Thursday, October 22, 2009

Montana 2009

We hit the road early afternoon on Wednesday. Crossing several state boders, Montana welcomed us with this sunset.

Day 1

Pulling out the gear for the first day's hunt.

The country looked good. We were able to find a few sharptails.

Day 2

Friday was so stinkin' cold I was barely thawed out enough to get a quick picture of the morning results. (18 degrees with about 20mph winds.) The snow had been blown away by now. I didn't get too many pictures this day, I was bundled up trying to stay warm. This is our version of the "Big Game Pose". Hold the birds out in front to appear larger than life.

Day 3

Saturday, "The Pheasant opener!" A change of pace from a few days hunting sharptails and huns.

The "Big Ten" pointer found on the doorstep of an old farm house. There was no apparent visible sign of death.

Not as many of these as last year! Thank goodness! (One of the three. We found 16 last year)

Day 4

Some additional wildlife during the Sunday afternoon drive. Looking forward to Spring!

Day 5

Last day! A few roosters in the morning before the long ride home. Several years ago we saw a ton of pheasants all around this particular coulee/grain section. We tracked down the land owner and he gave us permission to hunt one day only. It was good to us!

There was definately a late hatch this year. We passed on many of the smaller roosters, choosing those with a more distinct ringed neck. I reached out and touched this one. Dixie with the retrieve goes on point on her way back.

Last bird for me on the trip produced by Dixie shown in the picture below. It was nestled tight in the buffalo berry bushes in the bottom right of the picture. What you dont see is Nifty on point on the other side. We decided to shed some jackets. (it was a balmy 30 degrees) Nifty's Astro alerted Steve that he was on point 100 yards down the coulee. We re-geared, put on the vests and headed toward the location. Dixie locked. I took a few pictures from a knoll and proceeded. As I approached the bushes I heard some rustling and a small cackle followed by the bark of my beloved 20ga silver pigeon. Big Bird Down! Not really, it was a first year bird, but it had full color unlike most of the roosters we saw. .....continued below

After all this, Nifty seemed to be still interested in the bushes. From previous experience our results were cofirmed. Porcupine! Not one, but two, just chillin' on a homemade raised bed of sticks, 4 feet off the ground. Not the first time we've kicked a rooster out of occupied porcupine bushes. We're beginning to think there's a pack between the two! You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours! :)

Evolution of a Rooster. Believe it or not, the one on the right is a rooster, and no we didn't shoot it. We're good at identifying birds, but not that good! We were hunting a shelter belt when this little chukar...I mean rooster came flying in and landed about 10 feet in front of one of the dogs. She was on it like blue bonnet.

Praying for more trips like this in the days and years to come! (Lame attempt of being poetic)

In conclusion, I don't know about you, but with 40+ hours on the road, you learn how to entertain yourself! We occasionally think of all the gear acquired and used during the trip. Our coversation starts with, I'd like to thank the sponsors for this trip, then the listing begins!...........Cabelas, GMC, Beretta, AYA, Browning, CZ, Federal, Estate, Remington, Kent, Garmin, Smart Wool, IBM, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Dr. Pepper, Gatorade, M&Ms,LC Supply, Gun Dog Supply, Lewis Dog Boots, EMT Gel, Fleetwood RV, Mr. Heater, Bread and Butter, Kershaw knives, Ruger, Leer, Coleman, North Face, and the list goes on and on.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Year of the Jakes Part 1

I have some catching up to do. This blog serves several purposes. One happens to be a personal log for future reference. If I don’t write this down now it’ll probably never get documented.

The Annual Traditional Colorado Hunt and Spring Break at Lazy A Ranch.

Day 1

My friend Steve and I have been talking about hunting turkeys with bows for years. I got a wild hair this year and bought a bow. With two weeks of practice, ready or not it was time to go hunting. Opening morning was we took out a friend for the first time. He heard about a group of turkeys from a local horse ranch manager. Our previous night was spent checking out the likely roost and a place to setup for the morning. We setup before light about 100 yards from the roost. It wasn’t long before we were able to spot several birds roosted in the large cottonwoods. Minutes later, we heard birds flying out. Ther were about a dozen birds were working up the hill towards our setup. I had just pulled out the rangefinder and was starting to range the birds, trying to get a feel for how the archery thing was going to work out, when all of a sudden BOOM!! Our friend decided to take one of the Jakes. He was excited, Jake #1 was on the ground.

It was still early, so we decided to head to another location. With a lot of effort and patience we had a few hens come to our decoys, and managed to call a nice tom within 30 yards. Steve was calling to a flock of turkeys across a canyon with a 200 yard divide. Each hen call from Steve produced a bunch of gobbles and hen talk across the way. This was going on for about a half hour. Mother nature called, so I took a little walk up the hill. Within minutes, Steve is quietly yelling at me to hurry. I literally got caught with my pants down. A tom had flown across the divide and landed on the sidehill of the canyon less than 50 yards away. He hit the ground gobbling. I hurried and grabbed my bow then started towards the gobbles, looking for a place to setup. Steve kept calling. With each gobble I knew the bird was getting closer. The problem was getting to a location without busting him, and being where he was willing to go. For about five minutes I inched closer. He decided to stay put. I couldn’t move for fear of busting him. His patience ran out, he lifted off the canyon rim and flew back to the other side. We had several other gobblers across the canyon still vocal. We tried to move our way around, but ended up busting them out of the area during the process. We called it good for the day and headed home.

Day 2

We headed out to a friend’s ranch for the morning. The spot where I took my Colorado turkey number 2. Birds were seen in the roost. Thirty minutes after light they flew down. The hen made quite a racket, but they wouldn’t come to the calls. We circled them hoping to get a reaction from a different location. We ended up calling a different hen into the decoy within 10 yards. I practiced drawing my bow on her a few times. We thought we’d change elevations to see if birds had moved up higher. We had a good view of the ranch, a few elk skirted out of the cedars below us. There was one decent bull in the group. Boredom settled in and Steve talked me into a little physics experiment. How far can you shoot one of those arrows? He picked a single tree in the middle of a large sage brush meadow. I flung the arrow and it immediately disappeared. We were surprised and immediately began to laugh! We decided to drop off the mountain. Approaching the solo tree in the meadow, I noticed a green and white fletched arrow at a 45 degree angle about 40 yards short of the tree. Another laugh, I grabbed the arrow and we proceeded to the truck. About 100 yards from the truck we heard a distant gobble, and took note of the location. Off to the next ranch. Steve’s friend, the ranch owner wasn’t home, so we decided to go back and hunt the ranch in direction of the distant gobble we heard earlier. We split up and hiked to the main ridgeline of the mountain. It wasn’t long before we had some hot gobblers responding to every call. We shut down the calling and headed their direction. We found a nice clearing and quickly set up. Within a minute the birds were right in our laps. Two jakes hot to trot. I saw them moving to the left, so I adjusted my position. The next thing I knew, I had them about 10 feet to my right. Unable to draw I let them walk up and away to about 30 yards into some sage. This is where the archery education course 101 took place. I ranged them at 35 yards. Well, the tree they were standing by was about 35 yards. I flung an arrow, it landed about 2 feet short. It didn’t faze them one bit. I quickly knocked another arrow and adjusted range accordingly. “Turkey Fever” kicked in. I was so fired up and excited, nervously shaking, my finger hit the release and I sailed arrow number two over their heads. They still didn’t have a clue. I figured I’d be patient, take a breath, calm my nerves and wait for a closer shot. They started walking towards me through some taller sagebrush. I picked an opening at 30 yards that they were walking towards, and I drew back patiently waiting. They stopped five yards short! I decide to let down my draw. Halfway through the process my finger hit the release. Thud! My arrow was embedded in a pine tree six feet in front of me. I start to laugh and look over to Steve about 30 yards to my left. He’s telling me to shoot. I’m signaling with my best sign language that I’m out of arrows, except for my thumper small game arrow. I leaned over and grabbed hold of the embedded arrow in the tree. He recognizes the situation and starts laughing. The birds move to another clearing about 20 yards away. He tells me to shoot my last arrow. I settle my 20 yard pin on center mass and release my last arrow, it skims the bird an inch under the chest right in front of the legs. Arrow and miss number four! We let the birds walk away to give me some time to regroup and gather my arrows. After about 5 or 10 minutes of laughter and discussion we proceeded after the birds. I found one arrow and took the shotgun from Steve as backup. We called them in again, but they hung up under some pines at 50 yards. They gobbled and strutted for 10 minutes, and decided to walk out on us again. I closed the distance quickly and Steve was able to get them gobbling one last time at 35 yards. I put my 30 yard pin right on his head hoping the arrow would settle on his body. I gently squeezed my release and the arrow zipped less than an inch from his noggin. Miss number 5. They had seen enough and started to trot away. I dropped the bow and grabbed the shotgun. I quickly headed to try to cut them off at the pass. I saw the first bird moving quickly through an opening, without hesitation I dropped to one knee and pulled the trigger on the second bird as he made his way through a small opening in the trees. Jake #2 was down! This wasn’t the biggest bird I’ve shot, but it definitely will be one of the most memorable! Steve nicknamed him Nubbs.

Check back for 2009 Turkey Hunt #2

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pointer Guys?

This time of year it seems like we all start to get a little restless. For me there's nothing like taking a jab at friends insulting their dogs to get the juices flowing and kick start the bird season. Our group has a mixture of breeds, and I wouldn't have it any other way. There are a lot of breeds I like to hunt over, I just don't want them in my kennel! So here's a taste of the latest round of jabs that's been going on:

We just got done trading blows with references to ground pounding, etc. You know the usual insults. Needless to say he's a pointer guy. This is actually a picture of one of his pointers in his crate. I sent the email titled "Pointer Guys??" Perhaps I'll share some more later.

Common knowledge isn’t it? They should put the same phrase on the barrel of their guns.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year!

We traded the late night party for a late night drive down south. Arriving at 6:00am we were able to get in a morning hunt, noon siesta, and and evening to remember. Bird numbers were generous like last year. Here's up and coming Mack aka Lewis. A new member added to team Timberline.

Why does everthing in the desert have to be so mean? Rule number one. Don't touch the cactus, it really is as sharp and pointed as it looks! I have an inquisitive mind. I spent a lot of time checking out the makeup of desert defense mechanisms. Not sure if the fruit is edible. Still have to google that!
The early morning sun rising puts a golden sheer on the landscape. Makes for great lighting. This was one of the first pictures from the trip. We dumped the dogs out on stakes. Nifty, waiting for us to get the game on.
Too many coveys to give you specifics of what happened here. Just trying to capture some covey rises. I got one in this frame.
The new little 28 didn't disappoint. Last year we decided that a 28 would be ideal for these birds. We were waiting all year to prove our theory. 8 for 11 on day one, day two was just about the same. Just some stats for my good buddy Steve to remember. He's usually the dead eye. It probably won't happen again, so this an account for progeny's sake! :)

Late Season Ruffs

It's been a while since I went out specifically for Ruffed Grouse. Years ago, it was twice a week Sep thru Nov. We had a nice morning walk up a local canyon. The small trail worked out great for my little boy. Steve was down from Colorado for the weekend, we took Belle and Nifty for a 4 hour hunt. To say the least, we were spoiled. We had 9 points throughout the day. Belle's age is catching up to her, but you wouldn't have known that day. Ruffed Grouse are her cup o' tea. (She was on the receiving end of the twice a week schedule for her first 4+ years.) Nifty made some casts up high in the canyon resulting in heavy cover points. As usual most of the grouse escaped through the brush and timber, but we each managed to connect on one a piece. Steve's bird was a nice brown phase, and mine pictured below. This hunt was during the 2008 November heat wave. The following week we returned to an adjacent canyon. It wasn't so kind, however Nifty did manage to point one bird that I was able to put in the bag.

My first Ruffed grouse with the 28. I'm really liking this gun!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Youth Pheasant Hunt

For the second year I was able to take my kids and my dogs to the Annual Utah Youth Pheasant hunt. I've been fortunate to be able to volunteer with local conservation groups. The kids have had alot of fun bagging birds and tagging along. Here are a few pictures from the day.

On the way home we spotted this buck chasing some does.
Looks like one made it through the General Season Hunt.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Montana 2008 - to be continued.....

I'll expound later. For now the pictures will have to do!
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4