Archive for December, 2010

Hunt Results for San Jacinto 12/29/10

Despite the rainy weather, or maybe because of it, hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife area slowed for the second week in a row. The weather, and the fact that hunters were required to walk in to their assigned blinds, didn’t keep hunters at home however. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto, reported that the results for Saturday, 12/29/10 were as follows:

138 adult and 10 junior hunters checked in 116 Northern Shovelers, 12 Widgeon, 9 Buffelheads, 2 Cinnamon Teal, 13 Gadwall, 17 Green Wing Teal, 10 Mallards, 2 Pintail, 4 Red Heads, 24 Ring Necks, 9 Ruddys and 1 blue-wing teal for an average of 1.48 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 50 reservation cards 26 showed up on time.

There is a lot of open water in the area of the refuge now, including Mystic Lake, and this may have dispersed the waterfowl throughout the area resulting in less birds on the refuge.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunt Report 12/29/10

We have yet another SoCalHunt hunting report from San Jacinto.

My hunting partner and I headed out to San Jacinto Wildlife Area to do an afternoon refill hunt today. We opted to do the afternoon today because we wanted to take my partner’s 7-year-old daughter along with us today.

As reported here at SoCalHunt yesterday, Davis Road was in abysmal shape. My truck is not a 4×4 but I do have mud tires on it so we figured we could make it, especially when we saw a car coming out towards Ramona Expressway. As Tom told SoCalHunt yesterday, Davis Road resembled the surface of the moon with the amount of craters on it. We took it slow and finally made it to the check station. There were a large number of trucks in the parking lot, however this was not indicative of the amount of people waiting to refill. Being it was a walk-in day, everybody that was out hunting had their truck in the main lot. We went up to the check station and signed in. There were only about 4 or 5 other hunting parties waiting to refill. We waited about an hour for a hunter coming in from a good blind to check in and finally scored one of the premium blinds on the refuge.

Now the fun begins. As we walk over to the truck to get our guns and gear it starts to rain pretty hard. Since we were walking in, of course, we dumped most of our gear in the truck bed and took off with our Ducks & Bucks cart towards our assigned blind, probably about a mile and a half plus, with my partner’s daughter hitching a ride in the cart.

As we headed out the main road to the blinds I took a few pictures of conditions to supplement what Tom reported in yesterday’s conditions report here on SoCalHunt. Fortunately the internal roads at San Jacinto Wildlife Area are really good roads and there was no slippery mud to contend with. The problem, and the reason we couldn’t drive out today, is that there were several areas where the road is swamped with up to almost a foot of water. It might have still been possible to drive the roads but doing so would have just torn them up and I can see why the San Jacinto staff doesn’t want that to happen.

At the turnaround at Marsh A / Pond 1 the road was at least half covered with water.

At Marsh B the road was again covered with water.

At the turn at the far corner of Pond 3 there was water completely covering the road to just beyond the “V” in the road. (You can also see my partner towing his daughter in the cart in this picture while she holds her “camo” umbrella, LOL).

To get where we were going we took the right fork at the “V” and this was flooded from the “V” to about the dike between Marsh D and the G Blinds.

We finally got to our spot after an hour of walking and settled in. The weather was, as anyone in Southern California could tell you today, unsettled. It rained on and off, from very light to moderate rain, until almost quitting time.

The ducks weren’t flying as well as they have been in the past few weeks. This may have been because all the new water in the area has dispersed them far and wide, maybe a case of too much of a good thing. Not long after we arrived my partner had a hen mallard swing into the decoys on his side and dropped her. After a short while a hen spoony did the same and ended up on the strap also. I had only two opportunities all afternoon on my side and blew both chances. Just about 40 minutes before quitting time my partner dumped a double on a hen and drake ringneck.

Here and there we had a few shovelers swing in close for a look but they stayed out of range or we didn’t see them until they were on the way out, too late to do anything about it.

Just before quitting time we pulled our 8 decoys and packed the cart up for the walk out. We were one of the last parties to leave and when we arrived at the Marsh A turnaround we were very happy to see Durk in his Fish & Game truck coming out to check on us so we got a ride back to the check station for about the last ½ mile.

So, another enjoyable afternoon at San Jacinto with our own built in cheering section (my buddy’s daughter) along for the ride.

Info for San Jacinto Wildlife Area for Hunt Day Wednesday – 12/29/10

Due to the predicted incoming storm for this Wednesday, 12/29/10, I called Tom Trakes at San Jacinto to get a report on conditions at the refuge.

Tom advised that Wednesday’s hunt will definitely be walk-in only, and will probably be so for the remainder of the season. The road out to the blinds from the check station is completely under water from about pond 3 to the “V”. Tom also reported that the road out to Walkers is under water too over by the “F” ponds.

So, if you’re going, pack light and be prepared to hoof it. Remember you can only have 25 shells in the field so, obviously (unless you’re some kind of stud cross-country runner), there won’t be any going back to the truck to get more if you run out, so pick your shots carefully.

As for getting to the check station Tom told me that Davis road is passable but in rough shape. Tom said, “Its like driving on the moon”. The road is real pitted and rough. Tom said the county might come in and level it out with a grader but they’d probably need at least a week of dry weather before they’ll do that so who knows when, or if, that will happen. So, for Davis Road, the advice is to take it slow, slow, slow.

The good aspect of all this rain is that Mystic Lake has finally reappeared! Tom told me that Mystic is about 1/3 full and is still coming up. Tom said he was out at one of the old shoreline blinds on Mystic the other day and the lakeshore was about 75 yards from the blind. San Jacinto always shoots better when Mystic lake has water as it gives the birds a place to rest right next to the refuge.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Loma Linda Children’s Hospital Toy Drive a Big Success!!

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, told me that their annual toy drive for Loma Linda Children’s Hospital was a huge success. Much of the thanks go to the San Jacinto hunters who donated overwhelmingly. In my opinion (and not to downplay the contributions of the San Jacinto hunters) a large portion of the thanks should go to the San Jacinto staff; Tom, Tim, Durk and Aurelio; for running the whole shootin’ match. They wheeled 8 wagons full of toys into Loma Linda and still had to carry toys in the door. Tom wanted me to relay a big thanks to everyone who donated!! Way to go San Jacinto hunters!!

Hunt Results for San Jacinto 12/22/10

Duck Hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife area dropped off a bit from Saturday’s results with hunters bagging less ducks in muddy and rainy conditions on the refuge. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto, reported the following results for Wednesday, 12/22/10:

110 adult and 10 junior hunters bagged 28 widgeon, 1 buffelhead, 1 cinnamon teal, 25 gadwall, 20 green-wing teal, 5 mallards, 109 northern shovelers, 13 pintail, 5 red-head, 12 ring necks, 4 ruddy ducks, and 3 scaup. There were also 2 Ross’s geese taken. The average number of birds was 1.95 per hunter.

Tom reported that 17 out of the 50 reservation cardholders showed up on time.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Remember, tomorrow, Saturday 12/25/10, the refuge will be closed to hunting for Christmas day.

Late Hunt Results for San Jacinto 12/15/10

This is a late report for Wednesday 12/15/10. Full numbers were not available until today (12/24/10). Sorry for the delay on this one.

Duck Hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife area picked up slightly from last Saturday’s (12/11/10) pace with hunters reporting decent bags of ducks. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto, reported the following results for Wednesday, 12/15/10:

114 adult and 6 junior hunters bagged 14 widgeon, 4 buffelhead, 21 cinnamon teal, 43 gadwall, 107 green-wing teal, 11 mallards, 1 merganser, 52 northern shovelers, 74 pintail, 1 red-head, 3 ring necks, 22 ruddy ducks, 1 scaup and 4 coots. This resulted in an average of 2.98 waterfowl per hunter. There were no geese taken.

Tom reported that 27 out of the 50 reservation cardholders showed up on time.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

San Jacinto Closed Christmas Day (Saturday 12/25/10)

Just a reminder, since Christmas this year falls on a Saturday, San Jacinto Wildlife area, and all other refuges in the state for that matter, will be closed to hunting on Saturday, 12/25/10.

(As if the wife would let me go hunting Christmas day anyway…)

San Jacinto’s Loma Linda Children’s Hospital Toy Drive Last Day!

I spoke with Tom Trakes at San Jacinto this morning and he advised that tomorrow’s hunt day (Wednesday – 12/22/10) is the last chance to donate toys for the Loma Linda Children’s Toy Drive. Tom told me that they would be taking all the toys over to Loma Linda tomorrow at 11 AM. Tom said they still have 5 wagons to sell (to donate to Loma Linda), three $54 wagons and two $91 wagons. Anyone that would like buy one of these wagons to donate can call Tom directly at 951-236-3040. This is a great way to give back a little to the community and show the general public that hunters really do have a heart.

Info for San Jacinto Wildlife Area hunt day 12/22/10

Due to the rain we’ve had this week I called Tom Trakes and asked about the conditions at San Jacinto.
So, here’s the scoop.

Due to the continuing rain Tom advised that hunting tomorrow would be “walk-in” only, maybe even to Walkers (the rainy day lot). Tom stated that, due to liability issues, if you get stuck the San Jacinto staff can’t pull you out so if you opt to drive out to Walkers, it’s at your own risk. Tom reported that they won’t even be able to shuttle people in from the check station, as they have done in the past.

As far as getting to the check station, Tom advised that Davis Road is still passable, but just barely. Tom advised that when driving Davis Road you need to keep to the hardpan in the middle of the road. If you get over in the clay near the shoulders you’re probably done. Tom recommended 4×4 but said, if you’re careful, a 2×4 could probably make it. If you don’t have a 4×4 it might be time to call in a favor from you’re buddy that owns a 4×4 and have him go hunting with you.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto 12/18/10

Duck Hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife at about the same pace this past Saturday with hunters bringing in good straps of birds. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto, reported the following results for Saturday, 12/18/10:

128 adult and 11 junior hunters bagged 6 widgeon, 1 buffelhead, 8 cinnamon teal, 53 gadwall, 77 green-wing teal, 10 mallards, 81 northern shovelers, 76 pintail, 6 red-heads, 2 ring necks, 9 ruddy ducks and 2 scaup. This translated to an average bird per hunter of 2.4. There were no geese harvested on Saturday.

Tom reported that 24 of the 50 reservation cardholders showed up on time.

San Jacinto’s annual toy drive for Loma Linda Children’s Hospital is winding down. There’s only one more hunt day (Wednesday 12/22) to contribute. (see the prior post here about the toy drive for details). Please bring a toy for the barrel! Let’s make sure no child is left out! Thanks!

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunt Report 12/18/10

Today we have another hunting report from SoCalHunt.

My hunting partner and myself ran out to San Jacinto Wildlife Area to try to get in on the sweatline drawing. Due to the “ducky” weather we figured it was worth a shot.

When we arrived at San Jacinto the parking lot was almost completely full! I suspect that a lot of people that were going to go to Wister decided to try sweatlining San Jacinto instead to avoid the legendary Wister mud. I’m not sure it was going to be much better at San Jacinto as Tom announced that, except for the main Walker parking lot (also know as the rainy day lot) we’d all be walking to our hunting sites, either from the check station or the Walker lot. This would mean a walk of more then a mile and a half through the slippery mud for some of the hunters today.

It looked like about 20 or so of the reservation cardholders were in line and, after the San Jacinto staff handled all of them, Tim brought out the sweatline bucket.

Tim drew the names and as he called the names on each card our hopes for a productive hunt dwindled each time our card didn’t appear. After several rounds of draws from the bucket we figured we’d start planning where we would stop for breakfast on the way home. Tim made one last draw from the bucket and, finally, we were the third of the three sets of names called for the last available spots. When we got to the counter we discovered that the only spot left was Bridge Street. Since my hunting partner had to be back home in the late afternoon our choices were to take Bridge Street or head for home. Well, we came to hunt so Bridge Street it was.

For those not familiar with the Bridge Street site it is a small pond off on its own on the very south end of the refuge. Bridge Street is nearly ¾ of a mile from any of the ponds on the private club south of San Jacinto’s blinds and nearly a mile and a half from the nearest blind on San Jacinto’s ponds. The pond is about 65 yards wide and 300 yards long. Again, due to the rain and mud, we had to park on Bridge Street its self and walk into the pond, approximately a ½ mile walk. We took minimal equipment and hoofed it in.

When we arrived we set up and just before start time we started seeing a few birds flying here and there. When the first shots were fired on the main refuge, and nearby duck clubs, several hundred ducks headed south, many of them flying right over us. This sounds great, however, most of these birds were way out of range by the time they passed over us. We managed to drop a shoveler and a pintail that were in range in the first ½ hour or so and then things dropped off fast. We had only a couple more shots during the next couple hours and missed on these birds. Finally about 9:00 we decided to call it a morning and my hunting buddy decided to walk down to the far end of the pond to see if anything might be home, hiding in the tules, before we leave. He managed to spook up a couple widgeon but they passed by me low across the pond and I couldn’t get a shot. Then a nice greenhead headed towards me out of the tules, gaining altitude fast. I took three shots at him but he kept going. A few minutes later a nice gadwall flew in from off the refuge and started into a landing pattern. I was able to knock him down as he swung wide of my partner on the other side of the pond. We collected our three birds, packed up and walked out the muddy road back to the truck.

Well, three nice birds for a quick morning session when we didn’t even think we were going to get on. Not too bad.

SoCalHunt Gear Review – California Game Warden Stamp

Today’s gear review at SoCalHunt is the California Fish and Game California Game Warden Stamp.

Well, is this really “gear”? Maybe not. But it is something that I feel strongly about and something I think important for all law–abiding hunters and fishermen to consider purchasing. I have four of the 2010 version stamps myself. The new version, for 2011 is now available for purchase from and DFG regional or licensing offices or by sending in a check with the DFG Warden Stamp form, found at:

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/WardenStamp/fg373a.pdf

The Game Warden Stamp isn’t really a “stamp” for your license, such as one of your duck stamps, as the name might lead you to believe, but rather it’s a roughly 4” x 4” decal. The 2010 version (which is still available, if you like that design better) is a green shield with an elk silhouette on it. (see picture below).

The new 2011 version has a light blue background and a silhouette of a trout or salmon on it. (see picture below)

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 the Fish and Game K-9 program, to assist them in their duties.

Due to State budget cuts, non-hunting / fishing politicians feel that the DFG is a “painless” way to cut back on the budget by giving the DFG less to do more with.

Quoting the DFG web site on the Warden stamp:
“Game Wardens are responsible for protecting more than 1,000 native fish and wildlife species, 6,300 native plant species and 360 threatened or endangered species California’s 159,000 square miles of land (414 square miles per warden) 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers. Game Wardens patrol on foot, by plane, boat, all-terrain vehicles, snow mobiles, and even on horseback There is one game warden for every 200,000 constituents.

Game Wardens work hard to educate those they encounter in the outdoors, as well as school children in the classroom, about the importance of resource conservation, pollution prevention, and the importance of a healthy natural environment. These men and women dedicate their lives to ensuring our resources are here for future generations. You do not have to be an outdoor enthusiast to help, just someone who cares about protecting California’s wildlife populations and conserving the habitats in which they live.”

Now – back to me…
As “gear” the Warden stamp leaves a little to be desired as one of the ones that I had just plain fell off the gear I had it stuck on and the one I have on my truck’s shell rear window has faded from that nice “Game Warden green” to a light blue color. So, the actual stamp, or decal as it probably should be called, could use a little more UV resist ink and have some better adhesive, but, 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 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”, throw the darn thing away if you want, stick it in a drawer, do whatever you want with it. The important thing is to help give Fish and Game the tools they need to protect our hunting and fishing heritage.

Now, excuse me while I print up the pdf form and mail in for my 2011 Game Warden stamps.

San Jacinto Junior Pheasant Hunt Postponed

Tom advised me this morning that the Junior Pheasant hunt, scheduled for this coming Sunday, 12/19/10 has been postponed due to the predicted rainstorm that supposed to hit us starting tomorrow. Tom wanted me to get the word out that they have rescheduled the Junior Pheasant hunt for Sunday, January 23rd, 2011.

For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

(Our prior post of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area Calendar has been updated to reflect the change).

San Jacinto Preliminary Hunt Results for 12/15/10

I spoke with Tom Trakes earlier today and he advised that the full bird count was not available yet. Tom hoped to have all the bird count numbers to me this afternoon, however, he stated if he was unable to do that he would get them to me Saturday. Tom did say that the refuge shot good Wednesday and that the average number of waterfowl harvested was a little over 2.9 per hunter with the number one bird this time being green-wing teal.

If Tom can get me the full numbers later today I’ll post up another report with those numbers. If not, I’ll post a combination Wednesday / Saturday report on Sunday or Monday.

Don’t forget San Jacinto’s annual toy drive for Loma Linda Children’s Hospital is winding down with only two more hunt days before Christmas. (see the prior post here about the toy drive for details) Please bring whatever you can to fill the barrel!

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto 12/11/10

Waterfowl Hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife slowed a little over the weekend but hunters were still bringing in decent counts. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto, reported the following results for Saturday, 12/11/10:

121 adult and 12 junior hunters checked in with 17 widgeon, 3 buffelhead, 1 canvasback, 5 cinnamon teal, 33 gadwall, 86 green-wing teal, 8 mallards, 89 northern shovelers, 30 pintail, 10 ring neck, 5 ruddy ducks, 3 scaup, 1 whistling duck and 1 wood duck. There was also 1 ross’ goose harvested along with 11 coot for a total of 304 waterfowl. This resulted in an average bird per hunter of 2.29.

Tom reported that 26 of the 50 reservation cardholders showed up on time.

Don’t forget, when you go to San Jacinto, that they are now in the middle of their annual toy drive for Loma Linda Children’s Hospital (see the prior post here about the toy drive for details) so bring a toy for the barrel! Tom told me one of their big sponsors is not having a barrel for them this year so its more important then ever for the hunters to step up to the plate and bring in some toys.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto 12/8/10

Waterfowl Hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife area continues to show strong results. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto, advised that hunters turned in the following results for Wednesday, 12/8/10:
110 adult and 2 junior hunters bagged in 21 widgeon, 1 buffelhead, 6 canvasback, 3 cinnamon teal, 58 gadwall, 56 green-wing teal, 7 mallards, 159 northern shovelers, 43 pintail, 5 redhead, 4 ring neck and 9 ruddy ducks for a total of 372 waterfowl which translates to average of 3.32 birds per hunter. There were no geese taken.

Tom advised that 28 of the 50 reservation cardholders showed up on time.

Don’t forget, when you go to San Jacinto, that they are now in the middle of their annual toy drive for Loma Linda Children’s Hospital (see the prior post here about the toy drive for details) so bring a toy for the barrel! Tom told me one of their big sponsors is not having a barrel for them this year so its more important then ever for the hunters to step up to the plate and bring in some toys.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunt Report 12/8/10

Today we have a hunting report from SoCalHunt.

I drew a mid-range reservation today so my hunting partner and myself headed out to San Jacinto Wildlife Area. The trip got off with a less then auspicious start when I jumped in the truck and turned the key only to hear…..click, click, click… Oh no! Dead battery! I quickly rousted my son, who couldn’t go today due to work, out of bed to jump me and, fortunately, was on my way with only about a 10-minute delay. I picked up my hunting buddy (not turning off the truck for fear it wouldn’t start again) and off we went to San Jacinto.

It looked like a good number of the reservation holders had shown up this morning but there was still a couple of the “top” blinds left when we stepped up to the counter and Tom quickly marked the blind number on our card and away we went. Luckily the truck had enough of a charge to the battery from the trip down and it started right up…whew! We got to our blind site and set up. The blind we chose was a San Jacinto standard hog-wire blind but was partially surrounded on the south side by some fairly tall tule reeds. As we waited for start time birds were buzzing the blind and landing in our pond.

About 2 minutes before start time someone decided they couldn’t wait any longer and the shooting started. Of course, the birds sitting in our pond vacated the area. Since we don’t shoot early we watched several nice large ducks fly away into the gathering morning light. After that there was a fairly continual pick at the ducks as we’d have one or two come by the blind every few minutes. We dropped a few early but couldn’t seem to connect as consistently as we would have liked.

The day was a little cold to start with but as the sun came up it warmed up fast and we were down to t-shirts fairly quickly.

This was probably fortunate as, while wading across the pond, I caught my foot on a weed or something on the bottom and went down in the pond, getting fairly well soaked in the process. I stripped off the t-shirt and put it on the blind to dry and put my sweatshirt back on for the time being. I pulled the waders down and let the sun do its work.

As has been reported here at SoCalHunt there are geese in the area and we saw several flights, most up around where the C5A’s, from nearby March Field, fly. We did have one large flight of about 80 Canadas come by, still way out of range, but a lot lower the most of them.

About 10:30 most of the birds seemed to quit flying, except for the spoonys, and we had a decent pick on the spoons throughout the remainder of our hunt. At about 2:05 we dropped our last duck and ended the day with two full limits!

The total for our bird count for the day was, 1 scaup, 1 widgeon, 2 pintail, 1 canvasback and 9 shovelers. All in all a very enjoyable day at San Jacinto. So, if you need one of us we’ll be picking birds for the next few hours.

Gear Review – Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind

Attention!! UPDATE 7/28/19 – We here at SoCalHunt have been made aware that the Cartblind Business is for sale and it appears that they are out of business. Although their web site is still active they don’t appear to have any items in stock and are advertising the business for sale. We will leave this review up for anyone who may run across a used Cartblind for information purposes only or on the outside chance someone buys the business and re-opens it.

Today’s gear review for SoCalHunt is on the Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind.

Look! Out in the pond! It’s a boat, no it’s a cart, no it’s a blind….no it’s the Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind!

The Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind is a great combination of what a waterfowler needs out in the refuge marsh. It consists of a large decoy sled with wheels attached (which are easily removable) and a telescoping pull handle to pull the whole contraption with. There are also shoulder straps attached to the pull handle and to the sled that allows most of the weight to be carried on the hunter’s shoulders as the cart is pulled. Once to the hunting site there is a full camo cover that makes the cart into a very comfortable hunting blind.

The real beauty of the Duck & Bucks Cart Blind is that you can load it at home, bungee everything down and the next time you have to take anything off of it is out at your blind or hunting site. Gone now are the days of loading everything in your truck, including the folded up decoy cart, arriving at the parking area, taking out the decoy cart and putting it together, loading all the decoys and equipment on it, bungeeing it all down, walking out to your hunt site, taking everything off the decoy cart, humping the decoys and other equipment across the pond (usually 3 or 4 trips back and forth across the pond) and then repeating this in reverse order to go home.

The way we have been using the Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind is that we load it up at home with decoys, two smaller decoy sleds (which we find handy in putting out and picking up decoy), blind bags, small ice chest and whatever else we’re taking and then it goes in the back of the truck. When we arrive at the parking area for our hunting site we pull the cart out of the back of the truck, tuck the shotguns in under the bungee straps, extend the telescoping pull handle and off we go to our hunting site. The 18 inch diameter, 4 ½ inch wide, airless tires make pulling the cart very easy.

When we arrive at our hunting site, if we have happened to draw an island blind, instead of taking everything out of the cart and schlepping it across the water in 3 or 4 trips back and forth, the cart becomes a boat. We just push it into the water and it floats, even with all the equipment loaded on it. We have found that, once it is in the water, it is easier to get out of the pull handle and push it from behind.

This has a couple advantages. First you can keep the (now) boat stable even if it is loaded a little unevenly. Second you can push down on the rear of the boat which keeps the bow of it high so no water splashes in, and third, it actually assists you in wading through a muddy pond bottom as, by pushing down on it, it takes a lot of your weight off your feet so you hardly sink in the mud at all. Once you get to your hunt site, whether you had to cross the water or not, if it is a free roam area or there is no adequate prepared blind, when the cart is empty, with a few minor adjustments, it becomes a very comfortable blind.

To make the cart into a blind there are 4 “feet” that pull out and adjust for height at the end of the cart (which will become the bottom of the blind). Once these are adjusted (between 15 and 22 inches) to the proper height the cart is tipped up on end. When this is done the camo blind cover falls into place. The only other adjustment that is needed to complete the conversion is to adjust the telescoping pull handle to become a rear support for the blind. When used as a blind there is a back and butt cushion which makes it very comfortable to sit in. The blind also comes with a middle camo cover (not shown in our pictures), which you wouldn’t want to use for duck hunting, that would make it a good deer/turkey blind. In addition, if you move the top camo cover to the bottom and lay the cart/blind down it can be utilized as a layout blind also. If you find yourself in a shallow pond and the wheels are digging into the bottom the wheels can be easily removed by pulling a spring steel pin (no tools necessary) and just pulling the wheels off. It might be a good idea to buy a couple more of these pins at the hardware store and carry them in your blind bag just in case you drop one in the field.

The only real disadvantage I have found with the Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind is that, when it is fully loaded, it’s a two-man job to get it in and out of the truck but, when used as a blind, it will only accommodate one person (so you’d have to take turns or flip for it I guess, LOL). However, if you had a ramp, such as a gardener uses to get his lawnmower in and out of his truck, I’m sure one person could handle this.

The Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind retails for $375 and right now, through Christmas, they are offering free shipping. Check at:

New Link ( www.cartblinds.com )

for further information or to order one.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto 12/4/10

Hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife area is at an excellent pace for this time of year. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto, reported that the results for Saturday, 12/4/10 were as follows:

112 adult and 8 junior hunters checked in 235 Northern Shovelers, 34 Widgeon, 6 Canvasbacks, 4 Buffelheads, 14 Cinnamon Teal, 31 Gadwall, 4 Green Wing Teal, 8 Mallards, 9 Pintail, 2 Red Heads, 7 Ring Necks, 14 Ruddys, 6 Scaup and 3 Coot for a 3.1 average. The bag also included 2 Ross’s Geese. Tom predicted that when the teal show up big –time the shooting will really take off!

Tom advised that out of 50 reservation cards 23 showed up on time.

Don’t forget, when you go to San Jacinto, that they are now in the middle of their annual toy drive for Loma Linda Children’s Hospital (see the prior post here about the toy drive for details) so bring a toy for the barrel! Tom told me one of their big sponsors is not having a barrel for them this year so its more important then ever for the hunters to step up to the plate and bring in some toys.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

San Jacinto Calendar of Events 2010 / 2011 Season

The following is the calendar of events for the San Jacinto Wildlife Area:

Wednesdays and Saturdays through January 29th, 2011 – Waterfowl hunt days on the refuge. You can put in for reservations through the state reservation system (your card has to be to Fish and Game in Sacramento 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing – buy one day and five day reservation cards at your local license agent AKA: sporting goods store) or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done after that. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 1 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 through Friday, December 24th, 2010 – San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Loma Linda Children’s Hospital Toy Drive.
Bring a toy for the bucket when you come to hunt San Jacinto! (For further details see the prior post here on SoCalHunt regarding the toy drive).

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 – Junior Pheasant Hunt. Open to hunters age 15 or under. A non-hunting adult must accompany the junior hunter(s) in the field. There will be a barbecue for all participants at noon after the hunt. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

Saturday, February 5th, 2011 – Junior Duck Hunt. Open to hunters age 15 or under. To apply for the junior hunt, use a one or five choice reservation application and mail to the DFG’s License and Revenue Branch as per instructions on the card. Remember the card has to be in to Sacramento at least 17 days prior to the drawing to be included. A non-hunting adult must accompany the junior hunter(s) in the field. A pancake breakfast will be available to start the day at 3 am and, at noon, there will be a barbecue for all participants. In addition, after the barbeque, there will be a raffle with a plethora of hunting gear available for the juniors to win. Volunteer are needed for this event. For more info, or to volunteer or donate a prize, call the San Jacinto office at 951-928-0580.

Late February – Watch for the date for the blind clean up day, most likely in late February. When the date is set it will be announced her on SoCalHunt.


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