Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All

While I have been away from writing here on Women's Hunting Journal I have been trying to find areas to hunt waterfowl. It has been a challenging season so far. With an early freeze down south followed by several weeks of my attention needed on a new machine I purchased for my woodworking business, I have had a somewhat dismal waterfowl season.

I just returned yesterday from the Klamath Basin after attempting to harvest a Christmas goose. I spent a few days dug in and laying on my back in my ground blind and never fired a shot, nor did I ever see or hear more than a hand full of geese. Just not many birds using the area in which I hunt. So Jet and I came home and stowed our gear in hopes of a better hunt the next time. The landscape was beautiful with 4 to 6 inches of snow and the water table very high as it didn't take me long to get to water while I dug in my ground blind. I have learned a few tricks in staying dry and warm while hunting in cold winter conditions. Some of which include laying a white vinyl shower curtain down first, followed by decoy bags that have the foam padding in the back area, this helps tremendously to insulate from the cold ground. After that I lay my ground blind down and add an old fashioned ensolite pad to the inside of it. With my three layers in place and provided I have worn the right layers I am as warm and dry as a bug in a rug. Only thing missing was the crackling from the wood stove.

I set out 6 full bodied GHG decoys, 18 standard G and H shells and 6 G and H 747 shells. I had cut and carried with me cover in which to brush in my ground blind. From where I laid looking out through the mesh head cover all systems looked good. The full bodied decoys were enticing as they moved with the slightest breeze. All that was missing were the real birds in hopes of giving me the opportunity for a Christmas goose. There's a reason why it's called a wild goose chase. Good thing I have a few from last year still in my freezer.

Jet and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with lots of good cheer!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Big Freeze

I arrived home from a recent duck hunt just in time to spend the following day snow blowing and shoveling for the better part of 7 hours. All things considered I was no better off staying in Klamath County hunting ducks. The freeze is upon us now and here for the duration I'm afraid. Morning temps well below zero and a high in the teens. I had only made two trips to hunt waterfowl and now all the flooded fields are solid ice and the Klamath river also now with dangerous shelf ice and the potential for a full freeze across it's width. It has been many years since I've seen that river froze up tight as a drum, but this may be the year of a repeat performance. When I awoke at 3 a.m. Monday morning due to high winds slamming the little cabin and it's creaking sounds, I was hoping to get back to sleep for a short while. I never did and finally got up at 5 a.m. to a chilly 41 degrees inside, brrr. I fired up the wood stove and said hello to Jet and stalled her from her breakfast for as long as possible. Her internal clock is far better than any watch I've ever owned when it comes to her meal times. I got my cereal and coffee going and snuggled up to the wood stove. I mentally went through the packing of gear and cabin shut down checklist. The previous night it had snowed 5 to 6 inches and the west winds whipped up the Klamath into a fine froth of whitecaps.

On Saturday afternoon when we arrived it was brisk and quite comfortable. We took a lap around to jump our favorite ditches. We did get a nice Mallard, 2 Ring Necked ducks and we flushed a few Snipe, of which Jet made nice retrieves. In hindsight I wish I'd spent more time focused on hunting Snipe, as this was one of their last nights spent here before continuing on their migration south. Some of the ditches had thin layers of ice forming as did the flooded fields. Very few ducks in either places with the exception being the Klamath River where there were quite a few divers.

On Sunday the weather was turning colder with snow flurries, strong winds and white caps on the river. Jet stayed in the cabin as it was to dangerous for her to go in the river and I didn't want to take any chances. With her hearing about gone she is on auto pilot when a bird goes down and I didn't want her to get into trouble, or myself for that matter in rescuing her. I had a few good shots on a drake Spoonie and 1 Pheasant. The Spoonie was close enough for me to wade to it. I had to work hard to find the Pheasant, as he piled into a wide swath of tule's next to the river. This particular patch is dangerous because it has hidden water holes that are quite deep and ones footing is somewhat challenging. Tough enough for hunters but even worse for our 4 legged partners. They get more tangled that one can imagine, plus if they go front feet first into a water hole it can be life threatening. I've had to pull Jet out a time or two before when she's gotten herself into a predicament. When she gets that Pheasant scent in her head she is like a dog on drugs, she will not stop until she flushes them or I physically pull her out of there and convince her to come with me. Pheasants truly are her drug of choice.

Back to my story of retrieving the Pheasant without Jet's assistance. I spent a good 1/2 hour looking and had no luck finding the bird. I decided to walk the dike towards the old boat dock and loop around the field side of the dike in hopes of flushing the other rooster that I missed. After the better part of 1 and 1/2 hours I never did flush the second Pheasant and was now back up river from where I had dropped the Pheasant. I looped back to the river side of the dike and proceeded to go look some more for the downed Pheasant. I again "marked" the point from where I shot and took a straight line and this time after about 15 minutes I had succeeded. I was out to far before and made my way back in just a little and there he was crumpled in a pile, still warm to the touch. I was ecstatic as I hate to lose any bird or animal that I shoot. I was laughing to myself that Jet typically goes to short and now I tend to the opposite. Somewhere in there is a happy medium I'm sure. I felt like I deserved a can of Alpo for my efforts.

Throughout the day the snow squalls came and went as did the gusty winds. I retired to the cabin before quitting time and was happy to get my birds field dressed before darkness set in. The temperatures plummeted that night and I wondered if the cabin pipes would freeze and if there would be any birds left come morning. I knew with the temps being in the single digits the only open water was going to be the river. While I love to hunt the river it's no place to be by yourself in a winter storm. Even in fair weather early season hunts, I won't use my boat unless I've got a friend hunting with me. So the stage was now set for the arctic blast and big freeze of 2010. Jet and I hit the pavement at 0630 after a windy night in the cabin. The roads were glazed ice and not more than 3 miles down the road did I see my first SUV in someones front yard with a sheriffs patrol vehicle next to it. Driving north along the Upper Klamath Lake is a dangerous and treacherous piece of real estate. We drove slow and steady reaching home in a little over 3 hours for 120 miles. Happy to be home and looking forward to a good nights rest before we had to start the chore of snow removal in the morning.

As I sit here and type this story I am thankful for many things, even the ability to do the not so fun ones like snow removal. Jet and I want to extend our very best to you and your family and friends for a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please take a moment and think of those who are serving this country in harms way and their loved ones. We are fortunate to live in a wonderful country and lets not forget that freedom is not free. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Be safe out there.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cabela's Field Tester

Cabela's, thank you for returning my phone calls!

Yes you did read that right, they did return my call and as a result I am now officially a Cabela's Field Tester. Well it was a little more involved than that but I'll spare you the minutia. While I can not discuss the details of specific products, I can disclose that I will be testing waders and various types of outdoor footwear. I am thrilled to finally be in a position to have input and feedback where it is most needed. I feel strongly that if the womens market in hunting and outdoor pursuits is going to continue to grow, then the industry itself must do the same in offering more choices of quality gear to women.

In a down economy such as what we have currently this is no easy task. Ultimately it falls to the bottom line and we must continue to voice our opinions far and wide to make this happen. I have no doubt that eventually we will see major changes in this area. In my opinion persistence is paramount and I'll be the first to admit that it can often be a frustrating venture. None the less if you love the outdoors and hunting as much as I do, then we will continue to participate regardless of having to make a few alterations along the way. Eventually I look forward to the day when we have as many choices as the men when it comes to camo clothing, materials, footwear and all in women's sizes that fit, right off the rack. What a great day that will be.

I am excited about this new venture with Cabela's and will keep in mind the big picture that this is for all of us. So please continue to leave suggestions or email me personally and I'll continue to update the Hunting Gear Needed For Women page. Also the more we can involve men in this discussion the louder our voices will be, as it is still mostly men who are the decision makers within the largest outdoor corporations. I am optimistic about the future of women's gear and will not stop asking for more choices of top quality clothing, and hard goods.

So if one of you has a pet peeve about clothing, or some other related hunting item I encourage you to be persistent and go after it. Each one of us does and can make a difference so speak up and speak often!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Women's Hunting Journal Updates

I have just returned from my first duck hunt of the season. For the month of October I was busy chasing deer and elk and not having any luck with either. Fortunately I am much more successful with bird hunting. I will save the story specifics for a future post. While it was a wet couple days in the Klamath basin of southern Oregon I was both hunter and retriever, since Jet's retirement announcement last year.

Which brings me to puppy news, yep there is a new member to my family. She is a beautiful Yellow Lab born on Sept. 6, 2010. I have struck a deal with the owner/ breeder and he will train her in trade for a one time breeding. Her background is superb as the Sire is a 6 time Master Hunter qualifier and is in the Hall of Fame while the Dam is a 2 time qualifier. Both parents are Oregon natives with the Dam being the breeders own hunting dog. I am so excited to have found her and now I need help with a name. I am open for ideas and prefer a single syllable call name. Her dad's name is Judah and her mom's name is Spice. She hails from Royal Flush Retrievers in Sister's Or. I will get puppy pics posted soon as I can. In the meantime here are her parents links, Minoggie Kennels & Royal Flush Retrievers.

In regard to my Cabela's post I want to personally thank the following individuals for their input and support to increase awareness about the inequities that remain in the lack of outdoor clothing and gear choices for women hunters. Equally important and valued are the men who support this endeavor too.
Barbara Baird of The Won, Suzee at Base Camp Legends, Karen at Gordon Setter Crossing, Rebecca at Outdoor Blogger Network, Laura at The White Tailed Doe, Rogue Huntress at Hunt Like You're Hungry, Alisha at Oakie Rednecks and Jennifer at Milkweed and Teasel.

It has been snowing all day and I am eager to get back out in the field before the big freeze arrives and puts an end to our dabbler hunting. This happens usually around the end of Nov. and the beginning of Dec. which then leaves me hunting for Canada Geese in the fields and divers on the Klamath Rv. Either way I look forward to the upcoming challenges of what this season will offer and what I will learn. I will take Jet out for some short, easy hunts to keep both our spirits up this season. For the most part she is doing quite well and has the heart of a Lab, never wanting to surrender. I cherish our time together and she gets the royal treatment in her golden years, so to speak. I'm sure we can find her a few birds to retrieve this season.

Thanks to all my readers for your continued support, encouragement and comments. Without your input there would be no Women's Hunting Journal, cheers to all of you!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cabela's, Please Return My Call !

I'll warn all of you that this post is about a personal irritation to say the least, so read on at your own risk. Let me apologize if I step on anyone's toes, then again maybe they need to be stepped on.

I am frustrated, angry and mad about the fact that there is not a single company manufacturing or offering, a quality Woman's Breathable Camo Chest High Wader. Yet there are well over a dozen different styles and price points for men to choose from in a breathable camo chest high wader.

As a woman hunter having spent over 35 years in the field chasing ducks, geese, pheasants, quail etc. I endure 1/2 as many gear choices as the men. Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Macks Prairie Wing, Dunn's Sporting Goods, Drake Waterfowl and Gander Mt. are all guilty of ignoring women. In any of these catalogs there are but a few choices of women's boots, be it knee high rubber or leather field boots and many pages of men's boots. The same is true for clothing and waders.

I am tired and angry that when I ask "when is your company going to start offering Women's Breathable Camo Chest High Waders" the sales person either dismisses my question, asks if I want to be put on their mailing list or simply apologizes. None of those responses work for me in the slightest.

Seriously, if the sport of waterfowling is to continue to grow then it is time to meet the needs of women hunters and actually have a selection of materials and fabrics to choose from, not just one style. Women as consumers are a powerful group and once involved in a sport or activity their family often follows. Sons and daughters carry on our outdoor traditions in the shooting sports. There are even more choices of outdoor related garments and products for boys then there are women. Wouldn't it be nice for the women to be just as well outfitted and comfortable as even the little boys?

Let me tell you why I want Breathable Camo Chest High Waders. Hunting in early October and November temperatures are quite mild. Neoprene waders are heavy, don't breathe and after walking for 15 minutes in them in 40 degree temps or higher I am soaked. Were I were wearing a Breathable Camo Chest High Wader that dissipated my body's heat, I would remain dry and comfortable. Neoprene is old technology and about the most uncomfortable experience I have had as a hunter. How many of you men enjoy sitting in sweat soaked neoprene? Not my idea of a good time.

I have called Cabela's corporate headquarters over a half dozen times in the past two weeks and left messages with 2 different individuals and still have not had my call returned. For a company that is the size of Cabela's who boasts excellent customer service, I am a bit mystified with their lack of response.

Furthermore being a Cabela's Club Card member and loyal customer for more years than I care to admit, it is even that much more baffling to me. Also some of us women like plain, solid color chamois shirts because we actually hunt in them. A chamois shirt with a colorful pattern or horse print just doesn't work for us all.

Are manufacturers ready to listen to what women hunters really want and need? Please start treating us as equals. As for the camo lingerie, well I personally don't know any woman hunter who wears it, nor do I think it was a woman's brainchild.

I'm sure I am not the only woman who turns the pages in these catalogs and feels a bit of disgust at some items and then disappointed at the lack of choices in other areas. I personally have spoken with dozens of women hunters over the years who share my sentiments.

I will give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that since I started waterfowl hunting in the late 60's there has been much progress. Technology has evolved and improved our comforts immensely, although we are still lacking equality in products produced for women.

When I first took to the field with my dad I remember layering up in over sized men's gear and could hardly flex my joints. Shooting was that much more of a challenge. Early season was fine but as winter came on, so did the extra layers. I loved being afield with my dad, each time was special and I cherished those days. He made sure I was warm so as to ensure I'd have a positive experience and it paid off in more ways than I can put into words.

Yes we have wonderful lightweight insulating fabrics such as capilene & thinsulate that also wick moisture away from our skin. Also naturals such as wool that don't scratch or itch like that of generations past. I see more offerings of hunting boots for women both in the knee high rubber boots as well as leather and synthetic field boots. Nonetheless there are also areas where our needs as women hunters are not being addressed by the manufactures within the industry.

I am asking all women hunters to help me get our voices heard. Please leave a comment and let me know what you are trying to find and tell your friends to drop by and do the same. I will then create a dedicated page here at Women's Hunting Journal and with your permission, I will add your name to the page. I will create links to this original post and keep the page updated. I am hoping to initiate a change for the better and have more options available for us and those women who follow in our footsteps. If you have some ideas please email me personally at quailflats@gmail.com. I welcome any and all input. Together we can be heard, join me and let's make it happen!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mule Deer and Cougars

It has been a very long couple weeks which included my Mule Deer hunt and am now currently in the midst of my Elk hunt. Here is an update of what transpired during my deer hunt.

For starters the weather had been very mild and warm. So much so that it seemed as though I'd be better off spinning my wheels riding my road bike verses hunting. While the morning temps ranged from the mid 30's up to a balmy 50 and the forest was tinder dry, afternoon temps climbed into the upper 70's and teetered on the verge of 80. In my book that is way to warm and makes for extremely challenging conditions. None the less I was ready and eager to put in my time and make a go of it.

I was hunting close to home and appreciated the comforts after a long day of crawling through the brush. It was during my third morning when I was creeping along very slowly, my senses tuned in to the slightest sound that I caught a glimpse of movement off to my right about 15 - 20 yards. I froze instantly and was able to see the big cat's dark muzzle as he turned his head away from me after catching my movement. He moved fast with a sense of urgency, stealth in action as he flew down off the old slash pile while I watched him disappear into the thicket. My heart surprisingly stayed in my chest while my head processed what my eyes just saw and concluding that yes indeed that was a Cougar. Still my heart was calm, and if only for the reason that he fled from me I knew I was safe. I thought for a moment while still froze in my tracks from when we caught each others peripheral movement, that was to big for a Jack Rabbit. The tell tale signs of a cats movement are undeniable. They move like water, fast, silent and stealthy. No wasted effort or energy what soever. The buckskin color and the long tail gave him away. I immediately went to where he was and looked for tracks and only found a partial as he was on dried grass stubble before he disappeared into the thick dark woods. I didn't find any carcass either in the immediate area.

Umm I thought, very cool and a part of me had wished for a longer look although the outcome of such may have been quite different. I never had time to shoulder my gun and perhaps get a quick shot off. Then I thought oh great, he's out here hunting deer as well, and anything else that looks appetizing. So, maybe I was in the right place at least he thought it was a good place to be. I continued in the direction I was going and eventually looping around to where he exited to and I never did see him again that morning, thankfully. For that matter I didn't see any bucks either. Fine, I figured we were even, no harm no foul so to speak.

The next morning I hunted a different area (imagine that) and fortunately it had rained hard all night. I slept in a bit and didn't get into the woods til a bit after 9 a.m while it was still drizzling, but tapering off. It was a wonderful change of pace to have the quiet earth beneath my feet and smell the rain drenched pines and Bitterbrush. I stopped after a couple hours to shed my rain pants and as I got underway soon thereafter I ran across fresh tracks. These looked promising as there was dry dirt kicked up in the front of the tracks. I peeled my eyes as sharp as I was able and then I saw a mushroom that had been kicked over and nibbled on a bit. O.K. I thought, I'm getting close now, I can just feel it. Well let me tell you I had no idea just how true those thoughts were until about 4 or 5 steps later. In mid step with my left foot forward barely touching the ground and rolling off my right foot there he was! Right smack dab in front of me with most of his body hidden behind very tall Bitterbrush. We locked in on each other for the ultimate stare down. At 25 feet away or maybe less I could see only his left main beam sweep out to the side and split into a fork or better. The conversation one has with oneself at a time like this is somewhat comical and one of dis belief.

My gun was at waist level with both hands firmly grasping it so that I'd be able to bring it up to my shoulder quickly, or at least that was the plan. Clearly I was in a pickle and while I tried as best I could it was only a matter of time before my muscles were going to start twitching and shaking and ultimately be completely busted. I was fine for about a minute as we watched each other intently for the tell tale signs that I was not a bush, tree or any type of vegetation what so ever. While the buck kept a sharp eye on me licking his nose, blinking his eyes and tilting his head I thought to myself "here's my buck and I just blew it big time". While my muscles were starting to fatigue I had no option other than to try and slowly raise my gun to my shoulder and perhaps he would tolerate it. Nope, he blew and bolted and my adrenaline surged and my legs shook as I watched the buck take flight and win our stand off. No chance of getting a shot off due to the heavy timber and ground cover. I never did get a good look at how many points he was, although he had a very nice rounded full body. I think initially he was getting ready to bed down because as we spotted one another he appeared to come up off his right front knee.

So now the tracking begins and I tracked him for a good hour and a half maybe more. Then I got into some areas of private land and opted to swing around and point myself back towards the truck. Not more that ten minutes after doing so, did I hear a single gun shot from the direction he and I were moving in. I was gaining on him although the wind was swirly and not helping. I was a bit disappointed on one hand and on the other very thankful for having gotten so close. Just wasn't as ready as I thought I was.

The season ended on the 13th of October and I never did see another buck. I did see 5 does on the last day but that was it. All in all it was a fun hunt and what an experience to have seen that Cougar. A day in the field I won't soon forget and thanks for the schoolin' Mr.Buck!

On a gear note I was wearing Sitka Gear's Nimbus rain coat and pants in Mtn. Mimicry and they worked to perfection. I love that gear and thanks to the gang at Camofire for the incredible deals.

Am trying to catch up to an elk now and have a few days left. Will give you that report when I recover a bit and with any luck will have a better outcome than my deer hunt.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Friday, September 17, 2010

First Goose Hunt Of The Season

While I have been working various odd jobs this summer, one of which has been weed eating for some friends who live just outside Bend. I know this landscape well for it is within a stones throw of my old stomping grounds. During the days I was working I had been keeping a watchful eye on the Canada Geese in the adjacent pasture. They started out as small fuzzy awkward goslings and have become full fledged manure spreaders and eaters of fresh grass shoots. Thus leaving the neighbors cattle less than thrilled, not to mention the owners. Ah a sigh of relief washes over me as I here my friend say "you're welcome to come shoot some if you like". My eyes must have lit up like saucers as my friend smiled and nodded in agreement. "Really" I said, "that would be o.k. with you"? She assured me indeed it was. I asked about her neighbors whose pasture the geese were residing on and she encouraged me to talk with them and so I did. They are very nice neighbors and certainly interested in getting the geese to reside elsewhere. I mainly wanted to introduce myself and make sure they were o.k. with me shooting as well as for me to recover a goose if it went on their property. Yes to all the above, in fact the wife also hunted with her dad when she was a young girl and enjoys eating geese too. I told them I'd drop off a goose to them after the mornings hunt and they were excited to fire up the Traeger and smoke the goose whole. I felt my body heave a big sigh of envy with the thought of a Traeger smoked Canada goose. I can only imagine how good that will taste. Alright, another savings fund has started for my own Traeger.

So it was set, that I was to have my first goose hunt of the season. Let me catch you up on this early September goose hunt. The ODFW has a special Canada goose only hunt for a week in early Sept. to reduce the numbers due to an over abundance of geese. There are only specific counties that the hunt takes place in and it is not statewide. So that's how I was able to hunt geese this month.

Now back to my story. I figured it will take me 40 minutes of travel time and then time to grab decoys, headlamp, gun and shells. So that meant a 4 a.m. wake up which hurt a bit just thinking about. Shooting time was 6:10 and I like to have a few minutes to settle in before legal time. Well it all worked well with the exception that the ditch I was planning to lay in now had irrigation water flowing down it, so I had to opt for plan B. which I didn't have but managed to come up with one, being a resourceful hunter and educated in the days of minimalists field comforts.

I found a not so comfortable rock crib to hunker behind and threw some camo netting with weeds over me to break up my outline. I had set out 8 G & H standard goose shells off to my left at about 10 to 20 yards away. The mild temperatures found me quite comfortable wearing my chamois shirt and cotton camo bdu's. It was about 55 degrees and all I was missing was another cup of coffee. I had that to look forward to once I got back to the truck. So, I am all dressed up and waiting for the guests of honor to arrive. The morning is slowly waking up as the vroom of cars, trucks, school buses and farm equipment starts to rumble. Horses are knocking on fencing panels impatiently waiting their morning ration of alfalfa and the geese are starting to be vocal off in the distance. My heart quickens with the first true "honk" that rang through the distant junipers. Oh how I love to be affected by my quarry, it's magical!

I was facing south and the horizon was thinly veiled in cloud cover. To the north I heard more geese and slowly leaned from out behind the rock crib to catch a glimpse of just where the geese were coming from. It was a pair coming in on a string low and close. They passed by and did a fly by over the neighbors pond, then spotted my decoys. I got ready to roll to my knees and timed it well as they passed by just off to my right. I fired twice and dropped one on the first shot and didn't make a good second shot so away it went, all the wiser. The goose landed by the adjacent rock crib and as I got up to go retrieve it, it was standing and ready to take evasive actions. The pursuit began and eventually I was able to reach out and put my gun barrel on its back to stop it before it got to the neighbors fence line. It was either that or a full fledged tackle. With goose in hand I returned to my make shift ground blind behind the rock crib and waited for the next guests to arrive. It didn't take long and a string of 20 or so came from behind off to my left side. They also knew where they wanted to go and I was able to drop another out of this flock. I again hunkered down hoping that maybe one more group would come by, but none did in more than an hour and a half of waiting. That was it and at 8:45 I picked up my decoys etc. and had to get on with the rest of my days obligations.

That cup of coffee was tastier than the earlier cups as I headed out to BLM to pluck and process the birds. Then stopped at the neighbors to thank them and give them a previously processed goose from this past season for their Traeger. Also tossed in a White fronted goose as they have never eaten one of them. Told them that was the fillet mignon of the goose world, none better. What a great morning and I was ready to continue with the final weed wacking of the season. All in all a spectacular day full of everything I enjoy doing, yes even weed wacking.

In approximately 2 weeks I will be out on my Buck only deer hunt. Close to home and sleeping in my own bed, not such a bad deal. Til then enjoy each day and may your shots ring true.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Fun

Hello to one and all. I have been away from the blogoshere although not far from home. Have been enjoying a much needed hiatus from writing this summer and focusing more on outdoor adventures. I have been putting in my share of cycling road miles averaging about 125 miles per week, give or take a few. Also have been doing various summer odd jobs to help keep the frig full. Other than that I am still trying to get my house sold which is like trying to sell sand to the sandman.

Earlier this summer my friend Larry and I successfully completed our Master Hunter certification for Oregon and have since been spending time woodcutting for ourselves and his clients. Just about anything having to do with wood I enjoy and it's especially fun working with him. He spent many years up in Alaska as a Coast Guard helicopter pilot on Kodiak Island and other locations. He tells a good hunting story and I relish the opportunity to be his audience.

Hunting season for me may start with Sage Grouse in September, provided I draw a tag. My friend Dan, his son and I put in together so we'll see. Jet is still pretty much retired and will not go with us for this hunt due to the typically scorching heat. Just not worth taking the chance with her health and ageing hips. She will however go with me for some evening September Dove hunts. Those I am more able to keep a close eye on her activity and physical abilities should she have problems.

I did draw a rifle buck tag for early October but no tag for Elk, which leaves me hunting the general rifle season come mid November. I did consider archery which starts September 1 but opted to keep cycling for that month. Just having to much fun riding this summer to call it quits so early. It is a short cycling season here in the high desert anyhow, and riding indoors is not nearly as enjoyable to maintain my fitness and motivation. Waterfowl season also starts in October and I hope to have a buck hanging at my house or in the freezer by the time I reach for my steel shot and decoys.

Not much else going on right now just getting ready and staying busy as best I can. I will be posting more often come next month and the start of hunting season. Thanks for sticking around and I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful summer.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oregon Controlled Draw Results

The results for Oregon's controlled hunts are now available online at this link. ODFW
I am rather disappointed as I only drew my buck tag and having 4 points towards my elk tag I thought this was going to be my year, well I figured wrong. So next year I will have 5 points for my elk tag and again I will be cautiously optimistic. I will have 9 points for Antelope also. It takes about 12 points to get the tag I am choosing for Antelope. Well I am getting closer and that counts for something.

Otherwise not a whole going on. Been cutting firewood preparing for next winter and staying busy in my shop. Also doing my best to get in some road bike cycling when the weather permits. It continues to be unseasonable cool and wet this summer. Highs in the upper 40's today with rain and snow at higher elevations. I have been living in Central Oregon since 1993 and haven't seen a Spring this cold, windy and wet as this one. It does bring up concerns for gallinaceous birds and the survival rates of their broods this year. It has been a late season for Mule deer does dropping their fawns too. I hope the weather gets warmer and we actually have a summer this year. Stay tuned and we'll keep you posted.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gulf Oil Disaster

Seldom if ever do I wander into political topics on Women's Hunting Journal. I purposely steer clear because I do not like politics, to me it is humans acting badly. At this time though I find myself outraged at what has taken place in the Gulf of Mexico. While I can no longer watch the TV coverage of the devastation because it brings me to tears. Footage of oil covered birds gasping for their last breaths of life affects me deeply and I know this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding species affected and the massive carnage that has and will continue for many months, if not years to come. The back door deals and political handshakes covered with greed all to increase the bottom line and an individual or group whose ego's are horribly out of control. These are a few of the reasons why I dislike "politics".

The damage being done has wiped out livelihoods for the entire Oyster and Shrimp industry, and that which it supported. I feel there will be a greater hole left as a result of families relocating to try to find a job so as to support their families. The Gulf will never be the same from this day forward. While the oil continues to gush from the depths of the ocean the tsunami at the top is just beginning. There will be more than just a ripple effect from this disaster I feel.

I just read a recent post at Women's Outdoor News about the NWTF establishing The Gulf Coast Conservation Emergency Fund to help during this horrific crisis. Thank you NWTF for establishing this fund. I am scouring the internet for like mined organizations such as Delta Waterfowl and Ducks Unlimited to see what their involvement will be. Delta Waterfowl has sent a letter to Sect'y of The Department of the Interior Ken Salazar and BP President Lamar McKay stating their position, read more. Ducks Unlimited has issued their statement as well, read more. I commend these organizations for their involvement and hard work preserving the fragile habitat which so many species call home.

I feel that those of us who blog about our love of the outdoors have a special connection to our natural world. A connection that not everyone understands or feels in their soul, certainly not BP and the associated greed mongers of our human population. I have thought about Casey at Wandering Owl Outside and how he feels about this, as he is a volunteer for Amphibian counts which are already disappearing at an alarming rate. Those of you who are in America's Heartland will undoubtedly feel the impact before those of us on either coast. Jody at The Hunter's Wife and Jenn at A Blessed Crazy Life come to mind first. I know there are hundreds more in the heartland, yet these are 2 that I frequent the most.

On a closing note I hear the outrage from local people in the region although I have wondered where the rest of the country's rage is? I haven't heard it as yet. I am fully outraged with this disaster and at the same time feel quite inadequate as to what I can do to help. Perhaps it is time to read again Terry Tempest Williams book titled Finding Beauty In A Broken World, yes I believe I will do just that. She is an amazing writer addressing the most serious issues that life offers us. Through her writings of life's all encompassing experiences, I am able to glean a bit of solace. Sadly the title rings true. We will get beyond this disaster and I hope that we as a nation learn from it and take appropriate action to preclude this from happening again, my fear is that history will repeat itself as is the case more often than not.

Womem's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nosler Plant Explosian

I was meeting with some friends in town yesterday afternoon when I heard about the explosion. The Nosler factory is on the west side of town (Bend,OR). You could feel the explosion several miles away and fortunately no one was hurt. Read more.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Friday, May 21, 2010

Breakfast With Ginger

Click on link below and have your volume turned on, enjoy!

Breakfast With Ginger

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Master Hunter Program

I apologize for the lack of posts this Spring and truly appreciate your patience, comments and loyalty. Here is an overview of what I've been up to in between rain, snow and wind.

I have been studying and meeting the requirements for Oregon's Master Hunter Test that the Oregon Department Of Fish and Wildlife offers to hunters who have successfully completed their basic Hunter Safety Education. The Master Hunter is a continuation and more involved test than the former. Building upon the basics while also asking more of the student, both in the class room and the field. There are over 125 questions in a study book, covering topics from land use, fire safety, firearms, game care, specialty hunting, first aid, water safety and hypothermia. Plus a myriad of ethical questions that require a full description of your reasoning and how you came to your conclusion. There is a 4 hour class room study session followed by a 50 question multiple answer test. Each student is required to do 20 hours of volunteer service to benefit a natural resource such as BLM, Oregon Hunter's Association, RMEF, DU or similar. A shooting test is also required and consists of shooting a caliber legal to hunt elk in the state of Oregon which happens to be a .25 or larger. The shooting test consists of 5 rounds from 100 yards using a kneeling, sitting or standing position without a rest at an 8" diameter circle, of which 4 of the 5 shots must be within an 8" diameter target. This may sound easy to some of you and I invite you to go try it for yourself. Trust me it's not as easy as it sounds. I used my new(to me) .257 Roberts in Remington that was my friends fathers rifle. It is a real tack driver as they say. This is the best I have ever shot with a rifle, and to say I was thrilled is an understatement! The black on this target defines the 8" diameter.

My friend and I completed the last of our 20 hours on Tuesday. Our paperwork is on its way to Salem to be approved, at which time we will be issued Master Hunter certification cards that will give us precedence for big game emergency hunts. Here is the definition from ODFW, "A hunt held on short notice to resolve an acute game mammal damage problem to livestock, agriculture, or timber."

I have yet to go Spring bear hunting as a result of weather and work. As I write this post it is raining buckets and the winds are steady at 15 with gusts to 40. I guess this year we are going from Winter to Summer without much Spring. Snow level is getting back down there too. On the other hand I continue to plod along with my woodworking picking up dovetail drawer orders here and there. At least enough to keep the lights on and cover my overhead.

Thanks for stopping by and as inspiration finds me I'll be writing and sharing of my escapades here on the pages of Women's Hunting Journal. Hope everyone is having a good Spring and are getting out into the wilds of this wonderful world we live in.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Friday, April 30, 2010

Women's Hunting Journal, 2nd. Birthday

I can hardly believe it has been 2 years that I have been writing on the
pages of Women's Hunting Journal. What started out as a friendly suggestion has taken on a life of its own and an appetite to match. Anyone who blogs knows about what an insatiable appetite blogs have, and the challenge to keep purging content from within oneself. Interesting how the ebb and flow of life is mirrored in all that we do. Striking while the iron is hot is easily done during the hunting season while the days spent afield give way to new experiences and stories to follow.

I wanted to do something fun for the second birthday of Women's Hunting Journal. I've been a hat lover since I can remember and I figured why not splurge, you only go around once. So keeping in the spirit of my passion for hats, I now have Women's Hunting Journal hats for sale. They are cotton twill, low profile cap with a velcro closure and not the high fronted truckers cap. They are Kestrel slate blue with my header logo on front and Integrity For The Hunt on the back. If you are interested in getting one or more please email me with your enquiry. I am not looking to make big money here, just offering a fun, comfortable and well fitting hat at an affordable price.

If anyone else is interested in having hats made I highly recommend contacting Jeremy at Ethic Promotions, Inc.. There is nothing better than working directly with the owner of a business and Jeremy went above and beyond in earning my business. It was clear from the start that he wanted to get it right for me, not anyone else. Not once did I feel pressured or rushed to make a decision or purchase. He had several samples made and sent to me using various materials, styles and sizes at no charge to me. Their turn around time was excellent and working with him was a pleasure. I got exactly what I wanted, a low profile hat that fits my little head perfectly without any bunching in the back where the velcro closure is. In my book that is 100% success in a big way. Here is Jeremy's contact information,
ethicheadwear.com Phone # 888-723-5571 PST.

Thanks again Jeremy for the wonderful hats and excellent customer service!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hunting & Blackberries?

I have thought many times about having a lap top computer for writing blog posts and checking emails while I was away from home. Yet each time I have been on hunting trips I have been either to tired, didn't have the time or was enjoying being away from the electronic age. Usually it has been a time factor, considering that when I hunt I am up hours before daybreak and finish my days hunt well after dark if I have to process game. I'll admit I have been slow in the uptake of computers, resisting owning one until early 2001 when I started producing my Quail Flats Gunning Boxes. I sit here at my desk with a desk top computer and still do not to own a lap top. This is only one small way of being connected these days and anymore it has become somewhat outdated. With the advance of cell phones Blackberries, and now I-pads we have become addicted to being connected.

So much so that there are now actual "addictions" that people suffer from. Not to mention the fact that our youth are more overweight now than ever. While there have been some studies showing that certain computer games are good for then brain, I wonder just how much is to much of a good thing?

For me I am fully immersed in hunting when I am hunting. Be it laying for hours and days on end in a ground blind hunting geese or walking slowly during deer and elk season. Either way I am not interested in being connected to social trappings while I hunt. About as close as I get is having my cell phone on me for emergencies and my GPS when hunting big game. Occasionally a thought will run through my head about a blog topic or idea for a post, but that is all. Were I to actually take out my Blackberry and write a quick post I would not be hunting and I just can't seem to mix the two in the field. Hunting is hunting and blogging is blogging. For me they are two completely separate worlds requiring different skill sets, as well as mind sets.

On a hunting trip this past winter I was with a friend who had their Blackberry in the field with them. I could hear it and I found it quite other worldly to what I was doing. It made me wonder about how one spends their time waiting for their quarry to arrive. while still hunting for waterfowl. Also what about all the little things that one doesn't see or experience because of fiddling with the internet or email while being in the field?

So how many other hunters spend time on their Blackberries etc. while actually hunting? I can assure you that for me all I'll be taking in the field is my cell phone and GPS. I am interested to hear your feedback and thoughts on this subject.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Monday, April 5, 2010

LaCrosse Footwear, An Excellent Company

This past Fall while Jet and I were chasing waterfowl I was wearing my LaCrosse Women's Alphaburly boots and I began to get that cool sensation on the back of my right ankle. I thought to myself, no way can these boots be leaking. They haven't failed me in the year plus that I've been wearing them. After I got back to the cabin, I did a close inspection of my right boot and I'll be darned if there wasn't a small opening where two layers of rubber overlapped. Ummm I thought to myself. So when I got home I scuffed the area and patched it although it never did stay on for long. Even using good contact cement. So my next thought was if LaCrosse Footwear would warranty them, knowing I have had them beyond their 1 year warranty period. I emailed the company and explained the situation to them and was advised to send them in with a note stating the particulars plus return address etc. etc. About a week later I received an email from their consumer sales specialist Ryan McAndrew. He informed me they had received the boots and it was going to be a little while before they got to mine. After a couple weeks Ryan emailed me again and told me that my boots were found defective and that I was credited with a full refund to purchase another pair.

I was thrilled to hear the good news. I thanked Ryan and told him which model I was interested in and the size etc. Within a week I had my new Women's Alphaburly Sport Insulated boots with 800 grams thinsulate ultra. Yea, just in time for the late season White Fronted Goose hunt in the Klamath Basin.

I absolutely love these boots and wear them for all my waterfowl hunting when I'm not in chest high waders.( trust me I hardly ever wear my chest highs) Their customer service is second to none and Ryan was wonderful in returning my emails in a timely manner. If any of you are looking for intermediate footwear of the waterproof variety, give LaCrosse Footwear a good looking over. They come in women's sizes and have a snug ankle fit without any slop. Thanks again Ryan for all your help and wonderful customer service.

Review of Alphaburly Sport Insulated Boots

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cakes

Oh my goodness, I thought my brownie recipe was seriously rich with chocolate. This recipe goes to the next level and beyond! While visiting some of my dearest friends who spent their Spring break here at Sunriver in Central Oregon this past week, I was treated to this intoxicating chocolate espresso dessert. It does take a little time to make, yet is well worth it. Also it is a dessert that one can not eat quickly, at least not by me.

Ingredients:

3/4 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
5 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. fresh eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 dark chocolate bar finely chopped, such as Valrhona Le Noir or Green and Black's 85% cocoa

Preparation:

1. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level w/knife. Add cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, salt and sift together.

2. In a large bowl add butter and mix at med speed for 1 minute. Add both sugars and blend for approx. 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture, then fold in chocolate.

3. Divide batter evenly among 10 (4-ounce) ramekins. Arrange ramekins on a cookie sheet cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days.

4. Preheat oven to 350

5. Let ramekins stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before cooking. Place in oven uncovered for 21 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve hot immediately. The top should be cooked and appear cake like while the inside will have the consistency of pudding.

Servings 10, calories vary depending on type of dark chocolate used.

An ice cold glass of milk is a fine accompaniment to wash down this decadently rich dessert. Also if caffeine keeps you up at night, than I suggest having this wonderful dessert after a fine lunch.

My thanks and appreciation go to my friends Stephanie and Leah for sharing this recipe with me, so that I can share it with all of you. Enjoy!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity for The Hunt

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

White Fronted Goose Hunt, Pt. 2

Having spent the better part of opening week sick, I eventually regained my strength and returned for the final week of the season. Although I had not forgotten the skybusters ruining opening weekend. All I was able to do is hope they had been visited by a state game officer, informing them about shooting hours and maybe even gave them a warning or more. As of this writing I have not heard the outcome of my reporting them.

Anyhow, Dan and I agreed to meet up on Thursday and see if our luck was any better than the first week. I hunted Thursday evening and had little success while mostly trying to pattern the geese for the following days. Dan arrived late Thursday evening after a long days work and was more than ready to decompress and get some field time in. He hadn't hunted at all during the regular season and we were both excited to hunt together.

The next morning we hunkered in a small ditch next to an over grazed pasture, which was adjacent to the Klamath River where the Specs had been spending the night. We had nothing more for cover than camo netting as we waited for the geese to arrive. We spent a few hours listening to them vocalizing amongst themselves before they finally made their move. They are smart birds and have keen sight so we had to take advantage of even the slightest shot opportunities they provided. The shots were long and in the end of our first morning we each had 1 Spec to our credit. Dan was able to retrieve his from the field while mine had made it to the river and died there. It was to far out for me in my chest highs, so I drove up to the cabin and got Jet to help me. I marked the bird for her and she made a wonderful retrieve swimming out some 30 yards or so. Considering her age and fast decline in physical abilities this season, I was very proud of her effort.

After retrieving our birds, we headed for the cabin and a late brunch followed by much conversation about how and where to make our next hunt. There were about 300 to 500 Specs in the immediate area feeding in the fields for a few hours in the mornings, then returning to the river for the duration of the day. Not until after evening shooting hours did a portion of them return to the fields for a quick evening snack. So our best opportunity was the morning hunt and it took a lot of years of experience to decide just where to set up.

We opted for the number 1 field next to the river. Using the dig out excavated from my previous hunt with Jackie, we again took our positions. We had set out 6 full bodied GHG Spec decoys and with the light breeze they were moving well. As the sun began to rise the continual chatter from the Specs in the river behind us was making our hearts beat faster with each crescendo. Anticipating their taking to flight is an exercise in controlling of ones adrenaline, patience and learning the subtle nuances of their vocalizations. Ultimately being rewarded for such diligence in ways that are both unexpected and unpredictable. Once they finally decided to feed they came off the water in succession, not all at once, but in small bunches. With the sun in our eyes on the horizon we had a small flock land in our decoys. Whatever Dan and I were talking about ended abruptly and our attention was now squarely focused in front of us at 40 yards. We eased our camo netting up over the bill of our hunting caps with one hand to help shield our eyes from the blinding sun, while our other was firmly a hold of our shotgun. We are now frozen in whatever position we uttered our last words. With our hearts pounding the small flocks continued to circle our spread and eventually land. Our small set of decoys worked their magic and we were now looking at (and being looked back at) approximately 200 or more live Specs in our decoys at some 40 to 60 yards away. I was almost speechless and I whispered to Dan, what do you want to do? As we were both waiting for the other to make the first move, after a bit of quiet whispering we agreed on taking the next group that offered us a shot as they circled overhead. It wasn't long before we broke the silence and took aim skyward. The Specs in our decoys took off with great surprise and more noise than one can imagine. We had our days limit and were amazed at what we had just witnessed. Neither Dan or I had ever had that many live geese in our decoys before. It was an experience that neither of us will soon forget, if ever. Especially the handful of sentry's that kept a sharp eye on us, knowing something wasn't quite right yet not being able to clearly bust us.

We had succeeded at fooling some of waterfowls wisest birds. No doubt had we stayed silent they would have continued to land in front of us. Although we were becoming quite stiff, and even a bit cramped in the cool morning air lying on the frozen dirt face of the dike. We were all grins as we both got to standing and working the kinks out of our frozen poses. The down side were there to be one, is that we had also just educated all those geese to the subtleties of hunters.

None the less Dan and I had several great days of hunting Specs and portability was a key ingredient to our success. Just as the geese learned where not to go, we learned to better guess where they were going to go. It was about being in the right place to intercept their movements while coming off the river en route to feed. Soon Dan was on his way back home while Jet and I stayed to finish the last 3 days of the season. More of those stories to come down the road. Oh, and the skybusters were no where to be found, or heard!

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Friday, March 19, 2010

White Fronted Goose Hunt, Pt.1

I was down in Klamath for a special hunt this past February and early March. The opening weekend was a complete disappointment. Not so much due to lack of geese but other factors. My friend Jackie and I set up in a field against a dike face and had a few full body Spec decoys out. There were decent numbers of geese in the area, although with unseasonal mild temps and no snow, the geese had the entire state to go where they wanted. They were not pressured to any one area because of limiting factors such as snow covered ground, iced rivers, lack of food sources or inclement weather. We dug in our ground blinds a day before the opening with the usual optimism. I was fighting off early symptoms of a bug and doing my best to keep the upper hand.

We were in our blinds by shooting time on Saturday morning and waited patiently for the geese to make their move from the Klamath River to the fields. There was a lack of green up due to poor snow pack and less precipitation than normal years. The geese were finding food where ever they could with no real jackpot anywhere. Across the river from us there were a couple other hunters set up near the river. As the geese began giving us a look, the fellows across the way were shooting at geese well out of their range. Thus having a negative effect on all the geese in close proximity. I was beside myself with the display of poor judgement of shooting distance and the ill effects of educating the geese. Once they started shooting or what is known as skybusting, we had next to zero chances of calling in any geese to our spread. I watched as they continued to skybust and didn't see a single goose ever get knocked down. By the end of the first evening after we picked up our decoys, I continued to hear shooting well beyond legal quitting time. A healthy 20 minutes after the fact, which just added to my disgust. After we returned to the cabin I reported the location, number of hunters and associated facts to the proper authorities. Considering I wasn't feeling well they picked the wrong time and place for their display of poor ethics and disregard of game laws.

The next morning found me sick as a dog and able only to make a trip to the field to gather my gear and head home to lick my wounds. Jackie was on her way home also as work was on her itinerary. So, after a very disappointing opening weekend it took me a week to get back on my feet and entertain the thought of returning for the last week of the White Fronted Goose hunt.

Fortunately, the season ended better than it started. I'll have the conclusion in my next post in a few days. Jet even got into the action and had some proud moments.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thoughts About The Hardcore Huntress Contest and Do It Yourself Hunts

Alright, I have honestly stewed on this for quite some time now. That being The Hardcore Huntress Contest that recently took place. Let me say that by the lack of comments I've seen on blogs,(virtually zero) I don't think I'm alone with my thoughts. So much to comment on and just where to start?

I will spare you the nitpicking from every angle, instead touching on what I consider to be the more important points regarding the contest.

I will open with the basic premise of the contest name and what can be read into it or not. At first read, it hit me as depicting a woman who is dedicated in pursuing her quarry within her own means, not an outfitter guided pursuit. The majority of women hunters are not financially able to afford the luxury of guided hunts. That's why much emphasis is placed on DIY hunts and the rewards of such efforts. Not to mention that DIY are public lands and not leased or private game management areas. The work involved in packing your own gear and scouting months prior are far and above more rewarding than the other. Writing a check, mailing it in, driving or flying to where your guide is then being escorted to where you'll be able to have a shot is not the same as DIY in my book. While the majority of top ten women wrote of being guided in exotic countries in search of trophy animals, this was a very disappointing selection by the judges in my opinion. To me it was a direct reflection of the judges themselves, how could it not be? Instead of the judges choosing a woman who has never been on a guided hunt to have such an experience and may never have the financial trappings to do so, they chose mostly individuals who had been guided once if not several times. Ultimately choosing a winner who had also been on guided hunts. It was about the almighty dollar and the chosen few, not the majority. I am not saying that the women in the top ten nor the winner did not shoot straight, only that the majority were not DIY in the truest sense of hunting. Was I in the minority thinking this contest was about DIY and in being so was optimistic about entering? Perhaps, yet this contest in the end seemed to be more about deep pockets and not hunting the lower 48. There are shooters and there are hunters, I proudly fall into the latter. Obviously there are guides because it is a lucrative business and for those who are able to afford guided hunts that's great, just don't knock DIY on public lands.

Let me move on to the next bone, that being what seems to be a diss on public lands. Have we not already lost enough property to those who have deep pockets, anti hunters and the environmentalists? We must not lose sight of what Aldo Leopold, Teddy Roosevelt and others of their fabric have done to protect public lands, for the PUBLIC! Perhaps I am off the mark here although I bet there were more than a few top ten who took their trophies on leased or private lands. We need to encourage stewardship and protect our public lands for us to have a future in hunting and for the generations that follow.

Of my greatest disappointments were the fact that in every photo was a dead animal. Granted this contest was about hunting, yet I sorely missed the respect and dignity due the animal, let alone the appearance and lack of conscious moral character chosen by the contestants. In my opinion there does not need to be dead animal photos to show ones self as extreme. What it showed me was a lack of respect for the animal and more so about the conquest and ego of making a kill. Call me harsh if you like, but I have been a hunter for more than 35 years and I feel it is a hunters responsibility to ask, Why Do You Hunt and to be clear about ones intentions. To do anything other, is disrespectful to our quarry, our heritage and the future of hunting.

Lastly I will touch on the aspect of glam hunting. Is there really such a thing? Well, from the results of the contest it seems so. Considering the major sponsor being Tahoe Sports Ltd. who will be filming the winners hunt and airing it on VS, they do have a interest in what appeals to the viewing public. I just ask that there be less emphasis on eyeliner and more on hunting. I don't feel that a woman's pursuit of hunting is any different then a mans. The goals are the same, the weapons used are the same, the efforts exerted and the shots made. Other than men being physically stronger there are no other differences in the pursuit of hunting. Hunting is without gender bias until the marketing intercedes. Can you tell I'm not a fan of pink camo?

I want to suggest that perhaps the next time a Women's Hardcore Huntress contest is launched that there be clearly defined guidelines. Better yet lets have a contest for the woman hunter who saves all year or for years, to hunt in her own state with a friend on public lands doing it on their own without guides or outfitters. Gee, what a concept. I bet there'd be a lot of wonderful stories with much less bravado, more humility and respect to the animals.

Let me close by saying that I have thought plenty of times about going on a guided elk hunt, yet a part of me feels that by doing so I would be giving up instead of stepping up to the challenge. I don't want to buy a Bull Elk, I want to earn it. I will get my bull elk on my terms doing it myself when I have paid my dues the hard way and have risen to the task. For me that is what hunting is about. Here's a link to my Extreme Huntress Contest essay and what extreme hunting means to me.

Congratulations to the top ten contestants and the winner. Truly have a great hunt.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review; Eureka Centerfire Sleeping Bag




Let me start by saying that this isn't your granddad's sleeping bag! In fact this bag is so loaded with warmth and quality you'll be asking yourself why you waited so long to own one. It has now become my new favorite sleeping bag and one that my best friend Jet is a bit envious of.

On my recent trip to the Klamath Basin I used the Centerfire for 3 nights and slept great. Here are a few of my favorite things about the Eureka Centerfire 15 Degree bag.

1. The Centerfire boasts a cozy 100% soft cotton flannel that is wonderful right out of the box and the bag is very thick offering much cushioning.

2. Convenient 2 pockets with velcro closure one each on inside and outside of the bag near the top for reading glasses, flashlight or any item you need close at hand.

3. Centerfire has a separate zipper across the bottom of the bag for your feet to ventilate during warm nights, while keeping the full length side zipper wherever you need.

4. Durable cotton duck exterior with 8 point rivets add to it's durability and toughness.

There are more awesome features and having been a user of mummy bags for most of my life having cotton flannel next to my skin plus the width of a twin bed I was sleeping like a queen. There one area of concern is that of the zippers. They to my knowledge are not ykk, yet during my 3 days using the Centerfire I never had a single problem with them. So for me this bag passes with flying colors! In my opinion you can't go wrong with the Centerfire for early season camping or time at the lake. I feel you are getting your moneys worth and then some. Plus Eureka has been in business since before 1895 and you don't have staying power like that if your not doing it right!

Here is the rest of the scoop on the Eureka Centerfire Sleeping Bag.

  • For comfort, the Sip ‘n Zip aids mobility to enjoy reading or sipping while inside the sleeping bag. To use, simply unzip the abbreviated zipper on the left side of the bag.
  • The downwind foot vent can be opened for added ventilation on warm nights.
  • Design features like the full-cover cotton duck shell and 8 point rivet reinforcements enhance the durability and aesthetics of this sleeping bag.
  • The removable, integrated carry duffle bag can be stuffed and used as a pillow. Then, when ready to take down camp, just roll the bag into the duffle, secure with the internal compression straps, and zip closed.
  • Lining material: 100% yarn-dyed cotton flannel
  • Insulation: Eureka! ThermaShield
  • Zipper: Three # 8 - right, Sip 'n Zip, Downwind
  • Sip 'n Zip: dual side zipper convenience
  • Downwind foot vent: second zipper at foot
  • Full length draft tubes
  • Anti-snag webbing
  • 8 Pointer rivet reinforcements
  • Internal pocket
  • External pocket
  • Hang loops
  • Hook & loop zipper closure
  • Easy integration of carry duffle
I encourage anyone looking for a new sleeping bag to visit Eureka's site and give them a good looking over. There are many different sleeping bags to choose from plus lots of other great outdoor products.

Disclaimer; I was given a complimentary Centerfire Sleeping Bag by Eureka in exchange for a fair and impartial review.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spring Goose Hunt

I am preparing my gear for the White Fronted and Snow goose hunt in the Klamath Basin which begins on this Saturday. My friend Jackie will be hunting with me on opening day before she returns to the bay area on Sunday. A few weeks ago I wrote about when we hunted the last weekend of the regular season. This was her first time ever goose hunting and she did get her first goose, what an experience. Pt.1/Pt.2. She is once again eager and ready to get after them and has purchased a Final Approach Express ground blind and some other water fowling gear to use this time. I am relatively sure that we have a new waterfowl hunter in our midst. She is talking of next season already, this is a good sign! I too have some new items to field test, cabin test and will report my results when I return. Jet too is ready to get back in the field and enjoy some mild weather hunts. Sure hope to get her a few birds, that would be great.

The weather has been unseasonably warm and mild which I hope translates into the Northern migration having begun. This year we can harvest 2 White Fronted Geese and 4 Snow Geese per day. I have yet to shoot a Snow goose and am really curious to find out for myself if they taste as bad as I've heard. If so then perhaps thuringer is the way to go with them. I know that Specs (aka White Fronted) are the best goose out there and I am already licking my chops just thinking about getting a few of them back home. Have even bought a hundred Texas Rags for the Snow Goose decoys and am looking forward to seeing just how well they work. They are sure time consuming in their initial set up. Certainly something to do prior to the hunt.

That's all for now, will catch up next week with a hunting report and some photos. Also will let you know how the new gear and decoys work.

Otherwise I have been watching the Olympics and rooting for the home team. Sure were some wicked falls in the women's D.H., I can't watch those crashes, just hurts to damn much. Sure am happy for Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso's results. Congratulations Team U.S.A.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Inspiration, Motivation and Dedication

I am dedicating this post to Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luge athlete who was tragically killed during a training run yesterday at the Vancouver Winter Games. I am sure that most of you have heard about or seen the accident during the opening ceremonies last night. I was deeply saddened after hearing the news. I give my sincerest heartfelt condolences to his team mates, family and friends. I am glad the Georgian team has chosen to stay and participate in the games, honoring their friend Nodar. It certainly goes without saying that there has been a shadow cast over the games. Even so, in the true spirit of competition these athletes will push themselves in ways they never realized or thought possible. In fact it has already begun.

Some of you may wonder why I have chosen to write this post, when it strays seemingly quite a distance from the blog title of Women's Hunting Journal. Well, let me say that my life before I reached 30 was dedicated to becoming an Olympian. While I never did make the U.S. Ski Team that was my goal and ultimately the Olympics. I chose to to forgo much of the social life of the typical teenager for the pursuit of my passion for ski racing. For me I didn't feel as though I missed or gave up any part of being a kid while chasing my athletic dreams. That was my choice and I loved everything about it, even the not so good days. There is a satisfaction and pride within ones self that is a result of being dedicated in doing the work to attain such lofty goals. While injuries prevented me from reaching my ski racing goals the desire and passion from those years has continued to serve me well throughout my life. The basic building blocks of character which is proudly displayed on all the faces of our young Olympians is, for me a source of great pride and inspiration.

Perhaps you've noticed yourself or friends giving that extra bit of effort at work recently. Or you are working out with more enthusiasm and dedication. Well, me too and I plan to continue to draw upon the Olympics for that extra nudge to continue with more focus and attitude. Soon Spring Goose season will start and then comes Bear hunting. I am fortunate to be healthy and not nursing a torn knee ligament like last year at this time. Provided I draw a Spring Bear tag I will be eager and ready to get after it!

The percentage of individuals who can call themselves Olympians is quite small, this is why the prize is of enormous proportions. Equally are the efforts put forth by these young Olympians. You'll never find a better opportunity(in my opinion) for inspiration and motivation than watching these amazing athletes. I will be glued to the TV and other media sources during the next 16 days, especially for the Alpine Skiing events. I will also be glued to my bike on my indoor trainer as well. Enjoy the games everyone and say a prayer for the safety of the athletes, coaches, trainers and especially the family, friends and members of the Georgian Luge Team.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

Friday, February 5, 2010

35 Years In The Making, A Goose Hunt Pt. 2

After a short hunt on Thursday afternoon we had a wonderful dinner and got ready for an early start on Friday. The alarm sounded at 5:oo a.m. and we hit the floor and got the coffee started, followed by a fire in the wood cook stove. Grabbed a quick breakfast for the field and left the cabin at 6:15. We had the decoys all set out by shooting time at 7:o2 and now it was up to the geese to do their part.

We spent many hours tucked away in our ground blinds as the snow, sleet and rain squalls passed over us without any real discomfort. We had light to moderate S.S.W. winds which gave the Spec Full Body decoys, excellent eye catching movement. The weather was just fine and we were both being patient waiting for the geese to start flying. We heard several talking amongst themselves not to far away, at least as distance goes when your waiting it out. After several hours we decided to take a break and head to the cabin for lunch then come back out for the afternoon hunt. It was good to get out of our cocoons and stretch the legs a bit. We didn't stay to long in the cabin and resumed our posts by early afternoon and Jet joined us. I re arranged the decoys a bit just because that is the typical thing a hunter does if there haven't been any geese coming by. We waited and waited and waited some more. I took Jet back to the truck with an hour left of legal hunting light. She was out of patience and not enjoying being still. Then I resumed my position. It was quitting time on Friday evening and even though we never fired a shot we did see some geese flying and moving, just not in our direction. As I have observed for many, many years I knew that the geese had their own flight plans filed and were sticking to them. Trying to call them in was going to be a challenge.

Again we broke down our decoys and stashed everything against the dike. Making sure to cover the decoy heads so they didn't get rained on and frozen. That doesn't help the realism factor in the early morning hours. Rambled back to the cabin and had a wonderful dinner and got ready for our last morning hunt of the year. We decided to not leave the cabin quite as early cause the geese didn't fly til well after shooting light.

After a good nights sleep we got up and got back out there to our ground blinds and were set up before 7:30 A.M. We heard the geese chatting it up from the usual direction and we remained optimistic. I have had geese come in to my decoys in stealth mode, totally silent til all I heard was the beating of their wings as they made their final approach. That's pretty much one of those adrenaline infusions that warms you instantly from head to toe as your eyes become saucers and your heart pounds like a bass drum in your ears. drowning out every other sound. I kept telling Jackie it can happen at any moment, just be ready. Or if one decides to answer the call of mother nature, or stretch their legs, or fiddle with the decoys, these are the times that quite often the geese will point themselves in your direction.

It wasn't much later that we saw and heard a couple geese heading our way. I told Jackie to stay down and don't move. Whatever you do just don't move! There were 3 Canada Geese flying directly at our location and they weren't to terribly high either, though they were still out of range. They were vocalizing and as they came over us I gave them a short acknowledgement call and that was all. Sometimes less is more and this was certainly one of those times. They swung over us twice eyeballing every detail on the ground, making sure the decoys were legitimate and that no predators were lurking around the dike. I gave them another short call and they seemed confident in their assessment. On their third pass after they swung over the dike they began dropping in elevation and began to stretch out their landing gears while spotting their landing amongst the decoy. I could hardly believe my eyes when they began to come in for a landing. I was adrenalined up full throttle and kept telling Jackie "don't move, don't move," and as they began to back peddle with their wings and were a foot or two above the decoys I yelled, NOW! We both sprang up and let both barrels go. We had two geese on the ground cripples with broken wings. We reloaded to try and get the third, yet he had gained to much distance and managed to scathe away. I was running to catch my goose and I told Jackie to shoot again, and she made a good shot on her goose. I was able to catch up with mine and dispatch him without having to shoot again.

We were thrilled and it was only 9:00 in the morning. Unbelievable I told Jackie, that is the hardest thing to do decoying late season Canada's. She was speechless with excitement and could hardly stand it. I was amazed at how well she held tight and didn't move a muscle. Hell, it's hard for a seasoned veteran to not twitch when you've got those big geese circling your decoys. They look closer than they are because of their size and you have to wait and let them get to within real shooting range. Jackie couldn't believe how fast she was able to sit up in the ground blind and shoot and didn't even remember how she did it. That's good, nothing like be present and fully in the moment. We celebrated and I congratulated Jackie on her first goose ever and what a goose it was! A well educated late season Canada Goose. They don't come much smarter than that. We did a good job to conceal ourselves and not wiggle. Also setting up the decoys far enough away from the dike to give the real birds the illusion of safety, yet being just within range.

We got settled back in and waited for another hour or so then we headed to the cabin for lunch and to process our birds. After shooting the geese Jackie was having a challenging time of sitting still. A bad case of ants in the pants one might say. We had a fun time going back over the scenario and did so for the rest of the trip. We finished the day at 5:09 P.M. and broke our set after nothing else flying the entire afternoon. Bagged everything up and readied our gear for home. Jet was happy to see us and we had some great food all the while replaying our few moments of excitement over and over and over. I'll tell you, nothing like being with an old friend whose never shot a goose or even waterfowl hunted til 2 days before then shoots her first Honker! That's a moment I'll never forget. Congratulations Jackie, you hunted hard, were patient, a great student and shot like a seasoned veteran! Looking forward to our next hunt and thanks for the great memories.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt
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