State owned Volta Wildlife Area has not changed much in the past 25 years. The trailers parked in the parking area are a nice addition. Twenty-five years ago only Gray Lodge offered hunters a place to park trailers. Now, many of the public hunting areas allow trailers to be parked for the season.
I inquired as to how many hunters were signed in and found out that 66 hunters were in the field, with a maximum of 150. Didn’t sound crowed.
The marsh has not changed much. I thought about visiting parking lot 2 and the pond 10 area, an area I’ve hunted in the past. Instead I decided to hunt an area where there were no other hunters. After parking in Lot 3A, I walked to a small pond where a few shovelers took flight. Seeing no other obvious opportunity, I found a dry cattail patch for me and another for Lola. I carried two mallard decoys and that was enough to attract a few spoonies and I shot one while missing another.
With prospects for more action or better ducks (mallards) looking slim, I picked up my decoys and walked the area to decide whether to stay or move. Moving looked like the best option.
Back at the check station, I asked Nancy, the attendant how many hunters were hunting out of Lot 2. She said twenty and that seemed like more than I wanted to compete with.I concluded that the day would be more interesting if I moved to another refuge. I had all day to hunt and maybe I’d be better off in the afternoon.
One of the advantages of holding a season pass is that you can hunt two or more refuges a day without paying more than once. The cost of a Waterfowl Annual Type A season pass is $146.62 – otherwise you must pay $18 for a one-time admission. http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/hunting/huntdescrip.html
I elected to check out Salt Slough and the San Luis Units. Nancy let me know that I could come back and re-enter as long as I did so before 3:00 PM. Another option.