Archive for the 'Announcements' Category

Tom Trakes Retiring – Let’s Write Some Letters!

Many of you already know this, but I’m sure some haven’t heard yet. The Veterans’ Waterfowl Hunt at San Jacinto Wildlife Area on February 11th will be the last hunt day with Tom Trakes in charge of San Jacinto Wildlife Area. Tom is, as they say, “pullin’ the pin”, and is retiring shortly after the end of this waterfowl season.

Tom has had a long run a San Jacinto Wildlife Area and has, in effect, become the face of SJWA. You almost can’t think of San Jac without thinking of Tom Trakes. The Southern California hunting community owes him a big debt of gratitude for running SJWA as a well-oiled machine (given the state limitation he has had to work with). With very few exceptions Tom has been the one to step out of the check station at 0300 and give his “welcome speech” running over the rules and anything else hunters need to know for the day. He organized and run all the volunteer clean-up and brush-up days, the hunter’s education class each year, and the ever-popular Junior and Veterans’ waterfowl hunts, just to name a few activities. He’s also gone above and beyond running SJWA’s toy drive each Christmas.

I think many of us have ended up with our pictures, along with our straps of ducks, on the “Fans of SJWA” Facebook page thanks to Tom’s quick camera shutter finger.

So, what can we all do for him? I think one of the biggest things we can do is write letters (via email) about our thoughts on how Tom runs and manages San Jacinto. Tom has been involved in an out of class grievance with the DFW and they are fighting it. Just write up a few short lines and how Tom runs things at SJWA. If he’s helped you out, some of the work and the extra work you’ve seen Tom do, and anything else Tom’s done that you think is noteworthy. Just a little atta boy on how well he runs the place. As I’ve said many a time, if the rest of the state employees were like Tom, we’d have a lot fewer problems in this state. (Can you imagine how well run a DMV full of Tom Trakeses would be? Well, maybe that’s TOO much to wish for). If you are so inclined to write an email letter for Tom, send it directly to him at Tom4huck@hotmail.com to make sure he sees every one of them. He’ll forward them to the DFW people that need to know.

Another thing we can all chip in on for Tom is his daughter has started a GoFundMe to buy Tom his dream camera. Tom has come a long way with his photography since the first pictures he posted online many years ago. We can all pitch in to get Tom the next step in photography equipment to “play with” for his retirement. If you are of a mind to donate here’s the GoFundMe link…

https://gofund.me/d662d47a

The third thing we can do is attend Tom’s retirement party on March 18th at 4pm at The Ramona Event Center in Hemet (the old bowling alley) at 42151 E. Florida Ave. There’s a Facebook invite out on this which you can find at…

https://fb.me/e/2VUk06Bzz

…February 18th is the last day to RSVP to this invite, so they know how many people are going to attend. I’ll not rehash all the party details here, just click on the link and you’ll have all the info.

So, Tom is leaving us for a better life in Idaho, (who can blame him?). Those will be big shoes to fill. Adios, my friend.

New Kern Hunting Map Available

The Staff at Kern National Wildlife Refuge has contacted SoCalHunt and asked that we get the word out that there is a new hunting map for the refuge for the upcoming Wednesday (12/21/22) hunt day. They advised they would be unable to get their webpage updated before the next hunt day and asked that SoCalHunt get the map out to anyone that might need it.

You can find the new Kern map, which is dated 12/19/22, on SoCalHunt’s website Maps and Downloads Page at http://www.socalhunt.com/maps-and-downloads.html . Just scroll down the page a ways and you’ll find it. Click on the image of the map to download a pdf copy of it.

SoCalHunt will update all info and maps on the Maps and Downloads page any time we are made aware of any changes.

2023 Warden Stamps Now Available

Back on November 3rd, SoCalHunt posted an announcement that the new 2023 DFW Warden Stamp would be available in late November. (see post here)…

…Well, there was apparently some sort of delay because the 2023 version of the stamp just became available. I just wanted to do a quick post since there’s been quite a delay since SoCalHunt put out the original post. So, click the link above for details and, if you’re so inclined, go get a Warden Stamp or two. I just ordered mine.

Shotgun Raffle at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga to Benefit San Jacinto’s 29th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt

Once again, Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, along with Quail Forever are teaming up to sponsor a raffle to raise money to purchase prizes for San Jacinto’s 29th Annual Junior Waterfowl hunt, which will be held on Saturday, February 4th, 2023. Raffle tickets are available at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga (see below for a Google Maps link to Bass Pros Shop’s location):

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bass+Pro+Shops/@34.1128172,-117.5291929,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x80c34a185980b999:0x55a12fc2ca27c64a!8m2!3d34.1128128!4d-117.5270042?hl=en

There will be two shotguns available in this raffle. Both are Winchester Super X Waterfowl pump guns. All the money raised by this raffle will go to purchase prizes for San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt. Tickets are only $5 each! The drawing for the shotguns will be held on December 23rd, 2022, at 5:00 pm. Winners need not be present to win. All money from the raffle will be used to purchase prizes for the Junior Hunt giveaway.

In addition, if you’d like to support this great event for our Junior Hunters by donating prizes of your own you can do that by following the procedure laid out in the SoCalHunt post at the link below:

If you’d like to donate a prize or two (or more) for the Junior Hunt don’t let a little paperwork scare you. It’s not that hard, I know, I’ve done it every year since this requirement was put in place.

So, here’s a great chance to get a nice shotgun for a few bucks and support a great event for our Junior Hunters, the future of our sport.

2023 California Game Warden Stamp Available Late November

Yup! It’s that time of year again. If you’ve followed SoCalHunt for any time more than a year you’ve seen this before. However, I’m going to say it again.

Once more the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the 2023 edition of the Warden Stamp will be available starting late November. Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the desert somewhere or something for the last nine years, you’re probably aware that the Department of Fish and Game changed its name on January 1st, 2013 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. With that change our brave and dedicated Game Wardens were designated as “Wildlife Officers”, and it even says so on the Warden Stamps since 2014, but most hunters and fisherpersons still call them “Wardens” and the DFW is still calling this the “Warden Stamp”.

The new Warden Stamp, for 2023 will be available for purchase online via the CDFW online license services (ALDS) beginning in late November. To purchase the new Warden Stamp, on or after the release date in November just follow the link below to purchase via the ALDS system.

Click on the below link to go to the Warden Stamp page and follow the instructions to buy it online:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Warden-Stamp

The Game Warden Stamp isn’t really a “stamp” for your license, such as your federal duck stamp is, although the name might lead you to believe that, rather it’s a roughly 3” x 3” decal.

The 2023 version of the stamp is a green background and features the
CDFW wildlife officer badge and a depiction of a Lingcod. (see picture below)

The DFW still has their entire series of Warden Stamps available. If you like a prior year’s design better than this year’s or would like to collect the entire series, they are all still available, from the first one in 2010 up through this year’s stamps.

The 2022 version of the stamp is a yellowish-brown background and features the
CDFW wildlife officer badge and a profile of an American Bald Eagle’s head. The 2010 version is a green shield with a Warden’s badge and an elk silhouette on it. The 2011 version is a light blue background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a trout or salmon on it. The 2012 version has a dark brown background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a California quail on it. The 2013 version has a gold background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a duck landing on it. The 2014 version has a red background with a Warden’s badge and a silhouette of a lobster on it. The 2015 version of the stamp has a wood grain background with a Warden’s badge and the shadow of a bear on it. The 2016 version has a blue background with a Warden’s badge and the silhouettes of two bighorn sheep on it. The 2017 version of the stamp is a green background with a Warden’s badge and drawing of a sturgeon. The 2018 version of the stamp is an orange background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of a Warden K9. The 2019 version of the stamp is a dark blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of two snow geese flying. The 2020 version of the stamp is a deep blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of a Dorado on it. The 2021 version of the stamp is a dark green background and features the sesquicentennial CDFW wildlife officer badge and silhouettes of California conifer trees along with the CDFW bear that has been used on badges and department logo shields for decades.

(See pictures below). If you like them all you could buy one, or more, of each one if you want to.

The stamps are $5 each and the funds go into a special account. The money is used to provide our Game Wardens with additional equipment, training and new programs, such as new communications and surveillance devices, protective equipment, training in specialized areas, new law enforcement programs to assist them in their duties.

Due to State budget cuts, non-hunting / fishing politicians feel that the DFW is a “painless” way to cut back on the budget by giving the DFW less to do more with.
Quoting the DFW website on the Warden stamp:

” The Warden Stamp is a decal that can be proudly displayed on vehicles or other items. All funds raised from the sales of the stamp go to procure vital equipment, protective gear and training for wildlife officers and enhance our Law Enforcement Division’s K-9 program, all of which will increase an officer’s ability to combat the illegal take and commercialization of wildlife, the destruction of habitat, and enhance officer safety.

The Warden Stamp Program was initiated in 2010 to address the need for better equipment and training for the state’s wildlife officers and to provide funding for special law enforcement programs.

Wildlife crimes are on the rise and becoming more complex to solve. With approximately 400 wildlife officers in the state patrolling 159,000 square miles of natural habitat, the job is extremely demanding.

Officers must perform a number of roles including catching poachers, eradicating illegal marijuana grows, responding to oil spills, providing public safety, educating the public and much more. Every day is a new challenge.

• Wildlife officers protect more than 1,000 native fish and wildlife species, 6,300 native plant species and 360 threatened or endangered species.
• Wildlife officers patrol about 400 square miles of land per officer.
• Wildlife officers keep watch over 1,100 miles of coastline, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,800 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers.
• Wildlife officers patrol on foot, by plane, boat, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and even on horseback.
• There is approximately one wildlife officer for every 100,000 Californians.
By purchasing this special stamp you can show your support for the important work wildlife officers do.

Now – back to me…
As I’ve said every year that I’ve written about the Warden Stamp, the important point here, in my opinion, is getting the money to the “boots on the ground”. If your $5 (or more, if you can afford it) results in some equipment, training, or what have you that helps catch a poacher in your area the payoff may be more game or more fish for you and yours to legally harvest. And, the bottom line is, that’s what’s important. As for the “stamp”, stick it on your truck, ammo box, or tackle box, stick it in a drawer, throw it away if you want, do whatever you want with it. The important thing is to help give our Wardens the tools they need to protect our hunting and fishing heritage.

So, In late November, as I have done every year since 2010, I’m signing on to the DFW ALDS on my computer and ordering this year’s Warden Stamps.

Shotgun and Hunting Equipment Raffle at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Murrieta to Benefit San Jacinto’s 29th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt

Sportsman’s Warehouse in Murrieta is sponsoring a raffle to raise money to purchase prizes for San Jacinto’s 29th Annual Junior Waterfowl hunt, which will be held on Saturday, February 4th, 2023. Raffle tickets are available at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Murrieta (see below for a Google Maps link to the Sportsman’s Warehouse location):

https://www.google.com/maps/place/25070+Madison+Ave,+Murrieta,+CA+92562/@33.5584117,-117.2017253,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x80dc823f9b185f55:0xa92fc1a000ad293d!8m2!3d33.5584072!4d-117.1995366?hl=en

There will be four winners in this raffle. One winner will take home a brand-new Benelli Nova Field Pump Shotgun, another winner will be awarded a Landing Gear Bare Bones Blind Bag in Max5 Camo, a third lucky winner will take home a MOJO Elite Series Pintail Decoy, and the final winner will be awarded a Mojo Mud Seat. All the money raised by this raffle will go to purchase prizes for San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt. Tickets are only $5 each! The drawing for the prizes will be held on December 22nd, 2022, at 5:00 pm. Winners need not be present to win. All money from the raffle will be used to purchase prizes for the Junior Hunt giveaway.

In addition, if you’d like to support this great event for our Junior Hunters by donating prizes of your own you can do that by following the procedure laid out in the SoCalHunt post at the link below:

If you’d like to donate a prize or two (or more) for the Junior Hunt don’t let a little paperwork scare you. It’s not that hard, I know, I’ve done it every year since this requirement was put in place.

So, here’s a great chance to get a nice shotgun or some other duck gear for a few bucks and support a great event for our Junior Hunters, the future of our sport.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Annual Bryant Park Head Start Preschool Toy Drive Begins – Donations Needed

San Jacinto Wildlife Area has begun their Annual Toy Drive to benefit the Bryant Park Head Start Preschool! Tom Trakes and San Jacinto WA Staff are once again conducting a toy drive for the kids at the Bryant Park Head Start Preschool. This year, with Covid winding down, there are more kids than ever at the Bryant Park Preschool, so San Jacinto is starting the toy drive earlier than usual to be sure there are enough toys for every child.

SoCalHunt encourages all the hunters that hunt at San Jacinto in the next several weeks to bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate for the kids. This is a chance to show the general public that hunters really do have a heart. Hunters should bring in toys for the Head Start Preschool that are intended for 3 to 5-year-old boys and girls.

Donations for the Bryant Park Head Start Program will be accepted until December 15th. Santa Claus and the San Jacinto Staff will deliver them to the children shortly after. These donations do not need to go through the state procedures for donations (such as the donations for the Junior Hunt) as San Jacinto is not receiving the donations but is just a collection point for them.

Please take this opportunity to show that hunters really have a heart and do care. Donate to the San Jacinto Annual Toy Drive and support this great effort.

For further details please contact Tom at (951)-236-3040 or the San Jacinto Wildlife Area Office at (951)-928-0580. Toys can be donated at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area Office at 17050 Davis Road, Lakeview, CA 92567.


Thank you for your support!

Lake Perris Boat Blind Locations Posted

For the lucky ones that have pulled a reservation for the boat-based waterfowl hunting at Lake Perris for the 2022/2023 season, John Rowe of Lake Perris has posted the GPS locations of the boat-blind buoy locations along with a KLM file that can be used to mark the locations in apps like Google Maps, OnX, and other such apps. Here are the GPS numbers for the individual blind buoy locations:

Blind #1 33° 52′ 26.21″ N 117° 9′ 23.20″ W

Blind #2 33° 52′ 13.17″ N 117° 9′ 16.32″ W

Blind #3 33° 52′ 3.08″ N 117° 9′ 17.61″ W

Blind #4 33° 51′ 55.77″ N 117° 9′ 18.29″ W

Blind #5 33° 51′ 47.05″ N 117° 9′ 17.23″ W

Blind #6 33° 51′ 37.35″ N 117° 9′ 18.33″ W

Blind #7 33° 51′ 27.90″ N 117° 9′ 34.25″ W

Blind #8 33° 51′ 16.81″ N 117° 9′ 41.98″ W

Blind #9 33° 51′ 8.80″ N 117° 9′ 48.96″ W

A link to the KLM file can be found on the Perris Lake Hunting Program webpage at:

…just scroll down until you see a link labeled “9 Buoy Locations for Waterfowl” and click on it to download the KLM file. I have attached a Google Maps ariel view screen capture here to give you an idea of where the blinds are (below).

Good luck to all the Lake Perris hunters and stay safe out there.

CDFW To Hold Online Public Outreach Meeting Regarding Southern California Wildlife Areas Thursday, Oct. 6, from 3 to 4 pm

From the DFW website post regarding the meeting:

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold an online outreach meeting on Thursday, Oct. 6 to take comments and recommendations regarding hunting programs in Southern California wildlife areas, and to provide updates on habitat conditions and availability of water for wetlands during the drought. State wildlife areas to be discussed are the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County, and the Imperial Wildlife Area and the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge, both in Imperial County.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 3 to 4 p.m. using Microsoft Teams(opens in new tab) https://teams.microsoft.com/dl/launcher/launcher.html?url=%2F_%23%2Fl%2Fmeetup-join%2F19%3Ameeting_YTRjZWZiMjctNmU0Zi00Njk2LWI3YWItN2VlNzlhZDQ3MTdj%40thread.v2%2F0%3Fcontext%3D%257b%2522Tid%2522%253a%25224b633c25-efbf-4006-9f15-07442ba7aa0b%2522%252c%2522Oid%2522%253a%2522121f743c-b0e0-4191-8e32-45b17101bb5e%2522%257d%26anon%3Dtrue&type=meetup-join&deeplinkId=d0595a98-4ff1-4acb-a134-d2e5bd60112e&directDl=true&msLaunch=true&enableMobilePage=true&suppressPrompt=true .

Members of the public can join the meeting.
CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on Type A wildlife areas through public meetings and outreach.”

If you’d like to listen in or join the meeting, click the link above in the DFW article or here >>> Microsoft Teams – https://teams.microsoft.com/dl/launcher/launcher.html?url=%2F_%23%2Fl%2Fmeetup-join%2F19%3Ameeting_YTRjZWZiMjctNmU0Zi00Njk2LWI3YWItN2VlNzlhZDQ3MTdj%40thread.v2%2F0%3Fcontext%3D%257b%2522Tid%2522%253a%25224b633c25-efbf-4006-9f15-07442ba7aa0b%2522%252c%2522Oid%2522%253a%2522121f743c-b0e0-4191-8e32-45b17101bb5e%2522%257d%26anon%3Dtrue&type=meetup-join&deeplinkId=d0595a98-4ff1-4acb-a134-d2e5bd60112e&directDl=true&msLaunch=true&enableMobilePage=true&suppressPrompt=true .

Links below are to the two articles about this on the DFW website:

https://wildlife.ca.gov/Subscribe/c/469/ce/439977110/view/preview#lcpreview

https://wildlife.ca.gov/News/cdfw-to-hold-online-public-outreach-meeting-regarding-southern-california-wildlife-areas

Blind Clean-up Days Set for the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Sept. 19th and 23rd

It was brought to SoCaHunt’s attention that the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is having two blind clean-up days coming up soon and have put out a flyer asking for volunteers. If you’re not familiar with the Sonny Bono Refuge it is at the south end of Wister and, during hunting season, hunting there is accessed through Wister as part of their hunting program.

The clean-up days will be Monday, September 19th, and Friday, September 23rd. Volunteers will meet up at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Office Parking Lot at 906 W. Sinclair Rd., Calipatria, CA by 6:30 am. Blind clean-up will be conducted until about 11 am. The SBSSNWR Staff is asking that anyone who wants to participate either email or call to be added to the list of volunteers and that volunteers be 10 years old or older. They will provide trash bags for the clean-up. As usual with clean-up days like this it will be hot so bring plenty of water along with mosquito repellant, and a pair of gloves probably would be handy too.

If you have any questions, you can email Rachel_noriega@fws.gov or call the Sonny Bono Refuge Office at 760-348-5278. Below is a Google Maps link to the location of the SBSSNWR Office:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/906+W+Sinclair+Rd,+Calipatria,+CA+92233/@33.1895809,-115.5976683,8718m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x80d0aae4ecb29a4b:0x5565b6900b0ef968!8m2!3d33.1772929!4d-115.6155834?hl=en

…Just click “directions” and put your home address in and Google Maps will give you directions.

Kern NWR 2022/23 Season Opener Will be Delayed Again

Ok, I think we all expected this but here’s the “official” announcement. Pretty much the same as last season. I’ll just quote the Kern NWR website again (nothing more to say)…

2022-2023 Waterfowl Season Update:

Due to extreme drought conditions, Kern National Wildlife Refuge was allocated significantly less water than a normal 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 22, 2022, the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone opener. Therefore, Kern NWR will delay the hunt opener until November 19, 2022.

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 1-800-344-WILD (1-800-344-9453) or go to the contact page on Kern’s USFW web page at…

https://www.fws.gov/contact-us

…and fill out the contact form.

US Fish and Wildlife Reports Nationwide Duck Numbers Down for the 2022/2023 Waterfowl Season

As you probably already know, if you’ve followed SoCalHunt for the past few years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service canceled their 2020 and 2021 Waterfowl Population Survey, supposedly due to Covid. This year the USFWS reinstated the survey, and the results were just released.

Since 1955, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service have reported the results of their joint breeding population and habitat survey. Total duck numbers for this year were down 12 percent compared to 2019’s count. Most species dropped to some degree with the exception of Blue Wing Teal and Redheads, with Scaup showing no increase or decrease. As for the long-term averages, out of the species surveyed 5 were down from their long-term averages, and 4 were above their long-term averages with Green Wing Teal right on their long-term average.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Report on Waterfowl Population Status, 2022 can be viewed at: https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/waterfowl-population-status-report-2022.pdf

In the summary of this report, it states “In the traditional survey area, which includes strata 1–18, 20–50, and 75–77, the total duck population estimate (excluding scoters [Melanitta spp.], eiders [Somateria spp. and Polysticta spp.], long-tailed ducks [Clangula hyemalis], mergansers [Mergus spp. and Lophodytes cucullatus], and wood ducks [Aix sponsa]) was 34.2 ± 0.6 million birds. This estimate was 12% below the 2019 estimate of 38.9 ± 0.7 million, which was the last year a survey was conducted and 4% below the long-term average (1955–2019). Estimated mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) abundance was 7.2 ± 0.2 million, which was 23% below the 2019 estimate of 9.4 ± 0.3 million and 9% below the long-term average of 7.9 ± 0.04 million. In the traditional survey area the 2022 estimate for blue-winged teal (Spatula discors; 6.5 ± 0.3 million) was 19% above the 2019 estimate and 27% above the long-term average of 5.1 ± 0.04 million. Estimated abundance of gadwall (Mareca strepera; 2.7 ± 0.1 million) was 18% below the 2019 estimate and 30% above the long-term average of 2.0 ± 0.2 million. The 2022 northern shoveler (Spatula clypeata) estimate of 3.0 ± 0.2 million was 17% below the 2019 estimate iii of 3.6 ± 0.2 million and 15% above the long-term average of 2.6 ± 0.02 million. The estimated abundance of green-winged teal (Anas crecca) was 2.2 ± 0.2 million, which was 32% below the 2019 estimate of 3.2 ± 0.2 million and similar to the long-term average, while the canvasback (Aythya valisineria) estimate of 0.6±0.05 million was similar to the 2019 estimate and the long-term average. Estimated abundance of redheads (A. americana; 1.0 ± 0.1 million) was 35% higher than the 2019 estimate and 36% higher than the long-term average of 0.7 ± 0.01 million. Northern pintail (Anas acuta) abundance (1.8 ± 0.2 million) was 21% below the 2019 estimate of 2.3 ± 0.1 million and 54% below the long-term average of 3.9 ± 0.03 million. The abundance estimate for American wigeon (Mareca americana; 2.1±0.1 million) was 25% below the 2019 estimate and 19% below the long-term average of 2.6 ± 0.02 million. The combined estimate of lesser and greater scaup (A. afnis and A. marila; 3.6 ± 0.2 million) was similar to the 2019 estimate and 28% lower than the long-term average of 5.0 ± 0.04 million. A time series for assessing changes in green-winged teal, ring-necked duck (A. collaris), goldeneye (Bucephala clangula and B. islandica), merganser, and American black duck (A. rubripes) population status in the eastern survey area is provided by breeding waterfowl surveys conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) in Maine and eastern Canada. The estimate of goldeneyes was 0.7 ± 0.2 million, which was similar to the 2019 estimate and 1998–2019 average. Ring-necked ducks (0.6 ± 0.1 million) and green-winged teal (0.3 ± 0.07 million) were similar to their 2019 estimates and the long-term averages. The estimate of mergansers was 0.9 ± 0.1 million, which was 13% above the 2019 estimate and 19% above the long-term average. The 2022 estimate of American black ducks in the eastern survey area was 0.8 ± 0.09 million, which was similar to the 2019 estimate of 0.7 ± 0.07 million and the 1998–2019 average. The black duck estimate at the plot survey scale, which is used for management, was 0.57 ± 0.04 million. Eastern mallard population status is derived by integrating data from the eastern survey area and ground plot surveys conducted in the northeastern U.S. states of Virginia north to New Hampshire. The estimated abundance of mallards in 2022 was 1.2 ± 0.16 million, which was 15% above the 2019 estimate and similar to the long-term average.”

Below I’ll include a graphic on this survey that was put out by Ducks Unlimited as it’s probably a little easier to understand than lines and lines of numbers.

As of this report, it’s 63 days until the season opens here in Southern California. It’s a great time to start getting all your duck hunting gear ship-shape and maybe go shoot a few rounds of trap or skeet to tune up. Despite the lower duck numbers in the USFW survey the bigger factor for us down in this part of the state is to get the birds moving our way will be the weather. Hopefully, we’ll get the weather and the birds will migrate early, and we’ll have another great season at San Jacinto!

Lake Perris Draw Results Posted

Lake Perris posted the results of their drawing for their Wednesday waterfowl hunts for the coming season. They also added a Sunday hunt on opening weekend. Click the link to go to their hunting program page and, once there, click the link for “Award List for 2022-2023 Waterfowl Season”. Hope you got picked if you put in for a hunt.

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24697&fbclid=IwAR1qv7vt9_1HBOhfK9pRsNDxicHMqFFbbDwcwk9jFT5yiH0WPTShixSBEk8

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Volunteer Blind Brush-Up Workday set for Saturday, August 20, 2022

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the first volunteer workday for the upcoming season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area has been scheduled. The date is Saturday, August 20th. The workdays will be primarily for building, repairing, and brushing-up blinds and cleaning up the general hunting areas around them. Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 6:30 AM and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring work gloves, sturdy boots or shoes, Shovels, wire cutters, pliers, etc, and waders if you have them. Some of the ponds may still be flooded. Also, obviously, the weather will be HOT so bring lots of water, sunscreen & mosquito repellent.

Tom is also requesting that anyone that has access to palm fronds and would like to get rid of them to drop them off at San Jacinto Wildlife Area any time. The palm fronds are needed to brush up the wildlife area’s blinds for the upcoming waterfowl hunting season as well as to have some on hand for repairs to the blinds throughout the season. Anyone who is trimming palm trees and wants to bring them around to San Jacinto to get rid of them or knows someone who is trimming palm trees and wants to save the fee the dump would charge them, give Tom a call at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for someone to be there so you can drop them off. He also wanted me to remind people that they DO NOT want fronds that have the thorns on them. Don’t bring the wader-rippers but other, non-thorny palm fronds are welcome. The thorn-laden fronds are okay to use, however, if you’re willing to strip off the thorns prior to bringing them in.

After the work is done, we will get together at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch. (Each person responsible for their own bill).

Hopefully, we’ll have a great turnout so we can get the blinds and hunting area prepped for another waterfowl season. SJ is very short-staffed right now and needs all the help they can get to get ready for the season. As I always say, the more the merrier (and the less work for each person).

A second volunteer blind brush-up day is tentatively set for Saturday, September 10th, 2022. Mark your calendar and watch for details here at SoCalHunt soon!

If you have any questions contact Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580.

Date Set for Special Volunteer Workday at San Jacinto Wildlife Area – July 9th

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that they have scheduled a Special Volunteer Workday for the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. The date is Saturday, July 9th. This special workday is for the assembly and installation of three new prefab metal permit booths. These booths will replace the old, worn-out wooden permit booths on Davis Rd. (across from the check station), at the Dog Training Area, and a new one will be installed at Bridge Street. These booths are to honor a long-time regular, James Honeyfield, who passed away in 2021. James’ family has raised money to purchase these new permit booths for SJWA to honor James’ memory.

Volunteers are asked to gather at 6:00 AM at the SJ Check Station Parking Lot. Tom advised that anyone coming out to volunteer should bring gloves, and if you have a battery-powered drill/screwdriver that might come in handy also.

As always for this time of year, sunscreen and mosquito repellent are suggested as good ideas. SJWA staff will provide cold bottled water for this workday. After the work is done, we will get together at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant for a well-deserved lunch (each person responsible for their own bill).

Hopefully, we’ll have a good turnout and the new permit booths will go up in short order, ready for the coming season. As always, when it comes to workdays, the more volunteers the better (meaning less work for each person).

Tom expects to have the usual Blind Brush-up Workdays scheduled soon, the first one likely in late July or early August. Watch SoCalHunt for the regular Blind Brush-up Workdays dates to be scheduled soon!

If you have any questions, contact Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040.

Miracles Do Occur – Duck Hunting Returning to Perris Lake for 2022/23 season

After a 17-year hiatus, the Lake Perris State Recreation Area will be reopening waterfowl hunting every Wednesday during the 2022/23 Southern California Zone hunting season. Duck hunting was suspended indefinitely in 2005 due to the lake being drawn down for repair work on Perris Dam.

Although the major part of the work on the dam was completed in 2018, and they started to fill the lake, duck hunting was still not reinstated.

Today, (5/27/22), SoCalHunt received information that the Lake Perris State Recreation Area will once again be allowing duck hunting on the lake. Hunting will be by boat only. Hunting days are every Wednesday during the season. There will be no Saturday or Sunday duck hunting. Quitting time will be 12 noon each hunt day and all boats will be off the water by 1:00 PM. There will be 9 hunting sites, actually mooring buoys, which hunters will have to stay within 20 yards of. Whoever is operating the boat will need to have a California Boating Card under the following circumstances. At the start of the season if the boat has a motor 15 HP or larger anyone 45 years old and under needs the boating card. On January 1st, 2023, that changes, and anyone 50 or younger need the boating card if the motor on the boat is larger than 15 HP. If you’re over those ages at those times, or your boat motor is under 15 HP, you don’t need the boating card. NOTE – this is only required for the person operating the boat.

Hunters will be chosen by lottery ONLY. There will be no sweatline, no walk-ons, and no refills. A drawing for all hunting spots will be held on August 5th, 2022. Applications can be mailed or dropped off between July 1st and August 1st, 2022. There is a $7.50 application fee. This fee is for the entire season (which, because it’s only Wednesdays, is 14 days). Each applicant will be considered for all hunt days.

Hunting party size will be a maximum of between 2 to 4 hunters, determined by the size of the boat the hunters are utilizing. The minimum length of boats allowed on the Perris hunting program is 11 feet. 2 hunters are allowed if the boat is between 11 and 13 feet. If the boat is between 13 and 16 feet 3 hunters are allowed, and if the boat is over 16 feet, then 4 hunters are allowed. No float tubes, inflatables, kayaks, jet skis, or paddleboards will be allowed. Hunting fees per hunt day will be $50 for 1 hunter, $70 for 2 hunters, $90 for 3 hunters, and $110 for 4 hunters. Junior hunters and dogs are free.

So, anyway, great news! Perris Lake duck hunting again. I was beginning to think it would never happen again.

There are additional rules and requirements to be aware of for the drawing, the hunting, the boats required, and so forth but not being one to reinvent the wheel I’ll just refer you to the below links for further study. So, if you’ve got a boat you can use for duck hunting here is a nearby opportunity to utilize it the way it was meant to be used. Good luck and stay safe. Don’t forget the all-important life jackets. (Links to additional info and hunt application below)

Link to the general Lake Perris hunting page, which also includes info on their upland hunting program… https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24697&fbclid=IwAR37AHmXRdvoFE0iZsnxRXEwWtQztNCCZf6dJQdvu7XMXSjuxlR7fxzMZrg

Link to the detailed information about the Lake Perris Duck Hunting program… https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/651/files/Lake%20Perris%202022-2023%20Waterfowl%20Program%20Final.pdf

Link to the 2022/23 season application form for duck hunting at Lake Perris… https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/651/files/Hunting%20Application%202022-23.pdf

Follow Up – Fish and Game Commission Takes No Action on Petition to Ban Hunting on Navigable Waterways in the Benicia, CA Area – So Far

The California Waterfowl Association reported that the Fish and Game Commission, during their April 21st meeting, basically took no action on the petition to ban hunting on the navigable waterways in the Benicia, CA Area. The Commission asked the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to report back to the Commission on the issue, likely at the Commission’s next meeting in mid-May.  You can check CWA’s report on this action by the Fish and Game Commission by clicking the below link…

https://calwaterfowl.org/news/benecia-waterfowl-hunting-ban?fbclid=IwAR08i1aidV406Qol6K3-vdjScblm5qz-phZHHlyct9029RnCKV8nj0n-Hco

So, this is still pending however with the unanimous rejection of the petition to ban bear hunting by the Commission and the fact that in the last 20 years efforts by other local residents or entities attempting to petition the F&G Commission or the DFW to ban waterfowl hunting on state-managed navigable waters, including Tomales Bay and Morro Bay have failed this one will hopefully suffer the same fate. Only time (and the Commission) will tell.

California Fish and Game Commission Sets 2022/23 Season Regulations

The California Fish and Game Commission, during their April 21st meeting, adopted changes to the waterfowl season dates and regulations for the 2022/23 waterfowl season.

Regulations adopted for the Southern California Zone (which will cover San Jacinto Wildlife Area):
Seasons: Ducks and Geese: October 22, 2022 through January 31, 2023.
Special Youth Hunt Days: February 4 and February 5, 2023. (San Jacinto’s Annual Youth Hunt will be on February 4th, 2023).
Special Veteran/Active Duty Military Hunt Days: February 11 and February 12, 2023 (San Jacinto’s Annual Vet/Active Duty Hunt will be February 11th, 2023)

Limits: Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7. Which may consist of 7 Mallards, of which only 2 can be female; 1 Pintail; 2 Canvasback; 2 Redheads; 2 Scaup. (Scaup may only be taken from November 7th, 2022 through January 31st, 2023 – so again, be careful the first two weeks of the season).

Geese: Daily bag limit: 23 of which 20 may be White Geese and 3 may be Dark Geese.

Possession Limit Ducks and Geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

Black Brant (Although a “sea goose” I’ll add this because occasionally a few seem to show up at San Jacinto): November 9, 2022 – December 15, 2022. Daily bag limit: 2 per day. Possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.

“Electronic” Spinning wing decoys (AKA – mojos) will be allowed from December 1st until the season ends (statewide) – non-motorized /wind-powered mojos are allowed all season. (NOTE – Again, as far as I could find this was not mentioned in the season regulation changes at the Commission meeting so I’m listing the dates based on last season’s regulations (assuming no changes). This has been December 1st for as long as I can remember but check with the official regulations once they are posted on the DFW website or the printed regulation books when they come out, probably in a couple of months but still well before the season).

Once again, we have an extended end date for the season, to January 31st. This season, January 31st is on a Tuesday, so SJ’s last actual hunt day will be Saturday, January 28th. With that info, it appears that all the regulations for the 22/23 season stayed consistent with last season’s regulations.

So, there it is. The regulations are set, and Tom and the entire SJWA Crew are working hard to get San Jacinto Wildlife Area in ship shape for the upcoming 2022/2023 waterfowl season. The SJ Staff should be able to get a couple more clean-up/brush-up days scheduled soon to assist in getting things ready for the season. When the clean-up/brush-up workdays get scheduled try to pitch in and help if you’re able – Info will be posted here on SoCalHunt when I receive it. Hopefully, at least some of Mystic Lake is still going to be there which usually helps enhance the bird numbers at San Jacinto!

The above information is provided as a general guide only. Although they haven’t updated the DFW website with the newly adopted regulations yet when they do, probably in a month or two (still well before the season) please check the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website at:

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations

Now, as it is with every season, all we need is to get some weather up north at the right time, hopefully early in the season, to drive the birds down to us and we can all look forward to another great season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area.

March 12th – San Jacinto Wildlife Area Volunteer Clean-Up Work Day

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the first volunteer work day for the upcoming season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be Saturday, March 12th. This work day will be primarily for cleaning up the blinds and the general hunting areas around them. Due to state COVID-19 policies masks will be used and we will adhere to social distancing, working in small groups. Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 6:30 AM and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring gloves, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, lots of water since it may be warm and, of course, a mask.

After the work is done, we will get together at a local restaurant for a well-deserved lunch (each person responsible for their own bill).

Hopefully, we’ll have a good turnout so we can get the blinds and hunting area cleaned up to get started on preparations for another waterfowl season. As I always say, the more the merrier (and the less work for each person).

If you have any questions contact Tom Trakes at the San Jacinto headquarters at (951) 236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580.

Heads Up! Special Notice for regulations for the Upcoming San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt

Tom Trakes wanted me to get the word out to all the Junior Hunters and their adults regarding the regulations that the SJ Staff have to go by for the upcoming Junior Waterfowl Hunt on Saturday, February 5th. Tom wanted to get the word out on this as they simply DO NOT want to have to turn away any Junior Hunter just because they (or their responsible adult) didn’t know.

There are some state and federal regulations that everyone needs to be aware of for Junior Hunters participating in the SJWA Junior Waterfowl hunt.

Participation in the Junior Hunt is limited to Junior Hunters that are under 18 years old on February 5th. This means that if a Junior Hunter’s 18th birthday is on Feb 5th or before they cannot participate in the Junior Hunt.

Any Junior Hunter that is 16 or over on February 5th need the following
in addition to their regular hunting license:

#1 – A California Waterfowl Validation.

#2 – A Federal Duck Stamp.

#3 – A California HIP (Harvest Information Program) Validation.

#4 – A Type “A” Area Pass.

If the Junior hunter will be 16 or over on February 5th and doesn’t have these four items in addition to their regular hunting license GET THEM NOW! Don’t wait! No passes or stamps are sold at the check station and BY LAW the Junior hunter that is 16 or over cannot participate in the hunt without them. Let’s not let anyone get disappointed and make sure everyone has all their ducks in a row (pun intended) so no one gets turned away.

Remember all Junior Hunters must have an adult (non-hunting of course) with them in the blind for the Junior Hunt, at least one adult per blind. If you don’t have a reservation, be sure you’re at the check station (17050 Davis Rd., Nuevo, CA 92567) at 3 AM to get in on the Sweatline Drawing.

Hopefully, this clarifies what the requirements are for the Junior Hunters to participate in the great event, and no one will be disappointed and turned away.

Good luck and great hunting!

Any questions on any of this contact Tom Trakes at 951-236-3040 for any clarification needed.


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