Archive for the 'General' Category

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s September 10th Volunteer Clean Up / Brush Up Work Day in the Books

About 10 volunteers showed up in the early morning light on Saturday, September 10th at the SJWA check station parking lot for the second volunteer clean-up/blind brush-up workday for the upcoming season. This workday was to finish any repair, touch up, clean up, and brush up of any of the hunting area’s blinds that still needed it. Flooding of the ponds is well underway and there are already many ducks using the Wildlife Area. The volunteers were able to get just about everything that needed to be done accomplished so it looks like San Jacinto is almost ready for opening day. As usual, some of the volunteers retired to Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch.

As always palm fronds are still needed for the blinds at SJWA. There are always a few blinds that need some repairs taken care of throughout the season. Having the palm fronds on hand makes that easier for the SJWA Staff. If you can bring in any palm fronds you can drop them off at San Jacinto almost any time. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at 951-928-0580, and they’ll make arrangements so you can drop them off. Please make sure you don’t bring in the type of palm fronds with the thorns on their stalks unless you’re willing to strip off the thorns first. Those things wreak havoc with waders if the thorns aren’t removed.

As always, Tom and the crew at San Jacinto would like to give a massive thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to help get things dialed in for the fast-approaching waterfowl season.

For the near future, it looks like the next “official event” at San Jacinto will be opening day on Saturday, October 22nd. If you haven’t already done so it’s time to get your license, duck validation, federal duck stamp, type “A” day, 2 day, or season pass so you’re all legal and ready to go for the opener. Clean last year’s mud off your decoys, get your gear in ship shape, and make sure you have your non-toxic ammo. Hopefully we’ll see you out there sometime this season.

San Jacinto Wildlife Area August 20th Volunteer Clean-Up / Brush-Up Workday Successful

About 15 volunteers arrived bright and early on Saturday, August 20th at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking for the volunteer clean-up/blind brush-up workday. The volunteers fanned out across the Wildlife Area to clean up, repair, and brush up several of the hunting area’s blinds. Many of the blinds were brushed up in preparation for flooding and a little general clean-up was accomplished. Some blinds were also repaired and brushed up with palm fronds either brought in by the volunteers or dropped off in the last several weeks at the SJ check station parking lot.

After the work was finished many of the volunteers and the SJ Staff gathered at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch.

(I’ll post some pictures below)


As always, Tom and his team at San Jacinto would like to give a huge thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl season.

There will be at least one more blind brush-up/workday to finish getting things in preparation for the coming waterfowl hunting season. The next one is already scheduled for Saturday, September 10th (mark your calendars!). The September 10th work day will concentrate on finishing brushing up the blinds, so palm fronds are needed. If you can bring in any palm fronds any time before the work day you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at (951) 236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580, and they’ll make arrangements so you can drop them off. Please make sure you don’t bring in the type of palm fronds with the thorns on their stalks unless you’re willing to strip off the thorns first. Those things wreak havoc with waders if the thorns aren’t removed.

Again, I’ll emphasize it’s important to have a great turnout in September to make sure everything gets ship shape for the opener. Watch SoCalHunt for an “official” reminder announcement and details of the next blind brush-up/workday as the date approaches.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife 2022 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey Shows Duck Numbers Down

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released the results of their 2022 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey for the first time since 2019 (due to the pandemic, of course). The data collected shows the overall number of breeding ducks has decreased by 19 percent, including mallards which are the most abundant duck in the survey. Individually the Mallards showed a 25 percent decrease in their breeding population.
I’ll just give you a quick excerpt from the report since there’s really no reason to plagiarize the entire thing:

(From the DFW report on the survey): “…the total number of ducks (all species combined) decreased from 470,450 in 2019 (the last year the survey was conducted) to 379,870 this year. This estimate is 30 percent below the long-term average. The estimated breeding population of mallards decreased from 239,830 in 2019 to 179,390 this year, which is below their long-term average. The decline is attributed to the ongoing drought and the loss of upland nesting habitat for ducks.”

If you want to read DFW’s news release on the survey you can access it at the following link…

https://wildlife.ca.gov/News/cdfw-completes-2022-waterfowl-breeding-population-survey

If you’d like to read the entire Breeding Population Survey Report, you can access that at the link below…

So, more bad news for the coming season. Hopefully, we’ll get some weather early to drive more birds down to our end of the Pacific Flyway and the numbers will (hopefully) jump up for our season.

Don’t forget the upcoming Special Volunteer Workday at San Jacinto on Saturday, July 9th. This workday is to install new permit booths in honor of James Honeyfield, an SJWA regular who pass on last year. You can get details on this upcoming workday in SoCalHunt’s report at the link below…

Also, keep an eye out here at SoCalHunt for announcements soon on the upcoming Blind Brush-up Workdays, likely in late July or early August and September to get things ready for the upcoming season at San Jacinto.

Hope to see you out there!

Good Turnout for San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Clean-Up Day, Saturday, March 12th, 2022 Gets Much Accomplished

20 volunteers were in attendance bright and early on Saturday, March 12th at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking lot for the first post-season volunteer clean-up day of 2022. The main goal of this work day was to clean-up the hunting area’s blinds. Much was accomplished and all the area’s blinds received a good going-over. The most common thing picked up in and around the blinds, unsurprisingly, was spent shotgun shells but there were other items as well that ranged from just general trash to mylar balloons and even a boogie board from Mystic Lake. Tom Trakes of San Jacinto Wildlife Area told me that each volunteer came back with at least a half bag of “stuff”, if not more.

After putting in all that hard work all morning most of the volunteer crew, and the SJ staff gathered at Marcello’s Pizza Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch, (each person responsible for their own bill).
Once again, Tom and his team at San Jacinto would like to thank everyone who came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl season. SJWA couldn’t be maintained as well as it is without the volunteers who come out and lend a hand.

There will probably be at least two more blind brush-up/work days to finish getting things in ship shape for the coming waterfowl hunting season. The next one will likely be scheduled sometime in August and the one after that in early September (of course the dates are still to be announced). Watch SoCalHunt for info on these upcoming work days when the dates are announced. Also, there will be a special work day coming up where the current permit booths will be replaced by new, carport-like covered booths at the upland self-check in across Davis Road from the check station and in the dog training area further down Davis Road nearer to The Ramona Expressway. There will also be one added over in the Bridge Street area which will really be nice if you decide to hunt rabbits or dove in that area as you won’t have to drive up Davis Road to check in and out from that side of the wildlife area. Funds for these new permit booths will be provided by a GoFundMe account in honor of SJWA regular James Honeyfield who recently passed away. Watch SoCalHunt for an announcement of when that work day will be as soon as it is scheduled.

In preparation for these upcoming work days palm fronds are needed. If you can get a hold of any palm fronds any time before the work days you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for you to drop them off. Please make sure you don’t bring in the type of palm fronds with the thorns on their stalks, unless you’re willing to strip off the thorns first. Those things wreak havoc with waders if the thorns aren’t removed. Watch SoCalHunt for the “official” announcement and details of the next blind brush-up/workday. Also, hopefully, SJWA will have a Hunter’s Education Class scheduled soon. Watch SoCalHunt for the announcement of the Hunter’s Ed Class in the near future.

Okay, I did this last year and I’m going to do it again…here I go back up onto my soapbox. Please…please try to pick up your empty shells, and any others’ shells you might find in and around your blind when you go hunting, along with any other miscellaneous trash. The best way to keep our hunting privileges at SJWA, or any other place for that matter, is to keep the area as clean as possible. I would hate to see any restrictions on our hunting privileges because some anti-hunting big wig from Sacramento sees a bunch of shells strewn about our hunting areas. It would be kind of hard to deny that hunters left all that litter behind when most of it is shotgun shells. Empty shells are still a majority of the trash picked up on the clean-up day and there’s really no excuse for that or really any other trash for that matter. So, ‘nuff said about that.

Looking forward to seeing everybody that can make it to the next work day. Watch SoCalHunt for the announcement when the date is set.
(check the photos below for some “action shots” from the clean-up day)

San Jacinto’s 28th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Great Success, February 5th, 2022

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

The end of the season Junior Waterfowl Hunt/Event was, as always, outstanding and the Junior Hunters in attendance enjoyed very good waterfowl hunting. As usual, besides the hunting, 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 doughnuts, coffee, and chocolate milk was provided to the Junior Hunters and their adults. Quail Forever provided the doughnuts for the hungry Junior Hunters.

After a quick breakfast, the Juniors and their accompanying adults headed out to their assigned hunting spots to get set up and await the sound of the starting time horn. The hunting was good this year and several of the Junior Hunters even scored limits. There were even a couple of geese harvested by the Junior Hunters.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here… https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2022/02/08/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-28th-annual-junior-hunt-saturday-2-5-22/ )

When lunchtime rolled around everyone assembled back at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize giveaway. Lunch was great, consisting of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, pulled pork (donated by John Ross of Dee’z Boy’z BBQ in Hemet), chips, and even a large pot of Tom Trakes’ Special Chili.

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! The prizes ranged from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, blind bags, and other assorted hunting and outdoor gear. Needless to say, all the junior hunters went away happy. There were several “Grand Prizes”. Two shotguns (one donated by Blue Collar and the other purchased from Bass Pro Shops using some of the funds from the earlier raffle of two shotguns, one of which was provided by Bass Pro, the other by Quail Forever), two bird mounts (from Simon’s Taxidermy), a rifle and two puppies (one donated by Chaz Prato, the other by Brian Crosby). I’m sure all the Juniors went away happy this year.

After the lunch and prize giveaway, most of the Junior Hunters who 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 Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro made several donations, donated a shotgun to the shotgun raffle, and assisted with the shotgun raffle prior to the event to raise money for prizes. Also, thanks to Toni Bever of Quail Forever for donating a shotgun for the raffle at Bass Pro Shops to raise money for prizes, as well as donating the morning doughnuts, and also putting in a full day+ working the event from start to finish. Also, thanks go out to Valley Wide Recreation Center for once more providing the chairs and tables for the event. The money raised by the BPS Shotgun raffle was used to purchase more prizes for the Juniors.

So, the 28th 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. I’ve posted a picture of the sponsors’ banner below so you can check it out.

Here’s a heads up for everybody also! The first post-season SJWA volunteer clean-up work day is tentatively set for Saturday, March 12th. Mark your calendars and watch for the “official” notice with time and details here on SoCalHunt very soon. This is the first step in a long process to get San Jacinto ready for our next waterfowl season so here’s hoping we can get a good turnout for the clean-up day.

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

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s 2021 Bryant Park Preschool Annual Toy Drive a Big Success!

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area Staff is putting out A BIG THANKS to all the hunters who, once again, came through BIG TIME to donate toys for the Annual Bryant Park Head Start Preschool Toy Drive. The San Jacinto hunters stepped up overwhelmingly and provided the toys needed to make this event a big success for the kids.

The preschool’s kids were presented toys by Santa, and it was a wonderful time for the kids and the adults in attendance and some great food and desserts too!

Tom Trakes wanted me to pass on the following message… “For 8 years my son-in-law has played Santa for us. And he was an amazing Santa. This was the first year we did not have him, and our very own Steve stepped up to take on the job as Santa, and he had big shoes to fill. Steve did a fantastic job playing Santa! He made us so proud, and I know my son-in-law would have been so proud of him as well.

I want to express how thankful we are for all you guys who donated toys to Bryant Park Elementary. It was so awesome to see the little children’s faces light up when they received their toys! Merry Christmas!”

Pictures of Jessie’s last time playing Santa:

Once again, the Staff at San Jacinto Wildlife Area (and I as well) would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to the San Jacinto hunters for their more than generous toy donations that made this all possible. SJ hunters, as they always do, have proved they have a heart and really do care.

Thanks once more for all the generous toy donations!

Here are a few pictures from the event to tell the story:

Another Great Turnout for San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s September 18th Volunteer Clean Up / Brush Up Work Day

Roughly 30 volunteers showed up bright and early on Saturday, September 18th at San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking lot for the volunteer clean-up/blind brush-up work day.  The volunteers fanned out across the Wildlife Area to repair, touch up, clean up, and brush up several of the hunting area’s blinds.  Both mobility impaired blinds were redone as well as the F-1, B-3, and A-2 blinds.  Several other blinds were touched up also to prepare them for the season. Flooding of the ponds is well underway and there are already many ducks using the Wildlife Area.    (pictures at the end of the article).

Palm fronds are still needed for the blinds at SJWA.  There are still a few blinds that could use some touching up and there are always repairs to take care of throughout the season.  If you can bring in any palm fronds you can drop them off at San Jacinto almost any time. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040, or the San Jacinto staff at (951) 928-0580, and they’ll make arrangements so you can drop them off.  Please make sure you don’t bring in the type of palm fronds with the thorns on their stalks unless you’re willing to strip off the thorns first. Those things wreak havoc with waders if the thorns aren’t removed.

Tom wanted to be sure to thank Terry Drung who has come out several days between this work day and the last to lend a hand to the short-handed SJ crew on some of the repairs and touch up of the blinds.  Tom told me that the staff situation as San Jacinto should get better soon as the State has hired on a couple more people for SJ and there should be a few more brought on board soon.  Tom advised that their schedule will be changing soon at SJWA and they will be there on the first three Saturdays in October before the season opener.  If anyone would like to volunteer to do a little more work at SJ you can call the numbers above (in the paragraph about palm fronds) and see what you can do if you’re so inclined.

As always, Tom and the crew at San Jacinto would like to give a massive thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to help get things in ship-shape for the fast-approaching waterfowl season.  This was especially important this year as, although the SJWA Staff positions are finally being filled they have been extremely short-staffed for many months prior.

So, at this point, it looks like the next “official event” at San Jacinto will be opening day on Saturday, October 23rd.  If you haven’t already tie to get your license, duck validation, federal duck stamp, type “A” day, 2 day, or season pass so you’re all legal and ready to go for the opener.  So, polish up the decoys, get your gear organized, make sure you have your ammo and maybe we’ll see you out there sometime this season.

San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Clean Up Day, Saturday, March 27th, 2021, Much Accomplished

On Saturday, March 27th, about 15 volunteers were in attendance at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area check station parking lot bright and early at 0600.  Tom sent the volunteers out across the Wildlife Area with the mission to clean-up the hunting area’s blinds.  Much was accomplished and all the area’s blinds received a good cleaning.  Many spent shotgun shells were picked up, (the most common kind of trash in and around the blinds), along with other various trash.  Tom Trakes of San Jacinto Wildlife Area estimated they filled a dumpster about ¼ full of empty shells.

After working hard all morning the volunteer crew and the SJ staff retired to the El Comal Restaurant in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch, (each person responsible for their own bill).

Once again, Tom and his team at San Jacinto would like to give a big thank you to everyone that came out and worked hard to start the process of getting things ready for the upcoming waterfowl season. 

There will probably be at least two more blind brush-up/work days to finish getting things in ship shape for the coming waterfowl hunting season. The next one will likely be scheduled around mid-July and the one after that in late August or early September (dates to be announced).  Watch SoCalHunt for info on these upcoming work days when the dates are announced.   

In preparation for these upcoming work days palm fronds are needed.  If you can get a hold of any palm fronds any time before the work days you can drop them off at San Jacinto. Just call Tom at 951-236-3040 and he’ll make arrangements for you to drop them off.  Please make sure you don’t bring in the type of palm fronds with the thorns on their stalks, unless you’re willing to strip off the thorns first. Those things wreak havoc with waders if the thorns aren’t removed.  Watch SoCalHunt for the “official” announcement and details of the next blind brush-up/workday.  Also, hopefully, SJWA will have a Hunter’s Education Class scheduled soon. Of course, this is pending state approval due to COVID restrictions but hopefully we’ll know soon.  Watch SoCalHunt for the announcement of the Hunter’s Ed Class (hopefully) soon.

Ok, now I’m going to climb onto my soapbox (and this is me personally talking, not SJWA or anybody affiliated with them).  Please…please try to pick up your empty shells, and any others’ shells you might find in and around your blind when you go hunting, along with any other miscellaneous trash.  The best way to keep our hunting privileges at SJWA, or any other place for that matter, is to keep the area as clean as possible.  I would hate to see any restrictions to our hunting privileges come about because some anti-hunting big wig from Sacramento sees a bunch of shells strewn about our hunting areas.  It would be kind of hard to deny that hunters left all that litter behind when most of it is shotgun shells.  A ¼ dumpster full of empty shells is quite a lot.  Ah, yeah, ‘nuff said about that.

Looking forward to seeing everybody that can make it to the next work day.  Watch SoCalHunt for the announcement when the date is set.

First Annual San Jacinto Wildlife Area Veterans/Active Duty Military Hunt, Saturday, February 13th, 2021, A Great Success

0300 Saturday, 13 February 2021.  41 Veteran and Active Duty Military personnel reported for duty at San Jacinto Wildlife Area for the first annual Veteran/Active Duty Military special hunt. 

After a quick breakfast of coffee, hot chocolate, and Crispy-Cream donuts the “troops” dispersed over San Jacinto Wildlife Area to await starting time.  Hunting was great this day and the Veterans/Active Military beat the wildlife area’s average take by more than two birds a person.  (Hunt results for the Veteran/Active Military Hunt can be found here… https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2021/02/13/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-military-vets-active-duty-hunt-saturday-2-13-21/ )

At lunch our Military heroes retired to the SJWA workshop area for a great lunch of tri-tip (provided by Robert Hartman and his daughter – whose son/brother is a Coast Guard member) and smoked beans (provided by John Ross).

All in all it was a great day and a great way to salute our Military Veterans and Active Duty Military heroes.  And, looking at the per hunter average that day it looks like the Vets and Active Duty folks proved what great shots they are!

San Jacinto’s 27th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Huge Success, February 6th, 2021

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

This past season’s Junior Waterfowl Hunt/Event was outstanding and the Junior Hunters in attendance had some pretty good waterfowl hunting but also made out with some great prizes at the lunch give-away at mid-day. 

Due to COVID restrictions this year the SJ Staff had to pass on the usual breakfast of pancakes and sausage.  They did, however, supply the Juniors with chocolate milk, coffee and sweet rolls to fuel the Juniors for their morning hunt.

Once all the Juniors and their accompanying adults grabbed their morning snack they headed out to the Wildlife Area to set up and wait for the blast of the starting horn.  The hunting was fair this year and some of the Juniors even scored limits this time.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here…  https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2021/02/06/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-27th-annual-junior-hunt-saturday-2-6-21/ )

At lunchtime everyone gathered back at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize give-away.  Lunch was great, consisting of sandwiches (provided by the San Jacinto Walmart), Pulled pork (donated by John Ross of Dee’z Boy’z BBQ in Hemet), coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, and etc. (donated by Quail Forever) and bottled water (donated by sparklets). 

There was a lot support for this year’s Junior Hunt and all the Junior Hunters received two or three prizes each!  The prizes ranged from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, blind bags and other assorted hunting and outdoor gear.  Needless to say, all the junior hunters went away happy.  There were several “Grand Prizes” shotguns, rifle and a German Shorthair puppy (donated by Chaz Prato).  I’m sure all the Juniors went away happy this year.

After the lunch and prize give away, most of the Junior Hunters went back to their blinds to finish out the day hunting. 

The Junior Hunt was an outstanding event this year. As I’ve always said the Juniors are the future of our sport, so it is vital to keep them interested and involved in waterfowl hunting.  San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt is a great way to keep them interested.  I know several adult hunters that still reminisce about their participation in the SJWA Junior Hunt.

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.  Also, thanks go to our local Game Wardens for helping hand out the prizes at the Junior Hunt event.

Tom also asked me to extend a special thanks Bass Pro Shops.  Bass Pro made several donations and assisted with the shotgun raffle at their location prior to the event to raise money for prizes.  Also thanks to Sportsman’s Warehouse for assisting with the shotgun raffle at their location prior to the event to raise money for prizes. Also thanks to Toni Bever of Quail Forever for donating two shotguns for the raffle at Sportsman’s warehouse and Bass Pro Shops to raise money for prizes. A total of about $4000 was raised by the raffles that was used to purchase more prizes for the Juniors. 

So, there you have it, another Junior Waterfowl Hunt is in the books.  Check out the pictures below, which is only a small example of this great event.  Of course, due to space, I couldn’t post every picture but hopefully these will give you a really good idea of how this wonderful event for our Junior Hunters went down.

Hopefully I’ve mentioned 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 if I miss someone please forgive me and know that it wasn’t intentional.

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Saturday – 1/2/21

The average bag of waterfowl at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area ticked up somewhat as compared to Wednesday’s average.  Shovelers took over first place for most birds downed with Green Wing Teal slipping back to the second spot.  The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/2/21 were as follows:

165 adult and 7 junior hunters harvested 99 Northern Shovelers, 11 Mallards, 39 Gadwall, 2 Widgeon, 53 Pintail, 79 Green Wing Teal, 48 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Ring Neck, 1 Scaup, 14 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Surf Scooter, and 12 Ruddy Duck. No Geese were checked in at Wister on Wednesday.  Also, 3 Coots were taken at Wister on Wednesday.  This came out to an average bag of 2.10 ducks per person or with the Coots figured in, 2.12 waterfowl per gun. Out of the 104 reservations issued 35 hunters arrived on time to get their spot.

Wister is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. You can put in for reservations online through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS).  Your reservation request has to be to the ALDS system 17 days in advance to get in on the drawing or you can get in on the daily “sweatline” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of.  Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweatline” drawing is done the night before at 10:30 pm, with sign-up for the drawing between 7:30 and 10:30 pm. The ALDS can be accessed through the DFW website at the below link –

https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales

Don’t forget that all licenses and 1 day, 2 day or season passes must be purchased at a DFW Office or a license agent before your arrival at the refuge.  These can be purchased online via the ALDS system also, however, you will have to wait for the DFG to mail you’re the actual licenses and passes which can take up to 15 days.  If you purchase your license and passes in person at a DFW office or license agent you immediately get them without the wait for the mail.  No licenses or passes will be sold at the check stations this season.  You can also show up for an afternoon refill hunt but the last refill is at 2 PM. For more information, contact the staff at Wister Staff at 760-359-0577.

SoCalHunt hits 10 years old! Woohoo!

November 29, 2010 the SoCalHunt blog appeared online with this inaugural post…

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/welcome-to-socalhunt-coms-hunting-blog/

…Initially SoCalHunt focused exclusively on San Jacinto Wildlife Area but over the years has expanded to include reports on the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, which most of us know as just plane old “Wister”, and the Kern National Wildlife Refuge, known by most of us as just simply “Kern”.   

Over the years I’ve done some gear reviews, probably not as many as I should have but take them for what you think they are worth. I’ve also done reports on our hunting trips, some were great, some were lousy (as far as shooting birds) but every one of them was worth the price of admission and more when you consider WHERE we were hunting and the wildlife viewing (besides the ducks), the outstanding scenery, the sunrises, and the sunsets.  I hope everyone found those entertaining, informative, or at least liked some of the photographs. 

I must throw in an apology at this point as, due to medical issues, (of which I won’t bother anyone with the details, suffice to say it’s non-COVID), it’s doubtful you’ll be seeing any hunting reports this season, (which totally sucks), but I will keep up the hunting results reports.  Hopefully next season will find some things resolved in the area and I’ll be in a better situation and the in-person reports will continue.  Also, any information that needs to be passed along to hunters from the SJ, Wister, or Kern staff members or the DFW will be passed along ASAP.

Also, as a kind of side note, as I’ve occasionally been accused of “driving clicks to my site to make money”.  If it makes anybody feel better, I’ve done this at my own expense as a public service to my fellow hunters and to the Wildlife Area staff as a conduit to get information out to the public.  And no, I’m not crying about that and it’s not a plea for money. If you feel an urge to donate then donate to San Jacinto’s Toy Drive or Junior Hunt. For me it’s not a lot of money and I can afford it.  It’s kind of a hobby connected to hunting in my view.

So, yeah…10 years…and yeah, I’m patting oneself on the back.  Why not?

Update on Kern NWR for the 2020/2021 Season

The California Waterfowl Association just published an update for Kern National Wildlife Refuge for the upcoming 2020/2021 Waterfowl Season.  According to the CWA, the water allocation for Kern was cut this year by 5,000 acre-feet to only 17,000 acre-feet.  CWA says this is 8,000 acre-feet less than Kern’s full allocation.  CWA says this will give Kern the ability to flood about 3,500 to 4,000 acres of the refuge when fully flooded in December.

CWA advised that Kern is estimating they will be able to handle 35 – 45 hunters for opening day.  Kern anticipates no changes to their hunt program from last season.

The California DFW (who runs the hunting program at Kern) is working on check station operations for COVID restrictions.  DFW will release these procedures on their website when they are approved.

You can read CWA’s report on Kern NWR here…

https://www.calwaterfowl.org/2020-21-waterfowl-season-update-kern-nwr/

 

US Fish and Wildlife Cancels Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey

For the first time in 65 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service have canceled their annual joint Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey.  The cancelation is due to concern over the current Coronavirus restrictions.

The survey, conducted annually in May, has been used since 1955 to estimate breeding populations and make management decisions for waterfowl.  The USFWS, along with the Flyway Councils, will use long-term data from spring/summer monitoring for these species to make decisions on regulations and harvest management decisions.

This will have no effect on the 2020/2021 season regulations.  These regulations were based on habitat conditions and population estimates from the 2019 breeding season.

To set regulations for the 2021/2022 season the USFWS will utilize the long-term data and models to predict the 2020 spring populations and habitat conditions instead of the survey data.

The USFWS expects that the 2021/2022 regulations will be, in general, similar to the 2020/2021 season based on the long-term averages, however, in some cases changes may be appropriate and the USFWS will work with the Flyway Councils to identify populations of special concern.

I would expect this to translate into pretty much identical regulations for the 2021/2020 season as we already have set for the 2020/2021 season, with some possible exceptions if some “special concerns” come up.

For further details you can check Ducks Unlimited’s article on the cancelation of the Survey at the link below:

https://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-breeding-habitat-surveys/federal-and-state-agencies-cancel-waterfowl-breeding-and-habitat-survey

So, no Breeding Population and Habitat Survey to peruse this summer for our preview of the upcoming season.  Hopefully, without the USFWS checking on them, the birds will do their spring thing and produce a bumper crop of ducklings that will be ready for us by the time the season rolls around.

 

California Fish and Game Commission Sets 2020/21 Season Regulations

The California Fish and Game Commission, during their April 16th meeting, adopted changes to the waterfowl season dates and regulations for the 2020/21 waterfowl season.

Regulations adopted for the Southern California Zone (which will cover San Jacinto Wildlife Area):

Seasons: Ducks and Geese: October 24, 2020 through January 31, 2021.

Special Youth Hunt Days: February 6 and February 7, 2021. (San Jacinto’s Annual Youth Hunt will be February 6th, 2021).

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 November 7th, 2020 through January 31st, 2021 – so be careful the first two weeks of the season this year).

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 19, 2020 – December 15, 2020.  Daily bag limit: 2 per day.  Possession limit 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 – 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 web site or the printed regulation books when they come out, probably in a couple of months but still well before the season).

Last season one of the regulations that most affect San Jacinto hunters were, of course, the extended end date for the season which gave us one more hunt day.  This season January 31st happens to be the last Sunday in January.  The federal framework allowed for the season to end on the last day in January and it just so happens that January 31st is the last Sunday in January, which is the traditional end of the season, so no extended season this time.  Another change this season is that the Scaup limit was dropped to 2 birds (it was 3 last season).  Also, the Brant seasons will be reduced from 37 days to 27 days.  Not a real big concern for SJ hunters but there’s a very slim chance one will show up at SJ so it would behoove you to know what they look like.  Other than that, most other regulations stayed pretty consistent with last season’s regulations.

So, there it is.  The regulations are set, and as of this writing, Tom and the entire SJWA Crew are working hard to get San Jacinto Wildlife Area in excellent shape for the upcoming 2020/2021 waterfowl season.  Hopefully, our present “quarantine or lockdown or restrictions” (whatever you want to call it) will end soon and the hard working staff at SJ can get a couple of cleanup days scheduled to assist in getting things ready for the season.  When (if?) any of these clean up/work days get scheduled try to pitch in and help if you’re able – Info will be posted here on SoCalHunt when I receive it.  AND Mystic Lake is still there and still nearly full with the addition of some water from the last series of storms.  This should be a big help to enhance the hunt results at good old SJ!

This above information is provided as a general guide only. Although they haven’t updated it to 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

…or printed regulation book (available probably not long after they update their web info at most license agent locations) for official information and/or for regulations in other waterfowl zones in the state.

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

The Beginning of The Addiction – The First Time

Since we’re pretty much all under “house arrest” to one extent or another I figured I’d take a ride in the way-back machine and relive my first waterfowl hunt, the beginning of the addiction.

The exact date is lost in the fog of time, but it was somewhere around December 1975.  I’d been hunting a couple of years by then, but I’d only hunted upland game.  My one and only shotgun at the time was a 20-gauge Ithaca 37.  My dad wasn’t a hunter, nor was he a fisherman but, to his credit, he never tried to block me from developing a love for both these outdoor sports.

At my work at the time one of my coworkers, who was sort of a mentor to me, was also interested in hunting but had even less experience then I did.  As we talked while we worked and at lunch breaks, we’d many times pour over the Western Outdoor News, which I think was either a quarter or thirty-five cents back then, and we would read the reports of the waterfowl harvests at the Wister Wildlife Area.  There were often pictures in WON of the hunters and their straps sometimes showing limits of pintail, which had a seven-bird limit back then, along with limits of Snow Geese, which I believe was three back then.

Well, we were impressed.

We talked it up and decided, “Hey, we could do that!”  So, a plan was formed.  One Friday afternoon we would drive down to Wister and bag us both a limit of ducks and geese.

Of course, some preparation was necessary.  Neither of us had any waterfowl equipment.  My buddy had some fishing waders and he already owned a 12-gauge but all I had was my little Ithaca, no waders, no camo, no proper ammo, no decoys.

I was a duck hunter extraordinaire already…right?

I hit the sporting goods store at Puente Hills Mall.  Yes, they had a sporting goods store there at the time, and they even carried guns, ammo, and hunting gear.  In fact, some may not believe this, but a few years later I bought my deer rifle, a Remington 700 7mm Mag, at the JC Penney’s Store at Puente Hills Mall.  Can you imagine what would happen nowadays if you walked out of a major mall with a boxed rifle under your arm?  Nobody gave that a second look back then.  But, let’s get back to the subject of this story.

Anyway, as luck would have it, they were having a sale on decoys, so I picked up a dozen pintail decoys.

I also picked up a couple of boxes of 12-gauge #4 lead shot.  Yup, that was long before the lead ban.  Also, I picked up a pair of cheap vinyl stocking foot waders. I had a pair of high-top sneakers at home to cover the stocking feet.  Last was the state and federal duck stamp to add to the hunting license I already had for upland hunting.

Of course, by this time I was about out of money and I still needed a shotgun because the little 20-gauge I had wasn’t going to cut it for geese.  Even though back then, you could walk out of the sporting goods store with a gun in five minutes, unfortunately, you still had to pay for it.

Here’s where another friend came to the rescue, or actually his father came to the rescue.  His dad owned an old Winchester model 1897 shotgun.  For those unfamiliar with the Winchester 1897, it was the second pump-action shotgun designed by John M. Browning in, of course, 1897.  They were produced until 1957 so I’m sure this one wasn’t 78 years old, but I’ll bet it was a good 40 years old at the time.  After explaining my situation with the upcoming hunt, the old 1897 was kindly loaned to me.

So, after borrowing from my fishing gear to rig the decoy anchors we were fully armed and ready for our trip.

My hunting buddy picked me up on the assigned late afternoon in his Dodge two-wheel-drive pickup (this will be important later in the story) and we headed down to Wister.  After an approximate four and a half-hour drive, we pulled in off of highway 111 and into the check station parking lot.

We got our names in the lottery for the sweatline draw and waited with great anticipation to see when our ping-pong ball would drop out of the bingo ball cage.  As I recall we were drawn not too far from the top and so headed for the truck to attempt to get a little shut-eye before the wind-up alarm clock went off at 0300 for us to get back to the check station and pick our spot.

As we slept..sort of…the constant tick, tick, tick of the wind-up alarm clock seemed to get louder as the appointed alarm time approached.  Added to the excitement of the first duck hunt I don’t think either of us got more than a half-hour sleep total.

When the alarm finally rang, we jumped out of the truck and headed up to the check station to pick our spot.

Since we had no idea what we were doing, when it was our turn to pick our hunting spot it was kind of an eeny-meeny-miny-moe situation.  So, after picking our hot-spot and paying for our day passes, which you bought at the check station in those days, we grabbed a map of Wister from the check station counter and were off to our big waterfowl adventure.

The wind was blowing hard, maybe 30 mph or so and the sky held broken clouds.  There had been no rain, and it wasn’t threatening any, just those big puffy clouds blowing across the sky, hiding and revealing the moon and the star as they wind hurried them along.

We got down to the crossroad that would lead to our hunting spot and turned left off of Davis road.  As we drove down this road, we saw a sign indicating that our parking spot was coming up soon and, near as we could tell, we had to transition over to the adjacent dike to enter the parking area a couple hundred yards down the dike.  Just after we started down the dike, we noticed a puddle of water on it that was probably five feet across covering the top of the dike.  It appeared that the adjacent pond had just overflowed onto it.  Being Wister newbies we didn’t give the puddle a second thought and charged right through it in my buddy’s two-wheel-drive Dodge pickup.

Of course, if you’ve ever been to Wister, you probably know what happened.  Yup…we sunk her right down to the axle in the middle of the puddle.

We didn’t have a shovel, not that it would have done much, and, apparently, we were the last ones headed out to that particular hunting area as no one else came up behind us that might have helped.

After about an hour of pushing from either end of the truck and attempting to use one of the hubcaps as a makeshift shovel, we concluded that we’d have to walk back to the check station to get some help.  All the other hunters were already in their hunting areas and setting up so it was a long walk with no prospect of a ride.  Now, remember this was well before cell phones so the only way we were going to get help was the payphone on the side of the Wister Check Station.  As we walked towards the check station, we could hear whistling wings above us and make out ducks flying back and forth above us in the gathering light.  When start time rolled around about a hundred shotguns opened up all over the wildlife area and we could even see an occasional duck falling out of the sky as the hunters connected with their prey.

We finally got to the check station and called the Auto Club for a tow.  I guess they don’t do this any more down at Wister or maybe it was because we were just in a puddle and the area was generally dry, but we managed to get the auto club to come out and pull us out of the puddle.

Once we were free, we jumped back into my friend’s truck and managed to get to our parking spot without further incident.  We were generally covered with mud and the truck was too, inside and out.  When we finally got our limited gear out to our hunting spot it was about 8:30 am.  We’d missed the best shooting of the day, however, the wind was picking up even more and the Snow Geese were beginning to fly.

We quickly threw our dozen decoys out and basically just hunkered down on the dike near the hunting spot stake and waited for whatever might come along.  We didn’t have to wait long.

Several times flights of magnificent Snow Geese flew right over us fighting the strong wind, just seeming to hang there in the sky not 30 yards above us.  We fired and fired yet nothing fell.  Occasionally we could even hear shot drumming off the wing feathers of the geese, yet they didn’t come down.  Either the #4 shot didn’t have enough oomph or the wind was blowing our shot strings way off course.

Finally, on one of my shots, a “golden bb” broke the wing of one of the Snow Geese and it nosedived into our pond with a huge splash.  I quickly set the shotgun down and “ran” (as much as you can run in Wister mud) to claim my prize.  I thought it was dead as it hung limply as I carried it back across the pond, but it was apparently only stunned by the hard splashdown.  As I approached the dike it woke up and began to beat me with its wings and scratch at me with its claws.  The only thing I could think to do was to stumble the last few steps to the dike and bash its head on the barrel of the old Winchester.  That ended the fight.

So, finally, I had my first waterfowl and my first goose.  It wasn’t long after that my buddy was able to also scratch down a goose except his was actually dead on splashdown and didn’t fight him when he brought it back.

After a few more unsuccessful shots on the geese by both of us, things started to slow down and I thought I’d take a short walk down the dike just to stretch my legs.  I got about 75 yards down the dike and just as I was about to turn around and walk back to our hunting spot a drake pintail jumped out of the brush near my feet.  It didn’t fly very well and, looking back, I believe now that it was probably a cripple that escaped in the morning shoot, but I was able to connect on it and also harvest my first duck.

We hunted a little while longer, but the ducks were no longer flying, the wind had slowed down, and the geese that were still flying were now flying well out of range.  We finally called it a day at about 1 pm.

So, that’s it.  That’s how it started.  I’ve been chasing them for 45 years now and hopefully will be doing it a while longer.

San Jacinto’s 26th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Great Success, February 8th, 2020

As always, I want to say that there were so many great sponsors, volunteers, and so many that supported the Junior Hunt event with prizes, assistance, and food they deserve another big thanks from all of us.

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area Junior Hunt is an outstanding event to cap off a great season of hunting for our Junior Hunters.  The Junior Hunters had some good waterfowl hunting and, as always at the SJ Junior Hunt Event, they also came away with some fantastic prizes at the lunch and giveaway at mid-day.

As is the tradition at SJ, the Juniors and their adult mentors were treated to a great breakfast of pancakes and sausage with coffee and hot chocolate.

After a great breakfast, the Juniors and their escorting adults headed out to the Wildlife Area to set up and wait for the starting horn blast.  The hunting was fairly good this year and many waterfowl were harvested by the Junior Hunters.

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here…  https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2020/02/08/hunt-results-for-san-jacinto-wildlife-areas-26th-annual-junior-hunt-saturday-2-8-20/ )

When lunch rolled around everyone assembled at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the prize giveaway. Lunch was fantastic with the Juniors and their adults dining on BBQed hamburgers and hotdogs donated by Angelo’s Burgers and Quail Forever and pulled pork prepared and donated by John Ross from Dee’z Boy’z BBQ in San Jacinto.  Tom Trakes’ daughter provided and decorated a fantastic cake for the event.

This year’s Junior Hunt was dedicated to the memory of Easton Parker, also known as “Beaston”, one of the SJ Junior Hunters that sadly passed away this past year from a brain tumor.

After lunch the event everyone was excitedly waiting for, the prize giveaway was conducted.  There was so much support for this year’s Junior Hunt that all the Junior Hunters received at least two raffle prizes each!  The prizes ranged from gun cases, decoys, fishing rods, and a plethora of other assorted hunting and outdoor gear.  Needless to say, all the junior hunters went away happy.  There were several “Grand Prizes” at the event.  5 firearms given away and a German Shorthair puppy, donated by Chaz Prato was also one of the grand prizes.

Tom wanted me to give a special thanks to Quail Unlimited for sponsoring the shotgun raffle earlier this past year for the two shotguns at Bass Pro Shop.  Through their generosity, quite a bit of money was earned which allowed many prizes to be purchased for the event, along with two of the shotguns given away to the Juniors Hunters.  Tom also wanted to thank Bass Pro Shop for assisting with a place for the earlier shotgun raffle by QU and for giving the SJ crew a great discount on the prizes they bought for the event which made the money spent go much further.

After the raffle, many of the Junior Hunters went back to their blinds to finish out their day, and their waterfowl season, hunting.

The Junior Hunt was an outstanding event, as it usually is.  As I’ve said every year and will repeat again as I fervently believe it, the Juniors are the future of our sport, so it is vital to keep them interested and involved in waterfowl hunting.  San Jacinto’s Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt definitely goes a long way towards that goal every year.

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, as usual, going the extra mile to help make this event happen. We all appreciate all your hard work.

So, another Junior Waterfowl Hunt is in the books.  Check out the pictures below of the 73 Juniors Hunters that participated this year and the beautifully decorated cake Tom’s daughter worked so hard on.  This was a great event to celebrate the 26th annual waterfowl hunt at San Jacinto Wildlife Area and a great way to usher in what will hopefully be a lifetime of waterfowl hunting for the future of our sport, the Junior Hunters.

Also, off the subject of the Junior Hunt, but since I have your attention, Tom told me that he expects to have a cleanup day scheduled some time in March to start the process of cleaning up the Wildlife Area in preparation for next season and he also wanted me to remind everyone that the annual Hunter’s Education Class, which is required for new hunters to obtain their license, would likely be conducted in May.  Watch here on SoCalHunt for the dates for those events when they are set.

Here’s just a few photos of the Junior Hunt event.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Bryant Park Preschool Annual Toy Drive a Big Success!

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area Staff is putting out A BIG THANKS to all the hunters who, once again, came through BIG TIME to donate toys for the Annual Bryant Park Head Start Preschool Toy Drive.   The San Jacinto hunters came through overwhelmingly and provided the toys needed to make this event a big success for the kids.

Just before Christmas, the preschool’s kids were presented with toys from Santa. It was a wonderful time for the kids and the adults in attendance and some great food and desserts were brought in by the parents too!

Once again, the Staff at San Jacinto Wildlife Area (and I as well) would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the San Jacinto hunters for their very generous toy donations to make this all possible.  SJ hunters, as they always do, have proved they have a heart and really care.

Thanks once more for all the generous toy donations!

Here are a few pictures from the event to tell the story:

Report on Wister Conditions – Access via Highway 111

If you’re going to go to Wister for the upcoming waterfowl season opener next Saturday (10/19/19) here some information regarding conditions at  Wister and the road conditions that might affect your ability to get there.  As you most likely have heard there have been some road closures and construction off and on in the area of the Wister entrance and check station due to a “mud volcano” which popped up a while back across the highway from the check station.

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

North End
514 All ponded
513 Ponded trying to get water to Disable Site
413 Still Ponding, 413W2 dry, 413W3 half ponded, 413W4 dry
312 312B2,4 ponded, the rest still dry but filling.
312C 2,4 just getting water, 312C 5 just getting water.
115 B1 just getting water, B3 East is ponded B5 ponded.
114 All ponded

South End
Y15 Last 2 ponds near Davis Rd Dry.
W11 Last 2 ponds near Davis Rd Dry.
U14 2,4 ponded, 5 is filling, 1 is dry.
U12 2,4 filling, 5 ponded, 3,1 filling
U10 Ponded
T10 All Dry due to no pipeline.
T12 Ponded
T14 1,3 Dry, 5 low water in swell, 2,4 Ponded
S20 1,3 Ponded

Scott advised that Wister staff is currently flooding as much as possible and the above information is as of this past Monday.

In addition, for those 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, CalTrans is reporting as of Saturday, October 12th, 2019 at 02:13 PM:

“Highway 111 – 1-WAY CONTROLLED TRAFFIC AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS FROM 0.6 MI NORTH OF MUNDO TO 2.3 MI SOUTH OF WISTER /AT NILAND CREEK BRIDGE/ (IMPERIAL CO) FROM 1600 HRS ON 10/11/19 TO 2200 HRS ON 10/12/19 – DUE TO CONSTRUCTION – MOTORISTS ARE ADVISED TO USE AN ALTERNATE ROUTE”

There is no indication on the CalTrans web site if there will be any closures or restrictions past 10 pm (2200) tonight (Saturday 10/12/19).  So, right now it sounds like you can get to Wister, although there may be some minor delays.  Hopefully, it will be completely opened by next Friday night/Saturday morning.

If you want to keep on top of the current conditions for Highway 111 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 any further reports on any changes to either conditions at Wister and/or road conditions on Highway 111 which may have an impact on hunters’ ability to get there, we will post a new report.

UPDATE!: As of 6:28 PM on 10/14/19 CalTrans reported the following –

SR 111

[IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA]
NO TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS ARE REPORTED FOR THIS AREA.

San Jacinto’s September 21st Volunteer Blind Brush Up / Work Day -Things are Looking Good at SJ

Saturday, September 21st, was the final volunteer blind brush-up work day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area prior to the opening of the 2019/2020 season. About 20 volunteers showed up at the SJ check station parking lot at 0600 ready to get at it. Tom briefed the volunteers and they headed out to various locations around SJ to finish rebuilding and to brush-up several of the blinds.

 

The San Jacinto Staff has obtained some hay bales and these are being utilized to provide seating in some of the area’s blinds. Work was finished up on some of the blinds and F-1, F-2, Walker 12 & X blinds were finished being brushed-up. 

 

While out on the wildlife area the group took some time to check out Mystic Lake, which still has plenty of water and is currently holding a couple of thousand ducks! Thinks are looking good for the coming season!

 

One of the blinds, ready for brushing. Hay bale seats in place already.

 

Brushing up a blind.

 

Walking out to check out Mystic Lake.

 

Ducks EVERYWHERE! WOW!

 

After the hard work in the morning, some of the volunteers who didn’t have other obligations to get to and the SJ staff headed over to Marcello’s Pizza in Nuevo for a well-deserved lunch. 

 

Finishing up the PIZZA!

 

Once again, Tom and San Jacinto Crew would like to shout out a big “thank you!” to everyone that came out and worked hard to finish getting the blinds ready for the upcoming duck season, and I echo that sentiment. 

 

The SJ Staff is flooding up the area big time and the food that has been planted for the birds over the last few months has got a lot of duck and other birds using the SJ waterfowl area. Mystic Lake still has plenty of water and should help hold birds in the area throughout the season. Tom and his crew will continue to tweak things, finish up a few blinds that still may need a little attention, and in general, make sure things are ship-shape for the October 19th opener.

 

Get your license, passes and get your reservation request in soon and hopefully, we’ll see you out there at SJ for what appears to be shaping up to be a great season. 


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