OK- we's back.
And....my shoulder's a lil sore.
Saturday: got in on a last minute hunter safety class in order to get my Ca. license. Aced the test and got my new license. I'm in there.
Monday (day before Opening Day): we get's to where we's going and I'm not sure what to expect...then realize we are sharing some property with a homeowner, on the Colorado River, on a square acre of Bermuda grass, oh it's all just as dreamy as you an imagine. We stake the trailer in a lot, unload and grab some beers and head on down to the water for a soak, then a float.... and it's 108* in the shade. I have many years experience jet-boating on the lower Colorado and lemme tell ya, this place was first class all the way and our host was a true gentleman and very welcoming. And, if ya've never been a 'river rat'? Can't tell ya what yer missing.
After a couple of hours we decide to go up canyon a bit and test the guns and eye's on some clays. We grab a couple boxes of clay's and some flingers and load up the trucks and move on out. I made a plug from a plastic coat hanger and stuffed it down the front of my mag and it worked perfect, but, upon pulling ol' Winny from the case I got a coupled of
from some guys...barrel short enough mister?
One gent strolls over with an extra gun and hands it to me, "here, this is your ride for the hunt, put that other thing away."
It was gorgeous Beretta O/U with 30" tubes and a gold plated select trigger. Top tube had a FC, bottom was MC. The thing could not have been fired much as it still had that "tight' feeling opening and closing.
I sort of stood there dumbfounded for a minute till one of my mates comes over and tells me to start poppin' some clays and slaps me on the back.
The butt had a firm red rubber bumper that did not stick to your clothing and man was it nice....The high-gloss finish was a tad sticky on my cheek in the heat but a lil sunblock got it sliding just fine. I've never been able to afford 'nice' guns like this and it was a treat to shoot as well as look at. Took a few rounds to find a groove (sort of), started poofing them at pretty far aways with the top tube and soon I liked my chances for tomorrow. And liked having two chokes you can switch back and forth on.
Back to the compound for some beers, burgers, dog's and chili. And air conditioning.
2:00 AM came pretty early. Slam a cup of Joe, grab the stuff and let's get moving.
Heading down the road a few miles we came to some stubble fields along the river.
It was really sketchy as violent t-storms were brewing all around us and the lightning was very, VERY thick and close. Brush fires were starting on the Arizona side and it was fire, lightning, sprinkles and thunder. What an epic scene. It was like giant flash bulbs every 15 seconds lighting up the fields as body's came in from the night to stake a spot....like something from a horror movie with zombies invading.
I curled up with the Beretta in my chair and tried to get some sleep. Fat chance with the light show and thunder.
Hope the birds are hungry and getting ready to fly.
Shots are fired across the river, here comes the first wave. Still too hard for me to see 'em so I down some Advil and wait a little longer.
It's light enough now and birds are showing. Guys are scoring, birds are darting, shot's falling, we're getting peppered.....it's go time man!
The rust on my hands is pretty thick. The gun want's to hunt and I'm missing....and just playing it safe and not sweeping anyone, getting my bearings and keeping my swing short.
First one comes with two shots. The ice is broken and it's on. Our little group is getting hot and we are taking birds with one shot.
The clouds are hanging in there, the wind is still and it's staying sort of cool.
It could be brutal and an inferno.
It's slows a bit in our spot and we spy some cover at the end of the field, but the road getting to it is junk and super thick talc. We hit it anyway and are soon on a new batch of birds. I got one with two shots and it dropped in the cover and I lost it. Screw this, I'm going back out in the stubble before I get shot and stake a place just off the fringe. The plan paid off as these guys beating the brush flushed a bunch to me with the wind. I missed a bunch again. So I just started slowing down and staying as still as possible in a clear section with no one around sitting on my boot heels on my knees. I only have 6 shots left.
Some of the flushed backmarkers were slower and floated and those flew almost right up to me and *POP!*, one shot droppers 20y away on the quartering fly-by from my knees. Heck yes. God that feels good.
Soon my hip was barking for break, my tummy was growling and my pockets were full of birds and hulls.
It was lulling pretty good so I packed it in and started my trek back to the truck with the gun broke open and draped over my shoulder, the warm rib and tubes in my hand and the smell of the chambers filling my nose.
I was in love with this moment and didn't want it to end.
Back to the compound for breasting, boating, beers and fun.
Dinner came and we had around 40-50 breasts marinated in teriyaki then wrapped in bacon and tossed on the grill.
At bed time I reflected on my hunt.
How it all fell together at the last minute and how it could not have possibly gone any better.
It's been a long time, a LONG time since my bird guns went when we had to sell my folks estate to cover debts when they passed. This trip brought back some wonderful memories of going out with my dad.
Won't be long till I have another pop gun. You can bet on it.
I passed on Day Two and got some rest yesterday. It was dead slow anyway so I missed nothing really and, was pretty satisfied anyway.
And- Chevron has an employee park near by my house and they opened a clays range and let the GP on it Sundays. So practice practice practice.
What a truly wonderful time. I think there's a few pics forthcoming and I'll forward them as they come.
The hook has been reset and I'm a Huntingnut, again.