Archive for the 'Announcements' Category

2020 California Game Warden Stamp Now Available

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announces the 2020 edition of the Warden Stamp is now available.  Unless you’ve been in a coma or something for the last seven 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 good old 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 2020 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:

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 2020 version of the stamp is a deep blue background with a Warden’s badge and a drawing of a Dorado, one of our prized migratory game fish that are caught offshore in Southern California almost every summer, in case you’re not familiar with them.  (see picture below)

The DFW still has its 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. 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 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 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. All funds raised from the sales of the stamp go to purchase necessary equipment for wildlife officers and to support CDFW’s K-9 program.

“Those who purchase the Warden Stamp – hunters, anglers and non-consumptive users – appreciate and want to conserve our state’s amazing natural resources,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Purchase of the stamp demonstrates public support of wildlife officers and allows them to do their jobs more safely and efficiently.”

Approximately 465 wildlife officers patrol and protect 159,000 square miles of California’s natural habitat and 200 miles out to sea. Though their primary function is to enforce California’s Fish and Game Code, they may be called upon to enforce any of California’s laws.

Wildlife officers patrol on foot, on horseback, by plane, boats and in a variety of vehicles. They investigate reports of violations, collect and preserve evidence, write reports and testify in court.

Wildlife officers are also expected to promote and coordinate hunter education programs, collect and report information on the conditions of fish and wildlife and their habitat and represent CDFW at local schools, meetings of hunting and fishing clubs and other community events.”

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.

 

Wednesday, December 25th – All State Wildlife Areas and Federal Refuges Closed for Hunting

As I write this it’s 16 days until Christmas.  I figured it was a good time, for planning purposes, to remind everyone that on Wednesday, December 25th, Christmas Day, our two So Cal State Wildlife Areas, San Jacinto Wildlife Area and Wister, along with our Federal Refuge, Kern NWR, as well as all other refuges and wildlife areas in the State, will be closed to hunting.  This is just a reminder as I’m sure most hunters were aware of this already.  So, if you get a new shotgun, pair of waders, or a new duck call from Santa or any other kind friend or relative you’ll have to wait until the next Saturday, December 28th, to try them out.  Here’s wishing staffs at San Jacinto, Wister, and Kern a Merry Christmas and a well-deserved day off with family and friends.  SoCalHunt would also like to wish all who read this a wonderful Christmas day and good luck when we get back to hunting on the 28th.

 

Shotgun Raffle at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga to Benefit San Jacinto’s 26th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt

Once again, Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, along with Quail Unlimited are sponsoring a raffle to raise money to purchase prizes for San Jacinto’s 26th Annual Junior Waterfowl hunt, which will be held on Saturday, February 8th, 2020.   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 winners in this raffle and each winner will take home a brand-new Remington 870 Express shotgun.  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, 2019 and winners need not be present to win.

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:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-26th-annual-junior-waterfowl-hunt-giveaway-donations-needed/

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.

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

 

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Annual Bryant Park Head Start Preschool Toy Drive Launches

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.

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 18th. 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!

Report on Wister Conditions – Access via highway111 – Version II – Update as of 10/17/19

This is a follow-up report to update the report SoCalHunt posted on 10/12/19 with new information on Wister and Highway 111. Anybody going to go to Wister for the opener of the waterfowl season Saturday (10/19/19) here is updated information as of 10/17/19 at about 4 PM regarding conditions at Wister and the road conditions that might affect your ability to get there.

Scott Sewell, Senior Fish and Wildlife Habitat Supervisor with the Department of Fish and Wildlife gave the following information and reported the conditions for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area:

“I would like to thank you all for your support and I appreciate the feedback. First off, Hwy 111 is open and there is access from the north and south. As many of you know we have been faced with challenges at IWA and as I have said before “we will overcome them”. Even with Wister being 80-85% full we are still higher than the majority of WLA’s in the State in the flooding to acreage ratio. The ponds that are filling will provide new habitat and forage for the coming months. Social media has not accurately described our current position and forecast. Wister does have vegetation management issues but overall is looking good and will be ready for the season. Some of the comments made are simply inaccurate. We have very hard-working employees that are doing the best they can. I currently have a smaller crew than usual, but I have just hired 2 new FWT, I still have 1 FWT out on leave, I will be hiring a new WHS1, and I will be hiring a new seasonal or two. We will rebuild and will be stronger. Thank you for your support and good luck this weekend and season.

Wetland Units
514 ponded
513 ponded
413 East ponded
413 West 1&2 ponded 3 finishing 4 filling
312 A &B ponded C filling
115 A, B & C ponded
114 A &B ponded
Y15 A ponded B 2&3 ponded 1 filling
Y16 A 1&2 ponded B ponded
W11 A reservoir ponded B 1&3 ponded
W11 D 2 &4 ponded, 1&3 dry and will fill, 5 filling
U10 ponded
U12 ponded with 1 filling
U14 2,3,4&5 filling
T10 water ordered for Green feed 2&4
T10 1,3&5 will pond after Green feed
T12 ponded
T14 2,3,4&5 filling
S20 ponded
S22 2&4 filling
Hazards all ponded
Green Feed Fields
413 dry wheat
312 A Dry wheat
115 B 2&4 Rye irrigated
U10 2&4 Rye irrigated
S20 2&4 Rye water ordered
T10 2&4 Millet water ordered
Y14 1st Rye, prepping the next phase”

As for the concerned about access to Wister due to the “mud volcano” that appeared a while back in an area across highway 111 from the check station, Scott reported that Highway 111 will be opened with access to Wister from north and south.  SoCalHunt checked with the CalTrans website and as of 9:15 PM on 10/17/19 CalTrans is reporting:

Highway 111 – 1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS FROM 7.8 MI NORTH OF CALIPATRIA /AT BUGWASH BRIDGE/ TO 8.3 MI NORTH OF CALIPATRIA /AT NILAND CREEK BRIDGE/ (IMPERIAL CO) FROM 0400 HRS TO 1000 HRS THURSDAY THRU FRIDAY THRU 10/18/19 – DUE TO MAINTENANCE”

So, it sounds like CalTrans will be finished Friday night but, worse case, even if they aren’t done it appears the worst there will be a slight delay due to traffic control so you might want to give yourself a little extra time if you can.

If you want to check of the current conditions for highway 111 before you leave for Wister you can check on the CalTrans Road Conditions web site at:

https://roads.dot.ca.gov

Just enter “111” in the box for the highway number or you can call and get recorded info at 1-800-427-7623.

If SoCalHunt learns of anything further regarding Wister or anything about the road conditions on highway 111 which may have an impact on hunters’ ability to get there we’ll try to get the info to you if time permits.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area Ready for the 2019/2020 Season – New Maps Available – Info for Opener

Once again, due to the efforts of the best Staff of any Wildlife Area in the state, the San Jacinto Wildlife Area is primed and ready to go for the 2019/2020 waterfowl season.  At 3 am, Saturday, October 19th the first reservation holder will belly up to the bar, so to speak, and pick their spot kicking off another great season at San Jacinto.

Tom Trakes, Wildlife Habitat Supervisor at San Jacinto Wildlife area wanted me to pass along a few tips and get the info out there that there are additional blinds this season (thanks to Mystic Lake) and provide a download link for anyone wishing to get a copy of the maps and area regulations.

First off, due to the extra blinds this season, it will be important for the reservation line, and the sweatline after that to move through the check station as quickly as possible.  It is important, to speed things along, that hunters have their fed stamp signed and their type A day pass filled out when they come up to the counter to pick their spot.  A table and pens will be provided just outside the check station for hunters to fill out their type A waterfowl passes and to make sure the federal duck stamp is signed before entering the check station.  Also, if you have a fishing license and maybe a deer tag or a pig tag it would also speed things along if those were separated into another part of your wallet, or wherever you keep that stuff, so you don’t have to dig through a pile of those skinny l-o-n-g license forms to find your hunting license and type A pass.  The more efficient everyone is the quicker they can get out to the blinds to set up.  This will be even more important after the time change when start time will be an hour earlier.  There are 65 blinds this season compared to the 50 we had last season and some of them are a good distance from the check station so it’s important to get everybody going in the morning.

Tom also wanted me to mention that they’ll have a coffee pot going for the opener and anyone that wants to bring a box of donuts or some muffins or whatever to share should feel free to do so.

Also, Tom provided SoCalHunt with new blind maps for San Jacinto’s usual duck hunting area along with a detailed map of the new Mystic Lake blinds and the access roads/trails to each of them.  Also, for the Mystic blinds Tom provided a page of GPS locations for the blinds so you can use a GPS to get to the exact spot. (Last year’s GPS page for the regular blinds is still the same).  You can download a copy of everything at SoCalHunt’s web page at:

www.socalhunt.com

…got to the “Maps and Downloads” page and scroll down to find what you need.  Just click on them to download a copy.

Everything is ready to go at SJ and its t-minus about a day and a half until the ducks begin to fall as I write this.  Hope you have a great season out at good old San Jacinto Wildlife Area!

 

 

 

Info for Kern National Wildlife Refuge Waterfowl Opener, Saturday October 19th

Kern National Wildlife Refuge Staff has released info on the expected conditions for the 2019/2020 waterfowl season opener on Saturday, October 19th. This information appeared on the Kern Refuge website on 9/26/19 at:

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Kern/visit/Hunt-Program.html 

“Please see the waterfowl opener quotas, blinds, and units open to hunting. Due to this year’s lower water allocation, our hunter quota numbers are also lower than last year. As we flood up more habitat the quota numbers will change, so continue to check the website for updates. 

***The following is a projection of what is going to be open for the opener. Hunting areas and quotas are subject to change.***

Free Roam: 2 

Space Blinds: 11, ADA 1

Assigned Ponds: 2 and 4

Hunter Capacity: 42

Number of Reservations: 7”

SoCalHunt reached out to Kern National Wildlife Refuge Complex Project Leader Nick Stanley regarding their water allocations and projections for the coming season and Mr. Stanley was kind enough to get back to me within just a couple of hours with the following information:

 “This upcoming waterfowl opener is going to be exactly the same as last year, this is all based off of our annual water allocation which is given to us from the Bureau of Reclamation. The amount of water available to the Bureau of Reclamation for this area this year is about 19,000 acre-feet. For us, this is an average/normal water year with that amount of water. We start fall flood up in August and we will continue to flood habitat until late January. During this flood up period as we flood more habitat, more areas will open for hunting opportunities. When we are fully flooded this year, we are projecting the hunter quota will be between 120-130 hunters and we will continue to refill until 2 pm. Thanks for your time and let me know if you have any other questions good luck this waterfowl season.”

So, there you have it. It looks like, due to the water allocation from the Bureau of Reclamation, Kern is going to have to start out with only a few areas opened by October 19th but will continue flooding throughout nearly the entire season, opening areas and increasing hunter quotas as the flooding progresses, and will eventually be around or at their full capacity at some point.

This sounds like an improvement over last season as we didn’t really get most of our rain until after the season ended and near the end of the season the most hunters accommodated any one hunt day at Kern was 120. Considering that probably a few of these were refills it sounds like they might have had a capacity of around 100 at the most. Of course, we did have the federal government shutdown in mid-December, which may have affected the hunter capacity also.

Fortunately for the Kern hunters, the California DFW actually runs the hunting program at Kern, so hunters were still allowed access to hunt, but most other things there didn’t get done during the shutdown. If you followed SoCalHunt’s hunting results reports last season you already know that Kern did not submit any reports from the middle of December until after the shutdown ended, which was after the season ended, as the hunt results reports are one of the things that the federal staff handles there.

If you’d like to see what areas are proposed to be opened for the October 19th opener, SoCalHunt has the current Kern hunting map, I’ll post a screen capture of it here.  You can also go to the SoCalHunt webpage maps and downloads page if you want to download a copy. Just scroll down near the bottom of the page and you’ll find it. You can view it there or click on it to download a copy if you’d like. Go to:

www.socalhunt.com

…and go to the “maps and downloads” page. SoCalHunt will try to keep this updated on the “maps and downloads” page with new maps as Kern NWR opens new areas and issues new maps.

Bottom line, checking last year’s stats on Kern it appears they started out with about the same, or just slightly higher, hunter quota as proposed this season. The 2018/2019 season opener had 63 hunters accommodated and then they went down to 53 the next Saturday (as we all know there’s always more hunters for the opener than a regular hunt day). Considering some of these were almost certainly refills it looks like they’re starting out nearly the same as last season. If projections hold (and the government doesn’t go through another shutdown this season) it sounds like there will eventually be a little more room to hunt at Kern than last season as the season progresses. 

 


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