Archive for March, 2014

Sportsman’s Catering at Wister in Danger of Loosing Their Lease – Another Shot Against Hunting in California

I know that SoCalHunt is primarily about San Jacinto but I have, in the past, hunted Wister and I will do so again in the future if the right opportunity presents itself, and so should you, so this is an issue that should be of concern to all hunters in Southern California.

The Sportsman’s Catering trailer at Wister State Wildlife Area, near Niland, is at risk of not receiving a renewed lease to operate.  It has been operating there for close to 50 years, and is a place to buy a cup of coffee, a breakfast burrito, hot chocolate, ammo, other various hunting gear and the all-important licenses and day passes.  (I wish we had a similar outfit at San Jacinto).  It has been a place that generations of hunters have patronized. I’m sure there are grandfathers that buy their grandsons a hot chocolate in the early morning hours as their grandfathers did for them when it first opened.

From what SoCalHunt has been told, apparently the lease was up this year. It originally went to ‘competitive bid’, and Frank Bailey (the owner) was the only one to place a bid.  Frank advised that he has not received any official notification that the lease would not be renewed, but through phone conversations with Scott Sewell of the DFW, who is in charge of Wister, this appears to be the case.

From those conversations, Frank has learned it is not the DFW that is putting a stop to the lease.  It is the “Lands Program People”.

Beside the obvious benefit for hunters utilizing Wister, the state benefits in a big way also.  It is a fact for the year 2013, as a license agent, Sportsman’s Catering had over $20,000 in license and permit sales.  Money going to the state.  Frank has documented proof of this. Also, the sales of ammunition bring in Pittman-Robertson taxes as well.


The Sportsman’s Catering Trailer – (as you can see this takes up a miniscule part of Wister’s nearly 8,000 acres.  Right next to the check station, which could be used for very little else).



This can only be interpreted one way, in my humble opinion.  This is another shot at hunters in California.  One more thing to make it that much more inconvenient for hunters to participate in their sport.  Another nail in the coffin of hunting in California?

The only thing that can be done is to contact people that can have an influence on this situation. Please, if you do contact these people, be respectful and state you objections to the non-renewal of the lease. (Honey catches more flies then vinegar).  Here’s some contact information for people that need to know our opinion:

Assemblyman Manuel Perez’s office (56th Assembly district. Assemblyman for Imperial County where Wister is).  Contact name is Bianka Velez.

Her phone: (760)-336-8912.  Her fax is (760)-336-8914.

Lands Program:

Kari Lewis, Supervising Biologist – (916)-445-3789

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham

California State Lands Commission

Land Management Division

100 Howe Avenue, Suite 100 South

Sacramento, California 95825-8202

Telephone: (916)-574-1940


Chief, Land Management:

Brian Bugsch (916)-574-1940


State Lands Commission Small Business/DVBE Advocate Permits and Leases Application for Use of State Lands:

David W. Brown
(916)-574-1870  fax 


Also, it wouldn’t hurt to contact your own area state senator or assemblyperson and let them know what is going on and your opinion of it.

Successful Volunteer Blind (and more) Clean-up Day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area

On Saturday, March 14th, about 20 volunteers, along with the San Jacinto Wildlife Area staff, gathered in the check station parking lot at 7:00 AM for the volunteer blind clean up day. Each volunteer was given a couple or so blinds to clean out and the group headed out into the wildlife area.  In short order (about 2 hours), due to the large amount of volunteers, all of the blinds were cleaned up and the group then made their way to the upland game area and cleaned up the side of San Jacinto that borders Ramona Expressway. After about an hour and a half of hard work that area was also trash free.

After the clean up the SJ Staff and the volunteers met at Casa Mexicana for a well-deserved lunch before they parted ways for the day.

The Staff at San Jacinto would like to extend a big thanks to everyone that came out and worked hard to clean up good old SJ.

The Volunteers


Clean up along Ramona Expressway

photo 1[1]

Lunch at Casa Mexicana

photo 3[1]

The next event at San Jacinto will be a Hunter’s Education Class on May 31st. Check here…

…for information on the Hunter’s Education Class.  If you’ve never had a hunting license this class is required before you can buy your license.  And, the price is right…FREE!


San Jacinto Wildlife Area – Hunter Education Course Offered, Saturday, May 31st

San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be hosting a free state mandated hunter’s education course on Saturday, May 31st.  If you want to get a hunting license this is the class you need to take to get your license.   Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the students should assemble at the wildlife area’s check station at 6:30 am with the course beginning promptly at 7 am.  There is no age restriction for the class but for the younger potential hunters the parent or guardian needs to determine if the child is mature enough to become a hunter.  Students must read the hunter’s education manual prior to taking the class.  Tom told me that the weather at San Jacinto in May is usually quite warm and suggested that everyone attending would probably want to bring a good supply of bottled water.  At noon the staff at San Jacinto will host a BBQ lunch and Tom said they would be taking donations (drinks, salads, desserts, chips, etc.) for this to offset the cost of the food.  The class should last until about 4:00 pm and everyone successfully completing the course can then head out to their local DFW license agent (aka: sporting goods store) and buy their hunting license.  Tom asked that anyone wanting to attend this free hunter’s education course should call him to pre-register at 951-236-3040 or Whitney Barr at (951) 928-0580.

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