Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mule Deer Duck Hunt Combo

So, the conclusion of my mule deer hunt went something like this.

A day late and a storm short. Yes it's true that I missed my 4 x 4 Muley buck by perhaps only a day. Returning to Lowlands on Sunday afternoon with the season ending in 3 days I found the bucks tracks on a low road in the pummy dust. Still well defined after being driven over once from someone earlier in the day. No doubt the buck was wise from all the activity of waterfowls opener the previous weekend. Not only that but he was making himself scarce as he seemed to saunter through the area under the secured veil of darkness. I spent the last few days of the season glassing the predawn landscape for any irregularities. Hiking slowly and being as thorough as I knew how to be in picking apart the landscape in hopes of finding the big 4 x 4 bedded down amongst the rocky outcroppings and brush covered hillside. It was not to be this year for either of us. Though he had busted me on opening morning I was unable to return the favor. I chuckle in hopes that the young forked horn he has with him, will once again prove to be the sacrificial buck as was the case last year. I keep my fingers crossed that he and I may find each other a year from now and continue our dance. I tip my hat to him and thank him for the schooling which he has given me this season. I enjoyed the chase and am already looking forward to next season. After all, the hunt is in the pursuit.

Even though I was unable to harvest my buck I still managed to get some time waterfowl hunting with Jet. During the mid day we walked the ditches and jumped ducks and even a few pheasants. Jet was more than ready to get out and stretch her legs after being cooped up in the cabin while I was deer hunting.

The duck season opened up with a pair of Mallards jumping out of a ditch. I shot one of each sex and then repeated the same not more than a 1/4 mile further. All 4 ducks were adults and quite fat with beautiful plumage. Jet made the retrieves at her typical pace and I was pleased with our success. Now I had to be careful not to shoot anymore hen Mallards, as 2 are the daily limit. Fortunately that was not a problem as the majority of ducks we jumped were Gadwalls. Some of the ditches are fairly steep and difficult to get a start up for Jet, so I had to meet her upon her return at the waters edge and give her a push up the steep banks. She is such a trooper and waits for me to get to her before starting to get out of the water. That's a smart and efficient dog if you ask me. Her hind end has lost some muscle over the past few years and I am glad to give her a boost up. She won't give me the bird til she gets to the top of the dike. That was a lesson learned due to several lost birds as a result of her not delivering to hand when she was young. She used to set them down before she reached me at the top of the dike, so she could shake off the water. Now she waits and shakes after her delivery. To her I say thank you every time and give her lots of loving!

The conditions on our last afternoon hunt were extremely windy. With constant 15 to 20 mph winds the ducks were looking for protected areas. They were now being pushed off the large bodies of water where they were safe.That meant the ditches perpendicular to the wind were just what the ducks were looking for. Jet and I set out for our hunt and we had several ducks in hand after walking a short distance. The wind was so strong it was difficult for Jet to hear me giving her directions. There was still one bird left to be recovered that landed on the other side of the dike in the tules. So we walked down one side of the dike where we crossed over and returned to where the downed bird was. After a short search Jet found the drake Gadwall in the tules next to the Klamath River. The rain was on its way as we came to the end shooting time. We had a nice mixed bag of upland and waterfowl, just didn't get the venison.

After 2 days of afternoon duck and pheasant hunts we had garnered 11 downed ducks and recovered 10. For Pheasants we were able to get 2, and I also shot my first ever Blue Winged Teal. A beautiful mature female with quite a fat layer on her. Jet made consistent retrieves and took hand signals when needed. We had a great waterfowl opener which partly made up for the deer hunt. I was happy to be bringing some meat home for the freezer, finally.

I am also getting ready for my controlled rifle elk hunt which starts the end of October and goes through November 1st. It is a bull only hunt that John and I are doing in a new area we've yet to hunt. Will keep you posted on that one. We are running out of opportunities for putting some serious meat in the freezer. Beef is o.k. yet, it's not elk. Enough said!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


Wandering Owl said...

That is a nice bag of birds! Good 'ol Jet. Praise for the dog delivering to hand is important. Even if I get drenched every time by their shaking, I always love 'em up right away. Best way to teach them, I feel.

Great reading - I love the line "After all, the hunt is in the pursuit."

Terry Scoville said...

WO, thanks for visiting. I too have come to enjoy my getting wet from Jet upon delivering to hand. It's a sort of celebration now, especially as she is showing signs of getting slowing down. Lots of love with every retrieve and in between.

Anonymous said...

Terry, I really do envy you. You always seem to get out and our able to fulfill your outdoor dreams it seems.
More and more I find it harder to get out and around like I used to so I do look forward to your posts.
Congratulations on the the nice birds and I am sure you will get you buck.

Shawn K. Wayment, DVM said...

Awe Heck...Pheasant's much better than venison anyhow! Looks like you had a riot with Jet all the same! Can't wait to see the elk you get in November!

Terry Scoville said...

Well Rick, I've still got a few dreams yet to be fulfilled. I am fortunate to be able to hunt as much as I do. As for that buck, we'll have to wait til next year.

Shawn, Pheasants good for sure just doesn't go as far. Thanks for the positive thoughts on my elk hunt. Packing the truck right now. Wall tent and the kitchen sink. Catch you next week if not sooner.

The Hunter's Wife said...

Looks like a great day of hunting. It's been windy here as well with rain. Not good weather for my husband to be sitting in a stand waiting for deer.

Good luck with the elk!

Jennifer Montero said...

I envy you the privacy of your cabin and the lone hunting with a good dog for companionship. It's a bit too built up in the UK to feel truly 'wild'.

Commiseration on the lack of venison, but that just leaves more room in the freezer for a big bull elk!

Nice bag of fowl, well done on the teal. I've seen a couple but never managed to bag one. Glad you and Jet had such a good time.


NorCal Cazadora said...

Nice bag! That's a hell of a hunt!

Whit Spurzon said...

Very cool blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Blessed said...

Teal are one of my favorite ducks - they taste so good! Sounds like some good wingshooting too bad about the deer... guess there is always next season!

mdmnm said...

Looks like a great hunt, particularly you and Jet flushing such a nice mixed bag. Luck with the elk!

gary said...

Ditch hunting for ducks!!! When we lived in Vale I did a lot of this and do miss it here in Idaho. To me that was bird hunting at its finest, along with trucking the hills for chuckers. Glad you had the pleasure of kicking up some mallards - Good luck on the elk!

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