Archive for January, 2014

San Jacinto Wildlife Area 2013 / 2014 Season Long Stats

With the ending of the waterfowl season, San Jacinto Wildlife Area turned in some noteworthy numbers for the 2013 / 2014 season.

3962 adult and 251 junior hunters (4213 hunters total) harvested a total of 3258 Northern Shovelers, 228 Mallards, 737 Gadwall, 727 Widgeon, 266 Pintail, 1939 Green Wing Teal, 758 Cinnamon Teal, 98 Redheads, 27 Canvasbacks, 294 Ring Necks, 63 Scaup, 197 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye, 23 Wood Ducks, 10 Blue Wing Teal, 2 Mergansers, and 459 Ruddy Ducks.  In addition there were 4 Aleutian Geese, and 2 Ross’ Geese bagged on the refuge this season.  409 Coots were also included in the count for the 2013 / 2014 season.  This worked out to a total on the waterfowl of 9502 birds.  The per gun average take for 2013 / 2014 worked out to 2.26 waterfowl per hunter.

To compare with last season there were 117 more adult hunters this season over last and there were 97 less junior hunters for a total of 20 more hunters accommodated in 2013 / 2014 over the 2012 / 2013 season.  This did not include the count for the 2014 Junior Hunt, which hasn’t happened yet.  So, judging by last years Junior Hunt that should add about 75 or more junior hunters to the count which would mean about 100, give or take a few, more hunters this season over last.  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 +395 Northern Shovelers, +6 Mallards, +34 Gadwall, +167 Widgeon, -140 Pintail, +131 Green Wing Teal, +192 Cinnamon Teal, -84 Redheads, +5 Canvasbacks, +97 Ring Necks, +35 Scaup, -4 Bufflehead, No change (1 each season) Goldeneye, +17 Wood Ducks, -2 Blue Wing Teal, -4 Mergansers, -4 Black Ducks (0 this season), -1 Surf Scooters (0 this season) and +57 Ruddy Ducks.

On the goose side of the ledger there were +3 Aleutian Geese, -7 White Front Geese (0 this season), -1 Snow Geese (0 this season), -2 Canada Geese (0 this season),  and +2 Ross’s Geese.

In addition, there were +163 coots taken.  This was a total of  +1025 waterfowl taken this season over last season.  The average was +0.25 waterfowl per hunter this season over last season.

As Stated earlier, this doesn’t include the Junior Hunt so these numbers will change slightly but it gives you a good idea of how the season went.  In general hunter numbers were up, birds bagged where up and the per gun average was up.

Good luck to the Junior Hunters on Saturday and, as I write this there is “only” 260 days, 7 hours, 56 minutes, and 20 seconds until the start of the 2014 / 2015 waterfowl season…only…

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Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/25/14

Saturday’s season finale waterfowl average dropped just slightly over last Wednesday’s average.  Green Wing Teal finished out the season as the number one bird taken Saturday with Shovelers taking a distant second place.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl take for Saturday, 1/25/14, was as follows:

147 adult and 11 junior hunters checked in with 48 Northern Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 33 Gadwall, 3 Widgeon, 40 Pintail, 140 Green Wing Teal, 5 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Redhead, 3 Bufflehead and 31 Ruddy Ducks. Again there were no geese taken at San Jacinto on Saturday.  8 coots were also bagged on Saturday.  This worked out to an average of 1.98 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations issued 29 showed up on time.

So that’s it for the regular waterfowl season for 2012 / 2013.  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.

 

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report, Wednesday 1/22/14

SoCalHunt, once again, headed back today to San Jacinto Wildlife Area to wind up the 2013/2014 waterfowl season. If you’ve been reading my reports here this season you know that, due to work obligations this year, I’m pretty much stuck doing afternoon refill hunts.  Today my usual hunting partner had gone ahead of me to get his name in the sweatline bucket and try to get a blind for the morning and then I would join him when I arrived.  We had tried this once before this season and the first time we ended up going with “plan B”, meaning that he didn’t get pulled for a blind out of the bucket and was on the refill list.  As I drove up Davis Road towards the check station the day looked promising.

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Well, as luck would have it, when I arrived my partner was still in the parking lot so it would be another “plan B” day. My partner was in a real good spot on the refill list however and we were optimistic we’d draw a good blind when the morning hunters started to come in.  Also today my partner had brought a friend of his along.  He wasn’t a hunter (yet) and wanted to come along to see what duck hunting is all about.

As we waited for a good blind to come in, the morning hunters checking in were, for the most part, carrying light straps with most only checking in two or three birds.  Also, it seemed like the blinds we were set on refilling were sticking it out and not coming in, perhaps because it was the last Wednesday of the season.

Finally about 11:45 one of the blinds we were waiting for checked in and we dropped our day permits at the check station counter and headed out to hunt.  Since there was three of us today we figured we’d put out a good size decoy spread and see if that would help pulling in some birds.  When we got to the blind my partner and his friend started setting out the decoys while I set up the blind.

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The day had developed to be very warm, almost hot, and the bluebird skies were nearly still for the most part, with an occasional slight breeze.

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As we had walked in towards our blind we had seen a couple of the neighboring blinds score a few birds so we were optimistic about our chances, however, once we got into the blind someone turned off the duck switch and we only saw an occasional duck at extreme range.

We sat in the blind “impressing” (maybe) our novice with our duck hunting stories and enjoying the sights and sounds of the marsh.  Just after the sun dropped below the Bernasconi Hills a pair of Ring Necks came in towards the blind on my partner’s side and he nailed both of them.  The drake was down for good but the hen was swimming and he tried to administer a finishing shot but she kept moving, making it to the tules.  My partner went after her and went around the end of the tules and out of sight looking for her.  Moments later we heard the report of his shotgun again and watched him reappear carrying a duck.  He went over and retrieved the drake and headed back for the blind.

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When my partner arrived back at the blind he had not two Ring Necks but a drake Ring Neck and a Hen Redhead.  He explained that, while looking for the hen Ring Neck that had escaped the Redhead had jumped out of the tules and he had bagged her instead.  Unfortunately he was unable to find the hen Ring Neck.  We put the birds on our strap and settled back in the blind hoping we’d get at least one more chance before quitting time.

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Well, that was not to be, so, as the sun set and the clock hit quitting time, we packed up our gear, retrieved out decoys and headed for home with another waterfowl season in the books.

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So, that’s it for us this season since neither one of us can hunt the last day on the wildlife area this coming Saturday.  This year was very slow for us.  But that’s just our personal circumstances this year.  From our observations, it appeared that most days the morning hunters were doing all right so if we could have got some morning hunts in I’m sure that would have helped our season totals.  I’m not complaining, that’s just how it is and I wouldn’t trade being out on good old SJ for anything.  It’s not always about killing a pile of birds anyway.  As an added bonus today it looks like we may have created another duck hunter as my partner’s friend enjoyed the day and is looking forward to attending San Jacinto’s Annual Hunter’s Education Class in April so he can get his hunting license for next season.  When the date is set for the Hunter’s Education Class you’ll see the announcement here, on SoCalHunt.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/22/14

Wednesday’s per-gun average take of waterfowl ticked back upwards over Saturday’s take under sunny and warm conditions.  Green Wing Teal remained in first place for number of birds bagged by a big margin over Shovelers which barely came in at second place. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl count for Wednesday, 1/22/14, was as follows:

132 adult and 4 junior hunters checked in with 28 Northern Shovelers, 10 Mallards, 25 Gadwall, 3 Widgeon, 18 Pintail, 175 Green Wing Teal, 3 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Redhead, 2 Ring Necks, 1 Bufflehead and 26 Ruddy Ducks. There were no geese taken on the refuge on Wednesday.  7 coots were also bagged on Wednesday.  This figured out to an average of 2.20 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that 29 of the 52 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 DFW 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 DFW 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 DFW 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.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/18/14

The per hunter average take of waterfowl at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for this Saturday dropped way down from last Wednesday’s average take. Green Wing Teal regained first place for number of birds bagged with Shovelers coming in at second place. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 1/18/14 were as follows:

150 adult and 6 junior hunters bagged 59 Northern Shovelers, 3 Mallards, 42 Gadwall, 5 Widgeon, 9 Pintail, 64 Green Wing Teal, 3 Redheads, 1 Canvasback, 2 Ring Necks, 1 Scaup, 5 Bufflehead and 15 Ruddy Ducks.  No geese were harvested at San Jacinto on Saturday.  3 coots were also checked in on Saturday. This resulted in a per hunter waterfowl average of 1.36 birds. Out of 52 reservation holders 36 showed up on time for 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 DFW 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 DFW 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 DFW 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.

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 1/15/14

SoCalHunt was back today at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for another afternoon refill hunt, this time with one of my usual hunting partners.  I rolled into San Jacinto just after 7 am and signed us up on the refill list.  We were right at the top of the third page so I figured that we’d probably get a blind but we’d probably have to settle for what we could get that far down on the list.

Hence, the waiting began.  My partner today lives in the opposite direction from SJ as I do so when I hunt with him I just meet him out there.  He got a later start then I did and rolled in just a little before 9 am, which was no problem as I knew we wouldn’t get a blind before then anyway.

As we waited we could hear occasional shooting on the refuge today and as the morning hunters began to trickle in most had some pretty good straps of birds.

About 11:40 a blind that is usually pretty fair came in, although the hunter surrendering it only had two birds in his bag.  We decided that this might be our best bet, despite the slow morning shoot, considering our position on the refill list, and decided to take this blind.

The wind was blowing pretty good as we headed out to our blind to set up.  We were set up and hunting just after noon.  The wind was blowing hard and the sun shone brightly on rippling waters of our pond.

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About ten minutes after we occupied the blind a sponny flew directly at our blind about 10 feet off the water, bucking the wind.  The bird was on my side of the blind and I connected with my first shot, splashing the bird about 25 yards out.  He was swimming and I had to fire twice more to deliver the finishing shot on the water. I initially thought that I had a hen in hand but on closer inspection it turned out to be a young drake in eclipse plumage.

After I put that bird on the strap we settled in to wait for the next opportunity.  About 5 minutes later another shoveler came in low, fighting the wind, just like the first bird had, but decided to land just outside shotgun range. She swam around for a few minutes and, apparently, didn’t like something she saw and jumped up and flew away, still out of range.  So it had been 15 minutes and we had one duck on the strap and had almost had an opportunity to bag second one so we began to think it might be a good afternoon.

We settled back in the blind and waited for more ducks to appear…and waited…and waited…and waited.  The rest of the afternoon we saw perhaps 6 or 7 more ducks total, none closer then a couple hundred yards.  So, when the alarm on my cell phone went off indicating quitting time I had fired a total of three rounds at one bird and my partner hadn’t even pulled the trigger.  We packed up our gear and collected our one spoony and headed in.

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So, once again, the season is winding down.  I have one more opportunity to get out there and bag some birds next Wednesday.  Hopefully I’ll make it out there.  So, as the sun sets on another hunt day I’ll look forward to one more try at the ducks.

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Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/15/14

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s average waterfowl take for this Wednesday went back up some over Saturday’s average under bluebird skies and very windy conditions. Shovelers regained first place for number of birds taken with Green Wing Teal just barely slipping back to second place on Wednesday. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Wednesday, 1/15/14 were as follows:

141 adult and 3 junior hunters bagged 126 Northern Shovelers, 8 Mallards, 39 Gadwall, 10 Widgeon, 19 Pintail, 117 Green Wing Teal, 2 Cinnamon Teal, 3 Redheads, 2 Ring Necks, 5 Bufflehead and 26 Ruddy Ducks.  There were no geese bagged at San Jacinto on Wednesday.  18 coots were added to the count on Wednesday.  This worked out to a per gun average of 2.60 waterfowl.  Out of 52 reservation holders 28 showed up 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 DFW 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 DFW 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 DFW 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.


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