I know that SoCalHunt is primarily about San Jacinto but I have, in the past, hunted Wister and I will do so again in the future if the right opportunity presents itself, and so should you, so this is an issue that should be of concern to all hunters in Southern California.
The Sportsman’s Catering trailer at Wister State Wildlife Area, near Niland, is at risk of not receiving a renewed lease to operate. It has been operating there for close to 50 years, and is a place to buy a cup of coffee, a breakfast burrito, hot chocolate, ammo, other various hunting gear and the all-important licenses and day passes. (I wish we had a similar outfit at San Jacinto). It has been a place that generations of hunters have patronized. I’m sure there are grandfathers that buy their grandsons a hot chocolate in the early morning hours as their grandfathers did for them when it first opened.
From what SoCalHunt has been told, apparently the lease was up this year. It originally went to ‘competitive bid’, and Frank Bailey (the owner) was the only one to place a bid. Frank advised that he has not received any official notification that the lease would not be renewed, but through phone conversations with Scott Sewell of the DFW, who is in charge of Wister, this appears to be the case.
From those conversations, Frank has learned it is not the DFW that is putting a stop to the lease. It is the “Lands Program People”.
Beside the obvious benefit for hunters utilizing Wister, the state benefits in a big way also. It is a fact for the year 2013, as a license agent, Sportsman’s Catering had over $20,000 in license and permit sales. Money going to the state. Frank has documented proof of this. Also, the sales of ammunition bring in Pittman-Robertson taxes as well.
The Sportsman’s Catering Trailer – (as you can see this takes up a miniscule part of Wister’s nearly 8,000 acres. Right next to the check station, which could be used for very little else).
This can only be interpreted one way, in my humble opinion. This is another shot at hunters in California. One more thing to make it that much more inconvenient for hunters to participate in their sport. Another nail in the coffin of hunting in California?
The only thing that can be done is to contact people that can have an influence on this situation. Please, if you do contact these people, be respectful and state you objections to the non-renewal of the lease. (Honey catches more flies then vinegar). Here’s some contact information for people that need to know our opinion:
Assemblyman Manuel Perez’s office (56th Assembly district. Assemblyman for Imperial County where Wister is). Contact name is Bianka Velez.
Her phone: (760)-336-8912. Her fax is (760)-336-8914.
Kari Lewis, Supervising Biologist - (916)-445-3789
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham
California State Lands Commission
Land Management Division
100 Howe Avenue, Suite 100 South
Sacramento, California 95825-8202
Chief, Land Management:
Brian Bugsch (916)-574-1940
State Lands Commission Small Business/DVBE Advocate Permits and Leases Application for Use of State Lands:
David W. Brown (916)-574-1870 fax (916)-574-1875
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to contact your own area state senator or assemblyperson and let them know what is going on and your opinion of it.