Monday, September 27, 2010

Early Season Mountain Quail

After bypassing the first dove season and missing the first week two weeks of the early season mountain quail season, the dog was ready for some action. I called up an old friend Jack let him know I was heading out for the early season and his lab Madeleine were game to go out in search of grouse and quail. They were. Jack arrived at my house Sunday morning and we went off. I had never hunting grouse and decided to explore some areas that I researched last year that I thought would hold such birds. I have fly fished this area in years past and thought that the region would be as good as any for a chance at grouse. I decided it would be a good chance to start off with my new Darne.

We had a late start and did not get to the hunting fields until about 10:30. Although we were in elevation the heat was definitely rising. This had a serious effect on my dog since I did little in the way of conditioning this summer. Because of my laziness, the dog needed several rest breaks. We found no grouse and headed back to the car walking along a creek. There we flushed several Mallard Hens. Kaiser even flash pointed a few. Unfortunately he was not rewarded with a bird since we were carrying lead and not to mention we are weeks away from the general season. All totaled there were at least 8 Mallards along the creek. We ended the search for grouse and headed toward my mountain quail spots to eat lunch and sit out the midday heat.

After a few hour siesta and listening to out of season valley quail calling throughout the area we were resting, we made our way toward snubnose gate. Kaiser now rested hunted hard and became very birdy once we made it over the hill. Jack and I noticed signs throughout. A group flushed wild when Kaiser was on their scent. I took one shot with a B&P Speader No.7 in my Merkel M8. The bird went down hard. Madeleine went for the retrieve and handed it to Jack. I told him "Jack, I told you I'll get us on birds." Now filled with adrenaline we were ready to hunt. Within minutes Kaiser was on point near rather heavy cover. I could not maneuver to get in shooting range so Jack sent the lab into flush. The quail exploded out and I shot twice and missed, the second shot actually hit a fallen tree as the bird raced behind.

We moved on and while hiking down the mountain I saw a single race in front of me, so I called out for my dog to come and hunt near me and yelled out to Jack "Quail on the ground!" Jack also some running near him as well. One flushed wild and I took a shot again with a spreader load taking him down. Kaiser made the retrieve. The covey then flushed up the other mountain, at least 25. I took a longer shot across the draw with my second barrel loaded with a B&P F2 Classic No. 7 and missed. I heard Jack take a shot with is 16 gauge Winchester Model 12. I asked him over the radio if he got him and he replied yes. We were now both on the board. Several tight holding quail remained flushing one at a time. All of those were not in gun range so they flew away without incident. By this time I was beat, having not prepared myself for the season. I told Jack if he wanted to chase the covey upwards he can do it but I'm staying here to rest. He went up the hill with his lab and 15 minutes later I heard a shot. I called him on the radio and he took another.

We started to head back to the car as the sun was falling quickly. As I was beat, I told Jack he could have all the birds the dogs will find from now on, I was done. I broke open and unloaded my gun and slung it German drilling style under my armpit. We got up toward the meadow area and Madelene realizing the hunt was basically over walked at heel with Jack while Kaiser kept patterning in the hope of finding more birds. Jack and I both taught it was a waste of energy. But since we weren't hunting the next day I let him roam. After Jack mentioned that there are probably not going to find birds since the scenting conditions were poor Kaiser flash pointed not far from the car and a covey rose. They were valleys at least 20. Always trust your birddog. We let the dogs have some fun and hunt them up so shot them with our cameras rather than our guns. Kaiser pointed several and Madeleine flushed several as well. Unfortunately all the photos I took did not come out as it was low light and my new camera sucks. They all came out blurry.

After some fun for the dogs we called it a day and headed home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kaiser getting ready for the season. The Rattlesnake season.

For those who have had their dogs rattlesnake trained here in Southern California, it was most likely done by Patrick Callaghan of Gameland Kennels. Unfortunately, Patrick has past and has many of us looking for a replacement. While doing some Internet searches I did find one, Natural Solutions.

I had my dog do a refresher with them. Patrick had once told me that it usually takes about 5 years for it to really set into the dogs mind. This is Kaiser's third year.

Although I am no snake avoidance expert, I know Patrick may not have approved of all of their training methods. They definitely conducted there session a little differently than Patrick but that being said I am not knocking NS but rather I am saying they are different than what I have done in the past. Everyone has different training methods and philosophies. I can say NS was professional and knowledgeable. One thing they did that Patrick never did was they used baby rattlers. I may be mistaken but the reason Patrick never used them was because the baby's do not put out scent. NS disagrees. In any case I think its prudent to use them whether or not they put out scent. Its better safe than sorry. One of the best features is that they do house calls. I recommend anyone with a dog to do such a training especially any gundog or outdoor dog in California. Even though this does not guarantee your dog from ever having an encounter with a rattler, its cheap insurance and should be done.
Kaiser meets a baby rattler and learns they are no good.
Kaiser wants no part.
Kaiser avoids an adult
Colby's turn
Colby learns the rattle sound is bad. Note the rock behind the trainer, that is no rock. It is a compartment with a rattler that looks like a rock.
Colby wants no part.
The snakes used.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

If only I had $20K to blow...

As the bird season is right around the corner, my focus has begun to shift away from fly fishing towards wingshooting and fine guns. While searching through websites of several fine gun stores I found this gem, a Luffwaffe Drilling from JP Sauer. What a beauty! I have always wanted one of these. This one looks brand new. These guns were issued to airmen flying over North Africa as survival guns. This one appears not to have the original box with ammo and instructions but nonetheless this quite a gun.

J.P. Sauer Drilling 12GA/9.3x74R caliber. Rare WWII Luftwaffe drilling in beautiful condition with a few light handling marks. The bores are mint. The screws are still all indexed. A great piece in original unaltered condition. These guns were issued to North Africa bomber crews to be used as survival guns if the plane went down. This one is in pristine condition. $19,950.00

This is what the original box looked like:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Barrett Lake Fly Fishing Last Time for the Season

The Dam

The New Toys

The Spinning Formal Clouser (with Rattle Eyes and without)
The Arsenal-Scott S3S 7wt/Tibor Freestone with 250 gr, Sage XP 6wt/Tibor Tailwater with 150 gr, Thomas and Thomas Helix 5wt SW/Tibor Tailwater Airflo Bass taper, Sage VPSL 3wt(custom)/Galvan OB2 Floating

Many caught in Pine
2lber caught in Boneyard Bluegill on the Barrett Shad

Another day fly fishing Barrett Lake. As this was most likely my last visit to this place for the season, I had to make it count. This time I fished solo, giving me more time to do a bit of exploring and experimentation. Again I decided to rough it out I start with the first available entry time, 5am. This meant another day with very little sleep, maybe 2 hours. As it usually takes about 20 minutes or more to check in, drive to the marina, pay the entrance fee, set up, get the boat, etc., I decided against going in on the next entry time of 7am. By the time you are ready to fish, you may have already missed much of the early bite. It's really too bad they do not have a 6am train in.

Just like my first trip in May, the morning was freezing cold. I started fishing in the greenery just Northeast of the Marina. As always I tried first with Webb's Foamhead Popper. I trolled North along the edge reaching the point Ed like to fish. No fish honored me so I switched to Purple Clouser. Finally as the sun was making its way into the valley I was able to coax a LMB albeit a small one to take my fly. I managed a few more out of there but it was hardly as good as t was when Ed fished it last month. The wind pick up earlier than usual and I drifted down Hauser. Fish came in spurts, no one area was really "hot." Although I did manage to take 3 crappie in one section of the treeline. One which (the first one) was huge. It must have been at least 1.5 lbs maybe even two. The next one was as large as the one Ed caught last trip. Unfortunately both came off just when I was about to lip them and take a picture. The third one, of course the smallest among them, I was able to get a snapshot. I trolled into Boneyard and was hit hard, giving my rod a serious bend. It turned out to be a nice Largemouth. The bogagrip read 2lbs. I later found out the boga was giving false readings as there was sand in it. So the fish could have been even larger.
I eventually got out of Hauser with several fish. I decided to try Pine. I set anchor and landed two more 2lbs and several in the 1.5 category. After that I moved on to the Dam and only managed a few smaller bluegill. At that time it was already past 6pm and I was not really trying too hard as I was sleep deprived and generally beat. Not to mention my casting ability was pure crap by then. All in all I managed 29 fish that I remembered to count (there could have been a few I forgot), had several fish go unbuttoned just near the boat, and countless short strikes I missed hooking up.

Overall it was not the best day at Barrett but nonetheless a very good one and hopefully I'll be back next season to do even better.