Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shadow Oak Bo Repeats as National Champion!

Shadow Oak Bo, last year's National Champion and the first setter to win since Johnny Crockett won in 1970, made history today by winning a second consecutive National Championship. During his brace Bo had favorable conditions and produced 7 finds. He was named winner a couple hours ago.

A setter winning back to back National Championships... it has not been done in over 100 years. I think this win will spark a lot of interest in setters on the major circuit.

Congratulations to Bo, Owners Butch Houston and John Dorminy, Handler Robin Gates, and scout Luke Eisenhart. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

California hunting is abysmal this year - I hope it cannot get worse.  I spent a few days on the Western Sierras and found a few coveys, but none were larger than 6 to 8 birds.  Holdovers, hopefully they will breed next year.

But I was very pleased with Maggie.  She had a half dozen nice points, a couple of which were productive - but I whiffed on those of course.  In three days of pretty hard hunting I killed only one bird, and that on a wild flush.  I wanted Maggie to at least get her mouth on a valley quail.  She actually did a great job; the bird hit the ground running; Maggie came to me when I called and immediately started tracking foot scent; she found the bird in some brush about 50 feet away and jumped it as it started to run again.  A very pretty and gentle retrieve, would have been a perfect picture.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Southern California hunting

Valley Quail hunting is tough in Southern California this year.  I got out a couple weeks ago, in good cover, and found no birds in a few hours of hunting.  Tried another good spot today that usually holds one or two good-sized coveys.  Found three birds, apparently the remains of a covey.  In some ways that is even more discouraging - I found the birds that were in the area, just not many of them.  They flushed wild, individually, and though I had shots I kept the gun down.  Let them go and hope for more rain this winter.

Good news was that Maggie made a nice point on a hot spot.  If there had been a single I probably would have shot it for her.

The Imperial Valley is a different story.  Last weekend a buddy and I found several coveys of Gamble's Quail on the edge of the desert.  They feed in the edge of the fields and then jump back into the thick stuff quickly.  We did get a few shots and killed a couple of birds.

Also found LOTS of mourning dove.  Walked one field and must have pushed 500 or more into the air in front of us.  This time of year they are very spooky and the shooting was tough.  Also had collared dove coming by very high.  Dumped a couple of them and felt quite pleased, though the percentages were not good.

And whacked one pheasant, an old guy with long spurs.  Took 4 shots to knock him down.  My second barrel did the trick, a high-speed load of #6 in my 12ga.  It was a long shot and I was pleased with that one too.

Could have had a couple of ducks too.  Found a small pond on the GPS, walked through the tules to get a look thinking "there could be ducks here", but the gun was filled with dove loads.  Dumb.  Four mallards got up 10 yards away from me, easy shot if I had been carrying my 12ga with loads of tungsten matrix.  Not sure how I would have retrieved those birds though.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

OK, who's kidding who?

In Northern Montana earlier this month, Pete and I found this sign posted on a waterfowl production area (WPA)...

I assume that this was not posted prior to the "Government Shutdown", since it was not known that this would happen until it did, in fact, happen.

So... with no money to operate, the federal WPA management found the funds to print signs, purchase gas and drive US Govt trucks around posting all the public property to deny public access. With 'volunteer' agency personnel. And then, they found 'volunteers' to burn more fuel in government trucks driving around to patrol the grounds, keeping the public off public lands.

So who is kidding who, here?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lead ammunition ban in California

I noticed a short article in yesterday's SF Chronicle - looked it up today and it has already passed the legislature and is waiting for a signature by Governor Brown. First time I have seen the legislature act quickly on anything.

From the Santa Barbara Independent minutes ago:

A bill that would ban all lead ammunition for hunting statewide by 2019 — making California the first state to do so — has passed the State Legislature and is sitting on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.
The bill, officially known as AB 711 and cosponsored by Assemblymember Das Williams of Santa Barbara, would see the state’s Fish and Game Commission set regulations by July 1, 2015, that phase in the use of non-lead bullets for all hunting. The requirements would be implemented by July 1, 2019.
Will I have to retire my bird guns and buy a plastic quail gun?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Which ones to keep?

I don't like to own guns that I don't use.  My current favorites are a 16ga A-grade Fox and a 16ga Lindner Daly.  Both are outstanding upland guns and they are likely to be my primary upland battery for many years.

But I have a couple of gorgeous British 12ga best guns  ...

A Westley Richard droplock and a Purdey island lock.  I think they are among the most lovely guns ever built and I shoot both of them quite well.  But I have not shot them much for at least the last 5 years so now I am wondering if it is time for someone else to enjoy them for a while.  No one really owns guns like these, you are just the caretaker for a while, and eventually it is time to let go.  Something to ponder over the coming months.

Low blood sugar, etc.

I got out for a walk with my pups this morning east of San Diego.  Temps had finally dropped a bit and we had a couple of nice hours.  Then Maggie ran out of gas quite suddenly and, a few minutes later, lay down with mild convulsions.  That scared me a bit so I walked / carried her back to the car as fast as we could get there.  Headed straight to the vet and found that her blood sugar was 53; should be between 75 and 125.  Went home and got some glycocharge and some food into her, this afternoon she seems to be fine.  The vet is going to do comprehensive blood work but I suspect I just need to carry some glycocharge with me on walks over an hour or so.  Anyone else have similar experiences?

On a related topic, I've been using electronic maps from Hunting Maps USA for a couple of years and they have really paid off.   This morning I was on national forest land that a couple years ago I thought was private.  It was a lovely valley, ringed with oaks and chaparral; we pushed a covey of quail and saw a small flock of turkeys.  Those who prospect best find the most birds, and these maps really help the prospecting.