Another Great Turnout for San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s September 18th Volunteer Clean Up / Brush Up Work Day

Roughly 30 volunteers showed up bright and early on Saturday, September 18th at San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking lot for the volunteer clean-up/blind brush-up work day.  The volunteers fanned out across the Wildlife Area to repair, touch up, clean up, and brush up several of the hunting area’s blinds.  Both mobility impaired blinds were redone as well as the F-1, B-3, and A-2 blinds.  Several other blinds were touched up also to prepare them for the season. Flooding of the ponds is well underway and there are already many ducks using the Wildlife Area.    (pictures at the end of the article).

Palm fronds are still needed for the blinds at SJWA.  There are still a few blinds that could use some touching up and there are always repairs to take care of throughout the season.  If you can bring in any palm fronds you can drop them off at San Jacinto almost any time. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580, and they’ll make arrangements so you can 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.

Tom wanted to be sure to thank Terry Drung who has come out several days between this work day and the last to lend a hand to the short-handed SJ crew on some of the repairs and touch up of the blinds.  Tom told me that the staff situation as San Jacinto should get better soon as the State has hired on a couple more people for SJ and there should be a few more brought on board soon.  Tom advised that their schedule will be changing soon at SJWA and they will be there on the first three Saturdays in October before the season opener.  If anyone would like to volunteer to do a little more work at SJ you can call the numbers above (in the paragraph about palm fronds) and see what you can do if you’re so inclined.

As always, Tom and the crew at San Jacinto would like to give a massive thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to help get things in ship-shape for the fast-approaching waterfowl season.  This was especially important this year as, although the SJWA Staff positions are finally being filled they have been extremely short-staffed for many months prior.

So, at this point, it looks like the next “official event” at San Jacinto will be opening day on Saturday, October 23rd.  If you haven’t already tie to get your license, duck validation, federal duck stamp, type “A” day, 2 day, or season pass so you’re all legal and ready to go for the opener.  So, polish up the decoys, get your gear organized, make sure you have your ammo and maybe we’ll see you out there sometime this season.

September 18th Blind Brush-Up Day Coming Soon! – More Palm Fronds Needed at San Jacinto WA

(You may recognize this post from a while back. Rather than re-invent the wheel I”m just changing the date to apply to this coming work day and re-posting.)

Tom Trakes of San Jacinto Wildlife Area is 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.  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.

With the fantastic turnout at the last blind brush-up day most of the supply of SJ’s palm fronds was used up.  More are needed for the next brush-up volunteer work day to finish the work on September 18th, and for repairs to the blinds as the season progresses.  If you’re bringing palm fronds to SJ you don’t have to wait for the work day, you can make arrangements with Tom to drop them off any time.

If you’d like to help out and attend the next Volunteer Work Day you can find the info here at SoCalHunt.  The more volunteers we have the better as we can get more work done easier with a good turnout.

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 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.

Thanks in advance for any palm fronds anyone can bring in.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area 2021 Dove Season Opening Day Results

The results for the 2021 dove season opener at San Jacinto Wildlife Area on Wednesday, September 1st were a bit underwhelming.  By sundown Wednesday 124 hunters had hunted San Jacinto chasing after those little buff-colored birds, resulting in a total of only 40 dove harvested.  The average bag came out to only 0.32 birds per gun.  That was way down from last year’s average of 1.28 birds per hunter.  Typically, SJWA isn’t really known as a dove hot spot, but these results were unexpectedly low even for SJ.  Most hunters, obviously, ended the day with a goose…egg, while few were able to harvest maybe 1 or 2.  So, even for San Jacinto, which is usually fairly slow, it was extremely slow for the dove.  As always, when it comes to dove hunting at San Jacinto, It did give a big group of people a place close to home to at least give it a couple hours to maybe scratch out a birds or two.  This is especially true for those that couldn’t put in a whole day or more to drive down to Niland or Brawley.

San Jacinto is opened for dove hunting until the end of the first half of the dove season on Wednesday, September 15th.  Friday (September 3rd) is the last day the waterfowl side of SJ will be opened for dove hunting so, if you want to give the waterfowl side a try for dove hunting you only have today and tomorrow, Thursday, September 2nd and Friday, September 3rd to give it a try as I write this.  Also, don’t forget that it’s non-toxic (steel) shot only for all hunting everywhere again this year so don’t mistakenly bring along any lead shot shells.  That’s a big no-no. 

Also, while I’ve got your attention, San Jacinto needs palm fronds to complete brushing up the waterfowl area’s blinds for the duck opener, which is Saturday, October 23rd.    The next volunteer blind brush-up work day is set for Saturday, September 18th.   Check the below link for info on the work day and/or for info regarding bringing in some palm fronds any time before the work day.

If you have any questions about either subject or want to make arrangements to drop of some palm fronds contact Tom Trakes at (951) 236-3040 or the SJ Staff at (951) 928-0580.

Reminder – San Jacinto Wildlife Area Volunteer Blind Brush-Up Work Day – Saturday, September 18th, 2021

SoCalHunt already announced this work day, along with the August 14th work day (which was a great success BTW – thanks for all who came out) but I’m, posting this as a reminder since that announcement was back on July 10th.

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the third volunteer work day for the upcoming season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area have been scheduled.  The date is Saturday, September 18th.  The 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.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area 2021 Dove Season Opener – Wednesday, September 1st

The opening day of dove season in California is Wednesday, September 1st.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, just advised SoCalHunt that the entire wildlife area, including the waterfowl areas, will be opened to dove hunting for the first three days of dove season.  From the opener on Wednesday September 1st, through Friday September 3rd, hunters will be allowed to hunt doves on both the upland area of San Jacinto and SJ’s duck hunting areas.  After Friday, for the remainder of the dove season, from September 4th until September 15th, dove hunting will only be permitted on the upland side of San Jacinto.  There will be no dove hunting on the waterfowl side of SJ after September 3rd.

Tom also wanted SoCalHunt to remind everyone that due to Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations only non-toxic shot may be used to take any game anywhere in California.  Lead shot has been banned on State Wildlife Areas for the last four years, however, the no-lead restriction went into effect two years ago statewide for ALL hunting.   So, just remember, even if you don’t choose to hunt doves at San Jacinto WA, or any of the other DFW Wildlife Areas, you still need UNLEADED anywhere you hunt in California.  DFW Wardens, as always, will be checking for lead shot and possession of even one round will result in you receiving a citation.  So, be sure to check your hunting vest thoroughly to make sure an old round of lead shot from a couple years ago, or from your last visit to the trap range, isn’t kicking around in one of your pockets.  Also, don’t forget that your 2020/2021 hunting license expired at the end of June.  Be sure you have your 2021/2022 hunting license, including your upland endorsement on your license.

The regulations covering doves is as follows, Mourning Dove and White-Winged Dove have a daily bag limit of 15 in combination, up to 10 of which may be white-winged dove. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit. There are no limits on Spotted Dove and Ringed Turtle Dove, although these two varieties have the same season dates as Mourning Doves (September 1st -15th).  Hunting for Eurasian Collared Dove is legal year-round and there are no limits on them.  Note: There is no open hunting season on common ground-doves, ruddy ground-doves, and Inca doves.

As usual the SJ Staff has planted several fields with dove-attracting crops on the Wildlife Area however they aren’t seeing many dove around SJ so far this year.  Of course, San Jacinto isn’t Niland or Brawley or any of the other traditional “hot-spot” dove hunting areas and you’re unlikely to limit out in an hour, but you do have a fair chance of bagging a couple birds a lot closer to home.  SJ is a good place if you just have a few hours and would like to try to get a shot or two at the dove.

So, hopefully there won’t be any end of August thunderstorms that might chase the birds south and then there should be at least a fair chance of bagging a few.  If you’re want to try your luck at San Jacinto things are looking fair for opening day, Wednesday September 1st

Also, don’t forget, there is another volunteer blind brush up work day coming up, Saturday September, 18th.  Check SoCalHunt’s post on the August 14th (already past) and September 18th work days here.  https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2021/07/10/san-jacinto-wildlife-area-schedules-two-volunteer-blind-brush-up-work-days-august-14-and-september-18-2021/  SoCalHunt will also post a separate reminder announcement for the September 18th work day in the next few days.  Watch SoCalHunt for that announcement soon.

And, before I go, Tom asked me to ask everyone to keep an eye out for palm fronds to utilize on the upcoming blind brush up day.  If you can get any of them any time before the work day you can make arrangements to drop them off at San Jacinto by calling Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580.  Of course, if you’re going to come out for the work day you could bring them along with you then too or even drop some off if you come out to try your luck at dove hunting SJ in September.

Imperial Valley DFW Public Dove Field Map Now Available

For those of you who might want to spend the dove opener on September 1st, or any other time during the season, in the Imperial Valley area the Department of Fish and Wildlife has put out a map detailing several public access dove fields hunters can utilize.  There are 17 fields available for hunters to use in their quest for the little gray rockets.  Also, the DFW put out a page with all the regulations for the imperial valley area.  Don’t forget, one of the big ones is UNLEADED ammo only.  Check you pockets and all so you don’t inadvertently have a shell or two left over from the trap range.  Big ticket if the Wardens find any on you.  So, no matter where you plan on going for the dove opener, or any time during the season after the opener, be safe, have fun, and good luck!

2021/2022 Federal Duck Stamp Now Available Online Through California Waterfowl Association

As you well know, if you’ve ever hunted waterfowl before, one of the legal requirements is to have in your possession, as part of your license, a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or, as everybody calls it, a Federal Duck Stamp.  Sometimes these are hard to find.  US Post Offices are supposed to carry them but many times they either don’t have any or have (or had) very few and are sold out.  In addition, many sporting goods stores will carry a supply of the stamps, but you never know when they might run dry on them too. 

The solution is to get your Federal Duck Stamp online from the California Waterfowl Association (CWA).  As a convenience to hunters every year the CWA has online sales of the stamps for members and non-members alike.  The stamp itself is $25.00 and there is an option on the CWA Duck Stamp Page to cover the mailing fees for your stamp, which is a mere 88 cents, but even that is optional, although I would encourage it since CWA is a conservation organization and uses donations for habitat restoration in California.

Speaking of sales to non-members, if you’re not a member then while you’re at CWA’s website buying your stamp it would be a real good idea to sign up as a CWA member.  Besides a great bi-monthly magazine they usually have some type of promotion they’ll send along to you (right now it’s a nice CWA t-shirt) and you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping ducks and duck hunting in California specifically.  If you hunt ducks in California, you should be a member of CWA.

Just remember that CWA doesn’t have an unlimited supply of Federal Stamps, although I’m sure they buy a big block of them, so don’t wait too long to get yours.  You’ll also have to make sure to give them enough time to send it to you in the mail so like a week before the season might present a problem if you’re going to hunt the opener.  Get it now and you’ll have plenty of time.  Below is the link for CWA’s page for online sales of the Federal Waterfowl Stamp. 

https://calwaterfowl.org/product/MISC-FED-21-1/2021-22-federal-duck-stamp

Also, like I said before, since you’re there, here’s the link to the page to join CWA.  $35 a year.  Money well spent.

https://calwaterfowl.org/memberships/join

Hope to see you out there opening day with all your licenses, stamps, and passes so no one has to get turned away at the check station.

Kern NWR 2021/22 Season Opener Will be Delayed

I’ll just quote the Kern NWR website (nothing more to say)…

2021-2022 Waterfowl Season Update:

Due to extreme drought conditions, Kern National Wildlife Refuge was allocated significantly less water than last year. This reduction in water allocation will have a direct impact on the flooded habitat we can provide, and the hunt program.

Given the current water allocation, Kern NWR will not be able to have enough wetland acreage flooded to have the hunt program begin on October 23, 2021, the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone opener. Therefore, Kern NWR will delay the hunt opener until November 20, 2021.

This delay will give Kern NWR the time to flood the acres needed to support healthy waterfowl habitat and a waterfowl hunt program. If you have any questions, please contact our office at miguel_jimenez@fws.gov

Outstanding Turnout for San Jacinto Wildlife Area August 14th Volunteer Clean Up / Brush Up Work Day

About 35 volunteers reported for duty bright and early on Saturday, August 14th at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking for the volunteer clean-up/blind brush-up work day.  Tom sent the volunteers out across the Wildlife Area to clean up, repair, and brush up several of the hunting area’s blinds.  Most of the island blinds were brushed up in preparation for flooding and water control structures were cleared out to facilitate that flooding.  Several blinds were also repaired and brushed up with palm fronds either brought in by the volunteers or dropped off in the last several weeks at the SJ check station parking lot. 

Interesting to note is that Sylvia Low, from the Bryant Park Preschool, turned out to assist as a way to give some thanks to all the hunters who have donated to the toy drive the last several years at San Jacinto.  Your yearly donations are appreciated.

After the work was finished many of the volunteers and the SJ Staff gathered at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch.

As always, Tom and his team at San Jacinto would like to give a huge thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl season.  This is especially important this year as SJWA is extremely short staffed right now.

There will be at least one more blind brush-up/work day to finish getting things in preparation for the coming waterfowl hunting season. The next one is already scheduled for Saturday, September 18th (mark your calendars!).  The September 18th work day will concentrate on finishing brushing up the blinds, so palm fronds are needed.  If you can bring in any palm fronds any time before the work day you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580, and they’ll make arrangements so you can 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.

Again, I’ll emphasize again that the SJ staff is extremely short-handed this year so it’s more important than ever to have another great turnout in September to make sure everything gets ship shape for the opener.   Watch SoCalHunt for an “official” reminder announcement and details of the next blind brush-up/workday as the date approaches. 

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.


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