Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Travel: West Central Arizona Desert

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Obviously this dawn has not greeted us with yet another deluge but...like we say in MT you don't like our weather just hold on a moment...This morning did indeed dawn cloudly with rain and snow forecasted...imagine. Oh well, onward and upward...actually if the bird finding would just pick up notch or two I'd be grinnin instead of wishin...So far birds have been really scarce, a couple quail every now and then a few doves here and there about says it. We are currently hangin out in the Alamo Lake area sort of northwest of Wickenburg. Our plan was to haul ass today for Congress or maybe even Roosevelt Lake to the east but with all the snow and rain in the forecast we decided instead to restock the cupboards, do the wash, catch up on business and oh lest I forget resupply the whiskey and wine...most urgent a course. Dogs are pretty beat up anyways so the short hiatus from the cacti will no doubt do them good even though neither is big on the idea...So anyways that's about it for now stay tuned will keep you posted as our adventures unfold...assuming internet access a course none to reliable down in this neck o desert...over and out...Chuck

Monday, December 20, 2010

Travel: Greetings from the Southern Nevada Flooded Desert

A week into our long awaited 6 week long bird hunt and...Well "bird hunt" has become something of a sick joke. Thanks to now 5 straight days snow and rain and/or both we are starting to mold, to say nothing of becoming sort of down with a bad case of the shack nasties. Here are some shots from the road...not much ado with bird hunting but what the hell anything beats nothing, right?

Typical wagon as used on the Oregon Trail travelers...we camped just above the dreaded Three Island Crossing, hoped to visit the Interpretive Center but of course found it closed for the season...kind of fits now that I think on it.

A good way to beat the weather gods is to seek out and enjoy a little local humor...were my mother-in-law still around I'm sure one these goonies wrapped in a X-mas bow would make her grin...the sign sure did it for us. On old US 30 outside Bliss Id in case your interested...

Gale and the Pointer Sisters almost have me convinced this may very well BE the ONLY quail left in southwest ID or NV...stay tuned but if I were you might not be the best idea to hold yer breath...damn it sure is dull, damp and dreary round this neck of desert and worst thing NO GD END IN SIGHT...feel free to toss pity party anyone...over and out...Chuck

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fly Fishing: Al's New Digs n Other Timely Matters

Al Lefor's New HQ/photo courtesy Great Divide Outfitters

Al's new fly shop is located on Pump House Road; turn right just before crossing Divide Bridge. As you can see the building is a tricked out old log building, complete with antique wood stove (although given Al's recent propensity to flee the Big Hole at the first sign of winter it probably won't see much use except in early spring) a nice touch--one Al says early reviewers agree is "nice and homey". Hominess aside like the old shop the new digs are well-stocked with all the latest additions to Al's obvious addiction to well-concieved fly patterns, Scott Rods, Super Fly Floatant (secret recipe, don't ask) and fine books--well, make that used to be fine books given the recent conspicuous absense of Robbins' Flyfisher's Guide to Montana...sorry couldn't pass up the chance at shameless self-promotion. Anyway Al promises he'll be back from the sun and sand on or about 15 March and open for business so do yourself a favor and stop in...all kidding aside you will not be disappointed...onward and upward.

On another track, Will Jordan forwarded Montana Sporting Journal's recent interesting and informative interview with Ed Bangs, USFWS Wolf Recovery Coordinator. To read the interview click the link below:

On yet another track we are packing the Bird Hunting Haus and plan to launch a bird hunting safari Monday or Tuesday depending of course on the current blizzard situation. We hope to start the operation in southwest Idaho, move it south into Nevada and then on to Arizona. Valley quail and chukar in Idaho and Nevada; desert quail in Arizona; although the AZ operation, given the grim reports filtering out Mearn's and scalie land, will most likely involve running down Gambel's. How long this will last depends, but we hope to poke around at least through January. If all else fails it sounds like New Mexico might be better well we could end up there? Anyway since internet connections will be sporadic at best so too will be our posts to this blog...But fear not updates are forthcoming but as I say sporadic.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Upland Bird Hunting: Season's Greetings

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Bird season is well along and as usual we've done most of our hunting on public and private lands enrolled in Montana's wonderful Block Management Program. And as usual a fair share of knockin' doors....the results of which have been as usual mixed--some good, some not so hot and some...well, nothing less than remarkable...Here are some out-takes from this season and seasons past on some of the more colorful events... 

You can hunt the river bottom above the house but not below. Apparently sensing our curiosity the rancher went on to explain. Ain't much up above the cows have got 'er grazed pretty thin but down below the pheasants is pretty thick and I wanna keep all I got. OK.

New Year's Eve, one more day left: tooling down a backcountry road outside Choteau as the sun is about to set on what has been a really tough day of wind, wild flushing birds, out of control dogs and impossible to run down landowners suddenly roosters everywhere--crossing the road, in the wheat stubble, in the ranch yard itself. No posters, a no brainer so...The nice lady answers the door says, Hello, can I help you then evidently noting my obvious bird hunter attire, adds..If it's hunting the answer is no. My husband and I feel the 15th (December, until a few years ago the traditional end of the Montana bird season) is long enough and so our season is ended. But if you want call us and set up a date for next season, no problem. Game Management. As you might expect we do indeed make the call  and not all that surprising the nice lady answers says, Sorry my husband and I think the bird numbers are way down this year and so...Well, thanks anyway.

Way out in the middle of nowhere are the Sweet Grass Hills, miles and miles of nothing much but, well, sweet grass and the occasional lonely ranch complex. Again looks good (no birds this time but lots of CRP better still no sign of other hunters ). So I knock and in due time the door opens, just a crack mind you and a not so friendly lady says, You wanna hunt go round to house out back my son's home I don't deal with hunters anymore...SLAM! At the house around back I hear obvious sounds of life but...knockin' loudly first on the front door, then the back, then the patio doors brings no response. OK lady your turn. Naturally she passes on the invite. Proving once again you don't ask you won't know only works if the askee cares to play.
Some landowners make it clear without asking partner you just ain't welcome:

Every other fence post splashed in FRESH orange paint usually equates to why bother? But not always so I tend to make it a project to be sure and test the waters anyway. OK mostly a waste of time but too much fun to pass up...sorry.

Others resort to clever signs to relay basically the same message:

South of Malta scrawled in ominous looking blood red paint, Go Ahead Hunt, But Watch the Damn Bull He's A Killer! One would think even the riffraff might have second thoughts, eh? A billboard outside Dillon in the Sweetwaters warns: No Tresspassing; No Hunting; No Fishing; No Hiking; No Peddlers; No Salemen; No Nothing; Don't ASK!!! C'mon man, you expect us true blue sports to ignore that one, no chance.

Speaking now really clever, the ranch gate over Waterloo way: the one with the six foot long pile of rocks with cowboy boots sticking up at the foot end and a wooden grave marker complete with worn cowboy hat tacked on at the head; the message loud and clear: Here Lies the Last Sonofabitch Left the Gate Open!

Among the most common posters are those read No Tresspassing, No Hunting Without Written Permission. OK but..Since at least 9 of 10 have no contact info (yes I know by design) lacking GPS and a plat book in your back pocket...OK you win.

Sorry I'd like to but I got the place leased...Really tugs at the ol' heart strings, eh? Sort a like, Ah shucks, I just told so and so to go ahead and the boss (pin the blame elsewhere, right?) only allows one party at a time, come back later maybe we can fit ya in.

Landowners with tales to tell of wrecked gates, cut fences, livestock shootings and other dastardly hunter deeds have every right to deny or grant access as they please; no excuses asked, none necessary. But some deeds it would seem the statute of limitations should have long since run out, to say nothing of those where the culprit was actually caught red-handed, yet continue to haunt generations mostly responsible orange clad hunters. No, we haven't let anybody hunt for 20 years or so, not since the sonsabitchin' poacher's truck burned up and our wheat field too. Fish and Game caught the bastard and fined him good, but that did it for us. Really, sorry for your loss but we live in Dil..Ah-h forget it.

Onward and upward.