Archive for July, 2015

Dates Set for Upcoming 2015 Volunteer Blind Brush-Up Days at San Jacinto Wildlife Area

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that they have scheduled two volunteer “blind brush-up” work-days for San Jacinto Wildlife Area. The dates are Saturday, August 15th and Saturday September 26th. Volunteers are asked to gather at 6:30 AM at the SJ Check Station Parking Lot. In addition to brushing up the blinds other activities will be cleaning out water control structures on the wildlife area’s duck ponds, building new blinds and/or repairing old blinds and generally cleaning up the blind areas (pulling out a glut of tumbleweeds that always seem to take over some of the blinds). Tom advised that anyone coming out to volunteer should bring gloves, shovels and/or hoes, fencing/wire pliers and lots of water, since it is expected to be hot. In addition, some of the blinds are already surrounded by water, so bring waders also so work can be done on these blinds too. As always for this time of year, sunscreen and mosquito repellent are suggested as good ideas. After the work is done we will get together at Casa Mexicana Restaurant about noon for a well-deserved lunch (each person responsible for their own bill).

Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout on each date as there is lot of work to do to get ready for the coming season. As always, when it comes to work days, the more volunteers the better (meaning less work for each person). Also, if you have access to palm fronds please bring as much can for use in brushing the blinds. (see the flyer below for the proper type of palm fronds – don’t bring any with the thorns on them, also know as wader ripper palm fronds).

Even if you can’t come to the work-day(s) if you have palm fronds that you’d like to donate prior to the work-day(s), and can drop them by SJ, that would be appreciated.

A good turn out for these work-days will help get things in “top-notch” condition at San Jacinto. This will make for a good start to another great season of waterfowl hunting at San Jacinto.

If you have any questions contact Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040.

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Duck Numbers Up Slightly for the 2015/2016 Season!

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

“Preliminary 2015 duck population and pond estimates from the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are now available. The estimate of 49.5 million breeding ducks was similar to last year’s estimate of 49.2 million, and 43% above the long-term average.” reported that Mallards were up to approximately 11.6 million, which was 7% above the 2014 estimate of 10.4 million, and 51% above the long-term average of 7.7 million. Bluewing Teal numbers are approximately 8.5 million, which about the same as the 2014 estimate of 8.5 million and 73% above the long-term average of 4.9 million. Green-winged teal are up to 4.1 million, which was 19% above the 2014 estimate of 3.4 million and 98% above the long-term average of 2.1 million. The estimate for American wigeon is 3.0 million down 3% from the 2014 estimate of 3.1 million and 17% above the long-term average of 2.6 million. Estimated numbers of gadwall are 3.8 million which is 1% above the 2014 estimate of 3.8 million and 100% above the long-term average 2.6 million. Scaup (both greater and lesser) showed 4.4 million, which is 5% below the 2014 estimate of 4.6 million and 13% below the long-term average of 5.0 million. Northern shoveler (the favorite of SJ, our beloved spoonys) are estimated at 4.4 million which is 17% below the 2014 estimate of 5.3 million and 75% above the long-term average of 2.5 million. Redheads were 1.2 million which is 6% below the 2014 estimate of 1.3 million and 71% above the long-term average of 0.7 million. Canvasbacks showed 0.76 million which 11% higher then the 2014 estimate of 0.685 million and 30% above the long-term average of 0.6 million. Pintails were estimated at 3.0 million, which was 6% below the 2014 estimate of 3.2 million and 24% below the long-term average of 4.0 million.

So it looks like, despite California’s drought, this coming season has the potential to produce good numbers of birds. Some species are down a little, like the Pintails and Scaup, but most species are up at least a little from last year, but some are up significantly over their long-term averages. Hopefully El Nino will kick in and we’ll get some rain down here to provide the needed habitat coupled with some severe weather to the north at the right time to trigger the duck’s migration down to our neck-o-the-woods in time for our season.

As I type this its 106 days until the season opens down here in SoCal. It might be a good time to start getting your duck hunting gear together and maybe go shoot a few rounds of trap or skeet to tune up. If you’re optimistic (like I am) you might want to consider buying a few more boxes of shells as it looks like we might have a few more birds to shoot at. (Oh, and pray the predicted El Nino kicks in and we get some rain!!)

To check out the above duck numbers for yourself go to

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