San Jacinto Wildlife Area – Hunter Education Course Offered, Saturday, June 4th

San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be hosting a free state mandated hunter’s education course on Saturday, June 4th. 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 wildlife area’s check station at 6:30 am with the course beginning promptly at 7 am.

This year there is a new procedure for pre-registering for the class. Before registering the student must obtain a GO ID and DOC number. To do this, go to:

You must be at least 18 years old to access and complete pre-registration using the Online License System. Information required for pre-registration: student’s date of birth, address, phone number, physical characteristics and valid ID number (i.e., driver’s license, military ID, etc.). For juveniles without a valid ID, a parent / guardian ID is required.

Once pre-registered using the above procedure then use the newly obtained GO ID and DOC numbers to register at SJWA’s specific class at:

Students must read the hunter’s education manual prior to taking the class. Tom told me that the weather at San Jacinto in June is usually quite warm and suggested that everyone attending would probably want to bring a good supply of bottled water. At noon the staff at San Jacinto will host a BBQ lunch and Tom said they would be taking donations (drinks, salads, desserts, chips, etc.) for this to offset the cost of the food. 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) and buy their hunting license. Tom asked that anyone wanting to attend this free hunter’s education course should call him to pre-register at 951-236-3040 the San Jacinto Office at (951) 928-0580.

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San Jacinto’s 22nd Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Big Success

First off, sorry for the lateness of this report. Although I’ve said that hunting comes first, in reality family comes first. Anyway, things are back on track now so, albeit late, here’s San Jacinto’s 2016 Junior Hunt…

Every year the staff and volunteers outdo themselves on the Junior Hunt and this year was no exception. San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt event was, as usual, a big success! This is the 22nd year for SJ’s Junior Hunt and it was well attended and well appreciated by the junior hunters. The theme for this years hunt was a Salute to our Game Wardens and Law Enforcement.

At 3 am the junior hunters and their adult partners gathered at the San Jacinto check station to receive their hunting spot assignments for the day. As has always been the tradition for the Junior Hunt, after hunting spots were assigned, a nice pancake and sausage breakfast was enjoyed by all before heading out to the blinds. The breakfast this year was generously donated by Quail Unlimited.


Getting Ready for Breakfast

After a great day of duck hunting, with the juniors averaging over 2 ½ birds each, the 59 junior hunters in attendance assembled at San Jacinto’s headquarters for a delicious lunch and, of course, the prize raffle. Lunch consisted of hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches (the sandwiches generously donated by Walmart) and a special treat provided by and cooked by SJ regular Palo and family, tri tip! Yum!


Tri Tip!  Yum!



Juniors (and Adults) chowing down!

All the juniors in attendance were given a custom made SJ Junior Hunt shirt and a SJ Junior Hunt hat. The hats were donated by Bruno Farms Dairy and the shirts were provided by Little Ramona and Big Ramona Duck Clubs. With the new donation rules Bob Minor at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga was instrumental in assisting with the donations this year. BPS held a raffle for outdoor themed art prints as well as donating all the change folks threw into their fishpond this year and, on top of that they donated about $700 in prizes. Another local Duck Club, the Mystic Lake Duck Club also donated money to Bass Pro to include in the total.   There were many prizes purchased with the donation money as well as some prizes donated by individuals. The prizes ran the gamut from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, blind bags and other assorted hunting and outdoor gear. The big prizes of the day were a Decoy Cart donated by Swamp Thing Decoy Carts and a Shotgun. Two lucky Juniors went away very happy with those big prizes. All the junior hunters went away happy with everyone taking something home with them.


The Junior Crew!

Tom told me that Bass Pro Shops already has a display up and art print raffle started towards next year’s Junior Hunt. Its not to early to donate towards this great event so if you’re by Bass Pro anytime soon or even months down the road don’t forget to donate towards the Junior Hunt. Just ask any cashier about donating towards the SJ Junior Hunt or buying a raffle ticket. 100% of the money BPS collects for the Junior Hunt goes to the Junior Hunt.

Also, a big thanks to the volunteers, most of them San Jacinto Hunters, who set up, cooked breakfast, served or cooked lunch and cleaned up after.

To sum it up all the Juniors has a great time at the lunch, and the raffle, to top off a great day of duck hunting.

As I usually do, I’d like to add that these junior hunters are the future of our sport and it is really gratifying to see the San Jacinto Hunters, Bass Pro Shops, Little Ramona Duck Club, Big Ramona Duck Club, Mystic Lake Duck Club, Quail Unlimited, Bruno Farms, Walmart and all the other various individuals who stepped up to the plate this year to donate towards this outstanding event.




San Jacinto Wildlife Area Blind Clean up Day Set for April 16th, 2016

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Staff would like to invite hunters to participate in a Volunteer Clean Up Day of the Wildlife Area on Saturday, April 16th, 2016. Volunteers are to assemble at 6:30 am at the Wildlife Area Headquarters office on Davis Road.

Work will be assigned at the start of the morning. Afterwards we will meet at noon at El Comal Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch. (Everyone responsible for their own check).

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 (if available – some ponds still are holding water.)

Be sure to bring plenty of bottled water as it may be hot. Also, you might want to bring some mosquito repellant.

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.

SJ CLeanup

2015 / 2016 Season Sunrise / Sunset Recap (Plus Some Clouds)

As is SoCalHunt’s tradition every year, we post an article, with photographs, of the sunrises and sunset we’ve enjoyed in the hunting season just ended. Unfortunately, due to a serious illness in the family, my season was cut short so this will really be a short version, first half of the season, Sunrise / Sunset Recap. Sorry for the lack of hunting reports this past season but, bottom line, although hunting is almost more important then anything else but family is one of those few things that are more important then hunting.

As always here’s the sunrises and sunsets for the season just past, along with the new tradition we started last year, the daily clouds. Again some of the of the days were exceptional. Although when it comes to scenery at San Jacinto exceptional is the rule. I think you’ll agree. Some days the cloud conditions changed almost minute to minute and you might think that several pictures were taken on different days when, in reality, they were taken just minutes apart. In fact, some of the cloud conditions during the middle of the day even rivaled some of the sunrises and sunsets as the most beautiful times of day while hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife Area this year. I’m sure many of you that have hunted San Jacinto this past season will agree with me that the sunrises and sunsets were, in general, spectacular, along with the awesome cloud conditions this year. Below, in order of appearance, are the sunrises and sunsets, along with some cloud condition photos, on the days we hunted San Jacinto this year.

Presented for your enjoyment:

(Click on the image for a full sized picture)

10/28/15 Sunset (and some clouds)




11/4/15 Sunset (and a lot of clouds)







11/18/15 Sunset



12/2/15 Sunrise (and some clouds)



12/9/15 Sunset (and some clouds)




2016 California Game Warden Stamp Now Available

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the 2016 edition of the Warden Stamp is now available. With the change in name from Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Fish and Wildlife the DFW officially calls their Wardens “Wildlife Officers” now, and it even states such on this year’s stamp, but most hunters and fisherpersons still call them “Wardens” and the DFW is still calling this the “Warden Stamp”.

The new Warden Stamp, for 2016 is now available for purchase in person from any CDFW regional or licensing offices or by filling out and sending in the CDFW Warden Stamp form with a check or credit card info to your closest CDFW office. You may also purchase Warden Stamps via the CDFW online license services (ALDS).

If you’re going to mail in the form the addresses for the DFW offices are found on page two of the Warden Stamp form. To find the form, a list of CDFW Offices selling the stamp over the counter or the link to the ALDS to buy the form online click the link below:

Next to the picture of the Warden Stamp is a list of links to either buy the stamp online, find a list of CDFW offices selling it over the counter (if you want to walk in and buy one) or a link to the mail-in form to purchase through the mail.

The Game Warden Stamp isn’t really a “stamp” for your license, such as your federal duck stamp is, as the name might lead you to believe, but rather it’s a roughly 3” x 3” decal.

The 2016 version of the stamp is a blue background with a Warden’s badge and the silhouettes of two big horn sheep. (See picture below)


The DFW still has their entire series of Warden Stamps available. If you like a prior year’s design better then this year’s, or would like to collect the entire series, they are all still available, from the first one in 2010 up through this year’s stamps.

The 2010 version is a green shield with an elk silhouette on it. The 2011 version is a light blue background with a silhouette of a trout or salmon on it. The 2012 version has a dark brown background and a silhouette of a California quail on it. The 2013 version has a gold background with a silhouette of a duck landing on it. The 2014 version has a red background and a silhouette of a lobster on it. The 2015 version of the stamp has a wood grain background with the shadow of a bear on it and a depiction of the DFW Wildlife Officer’s badge. (see pictures below). If you like them all you could buy one, or more, of each if you want to.


2014 Warden Stamp_bid



2011 Warden Stamp

2010 Warden Stamp

The stamps are $5 each and the funds go into a special account. The money is used to provide our Game Wardens with additional equipment, training and new programs, such as new communications and surveillance devices, protective equipment, training in specialized areas, new law enforcement programs to assist them in their duties.

Due to State budget cuts, non-hunting / fishing politicians feel that the DFW is a “painless” way to cut back on the budget by giving the DFW less to do more with.

Quoting the DFW web site on the Warden stamp:

“The Warden Stamp Program was initiated in 2010 to address the need for better equipment and training for the state’s wildlife officers and to provide funding for special law enforcement programs.

Wildlife crimes are on the rise and becoming more complex to solve. With approximately 400 wildlife officers in the state patrolling 159,000 square miles of natural habitat, the job is extremely demanding. Officers must perform a number of roles including catching poachers, eradicating illegal marijuana grows, responding to oil spills, providing public safety, educating the public and much more. Every day is a new challenge.

Wildlife officers protect more than 1,000 native fish and wildlife species, 6,300 native plant species and 360 threatened or endangered species. Wildlife officers patrol about 400 square miles of land per officer. Wildlife officers keep watch over 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers. Wildlife officers patrol on foot, by plane, boat, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and even on horseback. There is approximately one wildlife officer for every 100,000 Californians.”

Now – back to me…

As I’ve said every year that I’ve written about the Warden Stamp, the important point here, in my opinion, is getting the money to the “boots on the ground”. If your $5 (or more, if you can afford it) results in some equipment, training or what have you that helps catch a poacher in your area the payoff may be more game or more fish for you and yours to legally harvest. And, the bottom line is, that’s what’s important. As for the “stamp”, stick it on your truck, ammo box or tackle box, stick it in a drawer, throw it away if you want, do whatever you want with it. The important thing is to help give our Wardens the tools they need to protect our hunting and fishing heritage.

Now, as I do every year, excuse me while I pull up the ALDS on my computer and order this year’s warden stamps.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area and Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area 2015 / 2016 Season Long Stats

The conclusion of the 2015 / 2016 season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area revealed some notable stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

3926 adult and 363 junior hunters (4289 hunters total) harvested a total of 2804 Northern Shovelers, 168 Mallards, 759 Gadwall, 476 Widgeon, 206 Pintail, 2499 Green Wing Teal, 1022 Cinnamon Teal, 86 Redheads, 27 Canvasbacks, 395 Ring Necks, 18 Scaup, 249 Bufflehead, 13 Goldeneye, 1 Wood Duck, 9 Blue Wing Teal, 7 Mergansers, and 531 Ruddy Ducks. In addition there were 5 Aleutian Geese, 9 Canada Geese, 1 White Front Goose bagged on the refuge this season. 403 Coots were also included in the count for the 2015 / 2016 season. This worked out to a total of 9285 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in 9688 waterfowl. The per gun average take for 2015 / 2016 worked out to 2.16 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 2.26 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season there were 94 less adult hunters this season over last and there were 24 more junior hunters for a total of 70 more hunters accommodated in 2015 / 2016 compared to the 2014 / 2015 season. (This includes the Junior Hunters from the Junior Hunt). As for the birds, I’ll list them with a plus by the number or a minus by the number to indicate how many more or less of each type of bird was bagged this season over last.

There were +446 Northern Shovelers, -12 Mallards, -67 Gadwall, -151 Widgeon, +6 Pintail, +161 Green Wing Teal, +469 Cinnamon Teal, -83 Redheads, +9 Canvasbacks, +119 Ring Necks, -51 Scaup, +3 Bufflehead, +7 Goldeneye, -5 Wood Ducks, -5 Fulvous Whistling Ducks (0 this year), +4 Blue Wing Teal, -1 Merganser, and +285 Ruddy Ducks.

On the Goose side of the ledger there were +5 Aleutian Geese, +5 Canada Geese, -2 Snow Geese (0 this year), and -1 Ross’s Goose (0 this season).

In addition, there were +52 coots taken. This was a total of +1052 Ducks and Geese bagged and, with the Coots included, +737 waterfowl taken this season over last season. The average was +0.27 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots included, +0.29 waterfowl per hunter this season over last season.

I hope this gives you a good idea of how the season went. In general hunter numbers were down just slightly, but birds bagged where up slightly and the per gun average was up a little over last year’s average.

The conclusion of the 2015 / 2016 season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area revealed the following stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

5677 adult and 557 junior hunters (6234 hunters total) harvested a total of 2746 Northern Shovelers, 534 Mallards, 1008 Gadwall, 1431 Widgeon, 1759 Pintail, 4662 Green Wing Teal, 1033 Cinnamon Teal, 45 Redheads, 9 Canvasbacks, 68 Ring Necks, 49 Scaup, 97 Bufflehead, 18 Goldeneye, 13 Blue Wing Teal, 2 Mergansers, 1 Whistling Duck, 1 Surf Scooter, and 248 Ruddy Ducks. In addition there were 1 Aleutian Geese, 5 Cackling Geese, 49 Canada Geese, 9 Ross’ Goose, 719 Snow Geese and 6 White Front Geese bagged at Wister this season. 111 Coots were also included in the count for the 2015 / 2016 season. This worked out to a total of 14513 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in 14624 waterfowl. The per gun average take for 2015 / 2016 worked out to 2.33 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 2.35 waterfowl per hunter.

Since this is the first year SoCalHunt has compiled stats for Wister I have no stats from last year to compare them with as I did with San Jacinto above. We’ll do that next season though.

And, as I always sign this report off, its “only” 256 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes, and 19 seconds until the start of the 2016 / 2017 waterfowl season…only

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area Junior Hunt Weekend, Saturday – 2/6/16, Sunday – 2/7/16

Saturday’s special Junior Waterfowl Hunt at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area resulted in a very good average take for each of the junior hunters in participating. Green Wing Teal were in the number one spot for numbers of birds bagged with Snow Geese taking the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/6/16, was as follows:

62 junior hunters checked in with 26 Northern Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 13 Gadwall, 9 Widgeon, 23 Pintail, 94 Green Wing Teal, 12 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Merganser and 4 Ruddy Ducks. There were also 35 Snow Geese harvested at the Junior Hunt on Saturday. In addition the Juniors checked in 2 Coots on Saturday. This came out to an average of 2.95 ducks per junior hunter or, with the Geese and Coots figured in, 3.55 waterfowl per junior hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued 24 arrived on time for their spot.

Sunday’s average take of waterfowl at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for the second day of the Junior Hunt weekend, took a nosedive compared to Saturday’s great numbers.  Shovelers took over the first spot for numbers bagged with Green wing Teal dropping back into the second spot. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Sunday, 2/7/16 were as follows:

19 junior hunters checked in with 8 Northern Shovelers, 2 Mallards, 1 Gadwall, 1 Pintail and 5 Green Wing Teal. There were also 4 Snow Geese and 2 Ross’ Geese bagged at the Junior Hunt on Sunday. There were no Coots checked in by the Juniors on Sunday. This worked out to an average of 0.89 ducks per junior hunter or, with the Geese included, 1.21 waterfowl per junior hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued 8 arrived on time for their spot.

So, that’s it for the 2015/2016 Waterfowl Season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area. Another great season in the “bag”. Now the waiting begins for next season. Hope to see you out there.


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