Archive for January, 2017

Alternate Access to San Jacinto Wildlife Area for the 23rd Annual Junior Hunt

Great news for the Junior Hunters!!  The staff at San Jacinto Wildlife Area has opened an internal access road, through the upland area, for access to the check station for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, February 4th.  Because Davis Road, normally the only way in to San Jacinto, is pretty much impassable except MAYBE for the biggest, highest ground clearance 4x4s, the staff at SJ has opened an alternate access road into the wildlife area.   Normally only state authorized vehicles are allowed to utilize this road but special one-time permission was obtained to get everyone in for the Junior Hunt.

The gate to this road will be opened at 2 AM.  There will be SJ staff manning an “easy-up” at the gate and they will be escorting groups of vehicles in to the check station.  If you frequent San Jacinto, or just drive by it from time to time, you’ve probably seen a small parking area and a green gate approximately 1.4 miles west of Davis Road on the north side of Ramona Expressway across from Martin Street.  This will be the access to SJ for the Junior Hunt.  The gate is located approximately 7 miles east of the 215 Freeway on Ramona Expressway or, if you’re coming in from then other direction, 8.4 miles west of Highway 79. (Click on the below pictures for a full sized image).

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The gate, (of course it will look different at 2 am)

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Ariel view of the gate area at Ramone Expressway / Martin Street

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Ariel view with the “as the crow flies” distance from Davis Road

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Google Maps directions from the West (the 215 Freeway)

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Google Maps directions from the East (highway 79)

Of course, since you’ll be coming in early in the morning in the dark be extremely careful making your turn into the parking/gate area.  Use your turn signal in plenty of time and go slow.  For the folks heading east from the 215, you might want to pass the area and turn around at Lakeview Ave., (Where the Valero Gas Station is), and go back so you can make a right turn into the gate area, that way you don’t have to worry about traffic behind you while you wait to turn left.

Here’s hoping for a great turnout of Junior hunters for this great event.  This is the 23rd Annual Junior Hunt event at San Jacinto and this year’s event will honor our Military Men and Women.  For further details on the Junior Hunt see SoCalHunt’s blog entry at:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/san-jacinto-wildlife-area-announces-the-23rd-annual-junior-hunt-event/

For any further info regarding the Junior Hunt contact Tom Trakes at (951)-236-3020.

Everybody drive safe and here’s hoping to see a great turnout of Juniors for the Junior Hunt!

 

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Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/28/17 and Sunday – 1/29/17

Sorry for the delay this week.  For some reason the results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Wednesday, 1/25/17 were not available.  I waited an extra day to see if they would be provided but so far no luck.  When (if) they come in later I’ll report them in a separate post.

Because the waterfowl take numbers were not available for Wednesday for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area there’s no way to tell if Saturday’s averages were better or worse than Wednesday’s.  For Saturday, Green Wing Teal were in the first spot for number of birds checked in at Wister and Shovelers held the second position. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/28/17 were as follows:

226 adult and 22 junior hunters bagged 12 Mallards, 41 Gadwall, 17 Widgeon, 111 Pintail, 326 Green Wing Teal, 86 Cinnamon Teal, 140 Shovelers, 1 Redheads, 1 Canvasback, 8 Ring Necks, 1 Scaup, 9 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye and 10 Ruddy Ducks. There were also 21 Snow Geese checked in at Wister on Saturday.  9 Coots were also included in the count at Wister on Saturday. This came out to an average harvest of 3.08 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese and Coots included, 3.20 waterfowl per gun. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 33 came in on time to claim their hunting spot.

The average bag of waterfowl for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Sunday, as is usual, slipped back quite a bit from Saturday’s averages, dropping almost 2 birds. Pintail took over the first position for number of birds harvested with Green Wing Teal dropping back into the second spot on Sunday. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Sunday, 1/29/17 were as follows:

78 adult and 8 junior hunters bagged 3 Mallards, 5 Gadwall, 9 Widgeon, 25 Pintail, 23 Green Wing Teal, 4 Cinnamon Teal, 14 Shovelers, 3 Ring Neck, 5 Bufflehead and 6 Ruddy Ducks.  In addition, 8 Snow Goose were brought in to the check station at Wister on Sunday.  4 Coots were also in the count at Wister on Sunday.  This worked out to a 1.13 average ducks per gun and, with the Geese and Coots included, 1.27 waterfowl per person. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 15 arrived on time to claim their hunting spot.

That brings a close to the 2016 / 2017 regular waterfowl season. 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, February 4th and 5th. For more information, contact the staff at Wister at 760-359-0577.

And, once again, when (if) Wednesday’s numbers show up I’ll put up a separate post to report them.

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 1/28/17

Well…I almost didn’t want to do it…almost.  But, since it was the last regular hunt day of the 2016/17 season I couldn’t resist.  So, for the final time this season SoCalHunt headed to San Jacinto for another afternoon refill hunt.  The reason I almost didn’t want to do it was because of the last trip down Davis Road, on the 18th, I almost lost the fillings in my teeth!  But, like I said, it was the last opportunity to duck hunt until late October so, like I said, I couldn’t resist.

I figured how much worse could it be…right?  After this last series of storms, which really dumped on Southern California, there was one advantage that I was hoping to exploit.  Mystic Lake was starting to fill again!  It’s not a lot, but it’s something and in the past, when Mystic is there, the afternoon hunts were usually at least fair and some were great.  But, I was soon to find out how bad it could be.  If you got the impression from my last report that Davis Road was in bad shape, well, it was a freeway the last time compared to this time.  I put the truck in 4 low and crawled up Davis Road.  It took probably a full 15 minutes to make the approximately 2 miles from Ramona Expressway to the SJ check station.  The ruts, and the water filling them, was so deep that the truck ended up covered with mud top to bottom.  Once at the check station Tom told me that 5 trucks had got stuck on their way in that morning.  Apparently, the tow truck(s) had just finished clearing the road just before I got there.  I snapped a picture of one of the trucks in the parking lot just to give you an idea of how bad Davis Road really is.

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When I went into the check station I found that I was 5th on the refill list and 3 of the 4 hunters ahead of me on the list had already refilled, and the other one had left to eat an early lunch and was coming back later.  So, I was effectively first on the list!  There were already a few blinds available but I decided, since I had first choice again, to hold out for a while and see if I could get one of the better blinds.

It wasn’t long before one of the blinds I wanted came in and off I went for the last hunt this season.

The skies today were completely clear today and there was some wind kicking up.  I was hoping the wind would increase and get the ducks moving but as the day progressed the wind would come and go but it never really got up over about 12 MPH or so, not really enough to get um moving.  The surrounding mountains had a good covering of snow from the last series of storms.

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Not long after I set up a Green Wing Teal drake slipped by me coming from behind me and gone before I could pick up the shotgun.  Unfortunately, the ducks weren’t moving much again and the skies remained pretty much devoid of ducks.  As always there were other wildlife area residents in attendance.  There must have been some extra mosquitos in the air today, although they weren’t bothering me, as there seemed to be more swallows flying around than usual.  Several Common Yellowthroats were flitting around the bushes surrounding the blind, picking at unseen insects in the bushes.  Several Hawks were also patrolling the marsh looking for an easy meal.

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A short while later I noticed a pair of Shovelers swimming in my pond, but out of range.  If I had seen them sooner I might have had a shot but by the time I saw them they were out of range.  If I had tried to jump them at this point I’d have only sent them away from me so I hunkered down for a while hoping something would spook them back in my direction.  That never happened and I lost sight of them when they swam around a stand of tules.

After a while, an adjacent blind started firing and I saw another Shoveler, maybe one of the ones I saw swimming earlier, flying towards my blind.  Since he’d already had his wings singed (so to speak) he was climbing as he came towards me.  When he got over my blind he was at probably at maximum range but I knew he wasn’t going to stick around to work the decoys and he was headed out of the pond towards the next pond, which I knew was hunterless, as I had seen them leave earlier, so I gave it a shot.  It was a low percentage and I got the expected results as he disappeared over the trees behind my pond, untouched and still climbing.

The only other action that came along was a beautiful drake Canvasback that rocketed through my pond at about 20 feet high.  I, of course, was looking the wrong direction and didn’t even have time to pick up the shotgun before he was by me and gone.

So, that was it for my day, and my season.  I saw one more flight of 4 ducks probably about 300 yards away headed out towards another pond but they didn’t have any interest at all in my pond.  Quitting time rolled around and I picked up as the sun dipped behind the Bernasconi Hills.

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The next thing up for San Jacinto Wildlife Area is the 23rd Annual Junior Hunt and Raffle next Saturday, February 4th.  Tom tells me he’s working on some alternate access, due to Davis Road’s problems, so the Juniors can get in for the hunt.  If this works out and as soon as Tom knows anything about this, I’ll post the info on the SoCalHunt blog and Facebook page.  Look for the info probably early this coming week.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/28/17

For the last regular hunt day of the 2016/17 season, the per person waterfowl average take for Saturday at San Jacinto Wildlife Area dropped about a ¼ bird compared to Wednesday’s average numbers under clear skies with off and on light winds.  Shovelers remained in the first position for number of birds taken with Gadwall showing up the second spot.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Saturday, 1/28/17 were as follows:

111 adult and 12 junior hunters bagged 76 Northern Shovelers, 15 Cinnamon Teal, 21 Mallards, 36 Gadwall, 13 Widgeon, 12 Pintail, 10 Green Wing Teal, 4 Redhead, 6 Ring Necks, 1 Scaup, 18 Bufflehead, 2 Goldeneye and 17 Ruddy Ducks. There were no Geese checked in at San Jacinto on Saturday.  16 Coots were bagged at San Jacinto on Saturday.  This figured out to a per hunter average take of 1.88 ducks per hunter or, with the Coots figured in, 2.01 waterfowl per gun. Out of 52 reservation cards issued 17 hunters arrived on time for their spot.

Once again we come to the end of another waterfowl season.  The 2016 / 2017 regular waterfowl season is in the books. If you are a junior hunter, or you have a junior hunter in the family, there’s one more chance for them to waterfowl hunt this season at San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl hunt, next Saturday, 2/4/17. For more information, contact the staff at San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

 

 

California Fish and Game Commission Set to meet on 2017/18 Waterfowl Season Regulations February 8th

The Pacific Flyway Council, in cooperation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, develops regulations for migratory birds in the United States west of the Continental Divide.  The 2017/18 regulation framework has been released and there will be a meeting on these proposed regulations on February 8th in Rohnert Park, California.  Anyone who would like to present statements, orally or in writing, regarding the regulation framework may attend.  The formal adoption of the regulations will take place at the Commission meeting on April 26th in Van Nuys (more on that later).

Although I had a little trouble finding it this year, after a few emails to a very cooperative member of the USFWS, I was able to track down the Pacific Flyway Council Recommendations, Informational Notes and Subcommittee Reports which includes the framework for our upcoming waterfowl season.  In prior years a simplified version of this was posted online at flyways.us, however, for some reason this wasn’t done this year.  This document is 121 pages long if you’d like to peruse it, but as far as our duck and goose seasons most of the regulation framework starts on page 31 and goes through page 34.  Below is a link to the Pacific Flyway Council Recommendations, Informational Notes and Subcommittee Reports:

http://www.pacificflyway.gov/Documents/Recs_sep.pdf

It’s pretty much the same regulations as this year, assuming the Fish and Game Commission adopts the most liberal version (as they historically do) with the only real major change being that the Pintail limit will drop from 2 birds a day to 1 bird a day.  Unfortunately, for us, this is kind of a bummer as in our area Pintails are a fairly common bird.  Even with a 2 bird limit there are times when Pintails are the second or third most numerous bird harvested on our Southern California wildlife areas.  However, one can’t really argue with the drop from 2 a day to 1 a day since it is based on scientific facts.  Page 32 of the Pacific Flyway Council Recommendations, Informational Notes and Subcommittee Reports has pintail framework (Text copied below)

“Northern pintail: In 2010, the Service and Flyway councils adopted the adaptive harvest management protocol to inform harvest management decisions for northern pintails in all four flyways. For pintails, optimal regulatory alternatives for the 2017 hunting season in each flyway were calculated using: (1) an objective of maximizing long-term cumulative harvest, including a closed-season constraint of 1.75 million birds; (2) current pintail regulatory alternatives; and (3) current population models and their relative weights. Based on a liberal regulatory alternative with a 2 bird daily bag limit selected in 2016, the 2016 survey results of 2.62 million pintails observed at a mean latitude of 58.6 degrees, the optimal regulatory choice for the 2017 hunting season for all four flyways is the liberal regulatory alternative with a 1 bird daily bag limit.”

The California Fish and Game Commission has put out a notice on the upcoming meetings regarding the adoption of the framework’s regulations.  If you’d like to attend or comment at the Fish and Game Commission’s meetings you can check the below link for details:

http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/2016/502ntc2_2017.pdf

Short version is:

“NOTICE IS GIVEN that any person interested may present statements, orally or in writing, relevant to this action at a hearing to be held in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma, One Doubletree Drive, Rohnert Park, California, on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 8:00 a.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard.”

“NOTICE IS ALSO GIVEN that any person interested may present statements, orally or in writing, relevant to this action at a hearing to be held in Airtel Plaza Hotel, 7277 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys, California, on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at 8:00 a.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard. It is requested, but not required, that written comments be submitted on or before 5:00 p.m. on April 12, 2017 at the address given below, or by email to FGC@fgc.ca.gov. Written comments mailed, or emailed to the Commission office, must be received before 12:00 noon on April 21, 2017. All comments must be received no later than April 26, 2017, at the hearing in Van Nuys, California. If you would like copies of any modifications to this proposal, please include your name and mailing address.”

The framework given to the California Fish and Game Commission lays out the following for our area:

Season:

Ducks: Between 38 & 105 days

Scaup: 86 days

Geese: no longer then 100 days.

Limits:

Ducks:

[4-7]/day, which may include: [3-7] mallards no more than [1-2] females, 1 pintail, 2 canvasback, 2 redheads, 3 scaup.
Possession limit triple the daily bag.

Geese:

23/day, which may include: 20 white geese, 3 dark geese. Possession limit triple the daily bag.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/25/17

For the last Wednesday hunt of the 2016/17 season, the per hunter waterfowl average bag at San Jacinto Wildlife Area went up nearly a bird over Saturday’s average numbers under cold and partly cloudy conditions.  Shovelers stayed in the first spot for number of birds harvested with Cinnamon Teal climbing into the second spot.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Wednesday, 1/25/17 were as follows:

52 adult and 0 junior hunters bagged 40 Northern Shovelers, 19 Cinnamon Teal, 11 Mallards, 11 Gadwall, 4 Widgeon, 2 Pintail, 7 Green Wing Teal, 1 Redhead, 2 Canvasbacks, 3 Ring Necks, 4 Bufflehead and 8 Ruddy Ducks. There were no Geese harvested at San Jacinto on Wednesday.  Also, no Coots were checked in at San Jacinto on Wednesday.  This came out to a per gun average take of 2.15 ducks per person or, of course, with no Geese or Coots to figure in, 2.15 waterfowl per hunter also. Out of 52 reservation cards issued 13 hunters showed up on time to claim their spot.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. At this point in the season it is now too late to put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS).   You can still get in on the daily “sweat line” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweat line” drawing is at 3:30 AM.

Also, San Jacinto’s 23rd Annual Junior Hunt is coming up on February 4th, 2017.  New state regulations, which went into effect last year, regarding donations for this great event are in effect again this year.  It’s a great cause to donate to as the Junior Hunters are the future of our sport so don’t let a little paperwork keep you from donating. I’ve done it, it isn’t that hard.  Details on the procedures for donating can be found at the below link:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/new-procedures-for-donations-for-the-annual-junior-hunt-at-san-jacinto-wildlife-area/

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 arrival 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 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.  As in past seasons no licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this season.  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 the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/18/17, Saturday – 1/21/17 and Sunday – 1/22/17

The per gun average take of waterfowl at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Wednesday rocketed up into very good average numbers as compared the typical low Sunday averages. Green Wing Teal jumped into first place for number of ducks harvested with Pintail held on to the second spot again.   The Wister Staff reported that the results for Wednesday, 1/18/17 were as follows:

108 adult hunters and 1 junior hunter checked in 2 Mallards, 18 Gadwall, 11 Widgeon, 66 Pintails, 111 Green Wing Teal, 15 Cinnamon Teal, 35 Shovelers, 2 Redheads, 4 Ring Necks, 1 Scaup, 3 Bufflehead, 3 Goldeneyes and 6 Ruddy Ducks.  There was also 7 Snow Geese bagged at Wister on Wednesday.  4 Coots were also checked in at Wister on Wednesday.  This worked out to an average take of 2.54 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese and Coots included, 2.64 waterfowl per gun. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 30 arrived on time to claim their spot.

The average waterfowl bag for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Saturday climbed nearly ¾ of a bird over Wednesday’s very good average numbers. Green Wing Teal remained in the first spot for number of birds downed at Wister with Shovelers taking over the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/21/17 were as follows:

128 adult and 8 junior hunters bagged 6 Mallards, 29 Gadwall, 33 Widgeon, 64 Pintail, 159 Green Wing Teal, 32 Cinnamon Teal, 103 Shovelers, 2 Redheads, 1 Canvasback, 5 Ring Necks, 2 Scaup, 3 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Blue Wing Teal and 3 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, 8 Snow Geese were checked in at Wister on Saturday.  3 Coots were also added to the count at Wister on Saturday. This came out to an average harvest of 3.26 ducks per person or, with the Geese and Coots included, 3.35 waterfowl per person. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 20 came in on time to claim their hunting spot.

The average harvest of waterfowl for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Sunday, as expected, dropped back somewhat from Saturday’s bag averages but remained in the “fair” zone. Bufflehead were found in the first position for number of birds taken with Pintail took over the second position on Sunday. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Sunday, 1/22/17 were as follows:

44 adult and 4 junior hunters bagged 2 Mallards, 1 Gadwall, 3 Widgeon, 15 Pintail, 5 Green Wing Teal, 5 Cinnamon Teal, 11 Shovelers, 1 Ring Neck, 55 Bufflehead and 1 Goldeneye.  There were also 8 Snow Goose harvested at Wister on Sunday.  5 Coots were also brought in to the check station at Wister on Sunday.  This worked out to a 2.06 average ducks per gun and, with the Geese and Coots added in, 2.33 waterfowl per person. Out of 100 reservation cards issued only 8 showed up on time for their spot.

Wister is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays only. At this point in the season it is now too late to put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS).   You can still get in on the daily “sweat line” drawing for the remaining blinds by arriving at Wister to get in on the drawing by 10:30 PM the night before. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweat line” spots given out after that.

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 season.  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 Wister Staff at 760-359-0577.

 


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