Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fishing Kelly Creek

Just returned from a week fishing Kelly Creek in Idaho. A beautiful place with only moderate fishing pressure when we were there. Not peak conditions, but we did find plenty of willing West Slope Cutthroat trout from ten to seventeen inches. Beautiful native fish in their native stream.

Caddis were the main menu items and, as usual, I found that standard dry patterns got more refusals than takes. I did most of my fishing with a soft hackle - a no. 14 Woodcock & Orange.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Puppy progress with Andy

I got a brief note from John McIltrot (Seranoa Kennels in Broadview, MT) and Andy seems to be taking his lessons well.

Right now the theme is yard work and barrel work, but on July 15th, he will begin running on wild birds - Hungarian partridges and sharp-tailed grouse. John reports that it looks like a good year for birds, so I am expecting Andy to get a lot of exposure to birds.

So far, so good

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Montana proposes ban on hunting sage grouse

Montana Wildlife and Parks is currently considering a closure of sage grouse hunting in the state. This proposal seems to be sponsored by oil & gas developers and cattlemen in the state. 

Once there were more than 2 million sage grouse throughout the West. Now, the best estimates show there are somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 of the birds left in the Unites States, mostly in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Idaho.

Sage grouse ARE under stress across their current range, but the primary reasons are oil & gas development, sage land conversion, over grazing, and West Nile virus. Hunting mortality is not a major contributor to the continued decline of sage grouse populations.
Please take a minute to click >here< to post a comment on the Montana Parks and WIldlife website. Comments close on June 23rd.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Summer Camp

Due to schedules and dog requirements, I am taking my pup, Andy, to John McIlltrot at Seranoa Kennels in Broadview, Montana in early June. I hunted Andy last season as an unrestrained pup and it is time for some more formal work and tons of birds.

I had dinner with John during the West Coast Shooting Dog Championship earlier this year and it seems like he knows his bird dogs and we share similar views on developing setters.

Meanwhile, Cody will be heading to Travis Gelhaus at Sagebrush Kennels in Hazlet, Saskatchewan for work on wild birds over the summer. This past season Cody has shown that he is a legitimate All-Age competitor. But he is still a young dog and needs further experience and a little polishing. Trainer Sheldon Twer has done a good job with Cody and Travis can provide the big country, wild birds and conditioning that Cody needs to win the more important trials.
I'll be heading to Montana and Saskatchewan in Early June. Taking my fishing tackle, too.

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.