Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meet the Deke!

As some of you are aware, it's been a busy (and loud) 5 weeks around the house.  The puppies are now old enough and have left to other homes to brighten Christmas Days.  Except this little feller, he decided to crawl his way into our hearts and has found a permanent residence.  Over the winter the blog will turn more into a "Deke training update" blog as we mark his progress towards a finished duck dog.  He has great genes and great promise..... oh, and as long Sweets is still around, we'll still have plenty of fish porn to share (including a Christmas Day trip to the Green.... shhh, next post)

Training is now in session....

Sweets now has a new fishing partner...hmmm, that leaves me... in the dog house?

Deke has some pretty big shoes, er, paws to fill.  Boomer has been like no other.  Deke shows hope.

Interesting shots.  Notice the wing speculum changes color from blue....

.... to purple.  Same duck, except I recomposed the shot 3 feet to the left.  Ducks are cool...

A few random shots from our Thanksgiving weekend in Pavillion, Wyoming (population, 152)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snake Oil and Black Magic

Mention the Snake River to a fly fisherman and he instantly conjures up visions of aggressive Cutthroats along the South Fork, Henry’s Fork, or below Jackson Lake. From it’s beginnings in the Thorofare outside of Yellowstone National Park, where one can literally straddle the river, to its confluence with the Columbia River in Washington State, adventure awaits anyone who walks its banks. Discovered by Lewis and Clark in 1805, “The River” has been sought by fisherman, white water rafters, hunters, and some crazy dude who thought he could jump over it on his motorcycle. However, mention the Snake River to a waterfowler and visions of southward bound ducks and geese take over. There is a magic time each waterfowl season when all of the flat water, ponds, and lakes in northern Idaho freeze, forcing waterfowl to find the only open water; the Snake River. If you time your hunts correctly, the river is full.

Dennis and I took off long before any sane duck hunter’s alarm had sounded. It was snowing, our first big storm of the year. We planned our arrival at the boat dock to coincide with shooting hours, making it just light enough to navigate without worry of hitting the many submerged stumps. Our fears became reality when we crossed the bridge; the river had frozen across, from bank to bank. There was only a ¼ mile of open water down river from the boat dock. Downriver? Downriver is terrible hunting. We didn’t drive this far just to turn around, so we pushed off and headed - downriver. We found bird droppings on a point of ice at the apex of a bend in the river. We went to work setting up shells, floaters, and full bodies. We broke away large sheets of ice and sent them downriver. “The Spread” looked good. We took some time and admired our handy work. The wind by now was starting to blow at a pretty good clip. Shells were sliding across the ice. We were hunkered down in our layout blinds to stay out of the bitter north wind. Thirty minutes later, Dennis spotted flock of geese upriver (I know, we were downriver…). I gave them a few whips of the flag and Dennis sent out some hail calls. As soon as the lead bird saw us the flock headed straight “downriver”. They made a low pass with the wind in their tails, started double clucking, and circled to land into the wind. I had lost sight of them when Dennis called the shot. I sat up just as he let go with his first round. The whole sky fell down…. No really, I think he dropped 4 birds in one shot. We both emptied out and ran to the edge of the ice to grab the birds we could before the current took them out of reach. We started counting. I only shot 3 times. Dennis only shot 3 times. There were 8 dead birds in the river. We both looked at each other and laughed. We were done. We had bagged out on geese with the first flight. We actually spent more time setting up the decoys than we did hunting. There was nothing left to do but a take a few pictures and head for home.

We may never duplicate that hunt. We may never take 6 shots on geese and bag 8 birds. But then again, this was the Snake River, and magic happens to all those who hunt or fish its waters.

I usually don't like to post "pile pics" of a bunch of dead birds, but this hunt was one for the books, and I couldn't resist

Pics from our trip to the zoo

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ducks, Dogs, and a really bad miss....

Our still waters are becoming as Thumper would say "Stiff".  With ice on, the fly rod tends to get left behind on the outings.  But this is ok, the birds have been flying and the duck blind has become a little more active.  The puppies are now 2 weeks old and their eyes are beginning to open.  These pups have great genetics and will make many a hunter proud. 

This is my favorite time of year, Thanksgiving.  Great food, football, and time off work.  I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and be careful as we start the Holiday Season.

Who can NOT like puppies?  Every kid should have the opportunity to see puppies born and the miracle of life

Big Bill.  He didn't miss any meals in the womb.  He was by far the largest pup and seems to be ahead of the curve over his siblings.

I'm expecting a call from Benelli.

Can you tell why these divers are called Golden Eyes?

What do you see?  Faces.  I tried to tell my buddies that their faces were flaring birds, this is my proof.  Although, I don't think they care, but at least I had an excuse when 600 geese came in waves and landed everywhere, but in our decoys.

If the position of the wad in relation to the bird is any indicator, this is a miss..... and a pretty bad one at that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

One More Short Sleeve Day

Well, we've had our first snow fall in the Valley and the leaves that were colored up 3 weeks ago are now on the ground.  We sensed the short sleeve fishing weather would be fading, so when the sun came out at the start of deer season, we headed for fish.  The duck hunting has been slooooow to say the least, hence, no reports from the blind.  But with the cold weather, ducks and geese will begin to show and we'll be ready, camera in one hand and gun in the other.  Stay tuned.

Mr. Brown was hitting on Sweets...

Chrome, cutthroat style

Sweets shows the proper method to make a fish look larger.... actually, it was a pretty good sized fish for the Logan

This is my entry for a monthly photo contest.  Last months subject was barns.  Yeah, there was only one other submission, I have a 50/50 chance of winning.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Still Waters and Duck Clubs

Sweets and I got away on Columbus Day to one of her favorite stillwater fisheries in Southern Idaho.  I also had the priviledge of hunting on one of Utah's oldest duck clubs, the Harrison Duck Club in the South Salt Lake Marsh.  After watching how these doods hunt, I've been living the hard life.  It was pretty windy and the birds stayed put, but it was a great time and a unique experience.  Ok, Ok, on to the fish porn....

The "My fish was bigger than yours" smile

Odd duck out

This bird decoyed right in.  "We're pretty close to the airport" is an understatement

Monday, October 19, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey..... And what stinks!?

Ricardo and I had two turkey tags from the Spring that still needed filling.  We headed to the Smith farm for a day of tough hunting.  Afterwards, we were asked to dispatch a stinky little fellar, so we obliged.... well, Ryno did anyway.  A big THANKS to the Smith's for allowing us to hunt their hill.....

Rusty, the turkey wrangler....herder? Shepherd?..... aah, Whisperer..

Ricardo made an impessive shot.... at 15 yds


The catch and release of pesky critters....

Ryno with his trophy.  He was asked to remove his pants for the ride home.  They stayed in the back of the truck.

We're not sure how he scored, but we're thinkin he's a Boone and Crockett

The kitty cat is now big enough to eat Kiley.... whole

Old tractors are soo cool!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stressful Decisions

One would think when fall hits for a person who loves to fish and hunt, they would have perma-grin all day. To be honest, this is the most "out of doors" time of year for us, but the decisions to be made are quite stressful. Do we head up to Idaho and hunt ducks? Where? The water is up in all of the reservoirs we frequent, which one is holding the most birds? Do we go after ducks or geese? Or, do we fish? The fish are frantically feeding, they are sensing the approaching winter and the lack of "evening hatches". But do we hit the river or the lake? Local or day trip it somewhere? Oh the stress of it all. On top of those questions, the colors are literally bursting up the canyon, do we have time to head up and capture the exploding reds, oranges, and yellows on camera? There is only one thing to do..... all things. Burn up some vacation days and do it all. We've been busy chasing birds, catching fish, and standing in awe of the beauty in Logan Canyon.  Sweets even made it out on a girls only trip with her sis and P-nut.  Below are some of the outings over the last week. The perma-grin remains....for awhile longer

Dennis running one down....

Blue Wing....wing

Ryno got out on the youth hunt and showed he can add to the jerky supply

Tom throwing one heck of a rooster tail with mud motor

This tree literally had green on one side and blazing red on the other

Ricardo got lucky....

Taking pics with a digital SLR and holding a fish at the same time can be tough.  I felt sorry for this little guy, we had a few takes...

Pucker up.  Lucky Fish!

P-nut wondering if that fish enjoyed it as much as she did

Sweets showing P-nut where the fish hang...