San Jacinto Wildlife Area Schedules Two Volunteer Blind Brush-Up Work Days – August 14 and September 18, 2021

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the second and third volunteer work day for the upcoming season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area have been scheduled.  The two dates will both be on Saturdays, August 14th and September 18th.  These work days will be primarily for building, repairing and brushing-up blinds and cleaning up the general hunting areas around them.  The SJ Staff is asking that you please comply with current State COVID-19 precautions in force when these dates come up.  Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 5:30 AM and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring work gloves, sturdy boots or shoes, Shovels, wire cutters, pliers, etc. and waders if you have them.  Some of the ponds may still be flooded.  Also, obviously, the weather will be HOT so bring lots of water, sunscreen & mosquito repellent.

Tom is also requesting that anyone that has access to palm fronds and would like to get rid of them to drop them off at San Jacinto Wildlife Area any time.  The palm fronds are needed to brush up the wildlife area’s blinds for the upcoming waterfowl hunting season as well as to have some on hand for repairs to the blinds throughout the season.  Anyone who is trimming palm trees and wants to bring them around to San Jacinto to get rid of them, or knows someone who is trimming palm trees and wants to save the fee the dump would charge them, give Tom a call at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for someone to be there so you can drop them off. He also wanted me to remind people that they DO NOT want fronds that have the thorns on them.  Don’t bring the wader-rippers but other, non-thorny palm fronds are welcome. The thorn laden fronds are okay to use, however, if you’re willing to strip off the thorns prior to bringing them in. 

After the work is done, we will get together at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant restaurant in Nuevo for a well deserved lunch. (Each person responsible for their own bill).

Hopefully, we’ll have a great turnout so we can get the blinds and hunting area prepped for another waterfowl season.  SJ is very short staffed right now and needs all the help they can get to get ready for the 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.

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the second and third volunteer work day for the upcoming season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area have been scheduled.  The two dates will both be on Saturdays, August 14th and September 18th.  These work days will be primarily for building, repairing and brushing-up blinds and cleaning up the general hunting areas around them.  The SJ Staff is asking that you please comply with current State COVID-19 precautions in force when these dates come up.  Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 5:30 AM and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring work gloves, sturdy boots or shoes, Shovels, wire cutters, pliers, etc. and waders if you have them.  Some of the ponds may still be flooded.  Also, obviously, the weather will be HOT so bring lots of water, sunscreen & mosquito repellent.

Tom is also requesting that anyone that has access to palm fronds and would like to get rid of them to drop them off at San Jacinto Wildlife Area any time.  The palm fronds are needed to brush up the wildlife area’s blinds for the upcoming waterfowl hunting season as well as to have some on hand for repairs to the blinds throughout the season.  Anyone who is trimming palm trees and wants to bring them around to San Jacinto to get rid of them, or knows someone who is trimming palm trees and wants to save the fee the dump would charge them, give Tom a call at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for someone to be there so you can drop them off. He also wanted me to remind people that they DO NOT want fronds that have the thorns on them.  Don’t bring the wader-rippers but other, non-thorny palm fronds are welcome. The thorn laden fronds are okay to use, however, if you’re willing to strip off the thorns prior to bringing them in. 

After the work is done, we will get together at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant restaurant in Nuevo for a well deserved lunch. (Each person responsible for their own bill).

Hopefully, we’ll have a great turnout so we can get the blinds and hunting area prepped for another waterfowl season.  SJ is very short staffed right now and needs all the help they can get to get ready for the 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.

US Fish and Wildlife Cancels Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey for Second Year

For the second year in a row the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service have canceled their annual joint Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey.  Despite the falling number of cases, and the now widely available vaccinations, the stated reason for the cancelation is due to safety concerns over Covid-19.

The survey, which historically has been taken every year in the spring from 1955 to 2019, is used to estimate breeding populations and make management decisions for waterfowl.

This will have no effect on the 2021/2022 season regulations.  Since no survey was conducted last year, as it was canceled for the 2020/2021 season, the regulations were based on habitat conditions and population estimates from the 2019 breeding season. 

To set regulations for the 2022/2023 season the USFWS will utilize the long-term data and models to predict the 2021 spring populations and habitat conditions instead of the survey data.

The USFWS expects that the 2022/2023 regulations will be, in general, similar to the 2021/2022 season based on the long-term averages however, in some cases changes may be appropriate and the USFWS will work with the Flyway Councils to identify populations of special concern. 

I would expect this, for us at least, will translate into pretty much identical regulations for the 2022/2023 season as we already have set for the 2021/2022 season, with some possible exceptions if some “special concerns” come up.  Once again, I’m pretty sure we can expect a one Pintail limit.  No chance for an increase there until the 2023/2024 season now.

For further details you can check the questions and answers document posted by the USFW explaining the reasons for the cancellation.

So, once again no Breeding Population and Habitat Survey to check out this summer for a preview of the upcoming season.  We can only the ducks will do what nature intended and produce a bunch of those little fuzz-ball ducklings that will grow up and be ready for us by the time the season begins.

California Fish and Game Commission Sets 2021/22 Season Regulations

The California Fish and Game Commission, during their April 14th meeting, adopted changes to the waterfowl season dates and regulations for the 2021/22 waterfowl season. 

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

Seasons: Ducks and Geese: October 23, 2021 through January 31, 2022.

Special Youth Hunt Days: February 5 and February 6, 2022. (San Jacinto’s Annual Youth Hunt will be February 5th, 2022).

Special Veteran/Active Duty Military Hunt Days: February 12 and February 13, 2022 (San Jacinto’s Annual Vet/Active Duty Hunt will be February 12th, 2022)

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 November 7th, 2021 through January 31st, 2022 – so again, be careful the first two weeks of the season this year). 

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, 2021 – December 15, 2021.  Daily bag limit: 2 per day.  Possession limit 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 web site 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 Monday so the last actual hunt day at SJ will be January 29th.  The Brant seasons will be increased from 27 days to 37 days.  Not a real big concern for SJ hunters but there’s a very slim chance one will show up at SJ so it would behoove you to know what they look like.  Other than that, most other regulations stayed pretty 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 tip top shape for the upcoming 2021/2022 waterfowl season.  So far it looks like we won’t have any COVID-19 restrictions this year (fingers crossed – but who knows…this is California after all).  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 work days get scheduled try to pitch in and help if you’re able – Info will be posted here on SoCalHunt when I receive it.  Also, it looks like at least some of Mystic Lake is still going to be there which is usually a big help to enhance the hunt results at San Jacinto!

This above information is provided as a general guide only. Although they haven’t updated it to 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 with every year, 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.

San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Clean Up Day, Saturday, March 27th, 2021, Much Accomplished

On Saturday, March 27th, about 15 volunteers were in attendance at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking lot bright and early at 0600.  Tom sent the volunteers out across the Wildlife Area with the mission to clean-up the hunting area’s blinds.  Much was accomplished and all the area’s blinds received a good cleaning.  Many spent shotgun shells were picked up, (the most common kind of trash in and around the blinds), along with other various trash.  Tom Trakes of San Jacinto Wildlife Area estimated they filled a dumpster about ¼ full of empty shells.

After working hard all morning the volunteer crew and the SJ staff retired to the El Comal 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 give a big thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl season. 

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 around mid-July and the one after that in late August or early September (dates to be announced).  Watch SoCalHunt for info on these upcoming work days when the dates are announced.   

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. Of course, this is pending state approval due to COVID restrictions but hopefully we’ll know soon.  Watch SoCalHunt for the announcement of the Hunter’s Ed Class (hopefully) soon.

Ok, now I’m going to climb onto my soapbox (and this is me personally talking, not SJWA or anybody affiliated with them).  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 to our hunting privileges come about 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.  A ¼ dumpster full of empty shells is quite a lot.  Ah, yeah, ‘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.

First Annual San Jacinto Wildlife Area Veterans/Active Duty Military Hunt, Saturday, February 13th, 2021, A Great Success

0300 Saturday, 13 February 2021.  41 Veteran and Active Duty Military personnel reported for duty at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for the first annual Veteran/Active Duty Military special hunt. 

After a quick breakfast of coffee, hot chocolate, and Crispy-Cream donuts the “troops” dispersed over San Jacinto Wildlife Area to await starting time.  Hunting was great this day and the Veterans/Active Military beat the wildlife area’s average take by more than two birds a person.  (Hunt results for the Veteran/Active Military Hunt can be found here… https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2021/02/13/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-military-vets-active-duty-hunt-saturday-2-13-21/ )

At lunch our Military heroes retired to the SJWA workshop area for a great lunch of tri-tip (provided by Robert Hartman and his daughter – whose son/brother is a Coast Guard member) and smoked beans (provided by John Ross).

All in all it was a great day and a great way to salute our Military Veterans and Active Duty Military heroes.  And, looking at the per hunter average that day it looks like the Vets and Active Duty folks proved what great shots they are!

San Jacinto’s 27th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Huge Success, February 6th, 2021

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

This past season’s Junior Waterfowl Hunt/Event was outstanding and the Junior Hunters in attendance had some pretty good waterfowl hunting but also made out with some great prizes at the lunch give-away at mid-day. 

Due to COVID restrictions this year the SJ Staff had to pass on the usual breakfast of pancakes and sausage.  They did, however, supply the Juniors with chocolate milk, coffee and sweet rolls to fuel the Juniors for their morning hunt.

Once all the Juniors and their accompanying adults grabbed their morning snack they headed out to the Wildlife Area to set up and wait for the blast of the starting horn.  The hunting was fair this year and some of the Juniors even scored limits this time.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here…  https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2021/02/06/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-27th-annual-junior-hunt-saturday-2-6-21/ )

At lunchtime everyone gathered back at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize give-away.  Lunch was great, consisting of sandwiches (provided by the San Jacinto Walmart), Pulled pork (donated by John Ross of Dee’z Boy’z BBQ in Hemet), coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, and etc. (donated by Quail Forever) and bottled water (donated by sparklets). 

There was a lot support for this year’s Junior Hunt and all the Junior Hunters received two or three 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” shotguns, rifle and a German Shorthair puppy (donated by Chaz Prato).  I’m sure all the Juniors went away happy this year.

After the lunch and prize give away, most of the Junior Hunters went back to their blinds to finish out the day hunting. 

The Junior Hunt was an outstanding event this year. As I’ve always said the Juniors are the future of our sport, so it is vital to keep them interested and involved in waterfowl hunting.  San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt is a great way to keep them interested.  I know several adult hunters that still reminisce about their participation in the SJWA Junior Hunt.

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.  Also, thanks go to our local Game Wardens for helping hand out the prizes at the Junior Hunt event.

Tom also asked me to extend a special thanks Bass Pro Shops.  Bass Pro made several donations and assisted with the shotgun raffle at their location prior to the event to raise money for prizes.  Also thanks to Sportsman’s Warehouse for assisting with the shotgun raffle at their location prior to the event to raise money for prizes. Also thanks to Toni Bever of Quail Forever for donating two shotguns for the raffle at Sportsman’s warehouse and Bass Pro Shops to raise money for prizes. A total of about $4000 was raised by the raffles that was used to purchase more prizes for the Juniors. 

So, there you have it, another Junior Waterfowl Hunt is in the books.  Check out the pictures below, which is only a small example of this great event.  Of course, due to space, I couldn’t post every picture but hopefully these will give you a really good idea of how this wonderful event for our Junior Hunters went down.

Hopefully I’ve mentioned 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 if I miss someone please forgive me and know that it wasn’t intentional.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Volunteer Clean-Up Work Day Postponed until March 27th

The volunteer clean-up work day at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area scheduled for Saturday, March 13th has been postponed due to recent rains. Everything else mentioned in the original post about this work day applies except SJWA needs a chance to dry out for a while before the roads will be in shape to use.

Hope that all that had planned on working at the original date can make the March 27th date. See you there!

March 13th – 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 13th.  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 6:00 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.

Kern National Wildlife Refuge 2020/2021 Season Long Stats

The end of the 2020/2021 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. 

2339 adult and 170 junior hunters (2509 hunters total) harvested a total of 2111 Northern Shovelers, 251 Mallards, 1192 Gadwall, 626 Widgeon, 441 Pintail, 901 Green Wing Teal, 605 Cinnamon Teal, 280 Redheads, 19 Canvasbacks, 99 Ring Necks, 4 Scaup, 180 Bufflehead, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Blue Wing Teal, 1 Eurasian Widgeon, 1 Wood Duck, 4 Mergansers, 1 Surf Scooter, and 92 Ruddy Ducks. There was also 1 duck listed as “other”.  In addition, there were also 0 Canada Geese, 4 Ross’ Geese, 3 Snow Geese, and 46 White Fronted Geese taken at Kern this season. 37 Coots were also checked in for the 2020/2021 season at Kern. This figured out to a total of 6869 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, 6906 waterfowl taken for the season. The per hunter average take for 2020/2021 season came out to 2.74 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 2.75 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season there were 36 fewer adult hunters this season over last and there were 53 more junior hunters for a total of 17 more hunters accommodated in 2020/2021 season compared to the 2019/2020 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 +313 Northern Shovelers, -47 Mallards, -35 Gadwall, -148 Widgeon, -42 Pintail, -648 Green Wing Teal, -198 Cinnamon Teal, -325 Redheads, +5 Canvasbacks, -9 Ring Necks, -2 Scaup, +19 Bufflehead, no change for the Goldeneye (2 this season and 2 last season), -5 Wood Ducks, -1 Blue Wing Teal, -1 Merganser, +1 Surf Scooter (0 last season), -1 Eurasian Widgeon, and +4 Ruddy Ducks.  There were also no change on ducks listed as “other” (1 this season and 1 last season).

For the Geese numbers, there were -1 Canada Geese (0 this season), +3 Ross’ Goose, no change for Snow Geese (3 this season and 3 last season), and +32 White Front Goose.

There were also -38 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of -788 Ducks and Geese taken and, with the Coots included, -826 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were -0.33 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, -0.35 waterfowl this season over last season.

So, there you have it, the year-long stats for the Kern National Wildlife Refuge.  As compared to last season’s stats it appears that most of the species had fewer birds harvested. Overall Kern had fair averages most of the season but ended up with a slightly lower per hunter average than last season.  Hopefully 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 thing will improve next season.

Hunt Results for Kern National Wildlife Refuge Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt, Saturday, 2/13/21

The average bag of waterfowl at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt resulted in an outstanding average for our Military Heroes. Cinnamon Teal came in at the first position for number of ducks taken with Green Wing Teal taking the second spot.  The Kern NWR Staff reported that the results for the Military Vet/Active Duty Hunt on Saturday, 2/13/21 were as follows:

32 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters took home 22 Shovelers, 8 Mallards, 20 Gadwall, 17 Widgeon, 9 Pintail, 25 Green Wing Teal, 53 Cinnamon Teal, 6 Redheads, and 2 Bufflehead.  No Geese or Coots were checked in by Vets/Active Duty Personnel at Kern on Saturday. This figured out to an average harvest of 5.06 ducks per Hunter or, of course, with no Geese or Coots to figure in to the total, 5.06 waterfowl for each Hunter. No info was given regarding the reservation cards issued or claimed.

So, there you have it, the final hunt of the 2020/2021 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 2020/2021 Season Long Stats

The end of the 2020/2021 season at the Wister Unit revealed the following stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

5302 adult and 402 junior hunters (5704 hunters total) checked in a total of 2082 Northern Shovelers, 362 Mallards, 1260 Gadwall, 360 Widgeon, 1606 Pintail, 3305 Green Wing Teal, 2032 Cinnamon Teal, 111 Redheads, 27 Canvasbacks, 116 Ring Necks, 39 Scaup, 289 Bufflehead, 14 Goldeneyes, 31 Blue Wing Teal, 9 Wood Ducks, 5 Surf Scooters, 13 Mergansers, and 375 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, there were 2 Cackling Goose, 4 Canada Geese, 72 Ross’ Geese, 464 Snow Geese and 0 White Front Geese bagged at Wister this season. 233 Coots were checked in for the 2020/2021 season. This worked out to a total of 12587 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in, 12820 waterfowl. The per hunter average take for 2020/2021 figured out to 2.21 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots included, 2.25 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season there were 1336 more adult hunters this season over last and there were 136 more junior hunters for a total of 1422 more hunters accommodated in 2020/2021 season compared to the 2019/2020 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 +1204 Northern Shovelers, +8 Mallards, +322 Gadwall, -155 Widgeon, +431 Pintail, +898 Green Wing Teal, +1113 Cinnamon Teal, +10 Redheads, +17 Canvasbacks, +64 Ring Necks, +27 Scaup, +115 Bufflehead, +10 Goldeneyes, +9 Wood Ducks (0 last season), -32 Blue Wing Teal, +3 Mergansers, +5 Surf Scooters (0 last season), and +290 Ruddy Ducks.

As for the Geese numbers, there were +1 Cackling Goose, -2 Canada Geese, +68 Ross’ Geese, +290 Snow Geese, and -2 White Front Geese (0 this season).

There was also +17 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of +4569 Ducks and Geese taken and, with the Coots included, +4802 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were +0.32 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, +0.30 waterfowl this season over last season.

As you can see this season shows an increase of almost all species of waterfowl taken, some very substantially, with only Widgeon, Blue Wing Teal, Canada Geese, and White Front Geese showing any decrease.  Also, the stats show a very significant increase in hunters utilizing Wister this season compared to last.  Bottom line is there were 35% more hunters this season taking 55% more waterfowl.  Hopefully, we’ll get some weather up north early next season to drive the birds south.  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 – 2/13/21, Sunday – 2/14/21

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 taken but only by one over Cinnamon Teal which took the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt on Saturday, 2/13/21, were as follows:

61 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters came away with 41 Shovelers, 8 Mallards, 15 Gadwall, 21 Widgeon, 15 Pintail, 47 Green Wing Teal, 46 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Redhead, 2 Ring Necks, 11 Bufflehead, and 4 Ruddy Ducks. 9 Snow Geese were checked in by the Hunters on Saturday. The Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters also bagged 5 Coots on Saturday. This figured out to an average of 3.46 ducks per Hunter or, with the Geese and Coots included, 3.69 waterfowl per Hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued 31 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 continued great average bag.  Cinnamon Teal took the first spot for number of birds checked in with Shovelers showing up in the second position. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl take for the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt on Sunday, 2/14/21 were as follows:

10 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters checked in with 10 Shovelers, 1 Pintail, 7 Green Wing Teal, and 16 Cinnamon Teal.  There were no Geese or Coots brought into the check station by the Hunters on Sunday. This worked out to an average of 3.40 ducks per Hunter and, of course, with no Geese or Coots to include in the count, 3.40 waterfowl per Hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued 0 showed up to claim their spot.

With that, the 2020/2021 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 2020/2021 Season Long Stats

The conclusion of the 2020/2021 waterfowl season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area showed some interesting stats for the number of birds harvested and the per hunter averages.

4802 adult and 382 junior hunters (5184 hunters total) harvested a total of 1548 Northern Shovelers, 463 Mallards, 917 Gadwall, 202 Widgeon, 385 Pintail, 1652 Green Wing Teal, 1311 Cinnamon Teal, 183 Redheads, 38 Canvasbacks, 160 Ring Necks, 25 Scaup, 301 Bufflehead, 10 Goldeneye, 11 Wood Ducks, 0 Blue Wing Teal, 9 Mergansers, and 495 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, there were also 2 Canada Geese, 0 Ross’ Geese, 12 Snow Geese, and 2 White Front Geese taken at San Jacinto this season. 756 Coots were also checked in for the 2020/2021 season at SJ. This figured out to a total of 7726 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, 8482 waterfowl taken for the season. The per gun average take for 2020/2021 season came out to 1.49 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 1.64 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season there were 335 more adult hunters this season over last and there were 59 more junior hunters for a total of 394 more hunters accommodated in 2020/2021 season compared to the 2019/2020 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 +165 Northern Shovelers, -61 Mallards, -187 Gadwall, -90 Widgeon, +151 Pintail, +114 Green Wing Teal, -198 Cinnamon Teal, -10 Redheads, +19 Canvasbacks, -164 Ring Necks, -9 Scaup, +129 Bufflehead, -9 Goldeneye, -8 Wood Ducks, -15 Blue Wing Teal (0 this season), -14 Mergansers, -1 Whistling Duck (0 this season), -1 Surf Scooter (0 this season), and +165 Ruddy Ducks.

For the Geese numbers there were -2 Canada Geese, -6 Ross’ Geese (0 this season), +2 Snow Geese, and -2 White Front Geese.

There were also +396 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of -33 Ducks and Geese taken compared to last season and, with the Coots included, +363 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were -0.13 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, -0.05 waterfowl this season over last season.

In contrast to last season, these numbers show a slight downward trend in general although some species take was up and other were down over last season. There were also more hunters this season than last and also more Junior Hunters which brought the per hunter bird average down a bit.  Hopefully, we’ll get some good rains between now and the end of our rainy season to keep Mystic Lake filled 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 – 2/13/21

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Military Vets/Active Duty Hunt on Saturday, February 13th, resulted in a great average harvest for our Military Heroes in attendance.  Cinnamon Teal were the number one bird checked in by the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters with Green Wing Teal 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, 2/13/21, was as follows:

41 Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters bagged 17 Northern Shovelers, 2 Mallards, 20 Gadwall, 6 Widgeon, 14 Pintail, 27 Green Wing Teal, 39 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Ring Neck, 12 Bufflehead, 1 Wood Duck, and 8 Ruddy Ducks.  No Geese were checked in by the Hunters on Saturday. There were 12 Coots downed by the Military Vets/Active Duty Hunters on Saturday. This worked out to an average take of 3.59 ducks per Hunter or, with the Coots added in, a 3.88 waterfowl average for each Hunter. Tom advised that out of 50 reservations issued 17 showed up on time for their spot.

So, that completes the 2020/2021 Waterfowl Season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area.  Watch for SoCalHunt’s San Jacinto season long stats report here soon.

Hunt Results for Kern National Wildlife Refuge Junior Hunt, Saturday, 2/6/21

The average bag of waterfowl at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Junior Hunt produced a great average take for the Junior Hunters’ efforts. Widgeon took first position for number of ducks harvested but only by one bird over Green Wing Teal which took the second spot.  The Kern NWR Staff reported that the results for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/6/21 were as follows:

39 junior hunters bagged 19 Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 6 Gadwall, 29 Widgeon, 12 Pintail, 28 Green Wing Teal, 21 Cinnamon Teal, and 1 Redhead.  4 White Front Geese were checked in by the Juniors at Kern on Saturday.  No Coots were downed at Kern by the Juniors on Saturday.  This came out to an average take of 3.00 ducks per Junior Hunter and, with the Geese figured in to the total, 3.10 waterfowl for each Junior. No info was given regarding the reservation cards issued or claimed.

If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you have one more chance this season.  For the first time the DFW has authorized an after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday, February 13th 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 – 2/6/21, Sunday – 2/7/21

The Junior Waterfowl Hunt weekend hunt at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area produced a great average bag for the Junior Hunters in attendance on Saturday. Shovelers were number one for the most numerous bird checked in with Green Wing Teal showing up in the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/6/21, was as follows:

69 Junior Hunters checked in with 53 Shovelers, 7 Mallards, 13 Gadwall, 16 Widgeon, 12 Pintail, 46 Green Wing Teal, 37 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Redheads, 1 Canvasback, 1 Ring Neck, 5 Bufflehead, and 7 Ruddy Ducks. There were no Geese downed by the Junior Hunters on Saturday. Also, the Junior Hunters knocked down 4 Coots on Saturday. This came out to an average take of 2.90 ducks per Junior Hunter and, with the Coots added to the total, 2.96 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. 69 reservations were issued to the Junior Hunters but there was no info given on how many of those claimed their hunting spot.

The average harvest of waterfowl for Sunday, the second day of the Junior Hunt weekend, at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, dropped almost a bird and a half from Saturday’s great average.  Cinnamon Teal took the first spot for most numerous bird bagged with Green Wing Teal found in the second spot. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl harvest for the Junior Hunt on Sunday, 2/7/21 was as follows:

11 Junior Hunters checked in with 1 Gadwall, 1 Pintail, 4 Green Wing Teal, and 8 Cinnamon Teal.  1 Snow Goose was taken at the Junior Hunt on Sunday.  No Coots were downed by the Juniors on Sunday. This came out to an average of 1.27 ducks per Junior Hunter or, with the Goose included in the total, 1.36 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. 5 reservations were issued to the Junior Hunters but there was no info given on how many of those claimed their hunting spot.

If you’re a Veteran or an Active Duty Military Member you also have two more chance this season.  For the first time the DFW has authorized an after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 13th and 14th 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 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 San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 27th Annual Junior Hunt, Saturday – 2/6/21

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 27th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt on Saturday, February 6th, resulted in a fair average take for the Junior Hunters in attendance. Cinnamon Teal were the number one bird bagged by the Junior Hunters with Shovelers in the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/6/21, was as follows:

107 junior hunters checked in with 26 Northern Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 11 Gadwall, 1 Widgeon, 3 Pintail, 16 Green Wing Teal, 47 Cinnamon Teal, 6 Bufflehead, and 12 Ruddy Ducks. No Geese were downed at the Junior Hunt on Saturday. There were 6 Coots checked in at the Junior Hunt on Saturday. This worked out to an average take of 1.15 ducks per Junior Hunter or, with the Coots included in the total, a 1.21 waterfowl average for each Junior Hunter. Tom advised that out of 50 reservations issued 29 showed up on time for 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.  For the first time the DFW has authorized an after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday, February 13th 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.

2021 California Game Warden Stamp Now Available

I know.  If you’ve followed SoCalHunt for any length of time I’m going to sound like a broken record here.  (For any millennials that might be reading this, records were black vinyl disks that we bought our songs on if they got scratched they’d sometimes skip repeating part of the song over and over).

Yup, it’s that time of year again.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the 2021 edition of the Warden Stamp is now available.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the desert somewhere or something for the last eight years, you’re probably aware that the Department of Fish and Game changed its name on January 1st, 2013 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  With that change our good old Game Wardens were designated as “Wildlife Officers”, and it even says so on the Warden Stamps since 2014, but most hunters and fisherpersons still call them “Wardens” and the DFW is still calling this the “Warden Stamp”.

The new Warden Stamp, for 2021 is now available for purchase online via the CDFW online license services (ALDS).  To purchase the new Warden Stamp, just follow the link below to purchase via the ALDS system.

Click on the below link to go to the Warden Stamp page and follow the instructions to buy it online:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Warden-Stamp

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

The 2021 version of the stamp is a dark green background and features the sesquicentennial CDFW wildlife officer badge and silhouettes of California conifer trees along with the CDFW bear that has been used on badges and department logo shields for decades.  (see picture below)

The DFW still has their entire series of Warden Stamps available.  If you like a prior year’s design better than 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 a Warden’s badge and an elk silhouette on it.  The 2011 version is a light blue background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a trout or salmon on it. The 2012 version has a dark brown background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a California quail on it. The 2013 version has a gold background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a duck landing on it. The 2014 version has a red background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a lobster on it. The 2015 version of the stamp has a wood grain background with a Warden’s badge and the shadow of a bear on it. The 2016 version has a blue background with a Warden’s badge and the silhouettes of two bighorn sheep on it. The 2017 version of the stamp is a green background with a Warden’s badge and drawing of a sturgeon. The 2018 version of the stamp is an orange background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of a Warden K9. The 2019 version of the stamp is a dark blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of two snow geese flying. The 2020 version of the stamp is a deep blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of a Dorado on it.  (See pictures below). If you like them all you could buy one, or more, of each one if you want to.

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 website 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. All funds raised from the sales of the stamp go to purchase necessary equipment for wildlife officers and to support CDFW’s K-9 program.

“Those who purchase the Warden Stamp – hunters, anglers and non-consumptive users – appreciate and want to conserve our state’s amazing natural resources,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Purchase of the stamp demonstrates public support of wildlife officers and allows them to do their jobs more safely and efficiently.”

Approximately 465 wildlife officers patrol and protect 159,000 square miles of California’s natural habitat and 200 miles out to sea. Though their primary function is to enforce California’s Fish and Game Code, they may be called upon to enforce any of California’s laws.

Wildlife officers patrol on foot, on horseback, by plane, boats and in a variety of vehicles. They investigate reports of violations, collect and preserve evidence, write reports and testify in court.

Wildlife officers are also expected to promote and coordinate hunter education programs, collect and report information on the conditions of fish and wildlife and their habitat and represent CDFW at local schools, meetings of hunting and fishing clubs and other community events.”

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 have done every year since 2010, excuse me while I pull up the ALDS on my computer and order this year’s Warden Stamps.  Oops, I don’t have to…I already did!

Hunt Results for Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday 1/30/21

The waterfowl average take at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge for Saturday slipped just a hair as compared to Wednesday’s average. Shovelers held onto first place for most birds harvested with Cinnamon Teal taking over the second spot.  The Kern NWR Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/30/21 were as follows:

98 adult and 10 junior hunters harvested 89 Shovelers, 1 Mallards, 29 Gadwall, 23 Widgeon, 7 Pintail, 40 Green Wing Teal, 81 Cinnamon Teal, 3 Redheads, 9 Bufflehead, and 2 Ruddy Ducks.  2 White Front Geese were bagged at Kern on Saturday.  3 Coots were also downed at Kern on Saturday.  This came out to an average take of 2.64 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese and Coots included in the total, 2.69 waterfowl per gun. No info was given regarding the reservation cards issued or claimed.

Well, that’s it for the 2020/2021 regular waterfowl season. Junior hunters have one more chance at those elusive waterfowl, in a week on Saturday, February 6th.  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, 2/6/21. 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.  For the first time the DFW has authorized an after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday, February 13th  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, Sunday – 1/31/21

The waterfowl average harvest for Sunday at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area dropped about a full bird per person as compared to Saturday’s average.  Shovelers again held on to first place for most birds bagged with Green Wing Teal climbing back into the second spot.  The Wister Staff reported that the results for Sunday, 1/31/21 were as follows:

105 adult and junior 6 hunters took home 97 Northern Shovelers, 3 Mallards, 6 Gadwall, 11 Widgeon, 6 Pintail, 30 Green Wing Teal, 25 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Redheads, 1 Ring Neck, 2 Scaup, 15 Bufflehead, 1 Blue Wing Teal, and 10 Ruddy Ducks.  No Geese were bagged at Wister on Sunday.  11 Coots were downed at Wister on Sunday.  This figured out to an average take of 1.88 ducks per gun or, with the Coots added to the total, 1.98 waterfowl per hunter. Out of 104 reservations issued only 16 hunters arrived on time to get their hunting spot.

So, the 2020/2021 regular waterfowl season is in the books. Junior hunters have two more chances at the ducks at Wister, next weekend, February 6th and 7th.  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, 2/6 & 2/7/21. 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 chance this season.  For the first time the DFW has authorized an after season Veteran/Active Duty Military hunt which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 13th and 14th 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 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.


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