REFUGES

huntducks

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Lets just say for a minute you were the refuge manager of your favorite refuge, what changes or improvements would you make at that refuge or others.

My changes.

Fire the woman working the check in at Kern if she is making MW she is over paid by $5.00 per hour.

Second I would turn San Jacento into a real refuge 200 hunters, New ponds with ceral crops, dry fields trying too attract and hold more geese, and a closed zone for the birds just water no food.

SJ is a diamond in the ruff they just need a agressive duckhunter to manage it.
 

KID CREOLE

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Great topic Greg!

1.  Get rid of the buffer zone on the close zone at Wister on the east side of Davis Rd.

2.  Start planting the W's, T's and U's with Bullrush like they did before.

3.  Set up some type of hunting at the Westmoreland Refuge, this refuge does nothing but provide prime hunting for a handful of clubs and bird watching.

4.  Clean up the Union blinds, the last few years it has been a joke.
 

Duck Fan

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Hunt ducks:  I AGREE, lets get rid of that woman at Kern.  She provides zero help or suggestions.  

One from me is: Change the shell limit to 35 per hunter while in the field.  I would like to have 35.  I have written before to refuge managers and they just don't want to deal with it.  The refuge managers DO have the power to change that.  You may think that it is some kind of state law or something...but actually, they can do it for their own areas.  Studies show that it takes 4-5 shells per bird.  With a 7 bird limit and a few geese to go after, it is not unreasonable to have 35 shells out there to allow for duck and goose loads.  Stopping the skyscraping they pretended was the reason for the rule has not happened.  It is the same as in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.  I don't think we need unlimited shells number necessarily...but 35 would allow me to have a box of duck load and another 10 for geese.  I know more and more hunters that have decided to take 3 inch BB's out there and shoot them for anything that flies (over kill on teal).  I just want to have a variety available to me while in the field..thats all.  There is more to say on this one but you get the point.




(Edited by Duck Fan at 8:35 pm on Jan. 21, 2002)
 

Mike Riley

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Duck Fan,
Good idea and it has been poised for years at the Sac Complex Hunter Program "whatever they're calling it now" group.  The hang up is the state wants all the refuge uniform and the Sac Complex has held tight to the 25 shell limit.  The managers at the Lodge & LDC thought 2 boxes was more appropriate. About 3 years ago Gary Kramer, the then manager of the Sac Complex, proposed a 35 shell (5 shell per duck with a 25 minimum) with no refills(No refills was a change from the hunter's past proposals).  Most of the duck hunters on the committee jumped at the idea, unfortunately the goose hunter wanted refills - like it should take more than 35 shells to kill 3 sky carp.  But that killed the deal.  Maybe Jay can bring you up to speed on the recent discussions.  I nolonger go to the meeting because I disagreed with Denise, the hunt program coordinator, too much.  The idea behind this committee is a good one - the problem in the past is if you disagree with where the fed wanted to go with the program you didn't get invited back.  Maybe as Kevin gets more settled as manager things will become more user friendly.  The time I have have spend with Kevin leads me to believe he is as honest as a USFWS employee can be and hunter friendly.  I may disagree with some of Kevin's recent decisions on refuge closures, but that hasn't soured me on him.  I think he truly wants to work with hunters, just some of the parameters he has to work within tie his hands quite a bit.
 

Duck Fan

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Thanks Mike...and by the way, it was nice meeting you at Sac a while back - although it was a quick hello as I was trying to get my group signed in...

I did attend last year's hunter meeting at Sac.  That is where I first met Jay.  I guess since Kevin does have the authority to make that change, it is one that I would like to see.  I am sure it will continue to come up...and I hope that those who would like to see it changed will continue to pursue it.  Since the topic is "what I want to see changed", I guess that is just one of my "wish list" items.  Ahhh...to dream  ( ha ha)

I assume you will be out there for the junior hunt - Best Of Luck to you...and all those with kids in the marsh this weekend.  It should be a good one.
 

mustystubs

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Mike:

Right on about the twenty-five shell limit.  They need to raise it to thirty or thirty-five with no refills.  Unless you are Annie Oakley it can be difficult to kill seven ducks and three geese with twenty-five shells.

How about limiting people to half-day hunts.  That way more people could get the use of limited facilities.  Back when there was a four bird limit, guys would sit all day long in a blind just to get that fourth greenhead since you couldn't make a meal out of four teal.

Also, how about going to a lottery system at Grey Lodge and Sutter like they use at the other refuges.  That would give working people and out-of-towners an equal chance.

Auction off a closed zone hunt at the end of the season to the highest bidder.  Good way to raise money for refuge improvements.
 

songdog

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I'd cast a vote to increase the number of refuges.  Even if they were smaller.  There's actually a decent amount of habitat in CA that could be used if they wanted to purchase/lease the land and do it.  Would make for a lot less crowding at the refuges.

Add an online form for the reservation system rather than the paper method.  Granted, it will make even more unused reservations.  Either that or go back to the old way of one card manually filled out per location per day.

I'd also cast a vote for more wardens but with the right attitude.  Heck, if In-n-Out burger can get a college kid to be as polite as pie for $8/hr you would think that we could get some of the same hiring practices into the enforcement folks.  

A while ago the DF&G web site had a statement about their "enforcement" that it was intended to educate rather than punnish.  Sounds great if they could get the guys to do it.  For someone blatantly breaking one of the rules, drag them out and shoot them (ok, just an expensive ticket and take away their hunting rights for a year).  Let's clean up some of the "trash hunters" out there.  For those legit mistakes (scotch doubles on sprig, license in the dry bag in the canoe not in your wader pocket, etc) educate the offender, shake their hand and get back to looking for the real bad guys.  Ok, off the soap box now...

One more question that I've been thinking about lately - although hunters represent 99.9% of the usage of the refuges (and revenue) should they be managed for those hunters?  I think so, but I heard from some of the new Wister folks that they feel that it's just as important to manage it for bird watchers, etc. who don't hunt and that's why they may leave tulles out there choking up areas, poorly planned closed zones, etc.  Even if the hunters don't like it (sounds more like an excuse to be lazy to me).

How about adding a small group of jr. blinds?  Rather than just one hunt day/weekend for the kids.  How about 10% of the blinds at Wister?  Even better rotate the 10% each week.  When 513 comes up, everyone is going to be looking for a kid to take... not a bad idea.

All refuges should have the WalMart on wheels like the trailer in the Wister parking lot.

Give out a free season pass to anyone who works the whole 8-10 hour day on the work/clean up days.

Anyone have some land in the Central Vally that they will let me manage?
 

Jay

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Yea, the 25 shell rule needs to float with the duck limit.

The problem is, it's written into the regs in about a thousand places, it's posted on signs at 50 hunt areas and it's printed on the maps and regulation handouts for all those areas. It would probably cost the state $100,000 to change that rule and what do they get for it? Fewer citations.

Do the math.      
 

Baldplate

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Huntducks and Duckfan I have hunted Kern 5 times this past season and I have found the employee you mentioned to be very helpful when ever I had a question.Could you be more specific about your complaints. Kern is a great refuge for the southern portion of this State and if there is a problem we should address it right away so the refuge manager can take appropriate action. I know first hand the refuge staff does listen to complaints.I have to admitt I never asked the question where should I hunt or which area is the best. The harvest sheet posted at the trailer provides all the information necessary to determine which areas are shooting the best. Huntducks and Duckfan, I know from reading your prior posts that you gentlemen sound like you have hunted once or twice before, so I am interested in hearing your specific problems, so we can work together to improve Kern.
 As far as a change in general for all refuges? If I were king I would rotate the closed zones every other year, so the birds don't get patterned to their locations after the first shot of each new season.
 

KID CREOLE

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One other thing I would like to see.  Stop posting the kill number for blinds down at Wister, everyone should learn by trial and error how to be succesful, get rid of the kill binder!
 

Baldplate

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You are dead right about the harvest folder.Hunters lie about their successes and even alter the results in the book. I would rather they just post the habitat conditions at each blind, so you know what you might expect.Although those have also been misleading or tampered with in the past. Wister needs major overhauls before next season, or a new manager!!!
 

Megadeth

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More shells, no refills at LDC, and set goals to help our local hatch of birds. If more efforts were made to increase our local hatch, all of us would take more quality birds. More permanent brood ponds for the spring hatch.As for LDC, turn it back into the quality instead of quantity hunt it used to be. I dont care if I only hunt it once in 3 years. A limit of greenheads is a reward thats priceless.
 
O

outdoorsman

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The 35 shell limit sounds good.  Here's one to ponder, rotate the closed zone at each area.  Any bird older than 1yr. knows each closed zone from OR. to Mexico.  
 

songdog

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I know of a couple of old timers at Wister (hunt every day) that will shoot a fair number of birds and then come in and swap their spot for another spot guaranteed not to have any water or poor cover and then check all their birds in on that spot.  They definitely play the kill book game.  

Although it's not right, and I can understand their motivation, I don't think that there are any rules specifically prohibiting it.  The birds get checked in on the last card you turn in.  Otherwise you could shoot close to double limits if you just swapped cards.

For what it's worth - the Kern staff have always been way more cordial than those at Wister from my experience.  I really wish they'd bring back the lady that was at Wister 3-4 years ago. She was great.  Took no flack whatsoever but was straight forward, honest and had a sixth sense for knowing who to point in which direction when asked about blinds.
 

d trees

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greg you beat me to it , I have been telling that to friends for a couple years now, but I dont think it would happen cus there worried about the birds being pressured off the refuge, but it would prolly increase revenue because of higher kill count ,d
 

bandblaster

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kid i love the ideas about not sowing the count they should do it by north south and federal the y15s as the beginning of the south and the rest up is north i also have been telling my dad that they need to rotat the closed zone also i like to have more shells but you get to bring to many and the sky scrapers will have a field day
 

Duck Fan

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Baldpate:  My comment about the woman at Kern was regarding the fact that she was mainly "a grump" and not helpful.  When asked about the possibility of putting the past hunt results out in the glass window (or making it available on the clipboard inside), she seemed very "put off".  She said, "we have no room!", "where would I put it?", "we only have 1 clipboard (to attach past results)!".  These comments were said with emphasis...a tone that I just didn't appraciate.  

I know that some guys hate the kill binder, but if you are new to the sport and/or just want to get an idea of what has been reported on the area (not just blinds but all the hunting fields on an area), it doesn't seem to me to be that big a deal to provide that for hunters that want to look it over.  Even if it was just area totals and no breakdown.  

At other refuges in CA you can either look up past results on a web site, or take a look at trends over time as they post all prior results for the season on a clipboard (ie Kesterson).  If a hunter wants to look at the past few hunt dates..and look at information about what the habitat is for an area, what the weather was like, etc., I think a hunter should be able to do that.  You may not agree, but it isn't that hard to put a few sheets from prior dates together on 1 clipboard.

Instead of looking for ways to help us, she just seemed to dismiss me.  We usually hunt 1A when at Kern, but thought we would try a blind and make it an easy day (not having to rush out and hope to get "our spot".  We asked her if she knew what the blind looked like...any cover, how open it was (50% open water...90%?).  She didn't want to give us any info on the blind itself; she was not interested in helping us or providing anything other than to say that "the reflectors were there to help lead you out to it."  She said that TWICE.  She didn't want to provide water depth, size or condition of the island, etc...

If she didn't know the info, then tell me that...versus repeating that there "are reflectors to the blind".

Well, we probably should have just gone back to 1A...but we wanted to try something different.  She didn't give me any feeling that she wanted to be 'helpfull' in any way.

Let me be clear...I wasn't asking her to point me to the right blind...I just wanted to know about the blind we had decided to hunt...and asked if it were possible to see prior days hunt results on that blind.  I see no reason why that could not have been provided.

Having said all that, let me also be clear and say that the personnel at refuges that I have dealt with in the past are usually great to talk to and have so much info to offer. I appreciate their work and what they have to put up with.  If I had been rude to her in any way, I could understand her attitude. But, if you knew me, you would know that I am pretty laid back and polite.  That's all I ask for in return.  

Now, hopefully I haven stirred it up again...  ;-)
 

huntducks

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Baldplate let me start off by saying I asked the woman at Kern about blind selection a few trips back her answer to me was the numbers are on the board I don't give any help past that, I countered with if you had to chose between say blind 7 or 8 which would you take her answer was I don't hunt I don't know.

Last trip out I asked directions to blind 10 can you walk in past the HC-1 site and come in from the back side I asked the guy at the other window he repeated it to her she answered back just fallow the signs that's not what I asked, I also ask for my #1 reservation card back, which I know for a fact that LDC gives them back if you ask and so does SJ her answer was just a smart a$$ flat out NO.

I can tell you I hunted these refuges this year LDC, Grey Lodge, Sac, Honey Lake, Shasta Valley, Modoc, Mendota, Wister, San Jacinto, Perris, & Kern, and at any of the above area's where ever I ask they had time to talk about where what & how to go except Kern, even Grey Lodge had a great attitude with all the people they run through it, was more then just next.

Mustystubs, Mike Riley, Megaeth, this would be my complaint against half day hunts and no refills. and yes 35 shells would get my vote anyday with 50 being the best.

First off I would like to say I drive north at least 2 times a year to hunt OUR refuges, from my house to the gate at LDC is right at 400 miles do you really think that I would make that drive if I could only hunt 1/2 day or not be able to refill, you guys that live 40-60 miles away have no problem with it, but I do, we have regulated our refuge system to death and in most cases it has been to benifit 10-20% of the users (you know the sweekey wheel gets the grease) Megadeth I do care how many times I hunt it and 1 time in 3 years is not enought.

I spent 4 mo in 2000 living back in MO. (Joplin) I hunted ducks & geese from Sept 8 throught Nov. in Arkansas, Kansas & Missouri, (with 80% of my hunting in MO.) there refuge system at worst is 2 times what we have here, in MO. they have free hunting, 7days a week, no 25 shell limit except at one goose area (10 shells) one reservation per hunter per year at say 10 of the larger refuges and you call in for it free, most of there better area's are type-C. what i'm trying to get at is a 20 hour drive for 7-10 days of hunting would be a lot better then say hunting LDC once every 3 years.(we in CA. can not afford to lose any more hunters)

Just a short story from one of my hunts, I was hunting a area called 4 rivers which is about 100 miles north of Joplin (the finest refuge I have ever seen or hunted) on Monday I got a limit of birds (6) maybe 2 mallards, they had a storm go through the Dakots on Tuesday 5 feet of snow, 4 rivers duck pop on Mon. was 25,000 with about half mallards I went back on thursday to hunt, and the duck pop. was at 110,000 with 93,000 mallards I shot 4 greenheads in 30 min which that is the limit and it took me till 2pm to get 2 other ducks, but in the mean time I shot 11 snow geese (limit is 20 per day) and beleive me when I tell you this, very few hunters bother with snows or specks, mallard is king back there, so that's why once in three years would not cut it with me, I think each and everone of you should experience a hunt back in a flooded midwest cornfield or a Arkansas timber hunt you will be spoiled for life.

Jesse our leader here can vouch for what I have said about MO. and 4-Rivers.

I would truely LOVE to move back to Kansas.

They do not need to open the closed zone or rotate just don't plant them which will make the birds move out to feed.
 

DanV

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While my ideas will be very unpopular with you diehard , hunt em ever chance you get duckhunters, I think all the refuges should go to assigned blinds and give out more ressies and have less walk on spots. California has way too big of a population, so also too many duck hunters (and slob hunters, crowd you, won't let the birds work, skyscraping type) for the opportunities we have. We could use more refuges and I'm sure so could the ducks. The twenty five shell rule should fluctuate as the limits change. I've never needed all my shells but then I've never killed a seven bird limit.
 

yellowwaterdog

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I have to agree with huntducks, that woman at Kern is next to useless.  On the last Wednesday, I couldn't believe how long it took them to process teh ressies and the sweatline.  I was watching as it took her twice as long to process a hunter as the guy and as is already discussed, it was not because she was sharing any insight!  I guess we got spoiled as Kern used to have a efficient and hunter friendly group.

35 shells would be nice.

If I were refuge manager, I would make sure I had my water deliveries ON TIME to provide habitat before the hunting season starts.  This would allow the local ducks time to spread out and provide more hunter opportunity instead for a few.
 

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