San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 26th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Giveaway – Donations Needed

Due to the extended regular waterfowl season this year the last regular hunt day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area is Wednesday, January 29th, 2020.  A week and a half after the last regular season hunt day, on Saturday, February 8th, 2020, the Junior Hunters will have a unique opportunity to end their season with a bang by participating in the 26th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt.  SoCalHunt will post more details about the actual hunting opportunity for the Junior Hunters at a later date, this post will be more about some important preparation for the Junior Hunt and what you can do to help if you’re so inclined.

Besides the hunting, one of the things our Junior Hunters look forward to at the SJWA Junior Hunt is the lunch and giveaway at mid-day.  The Junior Hunters hunt cards are entered into a drawing for all kinds of great prizes and usually there’s enough to go around that the Junior Hunters walk away with at least two giveaway prizes each!  The San Jacinto Staff puts in a great deal of work on the Junior Hunt as do many volunteers. The SJ Staff and the volunteers truly believe the annual San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt is an important event to keep the Junior Hunters interested and create memories for the Junior Hunters, who are, in fact, the future of our sport.

This year is the 26th Annual Junior Hunt and it would be great to have a copious amount of donations for the giveaway prizes to make a really memorable event for our wonderful Junior Hunters.

In 2015 there was a change in state policy regarding donations for the annual Junior Hunt.  Per the change in policy, by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, donations of money, food or merchandise cannot be accepted unless the donations go through a formal acceptance procedure. (You can read SoCalHunt’s post on the 2015 donation procedures change at this link:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/new-procedures-for-donations-for-the-annual-junior-hunt-at-san-jacinto-wildlife-area/     This post has been edited to reflect this season’s dates and info.)

Attached below are two letters from Scott Sewell, Senior Fish and Wildlife Habitat Supervisor for the area, regarding the purpose of the Junior Hunt event and detailing some more information regarding Junior Hunt Donations:

 

 

I should note that this donation procedure will not affect San Jacinto’s Annual Toy Drive for the Bryant Park Preschool as, in that case, they are just collecting the toys for the preschool and the donated toys are not being donated to the DFW, they are just the middle-man in that situation so the toy box will be at the check station as usual.  There is not formal acceptance procedure required for the Toy Drive donations.

So, if you are of a mind to contribute anything to the Annual Junior Hunt, which will be held on Saturday, February 8th, 2020 this season, you need to contact Tom Trakes at either his phone at 951-236-3040 or email at Thomas.Trakes@wildlife.ca.gov  by the deadline of January 8th,  2020. Tom wanted me to make sure I noted that this information is not a solicitation for any donations but information for anyone who may want to contribute.

To make it simple for anyone wanting to donate prizes for the Junior Hunt, SoCalHunt has cut through the red tape for you.  I’ve have tried to make it as simple as possible if you’d like to donate a prize or two, or more.  What the bottom line turns out to be is simply sending Tom Trakes a simple email (at his email address above) detailing what you intend to donate.  To make it easy I’ve included a link below to the SoCalHunt website’s “Maps and Downloads” page.  Scroll down to the very bottom of this page I’ve posted a link to a MS Word file of an example email to send to Tom Trakes, so you can make your donation.  Just follow the instructions at the top of the Word file. Just copy and paste this into an email and plug in what you’re donating and the details in the underlined sections.  The Donation Email MS Word file will be found at the very bottom of the SoCalHunt website “Maps and Downloads” page. Just click on it to download the Word file to your computer.

http://www.socalhunt.com/maps-and-downloads.html

Hopefully this season’s Junior Hunt will be another record event, both in birds bagged and giveaway prizes donated.  This is a wonderful opportunity to show our Junior Hunters how much they are valued as they are the future of our sport.  Hopefully you are able to contribute to this great event.

Thanks in advance to all who can donate and/or volunteer this season!

Advertisements

Dove Hunting Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area – Opening Day 2019 Dove Season

Opening day of the 2019 dove season, September 1st, at San Jacinto Wildlife area dawned bright and hot.  By the end of the day 163 hunters had utilized San Jacinto for their pursuit of the little gray rockets, coming away with a total of 238 dove.  That averaged out to 1.46 birds per gun.  Not fantastic, but SJ isn’t really know as a dove mecca.  There were some that came away skunked, a few managed to bring down limits and many harvested 2 or 3 or so.  So, as was expected it wasn’t gangbusters on the dove but it wasn’t bad and it did give many that couldn’t dedicate a whole day or more to drive down to Niland or Brawley a place close to home to give it at least a couple hours of effort and maybe scratch out a few birds.

San Jacinto is opened for dove hunting until the end of the first half of the dove season on Sunday, September 15th.  Today (September 2nd) is the last day the waterfowl side of SJ will be opened for dove hunting so, as I write this, you only have a little less than 6 hours left for hunting dove on the waterfowl side.  Also, don’t forget that it’s non-toxic (steel) shot only for all hunting everywhere 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 19th.    The next volunteer blind brush-up work day is set for Saturday, September 21st.   Check the below links to either bring in some palm fronds any time before the work day or for info on the work day its self, if you’d like to volunteer or both.

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2019/08/26/another-blind-brush-up-day-coming-soon-more-palm-fronds-needed-at-san-jacinto-wa/

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2019/08/29/another-volunteer-blind-brush-up-work-day-set-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-area-september-21st/

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.

Another Volunteer Blind Brush Up Work Day Set for San Jacinto Wildlife Area September 21st

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the next volunteer work days for San Jacinto Wildlife Area would be Saturday, Sept 21st.  This work day will likely be the last before the season and will be focused on brushing up the blinds on SJ that didn’t get taken care of on the last work day and to build some more new blinds for the upcoming season.  Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 6:00 am and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring gloves, shovels and/or hoes, wire pliers and lots of water since it’s expected to be hot. Also, if anyone has access to palm fronds, they need a good supply of these, all they can get.  After the work is done, we will get together at a local pizza restaurant “Marcello’s” for a well-deserved lunch (each person responsible for their own bill).

When it comes to palm fronds, we can’t have too many so if you can bring some along, please do.  They can be dropped off at San Jacinto any time before the work day, or the day of the work day if you’re coming out to help.  If there are too many palm fronds to utilize on the work day, that’s not a problem as the extra will be used to make repairs as the season progresses.  Just contact Tom or the SJ Staff at the numbers below and they’ll make arrangements for you to drop them off.  Make sure the palm frond are either the type with no thorns or, if you want to strip the thorns off before you bring them in, that kind is ok too.

Hopefully, we’ll have another great turnout, like the last work day, so we can get the remaining blinds brushed up, and some new blinds placed, for another waterfowl season.  As I always say, the more the merrier (and the less work for each person).

So, looking forward to a great crew of volunteers answering the call again for this work day and getting the blinds in ship shape for the upcoming season in preparation for some great duck hunting to come.

If you have any questions, or want to drop off some palm fronds, contact Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580.

Another Blind Brush-up Day Coming Soon! – More Palm Fronds Needed at San Jacinto WA

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 the entire 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 21st, 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 soon.  Watch for a post on the September 21st work day coming soon.  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 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.

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

 

San Jacinto’s August 24th Volunteer Blind Clean Up / Work Day a Great Success

Saturday, August 24th, was the second volunteer clean-up/blind brush-up day for San Jacinto Wildlife Area.  About 35 volunteers arrived bright and early at the SJ check station parking lot eager to get to work.  After a short briefing, Tom sent the volunteers out to various locations in the Wildlife Area to brush-up and even in some cases completely rebuild several of the hunting area’s blinds.

Several people had answered the call in that last few weeks to drop off palm fronds at the San Jacinto parking lot and all of them were utilized in building and brushing-up the blinds today.  Tom says more palm fronds are needed for the next volunteer work day and for maintenance of the blinds as the season progresses so if you can get a hold of any palm fronds any time before the work day you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for someone to be there so you can drop them off.  Some hay bales were obtained also, and these were utilized to provide seating in some of the area’s blinds.  Extensive work and rebuilding was done on D-2, Walker 5, 10 & 12 and E-4 blinds as well as general brushing-up of many of the other blinds in the area.

Some of the volunteer crew

Hay bales for the blinds

Working on D-2

SJ’s backhoe in action!

After working hard all morning some of the volunteers who didn’t have to head off to other obligations and the SJ Staff headed over to Marcello’s Pizza in Nuevo for a well-earned lunch.

PIZZA…yum!

Once again, Tom and his team at San Jacinto (as well as myself) would like to give a big thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to get the blinds ready for the fast approaching waterfowl season.

One more blind brush-up/work day is to be scheduled to finish getting things in good order for the coming waterfowl hunting season. The next work day is scheduled for Saturday, September 21st.  I’ll make a separate post with all the details for the September 21st work day when I get all the info and the flyer from the SJ Staff, but mark it on your calendar now so you can keep that date opened.  The September 21st work day will concentrate on working on and brushing up more of the blinds, so palm fronds are needed (check above for details on bringing in palm fronds to use for the SJ blinds).  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/work day.

So, things are coming together at San Jacinto.  Mystic Lake is back big time, which should help things immensely this season.  There are also plans to possibly put some blinds on the Mystic lake shoreline, increasing your opportunity to draw a blind.  Most of the duck hunting area has been cleaned up and the SJ Staff, best in the state in my humble opinion, is continuing to plant food for the birds and has started flooding the ponds.  It should be a banner season at SJ this year.  Hope to see you out there some time.

 

 

 

 

US Fish and Wildlife Reports Nationwide Duck Numbers Down slightly for the 2019/2020 Waterfowl Season

Since 1955, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service have reported the results of their joint breeding population and habitat survey.  Total duck numbers for this year were down slightly compared to last year’s count and, in fact, most species dropped to some degree with the exception of Mallards, Gadwall and Green Wing Teal which all went up slightly and Widgeon, which stayed the same as last year.  With the exception of Pintail and Scaup all species where actually up from their long-term averages, with Redheads actually right at their long-term average. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at: https://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/surveys-and-data/Population-status/Waterfowl/WaterfowlPopulationStatusReport19.pdf

reported:

“In the traditional survey area, the total duck population estimate, (excluding scoters, eiders, long-tailed ducks, mergansers, and wood ducks) was 38.9 million birds. This estimate was 6% lower than the 2018 estimate of 41.2 million and 10% higher than the long-term average (1955–2018).  The total pond estimate was 5.0 million, which was similar to the 2018 estimate of 5.2 million and the long-term average of 5.2 million. In general, habitat conditions during the 2019 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey (WBPHS) were similar to or declined relative to 2018, with a few exceptions.  Much of the Canadian prairies experienced below-average precipitation from fall 2018 through spring 2019. The U.S. prairies experienced average to above-average precipitation over most of the region. Habitat conditions were generally drier near the North Dakota border with Canada.”

The report revealed that Mallards were up to approximately 9.4 million, which was a slight increase from the 2018 estimate of 9.3 million, yet still 19% above the long-term average.  Blue Wing Teal numbers are approximately 5.4 million, which is 16% below the 2018 estimate of 6.5 million but 6% above the long-term average. Green-winged teal are down to 3.2 million, which is up 4% from the 2018 estimate of 3.0 million which make them 47% above their long-term average. The estimate for American Wigeon is 2.8 million which is level with the 2018 estimate of 2.8 million and 8% above the long-term average. Estimated numbers of gadwall are 3.3 million which is up 13% from the 2018 estimate of 2.9 million bringing Gads up to a whopping 43% above their long-term average. Scaup (both greater and lesser) were at 3.6 million, which is a 10% decrease from the 2018 estimate of 4.0 million making them 28% below the long-term average. Northern Shoveler (an SJ favorite) are estimated at 3.7 million which is 13% down from the 2018 estimate of 4.2 million but still a sizeable 39% above the long-term average. Redheads are at 0.7 million which is 27% below the 2018 estimate of 1.0 million and right at the long-term average. Canvasbacks came in with 0.6 million which was down 5% from the 2018 estimate of 0.7 million but still 10% above the long-term average. Pintails were estimated at 2.3 million, which was down 4% below the 2018 estimate of 2.4 million and, sadly, 42% below the long-term average.  (Note – all numbers rounded off).

So, it looks like, unfortunately, this coming season will present hunters with a slightly fewer birds but still, despite this, we might have the potential to get a crack at good numbers since most waterfowl, with the exception of Scaup and Pintail, are still above their long-term averages.

As always what will be more important to waterfowl hunters in the Southern California area over small fluctuations in nationwide duck numbers is the weather.  What Southern California duck hunters really need is some weather up north to spur the available birds into migrating into our area.  Another thing we Southern California duck hunters have to consider is that the California DFW’s own state breeding population survey shows duck numbers in our state are actually down 14% over last year’s state numbers.  (You can check out DFW’s report on the California Waterfowl Breeding Survey here:  https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/06/28/cdfw-completes-2019-waterfowl-breeding-population-survey/ )

As of this report it’s 61 days until the season opens here in Southern California.  It’s a great time to start getting all your duck hunting gear ship shape and maybe go shoot a few rounds of trap or skeet to tune up. Despite the lower duck numbers in both the USFW survey and the DFW breeding survey the bigger factor for us down in this part of the state is to get the birds moving our way.  Hopefully we’ll get the weather and the birds will migrate early, and we’ll have another great season at San Jacinto!

 

San Jacinto Wildlife Area 2019 Dove Season Opener – Sunday, September 1st

Sunday, September 1st is the opening day of dove season in California.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, let SoCalHunt know that the entire wildlife area will be opened to dove hunting for the first two days of dove season.  From the opener on Sunday September 1st, until Monday September 2nd, hunters will be allowed to pursue doves not only on the upland areas of San Jacinto, but also over on the Wildlife Area’s duck hunting areas.  After Monday, for the remainder of the dove season, from September 3rd until September 15th, dove hunting will be allowed only on the upland side of San Jacinto.  There will be no dove hunting on the waterfowl side of SJ after September 2nd.

Tom wanted SoCalHunt to remind everyone that this year, for the first time statewide, due to Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations only non-toxic shot may be used to take any game anywhere in California.  Although the last couple years lead shot has been banned on State Wildlife Areas this is the first year for the statewide regulation.  So even if you don’t choose to hunt doves at SJ you still need UNLEADED anywhere you hunt in California.  DFW Wardens will be checking for lead shot and possession of even one round will earn you a citation.  So, if you’ve hunted upland game in areas that allowed lead shot last year be sure to check your hunting vest thoroughly to make sure an old round of lead shot from last year isn’t hiding in one of your pockets.  Also, don’t forget that your old hunting license expired at the end of June.  Be sure you have your 2019/20 hunting license including your upland endorsement on you license.

As for limits, 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. Note: There is no open hunting season on common ground-doves, ruddy ground-doves, and Inca doves.

Tom told SoCalHunt that the SJ Staff are seeing a good amount of dove on the Wildlife Area this year and several fields have been planted with dove-attracting crops.  Now, that said, SJ isn’t Niland or any other “famous” dove hunting area and you’re definitely not going to limit out in an hour, but you do have a good chance of bagging a few birds close to home.

So, banning any last-minute thunderstorms that might chase the birds further south 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 pretty good for opening day, Sunday September 1st.

Also, don’t forget, you have a great chance to scout out areas to hunt doves at San Jacinto by attending the upcoming volunteer blind clean-up/brush-up day on Saturday August 24th, just a week and a day before the dove opener.  As I said, it’s a great way to scout out some doves on SJ and also a great way to help get things ready for the quickly approaching duck season.  Details at the below link:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/volunteer-clean-up-brush-up-work-days-set-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-area-august-24th/

Hope we’ll see you out at good old San Jacinto some time.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 128 other followers

Advertisements