Monday, December 29, 2014

Hunting Quail At Last...

Costa Hummingbird (female)
Three days after leaving Montana we arrived at Lake Mead. The plan was to hang with our Montana pals, Bert and Janie Gidart through Xmas; then head to Arizona to hunt quail. Needless to say, while we enjoyed visiting with Bert and Janie, we--Gale, Annie and me--could not quite shake dreaming the upcoming hunt. And while this little costa girl's constant, nearly non-stop visits to Gale's feeder were certainly was entertaining to say nothing of Gale's hoping that just maybe the dearth of hummers to her AZ feeder monkey might now be off her back. I think in all the years we've hunted AZ just one or two total have showed up and none that I recall made more than a single stop...how cruel is that?

Anyway, day after we hitched up trailer and made our way to Kingman to load up on groceries, water and gas for generator then on to our traditonal first stop, Burro Creek Campground, south of Wikieup. Next day we made our first hunt in a familiar and sometimes productive wash--though not so the past couple seasons. A three hour loop produced just one covey, which Annie pointed solidly but the birds took off wrong side of a juniper and no shots resulted...A small covey, maybe 6-8 birds, I probably would not have shot anyway.

So now we are encamped in our best spot for hunting Gambel's. This morning, despite dire reports of few even no birds, we found one small covey and one pretty big one. Alas, though I knocked down a bird from each, we failed to find either one...One vanished completely while the other went underground beneath a large, impenetrable prickly pear...no way could we get to the hole and no way anyway would I allow Annie to dig for it...rattlers you know love pack rat holes...

But the good news is the hunt she is underway, we got a good camp and seems like a fair number quails so stay tuned.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dramatic Photo Time Series, 1912-2010 Yellowstone National Park

The below link was forwarded onto me by Allen Shallenberger (double click to open it).  It is a photograph time series from 1912 to 2010 of the Madison River near the Seven Mile Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.  This photo series does and incredible job of demonstrating the types of vegetation community changes that have occurred across our landscape in as little as 100 years.  In this particular case, the complete conversion of a willow and aspen dominated riparian area to a much drier grassland type.  I would hypothesis that even in the complete absence of hunting, moose occurrence on this particular landscape has trended from common to little or none, because there is no longer moose habitat present.  

 Dean Waltee, Wildlife Biologist, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 

Monday, December 8, 2014


Braised Deer Shanks 

Nearly sixty years ago I shot my first deer. Most years since, I've downed at least one and sometimes several. I butchered all but one or two. I enjoy making my own meat almost as much as the hunt itself with but one exception...I find boning out and rendering the shanks edible a real pain in the you know what.

Comes now a revelation. Thanks to Tom Dickson (Montana Outdoors magazine) via Hank Shaw (Hunter, Gatherer, Gardener, Cook) Gale and I discovered how easy, fun and delicious braised shanks. So yummy, like Dickson, I plan to hunt only eight-legged deer from now on...Trust me, once you try 'em faced with a tough as hell shank, you too will never again even think about wielding trusty boning knife, either.

Both Photos Filed Under: Really Good Eats.