MyOutdoorBuddy Hunting News Regional Directory
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 





Products-Services


Website of the Week

                                




Duck hunt gone awry

Article and photos by Frank Galusha
11/03/14 -- As I reported yesterday in my article about fishing the Upper Klamath, last week’s weather forecast was as fickle as any I’ve seen. Wednesday was to be a calm day with maybe a sprinkle in Siskiyou County. Thursday promised strong winds. Therefore, it made perfect sense to me to take a look at Butte Valley Wildlife Area and the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area which are open on Wednesday. From there I could go duck hunting at Lower Klamath NWR on Thursday.

As reported here my plans changed. I ended up hunting at Lower Klamath on Thursday, which turned out to be a complete bust. There was no wind as was in the forecast two days before and only a few birds flying but I did get the opportunity to hunt one of the Stearn’s units again.

marsh with ducks, photo by Frank Galusha
A view from Unit 4, looking northeast after the storm had passed. One Winduk is barely visible behind a tule in the center left. That’s the back of Kohle’s head in the foreground.

Unfortunately, I can’t hunt out of those pit blinds. I’ve never been willing or able to wade that far through the mud to reach them. The pits are also too deep (I can’t get my elbows above the rims comfortably) and they usually lack enough cover to hide my preferred means of access (my Sear’s SportsPal canoe) the same one I’ve used since 1980.

Long before daylight I was able to find a stand of tules close to the pit. The stand was almost big enough to conceal me, my Black Labrador, Kohle, and the canoe.

As I always do, I studied the unit carefully and watched the birds and their flight patterns. I had seen only a few spoonbills but I noticed they were shying away from the raised pit blind. I also picked out a better stand of tules in case I’d ever get the chance to hunt there again. I marked it on my GPS.

I stayed at the Merrill Motel that night and got almost 8 hours of solid rest and when I woke at 3 a.m. I took Kohle outside for a pee. When I opened the door I was smacked in the face with a 30 to 40-MPH wind. I had known rain was in the forecast but it was supposed to be calm. The storm predicted for Thursday was a day late so instead of going back to bed, I quickly got ready to get into the Lower Klamath “come” line. I arrived there first and got my choice of Unit 4 – but after that luck failed me.

marsh with ducks and hills in the background, photo by Frank Galusha
Stern’s Unit 4 Pit Blind is barely visible under the peak and just behind a patch of tules beyond my decoys.

The wind from the south was so strong I could not paddle against it. The wind blew my cap off but I speared it quickly with my paddle. It was wet but that wouldn’t matter as rain was coming. The cloud cover and darkness obscured the stars, the moon and the horizon. My GPS worked for a few seconds and then died. I was quickly blown way off course, which was clearly marked. In minutes I found myself pushed up against the northeast corner of the unit. I was really not far from my destination but paddling toward it was hopeless and my flashlight lit up only about a 75 yards. With all the tules bent down with the wind, it was hard to identify any familiar places. I had to get out and pull the canoe toward the southwest but I never found the pit blind, my previous blind or the spot I had picked out before.

I had lost much time. I could see daylight was less than 30 minutes away so picked out a stand of tules with the wind at my back, put out my decoys, hid the canoe as best I could and crawled in. I put up my portable blind, sat down on my gun turret – a cushioned, rotating bucket seat that gave me almost 270 degrees of visibility and shooting coverage.

The wind was still blowing fiercely and my Winduk spinning wing decoys were whirling madly. I knew more birds would be in the air – and they were. I saw dozens of flights but most stayed high and far away. One or two good opportunities got past me in the first two hours but other than a quick and successful shot at what turned out to be a spoonbill, nothing really came within range. Perhaps I wasn’t hid well but I noticed I was not alone. The hunters in the other units were only getting a few shots themselves.

Then the wind stopped and it began to rain, heavily at times. It kept pouring from just before 9 a.m. until I pulled out at 12:30 p.m. When I left it was still sprinkling and I had only two spoonbills. I had fired only six or seven shots. There were other species of birds flying but they remained just far enough away I couldn’t identify them. I saw very few large birds so I suspect I was seeing gadwall, widgeon and teal. I didn’t see any pintails.

duck marsh with reeds, photo by Frank Galusha, One of the ponds holding my decoys in Stern’s Unit 4 at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge
One of the ponds holding my decoys in Stern’s Unit 4 at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge

I think my hunt went awry simply because there is too little water and too few birds on the Lower Klamath side. I heard a few more shots coming from Unit 6A. I’m sure the hunters were doing much better in Sump 1B on the Tule Lake side. Averages probably ranged from four birds to full straps.

Anyway, that’s exactly how it was. No hype or exaggeration! It was simply one of those days every unattached hunter gets to enjoy on public refuges. Yes, I said “enjoy” because despite all the hard work and tough luck, as Tracy Byrd wrote in the song The Truth about Men, which is doubly true about duck hunters, “You know it's gonna happen again!”

More Hunting News

Conservation Key to Future of Hunting

11/14/16 -- At its core, conservation seeks sustainability of wildlife and wild places. Ethical hunters want wild animals to flourish in their natural habitat as much as possible, and will act on their behalf in order to protect and conserve... Full Story

​I Was an Indoor (Outdoor) Slave

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
04/07/16 -- I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all those kind folks who sent me "get well" cards and flowers during my recent, self-imposed stay at the Broken Antlers Rehabilitation Clinic. I'm especially indebted... Full Story

Nash Buckingham

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Theophilus Nash Buckingham (1880-1971) was an American author and conservationist from Tennessee. He is known for being an avid shotgunner and wingshot, and a best-loved outdoor writer of his time... Full Story

How much venison do hunters harvest?

Venison Bourguignon (Venison Stew), photo by Daniel Bledsoe, Food.com
06/17/15 -- The Dallas Safari Club (DSC) intends to find out. A study launching in 2015 will measure the actual amounts of venison and other wild protein harvested annually in North America. Researchers will assess the nutritional... Full Story

Pups & Partridges on the Calapooia Prairie

Liesl, 11 month old pudelpointer, photo by Gary Lewis
By Gary Lewis
02/18/15 -- They say a great pointing dog only comes along once or twice in a hunter's lifetime. Some dogs don't have the heart or the desire. Others don't seem to have the nose or the brain. We brought home our pudelpointer in... Full Story

DSC convention goers raise $1M in 1 minute

01/19/15 -- Responding to a heartfelt appeal for youth outdoor education, DSC convention goers on Saturday night raised $1 million in about 60 seconds. The fast flurry of fundraising was a highlight of the 2015 DSC convention and expo... Full Story

It’s Not over Till the Lady Sings

mountain lion on rocky edge, photo courtesy of UDWR and Carrie Wilson, CA DFW
By Gary Lewis
01/19/15 -- If you want to avoid being attacked by a mountain lion, conventional wisdom says, you should travel in groups. If you encounter a mountain lion by yourself or with children, stop and make yourself look as big as possible... Full Story

The buck we didn’t get and two we did

Tyler Low with his 3x4 buck shot at 100 yards with a Weatherby Vanguard .300 Winchester Magnum. Photo by Kyler Olson
By Tyler Low
08/10/14 -- “Can you see him? He is just below the sky line to the left of the big live oak.” The respectable three-point stood only 500 yards away, but my hunting partner, Kyler Olson, couldn’t quite get an eye on him... Full Story

Where Are All the Pheasants?

Sacramento Valley Pheasant, Steven T. Callan, Where Have All the Pheasants Gone
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
The other day a neighbor stopped by my house after two days of hunting pheasants in the Orland area. He said that he and his golden retriever, Milo, had probably walked ten miles and only flushed three birds. Knowingthat I had grown up... Full Story

Ham on the Hoof

Article and photos by Gary Lewis
12/17/13 -- We were climbing a steep gravel ranch road in Charlie’s Toyota when we saw it, as big as a full-grown bear and on a dead run. Charlie hit the brakes and switched off the engine. There was no time to load the rifle. The shaggy, gray... Full Story

Never say never

Never say never, rifle buk, Francisco Garcia, MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
Most of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue, and I would say persistence is a virtue. If you want to fill your deer tag each season you have to put your time in. If you don’t give in and hunt hard you should be... Full Story

Hunting trip gone bad

Deer holding tight in cover during times of heavy hunting pressure as I was about to find out. Francisco Garcia hunting story. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
If you asked me what I’d rather be doing, most of the time I would emphatically say, deer hunting. For me nothing gets the juices flowing and the imagination spinning like the arrival of bow or rifle season for deer. When... Full Story

 

Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at MyOutdoorBuddy.com.

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports

Destinations

So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries, MyOutdoorBuddy.com

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to MyOutdoorBuddy.com for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.

Facebook

A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: MyOutdoorBuddy.com thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of Tule-Lake.com, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.