Archive for the 'Announcements' Category

Follow Up – Notes on Kern National Wildlife Refuge and the Shutdown

Now that the Government Shutdown is over, at least temporally, SoCalHunt has again reached out to the Kern National Wildlife Refuge regarding the publication of the hunt results since the shutdown went into effect.

We, as hunters, should be thankful that the hunting program at Kern NWR was allowed to continue despite the shutdown.

As you probably know, even though hunting continued, SoCalHunt didn’t receive any hunt results from Kern.  So far, since the shutdown ended, SoCalHunt hasn’t received any hunt result information from Kern from the point the shutdown started until the end of the season.  This is understandable since the season is over (except for the Junior Hunt day coming up this Saturday) it is not a priority to publish this information.  There are plenty of habitat management priorities to get up and running before the Kern Staff gets to this.  SoCalHunt did contact a member of the Kern Staff and was assured that they would publish this information after other priorities are taken care of.

This is the latest info SoCalHunt has from Kern NWR regarding the end of the Government Shutdown.  As soon as SoCalHunt gets Kern’s hunt results info you can be assured, it will be posted here ASAP.

Again, thanks for your patience regarding the missing info during the shutdown.  I’m sure the Kern NWR Staff appreciates your patience also.



2019 California Game Warden Stamp Now Available

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the 2019 edition of the Warden Stamp is now available.  As we all should know by now the Department of Fish and Game changed its name on January 1st, 2013 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The DFW officially calls their Wardens “Wildlife Officers” now, 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 2019 is now available for purchase online via the CDFW online license services (ALDS).  To purchase the new Warden Stamp, 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:

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 2019 version of the stamp is a dark blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of two snow geese flying.  (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 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. (See pictures below). If you like them all you could buy one, or more, of each one if you want to.

2010 Warden Stamp

2011 Warden Stamp



2014 Warden Stamp_bid





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 purchase:

  • New communications and surveillance devices
  • Protective equipment
  • Training in specialized areas
  • New law enforcement programs, such as the CDFW’s K-9 Program

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. Purchase online today!”

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.

Now, as I have done every year since 2010, excuse me while I pull up the ALDS on my computer and order this year’s Warden Stamps.

SoCalHunt Now Including Kern National Wildlife Refuge Bird Count Reports / Maps

Beginning with the Wednesday 11/28/2018 hunt day SoCalHunt will now be publishing the Kern National Wildlife Refuge bird counts each week along with San Jacinto Wildlife Area and the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area counts.  SoCalHunt now has a source for the Kern bird counts so they will be included each week as soon as the US Fish and Wildlife Service (which runs Kern as it’s a Federal Refuge) can get the info to us.

In addition, on the SoCalHunt website “Maps and Downloads” page we have included the Kern NWR area map and a link to a google maps page so you can find directions to get to Kern.  Just click the link below to check it out:

(Scroll down to near the bottom of the page to find the Kern NWR map links)

Good luck, no matter which of our So. Cal. Duck spots you choose to hunt.  See you out there some time!

Missing Wister Bird Stats – Info

As you probably know SoCalHunt, in addition to posting the bird counts and averages for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, has also been posting the bird counts and averages for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for the past few seasons.  You may also have noticed that all of a sudden, the counts for Wister are missing.  The last Wister report was for Wednesday, 11/7/18.

For some unknown reason, the DFW staff at Wister has quit emailing SoCalHunt the Wister information.  Upon contact with them, I was told that the reason was “We are having other employees do the composition reports due to schedule changes.”  However, so far, we have not received further reports from Wister.

We are working with the DFW to get this straightened out ASAP.  When the reports come in, we will post them, usually within a day maximum of receiving them.

This is not meant as a criticism of the Wister Staff or the DFW.  As most of you probably know, especially in a big government organization, when changes are made sometimes there are glitches in the system.  With any luck, this should be resolved soon.  I just wanted to put this out there as an explanation as to why the Wister reports suddenly disappeared.  Hopefully, we’ll be back to normal on this soon.  Thanks for your patience on this.


Donations Needed for San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 25th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Giveaway

On February 2nd, 2019, one week after the last regular season hunt day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Junior Hunters will have a unique opportunity to end the season on a high note by participating in the 25th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt.  Traditionally the hunting on this day has been great to fantastic, attributed to the fact that the birds have had a week off and we’re then a week deeper into the migration.

Of course, besides the hunting, one of the great things about the SJWA Junior Hunt is the lunch and giveaway at mid-day.  The Junior Hunters hunt cards are entered into a drawing for all kinds of great prizes and usually there’s enough to go around that the Junior Hunters walk away with at least two giveaway prizes each!  The San Jacinto Staff puts in a lot of work on this Junior Hunt as do many volunteers. The SJ crew and the volunteers truly believe the annual San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt is an important event to pique the interest of our up and coming Junior Hunters who will be the future of hunting in California.

This year, being the 25th Annual Junior Hunt, it would be nice to see a flood of donations for the giveaway prizes to make a really impressive show for our great Junior Hunters.

In 2015 there was a change in state policy regarding donations for the annual Junior Hunt.  Per the change in policy, by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, donations of money, food or merchandise cannot be accepted unless the donations go through a formal acceptance procedure. (You can read SoCalHunt’s post on the 2015 donation procedures change at this link:  )

I should note that this donation procedure will not affect San Jacinto’s Annual Toy Drive for the Bryant Park Preschool as, in that case, they are just collecting the toys for the preschool and the donated toys are not being donated to the DFW, they are just the middle-man in that situation so the toy box will be at the check station as usual.  There is no formal acceptance procedure required for the Toy Drive donations.

So, if you are of a mind to contribute anything to the Annual Junior Hunt, which will be held on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 this season, you need to contact Tom Trakes at either his phone at 951-236-3040 or email at by January 15th,  2019.

To break it down for you though, after you wade through all the State bureaucratic mess, what it boils down to is sending Tom Trakes a simple email detailing what you intend to donate.  To make it easy I’ve included a link below to the SoCalHunt website’s “Maps and Downloads” page.  At the very bottom of this page, I’ve posted a link to an MS Word file of an example email to send to Tom Trakes so you can make your donation.  Just follow the instructions at the top of the Word file. Just copy and paste this into an email and plug in what you’re donating and the details in the underlined sections.  The Donation Email MS Word file will be found at the very bottom of the SoCalHunt website’s “Maps and Downloads” page. Just click on it to download the Word file to your computer.

Hopefully, this season’s Junior Hunt will be a record event, both in birds harvested and giveaway prizes donated.  This is a great opportunity to show our Junior Hunters how much we value them as the future of our sport, so I hope you can contribute to this great cause.

Thanks in advance to all who can donate and/or volunteer this year!

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Annual Bryant Park Preschool Toy Drive Begins

San Jacinto Wildlife Area has begun their Annual Toy Drive!  Tom Trakes and the crew at San Jacinto Wildlife Area, told SoCalHunt that this year’s Toy Drive will again benefit the Bryant Park Head Start Preschool.

SoCalHunt encourages all the hunters that hunt at San Jacinto in the next several weeks bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the kids.  This is a chance to show the general public that hunters 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. The San Jacinto Staff, along with Santa Claus, delivering them shortly after.  These donations don’t 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! Now Has the Current Blind Maps and Area Rules for San Jacinto Wildlife Area and Wister Along With GPS Coordinates For All SJ Blinds

The SoCalHunt website, , now has downloadable pdf files for the 2018/2019 season San Jacinto Wildlife Area blind map and area rules and the Wister Wildlife Area blind map and area rules.  Also, for the first time, we have a downloadable pdf file of all of the GPS coordinates for the San Jacinto blind locations.  These files can be found on the Maps and Downloads page of the SoCalHunt website (not here on the SoCalHunt Blog) at the above link.  Just click on the above link and then go to the Maps and Downloads page.  Click on the map or GPS list image you want, and you can download a pdf file to view and/or print.  All three of these files are 2 pages long.

On the San Jacinto Wildlife Area map for this season, you will notice that some of the blinds have shaded areas around them.  These shaded areas are areas that you will be allowed to “roam” near those blinds to hunt.  In addition, the SJ Staff, again going the extra mile, has gone to the trouble of marking each blind’s GPS coordinates to assist hunters in finding their hunting location at 0-dark-30.  So now, you just need to put the GPS numbers in your GPS or GPS smartphone app and you’ll know where your blind is located, even if you’re a first timer.  Of course, you’ll have to use some common sense and follow the twists and turns of the dikes to get to the blinds, not just go busting through the brush and across the middle of ponds because that’s the way the GPS points you.

As I type this the season kickoff is less than two days away so, hopefully, the above info will assist you in picking and getting to your hunting site this season.  Hope to see you out there this season!

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