Archive for September, 2015

Waterfowl Hunting Clinic to be Held at San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday 10/3/15 – And a Request for Mobility Impaired Expertise Assistance

Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised me that on Saturday, October 3rd, there will be a Waterfowl Hunting Clinic, put on by the DFW along with the Southern California Hunter Education Instructor Association. Details below from the official DFW announcement:

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Southern California Hunter Education Instructor Association will jointly offer a waterfowl hunting clinic on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County.

Participants of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, are welcome to attend. The clinic will cover the basics of hunting with the goal of developing ethical, conservation-minded hunters.

Topics will include hunter safety, decoy placement, blind design, ballistics, game care and hunting on state and federal waterfowl management areas.

The cost is $45 for adults (youths age 17 and under are free). The clinic hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Space is limited to 25 people, so please register early. To register or for more information, please visit

Or contact Lt. Alan Gregory at (209) 274-9923.”

In addition to the Clinic Tom wanted me to put out there that they area will having an Eagle Scout project that same day as the clinic. The Scouts will be putting up signs and striping the parking lots and installing the parking bumpers. Tom asked me to request if there is anyone out there that has experience on how correctly do this type of work to comply with the mobility impaired requirements for the state of California and if he or she would like to volunteer be out there to advise the Scouts on how to do it right that would be a big help. If you have any questions regarding helping out with the Scouts’ project contact Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040.

Remember, for the clinic the contact info is different. For the clinic contact info is:

Or contact Lt. Alan Gregory at (209) 274-9923.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Second 2015 Volunteer Blind Brush-Up Day Coming Up – 9/26/15

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, wanted me to remind everyone that the second volunteer “blind brush-up” work-day for San Jacinto Wildlife Area is coming up on Saturday September 26th.  Volunteers are asked to gather at 6:30 AM at the SJ Check Station Parking Lot. This work-day will concentrate on brushing up the blinds that still need it and any repairs to old blinds that may still need attention. 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 another good turnout like we had at the first work-day (thanks volunteers!) as there is still much work to get done so everything is 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 this second work-day will help finish getting things in great condition for the coming season at San Jacinto

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

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A San Jacinto Tour – Plans for the Season and a (sort of) Dove Hunt

This past Wednesday, 9/9/15, SoCalHunt wondered on down to San Jacinto Wildlife Area to see what was up with the coming season. Wednesday marked 44 days out from the duck opener and we figured we’d see how things were progressing towards the coming waterfowl season.

My usual hunting partner was available, a rare occurrence as of late with our conflicting work schedules, so, since we only had the afternoon available, we though we’d check things out at SJ and then hang out and see if we could bag a dove or two since the first half of dove season is still on.

When we arrived at San Jacinto Tom Trakes, Wildlife Habitat Supervisor, and the man in charge of the wildlife area met us. Tom graciously offered to give us the “grand tour” and show us what was going on and some of what was planned. We climbed into Tom’s DFW truck and off we went out into the depths of the duck hunting area.

I will say right here that I was IMPRESSED! Most of the duck ponds were already being flooded and in the roughly 15 years or so I’ve been going to San Jacinto I’ve never seen the area looking this good. The SJ crew has been extremely busy off-season planting duck food and the results can now be seen in the ponds and some of the adjacent fields. Barley, millet and triticale were in evidence all over the wildlife area making many of the ponds look like green fields with a base of water. Most of the grain was heavy with seed heads and the ducks were enjoying the banquet.


In all the time I’ve been going to San Jacinto I have never seen so many ducks using the area. Some times it almost looked like a scene out of the old Hitchcock movie “The Birds”. I have no idea how many ducks we saw Wednesday but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the neighborhood of several thousand! Almost every corner we went around caused a virtual cloud of birds to rise from each pond and flee the DFW truck. The birds didn’t go far however because as soon as they figured out they weren’t in danger they’d swing back around and land a short distance away and continue feeding of the “duck food” the SJ staff has so generously supplied this year.  (a few picture below – I had to include so many as they’re all pretty awesome and, believe it or not, this is just a sample of them)











As for San Jacinto’s water situation this season Tom told us that they are fortunate that they will have no problem flooding up this year and the local water district is giving them all the water they need so far with no reduction anticipated. Very fortunate indeed when you look at other refuges such as Kern which might not even open this season.


Some of the plans for this season are to create a new flooded area south of the “B” pond and place at least one new blind there and they are also working on an area down at the far south end of the wildlife area, down near the Bridge Street pond, that they hope to flood and place probably 3, maybe 4 blinds in that area. If we get the anticipated El Nino rains, and Mystic Lake appears again, there’s plans for several blinds around Mystic’s shoreline, the number depending on how big Mystic Lake gets.

(new area near Bridge Street)


All in all it was a very impressive tour and we were grateful to Tom for taking the time out of his day to show us and tell us what’s up. Once again Tom proves that San Jacinto is the best run wildlife area in the state, at least in my humble opinion anyway.

After the tour we climbed in our truck and headed over to an area near the Bridge Street pond to try our luck on the dove. San Jacinto isn’t really know as a dove mecca and we really didn’t expect much but figured since we were there and the season was opened we’d give it a shot. Well, as it turned out, we didn’t give it even one shot. We did see a few dove but none in range of our shotguns and we never even pulled the trigger. We were, however, rewarded with yet another signature SJ sunset. Gorgeous as always.




Although we didn’t harvest any dove we were not disappointed as the “dove hunt” was really just a side light since we were there anyway and the main objective, to check out SJ for the coming season was more then adequately fulfilled. So as we left San Jacinto we left with the anticipation of a great season to come. Hope to see you out there some time.

Baby Shower for Whitney Barr!

If you’ve ever hunted San Jacinto in the last couple years I’m sure you’ve met that ever smiling face, Whitney Barr, at either the check station or the bird table when you check in your birds.  Whitney has been a great asset to San Jacinto and is always a pleasure to see, even if you happen to walk up to the check station after a day of hunting without any birds (which never happens to me….yeah, right….LOL).  Whitney is an integral part of the SJ crew and we’re lucky to have her.

Well, Whitney is expecting a baby boy!!   The crew at San Jacinto is throwing Whitney a baby shower and any San Jacinto hunter is invited to attend!  The shower will be held at the El Jalapeño Restaurant at 199 North State Street, Hemet, CA 92542 on Saturday, September 12th at 5 PM.  Each person will be responsible for their own meal.  Cake will be served after the meal. (if you’re coming RSVP to Tom at 951-236-3040 ASAP).  Bring a pack of diapers for a chance at a prize!  For gifts, Whitney is registered at Target, Babies R US and Bye Bye Baby.

If you can make it I’m sure Whitney and the rest of the SJ staff will be happy to see you.  This is a great chance to get together off season and celebrate and support a great member of San Jacinto’s staff.  Hope to see you there!


New Procedures for Donations for the Annual Junior Hunt at San Jacinto Wildlife Area

(Note:  The below info was edited to reflect 2022/2023 season dates and information to avoid any confusion – the original post is from 2015)

I spoke to Tom Trakes, San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Wildlife Habitat Supervisor, about a change in state policy regarding donations for their annual Junior Hunt. As most of you probably know, especially if you frequent the SoCalHunt Blog, the annual San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt is an important event to pique the interest of our up and coming junior hunters who will be the future of hunting in California.

Per a change in policy by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife donations of money, food or merchandise cannot be accepted unless the donations go through a formal acceptance procedure. What this means is that if you want to donate any prizes, merchandise, food or funds to the Annual Junior Hunt you need to contact Tom at San Jacinto prior to January 6th so there will be adequate time to get the donation approved.

So, because of this new procedure, if you are of a mind to contribute to the Junior Hunt you have to plan ahead and get a list of the pending contribution(s) in on time or they can’t accept the donation. Tom wanted me to make sure I noted that this information is not a solicitation for any donations but information for anyone who wants to contribute.

I asked Tom how this was going to affect our donations to the Junior Hunt via the “money box” that was formerly set on the counter in the check station. Tom advised that the money box is gone but to make up for that Sportsman’s Warehouse in Murrieta and Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga are both having separate raffles that will generate money that will be used to purchase prizes for the Junior Hunt giveaway.   Details on these two raffles are in the links below:

Shotgun and Hunting Equipment Raffle at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Murrieta to Benefit San Jacinto’s 29th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt

Shotgun Raffle at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga to Benefit San Jacinto’s 29th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt

Tom told me that this new procedure will not affect San Jacinto’s Annual Toy Drive, this year benefiting The Bryant Park Head Start Preschool as, in that case, they are just collecting the toys for the school and the donated toys are not being donated to the DFW, they are just the middle-man in that situation so the toy box will be at the check station as usual.

So, if you are of a mind to contribute anything to the Annual Junior Hunt, which will be held on Saturday, February 4th, 2023 this season, you need to contact Tom Trakes at either phone at 951-236-3040 or email at by January 5th.

SoCalHunt has an example donation email that you can copy and modify to reflect what you are donating to notify SJWA about your donation.  The email example can be found on the SoCalHunt website Map and Downloads page here (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

This new procedure applies statewide so if you instead or in addition to want to donate to any other DFW Junior Hunt the same procedure applies. In the case of any other refuge or wildlife area you would need to contact your chosen area directly.

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