Archive for the 'General' Category

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

Once again, the San Jacinto Wildlife Area Staff is putting out A BIG THANKS to all the hunters who were able to donate toys to the Annual Bryant Park Head Start Preschool Toy Drive.   As always, the SJ hunters came through Big time and provided the toys needed to make this event a success for the kids.

60 of the preschool’s kids were presented two toys each by Santa plus there was even enough toys to give one to the preschoolers’ siblings too.  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 San Jacinto Staff (and me too) would like to extend a big thanks to the San Jacinto hunters for all 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’s a few pictures from the event to tell the story:


Notes on Kern National Wildlife Refuge and the Shutdown

Just before the current Government Shutdown went into effect SoCalHunt reached out to the Kern National Wildlife Refuge regarding the effect the shutdown would have on their hunting program due to Kern NWR being a Federal Refuge.  On 12/20/18 at 9:49 am SoCalHunt was advised by a Kern Staff Member, via Facebook messaging, that…“the government shutdown will not affect the hunting program. The hunting program is run by the State, so hunting will still be allowed.”

Not surprisingly SoCalHunt hasn’t received any hunt result information from Kern since the shutdown.  Although I don’t have any definite information on this, I surmise that the hunt results are compiled by the Federal Employees of Kern NWR, as they come in a different form from those that SoCalHunt receives from San Jacinto and Wister.

This morning (12/26/18) the following was posted on the Kern NWR Facebook page…“Due to the federal government shutdown, this account will not be active until further notice. More information at”

The link for more info above doesn’t really clarify the situation regarding the hunting program at Kern (but you can look it over if you want).  Although, if the information SoCalHunt received on the 20th is accurate, which I have no reason to doubt, the hunting program should not be affected.

In an effort to ensure SoCalHunt is putting out accurate information we reached out to a California DFW Senior Official and was told “Last I heard on a managers coordination call Kern is supposed to still operate its hunt program but nothing else. No phone calls no nothing except staff working the hunter check station. That was the last I heard heading into the shutdown.”  He also went on to say, “I’m suggesting to those that call me is to go and not lose a reservation opportunity. So far nobody has called me back saying it was closed on Saturday.”

So, the best information SoCalHunt has is that Kern NWR is still going to be hunting but we’re not going to get any hunt result reports from them until after the Government Shutdown.  Obviously, we can only report on what we are told so just be aware of this when relying on this information to decide on making the drive to Kern.

This is the latest info SoCalHunt has on the Kern NWR during the Government Shutdown.  If SoCalHunt gets any further or different info you can be assured it will be posted here ASAP.  We always strive to put out accurate information to our fellow hunters, which is why we went to the trouble of contacting a Senior DFW Official to attempt to confirm it.

Of course, whenever Kern NWR starts to release their hunting results reports we will catch up on those reports as the info comes in.  Thanks for your patience on this.


Saturday, September 22nd – San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Brush Up / Work Day a Great Success

SoCalHunt was on hand again on Saturday, September 22nd, as around 35 volunteers got the job done at San Jacinto’s second volunteer blind brush-up work day for the fast approaching duck season.  This is the first time in a while that SoCalHunt has been able to make both the pre-season workdays.

As the sun crested over the surrounding mountains a large group of volunteers gathered at the check station parking lot to get their assignments and head out to spruce up Wildlife Area’s blinds.  Due to the great turnout at the August workday, a lot of the brush-up work had already been done, although there were still a few blinds that needed attention and some of the ones worked on last time needed a little tweaking.  Also, as before, some general cleanup was done around and inside some of the blinds.  There were still a couple of blinds that needed some trimming of natural growth and cleaning out tumbleweeds and other plants that had taken over the inside of those blinds.

Tom giving the volunteers their assignments as the sun break over the mountains.

Brushing up more blinds with palm fronds

Always beautiful scenery at SJ!

A group shot of most of the volunteers (a few had to leave early). Thanks to all who helped out!

Most of the ponds are well on the way to being fully flooded and more water is pouring in daily.  Waterfowl continue to arrive at SJ every day and things are looking great for the soon to be duck season.

After the volunteers’, and the San Jacinto crew’s hard efforts for the morning we all gathered at Marcello’s Pizza in Nuevo for another great lunch.

Some of the volunteers enjoying some great Pizza for lunch!

Tom and the staff at San Jacinto (and me too) would like to give another big thank you to all the volunteers that showed up and put in all the effort to get things done to get ready for the 2018/19 waterfowl season.

The next thing on the schedule is opening day, Saturday, October 20th!  Only 27 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes away as I type this.  May the ressie computer be kind to you this season and hopefully, we’ll see you out at San Jacinto for the upcoming waterfowl season.


Great Turnout for San Jacinto’s Volunteer Blind Brush Up / Work Day, Saturday, August 18th

On Saturday, August 18th, SoCalHunt was on hand with about 30 other volunteers ready to get-r-done at San Jacinto’s first volunteer blind brush-up / work day for the upcoming season.

The volunteers met at the check station parking lot bright and early at 0700 and Tom sent everyone out across the Wildlife Area to brush-up several of the hunting area’s blinds.  In addition, some general clean up was done around and inside some of the blinds, some of which included trimming natural growth that was overgrown and cleaning out tumbleweeds and other plants that had taken over the inside of a few of the blinds.

Tom giving us our assignments

Heading out to the blinds with some palm fronds

Brushing a blind (before)

A brushed-up blind (after)

The SJ staff is starting to flood some of the ponds and there were a lot of ducks already utilizing the wildlife area.  Things are looking good for the upcoming season.

Some of the Wildlife Area’s ducks

After working hard all morning the volunteer crew and SJ staff retired Marcello’s Pizza in Nuevo for a great lunch.

Some of the crew at lunch!

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 get things in ship shape for the upcoming waterfowl season.

There will be at least one more blind brush-up / work day to finish getting things in ship shape for the quickly approaching 2018/19 waterfowl hunting season. This one is scheduled for Saturday, September 22nd and volunteers are to meet at the check station parking lot at 7:00 am.  Mark it on your calendar!  Hope to see at least as many volunteers for this next work day as we had on this one.  It’ll make things go quick and easy as more volunteers means less work for each volunteer.

(Info on the next Blind Brush-up day here: )





California Department of Fish and Wildlife 2018 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey Shows Duck Numbers Up!

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released the results of their 2018 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey and, for the first time in 6 years, the total population of waterfowl in California is now over half a million.  That’s a 39% increase over last year!

I’ll just give you a couple highlights since there’s really no reason to plagiarize DFW’s entire report:

(from the DFW report on the survey)…“The 2018 breeding population of mallards increased from 198,392 in 2017 to 272,859 (an increase of 38 percent). Mallards are the most abundant waterfowl species in the state, followed by gadwall (102,637) and cinnamon teal (78,498).

Other ducks that increased in number include northern shovelers, wood ducks, redhead and canvasback. Overall, the total number of ducks increased from 396,529 to 549,180 (an increase of 39 percent).”

If you want to read DFW’s entire report on the survey you can access at the following link…

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

So, good news for the coming season.  Hopefully, we’ll get some weather early in the season to drive the birds down to our end of the state and this will bode well for a great season at San Jacinto.

Don’t forget the upcoming Volunteer Work Days at San Jacinto on Saturday, August 18th and Saturday, September 22nd.  With the increased bird populations, it’ll be more important than ever to get the Wildlife Area and the blinds ready for the upcoming season.  You can get details on these upcoming workdays in SoCalHunt’s report at the link below…

Hope to see you out there!

Annual Hunter’s Education Class at San Jacinto’s Wildlife Area Well Attended / Light Turnout for the Volunteer Clean-Up Day, But the Job Got Done

Saturday, April 7th San Jacinto Wildlife Area held their Annual Hunter’s Education Class.  Tom Trakes, of San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that there were 52 new hunters in attendance to study for and take their Hunter’s Education test.  Their well-earned Hunter’s Education Certificate makes the students eligible to be fully licensed hunters in the State of California.  The class was a mix of youth and adults and they will all be joining us as part of our hunting community.

Valley Wide provided the tables and chairs for the event and the students were provided with a nice lunch of chicken, sandwiches, and chips at the noon break.

The class working hard

Lunch Time!

The Volunteer Clean-Up Day was also held at San Jacinto today and the turnout was pretty light for this event.  Less than 10 volunteers showed up to assist the San Jacinto staff in getting the refuge’s blinds cleaned up from the recently ended waterfowl season. Volunteers met at the check station at 7 am then scattered throughout the wildlife area, plastic bags in hand, to clean up all the spent shell, wads and other miscellaneous trash they could manage to find in and around the blinds.  Besides the usual spent shells and wads there were other things found like flashlights, batteries, a decoy keel with line and weight attached, half a wading pole, and even an old car wheel just to name a few.


SoCalHunt was in attendance for the Clean-up day and pitched in with my trusty shell stick to clean up around at least 8 of the area’s blinds today.  It was nice to see that most blinds I hit were in pretty clean condition so the clean-up wasn’t as labor intensive as it has been some other years.  This was a good thing as it allowed the small group of Volunteers to pretty much get the job done despite the light turnout.


As always at SJ there were other rewards.  There were a lot of ducks using the wildlife area.  I saw more waterfowl in the first 5 minutes I was there then I saw all last season.


And, of course, it isn’t all about ducks at San Jacinto, especially in the offseason, as there were a great variety of other birds utilizing the refuge too.  And, as always, the scenery was outstanding!

There was even a small bonus today as March Air Force Base was having an air show, so we got to see a few of the aircraft flying around the area for that, including a B-2 Stealth Bomber (Sorry didn’t have the camera ready when that one flew by).  I was able to snap a shot of a pair of FA-18 flying over though.

The next volunteer work day will likely be scheduled for some time in June and will be a Blind Brush-up day, to start preparing the blinds for the next waterfowl season in October.  When the date is set SoCalHunt will have it posted here so you can mark the date on your calendar.


San Jacinto’s 24th Annual Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event a Huge Success, February 3rd, 2018

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

Before we dive into this report I want to say that 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.

With that out of the way…

SoCalHunt wasn’t able to attend this year’s San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s Junior Waterfowl Hunt Event.  It was an outstanding event and the Junior Hunters in attendance not only had some pretty good waterfowl hunting, beating the per gun average of the adults for most of the season, they also made out with some great prizes at the lunch raffle at mid-day.

Everyone was treated to a nice breakfast of pancakes and sausage with coffee and hot chocolate available also.  A big thanks goes out to Quail Forever who sponsored the breakfast.

Once all the Juniors and their accompanying adults ate their fill they headed out to the Wildlife Area to set up and wait for the starting horn to sound.  The hunting was pretty good this year and some of the Juniors even scored limits this time.  One Junior even downed two Canada Geese!

(In case you missed it you can read the hunt results here… )

When lunchtime rolled around everyone gathered back at the Check Station workshop for lunch and the raffle.    Lunch was a veritable feast consisting of Pizza (donated by George’s Pizza in Hemet), some amazing tri-tip (donated and cooked up by Paulo Linhardt and Paulo Veronese of Pipe Dream Plumbing), pork-butt sandwiches with special BBQ sauce (provided by D-Boys BBQ), sub sandwiches (provided by the San Jacinto Walmart), and some wonderful cakes provided and decorated by Tom Trakes’ wife and daughter, Cindy and Bonnie. Wow, I’m stuffed just reading this.

This year’s Junior Hunt was dedicated to the memory of Brian Fraser, one of the SJ regulars, that was tragically killed at the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1st.  The program started off with Junior Hunters Lucas and Trina Rizzotto playing an amazing rendition of the National Anthem on saxophone and trombone.  Pastor Jessie gave the invocation.    After that, the event everyone was waiting for, the raffle was conducted.  There was so much support for this year’s Junior Hunt that all the Junior Hunters received four raffle 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” a pair of shotguns, a rifle (donated by Kyle Tibbits of Turners Outdoors), a layout blind, decoys, a one-year membership to WRSP (Wren’s Ranch Sportsmen’s Park – donated by Matt Johnson) and a plethora of other prizes.  I’m sure all the Juniors went away happy this year.

Jim Matthews of the Outdoor News Service had a special booth set up at the event showing the Juniors how to make their own quail calls and another booth where Dale from Cabaw Decoys made a spinning wing wind decoy for each of the Junior Hunters.  In addition, the California Waterfowl Association gave each Junior Hunter a free membership.

After the raffle, most of the Junior Hunters went back to their blinds to finish out the day hunting.  This year’s there was a special raffle to encourage the Juniors to go back out and finish up the day hunting.  Chaz Prato of Ludas Prato German Shorthair Pointers donated several prizes including a shotgun, layout blind, and decoys, to mentions just a few, and each junior earned points for the birds they brought in.  The prizes were awarded for the points earned.  A big thanks to Chaz for these donations and running this special raffle!

The Junior Hunt was an even more outstanding event than usual 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 definitely fills that bill 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, Josh, John, Carlos, Aurelio, Ryan, Scott and Lizzy 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 Rick, April, Dustin, and Walter for helping hand out the prizes at the Junior Hunt event.

Tom also asked me to extend a special thanks to Bob Minor from Bass Pro Shops.  Tom told me that this event might not even happen without Bob’s help and support.  Bass Pro made several donations, assisted with the shotgun raffle prior to the event to raise money for prizes, donated the shotguns for the Junior Hunt raffle (with co-sponsorship on the shotguns by Quail Forever) and sent Bass Pro Shop Pro Staffer Mike Bouman to assist at the event.

Tom also wanted me to give a special thanks to Valleywide Recreation for the tables, chairs, heaters, and griddles to cook the breakfast on.

Tom also wanted me to thank all the Hunters that came out to help cook the breakfast and assist with the event.

Once more, a big thanks to all the sponsors, Evan’s Gun World, Ramona Duck Club, (of course), John Liechty, Mark Bower, Ghulana Yazdan, Wren’s Ranch, Ron Patrick, Taylor Macy, Jim Matthews Signature Calls, John Segoria, Edward Cortez, Gilbert Hernandez, Blue Collar Firearms, 411 Printing, H&H Construction, David Salem Photography, Valleywide Recreation, and Pipedream Plumbing.  (Hope I got them all!)

So, 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.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 121 other followers