Archive for March, 2015

San Jacinto’s 21st Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Big Success, January 31st, 2015

First off, sorry for the lateness of this report but here it is, finally…

I am happy to report, once again, that San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt event was a big success! This is the 21st year of this great event and it was well attended and well appreciated by the junior hunters.

The day started at 0300 as the junior hunters and their adult partners gathered at the San Jacinto check station to get their hunting spots for the day. As always, after hunting spots were assigned, a nice pancake and sausage breakfast was enjoyed by all before heading out to the blinds.

After a successful day of duck hunting the 85 junior hunters in attendance gathered back at SJ headquarters for a delicious lunch and, of course, the prize raffle. This year’s hunt was in honor of our Military Men and Women and 14-year-old Sofia Lazado started off the festivities with a great rendition of the National Anthem. She was accompanied by the NJROTC color guard of Chaparral High School consisting of John Minter, Devin Hernandez, and Alexis Apilado. A big thanks to these patriotic individuals for adding a big dose of American pride to the event.

All the juniors in attendance were given a custom made SJ Junior Hunt shirt, a SJ Junior Hunt hat and a goodie bag with an assortment of hunting related items. Many prizes were donated and they ran the gamut from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, blind bags and other assorted hunting and outdoor gear. Needless to say all the junior hunters went away happy with everyone walking away with at least two raffle prize.

I’m proud to say that the San Jacinto hunters outdid themselves this year with the donations to the Junior Hunt box on the check station counter. $1079 was collected in the box during the past season. In addition the Sure Shot raffle at the check station resulted in another $679 towards the event. The money went to buy some of the food, the shirts and hats, the drinks and some of the raffle prizes including the two grand prizes of two new shotguns for a couple of the lucky juniors. Once again Bass Pro Shops generously gave the San Jacinto staff a 25% discount on the raffle prizes that they bought allowing the money go much further.

A great time was had by all to top off a good day of duck hunting.

I’d like to add that these junior hunters are the future of our sport and it is really gratifying to see the San Jacinto hunters step up to the plate this year and donate towards this outstanding event.

Shopping for the prizes at Bass Pro.

The flag salute and National Anthem.
SJ Nat Anthem

Conducting the Raffle.

A couple of the many prize winners and the crowd enjpoying lunch!


San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 2014 Annual Bryant Park Preschool Toy Drive a Big Success!

Sorry this is so late but here it is, finally…

Thanks to all the hunters at San Jacinto who donated toys this year the San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s annual Bryant Park Head Start Preschool had a great party for the kids!

Santa came by and distributed the toys to all the preschool’s approximately 60 kids, plus their siblings. A great time was had by all and again a big thanks to the SJ hunters for their generous donations of toys making this all possible. This just proves that hunters have a heart and really care.

Thanks again for the toy donations!

Santa 1

Santa 2

San Jacinto Wildlife Area – Hunter Education Course Offered, Saturday, May 2nd

San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be hosting a free state mandated hunter’s education course on Saturday, May 2nd. 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.

Hunter ed 2015

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Blind Clean up Day Set for March 21st, 2015

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Staff would like to invite hunters to participate in a Volunteer Clean Up Day of the Wildlife Area on Saturday, March 21st, 2013. Volunteers are to assemble at 6:30 am at the Wildlife Area Headquarters office on Davis Road.

Work will be assigned at the start of the morning. The local Boy Scouts will also be out on Saturday to set up some new raptor poles for their Eagle Project on the wildlife area. Afterwards we will meet at noon at Casa Mexicana Restaurant for a well-deserved lunch. (Everyone responsible for their own check).

Please be prepared for the following:

Trash removal from hunt sites
General clean up of hunt areas
Bring work gloves, sturdy boots, mud boots, covered shoes, Waders (if available – some ponds still are holding water.)

Be sure to bring plenty of bottled water as it may be hot. Also, you might want to bring some mosquito repellant.

Direction to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area

From the 215 South freeway,

-Exit Ramona Expressway going east towards Lake Perris, go 7 miles to Davis road, turn left and go up Davis road 2 miles to the Wildlife Headquarters office.

From the 79

-Exit Ramona Expressway going west towards Lake Perris, go to Davis road, turn right and go up Davis road 2 miles to the Wildlife Headquarters office.

Questions? Contact Tom Trakes (951) 236-3040.


Shotgun Shells – 2 ¾” – 3” – 3 ½” – Analysis

Many times, in many hunting forums, especially ones that deal with duck hunting, there seems to be a controversy regarding they type of shells used. And, not so much by brand, or even shot size (although you will get strong opinions on that too), but it is the length of the shell more then anything.

Since the advent of the requirement of non-toxic shot for waterfowl hunting many people who used to use 2 ¾” shells for duck hunting in the “good old days”, when we could use lead shot, have had to reanalyze their choices when it comes to non-toxic. Although there are some substitutes, such as Bismuth or Tungsten that come closer to lead shot in performance, due to their high prices most hunters in the marsh opt to use steel shot so I will concentrate on steel shot vs. lead shot in this analysis.

It has been said that you have to go up two sizes in steel shot to get near the performance of lead shot. The main reason for this is due to steel’s lighter weight per pellet. I won’t go through all the shot sizes but in this short article I’ll concentrate on a old time (lead days) favorite load 1 3/8 ounces of #5 shot in a 2 ¾ inch shell.

First we must compare the shot its self. #5 lead shot is 0.12 inches in diameter. Since we measure the weight of shot in grains we have to do a little math. One ounce equals 437.5 grains. In an ounce of #5 lead shot there are 170 pellets. If you divide 437.5 grains by 170 pellets you find that each pellet is 2.58 grains. If you do the math for #5 steel you’ll find that weighs 1.80 grains, only 70% of the weight of #5 lead.

Since, by conventional wisdom, you must go up two shot sizes to achieve near the same performance when going from lead to steel then we need to compare #3 steel shot. #3 steel shot is 0.14 inches in diameter. There are 158 pellets in an ounce of #3 steel shot. If you divide 437.5 grains by 158 pellets you find that each pellet is 2.76 grains.

Weight is what carries velocity. If you have lead and steel shot of the same size the lead will carry its velocity further as it weighs more then the steel of equal size. It is, for an exaggerated comparison, like throwing a rock vs. throwing a foam packing peanut of the same size. You know which is going to carry further.

Now, this is not to say we’re trying to stretch our shotgun’s range and become skybusters, what we’re trying to do is get near same performance out of steel shot as we used to enjoy from lead shot.

Now we need to look at shell capacity. You can stuff the same number of the same sized shot into the same sized shell but you’re not going to get the same weight. A load of 1 3/8 ounce of lead, about the most you can get in a 2 ¾ inch shell, will yield you 234 pellets of #5 lead to send downrange. Putting 234 pellets of #5 steel in the same shell will give you just less then an ounce of shot, there being 243 pellets of #5 steel in an ounce, so you’d actually be 9 pellets short of a full ounce of steel shot.

To get the same weight of steel shot in a shell you would have to put 334 pellets into the shell, 100 more then with lead shot. This takes a 3 ½ inch shell to achieve. For example, the offerings in Federal Speed Shok Steel Waterfowl ammo are the following, 2 ¾ inch – 1 1/8 ounce, 3 inch – 1 1/8 and 1 ¼ ounce and 3 ½ inch – 1 3/8 and 1 ½ ounce.

So, now that we know how much shot, weight wise, we can get in each length of shell, how do we figure which to use to get comparable performance to lead? We have to go back to the physical numbers again, since we’re going up two shot sizes to get the same velocity performance, or killing power, out of each individual pellet.

#5 lead 1 3/8 ounce (which, as a reminder, will fit in an 2 ¾ inch shell) contains 234 pellets. Since we now know that we need to go up two sizes in shot size to get the same velocity or killing power out of each individual pellet then we need to figure out how to send about the same number of larger shot out to meet your bird. 1 ½ ounces of #3 steel equals 237 pellets, just 3 more pellets then our #5 lead 1 3/8 ounce load.

Now, another aspect of steel vs. lead is that with lead loads the shot is relatively soft in comparison to your steel gun barrel. This always means that some of the shot would be flattened and deformed as it made its way through the barrel and choke. This always resulted in “flyers”, shot that would go slightly off course due to no longer being round in shape. With steel you don’t have this problem. The steel shot is approximately 3 times harder than lead and you should get very few “flyers” with steel. This actually allows you to step down your choke, as steel will give you a slightly denser pattern. Most recommendations are to use a Improved Cylinder choke for shooting birds over decoys, about 35 yards max give or take and then a Modified choke for anything further then that. Most don’t recommend a Full choke as it is a little tight for the steel shot that won’t deform.

There you have it. An analysis of steel vs. lead shot. I’m sure there will be as many opinions about this as there are shotguns on the Wildlife Area on an opening Saturday but when it comes down to it each hunter must decide what they feel gives them the best performance and what they shoot best to bring down the birds. Good luck, no matter what you decide to use come opening day.

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