Season Reminders for the 2011/2012 Waterfowl Season

On the eve of the 2011/2012 waterfowl season SoCalHunt would like to remind everyone of a few things for this year’s season, some if it old info everyone should know, some of it new info.

First and foremost DO NOT forget that you will need to purchase your 1 day, 2 day or season pass BEFORE you arrive at the check station. This is one of the big changes for this year. The check stations at all the refuges WILL NOT be selling any permits or handling any money. Your pass may be purchased on-line at the DFG web site, however, if you do buy your permit on line you have to wait for DFG to mail it to you. If you haven’t already got your permit then it is way to late to purchase it on-line for the opener tomorrow. You can, however, buy it in person at any of the DFG offices or “license agents” (AKA: sporting goods stores, Wal-Mart, etc.). If you do not have a permit when you show up at the check station tomorrow morning you cannot hunt and you will be asked to leave. Don’t blow a good reservation or a good sweatline draw just because you forgot to get your permit!

A little related note is in order here. If you’re going to San Jacinto they have, in the past, relied on change from permit sales to fill the 5-gallon water bottle on their counter with donations for the Junior Waterfowl Hunt at the end of the season. Since they are no longer handling any money this will dry up the source of this change for the bottle. Please, if you can afford it, bring a buck or two or three for the Junior Hunt bottle.

Secondly, regulations for the Southern California Zone (which will cover San Jacinto and Wister) is as follows:

Ducks (including Mergansers):

Season: From the fourth Saturday in October extending for 100 days. (October 22 – January 29)
Scaup: From the first Saturday in November extending for 86 days. (November 5 – January 29)

Daily bag limit: 7
Daily bag limit may include:
7 mallards, but not more than 2 females.
2 pintail (either sex).
1 canvasback (either sex).
2 redheads (either sex).
3 scaup (either sex).
Possession limit: double the daily bag limit.


Season (San Jacinto Area for all geese & Wister Area for Dark Geese): From the fourth Saturday in October extending for 100 days. (October 22 – January 29).
Wister Area (Special Management Area) for white geese only: From the first Saturday in November extending for a period of 86 days (Regular Season – November 5 – January 29) and from the second Saturday in February extending for 16 days (Late Season – February 4 – February 19). During the Late Season, hunting is not permitted on public areas (AKA Wister).

Daily bag limit: 8
Daily bag limit may include:
6 white geese.
3 dark geese.
Possession limit: double the daily bag limit.
During the late season, in the special management area, the daily bag limit is 6 white geese.
Possession limit: double the daily bag limit.

Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until sunset. VERY IMPORTANT – ½ hour before sunrise is 30 minutes. NOT 35 minutes, NOT 38 minutes, NOT 41 minutes, NOT even 31 minutes. The legal shooting time for the area you are hunting will be posted at the check station – WRITE IT DOWN. Set you cell phone alarm to go off at the specified time if you can’t trust your watch or something. Just don’t shoot early. It ticks off your neighboring hunters, especially if they have birds sitting in their decoys, and you are subject to citation if the Warden happens to be in the area. Sometimes, during slow periods early in the season, the first few minutes of the day can make or break a hunt and its really disappointing to have someone ruin it just because they couldn’t wait 5 or 6 minutes until legal shooting time.

Along these lines is the subject of skybusting. Skybusting, for those that may not know, is shooting at birds that are basically out of range. 40 yards is about the maximum effective range for shooting at waterfowl, maybe 50 if you’re real good (which I am not). Can you down birds at 50, 60 or 70 yards? Yes, you can get lucky and get that “golden BB” in a bird and drop it but it’s a low percentage shot and, again, it’s a real good way to tick off you neighboring hunters, especially if the birds are working your neighbor’s decoys. Also, you are more likely to wound a bird and have it fly off to die later when shooting at extreme distances which isn’t good for the resource and not fair to the game we hunt. If you don’t know what 40 yards looks like go to your nearest high school and stand on the 40 yards line of the football field and see how far the goal line is from you. Maybe even take a decoy out there with you and put it on the goal line and look at it from the 40 yard line and see how big it looks and how good you can see the colors and the eyes of the decoy. Burn those images into your memory and then, when you’re hunting, imagine what that looks like in your mind and don’t shoot beyond that. Please don’t skybust. It may not be illegal but it is unethical and a real good way to have every hunter in the area ready to ride you outta there on a rail.

Also, don’t forget the 25 shell limit on the refuges. You can only have 25 shells in possession while hunting. Make sure there are no stray shells in your pockets or your blind bag or anywhere else. In addition, make sure that you have non-toxic shot (steel, bismuth, heavy-shot, tungsten) and NO lead shot in your possession. These are also a citable offense that Mr. Warden will take a dim view of either too many shells in possession or any lead shot in possession, even if it’s a stray shell in your hunting vest from quail hunting last weekend.

Don’t forget basic equipment such as, your shotgun, waders, ammo, decoys and what have you.

Well, that’s all for now. Here’s wishing everyone a great opening day and a great season to come. We’ll see you out there in the sweatline at 0300!

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