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Thursday, February 21. 2013
Toward the end of quail season, Rob Haney called saying that he had a free Saturday and it looked like the expected, big â€œnortherâ€ wouldnâ€™t hit his area until Sunday night. We, the we being myself and Sonny, my Brittany Spaniel, hurried up to Robâ€™s ranch, only a 6 hour drive in my Companyâ€™s Suburban, arriving just as night fell, for a go at the quail the next day.
Low clouds greeted us Saturday morning along with a medium, south wind that offered us wonderful scenting conditions. Sonny found the quail and we scored heavily during the day. As shooting time ended, our limits stuffed in our game bags, we decided on something different for our evening meal.
Instead of our usual steak cooked over mesquite logs on Robâ€™s â€œold timeyâ€, fired brick, bar-b-que pit, we grilled 8 quail halves. They were spiced up with a half of a jalapeno pepper, then wrapped with a piece of bacon and grilled until the bacon was done. We added a baked potato, along with chopped, green, Ortega, chilies and onions and we had a feast!
Up early on Sunday, Rick went to church, and Sonny and I headed out for a quick repeat at the quail. Parking the Suburban along the main ranch road, we were greeted by more low clouds and a steady, light northwest wind. Uh-oh, it looked like the â€œnortherâ€ had arrived early, beating the forecast by a good 8 hours!
An hour later, we were hunting into a strong northwest wind with large flakes of snow blowing all around us. Sonny, mostly white, with a few reddish brown spots, was getting hard to see as he worked 50 yards to the front.
We bumped into 2 coveys, I knocked down 4 birds, but the balance of both bevys just melted away into the falling snow. We soldiered on for the next hour, fighting the wind, snow and poor visibility, until we were â€œwhited outâ€. No Sonny out in front, one mesquite tree, out of the thousands on the ranch, close by, nothing but white, up, down and around me! Stopping in my tracks, I whistled for Sonny to come in, sat down in the snow and surveyed my situation.
As I debated my options, Sonny and I huddled together in the snow for nearly 10 minutes,. Those minutes of debate and indecision, along with never having, or dreaming, that I would be caught in a situation like this, caused my psyche to race from panic, to fear, until logical thought took over. Then I used my head for something other than a hat rack, and figured out what to do.
No compass, of course, since I was ONLY hunting on Rickâ€™s 2,000 acre, ranch. I knew northwest was to the front, since we had been hunting into the wind. I knew the ranch road, where I had left the Suburban, was behind me. So, I decided to try to walk back to the truck. Even if I missed the truck, I could stay on the ranch road until I got back to the main ranch house.
Always carrying a check cord for the dog, I snapped it on to his collar, he heeled along with me, and keeping the wind to my back, carefully walked the mile back to the ranch road, guessing correctly, turning right and. it turned out, that I was within 200, yards of the truck. Of course, it was white too! Before heading back to Houston, I waited for over an hour for the snowstorm to break, then for the next 8 hours (normally an easy 6 hour drive) slowly drove home.
All of my life I have tried to beat nature and weather forecasts, and, one more time, I lost!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 11:53 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, April 11. 2012
After shooting the turkey, Mickey and I decided, even though it was after 4:30 PM, that weâ€™d go to another feeder and try for a javelina. We went back to the ranch house, picked up his .204, rifle, stuck the turkey into the fridge, drove back to the new spot and hurriedly built us a spacious ground blind.
Not long after completion, out walked a gobbler displaying his fan, not strutting, just showing off.
The first gobbler was still walking around showing off his fan, shortly he was joined by another gobbler, this one more wary.
The second bird, more wary, barely nibbled at the corn and protein, then walked toward our ground blind. Mickey, softly calling with a box call, had this oneâ€™s interest and as the big bird moved close to us, I snapped this picture.
Hereâ€™s a picture of an unusual bird, a bearded hen, only 10 to 20% of hens will have beards, and yes, they can lay eggs and raise poults.
We stayed around until dark seeing lots of turkeys, gobblers and hens, but no javelinas even though we were sure weâ€™d see some. Up before the sun on Friday morning and back to the spacious ground blind. We could hear the gobblers coming down from the roost, gobble, gobble, gobble and knew they would head our way, but first up was this young doe. She spent several minutes trying to figure out who, and what, we were.
Finally the doe eased off, then the turkeys showed up. This picture shows a gobbler and a hen feeding, while another gobbler stands guard.
We came home, back to Goldthwaite, Friday afternoon celebrating a real good turkey hunt and some real good pictures!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 09:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 8. 2012
This past Thursday, Mickey Donahoo and I drove out to his hunting lease 35 miles south of Sonora, Texas and as soon as we got there, we ate a sandwich, unloaded our gear, changed into our camo and headed out for a go at a turkey, all of this by 12:30 PM! We used a ground blind that Mickey had made the week before, the turkey hunting season opened a week before ours, north zone, south zone you see, then we set up our decoy, got into the blind and proceeded to wait for some action.
The blind was under a cedar tree, it was almost hot except when a breeze came through, it was hard to keep our eyes open, we each nodded several times, but about 1:00 PM a hen showed up, just nibbling along, walking toward the decoy. She passed up the water trough shown in the picture and came on toward the decoy.
Another hour, nothing, this blind, made for Doris, Mickeyâ€™s wife, her being all of 4 foot 11, at the most, was really uncomfortable to me, no way to stretch my legs out and yesterday I had gotten a shot in each knee, really uncomfortable! Around 4:00 PM, 2 gobblers came up to get water, since they were both shooters, no pictures. Right away I hefted my shotgun to my shoulder, ready for a shot, but the 2 big birds were more interested in getting a drink. It seemed like an hour, my shotgun ready, then I started getting the shakes, never having had them before shooting, the more I held the gun, the more my heart started beating, faster, faster, I thought I would hyperventilate, finally the one with the best beard separated from the other. Boom and down the gobbler went!
The picture shows me with the Rio Grande gobbler, my shotgun and a big smile. Right after this picture, we went back to the camp, got my rifle and headed out to the blind where I shot the javalina in January, see my post â€œThe Shortest Huntâ€ on January 17, 2012. At this spot, we had the opportunity to take some great pictures that Iâ€™ll post on April 11th.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, January 17. 2012
Arrival at the blind was anticlimactic, especially looking at the crude structure pictured, it was near falling down, in fact I told Mickey, â€œI donâ€™t think the blindâ€™s floor would hold the both of us, 200 pounders!â€ We took along an old tarp for a little head covering, draped it over the blind and awaited the â€œhoped forâ€ javelina. The feeder went off and during its process, out walked a javelina, a good sized one that we weighed later at 45 pounds and I shot it, possibly the shortest javelina hunt on record! We took these pictures and a close up of the animalâ€™s tusks.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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