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Round 8: Stop, theif!
Small Game hunting related discussion
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stovepipe
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Location: Pine, Az.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Woke up late, oooops, missed the bus with my hunting partner. So, I still wanted to get a hunt in so I defaulted to a little spot I know in Los Angeles, yep, L.A.

Aint easy to get into, can’t drive in, it’s a hike of about an hour that starts with a stiff climb and decent into a canyon that’s not too typical of our region. It has a live creek, sycamores, all manner of vegiation. It’s like a little grotto of sorts. Very steep sides with narrow canyon bottoms choked with rocks and veg. It rarely see’s hunters, hikers and tree huggers mostly and there’s birds in there- no rabbits, just raptors, song birds and quail.

After I drop in I’m cruising the trail that lines the bottom. I’m tossing out calls here and there and getting a lot of responses from places I can’t access, just too rugged. So I keep hiking along, calling, pausing, then I find a covey crossing the trail about 70 yards up. I get low, start to stalk as they drop into the creek bed, cross over and head to about the only semi-flat spot in there to feed. I let them, don’t push as there’ no shot yet and follow as quietly as I can- no easy feat as the creek bottom is choked with leaf litter, branches and what not. I’m making way too much noise but there’s no other way in or out.

The birds start their “pit-pit” calls letting the covey know someone’s watching, but, they also are talking it up calmly enjoying their breakfast on the bench, I sneak up on them climbing the bank and am too close to shoot. I start to stand up and they become alarmed and beging to run. I low mount my gun getting ready for a shot, one flushes, I take a poke and over the side it goes into the next small canyon while the rest bail into the creek area for cover.

The going here is really rough, very steep, loose and tangled. I mark my spot and go after the male I saw go over the side, it wasn’t a soid shot so I don’t expect to find him but I will try my best.

But, it takes a few minutes to get there and before I do, a raptor clears the cut with something grey, round and flapping in his tallons. Swell. I look for about 30 minutes and no bird. I think my supper just got nabbed.
Oh well, there’s more in the creek area, but boy it’ thick, more like timberdoodle town than Los Angeles. I make some calls and they are still responding and are holding in a few groups. One is going up the small canyon I’m in, another is regrouping below in the creekbed. I’m in the middle and decide to seek some I can see at about 50 yards ahead and 40 feet up on the canyon wall. The going is really slow and noisey, it’s super tight and snarled in the bottoms and the birds are feeding and walking staying two steps ahead of me and out of range- even if I sluiced one I’d never find it. So after 20 min’s of this it’s coming to a box canyon and they are up and over into another area.

I schlep back down towards the creek area, climb a finger , have a seat and toss out some calls. The birds are super vocal and I’m really having fun calling back and forth,what a treat this late in the season. They are still there, making their little valley quail sounds, dicing around in the leaves and thick stuff, so I try and get to them and see if I can get some to flush into a space I can shoot one and recover it.

Well, the best laid plans and all that. I might have had a couple shots but I’m not that confident I could have recovered them so I paused and let them pass hoping for a better presentation but it never came. I watched 20 birds go free.

I took a break and hiked the hour plus trek back to the truck for some resreshments, turned around and headed back to the canyon for some more.

I had the place all to myself and it really is an interesting space, so diverse. I found a good seat with a view and tossed out some calls. No reply’s. I can hear a mountain quail way up above me but that’s a bout it. I safe the Benelli and lean back into the hillside. It’s dead quiet. I close my eye’s and listen to the sounds of Nature- the creek, some far off quail, a hawk scream pierces the air, that and only my heat beat are all I can hear. What a great spot, and, just minutes from home.

It’s getting late, I’ve covered a dozen miles, climbed several thousand feet, I’m covered in stripes and stickers from traversing a portion of burn area and the new veg is super sticky and prickly- my vest is full of resined hitch-hickers….. and I’m getting hungry.

I start my long hike back, going over the “shouldda-wouldda” in my head, but instead of being soured over an empty bag I reflected on my experience and how lucky I was to walk and talk with the animals and Nature in a setting few know of so close to the big city.

Here’s a pic of the hill ya need to get up and over, and, an empty bag, a lonley hull and a very well used call.



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Vince
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:22 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

What a great story, and an even better day Stovey. You might not have got any quail mate, but you got something every bit as good...the experience of a day in the wilderness communicating with the call of the wild.

Cheers, Vince

_________________
Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:06 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Great story Stovey.

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Suzanne
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:13 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Nice story Stove, that photo reminds me of a place I used to hike just south of Pt. Mugu on the coast hwy. Lots of rattle snakes in there too. Piles of them. I love the smells in there, sumac I think.

Suz

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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:38 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Reminds me too, lots of California memories. Alpine, San Diego, Pt. Mugu, Pt. Hueneme, Thousand Oaks, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Fremont, and last but not least San Francisco (when it was still somewhat normal). Lived for some time in all these places and that just got me to 18.

Thanks for the stories Stovepipe, and the pics they remind me the most of wandering in the hills when I was too young to be out wandering.

Keep it up, with some exceptions I don't miss Californians, but I sure as he-- miss California.

_________________
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. "--Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."--James Madison

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:15 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Right you are Les! The hill is funny, totally masks what's on the other side. I was suprised to find some quail really. I know there's some in these hills but...it's hit or miss.

I didn't have my game face on either. When I popped up on the bench with the birds it was interesting to be up close to them again and my hunter thingy kinda got switched off and I just went into "duh" mode, hence, the whiffed shot, I could have more, lots more. But I wasn't driven anymore. Sounds weird but sometimes I just like stalking game and seeing how close I can get. Conlficts at times with the side of me that likes to eat.

Interesting mix of veg and habitat. The locals are super cool too. I've spent most of my life in these and surrounding hills recreating in some form or fashion.

I don't expect I'll find birds in there twice in a row. Plus much beyond where I was it's gets steep and real thick fast so...it was a real treat that's for sure.
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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

When I was a teen living in the Bay Area I hunted a lot in Sonora, and Tuolumne, We'd also did a lot of backpacking into the backside of Yosemite, were there were no tourists.

_________________
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. "--Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."--James Madison

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

good on ya stovie that story sure was swell.
some days you need to catch fish, other days you just need to go fishing, sort of sums up that feeling you mention. I find its more and more that way now Im a little older and not in such a rush to get a kill under the belt.

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stovepipe
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Location: Pine, Az.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:01 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Aye Elvis...exactly.

Someone followed me home. Waitin' for me outside my place, eye level with my deck.

Maybe he's looking for seconds, dezert? Sorry fella, fresh out. Ya got my last one!



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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

take him as company for your hunting and you can leave you pump home... or maybe take your pump as back-up for when he's not handing over the game fast enough.
It has been often on my lips to suggest to take a dog, but when I see the shape of your hunting area, I wouldn't risk my dog there. But something flying shouldn't hurt its feeth... and you don't have to buy them booths...
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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

We do have a falconry season. I always wanted a raptor too. But that's a lifestyle change for me, not nec a bad one!


Yeh- hunting over a dog in some places I go wouldn't be much of a treat for Bowzer, that's for sure. Most of it's good for dogs though.
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Elvis
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:51 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

it looks very much like central otago of parts of the mackenzie country and the dogs handle that ok. I guess if you snake educated your dog you would be fine.

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

I sent this pic to the Conservancy by my place for Palos Verdes for an ID on my raptor friend.

They said it's a Red Shoulder hawk. Cool! Didn't know what type he was.
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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Yep- snake-break the dog or leave him home. Mojave Green's are super aggro and well, you know the rest.

Very little of my hunting is not dog freindly but, some of it is gnarly, walking on points for long periods and there's holes in these basalt slides, big ones. I've sat and rested on some refer sized rocks that actually start to rock- and, had to scramble off them w/ luckilly a place to land that wasn't a giant hole between pointed boulders. It's sketchy in spots, very dangerous, natch the devil birds love it there.
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Vince
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:40 am    Post subject: Re: Round 8: Stop, theif! Reply with quote

Well Stovey...I think quail season has ended for you at the moment, so I can tell ya what I encountered today.

Driving back from my daughter's place (in the heart of red deer country) I had to take evasive action to avoid plowing through a covey of brown quail sunning themselves in the middle of the road. If there was one, there must have been 25 of the little buggers. I applied the appropriate amount of braking to allow me to swerve around them without hitting any and doing them a mischief. I was tempted to "clip" a couple, but then I thought better of it because they wouldn't be any good to eat, so I just let them scarper off into the grass at the side of the road.

Unfortunately the ANTIs have managed to have ducks and quail put on the banned list for hunting here, so the little buggers are breeding like crazy. Only way I can get a feed of quail is to buy them ready processed from a quail / poultry farm.



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Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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