Archive for July, 2014

Volunteer Work Party at San Jacinto Wildlife Area a Big Success!

This past Saturday, 7/26/14, about 25 volunteers, made up of hunters that utilize San Jacinto Wildlife Area, assembled to assist the SJ staff in getting the wildlife area ready for the fast approaching waterfowl season. Shortly after 7 am the volunteers divided into groups and dispersed throughout the wildlife area to take on their assignments.

Some of the volunteers

The main goal of this work party was to clean out the numerous water control structures throughout San Jacinto and extracting tumbleweeds and brush and weeds blocking access to them.

Some of the volunteers hard at work


Now that the water control structures are cleared out the San Jacinto staff can start water flowing and begin the process of flooding the ponds for the waterfowl season. Some of the flooding was started Saturday as soon as the water control structures were cleared.

Traditionally, after a work party, many of the volunteers usually met at Casa Mexicana Restaurant for a well-deserved lunch break but Tom reported that on this Saturday most of the volunteers had other obligations to get to so they passed on lunch this time. This just goes to show the dedication of the hunters volunteering as they still showed up to work even though they had other things going that day.

Much was accomplished on this work party with a good turnout of volunteers from the hunting community. This work should help San Jacinto put on another successful waterfowl season for we Southern California hunters. As of this writing another work party day at San Jacinto is scheduled for Saturday, August 23rd. The August 23rd work party will be primarily a blind brush up day. This will probably be the final preparation to get San Jacinto ready for the 2014/2015 waterfowl season.

For information on the upcoming blind brush up day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area you can call the refuge office at 951-928-0580 or Tom Trakes 951-236-3040.

On a personal note I would like to extend my thanks to all the volunteers that came out and worked so hard. Unfortunately, the last couple years, I’ve been unable to attend the volunteer workdays as my work schedule has me working weekends right now. I truly appreciate the work that the volunteers do and I know the SJ staff appreciates it also.

Duck Numbers Up for the 2014/2015 Season!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that duck numbers were up significantly again over last year’s duck count. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web site reported:

“Preliminary 2014 duck population and pond estimates from the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 49.2 million breeding ducks was 8% higher than last year’s estimate of 45.6 million, and 43% above the long-term average.” reported that Mallards were up to approximately 10.9 million, which was 5% above the 2013 estimate of 10.372 million, and 42% above the long-term average of 7.7 million. Bluewing Teal numbers are approximately 8.542 million, which 10% above the 2013 estimate of 7.732 million and 75% above the long-term average of 4.9 million. Green-winged teal are up to 3.440 million, which was 13% above the 2013 estimate of 3.053 million and 69% above the long-term average of 2.0 million. The estimate for American wigeon is 3.117 million up 18% from the 2013 estimate of 2.664 million and 20% above the long-term average of 2.6 million. Estimated numbers of gadwall are 3.811 million which is 14% above the 2013 estimate of 3.351 million and 102% above the long-term average 1.9 million. Scaup (both greater and lesser) showed 4.611 million, which is 11% above the 2013 estimate and 8% below the long-term average of 5.0 million. Northern shoveler (our beloved spoonys) are estimated at 5.279 million which is 11% above the 2013 estimate of 4.751 million and 114% above the long-term average of 2.5 million. Redheads were 1.279 million which is 6% above the 2013 estimate of 1.202 million and 85% above the long-term average of 0.7 million. Canvasbacks showed 0.685 million which 13% lower then the 2013 estimate of 0.787 million and 18% above the long-term average of 0.6 million. Pintails were estimated at 3.220 million, which was 3% below the 2013 estimate of 3.335 million and 20% below the long-term average of 4.0 million.

So it looks like its could be shaping up to be a great season already. Now all we need here in Southern California is some severe weather up north at the right time to trigger the duck’s migration down to our area and some much needed rain / water around our neck-o-the-woods to attract and hold the birds.

As I type this its 107 days until the season opens down here in SoCal. It might be a good time to start getting the gear together and cleaned up and inventoried. Oh, and maybe think about buying a few more boxes of shells as it looks like we’re going to have more birds to shoot at this season. (Oh, and pray for some rain!!)

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