Archive for February, 2017

San Jacinto Blind Clean-up Day, Saturday, March 4th – CANCELED

I just got word from Tom Trakes of San Jacinto Wildlife Area that the volunteer Blind Clean-up Day that was set for Saturday, March 4th, has been canceled!  Due to the continuing rains and access problems, it was decided to postpone the clean-up day until later in the year when thing are dried out a little.  Tom advised that they probably would reschedule the clean-up day for some time in April.  As soon as the date for that clean-up day is set I’ll report it here at SoCalHunt.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Blind Clean-up Day Set for March 4th, 2017

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 4th, 2017.  Due to the flooding and subsequent access problems on Davis Road this year, volunteers are to assemble at 6:00 am at the Ramona Expressway Gate approximately 1.4 miles west of Davis Road at Martin Street on the north side of the road.  This is the same access that was used for the Junior Hunt.  Directions and details for this access can be found at the below link:

Work will be assigned at the start of the morning.  Afterward, we will meet at noon at El Comal Restaurant in Nuevo 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 (All ponds are still holding water)

Be sure to bring plenty of bottled water as the weather may be warm. 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 about 5 ½ miles to the Ramona Expressway Gate on the left, which is about 1.4 miles before you get to the normal access, Davis Road.  You’ll be directed in from there by SJ Staff.

From the 79

-Exit Ramona Expressway going west towards Lake Perris, go about 1.4 miles past Davis road, the usual access to SJ, to the Ramona Expressway Gate on the right. You’ll be directed in from there by SJ Staff.

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


2016 / 2017 Season Sunrise / Sunset Recap (Plus Some Clouds)

SoCalHunt has a tradition each season of posting an article, with photographs, of the sunrises and sunset we’ve enjoyed in the just completed hunting season.  This year SoCalHunt managed to get out only a few times in the morning so most of these will be sunsets, although when the clouds are around at San Jacinto, any time of the day can be spectacular.

So, as we do every season, here’s the sunrises and sunsets for the season just past, along with the daily clouds we observed during each hunt.  When it comes to the scenery at San Jacinto, most of the time, it is incomparable to any other place.  Most people that hunt San Jacinto, and experience the sunrises and sunsets there, will agree with us that the usual at SJ is spectacular and that includes the cloud conditions most times.  Below, in date order, are the sunrises and sunsets, along with some of the cloud condition photos, on the days we hunted San Jacinto this season.

Presented for your enjoyment:

(Click on the image for a full-sized picture)

10/22/16 Sunrise (and just a few wispy clouds)





10/26/16 Sunrise (and lots of clouds)







11/9/16 Sunset



12/10/16 Sunset (and a few clouds)





12/14/15 Sunset (and some clouds)





12/28/16 Sunrise


1/4/17  a little bit of a Sunset (and some clouds)




1/18/17 Sunset (and lots of clouds)





1/28/17 Sunset


2/4/17 (Junior Hunt) Just some clouds



Wister 2016 / 2017 Season Long Stats

The conclusion of the 2016 / 2017 season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area revealed the following stats for the number of birds taken and the hunter averages.

4985 adult and 548 junior hunters (5533 hunters total) harvested a total of 516 Mallards, 709 Gadwall, 1224 Widgeon, 1595 Pintail, 3551 Green Wing Teal, 1272 Cinnamon Teal, 1405 Northern Shovelers, 98 Redheads, 10 Canvasbacks, 113 Ring Necks, 46 Scaup, 93 Bufflehead, 48 Goldeneyes, 1 Wood Duck, 71 Blue Wing Teal, 6 Mergansers, 5 Ducks identified as “Other” and 217 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, there were 6 Cackling Geese, 21 Canada Geese, 4 Ross’ Geese, 504 Snow Geese and 20 White Front Geese harvested at Wister this season. 136 Coots were also checked in for the 2016 / 2017 season. This figured out to a total of 11535 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots added in 11671 waterfowl. The per hunter average take for 2016 / 2017 figured out to 2.08 Ducks and Geese per hunter or, with the Coots included, 2.11 waterfowl per hunter.

In comparison to last season, there were 692 fewer adult hunters this season over last and there were 9 fewer junior hunters for a total of 701 fewer hunters accommodated in 2016 / 2017 season compared to the 2015 / 2016 season. (This includes the Junior Hunters from the Junior Hunt weekend). 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 -18 Mallards, -299 Gadwall, -207 Widgeon, -164 Pintail, -1111 Green Wing Teal, +239 Cinnamon Teal, -1341 Northern Shovelers, +53 Redheads, +1 Canvasback, +45 Ring Necks, -3 Scaup, -4 Bufflehead, +30 Goldeneyes, +1 Wood Duck (0 last season), +58 Blue Wing Teal, +4 Mergansers, -1 Whistling Duck (0 this season), -1 Surf Scooter (0 this season), +5 Ducks identified as “Other” (0 last season) and -31 Ruddy Ducks.

As for the Geese numbers, there were -1 Aleutian Goose (0 this season), +1 Cackling Goose, -28 Canada Geese, -5 Ross’ Geese, -215 Snow Geese and +14 White Front Geese.

There was also +25 Coots bagged this season. This was a total of -2978 Ducks and Geese taken and, with the Coots included, -2953 waterfowl taken this season compared to last season. The per hunter averages were -0.25 Ducks and Geese or, with the Coots included, -0.24 waterfowl this season over last season.

As you can see, this shows a drop in almost all categories, with the bag of most birds down, some substantially, and fewer hunters this season also.  I’m sure some of the difference in the hunter numbers was due to access issues due to the rains, and the resultant muddy roads, at Wister this season, but, even if that was taken out of the mix it appears the hunter numbers would have been down a little anyway.  Hopefully the birds will have a better than predicted breeding season this year and the numbers will come up some next season.

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Wednesday 1/25/17

Once again, sorry for the delay getting these numbers for the last Wednesday hunt of the season at Wister.  Somehow, the DFW didn’t send them out with the Saturday and Sunday counts, as usual, and I just received them this morning.

As usual, the waterfowl take for Wednesday, 1/25/17, for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area went up quite a bit over the usual low Sunday numbers. Green Wing Teal held the first position for number of birds checked in at Wister and Pintail were found in second place. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Wednesday, 1/25/17 were as follows:

112 adult hunters and 1 junior hunter bagged 5 Mallards, 11 Gadwall, 5 Widgeon, 58 Pintail, 120 Green Wing Teal, 20 Cinnamon Teal, 36 Shovelers, 1 Redheads, 1 Bufflehead, 2 Goldeneyes and 9 Ruddy Ducks. 3 Snow Geese were also checked in at Wister on Wednesday.  There was also 1 Coot bagged at Wister on Wednesday. This worked out to an average take of 2.37 ducks per gun or, with the Geese and Coot included, 2.41 waterfowl per person. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 30 arrived on time to claim their spot.

With this report, all the numbers are in for Wister this season.  I’m already looking forward to next season, as I’m sure you all are.  Hope to see you out there sometime.

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area Junior Hunt Weekend, Saturday – 2/4/17, Sunday – 2/5/17

This year’s Junior Waterfowl Hunt at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area resulted in some very good average numbers for each of the Junior Hunters on Saturday. Green Wing Teal were the most numerous bird bagged with Pintail coming up in the second spot. The Wister Staff reported that the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Saturday, 2/4/17, was as follows:

72 Junior Hunters checked in with 4 Mallards, 7 Gadwall, 30 Widgeon, 67 Pintail, 84 Green Wing Teal, 12 Cinnamon Teal, 20 Northern Shovelers, 1 Ring Neck, 1 Bufflehead, 1 Blue Wing Teal and 4 Ruddy Ducks. In addition, 17 Snow Geese were downed by the Junior Hunters on Saturday. The Juniors also checked in 8 Coots on Saturday. This worked out to an average of 3.21 ducks per Junior Hunter or, with the Geese and Coots added in, 3.56 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued, 23 showed up on time for their hunting spot.

The average take of waterfowl for Sunday, the second day of the Junior Hunt weekend, at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, not unexpectedly, plummeted into the “poor numbers” compared to Saturday’s great shoot.  Green Wing Teal held on to the first spot for numbers harvested with Pintail holding on to the second position. The Wister Staff reported the waterfowl take for the Junior Hunt on Sunday, 2/5/17 were as follows:

30 Junior Hunters checked in with 1 Gadwall, 8 Pintail, 10 Green Wing Teal, 4 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Northern Shoveler and 4 Ruddy Ducks. There were also 2 Snow Geese taken at the Junior Hunt on Sunday. 3 Coots were also brought into the check station by the Juniors on Sunday. This figured out to an average of 0.93 ducks per Junior Hunter or, with the Geese and Coots included, 1.10 waterfowl per Junior Hunter. Out of 100 reservations issued, 15 arrived on time for their spot.

So, that’s it for the 2016/2017 Waterfowl Season at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area. Another great season in the books and preparations will soon be underway for next season. Hope to see you out there.


San Jacinto’s 23rd Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Huge Success, February 4th, 2017

(Don’t forget to check the photos at the bottom of this page – Click on the picture for a full-sized image)

SoCalHunt was privileged to be a part of this year’s San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event.  It was a great event and the Junior Hunters in attendance not only came away with a memorable waterfowl hunting experience but pocketed some outstanding prizes at the lunch raffle at mid-day.

SoCalHunt has been unable to attend the Junior Hunt the last few years due to other obligations but this year I was able to make it to volunteer to help out at this notable event.  I arrived at 0200 at the alternate access point to SJ and headed in towards the check station.

Kudos here to the San Jacinto Staff for making the extra effort to get approval for access via this alternate route through the upland area.  Due to the flooding of Davis Road, it would have been impossible for probably 90% of the vehicles coming in for the hunt to make it in safely so it was essential to the success of the Junior Hunt to have another way in.  The SJ Staff, as is their habit, went above and beyond, having someone at the access point to direct people in and having gone out prior to the event and barricaded other roads within the upland area so people wouldn’t get lost coming in through this unfamiliar access point.

Once at the check station I set to work with other staff and volunteers getting breakfast ready for the Junior Hunters and their adult “partners” to fuel up on before going out to set up and hunt.  (I did take a little time to take a few early morning pictures before I got started helping out with the breakfast)

Everyone was treated to a nice breakfast of pancakes and sausage with coffee and hot chocolate available also.  I had the pleasure of cooking up some of the pancakes for the participants.

Once everyone ate they headed out to the Wildlife Area to set up and wait for the starting horn to sound.  As for me, I headed back to my truck to sack out for a few hours before everyone came in for the lunch and raffle.

After a few hours of inspecting my eyelids for holes, I awoke and walked up to the check station to see what was up.  When I walked up Tom Trakes, the boss at SJ, told me he was going out into the Wildlife Area to see how everyone was doing and offered to take me out there with him, which I gladly accepted.  It was pretty close to the time for the juniors to come in for the lunch and raffle so we saw many walking in from their blinds and talked to a few and they proudly showed us the ducks they had harvested that morning.  Of course, I took more pictures while we were out there.

Once back from our “tour” of the Wildlife Area it was about time for lunch.  There was a great spread with pulled pork sandwiches, 6-foot party subs, hot dogs, cake (made by Tom’s wife and daughter) and chips and drinks.

After lunch, the raffle was held.  The program started off with Junior Hunter Lucas Rizzotto playing an amazing rendition of the National Anthem on his saxophone which resulted in a rousing ovation from everyone.  After that, the raffle was conducted.  All the Junior Hunters received at least one raffle prize and many got two prizes.  The prizes ranged 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.  There were three “Grand Prizes” a shotgun, a one year membership to WRSP (Wren’s Ranch Sportsmen’s Park) donated by Matt Johnson (Thanks Matt for all your support), and a beautiful yellow lab puppy was won by Junior Hunter Owen Shearer, which was donated by Bill Powell, (Thanks for the generous donation Bill). I heard from Tom that Owen named her Avery.

After the raffle, some of the Junior Hunters went back to their blinds to finish out the day hunting.  To check the results of the hunt, see SoCalHunt’s hunting results report for the Junior Hunt at the following link:

The Junior Hunt was, as usual, an outstanding event and as I’ve always said the Juniors are the future of our sport so it is vital to keep them interested and involved in waterfowl hunting.

Tom told me he’d like to thank, as well as I would myself, everyone who donated prizes, food, money or anything else towards this event.  We all should also thank the San Jacinto crew, Shane, Josh, John, Carlos and Aurelio for going the extra mile to help make this event happen we all appreciate all your hard work.  Also, thanks go to our local Game Warden April Esconde and Junior Hunt Alumni Elijah Walker for handing out the prizes at the Junior Hunt event.

So, enough of my babbling on about this.  Enjoy the below pictures, each of which, as they say, are worth a thousand words.  Of course, due to space, I couldn’t post every picture but hopefully, these will give you a really good idea of how this wonderful event for our Junior Hunters went down.


The Juniors lining up for their hunting spots.


Elijah cooking up some pancakes for the Juniors.



Beautiful weather at SJ for the Junior Hunt.


Some of the Junior Hunters coming in from their blinds for the lunch and raffle.


Families that hunts together, stays together! (including the dogs)


A great strap of birds for this young lady.


The line for lunch.


Enjoying some great chow!


The cakes for the lunch! (Thanks to Tom’s wife and daughter!)


Some of the prizes ready to be given out!


Elijah and Warden April giving out prizes to the lucky Junior Hunters.


Owen and Bill with “Avery” (Great lookin’ pup!)


Some of the Junior Hunters and their prizes!


Winner of the Wren’s Ranch Sportsmen’s Park membership with owner Matt Johnson.


The Junior Hunters…74 in all.

Thanks all for the support and looking forward to another great opener this coming October.  Hope to see you out at good old SJ.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 146 other followers