Warm and calm weather were hardly ideal conditions for last weekend's waterfowl opener. Of course, that didn't stop hundreds of hunters from turning out Saturday morning.
"It was a hot one last weekend but still a pretty good hunt," said Roger Wilbur, assistant manager of the Los Banos Wildlife Area. "We had fewer hunters than last year but a much better average."
At the Los Banos/North Grasslands Complex, the Volta and Gadwall units had the best results. At Volta, 210 hunters averaged 4.22 birds Saturday and 120 hunters averaged 2.84 Sunday. At Gadwall, the averages were 4.4 birds Saturday and 2.45 Sunday. The numbers drop from there, with Los Banos averaging 3.77 birds Saturday and 1.99 Sunday, and San Luis checking in at 3.77 birds Saturday and 2.97 Sunday.
Opening weekend results for the Mendota Wildlife Area were not available.
Waterfowl hunters typically enjoy a strong opening day, but it doesn't take long to bag most of the resident birds. Any leftovers typically hanker down and don't leave their nests during daylight hours.
This pattern typically holds until wintry weather forces migratory birds to flee their frozen habitats in the north.
Daily limits for licensed hunters are seven birds, which may not include more than two female mallards, two pintail, three scaup, two redheads and one canvasback.
Duck season ends Jan. 29 in the balance of the State Zone, which includes Fresno and Merced counties. In the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone (Kings, Tulare and part of Kern counties), the season ends Sunday before resuming Nov. 12 to Jan. 29. Details: dfg.ca.gov/hunting.
California Waterfowl is hosting its 25th annual Fresno-Clovis dinner Nov. 10 at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds. Tickets are $75 for adults and $110 per couple. Details: (559) 285-7881.