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Waterfowl season looks promising
Rice fields and natural wetlands around the County are flooded as the opener of the 2013-14 Waterfowl Season draws near.
"The season could prove to be successful, even with the less-than-foul weather in the forecast. Two of the three main ingredients are in place — water and birds," said Patrick Kittle of Kittle's Outdoor via email.
"The waterfowl have been migrating to the Sacramento Valley since mid-September. The water in the Tule and Klamath Basin is in short supply, forcing the early birds to continue south into our neck of the marsh," Kittle said.
"Those hunting clubs that have the head start with flooding, decoys, and a well covered blind should see some activity this weekend."
According to Kittle, the white-fronted geese have been showing up in large numbers.
"We've been hearing them fly over town for the last 30 days."
Some regulation changes are set to take place this year. Some of the changes, per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, are:
• The limit on Canvasbacks has gone up from one duck to two.
• For white geese, the limit is up to 10 per day from six.
• The possession limit is now triple the daily bag limit for both ducks and geese, whereas in years past it has been double the daily limit.
Like last year, there is a late season for geese which will be Feb. 15-19. In the Sacramento Valley Special Management Area, the white-fronted goose season will be closed at that time.
In the special management area, the white fronted goose closure was extended 7 days, ending Dec. 21, a week longer than last year.
Government shutdown will impact area’s federal refuges
Three of the four major refuges in our area might not be open this weekend, if the government shutdown continues. The Colusa, Delevan, and Sacramento refuges will all be closed if there is no change with the impasse.
"The unfortunate hunters that have an opening weekend paid reservation for any of these hunting areas may be out of luck due to the current political posturing," Patrick Kittle of Kittles' Outdoor said.
And according to Kittle, it's not just affecting the area's hunters. It has an effect on people who wish to drive out simply to observe the wildlife.
"Even the unmanned public drive-through tour route and observation area are under lock and key," said Kittle. "If one was able to drive through the Colusa Refuge, you would see all of these (white-fronted) geese, along with snow geese and many species of mallards."
For those hunters who have reservations at the Little Dry Creek Refuge, which is run by the state, their opener will not be impacted, regardless of the status of the shutdown.