Changes for Check-in / Sweat Line Procedures at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for the 2014/2015 Season

Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, has advised that there will be some changes and modernizations to the check-in procedures at San Jacinto for the Sweat Line drawing. These changes are meant to speed things up and ensure the “bucket drawing” will be a fair as possible for everyone.

The first, and probably biggest change, will be the fact that the good old 5-gallon white sweat line bucket, the one that, over the years, has held probably tens of thousands of those little slips of paper with the names of hunters hoping to claim the spots of reservation holders that didn’t show up, is gone. Gone are the days of trying to crumble your slip or fold it a certain lucky way or whatever you may have done to, hopefully, increase your chances of the searching hand finding your little slip of paper in the bucket first instead of last. However, it is only gone in a physical sense as, in the virtual world, it is still with us.

New procedure for the SJ Sweat Line will be signing up on a clipboard with a number by your name. When you sign-up what you will see is a number and four letters, A – D, plus a check box that says, “mobility impaired” (more on the “mobility impaired” later). Everyone in your hunting party has to have their name written on the sign-up sheet PRIOR to the drawing. There will be no adding on to your hunting party after the list goes in. Tom advised me that the cut-off time for signing up on the list will be 3:30 AM at the latest and he recommended that you get there by 3 AM to be sure you get on the list. This is because the Sweat Line drawing will be completed while the reservations are in the process of being given out. The Sweat Line drawing will now be handled by a computer app that generates random numbers and it will create a list based on the number of hunting parties signed up. In other words if there are 48 hunting parties signed up the SJ staff will simply enter the number 48 into the computer and it will generate a randomly numbered list. So, if you were number 22 on the sign-up list and the list that the computer generates (which will be posted on the window of the check station when it comes out) has number 22 in the 5th position, then you are 5th on the Sweat Line list. Same as if your slip was pulled out of the old bucket on the 5th draw. This should greatly speed things up because as soon as the reservation line is done the SJ staff can immediately start giving out the left over spots to the non-reservation holders listed on the computer generated Sweat Line list.

An important thing to note on this is that your name CAN ONLY APPEAR ONCE on the initial Sweat Line sign-up sheet. In other words, if you have 3 hunters in your party they can’t all put there names on the list and then list their two friends below them, thereby giving themselves three chances. Doing so will result in disqualification from the drawing. Also, if you’re going to go out in the morning, if you’re number’s low enough to get a non-reservation blind, and you have a friend coming to meet you later, you need to put your friend’s name on the initial sign-up list or your friend will not be allowed to go out and join you later in the morning.

As I mentioned before the Sweat Line sign-up sheet will have a check box that says “mobility impaired” next to each set of names. If one of the hunters is mobility impaired then this box can be checked. What this results in is that the mobility impaired hunter, and his party, will go into the Sweat Line drawing and have just as much chance as anyone else of ending up anywhere on the computer generated random number list, however, the two mobility impaired blinds will only be given out to mobility impaired hunters. In other words, if the mobility impaired hunter is 23rd on the Sweat Line list when the SJ staff gets down to the mobility impaired hunter the mobility impaired blinds (if they haven’t been taken by a mobility impaired hunter with a reservation or higher up on the list) will be available for this hunter and his party if they want it. If the mobility impaired hunter wants another blind, however, they can choose any available blind. Tom advised that this year the mobility impaired blinds will only be reserved for the mobility impaired hunters until 1 PM. After that time, if anyone wants to refill into one of the mobility impaired blinds, if they are opened, any hunter will be able to use them. Tom said that if there is a mobility impaired hunter in the party that they need to bring along their DMV registration for their vehicle showing that they are mobility impaired or they will not be allowed out into the mobility impaired blinds. Tom advised that this requirement is per Fish & Wildlife regulations.

Here is the text of the regulations designating the requirements for a mobility impaired hunter:
A number of State Wildlife Areas and National Wildlife Refuges have hunting blinds designated for use by mobility impaired hunters. A “mobility impaired hunter” is defined as any person who has been issued a Department of Motor Vehicles ‘‘Disabled License Plate”; “Permanent Parking Placard Identification Card”; “Disabled Veteran License Plate”; or valid “Mobility Impaired Disabled Persons Motor Vehicle Hunting License” (FG form 1460). The blue plastic “Disabled Parking Placard” may not be substituted for the required “Identification Card” which bears the name of the mobility impaired person. Disabled hunters must provide the registration certificate for DMV issued disabled license plates.

One other change is that, in the past, the blind were limited to 4 hunters, 2 adults and 2 juniors. Now it will be 4 hunters, doesn’t matter if they’re juniors or adults.

Tom also wanted me to remind everyone that SJ has no free roam areas. It is very important that hunters stay in their assigned blinds for hunting as many of San Jacinto’s blinds are tightly spaced and hunting outside your blind could be disruptive of others’ hunts at best and dangerous at worst. The only allowable deviation from staying in your blind would be if you’re out chasing a cripple and then be extra careful of your background if you have to shoot at it. UPDATE: Recently (2017/2018 season) the San Jacinto Staff have designated several small “free roam” area in close proximity to a some of the blinds where it was determined safe to do so. These are marked on the SJ blind map with the approximate area you can be outside the blind shaded to indicate it. However hunting outside these shaded areas, or outside the blind, (if you happen to be in one that doesn’t allow you outside the blind), is not allowed.

As for the refill list. If someone comes in to refill, AFTER the sweat line drawing is done, (as I had to do for afternoon hunts all last season due to my work situation), nothing has changed there. You will just sign up on the refill list in the order you arrive.

On a final note Tom wanted me to remind everyone that there will be no harassment or bullying of any kind tolerated on the wildlife area. Also, there are usually at least a few children and/or women present so watch the inappropriate language. Let’s all show a little class and be mindful of the people around you. Failure to do so may result in loss of your hunting privilege for the day.

Tom wanted me to relate to everyone that these new procedures are experimental and there may be some wrinkles to iron out, some glitches to overcome, or some tweaking of the actual procedures to figure out so bare with San Jacinto staff as they implement these new polices.

Hopefully these new procedures will help things go smoother and quicker and be fair to everyone involved. SoCalHunt will be looking forward to a great season, as I’m sure everyone else is, so please be patient while the best wildlife area staff in the state works to make things even better at good old SJ. If anyone has any questions or comments about these new procedures Tom said feel free to call him at 951-236-3040.

Hope to see you out there this season!

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