Thursday, January 21, 2010

One Last Hunt

Heading out early to the Klamath Basin in the morning. Hopes of crossing paths with some late season Canada Geese or perhaps even northerly migrating Specs. Considering the weeks of recent warm temps and lack of snow (I am not complaining) I may be pleasantly surprised. With the current storms pounding the Sierra's and dumping rain in the Ca. lowlands there just might be an early return north. That thought keeps me optimistic and even if this hunt over the next few days proves to be somewhat of a bust, I remain optimistic for Feb. and the depredation Spec and Snow Goose hunt.

I am not anticipating much shelf ice left in the Klamath Rv. although I do expect whatever birds are there to be actively looking for food and at least stretching their wings once a day if not twice. Storms have a way of getting critters moving if their not to intense. A little rain and snow squall is not a grounding event for waterfowl. Mind you 40 plus mph winds can be and are most of the time. I have seen days so windy that not even the Eagles and raptures were flying. Everyone and everything was completely grounded and after realizing such I had to ask myself what the heck was I doing out there? My answer is still the same, don't know if I don't go. Some days hunting is nothing more than the opportunity for a walk surrounded by natures beauty, knowing you've got about a snow balls chance in hell of ever firing a shot. None the less, hunting is about being out there in wild places and less about shooting. Anymore I see the aspect of shooting while hunting more of a bonus. Kinda like getting a wiggle when you're fishing. Get's the old heart to skip a beat and gets your attention like nothing else can. Seeing sunrises like this one in the photo are worth getting up early for, no matter what. Makes me thankful to be alive and appreciate the small stuff.

I am looking forward to a few days laying in my ground blind hunting with my friend and enjoying whatever comes our way. Taking the boat and covering my bases just in case there are some diving ducks cruising the river. Jet is ready and I tossed her field blind in the truck too. Just some last minute items to gather in the morning and we'll be on our way. At the very least we'll tell some stories, eat some wonderful meals and create new memories from our adventures. Sounds like a good time to me.
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wild Goose Hunt

After getting my ducks in a row the other day regarding shipment of my new wide belt sander, Jet and I took off for an afternoon adventure.

I was so relieved to have gotten my sander ordered on the last day of 2009 for tax purposes that I was just beside myself and ready to celebrate. We headed south not far from home and checked in with a land owner for permission and to say thank you for letting us hunt on their property. While visiting with the land owner I gazed out the window to see a Canada Goose swimming non chalantly upstream next to the cut bank. Then I exclaimed my find in a controlled manner as much as I was able to and politely excused myself.

My pulse was racing and the adrenaline fully charged my system as I hurriedly walked to my truck to get Jet, gun, shells and coat. I was already wearing my breathable chest highs as I knew we'd be getting wet either from the snow, retrieving birds or both. This stretch of water is the Little Deschutes River and it is not a big river, although it runs deep and has a fair current to it with lots of oxbows. We had to negotiate several split rail fences to find clearance enough for Jet to go underneath. The bottom rails are less than a foot off the ground and Jet is a bit bigger than that, so we eventually found a higher rail for her to crawl under. Then I made the executive decision as to where we would sneak in hopes of jumping the goose or geese as I figured there would be at least 2, if not more. Seldom do geese hang out by themselves. So it was that we headed to a split rail fence that was within a foot of a high cut bank along the edge of the Little Deschutes. With the fence being as high as I am tall, I positioned my gun over the top rail and made my presence known. With as much surprise to myself as the geese I had snuck in on them right where they were. With wings flapping and bills honking I let go of both barrels knocking down first the larger of the two and then the smaller one. WOW, a double on honkers! That's doesn't happen every day and we were both thrilled.

Now comes the challenging part, retrieving them. The river had areas of ice extending out from the banks on both sides, with open water in the middle and a decent current too. I began to access my options and no sooner done, did I see jet drop down off the bank onto the ice and immediately break through. She was surprised and I moved into rescue mode. She was caught up between the vertical bank and ice without being able to touch the bottom. She was literally spinning vertical on her axis trying to get a hold of anything on the bank. I jumped in with my waders only at waste level and reached over to grab her and pulled her up the bank. Then got myself out and told her to stay! I then took my coat, vest off and got my waders as high as they would go. Then we began the retrieve in earnest. One goose was on the far bank itself and the other had drifted down river a bit and got hung up on the shelf ice. Jet was not going to stay while I went without her so, I grabbed her scruff and we waded across together. As we got to the shelf ice she was able to get her front feet up on it and I reached down and gave her a boost to get the rest of her up on the ice. I grabbed the first goose that got hunt up while she retrieved the smaller one on the bank. She was so proud of herself as she brought me the goose. Wagging from head to toe and looking like a pup again, if it weren't for the gray she now wears.

With both birds firmly in my left hand we began to cross back over. I grabbed her by the scruff and helped her into the water off the shelf ice and we made our way safely back. The water was just shy of reaching the top of my waders. I walked as tall as I knew how and was very thankful we both made it without any further incident. The weather was mild and a light drizzle began as we headed back to the truck. I was now overheating and just happy that we were able to recover both birds. No cripples and no major incidents. We went to a couple other areas to check for birds and saw nothing. Then we found a comfortable clump of turf and I began to start plucking the geese. I saved the down as well and after an hour or so we started to point the truck home.

Jet was wet through and through and darkness was upon us. We had enjoyed a wonderful afternoon on a wild goose hunt, and there was no better ending than a hot meal and a warm fire. The geese dressed out nicely without any shot to the breast or back(as they took the shots to their head and necks) they will be wonderful eating. What a great day after a long dry spell on waterfowl.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The hunt

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Alas, A New Beginning

Happy New Year to all of you and by golly lets start off positive and with hope for a better year than the last. Even the sound of 2010 rings better than 2009. I am at least cautiously optimistic.

It is no secret that this previous 2009 Fall waterfowl season has been the worst that I have experienced to date. Worst in the way of very few birds in the Klamath Basin where I hunt. I shot one lonely ol' hen Shoveler the entire month of Dec. and that has not happened since my sabbatical some 20 plus years ago. We recently have had snow storms followed by a warm thaw and rain. I am itching to get down to Klamath and hunt the river, but not by myself and it's tough to find friends with as flexible a work schedule as mine to go with. I imagine there is not much shelf ice left and that the birds are cruising looking for food. Me, I'm looking for passing shots at diving ducks and make mine Goldeneyes if you please! Ah yes, that will be a dream come true and perhaps in a week or two I'll have some photos to share of just an expedition.

When I was down there last I did come across a certain fellow who was swimming under the ice in the ditches and coming up in the round holes in the ice. Mmmm any guesses? Right you are, non other than Mr. River Otter. I had the opportunity to watch him play on the ice and also eat fresh water mussels. Such characters they are. Needless to say there wasn't a duck with a 1/2 mile of him. So, Jet and I went about our way looking for open water with a duck or two in it.

In other news the costs of hunting fees and tags has gone up considerably this year. So select your hunts wisely and look for bargains on ammo and hunting gear. One place I have subscribed to and made several purchases from is CamoFire. Amazing deals and great products, not a dog in the bunch. They're easy to subscribe to and products up to 70% off retail prices. Heck they even had shirts on there for $2.00 each a week ago. There is also a forum for gear discussions and hunting photos. Check them out, you won't believe the deals.

As for shop news of the woodworking type I am finally getting a wide belt sander for my dovetail drawer business. It has been on my list for some time and I just got it ordered before the new year. Figured the sander will serve me better than me paying the tax man. Seemed liked a no brainer and I am looking forward to it. It will certainly streamline my production and reduce the wear and tear on me from random orbit sanding. Here's a link to check it out if you're into equipment, Grizzly 15" Wide Belt Sander. It will be arriving next week and I am so excited to get it up and running.

Otherwise there is not much else to report at this time. Jet and I had a quiet Christmas and we tried finding some waterfowl here locally to hunt, but just no luck. Did manage to see a beautiful rainbow over the Deschutes River on a drizzly morning.

Cheers to all and lets make this a better year! Be safe out there everyone.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt
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