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Junior hunters bag ducks; New Hogan Lake gets health warning


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Last weekend, just when the ducks thought the season was all over and they could relax, junior hunters (ages 17 and under) got their chance.

This annual junior hunting event takes place one week after the regular season closes and usually provides lots of shooting, under adult supervision.

At the Hollister Club near Gustine, 25 youngsters bagged 100 ducks, four birds per hunter. The kids spent the night before the shoot at the club where they were given an orientation, followed by dinner, raffles, and gift bags. The next morning they were up early for breakfast before heading for the blinds.

This is an excellent opportunity for youngsters to gain interest in the sport. Private clubs throughout the state held similar events as well as state refuges.

On Sunday, only a few remained to shoot again while most headed home for the Super Bowl. For a bit of trivia, a survey taken from duck clubs in the Los Banos Complex, both north and south Grasslands showed the most harvested species over the last 10 years was Greenwing Teal, followed by the Northern Shoveler.

New Hogan Lake, near Valley Springs, has been added to the list of Mother Lode waters with health warnings. Others previously declared were Camanche and New Melones reservoirs.

The warning refers to mercury in the flesh and include bass, sunfish species, and channel catfish.

Full details on how much people of various ages should consume in one week can be found in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulation booklets for freshwater fishing, located in sporting goods stores.

I took a ride up to Pinecrest last Sunday with my son Eddie and was surprised to see the lake iced over. Lots of people were there, using the boat ramp as a sledding run.

More surprising was seeing people walking on the ice outside of the dock area and all the way to a rock island well beyond shore. Seems a bit risky as a slight rise in temperature could thin that ice sooner than expected.

I did not get a report from Glory Hole Sports this week but learned that the water level has risen 15 feet since last week and will continue to rise.

One ramp is open at Tuttletown and the cement ramp at Glory Hole Sports is open.