Friday, March 20, 2009

Gettin Stuck. It Must Be Turkey Season

Ah, tis that time of year for slippin' and slidin' down icy snow covered ridges. Turkey season is about to be unleashed and that means time to explore and tear up some vehicles. Even the local gendarme's SUV is taking a beating rescuing pilgrims who venture out only to find themselves stranded in the dark high a top a mountain.

This was near Green Valley Lake in CA. Don't ever trust a woman for a road condition report. We met this lady on the way in and she said the road was fine. One turn later and we slid sideways to the bottom of a nasty mud and ice hole. 100 shovel scoops later and we were free and up the hill.

Note: Get winch installed.

The good news is Mike and I found some Merriam's turkeys to let the air out of. San Diego is a better hunt for bird numbers but holy mackerel, do they draw a crowd down there.

The bad news was the dumping and crashed gates we found on local forest roads. That and the trash we picked up after some donkeys left it. I pray there is a special room for these folks in Hades where they can live with their trash they dumped on Earth.

This was down at the T6 bridge crossing of Deep Creek by Lake Arrowhead CA. The crik hasn't flowed like this in awhile so I'll be back when it gets hot for a soak in the cold pools. I love hiking and hunting in this drainage.

I don't understand how folks can visit such a beautiful location in the country and then leave their trash. Makes me want to put a boot in their azz. Here's Mike picking up shotgun shells some clown left all over the bridge area. They must have shot almost 3 boxes from all the shells we picked up.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Are They Really Hunts?

I have to be brutally honest about these planted bird shoots that we've put on the past couple of years, JHO won't be participating anymore for several reasons.

1) The biggest reason is the safety issue. Every time I've been out on a planted bird shoot we've had issues with folks who are not aware of where their muzzle is pointing or had fingers on the trigger while walking. Even after warning the shooter we've had the same issue pop back up again the same day which puts in in a jam over kicking someone out of the shoot.

In these bird shoots we're also mixing small groups together that have never shot with each other and it's caused some strife. I know I've hit the ground a time or two over the past couple years when someone swung too far and almost blew someone's head off. I know 2 people who've been shot in the past 2 years while at pheasant shoots like this and I don't want any part in any shooting.

2) It's a canned hunt. I grew up chasing pheasants in the frozen cornstalks of Iowa and Missouri and these hunts, or shoots as they should be labeled, are just not my cup of tea. The dogs do get a work out but that's about it. You walk up and kick the pheasant out of sparse cover and bang! Wild pheasants are a completely different game, they use their cover to best many upland hunters. That, and many times a bird gets pounded by 3 or 4 shooters as it flies across field, leaving a bloody mess you can't even salvage for a bite to eat. Antis also use this type of canned hunt in their argument on hunting being called fair chase. I've always been for fair chase and these type of shoots do not make the cut for me.

3) The other issue we've had to deal with is dog owner's who have NO control what so ever over their dog or dogs. The last hunt we had a springer flushing out a pheasant from our field even before we walked out, the owner was no where in sight. Later, this same dog came back and we hollered for someone to reel in their dog and no one around responded. We never did figure out who was letting the springer run all over other fields. The hunt before that we had to ask one person to put their lab up in his truck after the dog ruined several fields by flushing birds out of them. Some folks who think they have control over their dog are completely oblivious to the whole program. This issue has also caused some heartburn between groups at these shoots as they watch a loose dog flush out birds they just paid to shoot.

The bottom line, just too many folks in tight quarters swinging shotguns around with many of them newbies or just way too careless for me. The California DFG youth hunts are more controlled in that they have several mentors around the kid and only hand them a shell when it's time to shoot. That's great but it's still a far cry from a fair chase hunt. One young hunter put it best to me after teaching him to shoot pidgeons at the local dairy in Chino. We were on his first planted pheasant hunt and after kicking the bird several times the pen raised bird finally flushed up and he shot it. The kid turned to me and said, "This ain't no fun, let's go shoot pidgeons." So we did, leaving our 2 other birds for another shooter in the next field to finish off.

I'm not trying to dis the DFG or the pheasant clubs it's just I have to be truthful on how I've always felt about these shoots. I tried to go along for the kids and group shoots for the comraderie but it's just not going to work for me.