Great Turnout for San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Brush Up / Work Day, Saturday, August 18th

On Saturday, August 18th, SoCalHunt was on hand with about 30 other volunteers ready to get-r-done at San Jacinto’s first volunteer blind brush-up / work day for the upcoming season.

The volunteers met at the check station parking lot bright and early at 0700 and Tom sent everyone out across the Wildlife Area to brush-up several of the hunting area’s blinds.  In addition, some general clean up was done around and inside some of the blinds, some of which included trimming natural growth that was overgrown and cleaning out tumbleweeds and other plants that had taken over the inside of a few of the blinds.

Tom giving us our assignments

Heading out to the blinds with some palm fronds

Brushing a blind (before)

A brushed-up blind (after)

The SJ staff is starting to flood some of the ponds and there were a lot of ducks already utilizing the wildlife area.  Things are looking good for the upcoming season.

Some of the Wildlife Area’s ducks

After working hard all morning the volunteer crew and SJ staff retired Marcello’s Pizza in Nuevo for a great lunch.

Some of the crew at lunch!

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 get things in ship shape for the upcoming waterfowl season.

There will be at least one more blind brush-up / work day to finish getting things in ship shape for the quickly approaching 2018/19 waterfowl hunting season. This one is scheduled for Saturday, September 22nd and volunteers are to meet at the check station parking lot at 7:00 am.  Mark it on your calendar!  Hope to see at least as many volunteers for this next work day as we had on this one.  It’ll make things go quick and easy as more volunteers means less work for each volunteer.

(Info on the next Blind Brush-up day here: )






Federal Duck Stamp Now Available Online Through California Waterfowl Association

As you well know, if you’ve ever hunted waterfowl before, one of the legal requirements is to have in your possession, as part of your license, a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or, as everybody calls it, a Federal Duck Stamp.  Sometimes these are hard to find.  US Post Offices are supposed to carry them but many times they either don’t have any or have (or had) very few and are sold out.  In addition, many sporting goods stores will carry a supply of the stamps, but you never know when they might run dry on them too.

The solution is to get your Federal Duck Stamp online from the California Waterfowl Association (CWA).  As a convenience to hunters every year the CWA has online sales of the stamps for members and non-members alike.  They do charge a $5 handling fee, which brings the total cost of the stamp to $30 but then you don’t have to run around town looking for one, it just shows up in your mailbox in a week or so.

Speaking of sales to non-members, if you’re not a member then while you’re at CWA’s website buying your stamp it would be a really good idea to sign up as a CWA member.  Besides a great bi-monthly magazine they usually have some type of promotion they’ll send along to you (right now it’s a nice CWA baseball cap) and you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping ducks and duck hunting in California specifically.  If you hunt ducks in California, you should be a member of CWA.

Just remember that CWA doesn’t have an unlimited supply of Federal Stamps, although I’m sure they buy a big block of them, so don’t wait too long to get yours.  You’ll also have to make sure to give them enough time to send it to you in the mail so like a week before the season might present a problem if you’re going to hunt the opener.  Get it now and you’ll have plenty of time.  Below is the link for CWA’s page for online sales of the Federal Waterfowl Stamp.

Also, like I said before since you’re there, here’s the link to the page to join CWA.  $35 a year or, for Junior hunters (under 18 years old) $15 well spent.

Hope to see you out there opening day with all your licenses, stamps, and passes so no one has to get turned away at the check station.



California Department of Fish and Wildlife 2018 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey Shows Duck Numbers Up!

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released the results of their 2018 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey and, for the first time in 6 years, the total population of waterfowl in California is now over half a million.  That’s a 39% increase over last year!

I’ll just give you a couple highlights since there’s really no reason to plagiarize DFW’s entire report:

(from the DFW report on the survey)…“The 2018 breeding population of mallards increased from 198,392 in 2017 to 272,859 (an increase of 38 percent). Mallards are the most abundant waterfowl species in the state, followed by gadwall (102,637) and cinnamon teal (78,498).

Other ducks that increased in number include northern shovelers, wood ducks, redhead and canvasback. Overall, the total number of ducks increased from 396,529 to 549,180 (an increase of 39 percent).”

If you want to read DFW’s entire report on the survey you can access at the following link…

If you’d like to read the entire Breeding Population Survey Report you can access that at the link below…

So, good news for the coming season.  Hopefully, we’ll get some weather early in the season to drive the birds down to our end of the state and this will bode well for a great season at San Jacinto.

Don’t forget the upcoming Volunteer Work Days at San Jacinto on Saturday, August 18th and Saturday, September 22nd.  With the increased bird populations, it’ll be more important than ever to get the Wildlife Area and the blinds ready for the upcoming season.  You can get details on these upcoming workdays in SoCalHunt’s report at the link below…

Hope to see you out there!

Volunteer Clean Up / Brush Up Work Days Set for San Jacinto Wildlife Area August 18th and September 22nd

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the next two volunteer work days for San Jacinto Wildlife Area would be Saturday, August 18th and Saturday, September 22nd.  These work day will be primarily to finish cleaning up the hunting area and to start brushing up the area’s blinds for the coming season.  Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 7:00 am and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring gloves, shovels and/or hoes, wire pliers and lots of water since it’s expected to be hot. Also, if anyone has access to palm fronds, they need a good supply of these, all they can get.  When it comes to palm fronds we can’t have too many so if you can bring some along, please do.  After the work is done we will get together at a local restaurant for a well-deserved lunch (each person responsible for their own bill).

In the meantime, if you have any palm fronds you want to donate you don’t have to save them for the work days.  You can call the SJ staff at the number below and make arrangements to drop them off before the work days.

Hopefully, we’ll have a good turnout so we can get the blinds brushed up for another waterfowl season.  As I always say, the more the merrier (and the less work for each person).

Also, if you do come out to help on the August 18th work day there’s a potential bonus as this is just 2 weeks before the opening of dove season.  The waterfowl side of the wildlife area will be opened for dove hunting the entire first weekend of dove season (Sept. 1 & 2).  Dove hunting will only be allowed on the Upland Game side of the Wildlife Area after opening weekend.  If you want to hunt SJ this would also be a good time to get a little scouting in for the dove opener while you lend a hand.  Just remember, if you do come out to hunt dove at San Jacinto it’s unleaded now, even for upland game on the wildlife area, NON-TOXIC SHOT ONLY!

Hopefully, we’ll have a good crew of volunteers for this one to get the blinds looking good for the upcoming season and another great year of duck hunting.

If you have any questions contact Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580.

DFW Commission Sets 2018/19 Season Regulations

The California Fish and Game Commission, during their April 18 – 19 meeting in Ventura, California, adopted changes to the waterfowl season dates and regulations for the 2018/19 waterfowl season.

Regulations adopted for the Southern California Zone (which will cover San Jacinto Wildlife Area):

Ducks and Geese: October 20, 2018 through January 27, 2019.

Special Youth Hunt Days: February 2 and February 3, 2019. (San Jacinto’s Annual Youth Hunt will be February 2nd, 2019).

Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7. Which may consist of 7 mallards, of which only 2 can be female; 2 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 redheads; 3 scaup.  (Scaup may only be taken November 3rd, 2018 through January 27th, 2019 – so be careful the first two weeks of the season once again).

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, 2018 – December 15, 2018.  Daily bag limit: 2 per day.  Possession limit triple the daily bag limit.  (NOTE – Brant were not mentioned in the season regulation changes at the Commission meeting so I’m listing the dates and limits based on last season’s regulations (assuming no change).  Check with the official regulations once they are posted on the DFW website or the printed regulation books when they come out, probably in a couple months but still well before the season).

“Electronic” Spinning wing decoys (AKA – mojos) will be allowed from November 30th until the season ends (statewide) – non-motorized / wind-powered mojos are allowed all season. (NOTE – This was also not mentioned in the season regulation changes at the Commission meeting so I’m listing the dates based on last season’s regulations (again assuming no changes). This has been November 30th for as long as I can remember but check with the official regulations once they are posted on the DFW website or the printed regulation books when they come out, probably in a couple months but still well before the season).

The regulations that most affect San Jacinto hunters are the fact that, once again, scaup cannot be taken the first two weeks of the season. Most other regulations stayed pretty consistent with last season’s regulations.  A good change for this season is the pintail limit being bumped back up to 2 birds again from the 1 bird limit of last season!

So, regulations are set, the bird counts should be coming out sometime in the next few months (hope for the best), and San Jacinto will soon be on the way to being in top shape for the upcoming season.  (Don’t forget to pitch in on the upcoming Blind Brush-Up days if you’re able – Info will be posted here when I receive it).

This above information is provided as a general guide only. Although they haven’t updated it to the newly adopted regulations, when they do 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 rain this year and some weather up north to push the bird down to us and we can all look forward to a great season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area.

Annual Hunter’s Education Class at San Jacinto’s Wildlife Area Well Attended / Light Turnout for the Volunteer Clean-Up Day, But the Job Got Done

Saturday, April 7th San Jacinto Wildlife Area held their Annual Hunter’s Education Class.  Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that there were 52 new hunters in attendance to study for and take their Hunter’s Education test.  Their well-earned Hunter’s Education Certificate makes the students eligible to be fully licensed hunters in the State of California.  The class was a mix of youth and adults and they will all be joining us as part of our hunting community.

Valley Wide provided the tables and chairs for the event and the students were provided with a nice lunch of chicken, sandwiches, and chips at the noon break.

The class working hard

Lunch Time!

The Volunteer Clean-Up Day was also held at San Jacinto today and the turnout was pretty light for this event.  Less than 10 volunteers showed up to assist the San Jacinto staff in getting the refuge’s blinds cleaned up from the recently ended waterfowl season. Volunteers met at the check station at 7 am then scattered throughout the wildlife area, plastic bags in hand, to clean up all the spent shell, wads and other miscellaneous trash they could manage to find in and around the blinds.  Besides the usual spent shells and wads there were other things found like flashlights, batteries, a decoy keel with line and weight attached, half a wading pole, and even an old car wheel just to name a few.


SoCalHunt was in attendance for the Clean-up day and pitched in with my trusty shell stick to clean up around at least 8 of the area’s blinds today.  It was nice to see that most blinds I hit were in pretty clean condition so the clean-up wasn’t as labor intensive as it has been some other years.  This was a good thing as it allowed the small group of Volunteers to pretty much get the job done despite the light turnout.


As always at SJ there were other rewards.  There were a lot of ducks using the wildlife area.  I saw more waterfowl in the first 5 minutes I was there then I saw all last season.


And, of course, it isn’t all about ducks at San Jacinto, especially in the offseason, as there were a great variety of other birds utilizing the refuge too.  And, as always, the scenery was outstanding!

There was even a small bonus today as March Air Force Base was having an air show, so we got to see a few of the aircraft flying around the area for that, including a B-2 Stealth Bomber (Sorry didn’t have the camera ready when that one flew by).  I was able to snap a shot of a pair of FA-18 flying over though.

The next volunteer work day will likely be scheduled for some time in June and will be a Blind Brush-up day, to start preparing the blinds for the next waterfowl season in October.  When the date is set SoCalHunt will have it posted here so you can mark the date on your calendar.


San Jacinto Wildlife Area – Free Hunter Education Course Offered, Saturday, April 7th

San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be hosting a free state-mandated Hunter’s Education course on Saturday, April 7th, 2018.  If you want to get a hunting license this is the class you need to take to get your license.

Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the students should assemble at the SJ check station at 6:30 am with the course beginning promptly at 7 am.

The class is free to all, no tuition or materials fee. Students must read the Hunter Education manual prior to attending this class and bring it along to the class. (Manuals will be available at SJ soon. Hopefully, we’ll have a link to the manual soon also, I’ll update this when we do) The weather at San Jacinto in April varies but can be quite warm and its suggested that everyone attending would probably want to bring a good supply of bottled water.

Lunch will be at noon, sandwiches provided.

The class should last until about 4:00 pm and everyone successfully completing the course can then head out to their local DFW license agent (aka: sporting goods store, Walmart, etc.) and buy their hunting license.

Every person who wishes to take this course must register for the class. Before registering the student must obtain a Get Outdoors (GO ID) number.  Students must download, sign, and bring to the class with them a Student Consent Form.

To get a GO ID number, start here:

To register for the class and get your Student Consent Form, go to:

…and follow the instructions to register.

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.

Any questions regarding this free Hunter’s Education course should call Tom Trakes at 951-236-3040.

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