Archive for December, 2014

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 12/31/14

After last week’s total skunk, not even seeing a duck, SoCalHunt was back at San Jacinto Wildlife Area to, hopefully, make an improvement on that last dismal (duck wise) hunting trip. I was in attendance today with both my usual hunting partners taking our chances on the sweat line again.

The weather had been rain on and off on Tuesday and when I got up around 12:45 to head out to pick up one of my hunting partners the wind was blowing pretty good but the streets were mostly dry. Our other hunting partner would meet us at SJ, as he was coming from the other direction, and since he could only hunt the morning he would have to leave before we would want to. As we drove down Ramona Expressway towards Davis Road we were met with gusty winds and a light snow hitting the windshield.

As I mentioned before one in our party could only hunt a short time in the morning so we were all crossing our fingers more then usual when we signed up on the sweat line list. At 3:30 the list went in and a few minutes later came back…38th on the sweat line. Well, one of us wouldn’t be hunting today and we all took off for an early breakfast. We waited around until all the blinds were taken and then signed up on the refill list so we could come back and get a blind later in the morning.

Usually we’d wait a short time and then hit Harry’s Café when they opened but today we left right away, in the other direction, towards Hemet, to partake at Denny’s since our buddy had to head off to work nearby. After breakfast our friend headed to work and we drove back to San Jacinto as the cloudy skies began to clear with the wind.

Once back at SJ we sacked out in the truck for a couple hours. A short time later, as we noticed a few morning hunters begin to trickle in, we walked up to the check station to wait for a good blind to come in. We waited around for a while and around 11 AM decided to take a blind that was in the middle of the wildlife area but had produced good in the past.

As we walked out to our blind my partner and I noticed a drake shoveler sitting on our pond near the blind. My partner quickly uncased his gun and loaded up just in time, and just in range to drop the young drake spoony. Not bad, just arriving at the blind and we already have a bird on the strap.

We unloaded our Ducks & Bucks cart and my partner and I went about setting decoys and setting up our blind. The wind was blowing about 15 to 20 and we had hopes that this would keep the birds moving today. Once set up, we settled in to wait for the birds.

It was another beautiful day with the blustery day blowing the clouds around as the skies cleared from last night’s storm.

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The surrounding mountains held snow from last night’s storm.

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A short time later a flight of several shovelers curved into the pond and over our blind. We both did another perfect “catch and release” of the ducks, blowing holes in the sky but not touching a feather, apparently. We repeated this a couple times with groups of both spoonies and teal. Long about 2 PM a group of 7 shovelers circled the pond and sat down just out of range outside our decoys. The birds appeared to be swimming in our direction, slowly, so we hunkered down, hoping they would swim into range. After about 20 minutes a flight of several teal came straight at our blind and being they were well within range we opened up on them. The little ducks scattered but nothing dropped from the group and the shovelers nearby in the pond exited stage right.

Maybe 20 minutes later a lone teal headed towards our blind and as I stood to shoot he pulled up like a missile, headed for the stratosphere. I fired and was able to knock him down with the third shot. He helicoptered down and on splashdown began to swim for the tules. I quickly loaded another shell and was able to stop his dash for the tules with one more shot. My partner ran out and quickly retrieved the bird. A nice drake green wing teal.

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We had a few more groups of birds and a couple singles fly by but they were either out of range or we didn’t see them in time and about 3:30 PM or a little after it seemed that the birds quit flying. We decided, since it was still pretty cold, that we would start to pick up but we’d keep the shotguns handy just in case. From our blind we could see 4 of the parking areas in that end of the wildlife area and it appeared that most of the hunters had left already, maybe wanting to get home early to prepare for New Year’s Eve activities. We figured that this would mean that there wouldn’t be enough activity to keep the birds moving and, apparently, we were right. We didn’t see any more ducks flying in our area while we picked up.

So, as the sun set we headed back to the truck a little early and headed for home.

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Well, 2 birds in the bag is better then a sharp stick in the eye and we did have a few opportunities, even though we didn’t connect on them. All in all a pretty enjoyable day, albeit a little cold today. Better then sweating it out in 80-degree weather in my opinion anyway. Hopefully I’ll be back next week for a refill. We’ll see how it goes. By the way – Happy New Year to all!

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Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 12/31/14

The per hunter duck average at San Jacinto Wildlife Area slid back slightly on Wednesday over Saturday’s average on a New Year’s Eve day with cold, near freezing, temperatures clearing skies and gusty winds. Green Wing Teal and Shoverles swapped places again for most birds taken with Shovelers taking back first place and Green Wing Teal slipping back to second position today. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Wednesday, 12/31/14 were as follows:

145 adult and 6 junior hunters bagged 133 Northern Shovelers, 37 Gadwall, 7 Widgeon, 95 Green Wing Teal, 4 Mallards, 6 Pintail, 2 Ring Necks, 4 Redheads, 3 Canvasback, 1 Scaup, 16 Bufflehead, 11 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Merganser, and 26 Ruddy Ducks. There was a lone Canada Goose taken at San Jacinto on Wednesday. 7 coots were bagged at San Jacinto on Wednesday. This worked out to an average take of 2.30 ducks per hunter, or, with the goose and coots add in, 2.35 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations 25 showed up on time.

Don’t forget to bring a buck or two or ten, whatever you can spare if you’re able, and put some in the box in the check station for the Junior Waterfowl Hunt. These donations go towards running the event, the food and some of the prizes for the junior hunters. The juniors are the future of our sport and the junior hunt is a great way to get them enthused about the sport.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can 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. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

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 will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you 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 – 12/27/14

The per hunter duck average at San Jacinto Wildlife Area went up on Saturday over Wednesday’s average on a blustery day with cool temperatures. Green Wing Teal retained first place for number of birds taken with Shovelers staying in second position today. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 12/27/14 were as follows:

136 adult and 11 junior hunters bagged 129 Northern Shovelers, 45 Gadwall, 12 Widgeon, 134 Green Wing Teal, 5 Mallards, 3 Pintail, 1 Ring Neck, 1 Redhead, 1 Canvasback, 1 Scaup, 13 Bufflehead, 5 Cinnamon Teal, and 17 Ruddy Ducks. There were no geese taken at San Jacinto on Saturday. 4 coots were checked in at San Jacinto on Saturday. This worked out to an average take of 2.50 ducks per hunter, or, with the coots add in, 2.53 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations 29 showed up on time.

Don’t forget to bring a buck or two or ten, whatever you can spare if you’re able, and put some in the box in the check station for the Junior Waterfowl Hunt. These donations go towards running the event, the food and some of the prizes for the junior hunters. The juniors are the future of our sport and the junior hunt is a great way to get them enthused about the sport.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can 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. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

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 will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you 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 12/24/14

After a longer break between hunts then planned, SoCalHunt was back to San Jacinto Wildlife Area for a refill hunt, with the caveat that I had to leave early to make it home for Christmas Eve events. I had to work last night so I couldn’t make it for the sweat line draw. Being that I had to be home earlier then normal it would only leave me 4 or 5 hours of hunting, but, that’s 4 or 5 more hours of hunting then I’d get staying home.

I was anxious to get back at it. Two weeks ago I had to work an extra shift so I couldn’t hunt that week, then, last week, I was on the way for a sweat line try when I got caught in the mudslide on the 91 freeway. (You may have seen that on the news or read about it). Fortunately there was no injuries to me or damage to my truck but because of the slide I was delayed and didn’t make the draw and figured, due to the torrential rain, someone was telling me to skip it. An early steak and egg breakfast at Norm’s was the bright spot last week.

Anyway, today I woke pretty early because I figured I’d have to get there pretty early to get low enough on the refill list to get a spot before I wouldn’t have enough hunt time left to make it worth going out. I figured it would probably be a slow hunt as mid-day isn’t the best time but as I always say, you can’t kill them sitting on the couch.

I arrived just after 7 AM and was pleased to see only 4 or 5 trucks in the check station lot. When I went into the check station to sign up I was happy to see I was up near the top of the list. I figured that it was probably a case of not many people being able to stay for an afternoon hunt due to Christmas Eve activities. So, the wait for a hunting spot began.

Not many hunters checked in early though and the wait lasted longer that I would have liked. A couple good straps were brought in to the check station but those blinds were snapped up by people ahead of me on the refill list. Most hunters checking in only had a couple birds, and some had nothing to show for their efforts. Since I’d had to pack up about 2 PM, when 10:15 AM rolled around it was time to either call it a day and head for home or pick one of the not so good blinds that were opened and give it a try. I chose to do the latter.

I picked my spot and after Shane checked my license and season pass I was on the way to my hunting spot. Once I got out to the blind, got the decoys placed and set up the blind it was 11 AM, leaving me about 3 hours to hunt. I, of course, got my camera out and began to take some pictures as, if nothing else, it was a beautiful day with interesting, and constantly changing, cloud formations.

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As I waited for a duck or two to fly by there was several “visitors” to the pond, as there usually is. There were a couple of hawks, and, as usual, a large assortment of coots, ruddy ducks and a few grebes.

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Ruddy Duck

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Eared Grebe

Well, to make a long story short there wasn’t a duck in the area today. At least while I was there. I didn’t see one duck, not counting the ruddy ducks (which if you don’t know are an undesirable species and most hunters won’t take these – which is probably why they’re so numerous). Hence when 2 PM rolled around I packed up my gear and headed for home without even shouldering the shotgun. An unsuccessful hunt, if you only go by waterfowl taken, but, in my opinion still a success as it was a peaceful day out on the marsh with some nice pictures to show for it nevertheless.

The plan for next week is to try the sweat line draw again. Hopefully we’ll have a little more luck, duck-wise, but good or bad, baring anything unforeseen we’ll be there.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 12/24/14

The average bag of ducks at San Jacinto Wildlife Area ticked up slightly on this Christmas eve Wednesday over Saturday’s average on a partly cloudy, calm day with mild temperatures. Shovelers and Green Wing Teal swapped spots for most birds taken with Green Wings moving into first place and Shovelers sliding back to second position today. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Wednseday, 12/24/14 were as follows:

119 adult and 13 junior hunters bagged 73 Northern Shovelers, 17 Gadwall, 4 Widgeon, 96 Green Wing Teal, 3 Mallards, 5 Pintail, 2 Ring Necks, 4 Redhead, 1 Canvasback, 10 Bufflehead, 5 Cinnamon Teal, and 12 Ruddy Ducks. Again no geese were bagged at San Jacinto on Wednesday. There were 3 coots checked in at San Jacinto on Wednesday. This worked out to an average take of 1.76 ducks per hunter, or, with the coots add in, 1.78 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations 30 showed up on time.

Don’t forget to bring a buck or two or ten, whatever you can spare if you’re able, and put some in the box in the check station for the Junior Waterfowl Hunt. These donations go towards running the event, the food and some of the prizes for the junior hunters. The juniors are the future of our sport and the junior hunt is a great way to get them enthused about the sport.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can 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. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

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 will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you 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 – 12/20/14

The per hunter average take of ducks at San Jacinto Wildlife Area dropped back a bit on Saturday over Wednesday’s average on a partly cloudy day with cool temperatures. As with the past couple hunt days Shovelers stayed in the number one spot for most birds bagged with Green Wing Teal once again in the second position today. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 12/20/14 were as follows:

146 adult and 8 junior hunters bagged 105 Northern Shovelers, 21 Gadwall, 7 Widgeon, 76 Green Wing Teal, 1 Mallard, 7 Pintail, 1 Blue Wing Teal, 1 Scaup, 1 Ring Neck, 1 Redhead, 7 Bufflehead, 5 Cinnamon Teal, and 10 Ruddy Ducks. Once again there were no geese harvested at San Jacinto on Saturday. For the first time in my memory there were no coots taken at San Jacinto on Saturday. This worked out to an average take of 1.58 ducks per hunter, or, since there were no geese or coots to add in, it was also 1.58 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations 39 showed up on time.

Don’t forget to bring a buck or two or ten, whatever you can spare if you’re able, and put some in the box in the check station for the Junior Waterfowl Hunt. These donations go towards running the event, the food and some of the prizes for the junior hunters. The juniors are the future of our sport and the junior hunt is a great way to get them enthused about the sport.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can 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. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

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 will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you 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, Wednesday – 12/17/14

The average bag of ducks at San Jacinto Wildlife Area crept up a bit again on Wednesday over Saturday’s average on a rainy day with cold temperatures and clearing skies in the afternoon. Shovelers retained the number one spot for most numerous bird taken and Green Wing Teal held on to second position again today. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Wednesday, 12/17/14 were as follows:

119 adult and 7 junior hunters bagged 125 Northern Shovelers, 22 Gadwall, 4 Widgeon, 59 Green Wing Teal, 3 Mallards, 1 Pintail, 2 Redheads, 3 Bufflehead, 9 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Goldeneye and 12 Ruddy Ducks. No geese were harvested at San Jacinto on Wednesday. There were 8 coots taken on Wednesday. This worked out to an average take of 1.91 ducks per hunter, or, adding in the coots, 1.98 waterfowl per hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations 28 showed up on time.

Don’t forget to bring a buck or two or ten, whatever you can spare if you’re able, and put some in the box in the check station for the Junior Waterfowl Hunt. These donations go towards running the event, the food and some of the prizes for the junior hunters. The juniors are the future of our sport and the junior hunt is a great way to get them enthused about the sport.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. You can put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS). Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can 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. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW web site at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

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 will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days. If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you 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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