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Sean Hunting Fishing 2014

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Sean Ducks 2014 Dec 01
Dec 1, 2014

I hunted a private pond again with Joel & Darin this day. We had planned to hunt a different pond af ...more

ter watching thousands of ducks pile into it the day before but when we went in to set up, there weren't any ducks on it & it was totally iced over. So we decided to check on the other pond since we could hear a lot of ducks chattering on it. It was loaded to the hilt but they were on the north end of the pond away from the blind. We tried to find a spot to set up on that end to no avail. We finally decided to take our chances in the blind on that pond and man, did it work out. We shot 21 greenheads in an hour & the ducks worked extremely well. Sometimes no plan works out better than the best laid plans!

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 29
Nov 29, 2014

I hunted a private pond with Darin while Joel & Tony hunted another pond from layouts. There were pl ...more

enty of ducks around but they wanted nothing to do with our set up until the snow started falling & the wind switched to the north. Joel & Tony got their 14 greenheads before the snow & wind hit at about 9:00. Darin & I only had 3 ducks before the front hit but dropped 11 more to finish the hunt at 10:45. Moving the decoys upwind seemed to help or the ducks just got more stressed & decided to play finally. A frustrating beginning ended pleasantly with decoying mallard drakes.

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Sean Geese 2014 Nov 28
Nov 28, 2014

I hunted a private winter wheat field for geese on an invite from a new friend. He had a couple budd ...more

ies along for the hunt as well. I had tried to pheasant hunt but there were too many ducks near the ponds where we duck hunt & another group was hunting geese in the other area where I typically pheasant hunt. I didn't want to disturb our duck hunt for the next day or the other group's goose hunt so took my friend up on his offer to join his goose hunt. As I was coming back from parking the truck, they worked a 4 pack of geese into the spread & got them all. We had a single come in later & I tagged him. Then we had a group of 7 geese land in the spread & we killed 6 of those. We had another group of about 40 that were just about in but the other group shot at a flock they were working & it spooked our geese. The other group shot a 6 or 7 man limit this day. That was impressive to watch and also very ironic since the field we were hunting had held all the geese on the farm the day before. Go figure!

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 23
Nov 23, 2014

I wrapped up a 10 out of the last 11 days’ worth of hunts on a pond on Sunday. The warm weather an ...more

d wind had opened up a lot of water on one of the ponds and the ducks started going into it so the timing was right to hit it. We pushed a large number of ducks off the pond when we went in to set up and they came back in decent numbers. We couldn’t seem to get the large flocks to commit so we took the smaller groups and singles/doubles that would work the decoy spread. The action was consistent and in less than 2 hours, we had taken our 35 duck limit. The wind blew consistently throughout the morning and it was overcast so a higher number of mallard hens fell than we like but the idea was to get in and get out since everybody seemed to have something going that day. Tony’s dog, Zink, handled the retrieving chores. Tony’s cousin, Mike, is battling esophageal cancer so it’s always great to see him make it out for a hunt. It was nice to finally get back on the pond after it was iced up for a week and the birds didn’t use it even though we had open water for them.
...I saw 345 ducks and geese die in the 10 hunts I did. I’ll take that kind of production any time to say the least! It’s been an incredible season so far but it could change at any time.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 22
Nov 22, 2014

We did a goose hunt on Saturday morning that turned into a bust when the wind didn’t blow like it wa ...more

s forecasted so I put together an afternoon duck hunt in the corn field again. The weather had really warmed up to this point and it was a gamble but I was banking that the wind was blowing in the area we planned to hunt and that the ducks would still be stressed enough to have to feed. I wasn’t able to get a big crew assembled for the hunt but the quality was high when my son Cody, buddy Eric and a new guy, John were able to go. The gamble paid off and we had another great hunt and one of the best pintail drake hunts I’ve even been on. We shot our 28 ducks in about an hour and took 18 mallard drakes, 3 mallard hens, 6 pintail drakes and 1 wigeon drake. Fun stuff!

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 20
Nov 20, 2014

I wasn’t planning on hunting this day after doing 7 days in a row but we got freezing rain and they ...more

cancelled school so both of my boys and a couple teacher buddies were available to go after ducks. The weather was still ideal for shooting mallards in the corn field so we took a shot at it and it worked out well when we shot 35 mallards in about an hour. It had warmed up a bit so the ducks were not as stressed and they took their time looking the decoy spread over before committing. It took a while to figure out the best way to get them and it turned out letting small groups and single/doubles land in the decoys and then taking the bigger groups as they passed over to start piling the ducks up. It was nice to hunt with my sons’ and a couple good buddies.
...I forgot my camera this time but Thor had his cell phone and I was happy with the way the pictures turned out. The file sizes are big so hopefully you don’t have any issues opening them up.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Apr 19
Nov 19, 2014

Still rolling after 7 straight days on this hunt! Wanted to run a big crew since we were sitting on ...more

so many ducks but 6 was the most I could get together. We were done by 8:30 in the morning with 42 mallards for a fast and furious shoot.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 18
Nov 18, 2014

Did a quick 45 minute hunt in the afternoon this day and then scouted for the next day with Joel. I ...more

was able to take my ideal limit this day with 2 drake pintails & 5 Mallard drakes on 7 for 7 shooting. I like what we found for the next day!



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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 17
Nov 17, 2014

Have been on a roll lately with the waterfowl. Did a 2 man field hunt with Darin this day. He just had to ruin the picture with a brown duck when we had thousands of ducks all around us!

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 16
Nov 16, 2014

I had the opportunity to hook up with the other group of guys we hunted with on Saturday to go after ...more

geese on a different field on the same farm but our group opted to do an afternoon duck hunt on a field I found that was holding about 8,000 ducks. Those guys shot their 12 honkers in short order that morning so I was hoping I made the right decision to sleep in and shoot ducks like a lazy man in the afternoon.
...While I was getting ready for the hunt, my wife was sending me texts about how well my son Cody was bowling in his tournament that morning. He ended up winning the whole tournament as an individual when he bowled a 3 game 635 series and took 2nd with his partner in doubles with a 627 series. So good vibes were flowing for the impending hunt.
...When we got to the field, as I suspected, there were already thousands of ducks in it. You would think that was a good thing but not necessarily. Live ducks in a field will pull every duck in the sky to them and you are powerless to do anything about it. Based on where the ducks were in the field, I changed my pre-destined set up location to another spot and our 5 man crew went to work leveling out dirt for the blinds, brushing blinds and setting decoys. It’s quite a chore and took about 45 minutes to accomplish. We then parked our trucks and did our best to push the ducks off of the field but they just wouldn’t leave.
...Once we got in the blinds and were ready to hunt, I let the group know my concerns that the hunt could be a total bust if the big wad of ducks stayed out in the middle of the field. But the duck gods were with us on this day as the ducks kept feeding and bouncing our direction in the field until a big wad decided our decoys were there friends and we rudely welcomed them with a 5 gun volley of shots. That lifted all the ducks from the field and the next 30 minutes was a non-stop killing spree until the 35th duck was down to make it one of, it not the fastest field hunts for that size group I’ve even been in on. We ended up with 33 mallard drakes and a mating pair of pintails. I was the lucky one to get the bull sprig as I had done the day before.
...This hunt continued a 4 day run of outstanding duck hunting with 3 more planned to go. It’s highly unusual to get this kind of cold spell this early in the season so I’m going to try to keep getting’ while the getting’ is good.

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Sean Ducks Geese 2014 Nov 15
Nov 15, 2014

With the recent cold snap in our area, the waterfowl have shown up in force and are feeding in the f ...more

ields all day so it made sense to set up for a field hunt. I located a field that was holding both ducks and geese and got a couple of guys lined up to go. The morning started off on a bizarre not when I woke up at the time I was supposed to be at the field. Apparently, someone set fire to a transmission station and it knocked out the radio channel my alarm is set to wake me up. Lesson learned there – use the buzzer instead from now on. I made the dreaded call of shame to my hunt partners and told them how to get to the field. While I was hurriedly dressing, I got a call from my hunt partner and he told me that another group had shown up to hunt the same field. The farm manager’s son who I have never met, had decided he wanted to hunt that day as well and offered for us to join together. I typically don’t like hunting with guys I don’t know but my hunt partner said they seemed like good guys so I caved in and hauled ass to the field.
...I really dig combo hunts and they are a rare treat for us when they occur. It’s always tough to hunt with guys you don’t know because of the differing opinions on what to do on decoy spreads, calling the shot, blind placements, calling the birds, etc. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to see they had set up exactly where I wanted to based on my scouting. We worked out the details of calling the shots and after a slow start with the flight, the birds started flying in force. Well, it worked out for the most part and we had a banner day of shooting honkers and quackers. We were pulling in small flocks of geese and big groups of ducks and the stack was building in a hurry until one of their guys had to bail at 9 o’clock. We sent him on with 4 geese and 7 ducks and continued our hunt until a lull hit around 10 o’clock when one of my hunt partners had to go. At that time a group decision was made to pull out on the hunt and I begrudgingly went along with it. We had planned to pull out at that time with my original group of 3 but it takes a little longer to finish out with a 7 man crew. I knew the birds would fly all day and we only needed 6 more geese and 7 ducks to finish out our 7 man limits of both species. Sure enough, as we were picking up, big groups of ducks were trying to land in our spread even with the trucks and trailers parked nearby.
...So we ended up with 42 ducks and 22 geese and that ain’t nothing to sneeze at!

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Sean Ducks Upland 2014 Nov 14
Nov 14, 2014

After shooting the ducks quickly on the pond on Thursday, we decided to go back to back days which i ...more

s not a normal practice. The ice eater was doing its job and keeping the water open in front of the blind. Unfortunately, the ducks were staying on the south end of the pond and keeping it open as well. The ducks stayed on the pond as we set up and that presented some issues with the early flights going to them instead of us so we soft lofted them off and then the action was on but it wasn’t hot and heavy by any means. This hunt turned into a grind when the ducks just didn’t fly much but we eventually got our 21 mallards to continue the streak on the ponds.
...I somehow forgot my camera when packing up the prior evening so Joel took the pictures with his camera phone.
...After the duck hunt, I ran Rocky and Jock on roosters on a recently cut corn field and the adjoining eye brow. We only found 4 roosters but I was able to kill 3 of them. All were wild flushes so I didn’t get much dog work beyond the retrieves but that’s how pheasant hunting goes at times. It was kind of surprising that the birds would be that jumpy since the pheasants hadn’t been hunted on the farm yet this year. I had been waiting for the corn to get cut so the timing was right. No pictures of the roosters since I forgot my camera and couldn’t hook up with Joel.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 13
Nov 13, 2014

We had another good hunt on ducks this morning. With the temp’s getting below freezing the last 2 ni ...more

ghts and not getting above freezing during the day, we had to put the new ice eater to the test to see if it could keep a hole open on the pond and thankfully it worked. There was snow forecast for today and we were hoping new ducks arrived with the cold front and sure enough, they did. Though they were new, they weren’t dumb and we had to deal with a lot of passes before they would commit. Most of the time, we passed the test and were able to work ducks into the hole for good shot opportunities. We had a few difficult retrieves on ducks that fell on ice that isn’t strong enough to hold a dog or human but we managed to get all of them. This was the first all mallard limit of the season as most all of the local ducks must have exited to the south. We probably could have gone all green today but the lighting conditions were poor so some brown went down. Hopefully, this is the start of more mallard shoots to come.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 09
Nov 9, 2014

Grinded out another limit of ducks on the pond yesterday. My son Cody was able to make it out. Tony’ ...more

s lab Zink did the retrieving work for us on a day that had numerous weather events. It started out warm and calm and then rained and then blew pretty good with sunshine. Our patience paid off and we had a few new mallards show up that provided some exciting decoying action at the end. The ponds our up to 259 ducks on 9 hunts so far and have produced limit shoots every time out so far. We have an Artic chill headed out way this week so our work will be cut out for us to keep the water opened up. We are hoping for some migrators to show up as we have pounded the local ducks to declining numbers and smarted them up a lot.
...I’m headed to the west side of our state tomorrow to partake in a trophy diver hunt. Very excited about this trip to say the least!

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Sean Ducks 2014 Nov 08
Nov 8, 2014

We had another good duck shoot on the pond on Saturday. Got my son Kyle out on this one and he had a ...more

great time as did all. My shorthair Jock had a cold day of retrieving but he sucked it up for the cause. I took a picture off my back porch that evening of a cool sunset.

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Sean Upland 2014 Nov 07
Nov 7, 2014

I got out last Friday and shot a limit of roosters over Jock and Rocky in Walla Walla Co. Jock saved ...more

my butt on the 1st rooster by tracking and running down a cripple after a long poke in the wheat stubble. Good to see his genetic potential finally coming through these days. Rocky actually pointed and retrieved to hand the 2nd rooster. It was a text book scenario and I hope will get him going in the right direction. The 3rd rooster was a close wild flush when I was almost back to the truck and Rocky retrieved it to hand without chomping on it! Great progress for him on this hunt. Not a lot of birds seen on this hunt but enough to finish up in 4 hours and the weather was nearly ideal at 45 degrees with a 10 mph breeze. Hope there are more days like this ahead this season.

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Sean Upland 2014 Nov 02
Nov 2, 2014

Before I get to Sunday, I tried to hunt upland locally on Saturday but it rained non-stop for 6 hour ...more

s and I just didn’t feel like dealing with it as it was a cold rain and I was going to be hunting in grass and some of the best areas were inaccessible due to the greasy mud roads. I found out how greasy they were when I was headed up a steep incline and a group of pheasants flushed off the side hill so I slowed down to watch where they landed and I couldn’t make it up the hill. It took me 20 minutes to back down the hill about 150 yards! To make it more interesting, there was a steep drop off the road on the driver’s side and the farmer didn’t even put in a guard rail – can you believe that? The pucker factor was a 9 out of 10 on that one! After surviving that situation, I decided to stick to the main roads and what would be safer than the farmer’s driveway? Well, I got in a pickle there as well when I drove to the end of it to park and wait the rain out. The road had a slight incline to it and once I hit that incline, I started to slide right towards his road grader and managed to clear it by about 6 inches! Once I got past it, I tried to get back up on the even grade and ended up spinning clear back to the direction I came in so I just stopped the truck and waited it out and debated going to talk to the farmer to let him know what an idiot I was. I really didn’t want to do that and then I had an epiphany – why not try 4 low? Thank goodness, it worked! I really didn’t feel like having that conversation and risk getting kicked off the place. And no, I didn’t cut big ruts in his driveway.
...Back to Sunday’s hunt: I ran up to Whitman Co. to hunt a private farm by myself since I didn’t decide to go there until the last minute the prior evening. I got a late start when I forgot for the 2nd year in a row that my new alarm clock automatically changes the time and I had the brilliant idea to not change my clock when I set the alarm. So I got started about an hour and a half after shooting time. I started at a creek bottom that held numerous birds last trip but this time was devoid of birds. I shot the first rooster 45 minutes into the hunt near a road ditch next to a wheat stubble field. They had got quite a bit of rain the day before as well and I’ve seen the pheasants pile in this spot to get out of the rain in the brush. The next spot I hit was an adjoining landowner’s creek bottom and 20 yards into it and about 3 hours after the first rooster, Jock went on point and I shot rooster #2 in some shoulder high canary grass. It was an eventful retrieve for Jock to say the least and I won’t bore you with the details but I was darn fortunate to get that one in the bag. I ended up shooting a couple quail out of a covey in the same general location. I moved to another spot and only ended up picking up a single quail on some hillside ditches. I ended up picking up the final rooster at another spot above a creek with less than an hour to go in shooting time with Rocky. Rocky did much better on this hunt and it seems the light is slowly coming on for him. He seems to hunt much better on his own so I’m going to continue to do that more often. Overall, it was a tough hunt. There are birds around but they were extremely wild & difficult to get close to this day but perseverance paid off with a limit of roosters.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Oct 31
Oct 31, 2014

Last Friday, I hunted a private pond with Joel and Darin. About 100 ducks lifted off of the north en ...more

d when we went in to set up on the pond & they came back in decent numbers. Rain was in the forecast but never materialized & we had very little breeze on this hunt. We worked a variety of ducks but it was much slower than prior hunts until Joel left with his 7 ducks at 9:00. Darin & I worked mallards, pintails, widgeon & an occasional teal over the next hour until Darin finished out the hunt by taking a mallard drake that came in with another after they broke out of a nice flock. We ended up taking another 5 species of ducks on this hunt. The breakdown of the 21 ducks was 10 mallards, 4 pintails, 3 shovelers, 2 widgeon and 2 GW teal. My shorthair, Jock, did a great job retrieving our ducks. We finished out the month of October on the ponds with 189 ducks taken on 7 hunts with limits taken each time out for the group. It was the best October of duck hunting since I started keeping track 9 years ago in spite of warm weather conditions.
...Since I hadn’t taken any pictures of Jock retrieving on the prior hunts, I took several on this one. I also floated my new custom painted mallard decoys since the ducks are getting tougher to finish.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Oct 26
Oct 26, 2014

On Sunday, I hooked up with Joel and several buddies to hunt ducks on his property. Since we had 6 g ...more

uys, we split up between 2 blinds. The forecast was for 40 mph winds but it ended up being about 25 mph on average. The ducks flew well and we had another good shoot when 42 ducks died in less than 2 hours. We took 4 species on this hunt and ended up with 13 mallards, 10 widgeon, 9 pintail and 10 GW teal. Even though we haven’t had any weather to move new ducks into the area, we have managed to do very well on the local ducks in this area and the property has produced 168 ducks on 6 hunts. I’ll take that kind of hunting any day but we’re looking forward to the mallards moving into the area soon. In the meantime, we’ll keep shooting what is there for the taking.

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Sean Upland 2014 Oct 24
Oct 24, 2014

Headed to Garfield Co. for a solo upland hunt last Friday. I had some new ground lined up with a lan ...more

downer that I met last week and he met up with me to show me where I could hunt. I missed out on a good duck shoot but I couldn’t flake out on this guy on the first meeting and it all worked out. This would turn out to be one of those days where every bird was earned and nothing came easy. I ran Jock and Rocky on each and every hunting spot on this day even though it would be better to keep each of them rested. I did this for 2 reasons – 1) I can’t trust Rocky to find birds on his own and they are too hard to come by as it is and 2) I’m hoping Rocky learns from Jock through enough bird contacts over time that he might eventually start finding them on his own.
...The first spot looked juicy and should have held a lot more birds than it did. I hunted for a couple of hours and moved a few pheasants including one Jock pointed but it got up before I could get in range. We hit a covey of quail that I should have done way better on than I did but between poor shooting and difficult shot opportunities along with less than desirable dog work, I only ended up with 1 quail. The next spot was better but still not as good as it should have been. We hit a covey of quail right off the bat in the CRP and once again, should have killed 3 birds but ended up with just one. Jock started nailing pheasants in the CRP and I knocked one down that flushed well ahead of his point and he did a great job of re-finding it and catching it after tracking it for about 100 yards. The same thing happened it bit later only this time the bird flushed even farther ahead and even though Rocky was right on him when he fell, he never recovered the bird and Jock could never pick up the scent to track him. There was absolutely no wind to help the dogs for scenting. Rocky actually pointed a hen pheasant a little later. Then we ran into a covey of quail in the CRP again and this time 3 birds fell on 3 shots and the dogs shared the retrieving. So that was encouraging to see Rocky actually produce.
...We moved to another location and several pheasants flushed wild ahead of us but we could only find about 5 hens when I followed them in the direction they flew. After another couple hours of hunting and not finding any huns or quail, we hit another batch of pheasants but 2 of them got out before I could get close. The third one had tried to run out over the hill and flushed when I crested it and I shot him and he fell halfway up in a tree. That was a fun retrieve, not!
...Since I was done on pheasants, I decided to hit a hun spot that has always been productive in the past but after an hour of searching we didn’t find a bird. Huns are not looking good this year to say the least. It started to drizzle rain so I took a picture of the birds I had so far and then hit one more spot where we found a covey of quail and ended up getting 3 more but I should have had a limit of quail on this day. Like I said, one of those days where it just didn’t click and I didn’t make the tough shots I needed to make.
...Overall, a pretty decent day in the uplands!

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Sean Upland 2014 Oct 19
Oct 19, 2014

I had originally planned to do another duck hunt this day but my partner bailed and he ended up doin ...more

g me a huge favor. I switched my plans and headed north to Whitman Co. to hunt pheasants by myself. The hunt got off to a fast start when less than 5 minutes into it, Rocky, yes Rocky, went on point. Well, I don’t get too excited when that happens since he is still very cautious on scent and you never know if there will still be a bird there when you get up to him. I was pleasantly surprised when I approached that a pheasant flushed but it was a hen, unfortunately, but then a rooster got up just to the left of where the hen had been and I put him down with authority. Rocky had headed after the hen and Jock was backing so Jock saw the rooster go down and got the retrieve. Another rooster flushed ahead of us after I shot but was out of range but I was happy with the quick start. We covered the rest of the piece I had picked to hunt without finding anymore birds.
...I went to the next spot and we hunted for over an hour in some awfully good cover that had held birds in the past but we didn’t see a single bird of any targeted species despite the landowner saying there was a covey of huns and a few pheasants in that location.
...It was going to be another hot day (76 degrees) like we have been cursed with during this early fall so I knew I needed to head to a spot that held water. I hit a brushy creek bottom that has always held birds in the past but on the opener last year was very disappointing so I wasn’t sure what was in store this year. 100 yards from the truck, Jock locked up looking over a drop off into the grassy creek bottom and Rocky honored. When I hit the crest of the creek bank, all hell broke loose and pheasants started flushing in all directions but everything was brown. Finally, a multi-colored bird appeared in the mayhem and I locked on him but he got behind the only tree around and I tried to shoot him through it but missed. To add to my frustration, another rooster had snuck out the left side and was now out of range. And just like that, as fast as it started, it was over. UGGGHHHH!!!!! A 10ish pheasant raise and nothing to show for it. Talk about frustrating.
...I headed east to continue to hunt the creek bottom and prayed that all the birds were stacked up in one place. My prayers were answered when more pheasants started flushing ahead of the dogs but once again all I could see was brown. Then pheasants started getting up on the other side of the creek just out of range and of course, they were the brightly colored pretty ones that I was after. They didn’t get up very high and I hoped that they had stayed on the property and I would catch them at the end of the line. When we got to that point, Jock went on point and before I could get all the way to him, a rooster flushed and got up high in a hurry but I brought him crashing down on the other side. Before I could even put my gun down, another rooster flushed in almost the same spot and took the same high angle and my shot was true again.
...And just like that, my hunt was over providing the dogs could recover them in the head high grass where they fell on the other side of the creek that was too deep to cross in that area. It’s times like this that I miss Rose as I wouldn’t have even had to say anything and she would have already been coming back with a rooster. Instead, I had to instruct Jock to cross the creek which he did but the bank was so steep on the other side that he couldn’t get out of the water to even climb it. After a few minutes of watching him swim around and not go up the other side, I remembered there was a riffle about 100 yards back to the west. So I headed to it and found it (no small task) and the dogs crossed with me and Jock found the first rooster as soon as we got in the right location. I took the rooster from him and took 2 more steps and the other one was laying right there.
...So the first pheasant hunt of the year was a success and I finished in time to spend an hour hanging out and talking with the landowner before I made the 2 hour drive back home just in time to start the Cowboys game and enjoy seeing them win again. That’s a habit I could get used to every weekend!
...In the attached pictures, you will see one called “High Cut Wheat Stubble”. This is not a normal practice but this landowner sets his combine at a higher height and leaves some seriously tall wheat stubble behind when he harvests. This gives the birds the opportunity to eat and hide from predators and is a great tool to improve the birds’ opportunity to survive through the winter. I wish all the farmers would do this!

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Sean Ducks 2014 Oct 18
Oct 18, 2014

Hooked up with Joel and Tony on a duck hunt for Saturday. We had fast and furious action for 45 minu ...more

tes until duck number 21 fell. It was a typical early season brown and it’s down type of hunt but you have to take what you get this time of year. The teal returned in force and the widgeon appeared to be new in town as they decoyed readily. Mallards were noticeably absent and there were not as many pintails around for this hunt. We ended up with 6 different species and the take consisted of 11 GW teal, 4 widgeon, 3 mallards, 1 pintail, 1 gadwall and 1 shoveler. Tony’s lab, Zink, did an outstanding job retrieving our ducks and had to make numerous multiple duck retrieves and a few difficult heavy cover recoveries.
...Based on the weather, we are weeks away from getting a mallard migration in our area but I enjoy taking the different species of ducks that this time of year offers.



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Sean Upland 2014 Oct 17
Oct 17, 2014

I headed to Garfield Co. on Friday to find some huns and quail on a solo hunt. I spent the bulk of t ...more

he morning acquiring permission slips and chasing leads with new farmers for access to new properties and had some success. During my conversation with one of the farmers, he mentioned that he acquired some new ground recently that he thought should have some huns on it so I had to check it out. Hunting new ground is always interesting but a catch – 22 because you don’t know if you’re going to discover a new gold mine or come up empty handed. You have to guess where the birds might be located without any prior knowledge of their typical hangouts.
...Turns out the new spot wasn’t a gold mine when Jock and I had hunted 2 hours without sniffing out any huns. Only a few pheasants were found but we finally hit a covey of huns and I cashed in the best I could when I tripled on the delayed covey raise. Jock did a great job of recovering all 3 of them in some pretty thick cover. I have switched to my old Beretta semi-auto this season since birds are scarce and I want to maximize my shot opportunities when I find them. We ended up re-finding the rest of the covey and I thought I tripled again but it took a few minutes to sort out what happened. A single hun flushed wild and I smoked it (lots of feathers flying on impact). Jock retrieved it and I grabbed the camera (dumb idea since I knew there should have been more birds around) to get a picture of him retrieving. When I bent down to get a good angle for a picture it caused my vest to scrunch up and activate Jock’s beeper collar. Jock responded by dropping the hun on the ground and then another hun flushed behind him so I had to drop the camera and come up to shoot a straight away and with all the craziness going on, I missed it. Then another hun flushed and went to my left and I killed it and watched it fall way down the canyon below. Another hun immediately flushed and went to my right and I was able to knock it out of the sky as well. Jock went after the hun that fell in the canyon and I walked over to pick up the initial hun he had dropped and all that was there was a pile of feathers. So I had to re-run the scenario through my head and came to the conclusion that the hun I dropped in the canyon was the bird that Jock had dropped on the initial retrieve. It must not have been near as dead as it looked on the shot and had somehow managed to launch itself into flight. It still doesn’t make sense to me even today but after several minutes of searching and not finding the bird anywhere close to where Jock dropped it, it’s my only conclusion. Oh well, it was only 10:00 a.m. so surely I would get a chance at another hun that day to fill my limit, right? Wrong! We never found another hun the rest of the day.
...Pic’s attached of the morning hun hunt.
...I headed to another spot that doesn’t hold much for huns but has a dependable covey of quail on it. We hit them almost immediately and I was only able to get one shot on the covey raise but connected. As the dogs and I followed them up, I was pleasantly surprised to get into numerous pheasants and could have shot 7 roosters while I knocked out 3 more quail on single points. Of course, pheasant season didn’t open until the next day but you can bet I will be returning to this spot soon. I didn’t mention it, but the morning hunt only produced 3 rooster finds and a couple of hens but all of them were pointed by Jock and would have been easy pickings.
...I hunted another spot to close out the day that normally holds a covey of quail but not guaranteed from hunt to hunt. I sometimes find huns on this ground as well. The cover has changed significantly on the property and I found tracks but no quail and no huns. Jock pointed 3 more roosters that I have to believe would have gone in the bag for a total of 13 roosters that could have been taken on the day. So that was a nice surprise. Hopefully, this weekend they will still be around. I did see a covey of chukar driving the roads but they were on a piece of ground that I wasn’t sure who owned. It could have been public ground but there weren’t any signs that indicated for sure so I left them alone. There were about 30 birds and only 20 yards off the road so it killed me to pass them up.
...Jock kicked ass on the day and Rocky, well, he drank a lot of water and looked damn good doing it. I left Junior home again as he has still not recovered and can’t put one of his back legs all the way on the ground. Still debating on what to do with him.


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Sean Ducks 2014 Oct 14
Oct 14, 2014

Hunting ducks in the rain is an uncommon occurrence here in E. WA unlike the west side of our state ...more

where it happens almost daily. Joel and I got out for a recent hunt and it actually rained a measurable amount for the first time in 2 – 3 months. I personally could go the rest of my life without hunting in the rain and it wouldn’t bother me a bit. Now wind I would take every time and this hunt provided both. There were not near as many ducks to work as the opening weekend but we had enough to keep us busy during the hour it took to shoot our 14 duck limit. The widgeon greeted us right off the bat as they so often do and we added a quick 3 of that species and that tided us over until the mallards, pintail and teal started flying and we mixed all those species in over the hunt. The pintails continue to surprise me with not only how many there are but how willing they are to work the spread and commit. We took 4 young pintail drakes on this hunt and that makes 3 straight hunts I’ve taken the 2 pintails allowed by the regulations. I can’t ever remember starting a season like that on sprig. There weren’t many mallards to work on this hunt but we ended up taking 3. We added 4 GW teal with all of them coming in as singles so the teal have really disappeared but that’s to be expected when you gun down 37 of them in 2 days. They are still around but they wise up and end up hitting the other numerous ponds on the property.
...My German shorthair, Jock, did a fabulous job of retrieving every bird we shot as he did on the prior 2 hunts. If he hadn’t of been with us, we would have never recovered the last duck taken when a mallard hen fell behind the blind in the cut corn. Jock ended up pointing it and had to dig it out from where it buried itself under the corn stubble. I don’t think he necessarily likes duck hunting but he sure does make efficient work of it.
...Sorry for the lack of quality photos but rain sure does limit that option.

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Sean Ducks 2014 Oct 12
Oct 12, 2014

Duck Opener: We had a great opening day of duck hunting on Saturday. There were lots of ducks on the ...more

farm and I got to share the hunt with my son, Kyle, and good friend Darin as well as his daughter, Danielle, who was duck hunting for her first time at 18 years of age. We had 6 people so we decided to split up and take separate blinds. My son, Cody, and the farmer Joel and his buddy Tony hunted a different pond near us. This year we were able to get the blinds done prior to the season opener so it made for a comfortable setup.
...Joel, Tony and Cody had the hotter pond and started off the first shooting of the morning and we had a weird initial lull as the ducks were training to the east side of the pond staying low out of the 15 – 25 mph wind we were fortunate to get that morning. With temperatures starting out in the low 60’s, the wind was a big plus to help keep the ducks moving. We finally started getting ducks to work to us and the shooting was on. The only thing missing was the killing as Kyle and I both started off shooting poorly but we eventually got our act together. Darin was holding up his end of the blind quite well. We had a mixture of species in the area and we were taking what was coming to us. Green-winged teal were making up the bulk of our opportunities with pintails filling in nicely and decoying unlike anything I’m used to with them.
...Once Darin got some ducks under his belt, he passed his gun off to Danielle and she whacked a single green-winged teal that bombed straight into the decoys for her 1st duck ever. She followed up shortly after with the most plumed out pintail drake of the day when a group of 4 back-winged into the decoys beautifully. A side note about Danielle – she didn’t have a pair of waders but she’s almost 6’ tall so I brought an extra pair of mine and they fit her perfectly. No comments necessary!
...Joel, Tony and Cody finished up with their 21 duck limit in 28 minutes and we took a little less than 2 hours with our poor shooting and working Danielle into the hunt to get our 3 man limit as well. It was a great morning of duck hunting and an awesome start to the waterfowl season. We ended up with 25 GW teal, 9 pintails, 6 mallards & 2 widgeon. Attached are some random shots from the hunt.
We had so much fun the 1st day and got in and out quickly enough that we decided to try it again on Sunday. Cody was tired from getting up early 2 mornings in a row and the Saturday hunt was too slow for Kyle (it took longer than 5 minutes) so they opted out for Sunday. So Darin & Danielle and I took the same blind from the prior day and Joel and Tony went back to their spot. Joel had rubbed it in that they finished earlier than us on Saturday so I was determined to shoot first this day and we had some ducks decoy at shooting time so we were first on the board. Darin let Danielle start off with his gun and she made quick work of her first 4 ducks before she ran out of beginner’s luck. I got to 6 ducks in a hurry with much improved shooting over the prior day and held out for a pintail or mallard drake. Darin got into the action but we hit a significant lull after several botched opportunities but a flock of mallards finally committed and Darin and I both took out a nice drake a piece to wrap up our hunt in a little over 2 hours.
...Joel and Tony waited patiently for us to finish up and I discovered why as they quietly let me sort the ducks for a picture and I noticed a banded mallard drake in their pile along with a blue-winged teal which is very rare for us in WA since they typically migrate through before we get a crack at them. That being said, it’s the 2nd year in a row we have taken a BW at this location but the prior year Cody took it during the youth season in September. 3 years ago, Cody shot a Cinnamon teal which is the only one I have ever seen taken in E. WA. The mallard drake was banded on September 13th of this year in Burbank during the McNary youth banding day so he didn’t make it long or far (less than 3 miles) from his banding location. Tony was the lucky guy on both of the distinguished ducks. The duck take consisted of 11 GW teal, 1 BW teal, 12 mallards, 3 pintails & 1 shoveler.
...So we had a great opening weekend of duck hunting. Let’s hope it continues! Sunday was my 46th birthday and I got treated to an outstanding duck hunt and then got to watch my Cowboys pull off a inconceivable win against the in state Seahawks. Not a bad way to spend a birthday. Pic’s attached.

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Sean Partridge 2014 Oct 05
Oct 5, 2014

...Partridge season opened last weekend in WA and Darin and I headed over to Asotin County to see if ...more

we could put a few in the bag. Partridge includes 2 varieties of birds in WA state – the Chukar partridge and the Hungarian partridge. Huns have become my single favorite upland bird to hunt over the years with chukar running a close 2nd. If chukar lived in more hospitable terrain for hunting, they would probably be my favorite.
...We hunted a combination of public and private ground. The hunt got off to a great start and my GSP, Jock, was able to find 5 coveys of chukar in the first 2 hours. 2 of those coveys flushed wild well out of gun range to bring back memories of last year’s opener but Jock pointed 2 of the coveys. The first covey, Darin and I both doubled and we recovered all of them so that covey was text book, exactly how you want the dog to perform and you as a shooter to perform. The second covey to accommodate a nice find by Jock should have been in serious jeopardy but I couldn’t get Darin to move in on the point to the right location since he was concerned about the blaring sun we were facing as we walked in on Jock’s point. I had great shooting and pulled another double while Darin scratched out one. The next covey I actually found on the edge of the wheat stubble and I locked up and displayed a picture perfect point but Darin was down the hill from me and never got to see my stylish display of bird finding. For some reason, the birds found my presence disturbing (note to self – work on pinning them down better next time) and flushed wild but they made the mistake of providing an easy left to right crossing shot and I wrapped up my chukar limit with another double. I yelled to Darin that they were coming his way and he cracked one of the birds with consecutive shots but it took a licking and kept on chuking until it, of course, folded up in mid-flight and fell to the deep canyon below from about 200’ up in the air. Jock was with Darin at that time and off they went to where Darin marked the bird falling. I recovered one of my birds but couldn’t find the 2nd one so I crested the hill to hopefully watch Jock find Darin’s bird far below. Of course, after 10 minutes of watching an unsuccessful recovery, I begrudgingly gave up elevation and went down to help. Within 5 minutes, Jock went on point and I knew he had found the bird. So back up the hill we went and Jock recovered my limit chukar.
...While we were burning up precious cool temperature time, another group of chukar hunters were headed our way from the opposite direction and I had a feeling they were going to get to a location where I expected to find another covey. Sure enough, a 3 gun volley from them confirmed my fear of a missed opportunity for us and fun for them. We turned back and re-covered our ground and only encountered one wild flushing covey of chukar. We did not find a single hun even though there was sign of their presence. So we ended that portion of the hunt with 10 chukar and we were off to a great start. Unfortunately, that would be the highlight of the entire weekend.
...Since Junior didn’t make the trip due to not being able to recover physically from the MT trip, I only had 2 dogs for the weekend. We had seen 2 coveys of huns the prior evening while driving the roads scouting and they were in their typical year to year locations so I put down Rocky to hopefully find them. After over an hour of searching and Rocky drinking gallons of water, not a bird one was found. Now I know huns can zig when we zag but bottom line, Rocky didn’t find them and I know they were there somewhere and this is becoming a recurring theme that I still hold hope will change soon.
...We took a 3 hour siesta due to the 80 degree temperatures and no wind conditions. We decided to focus on chukars for the late afternoon hunt in hopes Darin could pick up his 2 for a limit and hopefully run into some huns. Jock pulled his usual “I’m too tired & hot to hunt hard act” and Rocky covered lots of ground but didn’t produce a bird. Darin managed to knock a chukar out of a covey that got up behind him that the dogs somehow missed. Then I ran into a covey of huns that the dogs somehow missed and took one out of it and Darin did the same when they flew by him and that was it for 3 hours of effort to close out the 1st day.
We were at it bright and early on Sunday and I chose to focus on chukar again this day with my selection of hunting areas. The morning was even warmer than the day before and temp’s were predicted to get to the mid-80’s in a hurry so I pretty much knew it was going to be a one shot hunt so I put out both dogs. The effort and production I got from both of them didn’t end up equaling half of Rose but I’m starting to accept that things are just going to be a lot different without her to hunt behind. In fairness to the dogs, it became obvious well into our search that the chukar were not on the top of the canyons and instead hanging in the rocky cliff sections several hundred feet below. I saw a covey of 4, yes 4, huns that flushed wild ahead of us and opted not to even go after them. When we hit the section where we turn back to return to the truck, I could hear chukars sounding off in the cliff sections. I decided to go after them but Darin opted out wisely enough.
...When the dogs and I hit the area I heard the chukars, they started getting up and I knocked the closest (not really that close) flushing chukar down and Rocky bee-lined for him. As he headed for the bird, chukar started getting up all over but they were all just below the cliff where it drops several hundred feet and I didn’t have any legitimate shot opportunities. In the meantime, it looked like the chukar I knocked down got back up and sailed off the cliff to my dismay. It is quite a sight to see 30 plus chukar gliding out over a huge drop off – they make it look effortless. And of course, they land in a new spot even further down the breaks. So I dropped down several hundred feet in steep elevation and had nothing to show for it but frustration.
...I repeated this scenario about half an hour later with the same results on another covey that was heckling me from below except this time I didn’t even get a shot. Darin once again chose to stay on the hill and laugh at my stupidity. I don’t go down without a fight and I’m not used to losing so a deep hatred is starting to grow for chukar within me.
...We had one more agonizing encounter with a big covey of chukar on the walk back to the truck. Jock actually got birdy and starting tracking uphill so the excitement meter was pegging up but it quickly turned to rage as the covey flushed wild 80 yards ahead and below our location with no chance for a shot. I watched the general location below where they went and seriously considered making the 3rd drop down the hill a charm but knew I didn’t have the dog power or enough water left for them to do it. As we walked away, I could hear those chukars laughing in a chorus of chuking and I vowed a return to win the next battle. I won Day 1 clearly and decisively but they beat me just as soundly on Day 2.
...After a 3 ½ hour hunt in brutal walking conditions and soaring temp’s with beat up dogs, I did what I normally don’t and gave up and headed home with my tail between my legs. They will pay next time, they will pay.
...Update on Junior, my 10 ½ year old EP: he stoved up worse than I’ve ever seen him after the MT trip and can’t even put any weight on one of his back legs so he walks around (when he actually gets up which is only to eat & defecate) on 3 legs. He has been on pain medication for the last year and it doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with his pain level at this point so I’m seriously considering putting him down in the next week if he doesn’t come around so that is a major bummer. If it comes to that, he went out on a high as he pointed the last 2 sharp-tail to limit out on those on the trip as well as the last covey of huns that produced our limits on those as well. I’ll picture that last find on those huns on the edge of the wheat stubble in my mind forever. He’s been a damn good dog and I was lucky to get to hunt behind him all these years. Our family is going to take this hard if it comes to fruition.

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Sean Montana 2014 Late Sept
Oct 1, 2014

...Last week, I was in Montana with my good friend Darin for our annual trip for prairie birds. It w ...more

as a good trip as usual but pitted with challenges throughout the week. Our timing was poor again this year on the weather. It had snowed and was very cool prior to our visit and it had rained a significant amount before we got there. The combination of the rain and the rise in temperatures the week we were there contributed to a breakout of mosquitos that I haven’t seen since my childhood in Missouri. Since we had never encountered any issues with the annoying insects in my prior 8 years of hunting there, insect repellant was not on the pack list so we got ate alive until we finally got some midway through the trip. The first couple of days were decent weather-wise but mid-week the heat spiked into the low 90’s and broke all-time records which is not what you want when running bird dogs and walking miles of terrain that hold rattlesnakes. We encountered 4 rattlesnakes this trip which broke the record of 3 from a few years ago. We had one close call when Jr. walked within inches of a rattler, otherwise the incidents were merely excitable moments and opportunities for Darin to add to his growing button collection.
...Another challenge we had to deal with was sick dogs. Rocky, my youngest dog, went down on Wednesday night with a bad case of diarrhea for the 2nd year in a row so he was done for the rest of the week after a great first few days for him. Jock was recovering from a bite to the paw via Rocky so he was never at full speed. He & Jr. both went down with the same condition Rocky had on Friday evening but fortunately we had all our birds by that point. We have come to the conclusion that the well water we get from the house is obviously bad and causing the stomach issues for the dogs. We will plan accordingly in future years to avoid the water.
...Even with all the challenges, we were able to get our 64 huns and 32 sharptails that MT allows for a 4 day possession limit. Knowing the weather was going to heat up mid-week, we hit it hard the days the weather was conducive and backed off on the hot ones. I shot my semi-auto all week and we both took the plugs out of our guns which is allowed in MT. That is the first time I’ve ever done that in all my years of hunting but I wasn’t going to mess around and waste limited opportunities. Darin and I took several triples on coveys of huns and Darin did it once on sharptails. It turned out to be a good strategy as we didn’t encounter more coveys of huns this year but the covey sizes were much larger so we made the most of each encounter. The sharptails were available in their normal good numbers to the point we vowed to only shoot them over points.
...Overall, it was another good trip in spite of the challenges. I didn’t take a lot of pictures this time. When you visit the same places year after year, you tend to only reach for the camera when you see something new and intriguing. I wanted to capture Rocky as much as possible since he is still fairly new to this but those opportunities were limited when he got sick. He did very well the first few days I ran him and in fact, found more birds than the experienced dogs those days. Attached are some shots of the dogs at work.
...I took very few pictures of dead birds this year even though we shot 96 of them. The normal routine was to hunt in the morning before it got too hot and then go clean birds at the house and head back out in the evening and hunt until dark. The first 3 attached pic’s were on a day we were able to hunt until 2:00 and we had our 2 man limits by that point so I took advantage of getting all the day’s birds taken together. The last 3 pic’s are of Jr. and the last 2 sharptails that we needed for our full limit. The old vet gave it all he had on the last run of the trip for him and he pointed both of those birds for Darin. He also stabbed a nice covey of huns in the wheat stubble that I only managed to kill 2 out of on the flush but he was hurting after that and is still laid up in the kennel as of today. Unless he comes around by tomorrow, he will not be going on the chukar trip this weekend. There were numerous times I had to pull him out of the kennel to find dead birds the other 2 couldn’t seem to recover. He’s been a solid dog for the last 10 years and it sucks to see him near the end of his hunting days.
...I did manage to encounter a unique rock coulee when we visited a new area and have attached pic’s of the scenery. The sunsets are almost always great in MT especially with a heavy game bag!
...Last but not least are some nasty photos of dead rattlesnakes. We have gone years without seeing any when the weather is cool but this year was a little nuts on the hot days. We encountered 2 each day on the 2 hot days and were fortunate not to get any dogs bit on this trip. We ran over one in the road that I didn’t take a picture of but here are the other 3. Darin gets into killing them and cutting their rattles off. The most rattles on one was 9 and the rest all had 8. I walked very close to one and actually shot the face off of it and thought it was done for but Darin went over to get the rattles off of it and it was still alive! Jr. walked within inches of one in a road but it stayed pancaked down until Darin got close to it and it coiled up so fast that we both jumped back in disbelief. The one in the dark was a crazy scenario. We parked on a gravel road and Darin got out on his side to an immediate buzzing sound so I went hunting while he worked it out of the grass with his gun in the dark – crazy bastard! I don’t feel good about killing them but I don’t want to re-encounter any of them so we do.

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Sean Doves 2014 Sep 30
Sep 30, 2014

We wrapped up the WA dove season with 2 hunts before I left for MT. It was my 17th & 18th hunts out ...more

of the 19 days it was open to that point so I feel like I got my money’s worth this season. lol. The personal limit streak remains intact heading into next season and I saw 708 doves die in those 18 hunts. It was an improbable topper over last season and I got to share a lot of good times with different hunting partners. Pic’s attached of the last 2 hunts prior to leaving for MT.

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Sean Youth Ducks 2014 Sep 27
Sep 27, 2014

Last weekend was the youth hunt in WA so Saturday I took Kyle out to a private pond. He had a baseba ...more

ll doubleheader that started at 8:00 that morning so we were hoping to get his ducks quickly to make the game on time. Well, he took that seriously as it turned out. After messing around trying to decide on the best spot to set up and getting a 15 minute late start, we put out some decoys and I left Kyle to do his own thing. Before I got back to him from parking the truck, he shot his limit in 5 minutes with only 8 shells!
Needless to say, he made the game on time and ended up getting the best hit of the day when he crushed a triple to the CF fence. I think he had a good day….I know I did. And being Kyle, he turned down the opportunity to go hunt again the next morning. Head scratcher for me but it allowed me to get out of town early for my trip to MT.

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Sean Doves Geese 2014 Sep 14
Sep 14, 2014

The dove hunting has continued to be red hot. I went on back to back hunts in the middle of last wee ...more

k with my youngest son, Kyle and we both shot limits of doves on both outings near my house. I did not take pictures of those hunts. I took my oldest son Cody out with a buddy of his for his first ever dove hunt last Friday and they both did great and we ended up taking 3 limits of dove. Pictures attached of that hunt with the happy adolescents.
Saturday was the early goose opener and we had a bust of a hunt when the geese bounced to a new field after being in the field we chose to hunt for a couple of weeks. We landed the first flock of the day but they were outside of the decoys when they went down and we only scratched out 2 and never had any other geese work us.
When I was scouting for geese on Friday morning, I found a field that was loaded with doves. We needed a new field as we had pounded the doves in our others and were starting to see a dramatic decrease in numbers. So 4 of us hit the new field on Saturday afternoon and took out another 40 dove. My log shows we have taken 635 doves so far this season as a group which has already broke last year’s all time high of 601. Not that I’m into numbers or anything, lol. I actually took a day off yesterday from dove hunting for the first time since it started on Sept. 1st. We did not take pictures after this hunt as one of my partners had his worst shooting day ever and protracted the hunt into late for dinner timeframe. One of my partners and I killed our 10 a piece in 15 minutes so I had a long wait with a lot of laughs until it turned into disbelief and ended with urgent pleas of “get your act” together, dude! The doves and I got into his head in bad way!
On Sunday, we vowed a morning of retribution on the geese. It was a crazy start to the morning when just a couple minutes into legal shooting time, speckle belly geese flocked to our field like men do to an open bar. There had to be close to a thousand specks working the area over the first ½ hour. To those that don’t know, you can’t shoot specks during the Early goose season as the whole reason for the 2 day hunt is to target resident Canada’s to thin their numbers. We had to take drastic measures to keep the specks out of our field so when the Honks showed up, they would only have our decoys to focus on. The first group of Canada’s finally showed up and sure enough, they tried to land on the other side of our field with all the specks pumping over the field and we had no choice but to loft a round to keep them from sitting down. A little luck played out when another group of honks showed up on our side of the field and started working the spread and the initial group joined up with them and all of them dumped into our decoys and 10 stayed including a banded honk. We had numerous challenges after that from geese landing where they wanted in the field to a center pivot sprinkler slowly but surely working our way but the right flock showed up nice and low and liked what we had to offer and we each shot a honk out of that group as they back-winged over the decoys to finish the hunt. Another goose in that flock was sporting aluminum on his leg when we picked them up. So the prior day frustration was a distant memory as we packed up and headed home.
Kyle and I went out Sunday afternoon and tried to tap the well on my local spot again. I barely eked out my birds and Kyle ended up with 6 so the limit streak for the group hunts this year came to an end but I’m still hanging in there on the personal streak.

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Sean Doves 2014 Sep 07
Sep 7, 2014

We got after the doves again at the end of last week and over the weekend. A friend, John Otto came ...more

over from the west side to hunt with me Wed – Fri and we had success each outing. John asked me how many consecutive limit hunts I’ve been on for dove and I really didn’t know so I checked my log notes and had to go back to Sept. 4, 2011 to find I only shot 8 that day. Since that day, I’ve been on 43 consecutive personal limit shoots for doves – I really didn’t know the streak had been going that long. That being said, I’m guessing my next outing is doomed now that I’ve mentioned it to all of you. J
I’ve been trading off Jr. and Rocky on the dove retrieving action. Rocky bit Jock in the paw and split a pad wide open so he has been out of commission. I’m hoping it heals quickly so I can get him in shape for the upcoming MT trip at the end of this month.
The tally so far this season on doves taken on hunts I’ve been on stands at 529. That includes all the hunters in our group shoots so needless to say, we’ve been having fun and the doves have been paying the price. We’ve done our part to help the economy as well from the gas suppliers to the shell manufacturers.
More pic’s from other hunts over the weekend are attached.
...Shot this unique Eurasion collared dove on Sunday morning. I had seen it the prior afternoon and was able to get it at the end of our hunt the next morning. I’m considering getting it mounted once I determine the true uniqueness of it. The pictures didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked due to the bright sunny conditions but it was actually a tannish gray color with white splotching throughout the feathering. It definitely stood out and I was lucky to get it.
...I think I (with the help of others) might have figured out what type of dove I shot on Sunday:
http://www.natureali.org/bird_articles/ringeddove.htm
It could have been an escapee from somebody’s pen but it acted very wild and was hanging out with a Eurasian collared dove. Some of the notes below were attention getters:
...Range: Occurs sporadically throughout the continent, although reproduction is questioned throughout the range. These are the doves of the Bible. The domestic Ringed Turtle-Dove originated through selective breeding of the African Collared-Dove, S. roesogrisea from northeast Africa and Saudi Arabia. Raised as pets for over 2,000 years, they are now the most commonly kept doves in the world.
...Ringed Turtle-Doves also known as Barbary or Laughing Doves are not particularly hardy and do not survive well in the wild. Birds have been known to breed with the Eurasian Collared-Dove causing even more confusion in trying to distinguish these extremely similar species.







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Sean Doves 2014 Sep 01
Sep 1, 2014

Dove season opening.

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Sean Walleye 2014 Jul 06
Jul 6, 2014

After a week or so absence from fishing for walleye, I got out last Sunday with Eric Jones and we hi ...more

t the Boardman area. The fishing was pretty slow but we kept at it and ended up catching 12 walleye along with several bass and a nice channel catfish. I ended up catching 2 of the biggest walleye I’ve ever caught on this trip. The first one was a pretty funny scenario – Eric caught a nice channel cat in the ~6 pound range and I wanted to get a picture of it but he didn’t want to hold it. So I grabbed it and had him take a couple of pictures which he somehow managed not to do, LOL! As he was attempting to take the 2nd picture of the catfish, he told me I had a fish on my pole that was in the rod holder so I literally tossed the catfish in the water and grabbed my rod and ended up reeling in a 24” walleye that was the biggest I had caught to date at that point. Later on, we moved to and fished another spot and I decided to switch from a blade spinner to a slow death rig. It was going to be one of our last trolls of the day and we had already picked up 2 smaller walleye when I got a hit that immediately felt like a snag. A few seconds into it, I could tell it was a fish and started freaking out because I knew it was a big one and I have lost all the other big walleye I’ve hooked in the past. The fish gave me a run for my money and took multiple runs where it stripped line but I finally broke the big fish hex when Eric netted a 28”, 8 pound walleye. I was stoked to finally get a good walleye. After carefully getting a couple of pictures and weighing it, I released it back into the river to get bigger and make more baby eyes. There are a lot bigger ones than that in our river system here but I’ll take it as a best fish to date.
It wasn’t a fast and furious day of walleye fishing but we put in our time and were rewarded with some tasty fillets. The weather was nearly perfect for a day of walleye fishing, a little hotter than I prefer but overall quite nice.

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Sean Sockeye Salmon 2014 Jul 04
Jul 4, 2014

I got to enjoy a couple of good days of sockeye salmon fishing here in WA on the Columbia River over ...more

the 4th of July holiday. We are having potentially the 2nd biggest run of sockeye salmon this year after a record run 2 summers ago. For those of you that have never ate sockeye’s, they are considered arguably the best eating salmon of all. They don’t get as big as the other salmon species but man, are they tasty with their bright orange fillets.
It was a holiday for us at work last Thursday and Friday and I got an invite from Thor Ostrom and his dad to go with them on the 3rd. We met up at 3:00 a.m. which seemed crazy to me since we weren’t going hunting, just fishing. But Thor and his dad get as fired up about salmon as they do hunting and I was a guest so we sacrificed a little sleep in order to get on the fish bright and early. Well, that plan didn’t pan out so well as we arrived at the launch to gusty winds and had to wait for the wind to get to fishable conditions for about 45 minutes. Once we got on the water, it was on and the fishing was good minus a one hour lull. Thor’s dad, Karl, did a great job of keeping Thor and me in the action while dealing with a higher than normal amount of amateur boat drivers. The wind made it tough initially but finally calmed down and we had our limit of 12 sockeye with a bonus Jack King salmon by 10:00 a.m. The 2 Ostrom’s know their salmon and are a blast to fish with.
Karl headed home that afternoon and Thor invited me to go the next day on the 4th and his buddy, Mike, accompanied us. We had to deal with wind again right off the bat but it slowly but surely died down and the fishing was on fire minus another 1 hour lull. We got our 12 sockeye limit by 8:00 a.m. and another good day was in the books.

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Sean Walleye 2014 Jun 07
Jun 7, 2014

Johnny and I got out last Friday and had a good day on walleye in the Irrigon area. I got started ea ...more

rly by myself and landed a 21” eye before I Johnny got there and I picked him up at the launch and then we got 7 more before he had to head out to spend the rest of the day with his family. It was his birthday and he caught a nice gift with a 26”, 7.2 lb. walleye before he headed out. I quickly picked up 2 more and had to call it quits since I had a limit of 10 in the live well. We were pretty happy with our success on the day and were able to put some more tasty fillets in the freezer.
Darin and I went on Saturday and didn’t have near the success when we only picked up 3 by 1:00. Not sure what changed but we just couldn’t entice them to bite but there I had other buddies in the area that did quite well so I guess I still have plenty to learn on catching these finicky fish.
Overall, a good weekend, though. I picked up some Folbe rod holders on Friday after I was done fishing at High Desert Marine and Darin installed them on my boat on Saturday so I finally have rod holders in my boat. These are considered the best of the best in rod holders so hopefully they pay off in the future. I liked the feature where you can just lift the rods straight up out of the holder as opposed to some of the other brands where you have to pull the rod forward before you can lift it and they stay closed until you lift it so no accidental pole loss.

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Sean Walleye 2014 Jun 01
Jun 1, 2014

On Friday, we hit Crow Butte early and Johnny & Grant were my fishing partners that day. We took Gra ...more

nt’s boat and it produced fish for us once again. The bite was on first thing in the morning and we were whackin’ and stackin’ walleyes in the cooler in a hurry and then a light east breeze picked up and the bite died at around 10:30 and we only picked up a few more fish before we stopped at 1:15. But, we had 17 walleye, 1 keeper perch and a bluegill large enough to fillet when it was all said and done. We actually had to put back 9 other walleye that were 12” or smaller so that was unusual. Other boats had success as well as you can see in the pictures at the fish cleaning station but those that were there earliest had the best luck.
On Sunday, Cody finally made it out with me for his first fishing outing of the season and I’m glad he did as he showed me how to catch walleye that morning. We hit the Irrigon area and started fishing at about 6:30 under cool, calm conditions and Cody hooked a 23” walleye on our first troll and as soon as I netted him, the hooks popped out – lucky guy! On our next troll, I caught a 15” fish that Cody made fun of and then he caught a 21” walleye a few minutes later on the same run after missing a couple of bites prior to hooking that one. I decided I needed to switch to the blue/silver baitfish blade that he was using and it literally took me 15 minutes to get it out of the package and untangled before I got it rigged up. Talk about frustrating when you know the fishing is hot! To make matter worse, the wind came up while I was re-rigging and just like that, we couldn’t catch a walleye to save our lives once the wind started blowing. I did catch a baby sturgeon on the next drift which is very unusual – I would have bet a lot of money I had a good walleye on until I got it to the net. They are a strong fish for their size. After releasing that sturgeon, we never touched another fish for 3 hours before frustration set in and I called it quits. I know we would have caught a lot more if the wind hadn’t come up but for some reason, we couldn’t ever get the right presentation for the fish once it did. Oh well, it was a good day to get out with my son and he can now brag that he out fished his dad for once. The next time we go, I will put him back in his place in the pecking order! We ate the walleye we caught on Sunday that evening and man is that stuff delicious. Surprisingly, those 3 fish made dinner for our family of 4 and provided left-over meals for the next 2 days for lunch for me.
They re-opened spring salmon fishing on the Columbia and Snake in our area and Grant and I were going to go but the reports were pretty dismal so we opted out.

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Sean Walleye 2014 May 26
May 26, 2014

I finally got out for a day of fishing over the Memorial weekend with Johnny and Grant and we had a ...more

decent day at Crow Butte. It was a warm day with the temp’s pushing 90 degrees but the fishing didn’t quite match the heat. We had active periods where it looked like we were really going to stack them up and then times where we couldn’t get a walleye bite to save our life. We did have constant action from undersize perch and caught several catfish and even a smallmouth bass and a carp for a variety. We ended up keeping 14 walleye ranging in size from 23” to 15”. We released a few 12 – 13” walleye which was unusual as normally all the walleye I catch in that area are big enough to keep. It was Grant’s first time catching a walleye so that was cool to see and we fished out of his new boat and proved that it can produce other fish besides salmon. All in all a solid start to what I hope is a good summer of fishing ahead.
Crow Butte got a new fish cleaning station so it was nice to have that option since WA has next to no fish cleaning stations compared to OR.

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Sean Idaho Turkey 2014 May 02
May 2, 2014

Once Kyle, Darin, Cody and I had our birds in WA knocked out, it was finally time to head to Idaho f ...more

or a solo hunt. Last year was the first year I had hunted this state for turkeys and it was a good time with some challenging conditions that paid off with 2 toms in 2 days of hunting. I was hoping for a repeat performance this year. When I checked my log from last year, I noticed that I was going to be hunting a week later than last season which was a bit of a concern as the turkeys move off the private land I have access to onto National Forest land where they get educated by other hunters and they have a lot of room to roam, not to mention without drive-in access, it requires a lot of ground coverage by foot. The temperatures had risen into the 80’s during the week as I headed up on May 1st to get some scouting in for my planned hunt days of May 2nd – 4th. I had hoped to get up there early enough to find some birds but I hit a major traffic delay just outside of Spokane when an RV and a truck decided to run into each other. That cost me at least an hour and my scouting time was drastically reduced but when I arrived the Ranch hand told me there were at least 4 toms running around the property with one sporting a beard that drug the ground. I knew better than to believe all that comes from his mouth but it did provide me with some opportunistic feelings.



After some searching, I did hear some gobbling from the south side of the property and I managed to locate the roost area where the joyous sounds were emanating in spite of the low light conditions. I wasn’t intimately familiar with the woods where the tom was roosted so I knew I had my work cut out for me to get set up in the morning. I got to my parking spot early the next morning and was able to get in quietly by walking the edge of a clear cut and avoiding the numerous sticks that were in the heavily logged timber where the tom had roosted. It was reassuring to hear him be as vocal as he had been the prior evening. I picked a tree only a few steps into the woods to avoid detection and hoped it was close enough and in the direction he might consider coming when he flew out of the tree. Not being a fan of calling much when they are still in the tree, I gave a cluck and a purr and vowed not to call again until he hit the ground. I watched him pitch down in the open woods and then I hit him with some soft calling and his thunderous response gave me hope that he might dance my way. Hope turned to reality as he showed up in front of me at about 40 yards strutting his stuff. A quick glance of his perfect fan and ample beard and I cut on my mouth call and he gobbled for the last time. I checked my watch and it was 5:15 a.m. and finally a text book morning roost hunt was in the books. Roosted was roasted this time!
After waiting for the Ranch hand to get up and get dressed, he was nice enough to take pictures for me and then I was off to see what else I could find a few hours later. You’re not allowed to shoot 2 turkeys in the same day in ID so I probably should have just done something else that day but like an idiot, I went back out and “played” with the turkeys. As soon as I got to a different part of the property, I got out and heard a turkey gobble not far away at all. I cut the distance and sat down and called and a tom with about a 6 – 7” beard and a jake came in on a string and actually got to within 10 yards before they picked me out and exited the direction they came but not before gobbling again at my hen decoy as they passed it. I would end up calling this pair in again about 3 hours later. I spent the rest of the day not hearing another gobble or seeing another tom besides that one and I become suspicious of the existence of the “other 4 toms and one with the beard dragging on the ground”. Granted, it was crappy weather with the temp’s in the 80’s and the wind blowing over 20 mph but I just wasn’t seeing sign and I covered a lot of territory including the Nat. Forest ground. Long story not as long, the short bearded tom was the only one I could find the next day and I could not get him to finish all the way to a call again. I had two more encounters with him and he would gobble his head off but would not come into shotgun range. I also came to believe that this was the same gobbler that I had passed up twice last season due to his short beard so I had made this guy a pro at surviving a turkey hunter. After beating my head against the wall all day Saturday, I devised a plan to kill him on Sunday morning. He had a knack for ending up down on some flat ground first thing in the mornings including flying all the way down the hill from his roost on Saturday morning so I set up my blind and all 5 decoys in the spot I was certain he would come to on my last morning to hunt on the trip. I heard 5 turkeys fly up in the trees on Saturday evening so I was expecting to see or hear 5 turkeys fly down that final morning. The turkeys took their time with rainy conditions that morning but eventually hear they came and 2 hens landed about 3 yards in front of my blind and I knew it was on. Sure enough, here come the other 3 and they landed just to my left but out of my window of sight in the blind. I waited for the 2 hens to move away so I could peek to the left and there he was with his blood red head all cozied up with his hens at 45 yards. The hens were heading away and I had a small window of opportunity to shoot and I took it without any further investigation and down he went. I walked over to what I thought was the gobbler that had provided me with lots of excitement and frustration over the last 2 seasons and as I got closer the feeling of uhoh began to overtake my brain. Son of a…… I shot his jake buddy, a “mistake jake”, not him and I swear I could hear the tom laughing on the hill side above me. He had beat me soundly after I was so nice to let him walk away from death 4 different times in the past 2 seasons. I vowed revenge next season if he is so lucky to survive until then.
So that wrapped another great turkey season on a less than glorious note. I wanted to take another buddy out but I had run out of time with home projects stacking up, baseball season under way and a wife running out of patience with my constant weekend frolics.
I apologize for the long story but believe it or not, I left out a lot of details regarding my encounters with the loud mouth short bearded tom including some of the most bizarre moments I’ve experienced in a lot of years of chasing turkeys. Even though I didn’t get to put my tag on the tom I wanted, I left ID with some lessons learned and memories that I’ll retain and pass on for years to come to anybody willing to listen to them.

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Sean Cody Turkey 2014 Apr 25
Apr 25, 2014

My oldest son, Cody, did finally manage to get his gobblers this season. We hit Lincoln Co. on Thurs ...more

day evening, April 24th and put a couple gobblers to bed. I allowed Cody to miss school on Friday the 25th and hoped that it would pay off with a tagged tom or two. Well, when the gobblers flew down from the roost and took off with their hens that morning, we proved the old saying “roosted and roasted”. We had a lot of fun working those birds and thought we were going to pull them but no dice. We experienced almost a total lack of gobbling the rest of the day except for the occasional shock gobble and then silence when we tried to work them. I thought we were in business later in the evening when a tom worked to 75 yards but he wouldn’t commit any further even though we had 2 hen decoys right out in the open and he didn’t have any hens with him. It was mind boggling and frustrating to say the least. We did have some toms get active and tear it up on the roost on the back side of the farm that evening so we checked their position and made plans to kill them the next morning.
We arrived at our location the next morning and the toms picked up where they left off the prior evening with thunderous gobbling to greet the breaking light. Unfortunately, they were in a position where they could see a lot of open ground between them and us so I had to “settle” on a calling location that was less than ideal and had to place the decoys above and behind us on a logging road. After they flew down, we conversed for several minutes before they gave in and came our way but they took a bizarre route where they ended up going past us. Once they were out of sight, I poured on the aggressive calling and they ended up coming back and this time they were serious. When they got in range, I whispered to Cody and asked if he was on the lead bird which I was hoping to hear “yes” so I could putt and get their heads up but instead it started a 3 shot volley of misses to my disbelief. One of the toms actually ran at us and was standing at 20 yards so I grabbed a shell and handed it to Cody who loaded it in his gun but the tom spooked on the chamber slamming shut but still presented a good going away shot at about 35 yard but you guessed it, another miss! Cody and I had an animated de-brief on the series of events that had just unfolded with no real conclusion other than my belief that he flat blew it. Of course, being like his mother, he laid the blame squarely on my shoulders for asking him if he was on the bird rather than just putting.
So after almost 4 days of hunting, he finally got his opportunity and we were still at square one. The kid was really testing my reputation as a turkey guide at this point but we were both determined to get him his gobblers. On the drive to another part of the farm, one of my landowners up north called and told me that he had turkeys move back in where we had taken several in the prior weeks. I decided to see what we could find where we were at but planned to head back that way if we couldn’t get something going. After a couple hours of hunting and fruitless efforts, we were headed to Stevens Co. As soon as we got out of the truck at the spot up north, we were greeted with gobbles from the location where we had killed 3 toms already this season. But, by the time we got into the woods, the tom had moved up the hill away from us and then it started hailing and he shut up. We set the blind up and put out a couple hen decoys and decided to wait it out. Of course, true to form, within 5 minutes of being in the blind, Cody was fast asleep. We had some hens come in after an hour or so but no toms and no gobbling. Finally, after about 4 hours, I saw a turkey in the woods and a closer look with the binoculars revealed it was a tom and he had a couple hens and a jake with him. The turkeys were working our direction so I woke Cody up (which led to groins and slobber/eye wiping) and let him know he was going to need to get down on one knee to be able to shoot at the angle the tom was coming. When he went to stand up to move, he started moaning in pain so naturally I freaked out and asked him what the hell his problem was so he informed me he had a Charlie horse in his leg. I told him to figure it out and quickly in a not so polite manner. Thankfully, he worked through it and I told him I was going to putt to stop the tom who had worked close enough for a shot but did he wait? Oh no, he shot right away and all I could see was a cedar fence stay snap in half and bounce right in front of the tom but somehow, thank the lord, the tom went down on the shot. I was in disbelief that once again he had shot so fast but all the frustrated feelings vanished when I walked up and saw the beard and spurs on the thrashing tom. Cody had shot the boss of the woods that sported an 11” beard and 1 ¼” spurs!
We stuck it out for the rest of the afternoon and saw several more hens and jakes but no gobblers. We heard turkeys fly up to roost but no gobbling so I was in a quandary about what to do for the next morning.

As I mentioned in the first report, I was unsure what to do for the next morning on the drive home after Saturday’s hunt. Divine intervention happened again it seemed when I got a phone call from another landowner that I had called earlier in the week but who had not returned my call prior to heading out for the weekend hunts. Once again, this landowner told me that she had several toms hanging out on the property in the morning and evenings so Cody and I ran by and set up another blind in the dark in what I hoped was a good location for shot at a tom on Sunday morning. We got into the blind very early and right before we got in, a tom sounded off very close to our location. He was so close that I knew I couldn’t chance putting out any decoys. Once again, Cody quickly went to sleep in spite of the fact we had a tom within 80 yards and several hens even closer. Normally, the toms will fly down and strut for the ladies but not this one. He waited for the hens to fly down and one he had several on the ground, he joined them but not in shooting range. My calls had no effect on him as he pranced for the real hens all around him. A couple of hens appreciated my efforts, though as they landed less than 5 yards in front of the blind. So we were amongst turkeys but I wasn’t sure if and when we would be able to get the tom in range. I heard a gobble at some point while this was going on and assumed it was the tom on the ground to our right but when I asked Cody where he thought it came from, he assured me it came from our right. So I watched that side more intently and sure enough within a couple of minutes, I saw a red head just over a crest to our right. I told Cody to get ready and when he appeared, it was a nice tom. This time Cody had to get down on a knee to shoot out of the left side of the blind and no Charlie horse this time, thankfully. As the bird worked closer, I told Cody to wait this time for me to putt and this time he did. And with a putt, the tom threw his head up and Cody unleashed the Benelli and his season was over with another very nice tom that had a 9 ½” bead.
We quickly took pictures as we knew rain was on the way. It had drizzled a little bit already but we had no idea that it was going to dump snow. And man, did it snow which provided a unique ending to a quick morning hunt. What seemed liked forever for him to get his first bird down this season sure ended quickly once it all came together. Some fateful phone calls sure didn’t hurt to put us in the right locations, either. I was sure looking forward to catching up on some sleep at that point in the season but I had a trip to ID planned for the next weekend. Cody sure didn’t miss out on any sleep, though!


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Sean Turkey 2014 Apr 19
Apr 19, 2014

Cody and Darin showed up late Friday afternoon and we didn’t have enough time to really hunt but put ...more

the birds to bed in the same roost location as the night before. I left the blind in the same spot I had hunted that morning and the plan was to get Cody in it with me and see if we could pull off the same thing 2 days in a row. I wanted Darin to go to another spot I can hunt so we would know what we had over there and I was confident he could kill a tom over there, but he was hesitant about it since he didn’t know the area. I gave him the option of setting up in a cattle woods/pasture next to us about 250 yards away and he decided to take that option. Smart choice on his part as the bulk of the turkeys ended up in his neck of the woods. We had 7 jakes come into us and put on a show and we got a kick out of a few of them trying to mount my decoys. They eventually moved on and a short while later we heard Darin shoot. So once I saw him pick up a turkey and head back to his blind, I headed over to get some pictures and the story. Apparently, he was surrounded by turkeys – he had 5 toms, 11 jakes and ~30 hens all around his blind and picked out the best tom in range and put him down for the count to finish out his season at 9:20 a.m. The tom was a 2 y.o. with an 8” beard and nubs for spurs.
I worked my tail off the rest of the weekend for Cody and though we had 2 close calls that a more experienced hunter might have capitalized on, in the end, he went home without filing a tag but acquired some really cool moments with the turkeys and we shared some precious time together. We’re going to see if we can get him on some gobblers this weekend. I’m afraid a jake may bite the dust this weekend if he has any say in it but I will still keep trying to talk him out of it.\I was happy with how the pictures turned out of Darin and his tom. Please let me know which one you like the best on this series as well. I have them in order of my preference at this point. I took a couple pic’s of the taxidermist decoys I have while Cody and I were in the blind waiting for some action.

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Sean Turkey 2014 Apr 18
Apr 18, 2014

After heading back to work and trying to concentrate for 3 days straight, I got to go after the turk ...more

eys again and solo this time. Turkey hunting is the one type of hunting that I really prefer to do alone. There’s nobody second guessing your decisions, you can get around much quieter and you can really focus on killing a big tom. I hauled butt almost 3 hours north after work last Thursday through a pouring rain and it was still lightly raining when I got to my hunting spot. I didn’t have time to hunt but heard a few hens and one tom gobble on the roost so I set the blind almost in the same spot that Kyle killed his 1st gobbler on the Youth hunt, I just faced it the other direction for birds coming off the roost.
The next morning, I quietly got in the blind and heard the 1st gobble at 4:50 a.m. The roost talk was something to behold between the hens yelping and multiple toms and jakes sounding off. With the rain overnight and the dark clouds still in the area, the turkeys took their time coming off the roost and moving away from the sleeping spot. Finally, I spotted some turkeys that turned out to be jakes coming down the hill in my direction. Then I saw a couple of mature strutters behind them so I started calling with my slate. They liked what they heard and picked up the pace towards me. All of a sudden, I had hens flying down and landing right with my decoys that I had placed in the clearing in front of me. One of them started calling aggressively and the action was turned up to insanity. The jakes and 2 toms came running in and bowed up for the ladies. I looked them both over closely and was a little hesitant when they both turned out to by 2 y.o. birds with average beards but the wind was forecast to blow hard all day and I had Cody and Darin coming that afternoon with their 3 tags to fill so I picked out the better beard of the 2 and busted out a loud putt and yelp series and when he came out of strut, I ended his last dance at 20 yards. He had an 8” beard to go along with one bloody head as the Beretta and Winchester 3 1/2” #5’s were a lethal combination. TOD of was 6:20 a.m. and the hunt packed a lot of action in the hour and a half I was at it.
I drank my coffee while the other birds moved off and as soon as I could get out of there quietly, I did so to hopefully let the woods rest for Cody and Darin. Good plan but somebody else ruined it when I was talking to the farmer about an hour later and a single shot rang out above where I had been hunting. Someone else had come in and shot into the birds as well and little did I know at the time but my work was cut out for me to get Cody his birds over the weekend.
The farmer’s wife took some pictures of me with my tom but they are not going to be high enough quality to put in the photo contest. Not her fault, between the rain, the amount of blood and time between kill and picture taking, it just wasn’t meant to be.

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Sean Turkey Opening 2014 Apr 15
Apr 15, 2014

Well, the opening day of the regular WA turkey season was last Tuesday and Darin and I headed north ...more

to see what we could do with the gobblers. We watched 3 toms roost with numerous hens on Monday night and then set the blind on the edge of a cow pasture that they frequent with regularity. The birds flew off the roost and didn’t head our way but we were patient and finally one of the toms got pushed out from the group by the 2 other toms and I knew he was ripe for some alternative action. I hit him with the slate call and he gobbled and strutted but I don’t think he could see our decoys from the angle he was at and he played the come to him game. After a few minutes of a standoff, I broke out the mouth call and got more aggressive and all the toms fired up and the lone gobbler started making his way with more intensity. We were hoping to double up but it became obvious that the one tom was going to get to us before the other two so I told Darin to shoot him when he got to 30 yards and he laid the gobbler out that sported a 9” beard and nubs for spurs that I believe was a 2 y.o. bird. He shot him at 6:45 a.m. so we had been near these birds for over an hour and a half before we got the opportunity to shoot one.
The shot caused the group of hens to bolt and head out of the pasture area and up to the wooded area of the property. We looped around and tried to get in front of the hens and 2 toms but couldn’t find them and they weren’t gobbling at all. We got to a point where there were 2 canyons that they could have taken so I had Darin take one and I took one and I told Darin to keep his radio on and we would touch base if either one of us found the birds. I hit the coyote howler after several minutes and got a gobble in response. I tried to reach Darin on the radio but he didn’t respond so after several attempts, I decided to go after them on my own. As I approached the proximity of where I heard the gobble, I hit the howler again and got a gobbler in response that was pretty close (less than 100 yds.) so I held my ground. About that time, I saw a hen start climbing a rock ledge in front of me at about 90 yards and then the rest of the group did the same with the 2 toms bringing up the rear. I let them get up over the hill and out of sight and made my move to get on the same level as them. I used a berm to stay out of their vision and gave a soft series of yelps with my mouth call but all was quiet. I had a feeling they were close, hence the quiet call, so I peered over the berm and could see the gobblers were closer to me than the hens and felt like this was as close as I was going to get so I lowered the boom no the closest tom and dropped him and turned to the other who was now hightailing it but I missed with my next shot. I suspected that he managed to put enough distance between me coupled with the fact that he was running which caused the miss. In hindsight, I was fine with that as I didn’t really want my season to be over with that hunt particular hunt scenario. I paced off the shot at 43 yards and picked up my tom that had a 9” beard and ¾” spurs that I believe was a 3 y.o. bird. My watch revealed the time as 9:20 a.m. The other tom was a twin to him.
Darin had finally turned on his radio after he heard my shots. I had him drive the truck back to where I was at and we took pictures in the howling wind, cleaned our turkeys and ate a snack which took at least an hour. Since I hadn’t heard a gobble in our proximity the whole time we did our tasks, I decided to drive to the back end of the property. I had a hunch the birds would be down in a particular valley though I hadn’t seen or heard a bird in that area prior to the regular season. 80 yards from the truck, I spotted 2 mature strutters in the valley with some hens. We set up next to a dirt road that led from our location to theirs but they opted to stay with the real thing. After they moved off, we decided to get up on the same level they had climbed to and spotted a different tom strutting a couple hundred yards away. We closed the distance in the direction he was headed and I was sure he had hens with him so I opted not to call until I could determine where they had moved. We were on a sage brush flat and I eventually spotted a hen that had walked into our line of sight at about 60 yards. Then another hen and another and I told Darin to be ready because I knew the tom would show eventually. Sure enough, he strutted into view at about 55 yards and Darin felt he was too far for a shot so I hit him with a series of yelps from my mouth call and he started to strut our way. I poured it on and he came closer but we were exposed in our position somewhat so I didn’t want him or any hens to bust us and told Darin he was close enough to shoot if he felt comfortable. Darin pulled the trigger and the gobbler ran off unscathed. I marked off the shot at ~45 yards. Not a give me shot but one he has made in the past. It turns out, he has changed shells since the prior times he has connected at that distance and I have to believe that was the difference maker. The miss occurred at about 2:30 p.m.
We loaded up and headed back to the front side of the farm and just couldn’t locate any turkeys the rest of the afternoon so I decided to set up on the roost spot from the morning in hopes at least the one surviving gobbler would return but all we got to show up was 9 jakes that absolutely loved us so I got some good video footage of dumb, young male birds gobbling and rubbing up against the decoys. It was a good day and we could have finished our WA season on the opening day but who wants to do that?
I’ve attached the pictures that just didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped with the strong winds. Please provide your opinion on which one of the pictures of me you think is the best as I intend to enter the best one in a photo contest. I have them in the order I think is best but I got different input on Kyle’s pictures and I agreed with those opinions.

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Sean Youth Turkey 2014 Apr 06
Apr 6, 2014

OPENING Day, Gobbler One: We had another good opening youth day hunt this season. Since Cody is now ...more

16, I just had Kyle to take this year. Kyle scored on 2 nice gobblers on Saturday but he had to put in his time to get them. After scouting our spot in Lincoln Co. and only finding 2 mature toms with 7 jakes harassing the heck out of them, I opted to go further north for his hunt. Just 3 weeks ago, there were 11 mature long beards on the Lincoln Co. spot so the birds definitely spread out and with very little gobbling going on, I didn’t feel good about being able to find them with only 1 day to scout and a big area to cover to find them. The decision worked out but it wasn’t apparent that it would through the first part of the opening day.
I took Kyle to a spot that was loaded with turkeys with several mature gobblers on it. We put the birds to bed and set up the blind on a woven fence line that had an opening in the fence where the birds come through to access a pasture from the woods just below the roost area. You might call it a “funnel” though that is more of a deer hunting term but it is functional with turkeys as well since their pea brain can’t fathom how to flap their wings once or twice to hop over a fence (unless of course they are spooked and then they’ll do it in a heartbeat). We got to the blind a little later than I would have liked on opening morning and the amount and number of toms gobbling ranked up there with the most I’ve ever heard. By the time I got the decoys (2 hens only) put out and my calls ready to go, it was fly down time and we had gobblers headed our way. I made some calls on the slate and before you knew it, there were 6 toms within 60 yards of the front of the blind. But, they wouldn’t come any closer and just went back and forth strutting and gobbling and then fighting with each other. It was a good show while it lasted and then the hens started flying down and led the toms to an adjoining wooded area where the cows hang out and they proceeded to stay there all morning long. We had some hens come by periodically but no gobblers in the first 2 hours so Kyle wanted to go run and gun against my instincts. The wooded areas on this property have been heavily logged and beat down by cattle so you can see about 200 yards at times which makes running and gunning very difficult.
We ended up flanking the turkeys and got out in front of some birds and had a close call with one tom but he wouldn’t leave his hens to come the additional 30 yards we needed for a shot. I decided it would be better to get back to the blind and play the patience game since I knew it was set up in the main corridor of turkey activity. As we were getting close to the blind, I saw what looked like a turkey in full strut and when I glassed the area and flipped Kyle crap for not being patient. Upon further inspection with the binoculars, I determined it was a hen strutting and beating up my hen DSD decoy. So we moved in on that scene and I found my taxidermy hen decoy lying on the ground with the plastic stake broke in half and my DSD drove all the way down to the ground and pushed past the rubber stoppers, which takes some force to accomplish. Lesson learned - don’t leave your decoys out even if you are the only one hunting a particular property.
So we jumped back in the blind and tried to make something happen as we could see turkeys all over in the adjoining woods area. We finally got a 6 pack of hens to come over and hang out with the DSD hen and carry on an excited conversation which pulled 3 toms our direction. For some reason, they hung up at 55 yards just on the other side of the fence and didn’t close the deal and the hens joined up with them and off they went where they came from initially. At noon, we were both hungry and even though there were still turkeys in the area, we went back to the truck and ate. We hadn’t heard a gobble in several hours at this point. I called another farmer while at the truck that lived just down the road to see if we could come over later in the afternoon to hunt and I got confirmation that we were welcome to hunt. But, I still had faith in our current spot so we headed back to the blind and I decided to move it about 80 yards further into the woods and next to the fence line. I told Kyle to settle in because we were going to give it at least 2 hours of effort in this new location. Well, after seeing a few toms roaming the woods but ignoring my calls, we were approaching the end of the time frame I had planned to hunt this spot. I saw 5 toms headed our direction but decided not to call unless they got reasonably close to us. Three of the toms stopped and fed but two of them kept coming our way and then they also became intent on feeding at about 70 yards out. I gave a few clucks and purrs on the slate and one of them popped his head up. I gave another series of clucks and purrs and he turned and headed our way but without a sense of urgency. He dialed in on the DSD hen and then went into strut and slowly but surely danced his way to us. He never gobbled and never really got fired up but he closed to 30 yards and I clucked him out of strut and Kyle laid him out with the 12 gauge Benelli, which is the first time he has used that gun on a turkey. The tom was a classic 2 year old bird with an 8.5” beard and I estimated his weight at 19 lbs. He had one spur that was only about ¼” and no spur on the other leg which was very unusual.
So patience paid off and Kyle had one tom down and one to go. We packed up and headed to the other spot but we only had a couple hours of hunting time left to go.
Attached are the pictures. If you’re still reading this and haven’t fallen asleep, please tell me which picture you think is the best. I usually submit them to Sportsman’s Warehouse for their annual turkey picture contest. Kyle won 2nd place last year. I prefer the Pose 1 picture but would like each of your input.

Gobbler Two: We scrambled to get set up at the new farm in case there were some hot gobblers in the area but this hunt would turn into a patience game as well. I knew this property pretty well after the boys had hunted it the prior 2 seasons and opted to set up the blind near the roost location but it’s always a little tricky picking just the right spot. Well, sometimes you get lucky and find the X and this time was one of those times. About an hour into the hunt, I saw a flock of turkeys with several hens, a few jakes and 2 mature toms cruising the pasture behind us about 150 yards but no amount of pleading from my calls could get them to come our way. So after a couple of hours of relatively uneventful hunting, I heard some yelping and looked through the back window of the blind and saw some hens headed our way. I figured this was the same group I saw earlier and expected the 2 toms to be in tow.
What happened in the next 10 minutes would go down as one of the more exciting turkey hunts I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on quite a few good ones. There was a big mound of cow dung and dirt about 70 yards behind us and when I say big, I mean like 20 foot tall. Not much longer after I saw the hens headed our way, I started hearing fighting purrs and peered back through the window again to see 25 jakes playing King of the Hill. They were purring, strutting, gobbling and fighting on top of the mound and turkeys getting knocked all over the place. I should have grabbed my camera at that point but I knew we had turkeys moving in on us at any second and just didn’t want to chance getting busted and blowing Kyle’s chance. Well, the jakes finally got tired of playing on the Dung Mound and came on a run to the DSD hen decoy I had 10 yards in front of the blind. So now we had 25 jakes strutting and fighting right in front of the blind and it’s pretty amazing to have turkeys that close and they not have a clue you are there. Then the hens starting piling in on us from our right side and there were about 25 of them. At that point, I’m starting to panic a little that the toms decided to move off and roost elsewhere until I finally spotted 2 strutters off to our right as well. I let Kyle know to be ready and hoped they would come our way. One of the toms did just that and strutted towards us until Kyle could finally see him from his angle. Now, how was he going to get a shot with 40 – 50 turkeys all piled up in front of us? Well, luck continued to be on his side as the jakes parted like the Red Sea when this old boy showed up and strutted his stuff. Kyle slowly mounted his gun (which we never could have pulled off in the wide open location without the blind) and put the bead on the gobbler and I think he saw the movement as he came slightly out of strut and there was an instant where no other turkeys were in line and I gave Kyle the go ahead to shoot and his aim was true at 25 yards and his Youth season was in the books. One last crazy scenario: when he shot this tom, there was a big drop off just below the bird and I didn’t want to chase a flopping turkey all the way down the hill so I came rushing out of the blind to go get him and none of the other turkeys had really taken off with the shot (they were truly clueless) so I literally had turkeys at 5 yards running around, putting and flying when I came out of the blind. It was pure mayhem but I loved it! Not your everyday turkey hunt. J
This was his 9th turkey killed in the past 5 youth seasons and 4 years in a row of doubling up on big toms in 2 days or less. And it ended up being one of his biggest toms to date as it sported a 9.5” beard with 1 3/16” hooks (they were sharp for a WA bird) and I estimated his weight to be 22 #’s. The only negative aspect of this hunt was the lighting left for pictures. By the time I made sure this turkey had expired, there wasn’t much light to work with. I must have taken 15 or more trying to get a decent picture and Kyle was forcing a smile at the end with my insistence of getting it to work. It didn’t but like he said, we have tons of pictures of him with turkeys so as long as he wasn’t upset about it, why should I be?
Hope you enjoyed the reports. Some scouting pics are included. Pass along stories and pictures of yours if you got your kids out, please.

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