SoCalHunt – “Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th… That’s all, folks!” (almost…maybe)

Well, with the end of the 2022/2023 waterfowl season and the posting of the seasons ending stats for the hunting areas that SoCalHunt covers, I have decided to call it a day, so to speak, as far as SoCalHunt goes. I hope everyone has found some value, or at least some enjoyment, in the content of the SoCalHunt website and blog over the years.

The main reason I started SoCalHunt, to be honest, was as a way to get some accurate information on the local Southern California waterfowl hunting scene for myself and my hunting buddies. The original focus was exclusively on the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. I was frustrated that I had to wait to read reports in the Western Outdoor News that were a week old to tell me what was going on at SJWA. I mean W.O.N. is a great little outdoor activity newspaper but I’ve heard it said that W.O.N. also stands for Week Old News. Over the years I expanded to cover more of the Southern California waterfowl hunting areas such as Wister WA, Kern NWR, and even Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR and Lake Perris State Recreation Area this past season.

Another reason I started SoCalHunt was that, as a secondary hobby connected to hunting, I enjoyed taking photographs of wildlife, wildlife areas, and outdoor scenery, and the SoCalHunt website and blog would be a good way to display some of my images. If you’ve looked at the SoCalHunt website and blog over the years maybe you’ve enjoyed the photography too. I think I do at least a fair job with the camera.

The third reason, which ultimately became the most important reason in my opinion, was to assist my fellow hunters and encourage more hunters to join our ranks. I think we all know that hunters are a small minority of the population and the more people we can recruit into hunting the more political power we can muster to protect hunting and firearms rights within a state that makes no secret of its dislike of our sport and especially the firearms we utilize in that sport. I’m sure for every hunter that reads this there are at least a dozen non-hunting friends, relatives, and even acquaintances that would support the sport and support our 2A rights because they know a hunter. One of the keys to this is the recruitment and retention of young people to the sport of hunting. San Jacinto Wildlife Area has a Junior Hunt program second to none and is probably responsible for many of the now adult hunters that frequent SJWA and other wildlife areas in the Southern California Area. I hope SoCalHunt had at least a small part in the promotion of San Jacinto’s junior hunt program.

Another aspect to SoCalHunt was as a way to assist Tom Trakes and his staff at San Jacinto with announcements regarding volunteer work days, special events, just general miscellaneous announcements, and any other information they wanted disseminated to the hunting public. A favorite of mine was the promotion of the annual toy drive put on by the SJWA staff. It was always very gratifying to see how generous the hunting community was when supporting the toy drive for the kids.

The one thing SoCalHunt was never meant to be was a way to make money, and it never has been. I’ve occasionally had people accuse me of directing people to the SoCalHunt website and blog as a way to get “clicks” and earn money. Well, not true. I have never made a dime off of SoCalHunt, I’ve never charged anyone for access to the website or blog or any of the information or maps and downloads on the website, and I’ve never taken on any sponsors. In fact, it has cost me probably a few hundred dollars each year, but it isn’t really a lot and I’ve considered it more of a “hobby”, especially in the past few years. I mean, who doesn’t invest at least a little money in their hobbies? When compared to what most of us invest in waterfowl hunting it was a drop in the bucket.

So, why am I bailing out? Why quit? Well, the main reason is, if things go according to plan, I will soon be living about 2,300 miles away from Southern California. And while I could, technically, still do the weekly duck counts from there other things will be occupying a lot of my time soon. There are other reasons, which I won’t bore you with, that have intervened over the last couple of years. You’ve probably noticed the lack of hunting reports on the SoCalHunt blog over the last couple of years. The slogging through the mud kind of Southern California Wildlife Area duck hunting we do here has become difficult for me is all I’ll say. I’m not looking for sympathy just mentioning it as more of an apology for the lack of hunting reports that last couple of seasons. I’m hoping, in my soon-to-be new and different environment to continue some type of waterfowl hunting but it won’t be like how we do it here. In fact, most of my hunting will probably focus on antlered critters more than feathered ones with webbed feet.

Which brings me to this. Does anybody want to take over? If anybody is willing to pick up the gauntlet and grab the SoCalHunt steering wheel let me know. I’ll give you what info I can to get you started. Just let me know. I might even make a post or two before I leave if anything really important comes up, I’ll probably even post soon about selling some of my hunting gear that won’t work in the new location (or that will cost more to move than if I just bought new when I get there), so keep an eye out for that. However, this past season is it for me as far as the bird counts go. By the time there are any new bird counts I’ll be a long time outta here. In the meantime, I’ll leave the website, blog, and Facebook page up for a while in case anybody wants to go over them for whatever value they might be to someone.

So, you might see a post or two after this on SoCalHunt but pretty much consider this a final “formal” goodbye for SoCalHunt. I hope you found SoCalHunt useful or at least somewhat entertaining. Good luck in your future hunts, stay safe, respect your fellow hunters, and enjoy yourself. Thanks again.

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