Archive for August, 2021

San Jacinto Wildlife Area 2021 Dove Season Opener – Wednesday, September 1st

The opening day of dove season in California is Wednesday, September 1st.  Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, just advised SoCalHunt that the entire wildlife area, including the waterfowl areas, will be opened to dove hunting for the first three days of dove season.  From the opener on Wednesday September 1st, through Friday September 3rd, hunters will be allowed to hunt doves on both the upland area of San Jacinto and SJ’s duck hunting areas.  After Friday, for the remainder of the dove season, from September 4th until September 15th, dove hunting will only be permitted on the upland side of San Jacinto.  There will be no dove hunting on the waterfowl side of SJ after September 3rd.

Tom also wanted SoCalHunt to remind everyone that due to Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations only non-toxic shot may be used to take any game anywhere in California.  Lead shot has been banned on State Wildlife Areas for the last four years, however, the no-lead restriction went into effect two years ago statewide for ALL hunting.   So, just remember, even if you don’t choose to hunt doves at San Jacinto WA, or any of the other DFW Wildlife Areas, you still need UNLEADED anywhere you hunt in California.  DFW Wardens, as always, will be checking for lead shot and possession of even one round will result in you receiving a citation.  So, be sure to check your hunting vest thoroughly to make sure an old round of lead shot from a couple years ago, or from your last visit to the trap range, isn’t kicking around in one of your pockets.  Also, don’t forget that your 2020/2021 hunting license expired at the end of June.  Be sure you have your 2021/2022 hunting license, including your upland endorsement on your license.

The regulations covering doves is as follows, Mourning Dove and White-Winged Dove have a daily bag limit of 15 in combination, up to 10 of which may be white-winged dove. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit. There are no limits on Spotted Dove and Ringed Turtle Dove, although these two varieties have the same season dates as Mourning Doves (September 1st -15th).  Hunting for Eurasian Collared Dove is legal year-round and there are no limits on them.  Note: There is no open hunting season on common ground-doves, ruddy ground-doves, and Inca doves.

As usual the SJ Staff has planted several fields with dove-attracting crops on the Wildlife Area however they aren’t seeing many dove around SJ so far this year.  Of course, San Jacinto isn’t Niland or Brawley or any of the other traditional “hot-spot” dove hunting areas and you’re unlikely to limit out in an hour, but you do have a fair chance of bagging a couple birds a lot closer to home.  SJ is a good place if you just have a few hours and would like to try to get a shot or two at the dove.

So, hopefully there won’t be any end of August thunderstorms that might chase the birds south and then there should be at least a fair chance of bagging a few.  If you’re want to try your luck at San Jacinto things are looking fair for opening day, Wednesday September 1st

Also, don’t forget, there is another volunteer blind brush up work day coming up, Saturday September, 18th.  Check SoCalHunt’s post on the August 14th (already past) and September 18th work days here.  SoCalHunt will also post a separate reminder announcement for the September 18th work day in the next few days.  Watch SoCalHunt for that announcement soon.

And, before I go, Tom asked me to ask everyone to keep an eye out for palm fronds to utilize on the upcoming blind brush up day.  If you can get any of them any time before the work day you can make arrangements to drop them off at San Jacinto by calling Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580.  Of course, if you’re going to come out for the work day you could bring them along with you then too or even drop some off if you come out to try your luck at dove hunting SJ in September.

Imperial Valley DFW Public Dove Field Map Now Available

For those of you who might want to spend the dove opener on September 1st, or any other time during the season, in the Imperial Valley area the Department of Fish and Wildlife has put out a map detailing several public access dove fields hunters can utilize.  There are 17 fields available for hunters to use in their quest for the little gray rockets.  Also, the DFW put out a page with all the regulations for the imperial valley area.  Don’t forget, one of the big ones is UNLEADED ammo only.  Check you pockets and all so you don’t inadvertently have a shell or two left over from the trap range.  Big ticket if the Wardens find any on you.  So, no matter where you plan on going for the dove opener, or any time during the season after the opener, be safe, have fun, and good luck!

2021/2022 Federal Duck Stamp Now Available Online Through California Waterfowl Association

As you well know, if you’ve ever hunted waterfowl before, one of the legal requirements is to have in your possession, as part of your license, a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or, as everybody calls it, a Federal Duck Stamp.  Sometimes these are hard to find.  US Post Offices are supposed to carry them but many times they either don’t have any or have (or had) very few and are sold out.  In addition, many sporting goods stores will carry a supply of the stamps, but you never know when they might run dry on them too. 

The solution is to get your Federal Duck Stamp online from the California Waterfowl Association (CWA).  As a convenience to hunters every year the CWA has online sales of the stamps for members and non-members alike.  The stamp itself is $25.00 and there is an option on the CWA Duck Stamp Page to cover the mailing fees for your stamp, which is a mere 88 cents, but even that is optional, although I would encourage it since CWA is a conservation organization and uses donations for habitat restoration in California.

Speaking of sales to non-members, if you’re not a member then while you’re at CWA’s website buying your stamp it would be a real good idea to sign up as a CWA member.  Besides a great bi-monthly magazine they usually have some type of promotion they’ll send along to you (right now it’s a nice CWA t-shirt) and you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping ducks and duck hunting in California specifically.  If you hunt ducks in California, you should be a member of CWA.

Just remember that CWA doesn’t have an unlimited supply of Federal Stamps, although I’m sure they buy a big block of them, so don’t wait too long to get yours.  You’ll also have to make sure to give them enough time to send it to you in the mail so like a week before the season might present a problem if you’re going to hunt the opener.  Get it now and you’ll have plenty of time.  Below is the link for CWA’s page for online sales of the Federal Waterfowl Stamp.

Also, like I said before, since you’re there, here’s the link to the page to join CWA.  $35 a year.  Money well spent.

Hope to see you out there opening day with all your licenses, stamps, and passes so no one has to get turned away at the check station.

Kern NWR 2021/22 Season Opener Will be Delayed

I’ll just quote the Kern NWR website (nothing more to say)…

2021-2022 Waterfowl Season Update:

Due to extreme drought conditions, Kern National Wildlife Refuge was allocated significantly less water than last year. This reduction in water allocation will have a direct impact on the flooded habitat we can provide, and the hunt program.

Given the current water allocation, Kern NWR will not be able to have enough wetland acreage flooded to have the hunt program begin on October 23, 2021, the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone opener. Therefore, Kern NWR will delay the hunt opener until November 20, 2021.

This delay will give Kern NWR the time to flood the acres needed to support healthy waterfowl habitat and a waterfowl hunt program. If you have any questions, please contact our office at

Outstanding Turnout for San Jacinto Wildlife Area August 14th Volunteer Clean Up / Brush Up Work Day

About 35 volunteers reported for duty bright and early on Saturday, August 14th at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking for the volunteer clean-up/blind brush-up work day.  Tom sent the volunteers out across the Wildlife Area to clean up, repair, and brush up several of the hunting area’s blinds.  Most of the island blinds were brushed up in preparation for flooding and water control structures were cleared out to facilitate that flooding.  Several blinds were also repaired and brushed up with palm fronds either brought in by the volunteers or dropped off in the last several weeks at the SJ check station parking lot. 

Interesting to note is that Sylvia Low, from the Bryant Park Preschool, turned out to assist as a way to give some thanks to all the hunters who have donated to the toy drive the last several years at San Jacinto.  Your yearly donations are appreciated.

After the work was finished many of the volunteers and the SJ Staff gathered at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch.

As always, Tom and his team at San Jacinto would like to give a huge thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl season.  This is especially important this year as SJWA is extremely short staffed right now.

There will be at least one more blind brush-up/work day to finish getting things in preparation for the coming waterfowl hunting season. The next one is already scheduled for Saturday, September 18th (mark your calendars!).  The September 18th work day will concentrate on finishing brushing up the blinds, so palm fronds are needed.  If you can bring in any palm fronds any time before the work day you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580, and they’ll make arrangements so you can drop them off.  Please make sure you don’t bring in the type of palm fronds with the thorns on their stalks unless you’re willing to strip off the thorns first. Those things wreak havoc with waders if the thorns aren’t removed.

Again, I’ll emphasize again that the SJ staff is extremely short-handed this year so it’s more important than ever to have another great turnout in September to make sure everything gets ship shape for the opener.   Watch SoCalHunt for an “official” reminder announcement and details of the next blind brush-up/workday as the date approaches. 

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