Friday, January 20, 2012

Doubled Up

I manged to peel myself away from my temporary home for a few days to go south and see what Lowland Farms looked like. I hadn't been back since last March's Spec hunt. I must say that the primary reason for my tardy return was the poor condition of the landscape. There was hardly any natural cover left on any of the dikes making it next to impossible to hide or camouflage oneself from the sharp eyes of wary waterfowl. That is unless you happened to be a Muskrat or leech. So with expectations in check, Jet and I loaded up and headed south. At the very least we could enjoy the wide open spaces watching raptors, coyotes and Magpies. I wasn't sure if there was going to be much in the way of waterfowl present or not.

The weather was mild so far this year with an abnormally low snow pack and very little precipitation to date. I loaded all my gear just in case, as conditions can and do change rapidly when storms start to roll in. As we hit the edge of the property I was starting to feel optimistic. I was seeing a lot of vegetation and excellent cover on the dikes that were for the most part de nuded last March. Mmmm I thought to myself, this may be alright after all. I began to visualize in my mind all the ditches and places where I've found late season dabblers. The myriad of options began flooding my head as we pulled up to the cabin on top of the hill. It was late afternoon and not enough time to get a walk in so we unpacked the truck and settled into the cabin. After I put food away in the frig, turned the water on without any blown pipes(thankfully) and got a fire going in the wood cook stove, I took a good look over the fields and river with my binocs.

There were some divers in the river and nothing in the fields, no geese at all. In some ways not seeing any geese didn't bother me to much since I wasn't able to dig my ground blind out of my storage unit. It's buried deep in there, somewhere.
So we enjoyed a relaxing evening as the sun set watching the few hawks and Magpies fly the friendly skies.

I still had a couple days before the close of Pheasant season and if at all possible I wanted to get Jet on a big late season rooster. I kept an ear open for the cackle during my morning walk along the Klamath River. There was still some ice on the river in a few of the deeper bends where the main current runs wide of. I had to be selective of what I shot since Jet(now retired) was keeping the cabin warm. I don't swim well in icy water and whatever I shot had to sail onto dry land for me to retrieve. I chose to head downriver and check out Porto's point first then make a loop across the fields to another ditch. Just as I cleared the end of the ditch a pair of Mallards gained my attention with their wing beats and flush off the water. They flushed close, not far from the head gate and I was surprised to see them as I had passed them on the road paralleling the ditch. Fortunately they were feeding along the edges where the vegetation droops over the cut bank, essentially shielding us from each other. I swung to my right, shouldered my Beretta 20 ga. told myself to take my time and not rush my shot cause I may not get another for a very long time, as in next year. I got on target dropping first the hen and then the drake. I was able to retrieve both with ease and wished I had Jet with me, as those would have been perfect  retrieves for an older seasoned vet like herself. Darn I thought, so I perked my ears for that outside chance of a Pheasants cackle just for her.

I walked along the river dike listening for Whistlers and the like. I indeed heard them only problem was that they were well out over the river and off limits for me to retrieve. There were also plenty of Scaup and the usual array of Buffleheads too. So I started to loop around and cut across the fields before returning to the cabin. Maybe some more dabblers will swing over and check out the open ditches. It was getting close to noon and I never did get another shot. I arrived at the cabin and said hello to Jet and had a bite to eat. Took my waders off and relaxed a spell. The weather was starting to turn with winds and rain in the forecast. I let Jet out to stretch her legs and just about that time the wind really started to pick up. Oh boy, I said to myself this may be a good storm approaching. I processed my pair of Mallards and got the stove stoked up and just sat back and watched the storm roll in. I was content with my good fortune and so I decided to call it a day and see what tomorrow would bring.

Women's Hunting Journal  Integrity For The Hunt

1 comment:

Blessed said...

I'm sure Jet missed being out there with you - we've got a retired dog too, he simply doesn't have the stamina to stand the cold and the hunt anymore - but he sure is excited to see what comes home after a hunting trip - for a few minutes he acts like a puppy again!

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