Monday, December 29, 2014

Northern Nevada rabbits.

Went out after rabbits for the first time this year yesterday. It was a perfect day for it, clear, and about 30 degrees. We concentrated our efforts on the south facing slopes of hills, with plenty of rock piles. Cottontails use the rocks for cover, and come out to eat in the sun. We walk slow, keeping an eye out for rabbits holding still, trying to see them before they bolt. Sometimes you get lucky, and get a shot. Sometimes they bolt out in front of you, and you have to hope they stop within range.  

We saw two bunnies at the first spot, but didn't get a shot.

The next spot is a nice little bowl with a huge rock pile on top of it.  I saw a bunny jump on the way in, he stopped after about 15 feet, and froze. I got him in the cross hairs, and took him. A clean neck shot, just a little low. We walked up and around, and spotted a Jack, he ran about 40 yards, and stopped. I got him with a head shot. Two rabbits down, with another spot to go.

We walked for about another three miles, checking rock piles as we went. We saw a couple more jacks, but they ran for miles without giving us a shot.

All in all, a great day with my boy, and a good friend.

The Jack will be made into tamales, and the cottontail will be made into a delicious French recipe. My favorite.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fantastic 2014 Mule Deer opener.

The 2014 Mule Deer season started like most other ones. The biggest difference this year was the location.  Thanks to the Old Man's five bonus points our whole party drew the coveted 194,196 tag. To us, that meant that we're hunting Peavine. The best thing about Peavine, besides being covered with deer, is the location. I have seen deer about seven minutes from my front door.

We started the morning in my driveway, and then went to McDonald's.  We had some coffee, and a couple of muffins, and waited for the sun to come up. Did I mention how close it is? 

We headed up the mountain at about 6:30. We could see headlights in front of us, not a surprise, this is an easy and close place to hunt deer. It only took a couple of minutes to see our first deer. A couple of does. We headed around to the west side, and spotted three bucks on the top of a hill. Another hunter was glassing them so we went around him. We almost immediately spotted about twenty deer, with at least one nice buck with them. My friend Katie had the first shot, she got out of the Sammy,  walked up the road a bit, aimed, and fired. Miss! The deer didn't really panic so she took another shot. Miss! This time the does took off over the hill, and he was right behind them. We drove around to cut them iff, and sure enough, they came down right in front of us. Katie took two more shots and missed. I thought she may have hit him once, so I took a quick shot as he was running over the next hill. I missed. We ran up to were they went over, and didn't see them anywhere. I told Katie that we needed to go up to the next drainage to look. I looked one more time, and saw his antlers above the brush about two hundred yards downhill. I sat down, aimed, fired, and missed. Unbelievable! He only walked a few yards, but I had a much better shot at him. I took my time, aimed right between his shoulders, and put him down. The shot went through his back, and out his front shoulder. A nice 4x3, 26 1/4 " wide. By far my best buck ever.

After a brief visit with the Game Warden, the real work began. It took me and Ian about two hours to cape, and pack him out. It's good to have strong skinny friends! If you look close, you might see Cabela's down there.

While me and the Old Man were taking my buck back to the house, Katie and Ian took the Sammy back out. They ended up spotting a small spike. Katie got into position, and missed? She took three more shots, and missed all three. Ian told her to aim high. She aimed about a foot over his back, and hit him in the spine. All morning her scope must of been off. Disappointing that she had a couple of shots at a good deer, but at least she got it done in the end. Spotted, stalked, and shot all by herself. A great first deer. 

They got the deer back to my house around 10:00.  We got it skinned out, quartered, and on ice in time for the afternoon hunt. We headed back up the mountain around 2:30 in the afternoon. We checked a canyon on the northeast side, but only saw two does. We headed back to the west side, and I decided to take a side road towards a pond I've seen deer at before. On the way I spotted four does on a hillside. We decided to go take another look at them, while glassing the original four does I noticed two more to the left. I looked back at the other four, and saw a big buck come out of nowhere, and put his nose in one of the does. I told Ian to get a good rest and get ready. He shot, and hit him. He kicked both back legs out, and walked a couple of yards, and stopped. Ian shot again, and dropped him. What a great buck. 4x4, and very symmetrical. Gorgeous.

After Ian's deer went down, we noticed another buck by the other two does. The Old Man took the shot, and put him down. A big forked horn. Look at those brow tines!

Two deer down at once, a true double. We got them field dressed, and in the truck in no time. Home before dark on opening day, with four deer in the box. Unbelievable!

With one day of butchering, and one day of grinding, they were packaged and ready to go.

A happy freezer, for another year.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November bass.

Took a trip to Redding California for Halloween this weekend. Between pumpkin carving and trick or treating, I was able to get out for a couple hours.

I missed one on top, but wasn't able to get any more strikes. Theses two I got on a streamer, stripping it really fast.

It was a beautiful day, and I was able to see a ton of ducks too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Duck opener 2014

Better late than never... The opening day for ducks started like most of the other ones. Up early at five am. Out of the Sammy by six. Lugged sixteen newly rigged decoys about a quarter mile to the spot. Set up and ready about ten minutes before shoot time.

Just me and the Old Man today. I set up the decoys to hunt the south side, but wouldn't you know it, the Old Man got stuck in the mud, and couldn't make it across. I should of switched the decoys around right then, but I didn't.

The first duck came in right after shoot time, a hen pintail. My first one at this spot. Not too much longer, and we had a group of four gadwalls circling.  They came right in, but on the wrong side, got two more down.  A group of seven gadwalls were next, right in our face. We got four more.  I finally switched the decoys around, and the next group was four hen mallards.  They all came to the decoys, and we shot the same bird.  One more down.  It slowed down quite a bit after that until a pair of woodies came in right behind me.  The old Man got the hen.  All in all a great opener for us.  Eight birds in about two hours.

Walking out

A little opening day drama. Apparently some goons were shooting too near a house down the river from us.  Not us, we were "way over there"

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Surf and Turf...

Northern Nevada style.
Met a couple of friends last night for some doves, crawdads, and frogs.  A regular Trifecta!! the doves were basically a no show, no surprise there. This is still the worst dove season ever. Me and the boy showed up at about five pm. We got the report...two frogs spotted, none hit. 

We decided to try a foggy looming spot across the river. We pulled our crawdad traps, and let about six or seven go. We headed over just before sunset, and I was able to get one dove on the walk back to the car.
The boy was the first one to the water, and before I could even get the light on it, he had the first frog. He was on fire all night, he nailed four more, and let me get two with the gig. This kid is quickly becoming my hero.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Skunked no more

Finally got a dove last night. It took longer than any in history, but I got one. Still haven't been skunked on opening day.

The old man had a couple of shots, but no luck.

This is still the worst dove season I've ever seen. I'm still hopeful that it improves though. With the extended season maybe we'll get an influx of new birds.

Dove Opener lemonade.

This has been the worst year for doves that I can remember. Last year, the day before the opener I went to my dove spot to count birds. I left after I counted a hundred. This year I counted one the first day, and none the second.  We went to our secondary spot down along the river this morning, and saw four doves. I fired one shot.

We did notice some hefty looking bullfrogs along the shore though. The boy had asked to bring his BB gun, and I obliged. He usually gets to practice carrying a weapon around other hunters, and shoots a few cans. It is good for him to learn gun safety, and keeps him busy. Today was different. He got to try to pick off some bullfrogs. We all watched him miss the first few shots, and then he blasted one.  It was a little too far out, but with the help of a long stick I was able to bring it in for him. This is the first time he's brought game home. I couldn't of been more proud.

It didn't seem to phase him at all. He was after those frogs until he ran out of BBs. I wish I would of brought more. All in all he ended up shooting and retrieving three nice sized bullfrogs. He also managed to get wet up to his neck. Don't tell his Mom.

I'm going to cook them up for his lunch today. I hope he lets me try a bite. He's the only successful hunter today.

Frog's legs on fine china.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dove Opener

I'm going to try to put into words how I feel about the opening day of dove season.

I can remember my first one like it was yesterday. My Dad got invited to the "320." 320 acres just south of Cottonwood Creek. We arrived before dawn with about seven or eight other men. We all spread out around a meadow, ringed by oak trees.  It was still dark when I got set up. I wondered if I would get any doves, I wondered if I would be able to tell the difference between doves and jay birds. I didn't have to wait long. Just after shoot time my Dad hollered "coming right at ya!" The dove tried to land in the tree I was standing under. I made the easy shot, and I was hooked for life.

For the next two hours or so it sounded like World War 3. The older guys lined up along the old fence that the birds all flew down, My Dad and I at the end.  Everyone yelling "coming from the north," or "down the fence." It was the first time hunting that no one told me to "be quiet," "sit down," or "hold still." It was great. We all walked around, yelled, picked up each others birds, and had a great time. After about two hours some of the guys had their limits, and the birds really slowed down. We went back to the trucks for some serious bullshitting. It reminded me of when Billy Coleman got to stand around his Grandpa's store, and tell his own hunting stories. I was still treated like a kid, but at least I was included.  

I have hunted every dove opener since, most of them with Dad. That was over twenty years ago.  My wife, daughter, and son have come with us as well. My daughter decided she didn't want to hunt at about the time she was old enough to. My son can't wait to get big enough to shoot a shotgun. That's what's great about dove hunting. Anyone can go, the kids run around, everyone misses constantly, and everyone has a blast.
It is more to me than just opening day. It is more to me than a signal that fall is coming, along with ducks, rabbits, and deer seasons. It is all of those things, as well as a time for friends and family to meet, and enjoy the outdoors.

I hope I never miss one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dove season changes!!!!!

I can't believe it. The limit on dove has been 10/20, and for the month of September as long I can remember. This is awesome! Any other states get an increase?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bass on glass.

My wife's grandfather gave her an old Fenwick fiberglass 6/7 weight fly rod about seven years ago. It came with a Pfluger Medalist, American made reel, and is completely awesome. He bought it to fish for Trinity River steelhead.

She has used it a few times since then, and has even caught a few fish on it
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Rucker Lake Green Sunfish

We took a fishing trip this last weekend and she decided it probably wasn't the best rod for her. I had to agree. It's a little too heavy, and super slow. She always seems to be behind on her cast.
I thought that if she isn't going to use it, someone should. Why not me.

I took it out Sunday night to give it a try. I really love it. It has plenty of power, and can shoot plenty of line. I was able to land a couple of bass with it, and I'm digging the action. I could feel every head shake.

 I can't wait to catch a monster on it!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Return to Mosquito Pond.

I went back to the pond the other night. This time I brought my kayak, and some bug spray. There were thunder storms all around me though so I didn't really need the latter.

After a hell of a drag and some serious bushwacking I was able to get my kayak into the pond. These tules are thick, and the sides of the pond are almost vertical. I was able to submerge my whole paddle before touching the bottom.

Once I got in and paddled around it was well worth the effort. I hit all the likely spots, and was rewarded with willing green sunfish. They smash a Hopper like nobody's business. I must've caught twenty or more.

This was the best one.

I expected to catch some bass as well, but not this time. I will be surprised if there aren't any in here. I did see about a fifteen pound koi,  so somebody has put fish in here. I hope they also put some bass.
The drag out was a nightmare. Did I mention vertical sides? I had to get the nose of my kayak on the bank,shimmy up to the front, and flop out onto the shore. At least the sunset was worth it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Knocked out a couple dozen hoppers today. Quickly becoming my go to fly.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mosquito Pond

I've been watching this pond for about three years. I've noticed it from the road several times. Mostly during duck season. There always seems to be ducks on it during the winter. I've thought about sneaking down there and throwing out some decoys, oh wait, it's only a hundred yards from the road and about three hundred yards from some warehouses. Hmmm, maybe on Christmas Day??

It was posted at one time. I can tell from the old plywood squares on the fence posts. There is still a fence in front of it but I doubt it would ever keep anyone out. It is so stretched out I can walk through it standing up.

I decided to see if there were any fish in it the other day.  Me and the Boy stopped to check it out. The tules are very thick. So thick in fact that I couldn't get to the water at all. I had to walk out on the tules above the water and cast from there. It was a pain in the ass. If I wasn't getting snagged on the tules behind me I was getting snagged on the ones in front. I did mange to catch three green sunfish, one was actually pretty nice.

While I was fighting tules the Boy noticed some mosquitoes on his pants. I asked him if I had any on my legs, and I swear there was forty of them. We had to make a quick exit due to some close thunderstorms. On the way home the Boy had two ticks on his pants. I pulled over gave him a quick check, and headed home.

This was the scene the next morning.

I'll definitely be going back. With some bug spray and my kayak.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lassen Park brook trout

I try to take a vacation every year in August for my birthday. This year we went to Lassen Park. I have driven through the park but never fished it. We camped at Manzanita Lake. The campground was great, plenty of shade, water, and toilets. This was primarily a family camping trip, so I didn't bring my pontoon boat, and I didn't fish the lake.

I did get a chance to fish Hat Lake which wasn't a lake at all, but a creek. It was a beautiful creek. Crystal clear and slow with a few pieces of pocket water. It looked very fishy. I started at the highway, and quickly missed a strike on a mini hopper. I moved upstream until I could see a pod of fish. I made a cast, got a refusal from a bigger fish, and then hooked a little wild brookie.

I went back down to the first hole, and was able to land this guy.

Beautiful, this was actually the best fish of the trip.

We headed back to camp for some naps, and relaxation.

The best two handed card game ever invented.

The best two handed cocktail ever invented.
Wet shoes.

The next morning we headed for the King's Creek Falls hike. It was about a mile down to the falls, and a mile back up. It was a bit more strenuous than I expected, but if a 3,5,and 8 year old could make it I could too.

King's Creek Falls

I brought my fly rod on the hike, and fished a few fishy pools with no luck.  I talked to a fly fisherman on the way out, and he said that there are brook trout in there, but with no cover they are very skittish. He said on a good day he was likely to catch 3 or 4 trout in four hours.

We made it back to camp, and I decided to try my luck at Hat Lake again. I headed further upstream, but wasn't able to hook any in the long, slow, clear pools.

Hat Lake ducks.

I decided to nymph the deep pool below some falls on the opposite side of the highway.  I was rewarded with a few small brookies.

We had a lot of fun on this trip including some late night board games.

The view of Manzanita Lake on our last night.