Tuesday, October 28, 2008

D16 & G13 Mule Deer Hunt Opener Near San Diego CA

This was our D16 & G13 Mule Deer Hunt Opener in San Diego 2008 October 24-26. Rick (Westy) and I camped at Lake Henshaw Campground and hunted nearby.

Saturday's sunrise was warm with a slight wind. Several trucks parked near us and 17 vehicles went up above us. Saw 2 bucks checked in at the Henshaw Store at lunch. A nice 3x3 from Mike and a forkie for another guy, his first deer. They had to track the forkie for 3 hours and when they found it the butt was eaten out by coyotes and a cougar then chased the coyotes off it appeared and the cougar started in on the belly. They said there was cougar tracks around the dead deer and the belly was freshly opened up so it looked like they scared the cat off when they approached. The 3x3 had a separate 3rd main beam and the start of a drop tine. Their bellies were full of acorns. Nobody mentioned any bucks pushing does that I heard so the rut hasn't kicked in hard yet.

Saturday evening we crawled down into our same canyon from the morning and about 4pm WHAM!!! right below me, Westy popped a yearling doe that stood up and ran from her bed. Of course the canyon was straight down and Rick busted butt to get the small doe back across to the easier slope where we boned it out and hauled it up to the waiting truck.

Sunday morning Westy and I watched the same live oak ridges where he got his doe Saturday. I had one spike buck feed by me early around 8am. Later I saw a big bodied deer ghosting through the timber and when I put the binos on the deer to see what it was, it just disappeared. I figured the deer had bedded down so I waited a bit then slipped down the finger ridge toward the deer and then hooked around the knob where I last saw the deer. Then I sat down. Sure enough, up popped a big ole doe peeking around the knob where I had come from about 50 yards out. Had it been a buck I would have had a good shot. I love sneekin' and peekin' with deer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Apple Time!!!

The fall leaves turning bright colors means it harvest time. Harvest time means it's apple time. Time for apple cider, apple butter, apple anything. Here are a couple videos of my recent trips to Stetson Creek Ranch apple orchard near Seven Oaks CA and to Emmaus Homes in Marthasville MO where Thierbach Orchards was making some fine apple butter.

This was a trip tp pick some apples at Stetson Creek Ranch, near Seven Oaks CA. Every autumn the desire to pick a fresh juicy apple right off the tree calls people to the country, to the mountains, to the orchards. It is here that the best and most flavorful of falls fruits can be found. Apples picked fresh have a depth of flavor that makes grocery stores apples green with envy!

The ranch dates back to at least 1865, when Mr. W. O. Taylor used the ranch for grazing livestock. In 1885 it was owned by the notorious cattle rustler James McHaney. He used his various mountain properties to hide cattle that had been stolen from other ranchers.

In the late 1800's it was acquired by Richard Stetson, who with his family planted the many magnificant apple trees you can see there today! Fred Hill later owned it and also grew apples here.

The ranch has also been a Boy Scout camp, and an equestrian camp. However the owners have respected the natural beauty and the history of the ranch, and it remains much as it has been for the past century.

Grandma made her apple butter by grinding it first before cooking it. In this video the folks at Thierbach Orchards had peeled, cored and sliced the apples into 8ths. This takes a little longer for the apples to break down but it's less labor than grinding the apples into an applesauce first before cooking.

Friday, October 17, 2008

War Is Declared In Camp Happyland

Some of you may remember my battle with a pocket gopher a couple months back. I've got another squatter moved in next to the patio by the garden in the backyard. Game on sucker. Fire Mission coming up. Going to Defcon 2.

Video of one of these cheeky fellers in action

Video of my last victorious engagement in June 2008

I set one trap last night and he sprung it pushing up dirt. This one's a smart one. Then he plugged up both ends of the tunnel where the trap was so good I couldn't reset the trap there.

Never had pocket gophers around here in 30 years and can't find any gopher mounds within several blocks. I'd rather go with the propane like the Rodenator uses to collapse the tunnels instead of having to trap these dang dudes every month and have to fix the damage to the lawn and garden.

Dubya D from our JHO Forum posted this pic on how he solved his gopher problem using his bow. I've been creeping out with my longbow hoping to catch the little turd out but no joy so far. Pocket gophers don't seem to come out as much as a ground squirrel it seems. Gonna set the game cam on his hole to pattern his sorry butt.

BDB (Steve) from the forum suggested I "make him a little friend", go to the HE (High Explosives). My first reaction was to blow him in place but he's under the foundation I think. Right next to it for sure and I'd take off half the patio if I went to the big bang.

The other problem is the Sweeney gopher traps I have don't fit in the tunnels very well, I have to dig the tunnels out a bit to fit the trap jaws. Does Sweeneys make a smaller version? I got these at Lowe's and they were marked gopher traps. Maybe one inch narrower would work.

I flooded the boy out tonight, hope he had his john boot handy. Then I collapsed all the tunnels I could find. Frustration has set in. I don't wanna go to the nuclear card but I'm not going to have the house collapse because the foundation was undermined.

Defcon 3 declared.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Squirrel Hunting The Pawpaw Patch

This was a squirrel hunt with my friend Bob C. in his pawpaw patch near Washington MO. We just saw one squirrel and ended up looking for pawpaws most of the evening.

The pawpaw tree, Asimina triloba, yields 3- to 5-inch-long fruit, the largest fruit native to the United States. Pawpaws taste like a cross between a banana and a mango and look like pears. The huge black seeds, big enough to choke a horse, take up a lot of space where the fruit is located. If the gods ever do a redesign of the pawpaw I hope they shrink the seeds down a bit for more space for the delicious fruit.

The name, also spelled paw paw, paw-paw, and papaw, probably derives from the Spanish papaya, perhaps due to the superficial similarity of their fruit. Pawpaws have many other common names such as prairie banana, Indiana (Hoosier) banana, West Virginia banana, Kentucky banana, Michigan banana, Missouri Banana, and Ozark banana.

The earliest documentation of pawpaws is in the 1541 report of the de Soto expedition, who found Native Americans cultivating them east of the Mississippi River. The Lewis and Clark Expedition sometimes subsisted on pawpaws during their travels. Chilled pawpaw fruit was a favorite dessert of George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson was certainly familiar with it as he planted it at Monticello.

As kids we used to sing a song about pawpaws.


Where O where is pret-ty lit-tle Su-sie?
Where O where is pret-ty lit-tle Su-sie?
Where O where is pret-ty lit-tle Su-sie?
Way down yon-der in the paw-paw patch

Where O where is pretty little Susie?
Where O where is pretty little Susie?
Where O where is pretty little Susie?
Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch

Pickin' up paw-paws, puttin' um in her pockets, etc.

Come on, boys, let's go find her, etc.