Follow Up – Fish and Game Commission Takes No Action on Petition to Ban Hunting on Navigable Waterways in the Benicia, CA Area – So Far

The California Waterfowl Association reported that the Fish and Game Commission, during their April 21st meeting, basically took no action on the petition to ban hunting on the navigable waterways in the Benicia, CA Area. The Commission asked the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to report back to the Commission on the issue, likely at the Commission’s next meeting in mid-May.  You can check CWA’s report on this action by the Fish and Game Commission by clicking the below link…

https://calwaterfowl.org/news/benecia-waterfowl-hunting-ban?fbclid=IwAR08i1aidV406Qol6K3-vdjScblm5qz-phZHHlyct9029RnCKV8nj0n-Hco

So, this is still pending however with the unanimous rejection of the petition to ban bear hunting by the Commission and the fact that in the last 20 years efforts by other local residents or entities attempting to petition the F&G Commission or the DFW to ban waterfowl hunting on state-managed navigable waters, including Tomales Bay and Morro Bay have failed this one will hopefully suffer the same fate. Only time (and the Commission) will tell.

California Fish and Game Commission Sets 2022/23 Season Regulations

The California Fish and Game Commission, during their April 21st meeting, adopted changes to the waterfowl season dates and regulations for the 2022/23 waterfowl season.

Regulations adopted for the Southern California Zone (which will cover San Jacinto Wildlife Area):
Seasons: Ducks and Geese: October 22, 2022 through January 31, 2023.
Special Youth Hunt Days: February 4 and February 5, 2023. (San Jacinto’s Annual Youth Hunt will be on February 4th, 2023).
Special Veteran/Active Duty Military Hunt Days: February 11 and February 12, 2023 (San Jacinto’s Annual Vet/Active Duty Hunt will be February 11th, 2023)

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; 2 Scaup. (Scaup may only be taken from November 7th, 2022 through January 31st, 2023 – so again, be careful the first two weeks of the season).

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, 2022 – December 15, 2022. Daily bag limit: 2 per day. Possession limit is 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 – Again, 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 website or the printed regulation books when they come out, probably in a couple of months but still well before the season).

Once again, we have an extended end date for the season, to January 31st. This season, January 31st is on a Tuesday, so SJ’s last actual hunt day will be Saturday, January 28th. With that info, it appears that all the regulations for the 22/23 season stayed consistent with last season’s regulations.

So, there it is. The regulations are set, and Tom and the entire SJWA Crew are working hard to get San Jacinto Wildlife Area in ship shape for the upcoming 2022/2023 waterfowl season. The SJ Staff should be able to get a couple more clean-up/brush-up days scheduled soon to assist in getting things ready for the season. When the clean-up/brush-up workdays get scheduled try to pitch in and help if you’re able – Info will be posted here on SoCalHunt when I receive it. Hopefully, at least some of Mystic Lake is still going to be there which usually helps enhance the bird numbers at San Jacinto!

The above information is provided as a general guide only. Although they haven’t updated the DFW website with the newly adopted regulations yet 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:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations

Now, as it is with every season, all we need is to get some weather up north at the right time, hopefully early in the season, to drive the birds down to us and we can all look forward to another great season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area.

Anti-hunters at it Again – Help Resist Efforts to Shut Down Hunting on Navigable Waterways in the Benicia, CA Area

First off, I know this is in Northern California, but I am of the philosophy that any attack on hunting anywhere is an attack on hunting EVERYWHERE. I also believe hunters need to stick together and fight these efforts, no matter where they are, but especially if they are in this state, as any success by the anti-hunting crowd sets a precedent that may trigger a domino effect and result in more unreasonable restrictions on our hunting here.

I will defer to, and quote, the California Waterfowl Association on this subject as I also believe in not re-inventing the wheel, so to speak.

“CWA needs your assistance to defeat a petition before the California Fish and Game Commission to prohibit waterfowl hunting on navigable waterways near the City of Benicia. The petition was submitted by a local resident and cites noise, conflict with other recreational users and perceived threat to public safety, amongst other issues.

The Carquinez strait and other waterways in the Benicia area have been hunted for generations. There are no incidents of members of the non-hunting public being injured by the waterfowl hunting that occurs there, while hunters must comply with existing state safety laws, including those that restrict the discharge of firearms near occupied buildings and across roads and other ways open to the public.

Local residents and groups have tried to restrict hunting on state-manged navigable waterways throughout the state in the last 20 years, including Morro and Tomales Bays. The Commission rightly rejected the previous proposals primarily because there were no legitimate safety issues nor waterfowl population impacts from hunting; and, in many cases, the proposals were based in part on anti-hunting sentiments.

Should the Commission now prohibit hunting on public waters near Benicia, it will set a dangerous precedent and only encourage other residents in other parts of California to seek similar hunting restrictions, likely resulting in further loss of waterfowl hunting opportunities.
Please contact the California Fish and Game Commission and urge that the Benicia petition be rejected. Thank you for your help.”

Back to me. Below is a link to CWA’s page explaining the above call to action (which is where the above text came from). Click on the link below to go to CWA’s page and fill out the CWA petition next to this article and submit it. It’s very easy, fill in the blanks. It should only take a couple minutes.

https://calwaterfowl.org/action-center?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f93642%2fRespond

CWA, and I, and every waterfowler in the state thanks you for your help on this.

Good Turnout for San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Clean-Up Day, Saturday, March 12th, 2022 Gets Much Accomplished

20 volunteers were in attendance bright and early on Saturday, March 12th at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking lot for the first post-season volunteer clean-up day of 2022. The main goal of this work day was to clean-up the hunting area’s blinds. Much was accomplished and all the area’s blinds received a good going-over. The most common thing picked up in and around the blinds, unsurprisingly, was spent shotgun shells but there were other items as well that ranged from just general trash to mylar balloons and even a boogie board from Mystic Lake. Tom Trakes of San Jacinto Wildlife Area told me that each volunteer came back with at least a half bag of “stuff”, if not more.

After putting in all that hard work all morning most of the volunteer crew, and the SJ staff gathered at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch, (each person responsible for their own bill).
Once again, Tom and his team at San Jacinto would like to thank everyone who came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl season. SJWA couldn’t be maintained as well as it is without the volunteers who come out and lend a hand.

There will probably 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 will likely be scheduled sometime in August and the one after that in early September (of course the dates are still to be announced). Watch SoCalHunt for info on these upcoming work days when the dates are announced. Also, there will be a special work day coming up where the current permit booths will be replaced by new, carport-like covered booths at the upland self-check in across Davis Road from the check station and in the dog training area further down Davis Road nearer to The Ramona Expressway. There will also be one added over in the Bridge Street area which will really be nice if you decide to hunt rabbits or dove in that area as you won’t have to drive up Davis Road to check in and out from that side of the wildlife area. Funds for these new permit booths will be provided by a GoFundMe account in honor of SJWA regular James Honeyfield who recently passed away. Watch SoCalHunt for an announcement of when that work day will be as soon as it is scheduled.

In preparation for these upcoming work days palm fronds are needed. If you can get a hold of any palm fronds any time before the work days you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for you to 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. Also, hopefully, SJWA will have a Hunter’s Education Class scheduled soon. Watch SoCalHunt for the announcement of the Hunter’s Ed Class in the near future.

Okay, I did this last year and I’m going to do it again…here I go back up onto my soapbox. Please…please try to pick up your empty shells, and any others’ shells you might find in and around your blind when you go hunting, along with any other miscellaneous trash. The best way to keep our hunting privileges at SJWA, or any other place for that matter, is to keep the area as clean as possible. I would hate to see any restrictions on our hunting privileges because some anti-hunting big wig from Sacramento sees a bunch of shells strewn about our hunting areas. It would be kind of hard to deny that hunters left all that litter behind when most of it is shotgun shells. Empty shells are still a majority of the trash picked up on the clean-up day and there’s really no excuse for that or really any other trash for that matter. So, ‘nuff said about that.

Looking forward to seeing everybody that can make it to the next work day. Watch SoCalHunt for the announcement when the date is set.
(check the photos below for some “action shots” from the clean-up day)

Second Annual San Jacinto Wildlife Area Veterans/Active Duty Military Hunt, Saturday, February 12th, 2022, A Great Success

The last hunt of this past waterfowl season found 66 Veteran and Active Duty Military personnel reporting for duty at San Jacinto Wildlife Area at 0300 for the second annual Veteran/Active Duty Military special hunt.

The military personnel were treated to a breakfast of coffee, hot chocolate, coffee cake, and doughnuts. The California Waterfowl Association (CWA) supplied each Veteran or Active-duty Military member in attendance with a hat and a tribute coin to start off their day. The Veterans/Active Military then dispersed over San Jacinto Wildlife Area to await start time horn. Hunting was absolutely outstanding on this day and for the second year in a row, the Veterans/Active Military beat the wildlife area average take by more than two birds a person with an average harvest of 4.24 waterfowl per hunter! (Hunt results for the Veteran/Active Military Hunt can be found here… https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-military-vets-active-duty-hunt-saturday-2-12-22/ )

At noon our Vets and Actives gathered at the SJWA workshop area for a great lunch of tri-tip with all the fixin’s, Macaroni, and potato salads (provided by Robert Hartman, his wife, and his daughter – whose son/brother is a Coast Guard member). Tom Trakes’ daughter provided a military-themed cake for dessert. During the lunch break, Diane Barr of Stars & Stripes Service & Therapy Dog Training did a demonstration of basic obedience, advanced obedience, urban obedience, and tasking. Stars & Stripes Service & Therapy Dog Training is a non-profit organization that helps disabled veterans and first responders train their dogs to help them with tasks that they may need help with.

As is usual, San Jacinto Wildlife Area hosted a great salute to our Military Veterans and Active Duty Military heroes. If the per hunter average bird count for that day is any indication it looks like military service teaches our military personnel excellent marksmanship.
(here’s some photos of the event below)

Kern National Wildlife Refuge 2021/2022 Season Long Stats

The end of the 2021/2022 waterfowl season at the Kern National Wildlife Area revealed some interesting stats for the number of birds checked in and the per hunter average take.

970 adult and 65 junior hunters (1035 hunters total) harvested a total of 1814 Northern Shovelers, 69 Mallards, 321 Gadwall, 415 Widgeon, 396 Pintail, 787 Green Wing Teal, 88 Cinnamon Teal, 47 Redheads, 9 Canvasbacks, 21 Ring Necks, 1 Scaup, 101 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye, 4 Blue Wing Teal, 6 Eurasian Widgeon, and 16 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, there was also 1 Snow Goose, and 6 White Fronted Geese taken at Kern this season. 15 Coots were also checked in for the 2021/2022 season at Kern. This figured out to a total of 4103 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, 4118 waterfowl taken for the season. The per hunter average take for 2021/2022 season came out to 3.96 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 3.98 waterfowl per hunter.

This is where I would usually compare this season’s counts and averages and the + or – on the number of each species taken this season compared to last season but due to Kern’s late opener this year, shortening the season by 8 hunt days, there is no way to make a fair comparison or one that would actually reflect the real difference, one way or the other, between the seasons.
So, there you have it, the year-long stats for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge. Overall Kern actually had great averages most of the season once it finally opened. Hopefully, next season won’t have a delayed opener. If next season opens on time I won’t be able to compare it with this one, for the same reasons I couldn’t fairly do a comparison this time, but if it is delayed again for the same amount of hunt days we could do a comparison next year. Hopefully, Kern will get the water they need for a regular opener and the breeding populations will do their thing up north and we’ll get the weather needed to drive the duck south early in the season and things will improve next season.

Hunt Results for Kern National Wildlife Refuge Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt, Saturday, 2/12/22

The waterfowl average harvest at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt resulted in a great average for our Military Heroes. Shovelers took the first position for number of ducks bagged with Cinnamon Teal showing up in the second spot. The Kern NWR Staff reported that the results for the Military Vet/Active Duty Hunt on Saturday, 2/12/22 were as follows:

14 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters checked in with 16 Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 9 Gadwall, 10 Widgeon, 8 Pintail, 9 Green Wing Teal, and 11 Cinnamon Teal. No Geese or Coots were taken by Vets/Active Duty Personnel at Kern on Saturday. This figured out to an average harvest of 4.57 ducks per gun and, of course, with no Geese or Coots to consider in the total, 4.57 waterfowl for each Hunter. Out of 4 reservations cards issued all 4 showed up in time to claim their hunting spot.

So, there you have it, the final hunt of the 2021/2022 season for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge. Congratulations to all the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters who participated in the harvest.

Watch here for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge season long stats report soon.

Wister 2021/2022 Season Long Stats

The end of the 2021/2022 season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area revealed the following stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

5239 adult and 289 junior hunters (5528 hunters total) checked in a total of 1650 Northern Shovelers, 216 Mallards, 680 Gadwall, 784 Widgeon, 1447 Pintail, 3291 Green Wing Teal, 1271 Cinnamon Teal, 34 Redheads, 23 Canvasbacks, 190 Ring Necks, 39 Scaup, 317 Bufflehead, 17 Goldeneyes, 30 Blue Wing Teal, 2 Wood Ducks, 0 Surf Scooters, 17 Mergansers, and 331 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, there were 0 Cackling Geese, 16 Canada Geese, 3 Ross’ Geese, 481 Snow Geese, and 11 White Front Geese bagged at Wister this season. 174 Coots were checked in for the 2021/2022 season. This worked out to a total of 10851 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in, 11025 waterfowl. The per hunter average take for 2021/2022 figured out to 1.96 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots included, 1.99 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season, there were 63 fewer adult hunters this season over last and there were 113 fewer junior hunters for a total of 176 fewer hunters accommodated in the 2021/2022 season compared to the 2020/2021 season. (This includes the Junior Hunters from the Junior Hunt weekend and the Veteran/Active Duty Military personnel for the special military post-season 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 -432 Northern Shovelers, -146 Mallards, -580 Gadwall, +424 Widgeon, -159 Pintail, -14 Green Wing Teal, -761 Cinnamon Teal, -77 Redheads, -4 Canvasbacks, +74 Ring Necks, no change for Scaup (39 this season, 39 last season), +28 Bufflehead, +3 Goldeneyes, -7 Wood Ducks, -1 Blue Wing Teal, +4 Mergansers, -5 Surf Scooters (0 this season), and -44 Ruddy Ducks.
As for the Geese numbers, there were -2 Cackling Goose (0 this season), +12 Canada Geese, -69 Ross’ Geese, +17 Snow Geese, and +11 White Front Geese (0 last season).
There was also -59 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of -1736 Ducks and Geese taken and, with the Coots included, -1795 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were -0.25 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, -0.26 waterfowl this season over last season.

So, this season shows a decrease in almost all of the species of waterfowl taken, some very substantially, with only Widgeon, Ring Necks, Bufflehead, Goldeneyes, Mergansers, Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and White Front Geese showing any increase. Of the species that showed an increase, only Widgeon showed any substantial increase with all the others only slightly increasing. However, many of the species that showed a decrease had quite a substantial decrease. Also, the stats show a slight drop-off in hunters utilizing Wister this season compared to last. Hopefully, we’ll get some weather up north early next season to drive the birds south. Also hopefully, we’ll have a large breeding population this year and more birds migrating down next season. Hope to see you out there next season.

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt Weekend, Saturday – 2/12/22, Sunday – 2/13/22

The post season Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area resulted in a great average for the Hunters on Saturday. Green Wing Teal were the most numerous bird checked in with Shovelers taking the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt on Saturday, 2/12/22, were as follows:

73 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters bagged 57 Shovelers, 4 Mallards, 23 Gadwall, 22 Widgeon, 17 Pintail, 60 Green Wing Teal, 51 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Ring Necks, 1 Scaup, 8 Bufflehead, and 20 Ruddy Ducks. No Geese were checked in by the Hunters on Saturday. The Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters also downed 2 Coots on Saturday. This worked out to an average of 3.63 ducks per gun or, with the Coots included, 3.66 waterfowl per person. Out of 100 reservations issued, 30 arrived on time for their spot.

The average take of waterfowl for Sunday, the second day of the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt weekend, at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area produced a good average bag. Green Wing Teal retained the first spot for number of birds checked in with Widgeon showing up to take over the second position. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl take for the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt on Sunday, 2/13/22 were as follows:

28 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters checked in with 6 Shovelers, 6 Gadwall, 11 Widgeon, 17 Green Wing Teal, 10 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Bufflehead, and 4 Ruddy Ducks. There were 2 Snow Geese brought into the checked in by the Hunters on Sunday. The Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters didn’t bag any Coots on Saturday. This came out to an average harvest of 1.96 ducks per Hunter and, with the Geese included in the count, 2.04 waterfowl per gun. Out of 100 reservations issued only 9 showed up to claim their spot.

With that, the 20210/2022 Waterfowl Season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area is in the books. Watch for SoCalHunt’s Season-Long Stats report for Wister coming here soon.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area 2021/2022 Season Long Stats

The conclusion of the 2021/2022 waterfowl season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area showed some interesting stats for the number of birds harvested and the per hunter averages.

4282 adult and 303 junior hunters (4585 hunters total) harvested a total of 2833 Northern Shovelers, 255 Mallards, 735 Gadwall, 436 Widgeon, 306 Pintail, 2338 Green Wing Teal, 387 Cinnamon Teal, 41 Redheads, 31 Canvasbacks, 239 Ring Necks, 17 Scaup, 291 Bufflehead, 35 Goldeneye, 0 Wood Ducks, 4 Blue Wing Teal, 17 Mergansers, and 308 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, there were also 2 Aleutian Geese, 2 Cackling Geese, 8 Canada Geese, 1 Ross’ Goose, 12 Snow Geese, and 1 White Front Goose taken at San Jacinto this season. 303 Coots were also checked in for the 2021/2022 season at SJ. This figured out to a total of 8299 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, 8602 waterfowl taken for the season. The per gun average take for 2021/2022 season came out to 1.81 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 1.88 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season, there were 520 fewer adult hunters this season over last and there were 79 fewer junior hunters for a total of 599 fewer hunters accommodated in 2021/2022 season compared to the 2020/2021 season. (This includes the Junior Hunters from the Junior Hunt and the Veteran/Active Duty Military personnel for the special military post-season 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 +1285 Northern Shovelers, -208 Mallards, -182 Gadwall, +234 Widgeon, -79 Pintail, +686 Green Wing Teal, -924 Cinnamon Teal, -142 Redheads, -7 Canvasbacks, +79 Ring Necks, -12 Scaup, -10 Bufflehead, +25 Goldeneye, -11 Wood Ducks (0 this season), +4 Blue Wing Teal (0 last season), +8 Mergansers, and -181 Ruddy Ducks.

For the Geese numbers there were +2 Aleutian Geese (0 last season), +2 Cackling Geese (0 last Season), +6 Canada Geese, +1 Ross’ Geese (0 last season), Snow Geese no change (12 this season, 12 last season), and -1 White Front Geese.

There were also -453 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of +573 Ducks and Geese taken compared to last season and, with the Coots included, +120 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were +0.32 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, +0.24 waterfowl this season over last season.

In contrast to last season, these numbers show overall an upward trend in general although some species’ take was up and others were down over last season. There were also fewer hunters this season than last and also fewer Junior Hunters which resulted in an increase in the per hunter average take with fewer hunters taking more birds. Hopefully, we’ll get some good rains between now and the end of our rainy season to start refilling the little that is left of Mystic Lake and we’ll get some well-timed weather up north early next season to send the birds down to us. We can also optimistically hope there will be a great spring hatch up north and the numbers will rise for the 2021/2022 season.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt, Saturday – 2/12/22

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt on Saturday, February 12th, resulted in an outstanding average take for our Military Heroes in attendance. Green Wing Teal were the number one bird bagged by the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters with Shovelers in the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl take for the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt on Saturday, 2/12/22, was as follows:

66 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters took home 71 Northern Shovelers, 9 Mallards, 37 Gadwall, 2 Widgeon, 20 Pintail, 73 Green Wing Teal, 33 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Redheads, 1 Canvasback, 5 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Blue Wing Teal, and 20 Ruddy Ducks. 3 Canada Geese were taken by the Hunters on Saturday. There were 2 Coots bagged by the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters on Saturday. This came out to an average take of 4.17 ducks per gun or, with the Geese and Coots added in, a 4.24 waterfowl average for each Hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations issued 21 arrived on time to claim their spot.

So, that completes the 2021/2022 Waterfowl Season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area. Watch for SoCalHunt’s San Jacinto season long stats report here soon.

March 12th – San Jacinto Wildlife Area Volunteer Clean-Up Work Day

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the first volunteer work day for the upcoming season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be Saturday, March 12th. This work day will be primarily for cleaning up the blinds and the general hunting areas around them. Due to state COVID-19 policies masks will be used and we will adhere to social distancing, working in small groups. Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 6:30 AM and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring gloves, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, lots of water since it may be warm and, of course, a mask.

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).

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

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.

San Jacinto’s 28th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Great Success, February 5th, 2022

(Don’t forget to check the photos at the bottom of this page – Click on the picture for a full-sized image)

The end of the season Junior Waterfowl Hunt/Event was, as always, outstanding and the Junior Hunters in attendance enjoyed very good waterfowl hunting. As usual, besides the hunting, the lunch event/prize giveaway was again outstanding also. Many great prizes were given out at the lunch giveaway at mid-day.

This year a great breakfast of doughnuts, coffee, and chocolate milk was provided to the Junior Hunters and their adults. Quail Forever provided the doughnuts for the hungry Junior Hunters.

After a quick breakfast, the Juniors and their accompanying adults headed out to their assigned hunting spots to get set up and await the sound of the starting time horn. The hunting was good this year and several of the Junior Hunters even scored limits. There were even a couple of geese harvested by the Junior Hunters.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here… https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2022/02/08/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-28th-annual-junior-hunt-saturday-2-5-22/ )

When lunchtime rolled around everyone assembled back at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize giveaway. Lunch was great, consisting of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, pulled pork (donated by John Ross of Dee’z Boy’z BBQ in Hemet), chips, and even a large pot of Tom Trakes’ Special Chili.

There was a great deal of support for this year’s Junior Hunt and most of the Junior Hunters received at least two prizes each! The prizes ranged from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, blind bags, and other assorted hunting and outdoor gear. Needless to say, all the junior hunters went away happy. There were several “Grand Prizes”. Two shotguns (one donated by Blue Collar and the other purchased from Bass Pro Shops using some of the funds from the earlier raffle of two shotguns, one of which was provided by Bass Pro, the other by Quail Forever), two bird mounts (from Simon’s Taxidermy), a rifle and two puppies (one donated by Chaz Prato, the other by Brian Crosby). I’m sure all the Juniors went away happy this year.

After the lunch and prize giveaway, most of the Junior Hunters who hadn’t already limited out went back to their blinds to finish their day’s hunting.

The Junior Hunt was, as it always is, an outstanding event for our Junior Hunters, the future of our sport. It is vital to keep our Junior Hunters interested and involved in waterfowl hunting and the San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt is a great way to keep them interested. Every year I hear adult hunters reminiscing about their days participating in the SJWA Junior Hunt, and even some that are now bringing their kids to carry on the tradition.

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 going the extra mile to help make this event happen we all appreciate all your hard work.

Tom also asked me to extend a special thanks to Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro made several donations, donated a shotgun to the shotgun raffle, and assisted with the shotgun raffle prior to the event to raise money for prizes. Also, thanks to Toni Bever of Quail Forever for donating a shotgun for the raffle at Bass Pro Shops to raise money for prizes, as well as donating the morning doughnuts, and also putting in a full day+ working the event from start to finish. Also, thanks go out to Valley Wide Recreation Center for once more providing the chairs and tables for the event. The money raised by the BPS Shotgun raffle was used to purchase more prizes for the Juniors.

So, the 28th Annual San Jacinto Junior Waterfowl Hunt is in the books. Check out the pictures below, which are only a small sample of this great event. Of course, due to space, there’s no way to post every picture but the below images should give you a really good idea of how this superb event for our Junior Hunters went down.

I’ve tried to mention everyone who donated items or volunteered to work the event. There were so many great sponsors and so many that supported the Junior Hunt event with prizes, assistance, and food that I’m sure I’ve missed a few so please forgive me and know that it wasn’t intentional. I’ve posted a picture of the sponsors’ banner below so you can check it out.

Here’s a heads up for everybody also! The first post-season SJWA volunteer clean-up work day is tentatively set for Saturday, March 12th. Mark your calendars and watch for the “official” notice with time and details here on SoCalHunt very soon. This is the first step in a long process to get San Jacinto ready for our next waterfowl season so here’s hoping we can get a good turnout for the clean-up day.

Now, check out the pictures of the Junior Hunt event below. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 28th Annual Junior Hunt, Saturday – 2/5/22

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 28th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt on Saturday, February 5th, resulted in a very good average harvest for the Junior Hunters in attendance. Shovelers were the number one bird checked in by the Junior Hunters with Green Wing Teal showing up in the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/5/22, was as follows:

101 junior hunters took home 104 Northern Shovelers, 6 Mallards, 23 Gadwall, 2 Widgeon, 11 Pintail, 66 Green Wing Teal, 15 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Canvasback, 1 Bufflehead, and 19 Ruddy Ducks. 1 Canada Goose and 1 White Fronted Goose were taken at the Junior Hunt on Saturday. There were 12 Coots bagged by the Junior Hunters on Saturday. This figured out to an average bag of 2.46 ducks per Junior Hunter or, with the Geese and Coots included in the total, a 2.59 waterfowl average for each Junior Hunter. Tom advised that out of 50 reservations issued 25 of the Junior Hunters arrived on time to claim their spot.

Ok, that’s it for the Junior Hunters for the 2020/2021 season. If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you also have one more chance this season. The after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt, which will be held on Saturday, February 12th at San Jacinto. Hopefully our Vets and Active Duty Heroes will take advantage of this opportunity. Here’s hoping our Vets and Active Duty have a great hunt! If you don’t have a reservation for the Vets/Military Hunt you can still get in on the sweatline drawing, just like any regular hunt day, by showing up at SJ at 3 AM to get your name in on the sweatline drawing. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580. And, to all our Vets and Active Duty, thank you for your service.

Hunt Results for Kern National Wildlife Refuge Junior Hunt, Saturday, 2/5/22

The waterfowl average take at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Junior Hunt resulted in a great average for the Junior Hunters’ attending. Shovelers were found in first position for number of ducks checked in and Green Wing Teal took the second spot. The Kern NWR Staff reported that the results for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/5/22 were as follows:

30 junior hunters came away with 34 Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 6 Gadwall, 20 Widgeon, 16 Pintail, 30 Green Wing Teal, 3 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Redhead, 3 Eurasian Widgeon, 1 Blue Wing Teal, and 2 Bufflehead. There were no Geese or Coots bagged by the Juniors at Kern on Saturday. This came out to an average harvest of 3.90 ducks per Junior Hunter and, of course, with no Geese and Coots to figure in to the total, 3.90 waterfowl for each Junior. Out of 12 reservation cards issued 7 Junior Hunters arrived on time to claim their spot.

If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you have one more chance this season. The after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday, February 12th at Kern NWR. Hopefully, our Vets and Active Duty Heroes will take advantage of this opportunity. Here’s hoping our Vets and Active Duty have a great hunt! If you don’t have a reservation for the Vets/Military Hunt you can still get in on the sweatline drawing, just like any regular hunt day, by showing up at the Kern Hunter Check Station on the Refuge 2 ½ hours before local shoot time and the “sweat line” drawing is performed 2 hours before shoot time, the day of the hunt, also at the Refuge Hunter Check Station. And, of course, thanks for your service.

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area Junior Hunt Weekend, Saturday – 2/5/22, Sunday – 2/6/22

The Junior Waterfowl Hunt weekend at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area yielded a very good average harvest for the Junior Hunters in attending on Saturday. Shovelers and Green Wing Teal tied for the first spot for the most numerous bird bagged with Widgeon taking the second position. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/5/22, was as follows:

40 Junior Hunters checked in with 29 Shovelers, 3 Mallards, 9 Gadwall, 15 Widgeon, 12 Pintail, 29 Green Wing Teal, 4 Cinnamon Teal, 1Scaup, 6 Bufflehead, 1 Blue Wing Teal, and 4 Ruddy Ducks. 2 Snow Geese taken by the Junior Hunters on Saturday. No Coots were knocked down by the Junior Hunters on Saturday. This came out to an average bag of 2.83 ducks per Junior Hunter and, with the Geese added to the total, 2.88 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. Out of 104 reservation cards issued to the Junior Hunters 17 showed up in time to claim their spot.

The average bag of waterfowl for Sunday, the second day of the Junior Hunt weekend, at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area Dropped a bit from Saturday’s very good average. Ruddy Ducks took over the first position for most numerous bird checked in with Snow Geese taking the second spot. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl harvest for the Junior Hunt on Sunday, 2/6/22 was as follows:

11 Junior Hunters checked in with 1 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 4 Widgeon, 1 Pintail, 1 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Canvasbacks, and 6 Ruddy Ducks. 5 Snow Geese were downed at the Junior Hunt on Sunday. 1 Coot was taken by the Juniors on Sunday. This figured out to an average take of 1.64 ducks per Junior Hunter or, with the Geese and Coot included in the total, 2.18 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. Out of 104 reservation cards issued to the Junior Hunters only 6 arrived on time to get their spot.

If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you also have two more chance this season. The after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt, which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 12th and 13th at Wister. Hopefully, our Vets and Active Duty Heroes will take advantage of this opportunity. Here’s hoping our Vets and Active Duty have a great hunt! If you don’t have a reservation for the Vets/Military Hunt you can still get in on the sweatline drawing, just like any regular hunt day, by showing up at Wister to get in on the drawing by 10:30 PM the night before. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweat line” spots given out after that. For more information, contact the staff at Wister Staff at 760-359-0577. And, of course, thanks for your service.

Hunt Results for Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday – 1/29/22

The average harvest of waterfowl at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge for Saturday dropped quite a bit from Wednesday’s great average. Shovelers reclaimed first place for number of birds checked in with Green Wing Teal dropping back to the second spot. The Kern NWR Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/29/22 were as follows:

81 adult and 5 junior hunters came away with 80 Shovelers, 2 Mallards, 9 Gadwall, 35 Widgeon, 24 Pintail, 77 Green Wing Teal, 18 Cinnamon Teal, 5 Redheads, 1 Canvasback, 2 Bufflehead, 1 Eurasian Widgeon, 1 Blue Wing Teal, and 1 Ruddy Duck. 1 White Fronted Goose was downed at Kern on Saturday. No Coots were taken at Kern on Saturday. This came out to an average bag of 2.98 ducks per hunter or, with the Goose included, 2.99 waterfowl per gun. Out of 7 reservation cards issued 7 hunters showed on time to claim their spot.

Well, that’s it for the 2021/2022 regular waterfowl season. Junior hunters have one more chance at those elusive waterfowl, on Saturday, February 5th. If you’re a junior hunter or you have a junior hunter in the family you can hunt Kern’s Junior Waterfowl hunt on Saturday, 2/5/22. Here’s hoping the Juniors have a great hunt! If your junior hunter doesn’t have a reservation for the Junior Hunt he or she can still get in on the drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out at the Hunter Check Station on the Refuge 2 ½ hours before local shoot time and the “sweat line” drawing is performed 2 hours before shoot time, the day of the hunt, also at the Refuge Hunter Check Station.

If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you also have one more chance this season. The after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday, February 12th. Hopefully our Vets and Active Duty Heroes will take advantage of this opportunity. Here’s hoping our Vets and Active Duty have a great hunt! If you’re a veteran or active duty military and don’t have a reservation for the veteran/active duty hunt you can still get in on the drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out at the Hunter Check Station on the Refuge 2 ½ hours before local shoot time and the “sweat line” drawing is performed 2 hours before shoot time, the day of the hunt, also at the Refuge Hunter Check Station.

Heads Up! Special Notice for regulations for the Upcoming San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt

Tom Trakes wanted me to get the word out to all the Junior Hunters and their adults regarding the regulations that the SJ Staff have to go by for the upcoming Junior Waterfowl Hunt on Saturday, February 5th. Tom wanted to get the word out on this as they simply DO NOT want to have to turn away any Junior Hunter just because they (or their responsible adult) didn’t know.

There are some state and federal regulations that everyone needs to be aware of for Junior Hunters participating in the SJWA Junior Waterfowl hunt.

Participation in the Junior Hunt is limited to Junior Hunters that are under 18 years old on February 5th. This means that if a Junior Hunter’s 18th birthday is on Feb 5th or before they cannot participate in the Junior Hunt.

Any Junior Hunter that is 16 or over on February 5th need the following
in addition to their regular hunting license:

#1 – A California Waterfowl Validation.

#2 – A Federal Duck Stamp.

#3 – A California HIP (Harvest Information Program) Validation.

#4 – A Type “A” Area Pass.

If the Junior hunter will be 16 or over on February 5th and doesn’t have these four items in addition to their regular hunting license GET THEM NOW! Don’t wait! No passes or stamps are sold at the check station and BY LAW the Junior hunter that is 16 or over cannot participate in the hunt without them. Let’s not let anyone get disappointed and make sure everyone has all their ducks in a row (pun intended) so no one gets turned away.

Remember all Junior Hunters must have an adult (non-hunting of course) with them in the blind for the Junior Hunt, at least one adult per blind. If you don’t have a reservation, be sure you’re at the check station (17050 Davis Rd., Nuevo, CA 92567) at 3 AM to get in on the Sweatline Drawing.

Hopefully, this clarifies what the requirements are for the Junior Hunters to participate in the great event, and no one will be disappointed and turned away.

Good luck and great hunting!

Any questions on any of this contact Tom Trakes at 951-236-3040 for any clarification needed.

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/26/22, Saturday – 1/29/22, and Sunday – 1/30/22

The average waterfowl bag at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Wednesday jumped back up from Sunday’s usual low average. Green Wing Teal held on to first place for the most birds bagged with Shovelers taking back sole possession of second place. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Wednesday 1/26/22 were as follows:

121 adult and 4 junior hunters took home 67 Northern Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 29 Gadwall, 37 Widgeon, 30 Pintail, 90 Green Wing Teal, 27 Cinnamon Teal, 9 Ring Necks, 7 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Blue Wing Teal, and 7 Ruddy Ducks. 2 Snow Geese were harvested at Wister on Wednesday. 5 Coots were checked in at Wister on Wednesday. This worked out to an average bag of 2.45 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese and Coots added in to the total, 2.50 waterfowl per hunter. Out of 104 reservation cards issued 25 hunters showed up on time to get their hunting spot.

The waterfowl average take at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Saturday dropped back just a hair from Wednesday’s average. Green Wing Teal were still in first place for most birds bagged with Shovelers still found in the second position. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/29/22 were as follows:

263 adult and 5 junior hunters took 112 Northern Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 34 Gadwall, 58 Widgeon, 43 Pintail, 231 Green Wing Teal, 76 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Canvasback, 7 Ring Necks, 4 Scaup, 24 Bufflehead, 5 Blue Wing Teal, 1 Mexican Black Duck, 2 Mergansers, and 19 Ruddy Ducks. 4 Snow Geese were downed at Wister on Saturday. 8 Coots were taken at Wister on Saturday. This came out to an average bag of 2.31 ducks per gun or, with the Geese and Coots added in, 2.35 waterfowl per person. Out of 104 reservation cards issued 47 hunting parties showed up in time to claim their spot.

The average waterfowl harvest at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Sunday nosedived as compared to Saturday’s average. Green Wing Teal, again, were found in first place for the most birds checked in with Shovelers, also again, holding the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Sunday, 1/30/22 were as follows:

123 adult and 3 junior hunters bagged 20 Northern Shovelers, 4 Mallards, 5 Gadwall, 11 Widgeon, 9 Pintail, 39 Green Wing Teal, 8 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Canvasback, 2 Ring Necks, 1 Blue Wing Teal, 5 Bufflehead, and 17 Ruddy Ducks. No Geese were taken at Wister on Sunday. 7 Coots were downed at Wister on Sunday. This came out to an average take of 0.97 ducks per person or, with the Coots worked into the total, 1.02 waterfowl per gun. Out of 104 reservation cards issued 20 hunters arrived on time to claim their hunting spots.

So, the 2021/2022 regular waterfowl season is in the books. Junior hunters have two more chances at the ducks at Wister, next weekend, February 5th and 6th. If you’re a junior hunter or you have a junior hunter in the family you can get in on the Junior Waterfowl hunt on Saturday and Sunday, 2/5 & 2/6/22. If your junior hunter doesn’t have a reservation for the Junior Hunt weekend he or she can still get in on the sweatline drawing, just like any regular hunt day, by showing up at Wister to get in on the drawing by 10:30 PM the night before. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweat line” spots given out after that. For more information, contact the staff at Wister Staff at 760-359-0577.

If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you also have two more chances this season. The after-season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 12th and 13th at Wister. Hopefully, our Vets and Active Duty Heroes will take advantage of this opportunity. Here’s hoping our Vets and Active Duty have a great hunt! If you don’t have a reservation for the Vets/Military Hunt you can still get in on the sweatline drawing, just like any regular hunt day, by showing up at Wister to get in on the drawing by 10:30 PM the night before. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweat line” spots are given out after that. For more information, contact the staff at Wister Staff at 760-359-0577. And, of course, thanks for your service.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/29/22

The waterfowl average take at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area for Saturday jumped upward from Wednesday’s average under mostly cloudy skies with temperatures ranging from the high 30s to the mid-60s. Shovelers retained first place for number of birds checked in with Green Wing Teal remaining in the second position. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 1/29/22 were as follows:

176 adult and 4 junior hunters took home 160 Northern Shovelers, 13 Mallards, 33 Gadwall, 8 Widgeon, 30 Pintail, 116 Green Wing Teal, 20 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Scaup, 5 Bufflehead, and 32 Ruddy Ducks. There were no Geese bagged at San Jacinto on Saturday. 77 Coots were also checked in at San Jacinto on Saturday. This came out to an average bag of 2.32 ducks per hunter or, with the Coots included, 2.75 waterfowl per gun. Tom advised that out of 52 reservation cards issued 24 hunters were on time to claim their spot.

Well, that’s it for the 2021/2022 regular waterfowl season. Junior hunters have one more chance at those elusive waterfowl, on Saturday, February 5th. If you’re a junior hunter or you have a junior hunter in the family, here’s hoping you’ll take advantage of San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl hunt on Saturday, 2/5/22. Here’s hoping the Juniors have a great hunt! If your junior hunter doesn’t have a reservation for the Junior Hunt he or she can still get in on the sweatline drawing, just like any regular hunt day, by showing up at SJ at 3 AM to get their name in on the sweatline drawing. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

If you’re a If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you also have one more chance this season. The after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday, February 12th. Hopefully our Vets and Active Duty Heroes will take advantage of this opportunity. Here’s hoping our Vets and Active Duty have a great hunt! Here’s hoping our Vets and Active Duty have a great hunt! If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member and don’t have a reservation for the Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt you can still get in on the sweatline drawing, just like any regular hunt day, by showing up at SJ at 3 AM to get your name in on the sweatline drawing. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.


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