Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Reprieve...the Last Good Duck Hunt

A Plea

Someone go kill something please
Besides language, hope.

Friday, January 25, 2008

witnessed in a lecture

The following lines were penned by a known haiku artist during a scintillating lecture yesterday at the College of Knowledge Up on the Hill:
stuck in seminar
writing haiku just for fun
please don't fall asleep
The author of the haiku shall remain anonymous.

lil' Jimmy T paying close attention to the speaker
(third row foreground left, in blue academic regalia)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Land of opportunities

January is here, my favorite time to chase Mr. Grouse along ridge tops. Cody and I have spent a few mornings and afternoons tromping through familiar coverts, Broken Rib, Search and Seizure, and have covered a lot of new ground. Birds we have found. Opportunities we have had. Passive voice befits me.

I am officially in a shooting slump. I have missed easy rising shots, straight away shots, even a grouse on a limb (!>??!). Sheer impotence has befallen me. I suppose it is all payback for infidelity to my Pennsylvania coverts. Ah, those magical moments at Black Lake where I responded to my partners gentle gasps, "help me, help me, help me....," with an ecstatic explosion of feathers. Even when the first load missed its mark, a premature eruption, a second yank on the rear trigger impregnated gallinaceous hen with lead. Oh those large white Bonasa breasts, firm and succulent. Oh, how long these January nights can be…

The End?

The old doggy waits.
Last day, with gunners gone,
For just one more fall.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Breaking news- Hevi-Shot developments

The good news is, a new option emerges for those of us shooting older fixed choke guns. Hurray!!

The bad news is, it seems Hevi Shot has been watering down the "Hevi" part of their offering...see this "Hevi Shot sucks" discussion.

Thought ya'll'd like to know.

Back to your regularly scheduled grousing.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

crestfallen cheeseheads
Google Scholar "Rich is sad" -
Packer gear dirt cheap

Friday, January 18, 2008

Little Carnivores

This past year I posted to this blog about as much as I got out hunting. Which wasn't much. Sadly, my grouse dog of 10 years hunted birds just one day. That one woodcock didn't go too far at dinner! A little better was the duck hunting -- two mornings -- so Spy got a few swims in, and we had a few meals of duck.

The deer hunting was hard. Hunted a few days in Maine, probably out 6 or 7 times. Came so close to lining up on a buck, but it wasn't to be. After he snorted at me and was walking away, I pulled out a Primos doe bleat can and called him over. But he was just a little too nervous, and came to his senses about a nanosecond after an ear and antler came in sight... and he was gone. I even borrowed a black powder gun, bought a tag and tried that for a couple long days of steep snowshoing. That was fun, but did not see a deer, although sign was abundant.

I was able to get down to my folks' in CT twice during the fall. Usually it's deerville, but I did not even see a deer in 3 days during November and another two after xmas, which is unheard of. On the afternoon of the 6th day, a couple days after xmas, I settled down in a tree stand at the edge of the woods, overlooking an apple orchard (which had a liberal supply of apples still on the trees and more underneath). There was a pretty good covering of snow, and the temperature was comfortable in the upper 30s, west breeze. I had read maybe a couple articles in the Northwoods Sporting Journal when they appeared like a mirage. It was like the good old days -- deer were walking up out of the oak woods (and what an acorn year!) to the orchard. I counted one, two, three. Looked like a doe and two fawns. The fawns came first, and I let them pass at 70 yards up into the orchard. The doe stopped under a greening tree, facing me at 60 yards, head up. I placed a bullet high in her neck, reloading as the fawns jumped at the shot. They milled around a little, trying to sort things out. When one of them stepped clear of a tree limb, I threaded a bullet to his neck as well (I like the high neck shot, as the deer drop like a stone and the clean carcass makes the butcher very happy). That filled my tags, so I just watched the orpan. Finally it trotted down into the woods. A couple bleats from Primos, however, turned it around and it trotted to me, calling, right under my tree and up toward the orchard again looking for company.

There was much rejoicing that afternoon. Finally, after having to say No everytime Nolan would great me at the door with "Daddy, did you shoot a deer?", I was able to tell him yes. He told me several times over the next few days how happy he was that I shot 2 deer. When I was cutting up a carcass up on the kitchen table one day he walked in, asked what it was, and said "that looks like good meat". Little carnivores say the darnedest things.

The last day in CT I brought Nolan out for a short walk to look for bunnies. Sure enough we saw one sitting near its burrow. A crack of the .22 reduced it to possession, and again there was much rejoicing. So, what the hunting this past year lacked in quantity was made up for with a few precious memories and good meat.

And what kind of post would this be if no recipe were offered?
A favorite deer or moose dish at the Path Walker camp is "barbequed" ribs. We like to have a good rib feed right away, as the bones otherwise take up a bit of space in the freezer.
Trim up the ribs, cut to sizes that fit in your crockpot or stew pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil or nearly so, then let them simmer til the meat wants to fall off. Cool so the fat will solidify on top (especially important w/ deer). Then pick the meat, put in a casserole or baking dish, mix with Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce flavor of your choice. Pop it in the oven at about 375 until it gets a little crusty on top. Serve over your favorite type of rice with a nice lager along side. Ribs of a fawn are probably good for one meal, an adult deer maybe two meals (if there are any leftovers you'll probably have to fight for them, or hide them).

Good luck in 08.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Friends and Fast Times

Well as you all know another waterfowl season has come and gone. This one seemed to go by awfully quickly, probably due to the Feds ridiculous decision not to open it back up right after Christmas as usual, and instead skip 3 days making it senseless to take the week off from work. Anyways there were some good hunts to be had. As you can see from this picture the hunting on the weekend of the 5th found us in some snow with good birds despite the real cold weather that proceeded the weekend. Good sized birds that I wish I could say Sheeba retrieved but alas she was only interested in the photo opportunity. This next picture is of a hunt we had on the last day of the season. Only 7 days had passed but so did the snow. This had happened an awful lot this year, that is one day snow next day 50 degrees out. This hunt was followed up by an evening spent at the lake grilling up Duck and Fresh Goose at the BBQ pit at Double Black. While the cooking was going on another Goose was added to the pile. A few cans of beverage met their demise as well along with a bottle of harder substance that will remain nameless as will the name of the slob that finished the bottle off. Thanks Keith for opening your property to those that enjoyed a hunt there, if only to watch the daily changes on the lake. I would also thank all of my friends that made another hunting season special. Maybe next year I'll get to see Tantillo again. Till then be good and be safe, as for me, it's off to the north country for a bit of the hard water fishing,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday, January 06, 2008


It's about the memories...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Awe Shucks

Epic hunt awaits
Government scientist moans
Frickin' Paperwork

If ya ain't here, ya outta be...

January 2, 2008 Limits at Double Black, Cayuga Lake

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Day Has Dawned... Happy New Year!!

I feel bad about posting "over" Pete on the same day, but this is breaking news and it can't wait.

This morning's hunt was less than inspiring, although very nice in terms of camaraderie... A New Year's day goose hunt in the Hoster field with Ernie, Mike O, Brent, David T., Eric and myself. The geese had other places on their mind, and the weather did not cooperate in the least. We had only two shootable flocks enter the kill zone; one of which lost four of its members, the other of which received an inexplicable "pass" from "team left." "Team right" remains perplexed, though so soaked as to feign total indifference. But I digress...

This being New Year's Day, I wanted to get Brant out for his first hunt. Most of the esteemed Grousers have met Sir Brantley, but in case you have not yet had this privilege, Brant is a pure bred Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He is 8 months old, weighs 70 plus pounds, and is as sweet as can be. He is also a classic Chessie in terms of courage and calmness.

The Moorehouse ponds were huntable and Eric was game for an afternoon hunt. We arrived at the ponds at 3:30pm, and made our way to a central pond, known to have some open water and a food source. We walked quietly in, and spooked up a loafing black duck, which Eric tried valiantly to reduce to possession, but it was not meant to be. However, at the shot, more than fifty birds took to the air from nearby ponds. We hastily set the MoJo in place and melted into the tall grasses on the bank. I left my gun cased to handle Brant, but worked my duck call.

Moments passed and the ducks circled. A single gadwall seemed interested in the call and motion below and presently dropped out of the flock, careening by Eric presenting a tough right to left...he wisely passed on the shot, and with a soft come back call, the bird banked and approached from the left into the wind, a slower target. He shot and connected, while I held Brant. I told Brant to "mark." I saw him track the bird through the point of impact, and watch the bird fall from the sky onto some ice at the end of the pond. I sent him, full of hope and trepidation and all the fatherly worries of performance anxiety. He went straight to the bird, but hesitated at the ice. I went out with him and encouraged him by breaking some ice, and he made his first retrieve. I was ecstatic, and he was even more joy-filled, proudly parading his prize.

Within minutes another flock of gadwall materialized, and they too came down to inspect the noisy hen and flapping drake in the pond. The ambush was again successful and Eric skillfully dropped this bird in almost exactly the same place as the last. I talked Brant through the same paces, and sent him. He entered the water more boldly and more stylishly, clearly having "advanced" a great deal in just one successful retrieve. He took his line and swam aggressively toward the iced bird, fearlessly breaking through the ice this time where the last time he was more cautious. He plucked the bird from the ice, turned and brought it straight back to me. Perfect!! I was beside myself.

We spent the next hour chatting, awaiting a final flight of ducks before the end of shooting time at 4:45 pm. Brant behaved well and impressed me with his willingness to sit and hang out while nothing was happening, reminding me of the patience of Fiona. I looked down at my watch, but a flash caught my eye and looking up I saw a mallard parachuting into our pond over Eric's left shoulder. I alerted him... "Eric, bird, left, take him!" He did, and retrieve number three commenced, another relatively simple but textbook retrieve. "Icing" on the cake.

The hunt was a smashing success, and a fitting way for me to ring in the New Year. I very much appreciate Eric's willingness to participate, and look forward to following Brant's budding career. Happy New Year!

Steelhead Conversion

Happy New Year grousers! I had a minor conversion last Sunday. That's right, I went fishing on Elk Creek, a tributary of Lake Erie that is loaded with steelhead. The water was perfect, and the spawning fish were everywhere. I really enjoyed being able to see the two to three foot fish in the narrow confines of the creek. Sight fishing, if that is what it is called, is a lot like hunting. In the words of my son, "My likes it." I'm convinced that I would have been better off with a fly rod than my spinning combination, but I can't deny being handicapped by my own limited skills. I lost quite a few fish and managed to land my one trophy in the waning minutes of the day: a beautiful 25" male who has been reduced to two fat filets, curing in sea salt, sugar, pepper and coriander seed. He'll be absorbing applewood smoke in a few hours, when I return from chasing grouse in last night's fresh snow. What a great way to start the new year. May your new year be filled with all that brings meaning to this world: family, career, hunting, fishing and gravlox (append or rearrange this list to fit your own aspirations)!

PS, I clipped the picture off of a random internet site (alas I had no camera on Sunday), but the fish and background aren't far from what I experienced.