunters, when all of the reports were saying bird numbers were way up. In my opinion there are quite a few factors that led to a slow season. First of all we had the early December rains that flooded the bypasses twice. In my experience this almost always kills the rice as the ducks head for the big water and as the water recedes they find other places to call home. The big rains create habitat and food sources for the birds other than the rice fields and if the birds do not get hunted they will stay as long as the food sources hold out, and then head south! Another factor is all of the habitat that is being created up north in Washington and Oregon. For years now they have been establishing duck clubs and wetlands in the Northern states and are now short stopping alot of the migration that we used to see here in California. I personally know hunters that hunt Washington, Oregon, and Idaho all season long and shoot mostly mallards all season long. Their climates have been pretty mild the last few years and until the feed sources up there get covered in snow the ducks don't need to progress down the flyway. As long as they have food to eat and the rivers to sit on they will stay put. Of course we will always see a migration but it all depends upon the weather, rather we get a big push of birds or not. Just my 2 cents !!