Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cold Blast Freshens The Pot

I am of course referring to the fact that there were new birds in the Klamath Basin this past weekend. Finally got the big cold blast from the far north to push in some fresh waterfowl, as well as getting a lot of birds pushed off the Upper Klamath Lake.

Jet and I headed to Klamath early Friday morning ahead of the pending storm. We arrived in time to get settled in to the cabin and have a quick lunch. Then out to the field we went. We checked the back ditches just in case their might have been a fat mallard lazing about, but found nothing at all. So we headed to the Klamath River in search of divers and perhaps a pheasant if we were really lucky. The skies were overcast and the clouds were beginning to crowd the surrounding mountain tops. The wind was calm for the time being, yet forecast for 30 to 40 mph range come late afternoon. As we walked the river dike their were quite a few divers swimming in the river and even a few flying. This was a good sign. The weather was working its magic and getting things stirred up. Just be patient, only a matter of time before the show really starts.

So Jet was working a patch of Long Stem Bulrush and Tules next to the river. I was walking slowly keeping an eye on her, just as she was me too. I got to thinking after a few minutes that there must be a Pheasant in there. She is thoroughly dedicated to this pursuit. Bobbing and weaving and looking for an avenue when she runs into a wall of tules and continues her pursuit. I start to think that maybe that Pheasant got the better of us, and then suddenly out it jumps. Startling me and with fast wing beats and a flat body flying with a tail wind I raise my gun and swing on it squeezing off 2 shots and missing both times! Shot right over the top of it. Blankety Blankety Blankety Blank Uggh! I immediately watch with the keen vision of a hawks eye just where that fast elusive wing beater lands, and then get set for another go. I am on a mission now! It takes me about 5 minutes to finally call Jet out of the Tules so we can start after it again. I feel horrible not holding up my end of the deal after Jet works her little heart out. Anyway, I did mark it and we made a wide swing out in this field before cutting back in towards the dike. I kept Jet at heel til we both were in range and then I told her to "get'em up, find the birds" and she was off like a shot. We went into the taller cover then Jet double backed and I followed, just then the Pheasant flushed at the edge of the tall cover and this time I dropped it first shot! Finally I thought to myself and somewhat disgusted with my earlier attemps. It hit the ground running and so did Jet. I don't think I've ever seen her run so fast as she did after that bird. After about 25 yards it fell over stone dead and she brought it back and delivered to hand. I'll tell you all, I don't think I have ever seen Jet work so hard, be so focused and make such a beautiful retrieve as this one. I am so proud of her. Also relieved that I held up my end of the deal. I think this may well have been the same Pheasant that eluded me on my birthday weekend. I did the same thing, missed on both shots. So we'll call it a bit of redemption I suppose.

Anyhow, on we go after a big round of hugs and praise for a job well done to Jet. We walked the river dike and it wasn't more than 20 minutes later that the wind markedly picked up from the west.The shelf ice was beginning to stretch out from the river bank. I said to Jet that this is it, the storm has landed and is only going to get worse from here on out. We ended up jump shooting 3 Hen Buffs and a Drake Scaup from the river just as the first flakes of snow began falling. Time to head for the cabin and get the birds field dressed before dark. It wasn't much after I got those birds plucked that the wind was pushing 30 and let me tell ya' it was COLD! I gutted the birds and then rinsed them under the frost free hydrant and my hands were froze. It hurt like the dickens when they thawed. Oh boy, here we go, this is it. I asked for it and got it in spades. Hence the old saying goes; Careful what you wish for , cause you just might get it! Truer words were never spoken.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


The Hunter's Wife said...

Glad you had a good hunt. At least the weather held out for a little while.

I just love dogs. They really are mans/womans best friend.

Anonymous said...

Terry, it sure sounds like your plan worked and the tailgate proves it. I sure would not mind trying that some day.


NorCal Cazadora said...

Ooooh, posts like this make me so grateful for Sacramento Valley hunting, where 25 degrees is cooooold. :-)

Tom Sorenson said...

Yup - y'all asked for it, now you got it! :) Love the pheasant in with the waterfowl in the pic...that's what I used to love about hunting eastern Oregon. We'd walk the river bank jump shooting ducks and filling our bag of pheasant most days at the same time - but not when it was this cold! Still, sounds like a great trip despite the freezing weather - now, for the sake of the rest of us that are freezing, will you wish for some warmer weather, now? :)

Terry Scoville said...

Hunter's Wife, I don't know what I'd do with out my Jet. You are absolutely right!

Rick if you get the chance to waterfowl hunt, I think you might like it. It can be pretty exciting at times.

Well NorCal, I've grown accustom to hunting in cold weather and have got the gear to stay warm. Plus the amount of birds that come through with these cold snaps make it well worth it!

Yea Tom, you know what that hunt was like. Nothing like getting upland and waterfowl the same day. When I left the cabin the pipes were frozen and wasn't able to drain them and the roads were slicker than a county fairs "greased pig", so yes, I am now looking forward to some warmer weather :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had a good hunt. I know what you mean about the cold though. When it gets cold, it gets cold!

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Sounds like you are on a roll, I'm almost on x-mas vacation and looking at 18 days of gunning... woo hoo!!!

Blessed said...

I had gotten used to hunting in the cold... but after a couple of years indoors with the little one I'm going to have to get used to it all over again...

I think our worst cold hunting experience was the day Hubby was hunting in 4 degree weather at the hot water discharge for a local power plant - There was ice everywhere but the lake was open and the birds were there, he was climbing down the short ladder out of the blind when the bottom step broke and he landed in the water - it wasn't deep, but he wasn't expecting to fall and his waders filled up. By the time we picked up and got back to the truck his waders were so frozen we thought they would tear when we broke the ice so that he could get out of them!

Terry Scoville said...

Oh Blessed I know what you mean about having to get used to the cold weather. This year the weather was mild one week and the next, temps plummeted and the snow began. It hasn't let up yet.
Your story about hubby falling in icy water is one that scares the begeebees out of me when it comes to winter hunting. I am glad that you weren't to far from safety and a warm house. Hypothermia is a very real possibility when something like that happens.
On the other hand I can only imagine how stuffed that open water was with ducks. Must've been quite a site to see!

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