Saturday, January 30, 2016

Project Upland

If you haven't stumbled onto it yet, this a site worth checking out:

A partnership between the Ruffed Grouse Society and Dangerous Cow Publishing (I know, strange name but talent often comes wrapped like that), this series of films shot in grouse and woodcock coverts really gives the flavor of hunting these birds. 

While fishing films abound, good videos about bird hunting are rare. This is no collection of staged shots by guys clad in brand new gear. The subjects wear flannel and hoodies and their gear is often as worn as yours and mine. And they love to hunt birds.

I'd really recommend watching "Why Project Upland - Behind the Scenes" first, then moving on to the others. It gives a pretty good background and sets the tone for what you're about to see.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Negligent would be an understatement

I just realized I hadn't posted anything, not one word, since Sept 2. Ok, I actually realized it a month ago but just got around to doing something about it today. It's not like nothing's been going on or so much has been going on that I haven't had time to talk about it. Lots has been going on and I have had time to talk about it, I just spent that time doing something else.

So here's the last 3 months in review....

Dove Season(s)

The first dove season was the best we've had in years. My freezer is slap full of birds, partly due to more targets and partly due to me shooting better than the recent norm. Over the summer I did a little work on my gun mount (thanks for the tip Chris Batha), mounting in front of a mirror about 100x a day. It's easier than it sounds and it's made a world of difference.

We're not really sure why there were so many more birds, but our best guess is that dry conditions over the summer ruined a lot of corn crops, leaving fewer places for the dove to eat. Whatever the reason, we had numbers every time we went into the field and even when only a few of us showed, we figured out how to put away a limit.

Mojo dove
Shrinks the playing field considerably
The second season was a bust. Completely. Many of you heard about the Biblical rains we had in early October, but what didn't make the news was the 3+ inches we got every week after that for the next month. By the time the second season opened the weekend before Thanksgiving the ground was soggy and the feed was rotten. Any bird that came through here slowed down long enough to see that he was gonna get real hungry if he stopped.

It's dried out some and we have a nice millet field that hasn't been cut yet, so there's still hope for the third season.

The Great Bobwhite Revival

I keep promising to post an update on this, and I've been waiting until we had a little more publicly available info in case anyone's curious, but that's been slow in coming so I'm gonna talk about it anyway. This little project now has an official name (The SC Bobwhite Initiative), a logo (I'm not supposed to share that yet), a group of 24 state and federal organizations participating, and 4 focus areas where work is under way.

To say I'm excited about this is putting it mildly.  We've been working on it for 4-5 years and to see it finally take flight is both a relief and a realization that now the hard work begins. The enthusiasm has been overwhelming, and I'm pretty optimistic.

Website should be active before Christmas (fingers crossed) and I'll post a link when it is.

About that pup...

Holy cow I'd forgotten what it was like to have a bird dog pup around the house. Even though my backyard looks like the moon it's been a joy. He spent 6 weeks with the trainer letting the genes bloom and his bloodlines are no joke. 

He'll get steadied next spring and summer and right now we're just gonna look for birds. The drive is astounding and the endurance for an 8 month old is unbelievable. He's fine with the gun and will even hold a point for a little while. Smarter than a 4th grader, too. Should be a fun season.

Shot a deer last week. First time I'd been in the stand all season and 30 mins after I sat down they walked out. Every now and then I get lucky like that. I'm not a trophy deer hunter, just meat for the freezer and that means does are top of the list. This was a nice one, almost 100 lbs. 

I've been much more productive with the camera than the pen and some of that work is on the Instagram account (@spentcartridge). Even had a shot in the Orvis Digital Hunting Book (p43) a few months ago. Having a lot of fun with that. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From the dumbass file

When you're stuck in the no-man's land between the whole country's opening day (yesterday) and your own (Saturday) and it seems there's nothing to write about but your own bitterness, the innate stupidity of certain Americans comes to your rescue.

Seems three old boys in Major County, OK, just couldn't wait another two days til dove season opened, so they set up a blind and some mojo decoys in a field and started hunting. The creative juices didn't stop flowing there, either. Anyone can build a blind from branches and weeds, so why not step it up a notch and build one out of weed.

Sunday morning, August 30th, did not start out like a normal day for game wardens Phillip Cottrill (Garfield County) and Lt. Frank Huebert (Major County). A passer by called in and reported seeing some mojo dove decoys spinning in a field. The wardens arrived to find 3 guys dove hunting over bait. Strangely, they were using dove blinds that were built out of marihuana* plants. The dove poachers were in possession of 45 dove, marihuana buds and a pipe.
But the fun didn't stop there. Wardens accompanied one of the boy geniuses to his residence to obtain ID where they found hawk and owl fans and talons. And yes, they also found the requisite meth and needles and more pot.

While most of the day would be labeled what my kids call an "epic fail", there was one bright spot. They all shot a limit.

Here's to your opener. This year, don't settle for the same old same old.

* After several vigilant spellers spoke up, The OK Dept of Wildlife noted in a later post that the laws in OK spell marijuana with an "h", so that's how they wrote the report.