This is the second Flyway Series™ release from GUNNER, which features limited-edition colors that draw inspiration from North Americans iconic flyways. Kennel up for the season, sign up to grab the exclusive color while it lasts.
With a colorful and blended history of market hunters, "scissorbills," and gentleman's clubs all intertwined with excellent and diverse waterfowling, Los Banos is the oldest and one of the most storied areas for waterfowl in California. The vast, open skies, flooded fields, noisy wildlife, and thick tule stand in stark contrast — and welcome relief — to the nearby Silicon Valley.
Los Banos and the rest of the San Joaquin River basin have been an invaluable habitat for migratory birds and many other species for hundreds of years. Altogether, this area makes up the largest remaining block of wetlands in the Central Valley, encompassing 70,000 acres of private wetlands and 53,000 acres of state and federal lands.
While many associate bull sprig Pintails as the bird of choice in the grasslands of California, this environment is teeming with life, and home for 200+ species of birds. Within a relatively compact and accessible area, hunters can pursue 19 duck species and 6 goose species (including a few rare, sought-after varieties). The wetlands also host various species of turtles, raccoons, skunks, beavers and more.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Barton
Because the habitat is so precious to the there year round and to the birds that migrate through that area, it's important to a close eye on the delicately balanced ecosystem.
The Game and Fish Commission bought 3000 acres in Central Valley of California in 1929 that were to be sectioned off and saved, and slowly, other parts of habitat were purchased, until in 1954 the land was officially protected and designated as a Wildlife Area.
The Los Banos Wildlife Area is a fantastic destination for any waterfowl hunter. Hunters are able to experience the swarms of Cinnamon, Green-winged, and occasional Blue-winged Teal that pass through right alongside whistling pintails and dabbling mallards.
While you can be assigned a blind to hunt, many people choose to roam the designated areas to find their own spots to sit and call ducks. The wetlands inside this area can be dense with vegetation and perfect for calling in ducks from the sky.
The key to success here, like most places, is patience. With a 100+ day season and liberal limits, waterfowl here can be skittish and don't often fly in large groups. Take the time to scout for the species you want to pursue, and learn what areas the birds are using.
For every Los Banos kennel that our GUNNER customers purchase, we will be giving a portion of proceeds back to California DU chapter. In addition, when customers choose to donate $1 at checkout to the organization, GUNNER will equally match that donation in honor of the customer's gift.
California has lost more than 90% of its historic wetlands and over 95% of its historic streamside trees, shrubs, and ground vegetation due to urbanization, agricultural conversion, flood control, and invasion by nonnative plants. It is estimated that an astounding 99% of the historic native grasslands of California have been lost or have become dominated by nonnative plants. Habitat restoration and conservation is essential to preserving California's fish and wildlife resources. With more than two-thirds of California's land in private ownership, the future of the state's wildlife habitat is dependent on the conservation practices of the private landowner.
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