With most feedlots shut down to dove hunting in Imperial Valley I’ve had to hunt a little harder and find the routes the Eurasian collared dove are taking to said posted off-limits feeding grounds. Both my kids are going through the hunter safety program right now and I’m anxious to get them out with me. To slow the birds down and keep my kids involved in the hunt I decided to dove decoy up. In the past, I have noticed that the morning and turtle dove sitting on power lines get pushed out by euro dove but if it’s euros sitting on the power lines then it’s pure Eurasian collared dove that comes to join them. Cabelas has dove decoys on sale right now. https://www.cabelas.com/product/CABELAS-RUBBER-DOVE-DECOY/2882143.uts?slotId=4 I hung them on the dove line to dry out further (can tell the paint is wet as it's still shiny). For shits and giggles I put up the dove spinner as the Eurasian collared doves around my house started piling up on the overhead lines watching what was going on. The kids started counting the dove watching the spinner and pointed out how many were flying by. The dove line is too close to anything and in the shade so I thought they wouldn’t land on it. 5’ away a hawk pounced the spinner! Now the kids want to set up the dove line in a better spot to enjoy the show...
Opener didn’t disappoint!! Just like every opening day, since I was 9 years old, I couldn’t sleep!! Went to sleep around 9:30 and was wide awake at 12:30 so decided just to get up and get out there! Was glad to see I was the first one at the ramp and just as I was heading out 2 other trucks show up!! I was just glad I’ll get the spot I wanted!! Sent my buddy a text to text me when he’s close to the ramp and I’ll head back to get him. Had the boat loaded with all 6 dozen decoys got to our spot and started setting out decoys. Went back and picked him up and set out the rest while he gathered brush to build the blind!! Got everything in place and relaxed waiting for LST!! Only had to flash off a couple boats trying to come in an hour before shoot time!! Once LST came we hand plenty of birds come in. Ended up 2 shy of a limit, only can hunt until noon on Ray Roberts, but had plenty of chances!! I shot my limit my buddy only shot 4. Gunner didn’t skip a beat it was like he hunted last week!! I only work him twice during the summer but you couldn’t tell!! He just amazes me!! Love that dog! He’ll be six years old in a couple weeks damn time fly’s by!! We’ll be back out again tomorrow!! Stay tuned......
After putting about 40 miles on my boots in D5 with no luck and only getting a visual on two does, I finally was able to get on Mr. Forky on day 5. As my friend says who pushed this dude to me, "You don't eat the antlers!" Mighty grateful for the work put in by really great friends in D5. You just can't beat local knowledge. Looking forward to next season! I heard that Governor Ken Doll was going to ban bobcat hunting so I purchased a bobcat tag as well. Had a chance to fill that tag but shot over the kitty and it was gone.
Every few years I get the bug to grab the rifle for a hunt or two, and this year I had a couple good hunts lined up. I have a couple good buddies that live in some incredible country in Wyoming, and I try to get together with them every few years and go hang out and hunt. This trip was off the hook for sure. I got there last Thursday, and while they had to finish up working, I gathered my junk and hit the hills. With only a couple hours, I was only able to get back in a few miles, but I was able to glass up a pretty good buck. I got back out to my little race car (rental) well after dark and got back to the house to meet up with my buds. We made a good plan for the morning and had boots on the ground 2 hours before the sun came up. We were poking along and glassing our tails off when Mike spotted a good buck about a mile down the drainage. We boogied down hill and with a good stalk plan and were closing in. I was in the lead when all of a sudden my sling swivel popped out and my rifle dropped to the ground and went bouncing down the rocks! Crap!! We're 300 yds. away from where we think I'm shooting from. Talk about bad timing! I looked everything over real good and all seemed fine. We carried on and got to the spot where we were going to pop up on the ridge. I was in the lead and popped over and saw the bucks all down below me. I threw the rifle up on the monopod and made a good shot on my buck, and he ran for a few and tumbled down over a little rise. The guys thought it was a good shot, but we still waited about 20 minutes or so to go down and see him. When we went down to see him, he popped his head up and I had to hit him again at close range, and it was done. He's a dang nice buck for sure! We were about 4 miles in and it was a tough packout! So grateful to have a couple good buddies to share the load out! We spent the next few days hunkered down in 60 mph winds, blowing snow and 20 degree weather. We got to hunt the last day I was there, but couldn't come up with another good buck. The boys there can hunt on their tags until the end of November, so they're a little picky on what they pull the trigger on! What a great hunt with great friends!! Til' next time!!
I shot my biggest buck yet yesterday evening. I have been chasing this guy since archery season and I was finally able to connect with my rifle. It was about a 150 yard shot as he was running uphill away from me and I was able to slip one in just before he went over the top. I tore my calf muscle really bad in the process which made for a really slow hike out in the dark but I still couldn't be happier. This one is going to the taxidermist.
Where to start? What a hunt! We busted our tails since the opener. From finding crazy things out in the hills to a bunch of close calls, it was an amazing adventure. One to stick in the memory bank for sure!! I am so dam proud of my wife. From nearly wanting to quit archery due to shoulder issues, learning to shoot left handed, etc., your persistence is incredible!! I was able to call this bull in from a burn and pull him right in front of Lorie, where she made a perfect 17 yd shot!! Congratulations!!!!! I’m sooo proud of you!!!!
Went on the fortune on an overnighterand got into a real nice grade of yellowfin tuna along with some skipjack AKA ocean carp. I got my limit of 25-30 pounders. Going again in two weeks on a two day trip.
My buddy and I were working a creek bottom on some archery only public land and seeing tons of sign but weren't seeing anything. We were about to head back out when my buddy heard something crossing the creek coming towards us. Out popped this sow and I quickly repositioned to get ahead of her. She came up a trail right at me and I shot her at less than 10 yards! Right through the heart. Died almost instantly. My greatest hunting accomplishment so far! Wild pig, on public land with bow and arrow!
I know some of you pluck your ducks and some of you breast them but here is a method that was used at my friends club that I have started using at home that works awesome. It takes half the time and it gets all the feathers. Here is what you will need: A cheap big pot. Camp stove or you can do it on the barbeque. parafin wax (I bought mine on e-bay but you can use canning wax or buy it at Michaels) 5 gallon bucket filled with cold water and a little ice. First set up the camp stove and put the pot on it. Fill the pot about 2/3 full of water then add some chunks of wax until it is about 3/4 full. You do not need a lot of wax in the water, when melted there should be 1/2-1 inch of wax floating on the water. Turn it on high and let the wax melt and bring it just to a boil. Once boiling elt it cool for a little bit (about 10 minutes). I do not suggest doing this on the home stove as you may spill wax while you are transferring birds and the wife will not be happy if you get wax all over her nice stove. While the water is coming to a boil here is how I prepare the birds. I cut the legs off at the knees, pull out the tertiary feathers by the armpits and then cut the wings off at the shoulder joints. You then need to do a little bit of plucking on the breast and the back. Do not go crazy and pluck a lot. You only want to pull out some of the feathers to help the wax penetrate to the breast. I didn't take any pictures of this but I will update the post after cleaning birds this weekend. Once you have the water and wax boiling turn it off you are now ready to wax the birds. Hold them by the head and dip them so they get coated in the wax up to the neck. You do not want to swish them around or dunk them more than once or you will get way too much wax on the bird. a quick dip is all you need. As you are pulling them out use a stick or in my case a chopstick to "squeege" off as much wax as possible. Transfer from here to the bucket of cold water. Repeat until you are done with the ducks. You may need more than one bucket if you have all big ducks or are doing more than one limit. Let them cool until they are hard, I like to leave them for 10-15 minutes. More than enough time for a beer or two......... Once they have cooled take them out. You are now ready to pluck them. Place them on a hard surface and push down on them and kind of roll them as you push down. This will crack the wax and make it so you can pull the wax and feathers off. Find a small section that has cracked and pull it off, I'm usually careful with the first piece to keep the skin from tearing. Once you get that first piece off its like peeling an orange. A good trick is to seperate the skin from the wax by working your fingers in between the wax and skin as you peel back the wax. Think of peeling the skin away from the wax and not peeling the wax away from the bird and you will have less issues. Keep doing this until you have all the wax off the ducks. Be careful around where you cut the wings off as the skin is apt to tear here because of cutting of the wings. If the skin should start to tear while you are removing the wax, try working on a different area and getting to the part that is tearing from the other direction. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to keep the skin from tearing whether it would be a really thin skinned duck or you blasted the crap out of it and it looks like a pin cushion. Once done you will have lots of pieces of wax that look like this: But the nice thing is you will have birds that look like this: If you have any questions feel free to ask. This method takes from start to finish (including getting the wax boiling) about 45 minutes but it is faster than plucking ducks, you get a cleaner product and you aren't wasting any of the duck meat like breasting them does. Once you get the wax going you can knock out a ton of ducks in a really short time. This way is also much less labor intensive than plucking. Once the wax has hardened in the pot, poke some holes in it and drain the water out. All you need to do for the next time is add water and a little more wax. Some people also melt the wax with the feathers in and strain the feathers out but personally I find that to be too much work. I haven't been able to find the wax cheap down here yet but if you are anywhere out in the central valley or in most somewhat rural towns you can buy the wax (canning wax) in 10lb blocks for about $10. this amount should last you about a half a season depending on how many ducks you shoot. Marcus