Sac Refuge Complex meeting update

Jay

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Here's the skinny from yesterday's hunter forum at the Sac Refuge complex:

1. Sutter will continue as FCFS. The feds and check station personell recommended moving to a lottery last year but were overruled by a groundswell of opposition at the state F&G commision meeting. Seems hundreds of FCFS supporters showed and only one or two lottery supporters showed.

2. Sac and Delevan will continue to allow blind hunters to hunt within 100 feet of the blind although the long term intention is to have a uniform policy with the state to eliminate confusion.

3. Blinds will not be installed at Colusa this year. Tule transplants will be made on the west side and heavy irrigation will continue to improve the habitat. The FWS has stated that the mud mounds are only suggested blind positions. They encourage input as to their locations. Specifics such as: "T24.4 should be moved 100 feet to the north." are most helpful.

4. Continued attempts are being made to purchase the private property on the west side of Colusa.

5. Sutter will probabaly only be 50% flooded by opening day again. This is due the F&WS decision to not use "fish grinding" pumps due to the presense of endanagered fish. A long term solution which is to refurbish the main canal feeding the refuge is partially funded and work may begin this year.

6. Reservation applications jumped from 525,547 to 625,708 this past season. Two years ago it was 420,967.

7. The odds of drawing:
Little Dry Creek 1:51.7
Joice Island 1:50.7
Grizzly and China Islands 1:1.5

8. Dog islands are being installed in some of the Sac & Delevan free roam areas.  

9. Complaints dropped 80% last year as compared to the year before.

If you feel strongly on these issues the F&WS encourages your "constructive" comments. E-mail is okay but a letter carries more weight.



Will Baer if you're here:
I didn't get to introduce myself to you yesterday, but at least I now have a face attached to your name.
 

tommyo

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Great report Jay - if you have advance notice of similar meetings of interest please post.  Thanks.!
 

Jay

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I did post an advance notice.

The meeting is by invite only and it is not an "advisory" meeting. The purpose is for the feds to get input and bounce ideas off of users of the hunt program. The Feds invite about 20 hunters from the pool of people who, write, email or visit the Sac Refuge Complex headquarters to give constructive suggestions. Once invited you can continue to come until you don't attend (or dis-invited in some cases), then they fill your spot with another hunter.
 

Megadeth

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Jay, thats a nice post. Has anybody ever addressed the resi system? I know we wont revert back to the old system, due to increased funds, but it was easier to get drawn. I was approx. 1 for 100 last year.
 

Jay

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Glenn Underwood is the DFG guy who runs the reservation system. He was at the meeting to present reservation stats but since the meeting was being held by the feds, state issues such as the reservation system could not be addressed.

I think Glenn's email is gunderwo@dfg.ca.gov. if you want to drop him a line with some ideas.  

One thing's for sure, if you were putting in for Sac,  Delevan and Little Dry Creek, one out of 100 is well inside the bell curve. Them's long odds.

Last year I pulled 3 Sacs, no Delevans and no LDC's. I felt pretty lucky.

 :eek:  
 

Duck Fan

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Jay,

I was at the forum and your summary was very well put.  I was a "first time" attendee and really enjoyed it.

I was sitting near the front next to "Dan".  One item I brought up was the 2 minute rule at Sac...Andy (DFG) thought I meant that I didn't want a time limit on taking the next spot (that is fine.) What I was talking about was the rule that says if the first guy waiting does not want the spot that opens up...and the next guy does want it - AND 2 minutes have not gone by, the 1st guy is bumped to the end of the waiting list.  I did go ahead and send Andy a letter explaining this more fully, so hopefully that rule will be thrown out.  Here is part of what I wrote:

The "2 MINUTE RULE" at Sacramento refuge this past season:

I DO AGREE that any one that is waiting in line should only have 2 minutes to either decide to take the next spot or let it go to the next guy in line.

BUT, what was happening this past year was that if the person in line decided to NOT take a blind, AND THE GUY BEHIND him in line said he would take it, AND 2 minutes had not gone by, the 1st guy would get "bumped" to the end of the blind waiting line.



Example:
20 guys in blind waiting line.  Some may have been there from the night before and used the lottery.  One guy is the first on that list.  A blind opens up…but it is not the blind the 1st guy wants, so he passes it to the next guy to take.  With the process the check station used last year, if the 9th  guy took the blind before 2 minutes were up, the 1st through 8th guys were bumped to the end of the line.

It may be that the 2 minute rule of "Take the spot or we’ll pass to the next guy" has been enhanced somehow to now mean that if you don’t take the first blind that comes open, you may end up going to the end of the line.

What I saw several times this past season were anxious hunters "hovering" around the check station to be sure no one took the spot before 2 minutes were up.  There were some "arguments" and it just doesn’t need to be that way.

If you pass on a spot, let it go to the next guy and just leave everyone in the order they already are in.  Another example:  If 2 older hunters are 1st in the blind waiting line, and a blind that is a long walk becomes available, they may need to pass on that one.  But, if someone behind them in line takes that spot before 2 minutes have expired, these hunters would get bumped to the end of the line.  
 
Please enforce 2 minutes to make a decision if you want to take the blind…but DO NOT enforce a rule that bumps you to the end of the line if someone behind you takes the spot before 2 minutes have passed.
 
 

Mike Riley

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I totally disagree on the 2 minute rule.  If you don't want the blind and somebody takes it, everybody that passes should go to back of the line.  I don't like the idea of guys "camping" until the blind they want comes up.  You have the option of free-roam or a blind, if you pass you take your chances.  Funny how guys that like lotto admittance, like FC/FS when picking their blinds.  I simpathize if a crumpy blind comes in, but you can always go free-roam.  With the 2 minute rule you get a choice, you make it ,and the guys behind you are happy to see you gone.  That seems like the way an admittance systems should work, not guys hanging around all morning until they get the blind they want.
 

Duck Fan

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I am sorry that you don't agree with me Mike...  but I guess that's what makes the world go 'round.

If I choose to let a blind go to the next guy, who does it hurt if I decide to wait for another blind?

What happens is that most guys do wait the 2 minutes so no one gets bumped, but having this rule merely causes a lot of confusion and frustration that does not need to occur.

Just as you have argued for a "choice" in FC/FS as well as some areas with a lottery, I would argue that I too would like a choice of accepting a spot or pass it to the next guy.  

It hurts no hunter behind me to pass on a given blind that becomes available.  Those hunters behind me will get a chance at a spot that I choose to pass on.

Again, put yourself in the position of an older hunter that prefers to hunt a blind - maybe he or she is not able to walk the longer distances to a blind like 12 at Sac.  Why should that hunter be bumped to the end of the line just because he/she doesn't feel able to make that long trek?  This happened to me last year.  2 older men passed on blind 12 because they felt that one of them could not make it that far, especially when he would have to return to the parking lot later that night - he felt he would be too tired after an afternoon of hunting to make that long walk back.  I would not have wanted him bumped - no way!

Again, the hunters behind him/her in line will get a chance to go in - but we just won't have to play the game of waiting 2 minutes and have guys hanging around the check station reminding everyone to "wait 2 minutes" and you can have the next one without bumping me.

That's what happens at the check station - most hunters behind a guy do wait the 2 minutes...so what I propose (not getting bumped), in fact, is what happens because most guys will wait...and we don't need a rule that just causes friction between hunters waiting to get in....just not necessary.
 

Mike Riley

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See I disagree, it doesn't necessarily make me right, but my opinion is different.  You do get a choice take the blind that is there or take your chances.  This eliminates guys staying at the front of the line "cherry picking" the better blinds.  If I am in back of you and you keep passing crummy blinds it does hurt me.   The only way I am getting in is to take lesser blinds, not the best option.  If you take what’s offered or take your chances - it takes away the ability of the first few guys waiting around and keeping everyone else from a chance at a better blind.  This rule generally doesn’t affect me, because I prefer free-roam to all but a few blinds.  Because people are allowed to pass until they get the blind they want, I may never see these blinds come up.   What causes friction for me is guys "cherry picking" blinds all day.  

On the point about older hunter not being able to get around, that is a poor excuse.  The Sac Complex has put a lot of time and effort into their mobility-impaired program.  If an older gentleman has a problem getting to and from the blinds he should get a handicap sticker and use the blinds that were set up especially for hunters like him.  They hold these blinds out of the rotation until 2pm and have a separate list for them (they are not subject to the same 2 minute rule).  He should have no problem getting into one of these blinds.  
 

Duck Fan

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Mike,
Just for the record, the 2 gentlemen I referred to (the older guys) were not so disabled that they could take a handicap blind.  You are right that Sac has wonderful opportunities for disabled hunters..but not everyone that has a hard time getting around can (or should) get a disabled sticker from the DMV.

When it comes to the blind waiting list, the guys I spoke to at the refuge this past year were fine with eliminating the rule.  My preference - since I use the system all the time - is to elimiate it.  

Take care......
 

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