Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sporting Clays are..Well...Sporting!

Dylan is home for thanksgiving (thank you lord!) so we decided to go out to the St. Louis Skeet and Trap Club and shoot some sporting clays today. Lots of fun. Dylan had never done it before and wanted to shoot some. I let him take my old High Standard 12 gauge pump back to Mizzou to use. I got that gun for christmas when I was 13 and took good care of it so it looks almost new.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday Walk About.

I took Friday off this week and decided to take Bama out to see if we could find some quail. Birds or not it was a really nice day to outside walking in the woods. I thought about duck hunting but my heart just wasn't into getting up really early and hauling all the stuff out to a marsh in the dark and setting up. So I slept for another couple hours and headed out about 8:00. I didn't take many pics as you can see.

Pretty spot but no quail.

Bama doing his impression of a duck decoy.

I had an idea for a T-shirt design so I knocked it out on my iPhone.
Yeah I wasn't exactly hunting hard today.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cold Front Moving In; Will The Ducks Come With It?

Cool rainy weather is moving in this evening and ducks are predicted to be moving out ahead of it. I have plenty of PTO time left maybe I'll take an impromptu day off tomorrow. Now where should I go?

I scouted a few places about a month ago and saw geese at one of the places last weekend while Bama and I were quail hunting. That place is about an hour and a half away. The other place is closer and looks really good but I didn't see ducks there when I was scouting. The pictures below are of the second and closer place. It's an old sand dredging operation off the Meramec River about a half hour from home. Hmmmm.

This is an arial view of the strip pits. As you can see it's a series of long ponds surrounded by trees and nearby are a number of farm fields that were planted in corn this year. The Meramec River runs from the North to the Southeast on the eastern side of the property.

Good vegetation in this place for the ducks. Should be a good spot.

LIke I said this is an old sand dredging area and that's a barge with trees growing out of it!

Another strip lake just over the hill from the barge. Again it looks like it would hold ducks.

Oh and it also holds a number of beavers. That must be a big beaver because thats a pretty big tree and the cut starts about two feet off the ground.

Another pond in the area.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Yes It's Been A While.

Sorry for the lack of posting. I could spend time giving you all my excuses but frankly I've probably just been lazy. Yep that's it lazy. Sometimes that's an enjoyable thing. Well on to my adventures....

It's been a little over a week since I got back from North Dakota where my friend Mark and I hunted with our friends from Delta Waterfowl. Really great group of people and organization dedicated to waterfowl habitat conservation and stewardship as well as supporting the tradition of waterfowl hunting for generations to come.

Mark and I donate our time and what skills we posses doing Delta's print and online advertising. We also design posters, logos, and whatever else they need for their fund raising and membership events.
It's our way of giving back and frankly it's a lot of fun doing the work. Delta wanted to repay us by inviting us up to Bismark, North Dakota to their headquarters for three days of waterfowl and pheasant hunting. Twist my arm fellas!

John Deveny acted as our guide for three days and wanted to give us three different styles of hunting.
Deep water for diving ducks like canvasbacks, redheads, buffleheads and blue bills. Shallow marsh for mallards, teal, gadwalls etc... and the occassional specks (goose) which are a goose variety rarely seen in Missouri. Our third day was a field hunt in layout blinds for ducks and geese. The first two days we also hunted pheasants in the afternoon. Lots and lots of fun and I enjoyed every minute of it! I guess my favorite was the marsh hunt. We saw an incredible amount of waterfowl and I got my limit on ducks and shot a speckled goose and a ross as well. Over the three days I shot mallards, teal, pintails, gadwall and bluebills as well as specks, lesser snow, canadian and ross geese.

Our pheasant hunts were fun as well but we didn't bag as many of those as I might have expected. The expiring CRP programs are really starting to take there effect on upland habitat. Places that John said he usually saw incredible amounts of roosters were plowed and planted. Join Pheasants Forever and other organizations that push for these programs if you want to see this type of hunting continue for future generations and frankly for those of us hunting now.  Ok enough soap box talk on to the pictures!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Number Two For Dove Season

I was able to take Friday off this week so Bama and I headed over to Illinois for some more dove hunting. The weather has turned cool which is nice and didn't seem to be cool enough to push the birds out of the area. Bama as always had a good time and certainly keeps me from losing as many downed birds as when I go by myself. Plus he's a good listener and seems to agree with pretty much everything I say :-)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Oh Yeah, My Dove Tree.

I made a portable dove tree out of found objects in my garage and basement. As the season grew closer it gave me a little distraction and something else to do to get ready. I took two old bamboo tiki torches and cut the torch parts off. Then I had an old tent pole piece that was two parts with a swivel in the middle. One part slides down into the the bottom pole and then stops where the cross tent pole piece swivels. Then I slide the top tiki torch pole down and it stops there. I drilled a hole mid-way up the top pole and a slid a rigid 1/2 inch a tomato stake through that. Then wrapped the pieces in camo tape. Stuck some decoys on the cross limbs and a mojo on top. Happy days! It worked like a charm this morning. I even had a couple of doves hover in front of it like humming birds. Big mistake on their part! Oh and I put a siren on it for added attraction! Kidding, it's just a firetruck going by in the background.

A Happy Opener After All.

Sometimes things go your way when you least expect it. Before going to bed last night I checked the weather forecast one last time. The weather man predicted rain all day particularly during the morning hours and continuing rain Sunday and possibly Monday too. Oh well, maybe Sunday afternoon or Monday the weather will cooperate and I can get a little dove hunting in before heading back to work.

I went ahead and got my gear together and laid out some hunting clothes just in case. Well I'm not sure I should be happy to report that I have a lousy weather man but in this case it worked in my favor. For once. I rolled out of bed at 5:15 walked downstairs and looked out the front door to see if the newspaper was here yet. Yep there's the paper. I'll let Bama out to fetch it up... but wait, something was missing. Hey it's dry rain! Woo hoo! I check my computer real quick and on the weather radar there's a big break in the clouds right where my hunting property sits. Much scrambling, gathering, and coffee drinking ensued. By 7:30 I'm sitting on a dove bucket, decoys and mojo's set and sporting a big smile on my face. Life is indeed good.

All in all a good morning. I got a dozen birds and lost several in a thicket (Bama was a casualty of the need to move quickly this morning and didn't go with me) that Bama would have found easily so I could have limited out but that's not important. I got to hunt on opening day. That my friends makes
me happy.

Here is the radar image for this mornings forecast. My hunting spot is just a little to the right of the red pin marker. As you can see pretty socked in with rain predicted for this morning.

Sorry for the bad photo here but what you're looking at is a stand of sunflowers which runs for about 125 yards. To the left of the sunflowers on the ground is one of my Mojo decoys and on the right side of the flowers is my dove tree with a mojo on top and four decoys perched on the limbs. The picture is a little deceiving in that it's only about 20 yards from my position but looks much further than that. 

About half way through my first box of shells.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This could be the year of the 16 gauge.

Why a 16 gauge? Let me expound.

A man who identifies himself as a 16 gauge shooter is instantly elevated in "coolness" in any firearms circle. It immediately signifies one as being of good taste and judgement. If the shooter's firearm happens to be a fine English or high grade American double bearing an exceptional piece of Turkish walnut and wearing the evidence of much use but great care, he will be spoken of in reverential tones. The only shooters who could hope to rival him are those who shoot fine doubles in short 10, 28 and 2 1/2" 12 bore.

You will be found to be more interesting anywhere hunters and shooters gather. New shooters will instantly recognize you as the final word in all things shotgun. Women respond to men of good taste and refinement and will find you more attractive. Dogs are astute judges of character and will hunt better for you. In fact your best friend's dog may hunt better for you than him with his synthetic stocked jamamatic. Being a 16 gauge shooter, you are also gracious enough to hunt with him despite his lack of taste and character. You will essentially be the shooting fraternity's version of the world's most interesting man.

All kidding aside I bought one. I'm excited. Pictures below.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fire In The Hole!

Although this post isn't about hunting or fishing or even preparation for either, it does qualify as an adventure. With that said I decided what we were missing in our backyard was a fire pit and in my typical fashion it's taken me about two years to decide where, what and how. Saturday June 16 was D-Day! As you can see from the pictures below we still have a ways to go but much progress was made. Kelan and Dylan were a big help digging and moving cobble stones. The wall I'll build on either side of the pit will be from cobble stones I had in another part of the yard. Moving those stones was back breaking work.

Bella helping me decide where to put the pit. Pit bull, fire pit. Get it?
Yeah well anyway you have to find your humor where you can.

I'm linking the bed at the end with a new one and lining it with cobble stones
but first we have to dig it out and make it level.

After the digging and the picture taken from the opposite direction.

Fire pit hole and gravel base. 

Assembling fire pit. First run of stones and then steel insert.

Finished fire pit assembly and beginning of stone wall.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Little Small Water Fly Fishing

It was a nice evening for a little fly fishing on a nearby creek. Dylan and I decided to grab the rods about 5:00 and try our luck for a couple of hours. I'm glad we did. Lots of small rock bass, bream and largemouth to be had on small white or yellow poppers (Sneaky Pete).

The red shirt in the middle of the photo is Dylan trying to find a place to cross.

Nice little Rock Bass or around here some people call them  a Goggle Eye.

The water is pretty low but served to bunch up the fish in these little pools.

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You have to admire the can-do attitude of this little guy. 

Bottom one looked an awful lot like a small mouth bass. Maybe some kind of hybrid.

Sweet Little Sixteen

It's June which means not too much longer before bird season starts. September kicks it all off with the opening of dove season. So what better way to spend my time (other than fishing) than looking at shotguns I'd like to own. I've been eye-balling a number of sixteen gauge beauties the last year or so and would love to have one by the time quail and pheasant season opens the end of October. My current favorite is an Arrieta Special No. 2 in 16 gauge. Arrieta is a Spanish maufacturer that's been making fine shotguns for over a hundred years. The gun I'm looking has a straight hand/ splinter stock with a 15 1/8" lop and 1 7/8" dah. 28 inch barrels and weighs in at 6lbs 6oz.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

And...I'm Back!

So the outdoor adventures have been a little lacking the past few months and I've been more than a little lax in posting new entries. So here we go....

This past week the family and I rented a house at The Lake Of The Ozarks and when I say family I mean E V E R Y O N E.
Everyone is the four of us plus our two dogs. The weather was great, low 80's in the afternoon and 60's at night. We swam (mostly the dogs), fished, kayaked, golfed, and ate like we were on death row. A great time was had by all. Bama swam and swam some more. We weren't sure how Bella would take to water but she's very competitive so she sure wasn't going to let Bama have all the fun. The fishing was pretty good. I caught about 12 or so nice fish over the 3 1/2 days and plenty of smaller ones. I really didn't fish that much when I think about it, there was just so much else to do and this was after all a family vacation not a fishing trip.

View of the lake from our dock. We were in the back of the cove which was really nice.

Kelan and Dylan coming in from fishing.

Kelan and Bama chillin' waiting for Dylan to throw a tennis ball.

Bella being cool but actually totally wiped out from swimming all morning.

Couple of nice healthy fish caught on top water.

Another nice L.O.T.O. bass.

Dylan taking us back into our cove.

This is how we spent a lot of our time. Fun.