Hunting Ducks Below Sea Level

From midnight ’til dawn, rain beat down on the roof of our trailer. When you’re sleeping below sea level, and you’ve experienced delta flooding, you just don’t sleep all that well. Late December and early January are the time of year when winter rains threaten delta islands.

We’ve been hunting on Webb tract for well over thirty years and we’ve been flooded out once since we purchased in 1977. Fortunately we weren’t hunting on the day of the event, but it was duck season and we could have been. The levee break wiped out our 50′ trailer, washed away a bunch of decoys and wiped out our duck blinds.

Heavy rain, strong winds and high tides are a serious threat to delta islands – many of which have been under one time or another. Then there are those that didn’t recover – Frank’s Tract, Little Mandeville, Big Break, Liberty Island and Little Frank’s to name a few.

The duck and goose hunting is often at it’s best when the islands are most susceptible to going under. It’s an eery twist to add to your hunt. That’s why I told my hunting partner that we’d be moving our vehicles out to the levee before we began hunting. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

As we drove the flooded island road to the levee, we passed farm equipment, most of it parked on top of the highest sand hills. The delta farmers can’t afford to risk their equipment.

Ironically, ducks and geese were all around us, but we just couldn’t tough it out long enough to bring home more than a couple ducks. At 10:00 AM we were pretty well soaked and I opted to call off the hunt. We’ll have to try again next week. Maybe the weather will be more hunter friendly. (My hunting partner called me a whimp.)

As ships travel the channel to Stockton, they appear to be sitting on top of the levees.

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