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2017/2018 Season Sunrise / Sunset Recap (Plus Some Clouds)

Since the 2017/2018 season is now in the books SoCalHunt’s is, once again, keeping the tradition of posting an article, with photographs, of the sunrises and sunset we’ve had the privilege of witnessing during the hunting season.  This season, due to several reasons I won’t bore you with, I only managed to get out six times two mornings and four afternoons.  This is probably the first time I’ve bought a season pass that didn’t pay off as it takes eight outings before you start saving money over the day passes.  Anyway, this article isn’t about that so…

As traditional at the end of every season, here are the sunrises and sunsets for the season just past, along with the daily clouds we observed during each day.  Although the clouds were a little scarce this season due to the mild weather, there was some, and they were good.  Even though the season was slow the scenery at San Jacinto still makes it worth the visit. I’m sure that most people that hunt San Jacinto will agree that the usual at SJ is spectacular and that includes the cloud conditions at times.  Below, in date order, are the sunrises and sunsets, along with some of the cloud condition photos, on the days we hunted San Jacinto this season.

Presented for your enjoyment:

(Click on the image for a full-sized picture)

10/25/17 Sunset

11/1/17 Sunset (and some of clouds)

11/22/17 Sunrise

12/6/17 Sunset

12/13/17 Sunset

1/27/18 Sunrise (and some clouds)

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Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/24/18, Saturday – 1/27/18, and Sunday – 1/28/18

The waterfowl count at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Wednesday, bounced back up quite a bit compared to Sunday’s low numbers.  Gadwall were back in first place Wednesday for number of birds taken with Green Wing Teal and Cinnamon Teal in a tie for the second position.  The Wister Staff reported that the results for Wednesday, 1/24/18 were as follows:

96 adult and 2 junior hunters harvested 17 Northern Shovelers, 2 Mallards, 28 Gadwall, 14 Widgeon, 14 Pintail, 22 Green Wing Teal, 22 Cinnamon Teal, 2 Redheads, 1 Bufflehead, and 1 Blue Wing Teal. 5 Snow Geese were bagged at Wister on Wednesday.  No Coots was checked in at Wister on Wednesday.  This worked out to an average take of 1.26 ducks per person or, with the Geese included in the totals, 1.31 waterfowl for each gun. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 28 arrived on time to claim their spot.

The waterfowl totals for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Saturday dropped back downward somewhat compared to Wednesday’s numbers.  Cinnamon Teal left the Green Wings in the dust, taking over first place for number of birds brought in with Green Wing Teal staying in the second position.  The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 1/27/18 were as follows:

152 adult and 11 junior hunters checked in 21 Northern Shoveler, 5 Mallards, 25 Gadwall, 12 Widgeon, 19 Pintail, 29 Green Wing Teal, 45 Cinnamon Teal, 4 Redheads, 1 Ring Neck, 1 Scaup, 5 Bufflehead, and 2 Ruddy Ducks.  16 Snow Geese were harvested at Wister on Saturday.  Again, no Coots brought in to the check station at Wister on Saturday.  This worked out to an average take of 1.04 ducks per hunter or, with the Geese included, 1.13 waterfowl per gun. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 30 came in on time for their spot.

The waterfowl take for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Sunday headed slipped even more compared to Saturday’s count. Shovelers were found in the first position for number of waterfowl checked in on Sunday with Cinnamon Teal dropping back into the second position. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Sunday, 1/28/18 were as follows:

68 adult and 4 junior hunters harvested 10 Northern Shovelers, 5 Gadwall, 5 Widgeon, 8 Pintail, 8 Green Wing Teal, 9 Cinnamon Teal, 10 Blue Wing Teal, 2 Redheads, 1 Ring Neck,1 Bufflehead and 5 Ruddy Ducks.  5 Snow Geese were bagged at Wister on Sunday.  1 Coot was checked in at Wister on Sunday.  This came out to an average bag of 0.75 ducks per person or, with the Geese and Coot included, 0.83 waterfowl per hunter. There was no information provided regarding how many reservation holders arrived on time for their spot.

So, another season in the books.  Thus ends the 2017/2018 regular waterfowl season for Wister. If you’re a junior hunter, or you have a junior hunter in the family, there’s one more chance for them to waterfowl this season at Wister’s Junior Waterfowl hunt, next weekend, February 3rd and 4th. For more information, contact the staff at Wister at 760-359-0577.

SoCalHunt San Jacinto Hunting Report 1/27/18

First off I want to apologize for the lack of hunting reports this season.  I did try the sweatline once, the Saturday after my last hunting report, but I wasn’t fortunate enough to get drawn low enough to get on in the morning and I couldn’t stay for the afternoon. After that was a short time of planned absence from SJ for Christmas holiday activities and guests visiting from out of state.  Then, raring to go…I got the creepin’ crud (flu?) that was going around, then my wife got it, and it hung on for a couple weeks for each of us, so…finally things were good to go again after a very long period of no hunting…with one day left in the season.  However, as luck would have it, the good thing was one of my usual hunting partners had drawn a low reservation number!

So, with reservation in hand, we arrived at the San Jacinto Check Station to pick our spot for the last hunt day of the 2017/2018 waterfowl season.  My other usual hunting partner was also available, but only for about the first hour, as he had to get to work after that, so he met up with us in the reservation line.  We were optimistic that we’d have a good hunt coming up today.

We picked our spot, one of our favorites, and headed out to set up.  Once we had the decoys set and the blind arranged we settled back with a cup of coffee to await the starting horn.  As the sun began to light the sky from behind Mount San Jacinto SJ showed us another great sunrise.

When the starting horn blew, it wasn’t long before we had several opportunities.  Each of us fired several shots, but nothing fell.  All three of us had the “I can’t hit nothing” ailment this morning.

As the sun rose higher the sky brightened and it was easier to pick out the birds flying in towards our blind.

Finally, a Teal flew in high over the blind and we all fired at it.  The bird folded (I think we all may have hit it) and it went crashing down, right into a thick stand of tules.  After an exhaustive search, the bird could not be located.  Shoot, I always hate to lose them like that.

It wasn’t long before my hunting partner that had to leave for work ran out of time and we wished him well as he headed back to his truck.  That left two of us to “defend” our blind from any encroaching waterfowl.

As the sun rose higher the conditions remained calm and the water glassy.  The light clouds enhanced the scenery and we enjoyed the views as we waited for more ducks to arrive.

After a short time, another Teal came in towards the blind and my partner had the shot.  The bird was hit, but not hard and actually flew a short distance before going down behind a thick stand of reeds.  After another long search, this bird was able to evade capture.  I’m sure it swam into the reeds after it went down.

We had several more opportunities and continued our “catch and release” hunting technique.  Blowing holes in the sky around the ducks and then watching them fly away.  After several birds escaped our efforts we were sitting in the blind when a group of four Cinnamon Teal drakes swam by close to the blind from behind some tules.  We stood and the birds jumped to fly and my partner was able to hit one hard, splashing it in opened water and winging another one that crash-landed next to the adjacent dike.  The bird that fell by the dike was still swimming and was able to quickly duck into some brush on the dike.  My partner went to retrieve his birds but the one that was still mobile either went over the dike unseen and into the next pond and who knows where from there, or continued down the edge of the dike, using the brush for cover and made it into the reeds at the end of the pond.  Another long search failed to locate this duck also but at least the one down on the opened water wasn’t going anywhere.  Finally, a bird for the strap.

Not long after this things began to slow down significantly, however, the wind came up fairly strong, which usually starts to move bird around, so we opted to stick things out a while longer.

For the next hour or so we caught and released a few more birds but the wind didn’t seem to be moving the birds much so we decided to call it a day.  We packed our decoys and gear and headed out with our lone Cinnamon Teal.

The next thing up for San Jacinto Wildlife Area is the 24th Annual Junior Hunt and Raffle next Saturday, February 3rd.  Hope to see a great group of Juniors in attendance next Saturday.  Hopefully, it should be a good hunt with the bonus of a great lunch and lots of raffle prizes for the Juniors.

Hunt Results for San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 1/24/18

The waterfowl harvest averages at San Jacinto Wildlife Area headed back upward from Saturday’s low totals on a partly cloudy day that started cold but ended up just into the 70s. Green Wing Teal swapped places with Cinnamon Teal, coming in first place today for number of birds taken with the Cinnamons sliding back into the second spot. Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, reported that the results for Wednesday, 1/24/18 were as follows:

106 adult and 4 junior hunters bagged 17 Northern Shovelers, 3 Mallards, 21 Gadwall, 1 Widgeon, 6 Pintail, 49 Green Wing Teal, 32 Cinnamon Teal, 1 Redhead, 2 Scaup, 8 Bufflehead, 1 Goldeneye, and 6 Ruddy Ducks.  No Geese were checked in at San Jacinto on Wednesday.   13 Coots were also included in the count at San Jacinto on Wednesday.  This worked out to an average harvest of 1.34 ducks per hunter or, with the Coots added in, 1.45 waterfowl per person. Tom advised that out of 52 reservation cards only 17 showed up on time for their spot.

San Jacinto is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. At this point in the season it is now too late to put in for reservations on-line through the DFW Automated License Data System (ALDS).   You can still get in on the daily “sweat line” drawing for the remaining blinds after the reservations are taken care of. Reservation spots are given out starting at 3 AM and the “sweat line” drawing is at 3:30 AM.

Also, San Jacinto’s 24th Annual Junior Hunt is coming up on February 3rd, 2018.  New state regulations, which went into effect the year before last, regarding donations for this great event are in effect again this year.  It’s a great cause to donate to as the Junior Hunters are the future of our sport so don’t let a little paperwork keep you from donating. Details on the procedures for donating can be found at the below link:

https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/new-procedures-for-donations-for-the-annual-junior-hunt-at-san-jacinto-wildlife-area/

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 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.  As in past seasons, 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 San Jacinto at 951-928-0580.

 

Good Turnout = Lots Accomplished at the Volunteer Work Day at San Jacinto, Saturday August 5th

On Saturday, August 5th, an excellent turnout of about 30 volunteers, along with the San Jacinto Wildlife Area staff, assembled at the SJ check station parking lot at 0630 for first volunteer blind day.

The volunteers received their assignments and were off to help start getting the blinds in order for the fast approaching waterfowl season. The wood blind that was a F-2 was moved to E-4 and a hog wire blind was built to replace it at F-2.  The blind at C-1 was removed and replaced with a new hog wire blind a little higher on the island.  General clean up as done around and inside some of the area’s blinds and notes were made on what further needs to be done to get ready for the season.

There are already a lot of ducks using the area and things are looking good so far for a great season.

After the work was done most of the volunteers gathered at the Casa Mexicana Restaurant for a great lunch.

The Staff at San Jacinto would like to extend a big thanks to everyone that came out and worked hard to get a start on getting things in order for the waterfowl season to come.

Tom wanted me to tell everyone that the next volunteer work day is coming up fast.  The next work day will be Saturday, August 26th.  (I’ll post a separate announcement on this soon, check back with SoCalHunt for the “official” announcement.)

This work day is just the weekend before the dove season opener on September 1st.  If you have any plans to hunt SJ for the dove opener attending the work day would be a great way to get some scouting in for the dove opener (while the work is done of course).

Tom told me that the waterfowl area will be opened for dove hunting for the first three days (September 1 – 3) of the dove season.  Also, if you are going to hunt at SJ any time during the dove season, including opening weekend, there is NO LEAD SHOT ALLOWED on State Wildlife Areas.  Non-toxic shot only (steel, bismuth, tungsten).

Hope to see you out there for the next work day or maybe even for the dove opener!

Moving F-2 to E-4

Building Blinds

Some of the volunteers…Thanks guys!

Volunteer Work Day Set for San Jacinto Wildlife Area- Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the next volunteer work day for San Jacinto Wildlife Area would be Saturday, August 5th.  Tom told me that this work day will be primarily to build several blinds on the wildlife area so they can start brushing up for the coming season.  Tom advised that volunteers should meet at the check station at 6:30 am and anyone coming out to volunteer should bring gloves, shovels and/or hoes, wire pliers and lots of water since it’s expected to be hot. After the work is done we will get together at a local restaurant for a well-deserved lunch (each person responsible for their own bill).

By the way, I should add that Tom wanted to apologize for the short notice on this one but they’ve had some equipment problems hold things up.

Hopefully, we’ll have a good turnout so we can get the blinds ready for the next step in the process, working towards another waterfowl season.  As always, the more the merrier (and the less work for each person).

Tom also told me that they will have a date in September as the volunteer blind brush-up day at San Jacinto (exact date to be determined).

A good turnout for this one will help get things rolling to get SJ in “ship shape” for the coming season and we’ll all look forward to another great year of waterfowling.

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

Hunt Results for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area, Wednesday – 12/28/16, Saturday – 12/31/16 and Sunday – 1/1/17

The per gun average harvest of waterfowl at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Wednesday went up again compared to Saturday’s good averages (there was no hunting last Sunday due to Christmas). Green Wing Teal are still in first place for number of ducks checked in with Shovelers jumping back into the second position.   The Wister Staff reported that the results for Wednesday, 12/28/16 were as follows:

155 adult hunters and 17 junior hunter checked in 1 Mallard, 38 Gadwall, 56 Widgeon, 54 Pintails, 234 Green Wing Teal, 30 Cinnamon Teal, 85 Shovelers, 1 Canvasback, 5 Ring Necks, 7 Scaup, 5 Bufflehead, 5 Goldeneyes, 5 Blue Wing Teal and 2 Ruddy Ducks.  There were 3 Snow Geese and 2 Canada Geese shot at Wister on Wednesday. 2 Coots were also bagged at Wister on Wednesday.  This figured out to an average take of 3.07 ducks per gun or, with the Geese and Coots included, 3.10 waterfowl per hunter. Out of 100 reservation cards issued 28 came in on time for their spot.

The average waterfowl bag for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Saturday rose a little more compared to Wednesday’s very good average take. Green Wing Teal retained first place for number of birds bagged at Wister with Pintail sliding into the second position. The Wister Staff reported that the results for Saturday, 12/31/16 were as follows:

169 adult and 14 junior hunters bagged 79 Shovelers, 51 Cinnamon Teal, 32 Gadwall, 38 Widgeon, 245 Green Wing Teal, 9 Mallards, 93 Pintail, 1 Ring Neck, 2 Scaup, 10 Bufflehead, 12 Blue Wing Teal, 1 Merganser and 2 Ruddy Ducks. There were 16 Snow Geese and 2 Canada Geese harvested at Wister on Saturday.  A lone Coot was checked in at Wister on Saturday. This figured out to an average take of 3.14 ducks per person or, with the Geese and Coot included, 3.25 waterfowl per hunter. No Information was provided on how many reservations showed up in time for their spot.

The waterfowl average take for the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area for Sunday, as usual, slid back down a bit from Saturday’s very good averages but were still in the very good range. Green Wing Teal stayed first place, again, for number of birds bagged on Sunday with Shovelers jumping back up into the second position. The Wister Staff reported that the results for the first hunt of 2017 on Sunday, 1/1/17 were as follows:

29 adult and no junior hunters bagged 4 Gadwall, 7 Mallard, 4 Widgeon, 13 Pintail, 16 Shovelers, 1 Cinnamon Teal, 22 Green Wing Teal, 1 Ring Neck, 3 Bufflehead, 1 Blue Wing Teal and 1 Ruddy Duck.  There were also 9 Snow Geese and 2 Canada Geese downed at Wister on Sunday.  No Coots were brought into the check station at Wister on Sunday.  This figured out to a 2.52 average ducks per gun and, with the Geese included, 2.90 waterfowl per person. Out of 100 reservation cards issued only 8 showed up on time for their spot.

Wister is open for waterfowl hunting on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays only. You can put in for reservations on-line 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 web site 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 arrive at the refuge.  These can be purchased on-line 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.

 


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