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Duck season dawns: Clear skies and warm temps not ideal, but hunters still find some birds
The weather was as advertised for the duck hunting opener on Saturday, as hunters around Colusa County were met with temperatures over 80 degrees and sunny skies.
Duck hunters are usually outfitted in waterproof jackets, neoprene waders and a couple of pairs of wool socks.
Last weekend, they would have probably been better off in a tank top, shorts and flip-flops.
A couple of bluebird days on Saturday and Sunday didn't stop everyone from climbing into their blinds, however. And no clouds, no rain and no wind did not necessarily translate into no birds.
"From what I heard, a lot of guys did well on opening day. Of course, things slowed down quite a bit on Sunday," said Richard McKey of Kittles' Outdoor.
"We didn't have any wind this weekend. Probably the real reason (people did so well) was because (the ducks) hadn't been shot at yet. By Sunday, they had already gotten wary."
Mike Herrick, who has been duck hunting for 48 years, made it out to his blind on Sunday and saw the same thing McKey described.
"Yesterday around this time, there were birds everywhere. There's not a bird in the sky now," Herrick said on Sunday. "This is the perfect weather for me. Maybe 10, 20 degrees cooler, but sunny still. I don't like coming out in the rain."
There was plenty of time for conversation in the blind. Herrick discussed his favorite part of duck hunting: "Watching the birds and the dogs work, trying to get the birds to decoy in."
And described one of his best duck hunting memories:
"Another dog of mine made — literally — a mile-long retrieve. She wouldn't go where I wanted her to, and I left her out there. Pretty soon after I got back to the camp, she came strolling up with a mallard in her mouth."
It was the kind of day where a person might get distracted and miss the shot. But when a group of four widgeon flew over, low, Herrick was ready. He dropped two of the four, narrowly missing the triple.
"If you'd had a gun, we probably would have got all of those," Herrick said.
Herrick passed up shots on a number of higher birds and more than once kicked himself for not taking a chance.
"I should have shot at that big group," Herrick said, "Oh, well, I'm sure I'll have more shots this year."