California Kicks Off Duck Season

Many California waterfowlers started their season this weekend, but as it turns out, our Golden State brethren take a kinder, gentler approach...

From this story in the Mountain View Patch:
The sound of gunshots alarmed some runners and cyclists on Stevens Creek Trail yesterday but, it turns out, the bullets were recreational. From around the Bay Area, hunters headed to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge early Saturday as duck hunting season began a half hour before sunrise. At one salt pond, where the Stevens Creek Trail met the Moffett Bay Trail, about 33 hunters had signed in before noon, and some of the "early birds" were already calling it a day. There were also plenty of cyclists, runners and walkers passing by on the trails. One hunter said there was room for everyone and there have been no incidents in the past.

But here's the good part... _

Eldon Hoge, a member of the hunting and conservation club Ducks Unlimited, was one of four men heading out on Saturday. They had come from all over the region: San Mateo, East Palo Alto, Hayward and Redwood City. The men had arrived at the refuge the night before at 2 a.m. and after a few hours they had only caught three ducks, a disappointing morning. The quota is seven per person. "On a good day we would have caught 28," he said._

I was watching bird dogs in Texas this past weekend so I missed my area's waterfowl opener, but you can be sure I'll be out there Saturday "catching" as many ducks as the law will allow me to catch. I have to admit, though, I'm still trying to figure out that whole post-catch release option. Last year I tried to release a few of the ducks I caught as sort of a goodwill gesture to the hunting gods, but every time I threw one up in the air the darn thing just came right back down. Am I doing something wrong? Can someone help me out here?