Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Last Duck Hunt of the Year

So today the last Wednesday of duck hunting I want to try and duplicate my success from limiting out last Wednesday.

I drop Maddy off at daycare and run a few errands. When I get home I do a few of the things on my honey do list. I call my wife and see if she wants to get off of work early and go hunting with me, but she was to busy at work and not feeling the best.

I get dressed get the Remi loaded up in the truck and head off the to runway to see if I can't find some ducks.

Since it had snowed a ton this past week I brought my snow shoes but decided not to use them because I knew I was going to be crossing creeks and I didn't want to take them off and put them back on every time I crossed one.

So Remi my German Wire Haired Pointing Griffon and I started walking to the first place to jump some ducks. We walked for what seemed to be forever and when  I turned around to look how far we had walked it seemed I could still hit the truck with a rock. The snow was deep and I was regretting not wearing my show shoes already.

We get to the trees before the creek and we circle around so the duck don't see us getting into position. I start walking on my knees which means the snow is waist deep. Remi is tucked in tight at a close heal. We get to the berm and as I slowly peak over the berm all I see was four teal feeding on the far bank.  So I slowly back  off and I look up the channel where I can see a few mallards and some more teal. The blind we use when we decoy was about 4 yards in front of my. While I was hidden in some small trees, for me to be able to make it into the blind so I could get close enough for a shot I would be exposed for about 6-8 feet where the ducks would be able to see me. So I get as low in the snow as I can and start to slowly crawl into the blind. All of a sudden the teal I saw first saw saw me and flew. I figured the gig was up so I stood up and ran into the blind. Lucky me the mallards just sat there and looked at me. Needless to say that was a mistake on their part. I took aim and dumped a Mallard Drake and a Teal on my first shot.  As all the ducks took flight I missed everything on my second shot and then dropped a big mallard hen with my third shot.

After Remi brought all the ducks back to shore I saw that the green head I shot was one of the biggest if not the biggest green head I have ever shot, it was huge.

For the rest of the day the hunting was slow, I did manage to shoot a golden eye. Since I was tired from walking in the deep snow I decided to call it a day at four ducks and started the walk back to the truck. I was definitely jealous of all those guys hunting ducks down in the deserts who didn't have to deal with all this snow.

The ducks don't look as good after a night of hanging in a burlap and get a chance to freeze through

This year had a lot of great memories and some good hunting. It's time to clean and hang up the duck gun for the year and time to start dreaming of next years hunts.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Meade Spotting Scope

So for Christmas I was lucky enough to receive a Meade Spotting Scope.  This being the first spotting scope I have ever owned I was quite excited.

The scope it self is very nice. All the zooming from 20-60 works well and the focus knob is in a well positioned spot for easy use, and the lenses are clear and easy to look out of.

However the tripod that came with the scope is not up to the standards I would like. I don't feel like the scope attaches very securely to the tripod. When I tried to adjust the tripod bolts and nuts started falling out of little holes which was very difficult to fix. And when set up, the tripod does not seem very steady.

Spotting scope it self 7 out of 10.
Tripod 2 out of 10
Price 8 out of 10
Over all 6 out of 10.

Friday, January 27, 2012

GameCam Friday 01-27-11

So I am going to try a new post each week called GameCam Fridays.
This week was a little difficult to the gamecams. The snow got real deep real fast and we had to dig bit, and it took a lot longer then expected.

Snow falling out of the trees


Mulde Deer Doe's

A young Mule Deer 2X2

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The maturing of a growing hunter, Part 3 "10 years old"


Grandpa, Dad and Brother Eric all pile out of the trucks. I get out and Dad tells me "Don't slam the door". No one can see the pond but everyone is hunched over in the sneak position. The pond is just over the berm and we can hear the ducks splashing and playing in the pond. The hunters line up while getting ready to say "hi guys". I keep having to be reminded to stay behind the hunters. "It's just not fair, I want to be involved", I think to myself, "I can't wait to be part of the shooting group". The hunters jump the pond and I watch where the ducks fall. After the shooting I run back to the truck to release the dogs.

We get back to the truck and move on to the next lake. Since this one is a lake that is too big to jump, Grandma and I will trek around and scare the lake. We walk to the cow trails and get to the point by the lake where we jump out and yell at the birds and get them to fly over the hunters. We see birds fly and yell "heeeerrrree theeeyyyyy coooommmeeee". A few seconds later we hear the guns go off over the horizon like a distant war zone. We start to make our way back to the trucks, and I ask Grandma, "How many do you think they got?" Grandma replies, "I guess we will see."

We get back to camp with all the birds and like always I help all the hunters pluck the birds, but I am unaware of the impending change that is about to fall upon me. Dad tells me you get to gut this year. I wasn't exactly excited about it. Dad says "if you shoot you gut." Since I wanted to be shooting in the next couple years I got down to gutting.


Without realizing it, the dues I put in as a gutter, and the opportunities with Grandma teaching me how to scare the lakes, let me learn the steps I needed to know to become a successful hunter later in life.

Part 1 (Before Memories)

Part 2 (5 Years Old)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Maturing of a growing hunter Part 1 (Before memories)

Before Memories

Although I don't remember my first trips hunting with my family, I value that my Dad and other family members made it possible for me to come at such a young age. I am a firm believer that the earlier someone is introduced to hunting the stronger their love for the out doors will be.  My family made the correct steps to set me up for success as a future outdoorsman, and I am thankful to all them.

My Dad and I in duck camp 1984

Part 2 (5 Years Old)

Part 3 (10 Years Old)

The plan is to show the natural progression a hunter takes as they mature, through the stories and memories in my head. From the very begining to the unforseen future.  I hope others can relate.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

8 degrees and hunting

So the snow has finally arrived in the Methow Valley.

With the mercury saying 8 degrees outside and snow falling harder than it has all year, Remi and I set off to the "Runway" for some jump shooting for ducks.

We get to the parking area and we are the only vehicle, and there are no fresh tracks in the snow which is a good sign that no one has already been in the area hunting earlier in the morning. 

As we walk to the side channel there is just enough wind to blow the snow sideways. I have to walk with my head down only looking up every few yards to make sure I am still walking in a line to where I want to go.

We get to the berm with the channel just on the other side. I push the safety off my gun and slowly raise up. I see one wigeon, then another. With the heavy snow and their heads constantly in the water feeding they had no idea I was there. I take aim at the first one and dump it right there on the water. The second one got up and I pull the trigger and nothing happens. I rack the chamber myself to clear the spent shell just as a green head flies from the bank in front of me, and I dump him dead. I see another wigeon and luckily I had a 3 1/2 shell as my third shot and I dumped him at a distance. Now Remi gets to work retrieving all the ducks from the snowy, icy water.

We get all the ducks to shore and continue our way down the channel. A ways up I see the shape of a duck in an open area of water. I move back into the woods to get a better angle at the duck. Remi and I crawl into an old blind and as I stand up to shoot Remi leaves the blind scaring the duck. I got off a shot and broke the wing and again Remi went out through the ice to get what turned out to be a golden eye.

We get on our way again and I can see a dark silhouette of a duck flying through the snow coming right for us. As I sit down so does Remi, and the green head flies right over us. I warn him on the first shot and drop him with the second.  This one dropped out in the deep snow and was found without much fuss.

We walk to the upper end of the channel, and scare the ducks from the areas that are not safe to hunt due to the proximity of the highway, hoping they will fly to areas we can hunt.

We walk to the complete opposite side of the channel where it meets the main river, blowing two sneaks on the way that I don't really want to talk about. We get to the main river and I have to take a short break, walking all that way in knee-deep fresh snow sitting on top of crusty snow while carrying 5 ducks just takes it out of me.

After our short intermission I go take a peek at the main river, and I can see a big duck on the opposite side of the river. It looks like a mallard drake but I'm not positive. The only problem is he is on the other side of the river and I will have to crawl about 60 yards to get behind a pile of river debris to get a reasonable shot.  So I belly crawl through knee deep snow, trying to keep the tip of my gun out of the snow. I get to the pile of drift wood, check my barrel, and find that it is clear. I peek over the pile of wood and see the duck with its head as high as it could get it to see what I was. I figured I did not have much time before it flew. I knew it was a long shot but it was standing on ice which I thought would make it a better shot then if it was sitting lower in the water.

I pulled up and shot. As a second duck flew off from the deep snow, the one I shot stayed put. Then it started to move and Remi caught sight of it and took off across the river for it. Just then I realize that the river had ice and clumps of slush drifting in the current. Remi gets about half way across the river and the duck realizes Remi is coming for it. The duck slides into the water. Remi is trying to swim up river, and seeing the duck swimming faster, she starts to whine and howl at the duck.  I run up river while breaking through the ice I was standing on. Luckily for me the water under the ice was only about three inches deep.  I get off another shot on the duck to kill it, and it drifts down right to Remi. Then Remi fights the icebergs and slush back across to me.

After I give Remi lots of affection letting her know how good she did getting that duck, we figure out what our next step is. I realize I only have one more duck to get before I get my limit of 7. Then I realize I only have one shell left.

I walk over  and look at the Channel again and see one drake sitting and feeding. I take my time and slowly crawl again through the snow to a tree. As I try to arrange to get a shot, I keep breaking branches. Each time I think the duck will fly. But it doesn't fly and I get a shot on it. After I shoot and I see it still in the water with its wing stuck up over its head, I can't help myself but to yell "HELL YA" as Remi goes and retrieves the duck. 

Again we have a long walk back to the truck with 7 ducks and the snow is getting deeper and deeper. The snow is falling so hard at this point it is hard to breathe because walking into the wind every time you breathe you breathe in snow flakes. We just put our heads down and follow the fence line to the truck.

The northern has rich orange feet (left) and the local has dull faded orange feet. (right)

When I get back to the truck I notice two of my four mallard drakes were northerns. I can tell the difference between the locals and northerns by the color of their feet and the size of their bodies and heads.

I love hunting in the snow and to shoot my limit of ducks for the first time at this location makes this one of the best days of hunting this year.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First ever R-Dub Outdoors video. Duck hunting the methow river.

I want to thank Steven Foreman for coming out and video recording everything. I look forward to working with him in the future.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Are you sure it is January

OBN has put out a photo prompt to show what your winter looks like. I hate to say we are not having much of a winter but here is a coyote taking advantage of the low snow fall to look for mice and other small mammels.

The fact I can go outside in January without most of my skin covered says it all. Current temp is 33 degrees normal temp around 0 degrees.

Hunting the Indian Dan Wildlife Area

So I have been trying to get away from my normal hunting spots and venture out to find new places within a days drive from home. I decided a while ago that I wanted to try a few different wildlife areas, one on my list was the Indian Dan wildlife area near Pateros Washington.

I finally had a day where it worked out for me to go hunting, so I loaded up the dogs Remi and Lily took Maddy to daycare and we were off to Indian Dan.

On the way there I checked a few spots along the highway to see if I could jump some ducks in the river. I tried to put a sneak on a few ducks along the bank but could not find good enough cover to get close enough for a shot.

We arrived to the wildlife area and it was the first spot I ever hunted where you had to register to hunt. I filled out the card put the top half in the drop box and kept the lower half with me.  I read all the info posted like the warning that the Sharp Tailed Grouse lived in this area and that all hunters should identify birds before shooting.  In Washington State you can not shoot Sharp Tailed Grouse although I have never seen one "they" say they look a lot like hen pheasants.

We got to a frozen lake and I decided this was as good of a spot as any to start hunting. There was a rancher there who was getting ready to go look for some of his cows and I decided to ask him to share any knowledge he might have about where the quail are in this area.  The rancher told me where to go, but told me that it was the same area he was going to be riding to look for his cows. I thanked him for the info and told him I would try that area another time.

I got the dogs out and we walked around the frozen lake, about half way around the lake Remi decided to disappear.  Then the battle in my brain starts. Is she locked on point and should I look for her or is she off dicking around in front of me scaring up what ever is out there and should I call her back risking calling her off a point.

After looking for her for a few minutes I decided to call her........No answer. A few more minutes had passed and you could tell how pissed I was getting by the sound of my voice.  Finally I see her about a half mile away and about 200 feet above me coming down a hill. I call her again to let her know where I was. Again the minutes start passing by. I start to think about all the horrible things I am going to do to her when she gets back. After a 1/4 mile hike in the wrong direction she catches up with me. I turned her over on her back and grabbed her snout and put my nose to hers and asked her "Where the HELL have you been?" Once she broke eye contact a few times I let her go. That will teach me to leave the Electric Collar at home.

As we continued to hunt I was keeping Remi at a close heal. I noticed Lily getting getting a bit  birdy. So I released Remi.  As the dogs worked the brush to my right a single quail got up from my left. Of course I was not ready and I missed. All I could think about was I just wont let my dad find out about this, or I will never hear the end of it.

We hiked up one ravine over the top and back down the main canyon. If my dogs found as many birds as they did cactus's we would of had a good day.  But we decided to spend most of our time removing cactus chunks from dog legs, paws and one human thumb. (PS just getting pricked by one of those things.....It doesn't tickle.)

Even though we did not shoot any birds or see much of anything at all we did find a huge hornets nest made in a clump of grass, a mouse nest made out of Doritos yes that's right I said Doritos, out int he middle of no where. I also slid down three to four hundred feet of canyon slop in the snow in the baseball slide position. I figured it was a lot safer then trying to walk down it.

Over all I had a great hike and found a nice area to hunt. I can't expect to find all the birds the first time hunting there.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The maturing of a growing hunter Part 2, 5 Years Old

5 Years Old

I can remember sneaking into a hiding spot with my Dad, watching him get ready and imitating him. My Dad with his 1940 Browning Auto 5 and me with a stick of unknown origin. First we hear Grandma's holler "woo hoo! Lets go ducks". Then the Rush of 100's of ducks lifting at the same time. Dad whispers "Here they come get ready" We lean deeper into our patch of Giant Rye Grass waiting in anticipation. The quiet whistling of the wings getting louder as they approach closer and closer. As their silhouettes come into focus over the horizon Dad whispers again "stay in your cover, hide your face". As the ducks get overhead Dad leans out of his patch of grass: Bang, Bang, Bang, goes the old double thumper. I point my stick and yell BANG, BANG. As birds start to fall and dogs get released, I adamantly say. "Got one Dad, I know I got one." Dad smiles and says "Good Job".

I run from cover out into the sage brush blanketed field, thinking I am just as good as those dogs finding downed birds.  I come upon a Mallard Drake and I grab it. What's this, it's still alive. I better find someone to take care of this. As I see Grandpa walking through the scrub, I think, I will take MY DUCK to Grandpa and he will help me. As I run over to Grandpa, I trip and fall (STUPID SAGE BRUSH). I get to Grandpa and tell him "I shot this duck" and Grandpa gives me a "Holy Smokes" I also tell him the duck bit me that's why I fell, Grandpa chuckles and rings the neck. We get back in the truck, me in the back seat with the muddy dog, there is no worries we're hunting.

At the end of the day it's time to clean the ducks. I find My Duck and start feathering. Now it's time to gut, well I better have someone do this part for me. Later around the camp fire I get to tell my story of triumph.
I was about 5 years old, this is my first memory of hunting.

Part 1 "Before Memories"

Part 3 (10 Years Old)