SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 10/29/14

As has been for the last couple years, SoCalHunt had to skip the opener due to work obligations. My usual hunting partner and I made an attempt to get out for a morning hunt last Wednesday, the first Wednesday of the season, but, long story short, we were too far down on the refill list and didn’t end up getting out. Rather then make a whole report on not going hunting I figured I’d just add it at the start of this one, (in case anyone was wondering why there hadn’t be a hunting report from SoCalHunt yet).

Having said that, today I ventured out to San Jacinto Wildlife Area for, hopefully, my delayed season kickoff with a solo afternoon refill hunt.

I got a later start then I wanted to and was thinking that this may be a quick round trip as usually, when I’ve been this late, the refill list is looooooong. As I approached the check station from Davis Road it appeared that there was only about 7 or 8 trucks parked in the lot. I though this looked promising and this feeling was confirmed when I went up to the check station and found I was signing up on the 7th spot of the refill list. Probably the lowest spot I’ve been on the list in quite a while, especially getting there this late.

I waited at the check station and in pretty quick succession several blinds checked in, as usual, some with near limits, some with just a bird or two and some with the dreaded proverbial black and white critter (skunk). It wasn’t long before the exact blind I was hoping for checked in, but unfortunately with no birds. Despite this I decided to take the blind and give it a shot as this hunter did say he had knocked down a couple birds but he’d lost them in the tules.

I headed out to the blind and was set up and hunting at exactly 12:02 which, coincidentally, was exactly six hours to quitting time at 6:02. I settled in and began to scan the sky for birds and enjoy the marsh. I didn’t expect much action as the prior Saturday’s bird count was one of the lowest in the last few years but, as I always say, you can’t kill them sitting on the couch.

As I waited I watched the local coots foraging in the shallows. An occasional frog could be heard croaking along the shores of the pond. I also had several visitors to the blind. A couple dragonflies rested on the branches that were part of the blind’s cover. There was also a damselfly that drifted by on a floating shotgun shell. One of the most disconcerting visitors was a wasp that kept buzzing my head every 10 to 15 minutes. Due to being in defense mode when he was around I didn’t attempt to get a picture of him.

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Coots

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Dragonfly 1

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Dragonfly 2

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Damselfly on a shell

About 3:00, I was sitting with the sun to my back and saw a small shadow zip across the pond in front of me. I looked over my shoulder and saw the tail end of a teal exiting the area. Those little rockets are good at slipping in and out of the area before you even see them.

As quitting time neared two widgeon appeared flying towards my blind. One of them pulled up sharply and was too high but the other went a little wide of the blind but still within range, although at the extreme outside of in range. I tried a shot but missed and the bird flew off towards an unoccupied area of the wildlife area.

A few minutes after that the alarm on my cell phone went off, indicating quitting time. So, as the sun slipped behind the hills I packed up my gear and headed for home. Although I didn’t get any birds I at least got a chance at one, which was actually more then I really expected today and, even if that didn’t happen, its always nice to be out on the marsh.

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Sunset

Hopefully my usual hunting buddy and I will be back next Wednesday for a shot at the sweat line. We’ll cross our fingers for a low draw on the computer so we can get in a long overdue morning hunt. Hope to see you out there at good old SJ.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 10/29/14

The waterfowl take for San Jacinto Wildlife Area for Wednesday was fairly slow under mostly calm, hot, sunny skies. The waterfowl take ticked up just slightly over Saturday’s very low average with Green Wing Teal holding on to the number one spot for number of birds taken and Ring Necks taking over the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Wednesday, 10/29/14 were as follows:

122 adults and 1 junior hunter bagged 12 Northern Shovelers, 18 Cinnamon Teal, 5 Gadwall, 4 Widgeon, 42 Green Wing Teal, 2 Pintail, 10 Redheads, 20 Ring Necks, 3 Buffleheads, 2 Blue Wing Teal and 5 Ruddy Ducks. Again no geese were bagged at San Jacinto on Wednesday. 48 coots were brought up to the check station on Wednesday. This resulted in an average take of an even 1.00 ducks per hunter and, with the coots included, 1.39 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservation cards 29 showed up on time.

Don’t forget to bring a buck or two or ten, whatever you can spare if you’re able, and put some in the box in the check station for the Junior Waterfowl Hunt. These donations go towards running the event, the food and some of the prizes for the junior hunters. The juniors are the future of our sport and the junior hunt is a great way to get them enthused about the sport.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFW Office or a license agent before your arrive at the refuge. These can be purchased on-line via the ALDS system also, however, you will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you immediately get them without the wait for the mail. No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this year. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 10/25/14

The waterfowl count for San Jacinto Wildlife Area took a nose-dive on Saturday under sunny, calm and hot conditions. Green Wing Teal were in first place for most birds taken with Shovelers taking the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 10/25/14 were as follows:

161 adult and 17 junior hunters bagged 23 Northern Shovelers, 20 Cinnamon Teal, 9 Gadwall, 7 Widgeon, 71 Green Wing Teal, 7 Mallards, 2 Pintail, 6 Redhead, 5 Ring Necks, 1 Bufflehead, 1 Wood Duck and 4 Ruddy Ducks. Once again there were no geese taken at SJ on Saturday. There were also 25 coots bagged on Saturday. This resulted in an average harvest of 0.88 ducks per hunter, or, with the coots included, 1.02 waterfowl for each hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservation cards 44 showed up on time.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFW Office or a license agent before your arrive at the refuge. These can be purchased on-line via the ALDS system also, however, you will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you immediately get them without the wait for the mail. No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this year. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 10/22/14

The waterfowl take for San Jacinto Wildlife Area for the first Wednesday of the season was fairly slow under 80+ degree bluebird skies. The waterfowl bag numbers dropped substantially with the number one bird taken for Wednesday being Green Wing Teal with Cinnamon Teal taking the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 10/22/14 were as follows:

131 adult and 1 junior hunters bagged 38 Northern Shovelers, 43 Cinnamon Teal, 7 Gadwall, 7 Widgeon, 57 Green Wing Teal, 2 Mallards, 2 Pintail, 26 Redhead, 19 Ring Necks, 1 Wood Duck and 3 Ruddy Ducks. There were no geese checked in at San Jacinto on Wednesday. 36 coots were also checked in on Wednesday. This resulted in an average take of 1.83 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservation cards 33 showed up on time.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFW Office or a license agent before your arrive at the refuge. These can be purchased on-line via the ALDS system also, however, you will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you immediately get them without the wait for the mail. No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this year. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 10/18/14

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area waterfowl take for opening day was good with some hunters scoring quick limits, the majority being teal. Shovelers and Cinnamon Teal tied for first place for most birds taken with Green Wing Teal coming in second.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 10/18/14 were as follows:

202 adult and 19 junior hunters bagged 150 Northern Shovelers, 150 Cinnamon Teal, 13 Gadwall, 39 Widgeon, 127 Green Wing Teal, 6 Mallards, 4 Pintail, 15 Redhead, 26 Ring Necks, 1 Wood Duck and 22 Ruddy Ducks. There were no geese bagged on the wildlife area Saturday. There were also 36 coots taken on Saturday. This resulted in an average harvest of 2.67 waterfowl for each hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservation cards 39 showed up on time.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFW Office or a license agent before your arrive at the refuge. These can be purchased on-line via the ALDS system also, however, you will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you immediately get them without the wait for the mail. No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this year. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Changes for Check-in / Sweat Line Procedures at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for the 2014/2015 Season

Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, has advised that there will be some changes and modernizations to the check-in procedures at San Jacinto for the Sweat Line drawing. These changes are meant to speed things up and ensure the “bucket drawing” will be a fair as possible for everyone.

The first, and probably biggest change, will be the fact that the good old 5-gallon white sweat line bucket, the one that, over the years, has held probably tens of thousands of those little slips of paper with the names of hunters hoping to claim the spots of reservation holders that didn’t show up, is gone. Gone are the days of trying to crumble your slip or fold it a certain lucky way or whatever you may have done to, hopefully, increase your chances of the searching hand finding your little slip of paper in the bucket first instead of last. However, it is only gone in a physical sense as, in the virtual world, it is still with us.

New procedure for the SJ Sweat Line will be signing up on a clipboard with a number by your name. When you sign-up what you will see is a number and four letters, A – D, plus a check box that says, “mobility impaired” (more on the “mobility impaired” later). Everyone in your hunting party has to have their name written on the sign-up sheet PRIOR to the drawing. There will be no adding on to your hunting party after the list goes in. Tom advised me that the cut-off time for signing up on the list will be 3:30 AM at the latest and he recommended that you get there by 3 AM to be sure you get on the list. This is because the Sweat Line drawing will be completed while the reservations are in the process of being given out. The Sweat Line drawing will now be handled by a computer app that generates random numbers and it will create a list based on the number of hunting parties signed up. In other words if there are 48 hunting parties signed up the SJ staff will simply enter the number 48 into the computer and it will generate a randomly numbered list. So, if you were number 22 on the sign-up list and the list that the computer generates (which will be posted on the window of the check station when it comes out) has number 22 in the 5th position, then you are 5th on the Sweat Line list. Same as if your slip was pulled out of the old bucket on the 5th draw. This should greatly speed things up because as soon as the reservation line is done the SJ staff can immediately start giving out the left over spots to the non-reservation holders listed on the computer generated Sweat Line list.

An important thing to note on this is that your name CAN ONLY APPEAR ONCE on the initial Sweat Line sign-up sheet. In other words, if you have 3 hunters in your party they can’t all put there names on the list and then list their two friends below them, thereby giving themselves three chances. Doing so will result in disqualification from the drawing. Also, if you’re going to go out in the morning, if you’re number’s low enough to get a non-reservation blind, and you have a friend coming to meet you later, you need to put your friend’s name on the initial sign-up list or your friend will not be allowed to go out and join you later in the morning.

As I mentioned before the Sweat Line sign-up sheet will have a check box that says “mobility impaired” next to each set names. If one of the hunters is mobility impaired then this box can be checked. What this results in is that the mobility impaired hunter, and his party, will go into the Sweat Line drawing and have just as much chance as anyone else of ending up anywhere on the computer generated random number list, however, the two mobility impaired blinds will only be given out to mobility impaired hunters. In other words, if the mobility impaired hunter is 23rd on the Sweat Line list when the SJ staff gets down to the mobility impaired hunter the mobility impaired blinds (if they haven’t been taken by a mobility impaired hunter with a reservation or higher up on the list) will be available for this hunter and his party if they want it. If the mobility impaired hunter wants another blind, however, they can choose any available blind. Tom advised that this year the mobility impaired blinds will only be reserved for the mobility impaired hunters until 1 PM. After that time, if anyone wants to refill into one of the mobility impaired blinds, if they are opened, any hunter will be able to use them. Tom said that if there is a mobility impaired hunter in the party that they need to bring along their DMV registration for their vehicle showing that they are mobility impaired or they will not be allowed out into the mobility impaired blinds. Tom advised that this requirement is per Fish & Wildlife regulations.

Here is the text of the regulations designating the requirements for a mobility impaired hunter:
MOBILITY IMPAIRED HUNTER REQUIREMENTS AND INFORMATION
A number of State Wildlife Areas and National Wildlife Refuges have hunting blinds designated for use by mobility impaired hunters. A “mobility impaired hunter” is defined as any person who has been issued a Department of Motor Vehicles ‘‘Disabled License Plate”; “Permanent Parking Placard Identification Card”; “Disabled Veteran License Plate”; or valid “Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting License” (FG form 1460). The blue plastic “Disabled Parking Placard” may not be substituted for the required “Identification Card” which bears the name of the mobility impaired person. Disabled hunters must provide the registration certificate for DMV issued disabled license plates.

One other change is that, in the past, the blind were limited to 4 hunters, 2 adults and 2 juniors. Now it will be 4 hunters, doesn’t matter if they’re juniors or adults.

Tom also wanted me to remind everyone that SJ has no free roam areas. It is very important that hunters stay in their assigned blinds for hunting as many of San Jacinto’s blinds are tightly spaced and hunting outside your blind could be disruptive of others’ hunts at best and dangerous at worst. The only allowable deviation from staying in your blind would be if you’re out chasing a cripple and then be extra careful of your background if you have to shoot at it.

As for the refill list. If someone comes in to refill, AFTER the sweat line drawing is done, (as I had to do for afternoon hunts all last season due to my work situation), nothing has changed there. You will just sign up on the refill list in the order you arrive.

On a final note Tom wanted me to remind everyone that there will be no harassment or bullying of any kind tolerated on the wildlife area. Also, there are usually at least a few children and/or women present so watch the inappropriate language. Let’s all show a little class and be mindful of the people around you. Failure to do so may result in loss of your hunting privilege for the day.

Tom wanted me to relate to everyone that these new procedures are experimental and there may be some wrinkles to iron out, some glitches to overcome, or some tweaking of the actual procedures to figure out so bare with San Jacinto staff as they implement these new polices.

Hopefully these new procedures will help things go smoother and quicker and be fair to everyone involved. SoCalHunt will be looking forward to a great season, as I’m sure everyone else is, so please be patient while the best wildlife area staff in the state works to make things even better at good old SJ. If anyone has any questions or comments about these new procedures Tom said feel free to call him at 951-236-3040.

Hope to see you out there this season!

Blind Brush-Up / Touch-Up Volunteer Work Day a Big Success

There was a good turnout on Saturday, September 27th for the San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s volunteer blind brush-up touch-up day. 7:00 AM found the volunteers waiting at the check station parking lot to help finish up the preparations for the upcoming duck season. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that about 20 volunteers, composed of hunters that utilize San Jacinto, were present and quickly dispersed to their assignments to work on the blinds.

Today’s work party was tasked with the final touch-up of the area’s blinds to finish brushing them up for the season to come. The volunteers also moved about 20 tons of gravel to, in effect, “pave” the walkways to the mobility impaired blinds. This was a huge task as most of the gravel had to be moved one wheelbarrow at a time and smoothed out with shovels. The result of all that work culminated in walkways that almost resemble the driveway in front of your house. Excellent work by the volunteers!

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Moving and smoothing the gravel.

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Even the youngsters did their share!

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The “driveway” (but not in front of your house).

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One of the mobility impaired blinds. (2)

The majority of volunteers had obligations after the work was done so the group passed on the usual post work party lunch at Casa Mexicana Restaurant.

The flooding of the ponds is pretty much near completion and there is already a good number of birds, including some geese, using the wildlife area so it’s really shaping up to be a good opener on October 18th!

Obviously the next thing on the calendar for San Jacinto Wildlife Area is opening day of the waterfowl season on the above-mentioned date. Everything is shaping up for a great season to come. The opening day reservations have already been posted by the DFW (hope you got one if you put in for the opener) so things are pretty much set to begin the season.

For those that follow SoCalHunt’s hunting reports, just so you know, I won’t be out on the opener due to work obligations…again…but myself and my usual hunting partner plan on being there for the first Wednesday of the season on October 22nd (hopefully with a reservation in hand if the ressi gods are kind to us).

Hope to see you out at San Jacinto some time this season.



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