San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Clean Up / Work Day Well Attended, Saturday, July 13th – Boy Scout Eagle Project Also Accomplished

On Saturday, July 13th, about 25 volunteers showed up at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking lot bright and early at 0700.  In addition to the volunteers some of the Boy Scouts from Troop 337 were in attendance to work on Riley Garrett’s Eagle Scout Project, which was to repair and upgrade the kiosks next to the check station parking lot.  Tom sent the volunteers out across the Wildlife Area to clean-up several of the hunting area’s blinds.  In addition to the general clean-up and trash and shell pick up some of blinds required trimming of natural growth that was overgrown and cleaning out tumble weeds and other plants that had taken over the inside of a few of the blinds. Due to this past winter’s heavy rains there was an unusual amount of vegetation this year.

Heading out to the blinds

Getting ready to work on Marsh A

Mystic Lake lookin’ good!

Working on the kiosks.

After working hard all morning the volunteer crew, Scouts and the SJ staff retired to the awning at the check station parking lot for a great lunch of Carne Asada, rice and beans along with soft drinks provided by the Boy Scouts.

A well-deserved lunch…yum!

Once again, Tom and his team at San Jacinto would like to give a big thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl.  Also, a big thanks to Riley Garrett and the other Scouts for their hard work upgrading the kiosks along with a big thanks to Shane Tucker and Carlos Gutierrez for lending their expertise and assistance on the hot roofs of the kiosks.   And finally, a big thanks to the Scouts again, from everybody, for providing a great lunch.

There will be at least two more blind brush-up/work days to finish getting things in ship shape for the coming waterfowl hunting season. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, August 24th and the one after that in late September (date to be announced).  I’ll make a separate post with all the details for the August 24th workday when I get all the info and the flyer from the SJ Staff, but for now, go ahead and mark it on your calendar.  The August 24th workday will concentrate on working on and brushing up the blinds, so palm fronds are needed.  If you can get a hold of any palm fronds any time before the work day you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for someone to be there so you can drop them off.  Please make sure you don’t bring in the type of palm fronds with the thorns on their stalks, unless you’re willing to strip off the thorns first. Those things wreak havoc with waders if the thorns aren’t removed.  Watch SoCalHunt for the “official” announcement and details of the next blind brush-up/workday.


2018/2019 Season Waterfowl Take Review For California From the California Waterfowl Association

The California Waterfowl Association (CWA) has published a California Season Review in their Summer 2019 magazine issue.  Some interesting numbers were revealed by the review.

The CWA published numbers for all refuges and wildlife areas in the state with comparisons to years past and to other refuges and wildlife areas.  I’ll just concentrate on the three areas that SoCalHunt regularly reports on, San Jacinto, Wister and Kern along with some general numbers of interest to us from throughout the state.

Starting with San Jacinto Wildlife Area CWA reported that the number of Cinnamon Teal bagged at SJ was #2 for the state with 967 birds.  Wister did really well in the state numbers race with Wister showing up #1 for Cinnamon Teal with 1,357 birds, #2 for Green Wing Teal with 2,287 birds and #2 for Pintail (despite a 2 bird limit this season past) with 1,893 sprig taken.  Kern didn’t make the top three for any bird species for the state.

For the Southern California Area, which includes the three areas SoCalHunt reports on, some of what CWA calls “notables” were Pintail were up 40%, Green Wing Teal were up 34% and Shovelers were up an incredible 100%!  CWA also noted that only Southern California had an increased harvest and an increase in average harvest per hunter for the 2018/2019 season.

As for geese statewide it was a dismal year.  White geese were down 70% with 2,650 harvested statewide, Specks were down 48% with 2,762 bagged statewide, and Canadas were down 38% with only 649 taken statewide.  This was a big hit in our part of the state for Wister as they usually do pretty good on the snows at Wister most years.

CWA also provided a graph of the last five seasons reflecting the weekly take of waterfowl for all wildlife areas and refuges in the state.  Not surprisingly it shows a spike the first week of the season then a nosedive the next week that gradually improves, for the most part (with slight exceptions here and there) as the season progresses, until it gets close to the take for opening week on the last week of the season.

The CWA also show a graph for the last five seasons showing the percentages for the top seven species throughout the state.  On that chart the take for the state for this past season was the second lowest of the five years, with the 2016/2017 season showing lower total numbers (by only 985 birds total) then this past season.  Both those seasons (16/17 & 18/19) had substantially lower numbers then the other three years on the graph.

So, the takeaway from all this is that Southern California did somewhat better this past season than the rest of the state, especially with the good old spoonies, which had a 100% increase.  Although, statewide, this past season was slower than others in the last five years.

If you’d like to see the entire report on the 2018/2019 season stats from CWA you have to get a copy of their Summer 2019 magazine.  As far as I can find this information is not online.  You can get a copy of the CWA magazine by joining the California Waterfowl Association by clicking on the link below.  It’s $35 for an annual membership and $15 for a Junior Member (12 and under) and includes four quarterly issues of the CWA magazine.  Money well spent IMHO.


San Jacinto Wildlife Area Blind Clean-up/Workday Rescheduled for July 13th, 2019

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Staff would like to invite hunters to participate in a Volunteer Clean-up/Workday at the Wildlife Area on Saturday, July 13th, 2019.  Volunteers are to gather at the SJ Check Station parking lot at 7 am.  This will be the first of probably three work days before the season so at this point there are NO palm fronds are needed at this time.  (But start thinking about where to get them around September).

Work will be assigned at the start of the morning.  A mid-day BBQ pot luck lunch will be held for the volunteers.  Work will continue after the BBQ.

Also, during this workday Boy Scouts will be engaged in an Eagle project repairing the kiosk near the entrance to San Jacinto.  Anyone who has roofing expertise and/or tools that could assist the Boy Scouts is welcome.

Please be prepared for the following:

Trash removal from hunt sites

General clean-up of hunt areas

Bring work gloves, sturdy boots, mud boots, covered shoes, waders (All ponds are still holding water)

Be sure to bring plenty of bottled water as the weather will be HOT!  Also, mosquito repellant would be a good idea.

Direction to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area

From the 215 South freeway,

-Exit Ramona Expressway going east towards Lake Perris, go 7 miles to Davis road, turn left and go up Davis road 2 miles to the Wildlife Headquarters office.

From the 79

-Exit Ramona Expressway going west towards Lake Perris, go to Davis road, turn right and go up Davis road 2 miles to the Wildlife Headquarters office.

Questions?  Contact Tom Trakes (951) 236-3040.

California Fish and Game Commission Sets 2019/2020 Season Regulations

The California Fish and Game Commission, during their April 17th meeting in Santa Monica, California, adopted changes to the waterfowl season dates and regulations for the 2019/20 waterfowl season.

Regulations adopted for the Southern California Zone (which will cover San Jacinto Wildlife Area):
Seasons: Ducks and Geese: October 19, 2019 through January 31, 2020.
Special Youth Hunt Days: February 8 and February 9, 2020. (San Jacinto’s Annual Youth Hunt will be February 8th, 2020).

Limits: Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7. Which may consist of 7 mallards, of which only 2 can be female; 1 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 redheads; 3 scaup. (Scaup may only be taken November 7th, 2019 through January 31st, 2020 – so be careful the first two and a half weeks of the season this year).

Geese: Daily bag limit: 23 of which 20 may be white geese and 3 may be dark geese.

Possession Limit Ducks and Geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

Black Brant (Although a “sea goose” I’ll add this because occasionally a few seem to show up at San Jacinto): November 9, 2019 – December 15, 2019. Daily bag limit: 2 per day. Possession limit triple the daily bag limit.

“Electronic” Spinning wing decoys (AKA – mojos) will be allowed from December 1st until the season ends (statewide) – non-motorized /wind-powered mojos are allowed all season. (NOTE – As far as I could find this was not mentioned in the season regulation changes at the Commission meeting so I’m listing the dates based on last season’s regulations (assuming no changes). This has been December 1st for as long as I can remember but check with the official regulations once they are posted on the DFW web site or the printed regulation books when they come out, probably in a couple of months but still well before the season).

Among the regulations that most affect San Jacinto hunters are, of course, the extended end date for the season. The federal framework allowed for the season to end on the last day in January and, due to overwhelming support from hunters who contacted DFW, the Commission adopted the extended season. This will end the season on Friday, January 31st but, in effect, for San Jacinto, it will mean only one more hunt day and the season ending there will be on a Wednesday, which would be January 29th. If you have a place you can hunt that is not on a state or federal refuge or wildlife area of course it means 5 more days for you to hunt but if you only hunt places like SJ it only results in one more day, but one more hunt day is 100 times better than not having the extra day. This extended season will also have the effect of pushing the annual Junior Hunt at San Jacinto (and everywhere else) back a week to Saturday, February 8th, which will likely mean a little better hunting for the juniors. Also, as a result of the extended season, Scaup, which have usually opened two weeks after the season opens will actually open 2 ½ weeks after the season opener, which will actually be the day after the third Wednesday of the season (opens November 7th, 2019, a Thursday) This means there will be 6 hunt days at SJ were Scaup are verboten (not allowed for the non-German speakers) instead of the usual 4 hunt days at the beginning of the season. Another change, one that Southern California hunters won’t be happy with is that this season the Pintail limit was dropped to 1 bird. Unfortunate for us in this part of the state as sometimes pintail are the most numerous bird harvested, even with last year’s 2 bird limit, especially down at Wister. Other than that, most other regulations stayed pretty consistent with last season’s regulations.

So, there you have it. The regulations are set, and San Jacinto Wildlife Area will soon be on the way to become ship shape for the 2019/2020 season. (Don’t forget to pitch in on the upcoming workday on July 13th and/or the subsequent work days if you’re able – Info will be posted here when I receive it). AND Mystic Lake is back and completely full which should go a long way to enhance the hunt results at good old SJ!

This above information is provided as a general guide only. Although they haven’t updated it to the newly adopted regulations when they do, probably in a month or two (still well before the season) please check the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website at:

…or printed regulation book (available probably not long after they update their web info at most license agent locations) for official information and/or for regulations in other waterfowl zones in the state.

Hopefully, we’ll get some weather this year up north early in the season to push the birds down to us and we can all look forward to another great season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Work day Scheduled for Saturday, May 11th CANCELED

The work day / clean up that was scheduled for the San Jacinto Wildlife Area this coming Saturday, May 11th has been CANCELED due to circumstances.  The new date for this work day is now set for Saturday, July 13th.  Mark your calendars and hopefully we’ll have details soon about the July 13th work day.  This post is just to get notice out there to any that were going to attend this Saturday so they are aware of the cancelation ASAP.

Quick Notice – Clean Up Day Set for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday, May 11th (details to come)

Just a heads up so people can get this on their calendar…Since it looks like the rains are finally over a Clean Up day is scheduled for San Jacinto Wildlife Area for Saturday, May 11th. I’ll post details when I get them…

San Jacinto’s 25th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Rousing Success, February 2nd, 2019

To start this off I want to say that there were so many great sponsors, volunteers, and so many that supported the Junior Hunt event with prizes, assistance, and the food they deserve another big thanks from all of us.

As the top-off to the season, the Junior Hunt is a great event and the Junior Hunters had some good waterfowl hunting and also came away with some great prizes at the lunch and giveaway at mid-day.

As is tradition, the Juniors and their adult accompanists were treated to a great breakfast of pancakes and sausage with coffee and hot chocolate.

After all the Juniors and their accompanying adults fueled up on breakfast, they headed out to the Wildlife Area to set up and wait for the starting horn to sound.  The hunting was pretty good this year and many waterfowl were brought into the check station.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here…  )

At lunchtime, everyone retired to the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize giveaway.    Lunch was great with the Juniors and their adults downing BBQed hamburgers and hotdogs and some fantastic cakes provided and decorated by Tom Trakes’ wife and daughter, Cindy and Bonnie.

This year’s Junior Hunt was dedicated to the memory of Richard Seville, one of the SJ regulars, that sadly passed away early in 2018.

This year Tom’s daughter has produced a video slideshow covering San Jacinto Wildlife Areas 25th Annual Junior Hunt Event.  Rather than run through a list of prizes and happenings at the event I’ll let the video do the talking this year.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and there’s a bunch of them in the video.

(Video here:  )

After the raffle, many of the Junior Hunters went back to their blinds to finish out the day hunting.

The Junior Hunt was an outstanding event, as it usually is.  As I’ve said every year, and will repeat again as I fervently believe it, the Juniors are the future of our sport, so it is vital to keep them interested and involved in waterfowl hunting.  San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt definitely goes a long way towards that goal every year.

Tom told me he’d like to thank, as well as I would myself, everyone who donated prizes, food, labor or anything else towards this event.  We all should also thank the San Jacinto crew for, as usual, going the extra mile to help make this event happen. We all appreciate all your hard work.

So, another Junior Waterfowl Hunt is in the books.  Check out the pictures below of the 85 Juniors Hunters that participated this year and the beautifully decorated cake Tom’s wife and daughter worked so hard on.  Also, don’t forget to view the wonderful video of the event that Tom’s daughter worked so hard on. (link above within the article).  This was a great event to celebrate the 25th annual waterfowl hunt and a great kickoff to the next 25 years, and beyond for the Junior Hunters.

Great lookin’ Cake!

The Junior Crew!

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