Friday, January 28, 2011

Last Two Days of the Season

Jan. 27 Joel's Spring/ Moo Canyon/ CBF

We hit Joel's in the morning. The first thing I noticed was that the area is completely renovated. New fences and signs can be found everywhere. The road was fine, I thought that it might be a little hairy with ruts but it was almost perfect. Once we parked Kaiser became very birdy, and a convey of at least 30 flushed wild. We ran after them and managed to shot at singles and doubles here and there. These birds as like last year are very intelligent. Quick shots are required as the birds will dart and fly in between some sort of cover. We spent the whole morning here chasing these singles and doubles. We missed everyone. At lunch we headed back into town.

After eating we headed toward Moo Canyon. I've have sucess here in the past and thought at least we could get on some birds. I was wrong, not even one. I did notice alot of sign but we couldn't find anyone of them.

CBF was pretty much the same.

Jan.28 Moore's Place

Moore's Place has always been one of my go to spots. It has never disappointed. This day would be no different. We started down the riverbed. After about 20 minutes a covey of 20 or so flushed wild. Although I only saw 2, hitting one f them. Dad saw the other birds scatter. He also manged one with my Merkel Model 8. I managed to hit mine with my Darne R13 I hit him with a B&P Spreader No.7. I missed the double as I shot behind the second bird. We tried looking for the scattered covey but we were unable to locate them. Eventually we made it down the wash and to the water trough. I climbed up the mountain from there. I managed to go about 1/3 of the way and headed toward the car at that elevation. I made down and up the next draw. I was in the cheatgrass and a pair of chukar exploded past exposing them for an ass shot. I shot and missed the first. I thought I hit one with my second but the bird kept flying. The bird was at least 40 yards when I made the second shot. I was sure I hit it but it kept flying. I eyeballed it and noticed that one leg was dangling. After about a 1/4 of a mile the chuckar began to do cartwheels in the air annd feel from the sky like a sack of potatoes. It flew at least 20 storeys. I watched it fall and land fortuitously on the only bare area in the thickets. I followed the same elelvation,hoping to run into the other bird, until I was directly above the fallen bird. I proceeded down and had Kaiser make the retreive. His first taste of chukar. This is not the first time on chukar but his first retreive of one. After the retreive we went back up the mountain. No birds were found so we headed down. While at the creek I missed a male quail holding tight in the bushes. We made it back to car where we met Dad and I showed him the bird.
After lunch we took a short break. We hunted again around 2pm. It was still hot. I went up another mountain, this time without any luck. It was only until around 4pm when we located the birds. Kaiser managed 4 points and I only was able to connect on of them. These birds held so tight I had to stand on the bush that kaiser pointed. It mad for poor footwork and was a determining factor for the misses.
I regret not taking advantage of this wet year. I know the birds must have been abundant hopefully next year will be the same. As Arizona's season does not end until Feb.6 I am contemplating whether or not to make a field trip eastward. Afterall I've never taken a Mearns, scalie or even a Gambels (even though I have shoot at a few).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LP and CBF

I returned to CBF only to find 3 parked cars already there. I decided to move up the mountain to LP. I stopped at the kiosk and I'm glad I did because just past the bend the road was still iced over. The road was in the worst shape I'd ever seen, we even ran into a tractor fixing the road.

We hunted LP for about an hour and then headed back to the Rover. There was still ice and snow on the ground in certain areas. I got winded very quickly in the high elevation. After a quick search we realized the terrain was alittle too much for our out of shape bodies. We headed down toward CBF and the cars were gone. I headed toward the middle to the field and Kaiser quickly went on point. Kaiser held tight and the quail flushed wild. I took the shot a crosser (left to right) 40 yards away. I missed. Continuing toward the middle of the field, we managed to flush one more hold extremely tight.

Dad managed to flush a covey of 20 when we split up. When we met back up we tried to go after those birds but we were unable to find them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jan. 20-21

Jan. 20
Met up with Lou late around 1pm. After a quick scout of the area, we ate lunch. Thinking it would be best to hunt apart due to one of Lou's aggressive dog, we split up. The area looked good. All I managed was one flush near the creek. I hit it with the R13 and it landed in the dense stuff surrounding the creek. I didn't manage to mark it well and since it was a wild flush neither did Kaiser. He searched very hard for it but without any luck. It may have landed in the creek and was flushed away.

Jan. 21
Mike's Honey Hole. South Side
Finally found Mike's honey hole. Its been a few years since Mike's been talking about this area. I finally got some good directions from him on how to get to this area. This place is absolutely gorgeous. I found many shells and signs of birds but could not locate them. Since it is late season I decided rather than scout I needed to get the dog on birds and headed to CBF where I knew for a fact I could find birds.

I let Kaiser run big. He managed to go on point 50 yards ahead of us. The birds repositioned causing Kaiser to do the same. After he repointed, moments later the birds flushed wild. Two flushed left and one flushed right. I was at least 40 yards away. I took the crossing shot to the right with my full choke. Nailed him and it fell to the ground. I called Kaiser over and told him to hunt dead. He managed to find it and it ran on him. After a recreation of the "Rocky" chicken scene, Kaiser had the bid in mouth and to my hand.
We moved one and managed to flush another 10 in total. We took two more before heading back to the car. After a short respite, we decided to hit another draw. I took 3 more and lost one. we could have found it but we were running short on light. In fact if we had 30 more minutes of daylight I'm positive I would have limited out.
What is funny is that I made all the hard shots this day. I missed all the easy ones. I guess that is what hunting is all about. I missed all the close shots mainly because the safety is slow awkward and slow.
I intend on going back in a few days to finish off the season.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2010 Hunting Season Part 2

JPF. No birds seen or heard. Usually a great spot, JPF failed to give us any birds. I thought given the wet season this place should have been crawling with birds. Ed had never taken a quail and I was hoping to get him his first one here. I was wrong.

Dec. 28 Wister.

Foretunately our Wister hunt was much better than our previous hunts. Birds were definately moving. We saw several hundred of all types, pintails, widegon, gadwalls, teals, spoonies, and snows.

Ed took three greenwinged teals, I took my first Gadwall. I took a drake greenwing but when I went to retreive it I got stuck in the mud and the bird managed to make it up the bank and hide. I took 24 shots and it was not until the last two shots where I was able to connect. Both shts were pretty fanatastic shots. I missed all the easy ones.

Dec. 29 CBF
I promised Ed I would get him his first quail. I took him to an area that always produces birds in a wet season. This day was no different. The first area 871Plot we managed to flush 30 birds, unforetuantely the area was so thick it was hard to get a bead on them. i decided to move to CBF and once we got out of the car 20 birds flushed. we chased and I managed to take one bird with my Darne. This was the first bird I ever taken with the double. Kaiser went to reteive it and the bird ran on him. The bird ran under a tree and Kaiser lost him.
Ed then had a shot a hit it right in the behind. Feathers flew everywhere. It hit the ground hard. Given how the bird tumbled I taught it should have been an easy retrieve. But just like the other bird, this quail was nowhere near it fell. Kaiser could not find the scent to track it. I was pissed. Eventually we managed to flush a covey of 50+ in one of the draws. Unforetuantely I am not used to the left sided safety on the Darne. Its slow to manipulate. By the time I take the safety off the birds are out of range. Since we were in the draw and the birds flushed out to the flats I could not determine where they landed. We got out of the draw and tried to locate them. Ed managed one. His first ever quail. I came home with a donut. Its been a long time since I ever been skunked on quail. This year (which is a good year) its happened to me twice.

2010 Bird Season Part 1

I have done quite a poor job in updating this sporting journal. I have done even a worse job hunting. Typically I have at least 25 days hunting this year those numbers aren't even close. When hunting I like keeping a journal on how the days hunts came out, recording everything from the number of birds seen, number of points Kaiser had, the number of shots taken, the number of birds taken etc. This year though I have kept a poor record. I know I'll regret this in the coming years.
One thing I did this year is hunt the local waterfowl areas. I now know what its like to "sweatline it" and how the reserve system works. In the Owens Valley I never had to worry about such things. The first hunt I managed was at San Jacinto on Dec.22. This hunt almost never happened. The following evening the rains were coming down so hard I could barely sleep. Ed calls me at 1am and tells me we should call the hunt off. I agreed. At 8am, with the winds and rains calming, Ed calls me and says lets go.
He arrives and picks me up. We leave for San Jacinto arriving around 10am. We manage a blind, if I recall its G2. The weather was off and on with the sun poking out every so often. At the beginning there were several birds moving. Most were junk birds such as spoonies and buffleheads. I shot 6 shots all day and managed no birds.

After a while we decided to give up. Of course when we when we were packing up to head out with our guns empty, a flock of 40 teal buzzed us overhead. We thought it was a fitting end to a pretty miserable day.