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Saturday, July 18. 2015
Arizona summers can be brutal with their heat, July especially and this particular one in 1973 was really brutal! Temps in the hundred and twenties to twenty-five, not much wind and frequent, swirling, dust storms, the dust storms led to the chore of cleaning out our pool, too.
The Policeman pulled us both over, checked the Shroder’s papers, no racial profiling then, then came running back to our truck shouting, “Where’s the pistol, out of the truck?” We unloaded everyone and I showed him the unloaded, pistol, a Ruger Bearcat, quite expensive now, he took it and said, “This is illegal on the Reservation and I’m going to keep it!” Offering a barrage of reasons why he should just give us the gun back and send us on our way, he finally relented, but forcefully said, “I don’t ever want to see either of your families on this Reservation again!”
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, January 13. 2015
On this hunt, our dogs, Candy, Rooster and Ned Pepper, were locked down in three picture perfect points next to a big clump of buck brush. ”A funny place for a covey of Mearns quail to be,” Jake Schroder remarked. We walked into the dogs expecting the familiar “whirrrr” of a covey rising. No birds. The dogs broke their points and began to run around the brush, then, they started to bark. Brittany spaniels generally don’t bark when they’re hunting. “What’s going on, Jake?” “Beats me, Beech,” he replied as he began to walk around the brush. I began walking around the other side, and at the same time, we both exclaimed, “Javelina!”
In 1979, the Mearns season in Arizona ran the entire month of January so in the middle of the month Rooster and I arrived in Tucson for a three day, hunt. We were met by Jake and his dogs, Candy and Ned Pepper, and then set off for Mearns’ country, Patagonia, Arizona, twenty-five or thirty miles east of Nogales, right along the border. At that time, illegal immigrants weren’t the problem they are now!
Just after some very good shooting and dog work by Candy, Jake and Beechnut display a couple of handfuls of Mearns quail. Again, grass, oak trees, an incline and thrown in a lot of rocks and you have good Mearns country.By mid afternoon of the first day, Jake and I had reached the outer limits of our hunt and began a wide “swing” back toward our camp. We both had near limits of Mearns quail and needed one more covey to fill out. We were expecting that covey when the dogs pointed the javelina, or collard peccary. There was a special bow only, javelina season underway but we didn’t carry bows and arrows, only twenty gauge shotguns and .22 pistols, mine a magnum.
We could see the javelina, and sticking out of its right hip, with the point buried, was an arrow. “He must be hurt bad and can’t run,” I said and Jake replied, “Can you get a shot at his head or eyes and we can put out him out of his misery?” “Nope, the brush is too thick and I don’t have a clear sight,” then not thinking clearly, I said “ I can crawl into the brush pile, get close to him and then get a shot.” “Your funeral Beech,” Jake laughed.
“Hold the dogs Jake,” and into the buck brush I charged on hands and knees, two beady, black eyes watching me. “He must be hurt bad, not flushing out, with me this close to him,” I called out to Jake. No reply, he was probably laughing himself silly at this foolish, hundred and ninety pound, executive crawling on one hand and both knees, carrying a .22 magnum, pistol in the other hand, to “count coup” on the javelina.
Deep into the brush pile, I got within ten feet of the javelina, still on my hand and knees, raised the pistol to shoulder height, about two foot off of the ground, drew a bead between the javelina’s eyes and prepared to cock the hammer. And then, very quickly, the javelina jumped to its feet, looked me right in the eyes, clashed its tusks together, and charged! The animal was only about forty pounds, but in these close quarters, the clashing of his tusks together sounded like the symbols of a philharmonic orchestra!
Here he came, tusks clanging! My left hand was on the ground, my right holding and aiming the pistol. I took aim right between his eyes, and, Bam, the .22 spit out a forty grain, hollow point to the point of aim and the javelina started down and rolled onto my left hand, dead!
Breathing heavily, I got out of the brush pile real quick and said to Jake and the dogs, “Did all you all hear his tusks clash?” Quickly I developed post-shooting, buck fever. I could stand and breathe, but I was shaking like a leaf. His tusks could have messed me up in those close quarters! “Nice shot!” said Jake.
We found one more covey and both of us got our limits. That turned out to be my last hunt for Mearns quail.
On another hunting trip, one afternoon Jake and I jumped a black bear while we were quail hunting on the Mustang Ranch, east of Tombstone. We did not offer chase, or try to “count coup” on him and the dogs also showed no inclination to give chase.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, December 1. 2014
I still wonder why there was no “Road Closed” sign at the Bartlett Damn end of the road?
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 5. 2014
It could be said that the weather in the Phoenix area is always hot and bright. Even if it is cool, the sun is out most of the time and Jake Schorder and I, both of us being good ole' Texas boys, remembered plenty of rain and clouds, and would joke around with each other and say “Ho hum, another beautiful day in paradise.” One day, for me, paradise turned ugly!
In 1972, Bill Randall and I were both managers with a large computer company and both shared the same love for hunting. During the last portion of dove season, we left work early, sales calls you know, and I picked him up in my Bronco and off we went to a spot he had found north of Gilbert, Arizona.
It was a large grain field that had just been harvested. Arizona is strange. It is hot and dry, but if you can get water to a crop, it will grow, and, along its east side a large irrigation canal supplied the water to this field. We up and downed through the canal, thankfully it was dry, and scrambled out of the truck and began our hunt, paying no attention to a large thunderhead southeast of us.
Bill and I were the only ones in the field and were literally “covered up” in birds. We held off of the mourning doves and concentrated on the larger white wing doves. Nearing our limits of birds, we noticed that the thunderhead was moving towards us and causing a small sandstorm. No problem, when it gets close we’ll load up and go.
It got close real quick and the next thing we knew there was a wall of sand coming closer and closer, until it engulfed us. Hurrying to the truck, it started getting darker and by the time we closed the truck doors, it was like night had fallen 4 hours early. As the wind picked up, large drops of rain were smacking into the truck and Bill said, “Jon, we are in trouble. I bet this is a tornado and we got no place for shelter.” I said, “We could lay down in the canal and hope for the best.” And he replied, “Just drive the truck into it.”
We pulled over one of the berms and turned left into the canal and stopped, lightning popping all around, the wind and rain buffeting us and then we heard it. A train bearing down on us, but no tracks around here and we looked at each other and said, “Tornado!”
We could feel the force of the wind shaking us and trying to lift the truck up into the storm, but for some reason, we kept settling back down into the canal. In the darkness, terrifying minutes passed until the big wind and the roaring passed. It remained cloudy, the sky brightening, the wind dropping to an estimated 50 MPH, and the big drops of rain being replaced by a normal shower, and soon, the big storm was breaking up before it ever reached a populated area.
No mention of the tornado on the 10:00 PM news, so I guess Bill and I were the only witnesses. Also, the Chamber of Commerce thinks it is bad for tourism if there is talk of tornadoes in Arizona.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 1. 2014
The large computer company that I worked for had promoted me to their division headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia and, before that, had sent me to Endicott, New York for further “training”. While in Endicott I had become violently ill with some type of flu, was in bed for 3 days and finally flew back to Phoenix, although I barely remember the flight back.
Back in Phoenix with time on my hands, while my family was visiting in Houston, it dawned on me that dove season will still on. There was one spot, a stock tank just off the intersection of 7th Street and Deer Valley Rd. that we’d never hunted before. Back then in the mid 70’s this was still cattle country and cows need water, hence the stock tank. So I decided quickly that I’d just go out there and try my luck on the mourning dove.
Feeling much better, that afternoon, after the short drive from my house, I arrived at the spot, parked my truck under a big ironwood tree, climbed through the barbwire fence that kept the cows inside and walked the short distance to the stock tank. There were no posted signs, so hunters could use it, since most of the land in Arizona, at that time, was Government land.
At the tank, about a quarter of an acre, I picked a dappled, shady spot under a mesquite, squatted down on my haunches and waited for, I hoped, a good flight of dove. My wait wasn’t long as, from my left, 2 mourners zipped past me, made a circle and landed for a drink. Stepping out of the shadows, the dove sprang up, stretching for altitude, but my 20, gauge pump, barked twice and they crumpled, this was just like shooting doubles at trap!
As the dove came piling in, this was one of those days, I’d used only 11 shots and had bagged 9 birds, one away from my limit. The last dove came loafing by over the tank and my shot dropped it right into the water, using cow chips and sticks, I “chunked” it toward the bank where I waded out and retrieved it. A limit shooting in just a little over an hour and 10 dove with 12 shots!
This was a good spot and I’d have to come back and bring the family, then I remembered that all of us had to be in Atlanta next week, so no coming back to this spot, but I’ll always remember the easy shoot there.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, September 8. 2014
Thinking back, one of the best places that I ever hunted doves was on the St. John’s Indian Reservation, south of Phoenix. In the early 70’s an individual hunting permit was a whopping $5.00 and $10.00 for a family. This allowed the hunters access to some great hunting.
The doves were feeding in a large grain field and then flying into a watering/roosting area in very thick brush. The afternoon sun was to our right and the birds flew south to north, coming out of the field and heading right over us. We usually arrived around 3:30 PM and positioned ourselves in the brush along a fence line and within two hours would generally have our limits.
Incoming, or head on, shots are easy. Track below the bird, cover it with the muzzle, fire and follow through. The bird flies right in to the shot string yielding a clean kill and falls near the shooter. This meant a lot on a hot, Arizona day!
This particular afternoon’s flight was pouring over us, heated barrels banging away, doves falling and the birds kept coming. Here came an easy head on for me, I tracked and fired, puff, a clean hit and the bird rocketed straight for my chest. Holding out my hand, I was going to be real cool and catch this one. But, at the last moment, the dove gained a little lift rising over my outstretched hand and smacked me right between the eyes!
The force of four ounces traveling at, I guessed, 35 MPH, applied right between my eyes, knocked me down. I got up and through my broken shooting glasses, my blood and the dove’s blood, I saw the bird had a broken neck.
The dove got his revenge, but $100.00 later for a new pair of shooting glasses, I was not to be deterred, and soon, the next free afternoon found me back at my favorite spot banging away.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 01:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, July 5. 2014
I understand that Phoenix, Arizona was hit by a sandstorm on July 3rd of this year. The following recounts another sandstorm that hit Phoenix in 1971, that hit my newly moved into home there.
At first, moving to Arizona in mid-January, 1971 was a challenging experience, but as we became acclimated, the entire family thoroughly enjoyed the State and its many outdoor activities. Along with our acre lot and diving pool, our house, a four bed room, Spanish colonial period style, with stucco walls and a courtyard, was very comfortable. During mid spring of that year, the family had survived a tornado that had hit our mountain, Mummy Mountain and bounced over our house, tearing into northern Scottsdale and yes, it did sound like a freight train.
Come June 1, into the pool we went. The water was still cool, but wow, our own pool! On a pleasant summer afternoon, only 110 degrees, we were enjoying the water when we noticed, moving rather fast to our southeast, a funny looking cloud and before we knew it the funny looking cloud was within two miles of us, rolling in our direction. So like the flatlanders we were, we kept on swimming and playing and soon it was a block away when we figured out that the cloud was made of sand.
It was a sand storm with epic proportions and it blew over us for the next 15 minutes! No one was hurt, but everything, including us watchers, was a mess and liberally doused with a covering of fine sand. The sand seeped into our house, our cars, and our beautiful pool had almost an inch of sand on the bottom.
If you are a beginner in pool maintenance, try cleaning sand out. After this storm we hired a professional and in their local and national advertising, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce never mentions tornadoes or sand storms.
When I was a little boy, my mother told me a story about her childhood in west Texas, about it raining during a sandstorm. She said it rained mud and that the mud was much harder to remove than dust!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Weather at 12:38 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, June 25. 2014
The car was found undamaged the next week, but nothing else was ever recovered. The police told me that my guns went to Mexico and that someone in Arizona (probably) got a real good Sony TV!
My insurance settlement, received in early fall, was quite generous and I headed to Oshman’s in Scottsdale to restock my weapons. Having become interested in trap shooting, my first purchase was a Remington 870, twelve gauge, with a trap barrel and ventilated rib. This shotgun served me very well over the five years that I shot competitive trap and it was also a deadly weapon on ducks and geese! But, if I had been real smart I would have invested in a Perotzzi trap gun! Laughingly, I say that, but I was never a good shot with a trap gun. The stocks high comb, and me being blessed with a short neck and arms, precluded me from getting my head satisfactorily down on the stock. A simple lengthening of my 870’s stock was all it took to give me the correct sight picture for trap shooting.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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