San Jacinto’s 29th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Huge Success, February 4th, 2023

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

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area end of the season Junior Waterfowl Hunt/Event was, as always, an outstanding event and the Junior Hunters in attendance enjoyed very good waterfowl hunting. Besides the hunting, of course, the pre-hunt pancake breakfast and the lunch event/prize giveaway was again outstanding also. Many great prizes were given out at the lunch giveaway at mid-day.

This year a great breakfast of sausage and pancakes was provided to the Junior Hunters and their adults. Jay Shaw manned the sausage grill for the breakfast. Angelo’s Burgers in Marino Valley and others donated most of the breakfast fare.

After a quick breakfast, the Juniors and their accompanying adults headed out to their assigned hunting spots to get set up and await the blast of the starting time horn to signal the start of another fabulous Junior hunt. The hunting was good this year and some of the Junior Hunters even scored limits.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here… )

At lunchtime, of course, everyone assembled back at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize giveaway. Lunch was great, consisting of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, 13 pork butts for pulled pork sandwiches (donated by John Ross of Dee’z Boy’z BBQ in Hemet), chips, and topped off by a couple of cakes from Tom Trakes’ daughter. The hamburgers and hotdogs were cooked on a grill manned by the SJWA crew of Shane, Ricky, and James. Tom would also like to thank Toni of Quail Forever for volunteering not only at the Junior hunt event but at other events, like the SJ Junior Pheasant hunt and the SJ Woman’s Pheasant hunt, to name a few, throughout the year.

There was a great deal of support for this year’s Junior Hunt and most of the Junior Hunters received at least two prizes each, some even came away with three! The prizes ranged from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, blind bags, gift cards, and other assorted hunting and outdoor gear. Needless to say, all the junior hunters went away happy. There were several “Grand Prizes”. A shotgun donated by Blue Collar was one of the grand prizes and a rifle donated by Kyle Tibbets of Turners Outdoorsman was another. Tom Trakes, who I think we all know is retiring from SJWA in a few short days, also donated a shotgun as a grand prize this year. Tom’s shotgun was won by a young man named Tucker who had just obtained his first hunting license the day before the Junior hunt. What a way to start a hunting career.

After the lunch and prize giveaway, many of the Junior Hunters, if they hadn’t already limited out, went back to their blinds to finish their day’s hunting.

The Junior Hunt was, as it always is, an outstanding event for our Junior Hunters, the future of our sport. It is vital to keep our Junior Hunters interested and involved in waterfowl hunting and the San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt is a great way to keep them interested. Every year I hear adult hunters reminiscing about their days participating in the SJWA Junior Hunt, and even some that are now bringing their kids to carry on the tradition.

Tom told me he’d like to thank, as well as I would myself, everyone who donated prizes, food, labor or anything else towards this event. We all should also thank the San Jacinto crew for going the extra mile to help make this event happen we all appreciate all your hard work.

Tom also asked me to extend a special thanks to Sportsman’s Warehouse in Murrieta for donating a shotgun and some other prizes for a raffle to raise money for the Junior hunt event. Also, thanks to Bass Pro for donating a shotgun for an additional raffle to raise even more money for the Junior hunt event. Toni from Quail Forever also donated a shotgun which was included in the Bass Pro raffle to raise even more for the cause. All the money raised in these raffles went to buy prizes for the junior hunters.

So, the 29th Annual San Jacinto Junior Waterfowl Hunt is in the books. Check out the pictures below, which are only a small sample of this great event. Of course, due to space, there’s no way to post every picture but the below images should give you a really good idea of how this superb event for our Junior Hunters went down.

I’ve tried to mention everyone who donated items or volunteered to work the event. There were so many great sponsors and so many that supported the Junior Hunt event with prizes, assistance, and food that I’m sure I’ve missed a few so please forgive me and know that it wasn’t intentional.

As a final note on this report. As I’ve mentioned above (and unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few months) you probably know that Tom Trakes will be retiring from San Jacinto and the Department of Fish and Wildlife in a few short days. The Junior hunt event gave Tom a chance to say goodbye to a lot of kids and also many adults that he has helped over the years a SJWA. The DFW has some big shoes to be filled at San Jacinto and I’m sure I speak for all when I say Tom will be missed.

On another note regarding Tom’s retirement. There is a retirement party planned for Tom on Saturday March 18th at 4 pm. If you intend to go, PLEASE RSVP using the link below. They need to get a count by February 18th so they know how much food to buy. Click the link below to get the location and further details and to RSVP if you’re going…

Related to the last, there is also a GoFundMe for Tom’s retirement gift. If you’ve a mind to donate click the link below to do so…

Tom’s last hunt day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be the upcoming Veterans/Active Duty Military hunt this coming Saturday, February 11th.

Now, check out the pictures of the Junior Hunt event below. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

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