This past Wednesday, 9/9/15, SoCalHunt wondered on down to San Jacinto Wildlife Area to see what was up with the coming season. Wednesday marked 44 days out from the duck opener and we figured we’d see how things were progressing towards the coming waterfowl season.
My usual hunting partner was available, a rare occurrence as of late with our conflicting work schedules, so, since we only had the afternoon available, we though we’d check things out at SJ and then hang out and see if we could bag a dove or two since the first half of dove season is still on.
When we arrived at San Jacinto Tom Trakes, Wildlife Habitat Supervisor, and the man in charge of the wildlife area met us. Tom graciously offered to give us the “grand tour” and show us what was going on and some of what was planned. We climbed into Tom’s DFW truck and off we went out into the depths of the duck hunting area.
I will say right here that I was IMPRESSED! Most of the duck ponds were already being flooded and in the roughly 15 years or so I’ve been going to San Jacinto I’ve never seen the area looking this good. The SJ crew has been extremely busy off-season planting duck food and the results can now be seen in the ponds and some of the adjacent fields. Barley, millet and triticale were in evidence all over the wildlife area making many of the ponds look like green fields with a base of water. Most of the grain was heavy with seed heads and the ducks were enjoying the banquet.
In all the time I’ve been going to San Jacinto I have never seen so many ducks using the area. Some times it almost looked like a scene out of the old Hitchcock movie “The Birds”. I have no idea how many ducks we saw Wednesday but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the neighborhood of several thousand! Almost every corner we went around caused a virtual cloud of birds to rise from each pond and flee the DFW truck. The birds didn’t go far however because as soon as they figured out they weren’t in danger they’d swing back around and land a short distance away and continue feeding of the “duck food” the SJ staff has so generously supplied this year. (a few picture below – I had to include so many as they’re all pretty awesome and, believe it or not, this is just a sample of them)
As for San Jacinto’s water situation this season Tom told us that they are fortunate that they will have no problem flooding up this year and the local water district is giving them all the water they need so far with no reduction anticipated. Very fortunate indeed when you look at other refuges such as Kern which might not even open this season.
Some of the plans for this season are to create a new flooded area south of the “B” pond and place at least one new blind there and they are also working on an area down at the far south end of the wildlife area, down near the Bridge Street pond, that they hope to flood and place probably 3, maybe 4 blinds in that area. If we get the anticipated El Nino rains, and Mystic Lake appears again, there’s plans for several blinds around Mystic’s shoreline, the number depending on how big Mystic Lake gets.
(new area near Bridge Street)
All in all it was a very impressive tour and we were grateful to Tom for taking the time out of his day to show us and tell us what’s up. Once again Tom proves that San Jacinto is the best run wildlife area in the state, at least in my humble opinion anyway.
After the tour we climbed in our truck and headed over to an area near the Bridge Street pond to try our luck on the dove. San Jacinto isn’t really know as a dove mecca and we really didn’t expect much but figured since we were there and the season was opened we’d give it a shot. Well, as it turned out, we didn’t give it even one shot. We did see a few dove but none in range of our shotguns and we never even pulled the trigger. We were, however, rewarded with yet another signature SJ sunset. Gorgeous as always.
Although we didn’t harvest any dove we were not disappointed as the “dove hunt” was really just a side light since we were there anyway and the main objective, to check out SJ for the coming season was more then adequately fulfilled. So as we left San Jacinto we left with the anticipation of a great season to come. Hope to see you out there some time.