Archive for January, 2012

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/28/12

Saturday’s season finale waterfowl average increased again over last Wednesday’s average with very windy conditions. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl take for Saturday, 1/28/12, was as follows:

132 adult and 8 junior hunters checked in with 34 Northern Shovelers, 16 Bufflehead, 17 Cinnamon Teal, 46 Gadwall, 158 Green Wing Teal, 3 Mallards, 57 Pintail, 3 Redheads, 2 Ring Necks and 15 Ruddy Ducks. There were no geese taken at San Jacinto on Saturday. 6 coot were also bagged on Saturday. This worked out to an average of 2.55 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 50 reservations issued 26 showed up on time.

So that’s it for the regular waterfowl season for 2011/2012. If you are a junior hunter, or you have a junior hunter in the family, there’s one more chance for them to waterfowl hunt this season at San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl hunt. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

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SoCalHunt Hunting Report for 1/28/12

Today, being the last day of the season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area, (since they don’t hunt Sundays), SoCalHunt was back after a short break due to illness, for a last try at the ducks for the 2011/2012 season. Since none of my regular partners were available, and considering that my last afternoon refill hunt resulted in a limit, I decided to do another afternoon refill.

Being it was the season’s last day I did leave a couple hours earlier then I would usually leave for an afternoon hunt. I figured there would be a few more hunters trying to get in a last hurrah then on a normal Saturday, so the extra couple hours might help improve my spot on the refill list.

When I arrived at the check station it didn’t look too bad, as there didn’t appear to be as many vehicles in the parking lot as I had expected. I went up to the check station and signed in on the refill list, which revealed that my initial impression wasn’t accurate, I was down on the third page. I guess some of the folks on the list, and their pickups, were away getting breakfast. At the time I signed in on the refill list no one had checked back in from their blinds to leave yet, although it was still kind of early for that.

Over the next hour or so about six hunting parties checked in with results ranging from zero to three ducks. Although the wind was howling, which usually bodes well for hunting at good old SJ, no one so far was checking in with any impressive numbers. Over the next couple hours a few more hunters checked in, some from blinds that have usually produced decent numbers, with, again from zero to three ducks. One hunter did manage to come in with five birds and, of course, that blind was snapped up quickly by a pair of hunters near the top of the first page of the refill list.

As hunting sites were checked in, hunters waiting to refill would sign up for the surrendered blinds and head out. There were a few not so “hot” blinds that checked in that no one wanted to refill and I was beginning to think taking one of these would be my only option however, finally, a pretty good blind was checked in, although the hunter had only bagged one bird, and I grabbed it when no one ahead of me wanted to refill into that spot.

I headed out to my assigned spot and when I arrived I discovered one of the reasons I’m not so hot on the concrete culvert pit blinds that are at a few of the hunting sites at San Jacinto. My blind, which was on an island, had about 8 to 10 inches of water in it. Fortunately, even though the wind was blowing hard, it was a fairly warm day so having my feet submerged for the duration wasn’t too much of a problem today. If it had been really cold I might have been a little unhappier with that situation. Another problem this flooding presented is that there was no dry place in the blind to set my blind bag and camera case. Fortunately there was a good seat in the blind already (courtesy of the San Jacinto staff) so I used my regular seat to sit my blind bag on and hid my camera case in some of the brush surrounding the blind, but within reach. Now I just had to be careful not to drop anything in the water.

As I settled in things started out pretty slow and it was probably at least a half hour before my first opportunity presented its self. A nice drake pintail came in towards the blind and exited just as quick after my first three shots missed the mark. Not long after that a drake spoony came in and experienced the same reception, and the same results, as that first bull sprig. The wind was really ripping and I figured it would eventually push more birds around but it still seemed a little slow for the conditions.

At about 2:15 another drake pintail came straight in towards the blind with the wind. As I stood up to shoot the bird saw me and pulled up sharply and turned 180 degrees, right into the wind. The quick climb caused me to miss the first shot, but turning into the wind had the effect of stopping his momentum and I connected with the second shot and he splashed down about 40 yards from the blind. I quickly retrieved the bird and settled in to wait for another. A few more opportunities came by but I didn’t connect on them and then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a drake gadwall riding the wind, passing low about 25 yards out from the blind. I swung quickly and knocked him down with one shot. Not long after that another nice pintail drake wrapped around the blind and I nailed him with a single shot also. So, I now had two nice drake pintails in the bag, which meant I had a limit, a limit of pintail of course, since the limit on them is two.

Now I had to be careful not to shoot another pintail, which, of course since I had a limit now, I had several opportunities to do so. Other then several pintails buzzing by the blind, which of course I couldn’t shoot, the only bird I could have legally shot was a little green wing teal that rocketed by about head high which I didn’t see in time. So at the end of the day I had three real nice birds, a great way to end the season.

Well, that’s it for another waterfowl season. The mostly sunny and usually warm weather this year was a great contrast compared to last season with all the rain and having to walk out to the blinds a large portion of the season. As the sun sets at the end of the final day I would like to extend thanks to Tom and his crew, Tim, Durk, Aurelio and Jesse for another great season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area. If all state employees cared as much as these guys and went the extra mile like they do there would be far less problems in this state.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/25/12

The per-gun average waterfowl take for Wednesday ticked up slightly over Saturday’s take under sunny skies. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl take for Wednesday, 1/25/12, was as follows:

118 adult and 2 junior hunters checked in with 51 Northern Shovelers, 7 Bufflehead, 8 Cinnamon Teal, 38 Gadwall, 84 Green Wing Teal, 3 Mallards, 37 Pintail, 5 Redhead, and 7 Ruddy Ducks. There was a single White-front goose bagged on the refuge on Wednesday. 8 coot were also included in the count on Wednesday. This worked out to an average of 2.08 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 50 reservations issued 20 arrived on time.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. At this point in the season it is now too late to put in for reservations on-line through the DFG Automated License Data System (ALDS). You can still 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.

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFG Office or a license agent before your arrive at the refuge. These can be purchased on-line via the ALDS system also, however, you may not get your pass in time to use it as they have to mail it to you which can take up to 15 days. At this point you need to purchase your license and passes in person at a DFG office or license agent so you will immediately get them without the wait for the mail. No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this year. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

January 22nd Junior Pheasant Hunt a Big Success

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s junior pheasant hunt, conducted on Sunday, January 22nd, was a big success. Although there had been some threat of rain forecast earlier in the week, it didn’t materialize and the hunt went on without a hitch.

Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that there were 58 junior hunters in the field for the hunt and they begged close to a two-bird average on the pheasants with 110 birds being checked in. Tom told me that some of the junior hunters were just out of their hunter’s safety course and newly licensed and this was their first hunt.

After the hunt Quail Unlimited hosted a nice lunch consisting of sandwiches, chips and soda that was enjoyed by all. A great day was had by all and a great way for some to begin their hunting career.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/21/12

Saturday’s per-gun average take of waterfowl went up marginally over Wednesday’s take under rainy conditions. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl count for Saturday, 1/21/12, was as follows:

153 adult and 11 junior hunters checked in with 48 Northern Shovelers, 2 Wigeon, 22 Bufflehead, 1 Canvasback, 13 Cinnamon Teal, 50 Gadwall, 101 Green Wing Teal, 10 Mallards, 1 Merganser, 40 Pintail, 1 Redhead, 1 Ring Neck, and 14 Ruddy Ducks. There were 2 White-front geese taken on the refuge on Saturday. 5 coot were also bagged on Saturday. This figured out to an average of 1.90 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that 22 of the 50 reservation holders arrived on time to claim their spots.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. At this point in the season it is now too late to put in for reservations on-line through the DFG Automated License Data System (ALDS). You can still 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.

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFG Office or a license agent before your arrive at the refuge. These can be purchased on-line via the ALDS system also, however, you may not get your pass in time to use it as they have to mail it to you which can take up to 15 days. At this point you need to purchase your license and passes in person at a DFG office or license agent so you will immediately get them without the wait for the mail. No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this year. You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Waterfowl Hunt to be Held Saturday, February 4th.

Come join us at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for our 18th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt. Junior Hunters will need to apply for the drawing by using the State Waterfowl Reservation System.

This year we are dedicating our hunt to one of our Junior Hunters Israel Delatorre, whose life came to a tragic end in 2011.

San Jacinto Wildlife is still accepting donations for prizes up until the hunt.

If you would like to donate or have any questions please call Tom Trakes at (951) 927-1320.

Thank-you and we look forward to seeing you all on Feb 4th!

(Click on the below thumbnail to view the official flyer)

SoCalHunt Hunting Report for 1/18/12

SoCalHunt ventured back to San Jacinto Wildlife Area for another solo afternoon refill hunt. On Saturday I refilled and ended up firing two shots for one bird but, as I always say, you can’t bag any ducks sitting home on the couch so here I am again. I rolled into the parking lot about 9:40 and signed in on the refill list at the check station. Probably due to the season record low average Saturday there were only a handful of hunters waiting to refill today. About 10:30 a hunter checked out from one of the, usually, premium blinds (and one of my favorites) with no birds bagged. This was probably a lucky break for me (although not too lucky for the guy that didn’t bag any birds) as none of the hunters ahead of me on the refill list wanted the blind. I took the blind and was on the way out pretty early for my refill hunt.

I arrived at my blind at about 11:00 and started to set up. As an experiment today I went with a very small decoy set up and a new “experimental” jerk string tip up rig I made. While I was putting out my decoys I used my Ducks and Bucks cart, since it floats, to transport the decoys and, since it was legal shooting time, I took my shotgun with me. As I was putting out the last of the decoys a pair of teal swooped in and I grabbed the shotgun out of the Ducks and Bucks cart and fired a couple of shots. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to connect but it was a good sign of things to come. As I settled into the blind it was already getting warm and it was another bluebird day at San Jacinto.

Once I got settled into the blind the birds started coming. It was mostly teal, and the first several got by me without so much as a feather falling out of the sky. I was beginning to think that they forgot to put shot in the shells at the factory. I guess I need to put in some range time in the off-season. Anyway, I digress, as they say. After a while a green wing drake landed just outside the decoys on the west side of my blind and swam towards the blind. I stood up and the bird jumped and I quickly dropped him with one shot. A short time later I had an exact repetition on the east side of the blind and there was two green wing drakes in the bag. The next hour a few more teal came by and survived my mediocre shooting. I decided to exit the blind to utilize the nearest bush, if you get my drift, and as I went to leave the blind I noticed a drake shoveler sitting in the pond about 30 yards out in the corner of the pond. I grabbed the shotgun and he jumped to fly away and I splashed him in the corner of the pond.

As time went by the teal started to be mixed with an occasional shoveler or pintail. Most of the pintail stayed out of range with an occasional one coming close enough for a shot but they didn’t drop. A while later a group of five teal streaked in and I managed to drop one of the trailing hens. Maybe a half hour later I noticed yet another sponny swimming in the pond on the east side of the blind. I jumped up and so did the bird but one shot brought him down. As the sun lowered in the sky a few more pintail flew over, many of them landing in the far end of the pond. They seemed to like the end of the pond, out by the next blind, which was now empty as the hunter utilizing that blind had left at about 2:30. Finally a nice bull sprig swung in to inspect my tip up decoy and I knocked him down with a couple of shots. He hit the water swimming and the chase was on. I tried to stop him with a couple more shots on the water but, as most hunters probably know, it extremely hard to kill a bird on the water. Any time I got near the bird he would dive and swim away. The hunters in the blind across from me, which I was fast approaching as I chased the bird, saw my predicament and one hunter came to help. We were able to team up and approach the bird from two sides and he was able to grab it as it dove and tried to swim by him. I thanked the hunter for his assistance and headed back to my blind with a nice drake pintail. The sun was now behind the Bernasconi Hills to the west and legal shoot time was winding down. 12 minutes before quitting time a drake shoveler came over the blind and I was able to drop him but he also hit the water swimming and another chase ensued. I was finally able to get close enough to the bird to give him the coup de grace with a finishing shot on the water and that finished my full limit of seven ducks!

So I wouldn’t blow the last few minutes of legal shoot time for the adjacent blind I didn’t start to pick up until shoot time was over. It was, as it seems to almost always be, another gorgeous sunset and San Jacinto.

What a difference four days make. Last time I fired two shots for one bird this time…well I’m not going to admit how many shots I fired, but let’s just say the ammo companies like me…a lot. But it did result in a full limit of seven ducks. Where else can you leave home at 8:00 am, bag a full limit of nice ducks and be home by 8:00 pm, even with a stop for dinner on the way home? I’ll be back again soon, only a few more days left in the season.


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