Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Saturday – 10/20/18 and Sunday – 10/21/18

The waterfowl harvest totals for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for the 2018/19 season-opening weekend were outstanding with many limits brought in by the hunters.  As was last season, this season Teal were far out in the lead for most numerous birds checked in.   For Saturday Green Wing Teal took the lead in number of birds harvested with Cinnamon Teal holding the second place.   The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 10/20/18 were as follows:

253 adult and 7 junior hunters bagged 28 Northern Shovelers, 448 Cinnamon Teal, 31 Gadwall, 62 Widgeon, 682 Green Wing Teal, 163 Mallards, 165 Pintail, 37 Redheads, 19 Ring Necks, 3 Blue Wing Teal, and 7 Ruddy Ducks.  There were 11 White Fronted Geese checked in at Wister on Saturday.  In addition, 28 coots were downed on Saturday.  This resulted in an average take of 6.33 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese and Coots figured in, a 6.48 waterfowl average for each hunter. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 56 showed up on time for their spot.

The waterfowl take for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Sunday, dropped off a bit from Saturday’s season opener’s excellent numbers but still wasn’t bad.  The top two species from Saturday swapped places putting Cinnamon Teal in first place for number of birds taken and Green Wing Teal slipping back to the second position.  The Wister Staff reported that the results for Sunday, 10/21/18 were as follows:

120 adult and 6 junior hunters bagged 5 Northern Shovelers, 90 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Gadwall, 8 Widgeon, 86 Green Wing Teal, 20 Mallards, 17 Pintail, 13 Redheads, 2 Ring Necks, 1 Blue Wing Teal, 1 Wood Duck, and 7 Ruddy Ducks.  There were 2 White Fronted Geese checked in at Wister on Sunday.  There were also 13 coots included in the take on Sunday.  This resulted in a per hunter average of 2.00 ducks and, with the Geese and Coots included, 2.12 waterfowl per gun. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 30 hunting parties arrived on time to claim their spots.

Wister is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. You can put in for reservations online through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS).  Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of.  Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done the night before at 10:30 pm, with sign-up for the drawing between 7:30 and 10:30 pm. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW website at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFW Office or a license agent before your arrival at the refuge.  These can be purchased online via the ALDS system also, however, you will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days.  If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you immediately get them without the wait for the mail.  No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this season.  You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at Wister Staff at 760-359-0577.

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Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 10/20/18

San Jacinto Wildlife Area hunters experienced an outstanding opening of the 2018/19 waterfowl season with a great average bird harvest under clear skies and warm weather. As it was last season, Cinnamon Teal were the number one bird harvested today.  Shovelers were found in second place for number of birds taken on the opener.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 10/20/18 were as follows:

210 adult and 20 junior hunters bagged 231 Northern Shovelers, 301 Cinnamon Teal, 11 Gadwall, 31 Widgeon, 90 Green Wing Teal, 5 Mallards, 2 Pintail, 19 Redheads, 28 Ring Necks, 10 Blue Wing Teal, 14 Bufflehead and 16 Ruddy Ducks.  In addition, 9 White Fronted geese bagged at San Jacinto on Saturday.  There were also 51 coots checked in on Saturday.  This resulted in an average take of 3.30 ducks per hunter or 3.56 waterfowl per person with the geese and coots figured in. Tom advised that out of 52 reservation cards 42 showed up on time to claim their spot.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations online through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS).  Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW website at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFW Office or a license agent before your arrival at the refuge.  These can be purchased online via the ALDS system also, however, you will have to wait for the DFG to mail you the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days.  If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent, you immediately get them without the wait for the mail.  As in past seasons, no licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this season.  You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt, but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

SoCalHunt.com Now Has the Current Blind Maps and Area Rules for San Jacinto Wildlife Area and Wister Along With GPS Coordinates For All SJ Blinds

The SoCalHunt website, www.socalhunt.com , now has downloadable pdf files for the 2018/2019 season San Jacinto Wildlife Area blind map and area rules and the Wister Wildlife Area blind map and area rules.  Also, for the first time, we have a downloadable pdf file of all of the GPS coordinates for the San Jacinto blind locations.  These files can be found on the Maps and Downloads page of the SoCalHunt website (not here on the SoCalHunt Blog) at the above link.  Just click on the above link and then go to the Maps and Downloads page.  Click on the map or GPS list image you want, and you can download a pdf file to view and/or print.  All three of these files are 2 pages long.

On the San Jacinto Wildlife Area map for this season, you will notice that some of the blinds have shaded areas around them.  These shaded areas are areas that you will be allowed to “roam” near those blinds to hunt.  In addition, the SJ Staff, again going the extra mile, has gone to the trouble of marking each blind’s GPS coordinates to assist hunters in finding their hunting location at 0-dark-30.  So now, you just need to put the GPS numbers in your GPS or GPS smartphone app and you’ll know where your blind is located, even if you’re a first timer.  Of course, you’ll have to use some common sense and follow the twists and turns of the dikes to get to the blinds, not just go busting through the brush and across the middle of ponds because that’s the way the GPS points you.

As I type this the season kickoff is less than two days away so, hopefully, the above info will assist you in picking and getting to your hunting site this season.  Hope to see you out there this season!

Saturday, September 22nd – San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Brush Up / Work Day a Great Success

SoCalHunt was on hand again on Saturday, September 22nd, as around 35 volunteers got the job done at San Jacinto’s second volunteer blind brush-up work day for the fast approaching duck season.  This is the first time in a while that SoCalHunt has been able to make both the pre-season workdays.

As the sun crested over the surrounding mountains a large group of volunteers gathered at the check station parking lot to get their assignments and head out to spruce up Wildlife Area’s blinds.  Due to the great turnout at the August workday, a lot of the brush-up work had already been done, although there were still a few blinds that needed attention and some of the ones worked on last time needed a little tweaking.  Also, as before, some general cleanup was done around and inside some of the blinds.  There were still a couple of blinds that needed some trimming of natural growth and cleaning out tumbleweeds and other plants that had taken over the inside of those blinds.

Tom giving the volunteers their assignments as the sun break over the mountains.

Brushing up more blinds with palm fronds

Always beautiful scenery at SJ!

A group shot of most of the volunteers (a few had to leave early). Thanks to all who helped out!

Most of the ponds are well on the way to being fully flooded and more water is pouring in daily.  Waterfowl continue to arrive at SJ every day and things are looking great for the soon to be duck season.

After the volunteers’, and the San Jacinto crew’s hard efforts for the morning we all gathered at Marcello’s Pizza in Nuevo for another great lunch.

Some of the volunteers enjoying some great Pizza for lunch!

Tom and the staff at San Jacinto (and me too) would like to give another big thank you to all the volunteers that showed up and put in all the effort to get things done to get ready for the 2018/19 waterfowl season.

The next thing on the schedule is opening day, Saturday, October 20th!  Only 27 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes away as I type this.  May the ressie computer be kind to you this season and hopefully, we’ll see you out at San Jacinto for the upcoming waterfowl season.

 

2nd Volunteer Blind Brush-Up Day Coming Up – Saturday, September 22nd

(Edit – 9/16/18 – Less then a week now! Next Saturday!) This is just a quick reminder that the 2nd volunteer blind brush-up work day is two weeks away.  I just wanted to put out a reminder since the original announcement was incorporated with the August 18th brush-up work day announcement.  Don’t want anyone that’s willing to help out to miss because the original announcement was a while back.  Also, if you have any palm fronds they are needed to complete the building and brushing up of some of the blinds.  See the below link for details.

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/volunteer-clean-up-brush-up-work-days-set-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-area-august-18th-and-september-22nd/

Keep it Legal – Keep it Clean

Since it’s about a month and a half until duck season opens here in Southern California I figured now would be a good time to go over some of the rules, regulations and common courtesies involved in the sport. There’s nothing worse than getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar, so to speak, and having Mr. Green Jeans scratching you out an expensive citation and ejecting you from the wildlife area while fellow hunters look on from the neighboring blinds. So, here’s some of the stuff you need to know, or for most of us, already know, but maybe a little reminder wouldn’t hurt so nobody “forgets” what they’re supposed to do.

First, and most obvious, is the season dates and limits. For the 2018/19 season in the Southern California Area (where San Jacinto Wildlife Area is located) the following regulations apply:
Seasons:
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).

Limits:
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. (*NOTE* – Scaup may only be taken November 3rd, 2018 through January 27th, 2019 – so be careful the first two weeks of the season once again. There’s always a few Scaup around SJ before their season opens).
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
Ok, now that we have the most obvious out of the way here’s a few more we all need to keep in mind.

“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.

NO LEAD AMMO!! This should be a no-brainer if you’ve hunted ducks within that last 26 years. The prohibition on lead ammunition for waterfowl hunting is a federal law and was phased-in starting in the 1987/88 hunting season and was nationwide by 1991. You might think that, since it’s been so long since the phase-in that no one needs a reminder of this. The reason I mention it is that even though California is phasing out lead ammo throughout the state for any type of hunting it still hasn’t been phased out altogether. We are currently in phase 2 of the phase-out of lead ammo in California and phase 2 states “Phase 2 – Effective July 1, 2016, nonlead shot required when taking upland game birds with a shotgun, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken on licensed game bird clubs. In addition, nonlead shot required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds, and any wildlife for depredation purposes.” So, if you happened to be out in the desert chasing quail last week and you’re going to bring the same sweatshirt you wore out there to go duck hunting this week make dern sure you thoroughly go through the pockets to make sure you didn’t leave a round or two of lead quail loads in there. Mr. or Ms. Warden won’t take the “oops, I forgot” excuse if the find any lead shot in your possession so make sure you don’t have any out there.

Sort of related to that is the shell limit. On any state wildlife area or federal refuge, you are limited to 25 rounds in the field. That’s not 25 rounds in the blind and another 25 hidden somewhere between your truck and the blind, that’s 25 period. If you really need more shells take the walk back to your truck, at least they allow us to keep some in our vehicles. In reality, there aren’t too many days you’re going to need more than 25 rounds. This is another good reason to check your pockets before you go into the field. You don’t want the aforementioned Warden(s) to check you early in the day and find out that, because you left 3 shells in your waders from chasing a cripple last week, you are in possession of 28 shells. Another big ticket.

Again, sort of related, make sure if you’re shooting a pump or auto-loading shotgun that is capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine make sure you have a magazine plug installed. You’re allowed three shells in the shotgun total, one in the chamber and two in the magazine. Don’t get caught without a plug installed in your shotgun while out in the field. Another big “ka-ching” if you’re caught.

Littering…(my pet peeve – the main reason for the “keep it clean” in this post title). If you brought in that candy bar, water bottle, ammo box or whatever assorted garbage you produce while in the blind, CARRY IT BACK OUT!! This includes your empty shotgun shells. Obviously, this stuff will weigh less than when you brought it in so there’s no excuse, (or actually there’s one partial excuse, which is to follow right here ->>>). Now I know, because it happens to me almost every hunt, with a modern pump gun or autoloader you’re going to lose a few shells. It can’t be helped as most of these guns throw the empties quite a way. But, please, make every effort to retrieve as many of your spent shells as you possibly can, plus any that you find that prior hunters missed picking up. Obviously littering is illegal, not only on the wildlife area but everywhere so just why would you even do it? A handy appliance for picking up spent shells is a shell stick. Here’s a link on how to build one, if you don’t want to bend over umpteen times picking up shells around your blind:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/the-shell-stick/

Skybusting. Please, just don’t. Skybusting or skyscraping is shooting at birds that are out of range hoping to get that one “magic bb” in the right spot to bring down the bird. I know it’s tempting, especially when things are slow, all you’ll usually end up doing is scaring away ducks that may have been starting to work a neighboring blind’s decoys or, worse, wounding a bird to fly off and die later on. Although there is no law against skybusting it makes you extremely unpopular with your fellow hunters so it’s not a good idea, unless you have stock holdings in an ammunition manufacturing business. 40 yards is about the furthest you should shoot at a duck. If you need some practice getting an idea of what a duck looks like at 40 yards take a life-sized decoy out to the local high school field and set it on the goal line and then walk out to the 40 yards line and look at it.

Excessive and/or poor calling. Another “just don’t” that’s not illegal but will PO your neighboring hunters if you “just do”. Calling properly actually takes some talent and, more importantly, practice to do correctly. I wrote a post on this a while back, so I’ll not rehash it here. Just click on the link below to read that post:
https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/to-call-or-not-to-call-that-is-the-question-the-quack-attack/

Parking. At SJ most of the blinds have specific parking areas. When you get you blind assignment in the morning (or later if you’re refilling) the SJ staff will tell you where to park. In most cases, these parking areas are for two reasons. First, to keep your vehicle safe. Nothing is worse than coming back to your truck and finding your windshield or the paint on your hood was peppered by shot sometime during the day. Second these spots are also designed so that as hunters come and go during the day it minimizes the disturbance of the other blinds in the area. So, park where you’re supposed to park to avoid the above problems.

Start/finish time. Star time, and finishing time, or legal shooting time, is posted at the check station for each day’s hunting. BTW – There’s an App for that! It’s called your cell phone. Set alarm times for start and finish times before you leave the check station. At San Jacinto the staff there also comes out into the wildlife area just before start time and blows an air horn at start time so there’s really no excuse to shoot early. Depending on the time of year and the conditions the morning fly off is sometime the only chance some hunters will get to bag a duck or two. If some, (yes, I’ll say it), Jerk shoots 5 minutes early it could ruin the hunt day for half the wildlife area, at least. It also tends to start a chain reaction of people shooting early as they think, since someone shot, that it’s now start time and their watch or cell phone is somehow set to the wrong time. It’s really the height of selfishness to shoot early just to try to bag a bird and thereby screw up everybody else’s hunt that day. Lastly, this one is illegal and if the Wardens catch you you’re done for the day with an expensive ticket.

So, that’s about it. The season’s just around the corner and it’s about time to pull the duck gear out of the garage and get ready for another season of duck hunting at San Jacinto. Hope to see you out there sometime.

Dove Season Opens Saturday, September 1st – San Jacinto Wildlife Area Info

September 1st is, as it has been for time immemorial, the opening of dove season in California.  This year that happens to be on a Saturday, next Saturday in fact.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, wanted me to announce that the entire wildlife area will be opened to dove hunting for the first Three days of dove season.  From opening day, Saturday September 1st, until Monday September 3rd, hunters may chase doves not only on the upland areas of San Jacinto, but they can also attempt to bag the little gray rockets around the Wildlife Area’s duck hunting side.  For the remainder of the dove season, after September 3rd until September 15th, dove hunting will be allowed only on the upland areas of San Jacinto.  Hunting doves in the waterfowl area of SJ won’t be allowed after September 3rd.

Tom also wanted to remind everyone that this year, as it has been for the last couple years, due to Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations only non-toxic shot may be used on the wildlife area.  This means NO LEAD SHOT is allowed at any time at SJ whether you’re duck hunting, upland hunting or rabbit hunting.    Be sure you don’t have any lead shot with you if you’re going to hunt San Jacinto, or any other state wildlife area or refuge this year.  Wardens will be checking and possession of even one round of lead shot could get you a citation.  So, check your hunting vest thoroughly to make sure an old round of lead shot isn’t stuck in one of the pockets.  Also, don’t forget that your old hunting license expired at the end of June.  Don’t be caught without your 2018/19 hunting license and your upland endorsement on you license.

Tom told me that they are seeing a good amount of dove utilizing SJ this year and they’ve planted several fields with dove-attracting crops.  That’s not to say that you’re going to limit out in an hour, like you might be able to do down at Niland or someplace like that, but you have a good chance of bagging a few birds close to home.

So, Hopefully, there won’t be any last-minute thunder storms to chase the birds out of the area.  A quick check of the weather app show that there aren’t any predicted, but then that’s a weather prediction so who knows.   If you so inclined to try your luck at San Jacinto things are looking pretty good for the opener.

Hope to see you out on good old SJ some time.


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