California Duck Hunting Kern Refuge
-2016 Kern Refuge Reports
- Color Kern Refuge Maps
- Local Duck Hunting Clubs and Blind lease, sales, and rentals
-Access to 80 California Hunting Ranches and Hunting Clubs for one monthly fee
LOST HILLS — There’s lots of golden opportunity for ducks in the Golden State, and one place that almost always produces good results for duck hunters is Kem Refuge NWR. ln fact, hunters average more birds in the bag here than on any other public refuge in the state! Last year, the hunters who showed up on opening day averaged 4.2 ducks per gun, out of a possible 7.0. We don‘t know what happened to the other .8 percent of the duck, but not bad shooting for public land!
Apparently, the only guys who didn’t get their limits were those too stiff from sitting in line to point a shotgun properly. The key to whether or not there are ducks at Kern at any time during the season is whether or not there is a steady water supply. In years past, , the refuge didn’t open until midseason, due to a lack of available water. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel at Kern refuge have to scramble every summer to make sure there will be water in the fall.
Kern limits the number of hunters to the number of ﬂooded acres, and since water just started arriving , there isn’t much in the way of water — yet. But just you wait. Last year, about 20,000 ducks showed up by the latter part of the season, and there are a lot of ducks already on the surrounding area. Once they get wind of the freshly- ﬁooded ﬁelds over at Kern, they’ll be on their way. Stay tuned to receive our Refuge Hunting REPORT
At least for the ﬁrst part of the season, it’s a good idea to have a reservation to ensure yourself a spot on the refuge. Unlike some other overcrowded public refuges, Kern only allows one hunter per 20 acres, so that means relatively low competition and not as many problems with neighbors skybusting next to your blind. The ﬁrst area to be ﬂooded this season will be Unit 1, the free-roam area.
In the spaced- blind area last year there were two or spaced blinds that had real good hunting. Hunters who work the area do best with a ﬂat- bottom boat. There are lots of standing cattails and other marsh cover and food grasses to provide incoming ducks. Last year some hunters were com- plaining the brush was too thick. This year there have been some control burns in Unit 1 to create pathways for ducks and hunters. Some of the spaced blinds are likely to be ﬂooded by opening day too.
Refer to our Refuge Hunting Map, and you will see that the northern blinds are the most productive, although if you get a spot in blinds 2, 7, 8 or 12, you should be sitting pretty. Wire structures provide a ready frame for your own brush. You can collect it on the way in from the parking lot or bring your own. If you hunt later in the season, blinds will have been used several times, and if the cover’s good, you may want to leave it alone. Ducks that have been on the refuge for several days will be used to how the blinds look, and might be more wary of changes than anything else. Success is pretty high here, and sawy hunters usually limit out. Stay tuned to receive our Refuge Hunting REPORT.
What are their secrets? Be patient and let the ducks work the decoys.. Don't unload your shotgun at the ﬁrst sign of movement. Make sure the ducks are in over your decoys and that you can pull ’em down. You can get away with as few as eight if you follow basics like setting up with the wind at your back and creating a landing pocket by placing decoys in a “J” or hook pattern.
Don't be afraid to shift your decoys if the wind changes. Most ducks will land directly into the wind. How many decoys you use will also depend on which part of the refuge you hunt from. In the spaced-blind area, you can opt or smaller decoy sets. In the free-roam area, it may take a bigger spread to pull birds in from competing sets. A more subtle small pond approach to decoy sets is usually most effective here. The wettest parts of the refuge usually hold the most mallards, and you’ll ﬁnd the teal and shoveler just about everywhere. Refer to our Refuge Hunting Map for more details.
Kern Refuge gets a mix of teal, shoveler, pintail and mallard. Most hunters here are out for pintail, and if you want to target sprig, head for the central-to-west portion of Unit 1 ..Refer to our Refuge Hunting Map The wettest parts of the refuge usually hold the most mallards, and you’lI ﬁnd the teal and shoveler just about everywhere. Best times to hunt Kern are opening week and from the first week of December through the end of the season. The build-up of birds toward the season close can be phenomenal... sometimes as many as 70,000 birds are counted on the refuge and in the surrounding valley. ‘ Late-season hunting is also better because the guys still out in the ﬁeld mean business and aren’t likely to cause problems for fellow hunters. Stay tuned to receive our Refuge Hunting REPORT
2016 California duck hunting clubs, hunting ranches, public and even private fishing
Access to ALL 80 California Hunting Ranches and Duck Hunting Clubs for one monthly fee
Hunting private lands in California has several advantages over the public areas. Chief among these are much less hunting pressure, better forage and water supplies and easier vehicle access.
We use a hunting map site that has over 200 private ranches, with or without guides Over 45 Duck hunting clubs you can use, see our site www.ranchhuntfish.com
Click on a county for Hunting Clubs & Private Ranches:
It's free, and get you access to our free map site too. Here is a copy of the home page: