Archive for February, 2016

2015 / 2016 Season Sunrise / Sunset Recap (Plus Some Clouds)

As is SoCalHunt’s tradition every year, we post an article, with photographs, of the sunrises and sunset we’ve enjoyed in the hunting season just ended. Unfortunately, due to a serious illness in the family, my season was cut short so this will really be a short version, first half of the season, Sunrise / Sunset Recap. Sorry for the lack of hunting reports this past season but, bottom line, although hunting is almost more important then anything else but family is one of those few things that are more important then hunting.

As always here’s the sunrises and sunsets for the season just past, along with the new tradition we started last year, the daily clouds. Again some of the of the days were exceptional. Although when it comes to scenery at San Jacinto exceptional is the rule. I think you’ll agree. Some days the cloud conditions changed almost minute to minute and you might think that several pictures were taken on different days when, in reality, they were taken just minutes apart. In fact, some of the cloud conditions during the middle of the day even rivaled some of the sunrises and sunsets as the most beautiful times of day while hunting at San Jacinto Wildlife Area this year. I’m sure many of you that have hunted San Jacinto this past season will agree with me that the sunrises and sunsets were, in general, spectacular, along with the awesome cloud conditions this year. Below, in order of appearance, are the sunrises and sunsets, along with some cloud condition photos, on the days we hunted San Jacinto this year.

Presented for your enjoyment:

(Click on the image for a full sized picture)

10/28/15 Sunset (and some clouds)

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11/4/15 Sunset (and a lot of clouds)

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11/18/15 Sunset

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12/2/15 Sunrise (and some clouds)

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12/9/15 Sunset (and some clouds)

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2016 California Game Warden Stamp Now Available

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the 2016 edition of the Warden Stamp is now available. With the change in name from Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Fish and Wildlife the DFW officially calls their Wardens “Wildlife Officers” now, and it even states such on this year’s stamp, but most hunters and fisherpersons still call them “Wardens” and the DFW is still calling this the “Warden Stamp”.

The new Warden Stamp, for 2016 is now available for purchase in person from any CDFW regional or licensing offices or by filling out and sending in the CDFW Warden Stamp form with a check or credit card info to your closest CDFW office. You may also purchase Warden Stamps via the CDFW online license services (ALDS).

If you’re going to mail in the form the addresses for the DFW offices are found on page two of the Warden Stamp form. To find the form, a list of CDFW Offices selling the stamp over the counter or the link to the ALDS to buy the form online click the link below:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Warden-Stamp

Next to the picture of the Warden Stamp is a list of links to either buy the stamp online, find a list of CDFW offices selling it over the counter (if you want to walk in and buy one) or a link to the mail-in form to purchase through the mail.

The Game Warden Stamp isn’t really a “stamp” for your license, such as your federal duck stamp is, as the name might lead you to believe, but rather it’s a roughly 3” x 3” decal.

The 2016 version of the stamp is a blue background with a Warden’s badge and the silhouettes of two big horn sheep. (See picture below)

2016WardenStamp

The DFW still has their entire series of Warden Stamps available. If you like a prior year’s design better then this year’s, or would like to collect the entire series, they are all still available, from the first one in 2010 up through this year’s stamps.

The 2010 version is a green shield with an elk silhouette on it. The 2011 version is a light blue background with a silhouette of a trout or salmon on it. The 2012 version has a dark brown background and a silhouette of a California quail on it. The 2013 version has a gold background with a silhouette of a duck landing on it. The 2014 version has a red background and a silhouette of a lobster on it. The 2015 version of the stamp has a wood grain background with the shadow of a bear on it and a depiction of the DFW Wildlife Officer’s badge. (see pictures below). If you like them all you could buy one, or more, of each if you want to.

2015WardenStampWeb_346

2014 Warden Stamp_bid

2013-warden-stamp_gold-final-print

2012WardenStampDecal

2011 Warden Stamp

2010 Warden Stamp

The stamps are $5 each and the funds go into a special account. The money is used to provide our Game Wardens with additional equipment, training and new programs, such as new communications and surveillance devices, protective equipment, training in specialized areas, new law enforcement programs to assist them in their duties.

Due to State budget cuts, non-hunting / fishing politicians feel that the DFW is a “painless” way to cut back on the budget by giving the DFW less to do more with.

Quoting the DFW web site on the Warden stamp:

“The Warden Stamp Program was initiated in 2010 to address the need for better equipment and training for the state’s wildlife officers and to provide funding for special law enforcement programs.

Wildlife crimes are on the rise and becoming more complex to solve. With approximately 400 wildlife officers in the state patrolling 159,000 square miles of natural habitat, the job is extremely demanding. Officers must perform a number of roles including catching poachers, eradicating illegal marijuana grows, responding to oil spills, providing public safety, educating the public and much more. Every day is a new challenge.

Wildlife officers protect more than 1,000 native fish and wildlife species, 6,300 native plant species and 360 threatened or endangered species. Wildlife officers patrol about 400 square miles of land per officer. Wildlife officers keep watch over 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers. Wildlife officers patrol on foot, by plane, boat, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and even on horseback. There is approximately one wildlife officer for every 100,000 Californians.”

Now – back to me…

As I’ve said every year that I’ve written about the Warden Stamp, the important point here, in my opinion, is getting the money to the “boots on the ground”. If your $5 (or more, if you can afford it) results in some equipment, training or what have you that helps catch a poacher in your area the payoff may be more game or more fish for you and yours to legally harvest. And, the bottom line is, that’s what’s important. As for the “stamp”, stick it on your truck, ammo box or tackle box, stick it in a drawer, throw it away if you want, do whatever you want with it. The important thing is to help give our Wardens the tools they need to protect our hunting and fishing heritage.

Now, as I do every year, excuse me while I pull up the ALDS on my computer and order this year’s warden stamps.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area and Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area 2015 / 2016 Season Long Stats

The conclusion of the 2015 / 2016 season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area revealed some notable stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

3926 adult and 363 junior hunters (4289 hunters total) harvested a total of 2804 Northern Shovelers, 168 Mallards, 759 Gadwall, 476 Widgeon, 206 Pintail, 2499 Green Wing Teal, 1022 Cinnamon Teal, 86 Redheads, 27 Canvasbacks, 395 Ring Necks, 18 Scaup, 249 Bufflehead, 13 Goldeneye, 1 Wood Duck, 9 Blue Wing Teal, 7 Mergansers, and 531 Ruddy Ducks. In addition there were 5 Aleutian Geese, 9 Canada Geese, 1 White Front Goose bagged on the refuge this season. 403 Coots were also included in the count for the 2015 / 2016 season. This worked out to a total of 9285 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in 9688 waterfowl. The per gun average take for 2015 / 2016 worked out to 2.16 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 2.26 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season there were 94 less adult hunters this season over last and there were 24 more junior hunters for a total of 70 more hunters accommodated in 2015 / 2016 compared to the 2014 / 2015 season. (This includes the Junior Hunters from the Junior Hunt). As for the birds, I’ll list them with a plus by the number or a minus by the number to indicate how many more or less of each type of bird was bagged this season over last.

There were +446 Northern Shovelers, -12 Mallards, -67 Gadwall, -151 Widgeon, +6 Pintail, +161 Green Wing Teal, +469 Cinnamon Teal, -83 Redheads, +9 Canvasbacks, +119 Ring Necks, -51 Scaup, +3 Bufflehead, +7 Goldeneye, -5 Wood Ducks, -5 Fulvous Whistling Ducks (0 this year), +4 Blue Wing Teal, -1 Merganser, and +285 Ruddy Ducks.

On the Goose side of the ledger there were +5 Aleutian Geese, +5 Canada Geese, -2 Snow Geese (0 this year), and -1 Ross’s Goose (0 this season).

In addition, there were +52 coots taken. This was a total of +1052 Ducks and Geese bagged and, with the Coots included, +737 waterfowl taken this season over last season. The average was +0.27 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots included, +0.29 waterfowl per hunter this season over last season.

I hope this gives you a good idea of how the season went. In general hunter numbers were down just slightly, but birds bagged where up slightly and the per gun average was up a little over last year’s average.

The conclusion of the 2015 / 2016 season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area revealed the following stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

5677 adult and 557 junior hunters (6234 hunters total) harvested a total of 2746 Northern Shovelers, 534 Mallards, 1008 Gadwall, 1431 Widgeon, 1759 Pintail, 4662 Green Wing Teal, 1033 Cinnamon Teal, 45 Redheads, 9 Canvasbacks, 68 Ring Necks, 49 Scaup, 97 Bufflehead, 18 Goldeneye, 13 Blue Wing Teal, 2 Mergansers, 1 Whistling Duck, 1 Surf Scooter, and 248 Ruddy Ducks. In addition there were 1 Aleutian Geese, 5 Cackling Geese, 49 Canada Geese, 9 Ross’ Goose, 719 Snow Geese and 6 White Front Geese bagged at Wister this season. 111 Coots were also included in the count for the 2015 / 2016 season. This worked out to a total of 14513 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in 14624 waterfowl. The per gun average take for 2015 / 2016 worked out to 2.33 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 2.35 waterfowl per hunter.

Since this is the first year SoCalHunt has compiled stats for Wister I have no stats from last year to compare them with as I did with San Jacinto above. We’ll do that next season though.

And, as I always sign this report off, its “only” 256 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes, and 19 seconds until the start of the 2016 / 2017 waterfowl season…only

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area Junior Hunt Weekend, Saturday – 2/6/16, Sunday – 2/7/16

Saturday’s special Junior Waterfowl Hunt at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area resulted in a very good average take for each of the junior hunters in participating. Green Wing Teal were in the number one spot for numbers of birds bagged with Snow Geese taking the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/6/16, was as follows:

62 junior hunters checked in with 26 Northern Shovelers, 1 Mallard, 13 Gadwall, 9 Widgeon, 23 Pintail, 94 Green Wing Teal, 12 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Merganser and 4 Ruddy Ducks. There were also 35 Snow Geese harvested at the Junior Hunt on Saturday. In addition the Juniors checked in 2 Coots on Saturday. This came out to an average of 2.95 ducks per junior hunter or, with the Geese and Coots figured in, 3.55 waterfowl per junior hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued 24 arrived on time for their spot.

Sunday’s average take of waterfowl at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for the second day of the Junior Hunt weekend, took a nosedive compared to Saturday’s great numbers.  Shovelers took over the first spot for numbers bagged with Green wing Teal dropping back into the second spot. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Sunday, 2/7/16 were as follows:

19 junior hunters checked in with 8 Northern Shovelers, 2 Mallards, 1 Gadwall, 1 Pintail and 5 Green Wing Teal. There were also 4 Snow Geese and 2 Ross’ Geese bagged at the Junior Hunt on Sunday. There were no Coots checked in by the Juniors on Sunday. This worked out to an average of 0.89 ducks per junior hunter or, with the Geese included, 1.21 waterfowl per junior hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued 8 arrived on time for their spot.

So, that’s it for the 2015/2016 Waterfowl Season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area. Another great season in the “bag”. Now the waiting begins for next season. Hope to see you out there.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt, Saturday – 2/6/16

Saturday’s special San Jacinto Wildlife Area 22nd Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt resulted in a good average take for each of the junior hunters in attendance. Shoverlers took the number one spot for numbers of birds bagged with Green Wing Teal Teal taking the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/6/16, was as follows:

59 junior hunters checked in with 65 Northern Shovelers, 2 Mallards, 10 Gadwall, 14 Pintail, 37 Green Wing Teal, 8 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Canvasback, 10 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye and 5 Ruddy Ducks. There were no Geese harvested at the Junior Hunt on Saturday. In addition the juniors checked in 5 Coots on Saturday. This came out to an average of 2.59 ducks per junior hunter or, with the Coots figured in, 2.68 waterfowl per junior hunter. Tom advised that out of 52 reservations issued 30 arrived on time.

Since SoCalHunt couldn’t attend the Junior Hunt this year I’ll be posting a report on the breakfast, lunch and raffle as soon as Tom gets me the info on that. As always I’m sure it was a great event with lots of prizes and food for all that attended. As soon as I have the info I’ll post it here.

San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Hunt 2/6/16 – Information Alert!

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, and the rest of the staff are looking forward to this coming weekend’s Junior Waterfowl Hunt.   It is a great tradition and is a wonderful opportunity for the Junior Hunters to get in on some great hunting, a super breakfast before the hunt, and a wonderful lunch with some great raffle prizes after the hunt.

This year, DFW regulations changed in regards to Junior Hunter licensing. Anyone who was 18 at the beginning of the license year they can hunt on a Junior license for the season.

HOWEVER…. (big however)

The Junior Waterfowl Hunt is allowed under the federal waterfowl regulations. As many of you know the feds set waterfowl regulations for each flyway and the states then adopt them, sometimes modifying them a little, but the states are never allowed to make them more liberal then the federal regulations.

The big however here is that the feds define a Junior Hunter as someone who is under 16 years of age on the date of the hunt. So, if a Junior Hunter is 15 years, 364 days old on the date of the Junior Hunt they’re good to go, if they are 16 years and 0 days old on the date of the hunt, unfortunately, they aren’t allowed to participate.

Here’s a press release from the DFW regarding Junior Hunters:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News Release

Jan. 19, 2016

Media Contacts:

Lt. Chris Stoots, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-9982
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Federal, State Rules Differ for Junior Hunters

California youth hunters have enjoyed a new benefit that took effect at the beginning of the 2015-16 hunting season, AB 1709, signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown in 2014, amended Fish and Game Code, section 3031, by extending the eligibility period for a junior hunting license by two years. This regulation change redefined a junior hunter from 15 years of age and under, to 17 years of age and under.

The change allowed for an extension of youth-specific hunting benefits including reduced fees, exemption from some endorsement requirements and access to special youth hunt opportunities. However, there remain special circumstances and exceptions to the new rule, which are particularly important to understand during waterfowl season.

The change to the age definition affected only California state code, and did not change the federal regulation definition. The federal definition of a youth hunter remains 15 years of age or younger.

Because waterfowl are migratory, the waterfowl hunting regulations fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. For this reason, waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a federal waterfowl endorsement stamp.

In addition, the federal age definition remains the standard for some special hunt opportunities, particularly those hosted, held or sponsored by federal agencies or on federal lands, and all youth-only waterfowl hunting days. For the upcoming post-season youth hunt weekend and future youth-only waterfowl hunting days, participants must be 15 years of age or younger and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older.

CDFW is pleased by the new opportunities created for junior hunters with the change to the California state regulations, but reminds the public to be aware of and follow the federal regulations as well.”

(The entire press release from the DFW can be found here: https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/federal-state-rules-differ-for-junior-hunters-2/ )

Tom wanted me to get this info out there so that they, (hopefully), wouldn’t have to turn any of the 16+ junior hunters away at the check station at 0300 hours. Tom and the crew would like to include the “older” Junior Hunters but, unfortunately, in this case they have to go by the fed regulations in regards to the “older” Junior Hunters. Tom did tell me that the Wardens would be strictly enforcing this on Saturday’s hunt.

If you’d like to volunteer to assist at the Junior Hunt breakfast and/or lunch, or need any further info on that, or on the above federal regulations regarding Junior Hunters, you should contact Tom Trakes at (951)-236-3020.

 

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/27/16, Saturday – 1/30/16 and Sunday – 1/31/16

As always the duck numbers for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Wednesday went up quite a bit compared to Sunday’s usual low average. Green Wing Teal held on to the first spot for number of birds bagged and Cinimon Teal dropped into the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Wednesday, 1/27/16 were as follows:

83 adult and 2 junior hunters bagged 37 Northern Shovelers, 39 Cinnamon Teal, 9 Gadwall, 11 Widgeon, 104 Green Wing Teal, 5 Mallards, 25 Pintail, 1 Scaup, 1 Goldeneye and 5 Ruddy Ducks. 5 Snow Geese were also taken in at Wister on Wednesday. 1 Coot was also included in Wednesday’s take. This worked out to an average take of 2.79 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese and Coot added in, 2.86 waterfowl for each hunter. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 17 showed up on time for their spot.

Saturday’s per hunter waterfowl average for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area dropped down slightly from Wednesday’s numbers. Green Wing Teal stayed in first for numbers of ducks taken with Cinnamon Teal keeping the second spot.  The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/30/16 were as follows:

190 adult and 25 junior hunters bagged 67 Northern Shovelers, 85 Cinnamon Teal, 17 Gadwall, 17 Widgeon, 241 Green Wing Teal, 6 Mallards, 32 Pintail, 1 Redhead, 3 Ring Necks, 1 Scaup, 5 Bufflehead, and 4 Ruddy Ducks. In addition a 56 Snow Geese and 1 Ross’ Goose were bagged at Wister on Saturday. There were also 2 Coots brought in to the check station at Wister on Saturday. This worked out to an average of 2.23 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese and Coots added in, 2.50 waterfowl for each hunter. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 26 checked in on time for their spot.

Sunday’s average take of waterfowl for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, dropped more then a full bird compared to Saturday’s numbers.  Green Wing Teal held on to first spot for numbers bagged with Snow Geese taking over the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Sunday, 1/31/16 were as follows:

82 adult hunters and 11 junior hunters bagged 13 Northern Shovelers, 22 Cinnamon Teal, 5 Gadwall, 10 Widgeon, 3 Mallard, 10 Pintail, 45 Green Wing Teal, 1 Bufflehead and 2 Ruddy Ducks. 43 Snow Geese were also checked in on Sunday at Wister. No Coots were bagged at Wister on Sunday. This worked out to an average of 1.19 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese added in, 1.67 waterfowl per person. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 17 were there on time for their spot.

So that’s it for the regular waterfowl season for 2015 / 2016. If you are a junior hunter, or you have a junior hunter in the family, there’s one more chance for them to waterfowl this season at Wister’s Junior Waterfowl hunt, next weekend. For more information, contact the staff at Wister at 760-359-0577.

 


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