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:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-23rd-annual-junior-hunt-saturday-2417/

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.

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The Juniors lining up for their hunting spots.

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Elijah cooking up some pancakes for the Juniors.

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Beautiful weather at SJ for the Junior Hunt.

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

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

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A great strap of birds for this young lady.

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The line for lunch.

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Enjoying some great chow!

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

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Some of the prizes ready to be given out!

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

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

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Some of the Junior Hunters and their prizes!

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

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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.


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