Gonna Be a Loonngg Season.............
Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:07 PM
As if that wasn't bad enough, we enter into the last week before bird season and the truck is running worse by the day. Can't be fuel, just put in a new pump and filter. Must be spark. Pull all the plugs only to find the 6th wire is not "snapping" onto the plug. I give it a little more crimp with the pliers, it holds, but pulls the wire apart as I remove the plug . Totally corroded, and only 2 years old to boot. Great! 8pm and I need new $60 plug wires . Finally get it all put together, open the door to start it and 0 power to anything. It seems somebody arced out a main 175amp fuse supply wire while trying to move it to get to a plug. Where do you get that at 10pm? You don't. You bypass the fuse, bolt the two wires together, then wrap it in heater core hose and zip ties to keep it from grounding. But at least it runs great and we're ready to go Saturday Morning ..........well ....... almost. Friday afternoon as we get our checks the boss gives me mine last and starts to say something. I tell him not to worry, I know, we are 95% done with a project only I have been doing and are running into problems. And since over 25% is being made up as we go, I will see you for 6 hours tomorrow . So much for starting a new job and being just another worker.
Sooooo, we finally make it out LATE Saturday night only to be greeted by cold winds and scattered birds. Not long after we start our hunting we run onto an older gentleman who I start talking with. He proceeds to tell us how the "usual crew" didn't do all that well and that there weren't many people back here this year. And only two guys that rolled in this morning did any good hunting with them. Even though they all walked the field together, all the birds tended to jump in front of one and he never misses! I said :Oh, so you know my brother and his friend?". To which his whole demeanor and voice changed. "I didn't know you were one of the Jones clan. There are a few coveys over across the way there and a bunch of stragglers and singles in this field. Nothing bad meant about your brother, we just have like 6 birds between all of us and he limited by noon. Happy hunting guys". My buddy just shook his head and wondered why this old man acted like we created this whole valley. I told him that when you have twice as many generations hunting this valley as he has decades hunting it, you basically have, and get treat respectfully for keeping it this way. It sure was a great feeling.
Shortly after that my buddy and his eventual stepson both nailed a few and the nephew got a nice cottontail on the way back to fetching the truck and we called it a night.
We awake Sunday morning to a near flat left rear tire, which is kind of surprising since it only has two plugs in it and not three or four like all the others. Once that is taken care of we head back out into the wind and try it again. My buddy got the name Elmer Fudd for the day. He was a rabbit killing machine. Just wish he did the same on the birds. I ended up with a solo in the morning and not much else. During the middle of the day I ran into another of "the crew" (this one's friend is the one who shot my dad several years ago when we had to leave to stop the bleeding from the blood thinners) who is still embarrassed. We concluded that there are still some birds out here, but the usual water supplies are extremely low, even for this place. Too bad. So we wander around until about 5pm when the birds start popping up again. They were holding tight and darn near had to kick them. Very unusual out here. We then jumped a nice covey of about a dozen birds and for the first time in my life I just froze. I could not pick out a bird, I could not just shoot in the middle of the covey, I couldn't do a thing! My buddy came over, patted me on the back and said "I don't know what's eating you, but you've got it BAD! Like I've never seen before". I walked back to the truck after that, I did jump a single on the way and somehow managed to take it.
But when I got back I met my nephew, told him I was done today and watched him walk away to try it alone for a bit before we left. All I could think about was my Old Man and the George Jones song Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes. Now sad and feeling like I let everyone down with a slow opener, I was amazed at how cheerfully everyone came up to the truck after the last hunt. They only had a couple more birds between them and a handful of rabbits, but you would have sworn it was a limit. Smiles on all of them. It was then, as always, I realize how truly lucky I am to have these people as friends and hunting partners.
As for me, I think I will lay back for a few weeks and try and clear my head. I don't believe a loaded gun is the best choice in my hands with the mental mistakes just a slip away. Besides, this may be a great chance to finally go get that new gun and get it dialed in while clearing my head and heading back out to try Inyo County next. I know there's lots of birds there waiting for us. Best of luck to the rest of you.
Posted 24 October 2012 - 08:04 PM
Getting back to the title of this thread, on it being a "Loonnggg" bird season, I think you may be right... as for the number of quail out there etc. I have a few die hard quail hunting friends, 2 or 3 in particular that normally do very well whenever & wherever they hunt. I've been hunting with these guys in the neighborhood of 20-30+ yrs, give or take, depending on who it is.
Anyway, what I am trying to say is, four of these friends hunted both days of the opener last weekend and killed only 7 quail, total. A record low ever since I've known them, if memory serves me right. A couple of these guys are crack shots, normally limiting out. Normally! So, going by that, I would say quail numbers are down, at least in certain public land areas of So Cal.
Nice pics, as usual
Posted 24 October 2012 - 08:46 PM
Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:45 AM
The quantity of quail in the area I went to wasn’t too bad but the birds were real shy, they didn’t call for most of the day and flushed close. We happen to see some deer while we were out though.
Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:21 AM
With everything that is going on in your life I'm sure your buddy and the prospects were just happy that you were out there with them. Sometimes it is the experiences we have together that mean more than the end result. It sounds like they all had a good time even though the finally tally of game taken was minimal. Some buddies and I went out and didn't get any birds; didn't even see or hear one. Sometimes things just happen that way.
I hope things start to look up for you buddy and I'll try to remember to keep you in my daily/nightly prayers.
Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:50 PM
My work project went out the door today and as soon as I get some pics I was promised I'll try and put them up. Kind of interesting, a cross between structural, our crane department, and some misc. stuff. I may the FNG, but had dealt with all three and was handed the never before tried task there, so we''ll see . We're actually so busy we can't see daylight, and that thing was just dragging me down.
As for the birds, best advice I can give is this: for quail, find lava rock in Inyo. Hard hunting, but they are there in droves. For chukar, Red Mt (if you survive it) still has plenty, but the huge coveys are close to the towns. Luckily I still know a few out of the way guzzlers I may have to try again this year. Been a long time since I even thought about going there though.
And poor Frank, I hate to even tell you this, but as I was typing this up last night I was interrupted by a phone call. My dad wanted to ask how to turn on the wi-fi in the laptop I bought them and to tell me that he almost hit a coyote on the ATV while taking the labs out for a run near the park yesterday . I'll fill you in in a bit. Strange behavior patterns they are having up there???
Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:00 PM
My dad wanted to ask how to turn on the wi-fi in the laptop I bought them and to tell me that he almost hit a coyote on the ATV while taking the labs out for a run near the park yesterday
Ugh... My life story, Bob, my life story... situation normal (for me)
Look forward to your note
Posted 26 October 2012 - 01:20 PM
And the birds will always , maybe not , be there , depending on their water supply .
Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:56 AM
My condolences on your father's passing.
Life is too short to hunt with an ugly dog or gun
Maintain a balance of nature, use a beautiful gun when shooting a beautiful bird
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