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Sean Hunting Fishing 2008 2009

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Sean Upland 2009 Dec 28
Dec 28, 2009

For those of you that I talk to on a consistent basis know what a tough year it has been in the upla ...more

nds. I haven’t been as consistent about sending out updates this season in part due to burnout and lack of time but mostly because the hunts haven’t been exciting enough to pass along. That being said, I snapped a few photos this past week of a few birds taken in the snow which was fun to be able to run the dogs in since we don’t get snow that often around here. It’s been a tough year overall in the uplands mostly due to my lack of initiative to find some new places to hunt. I’m down to only being able to hunt 4 farms in the Walla Walla area where in the past I had a dozen productive spots to hunt. I predicted this would happen 3 years ago and it’s playing out just as I had suspected. The future is in Whitman Co. which requires a good 2 hour drive and the willingness to take a chance on knocking on doors to find new spots to hunt. With my 2 boys desire to hunt waterfowl over upland at this stage, it has made it tough to make that trek and spread the hunting out. Anyway, I’m still getting a few birds here and there but it’s nothing like I became accustomed to over the last dozen years. My GSP pup that is in his second season has not had anywhere near the bird contacts that my prior dogs had at that age. That bothers me much more than how many fewer birds I’ve put in the freezer. Attached a few pic’s of birds in the snow. Sorry no dog pic’s due to very spooky birds. The dogs did point quite a few hen pheasants in the snow which bodes well for a potential comeback next spring but the hunting is never going to be what it was in that area. Sorry for the doom and gloom, but it is what it is.

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Sean Waterfowl 2009 Dec 29
Dec 29, 2009

The waterfowl report isn’t much different from the upland report – very inconsistent. A few really g ...more

ood hunts mixed in with some average and some downright poor hunts. The ducks and geese have been tough to pattern. It seems like every once in awhile we either get new birds in or the weather changes dramatically enough to move birds around and the hunting is good, but it doesn’t last long and tough conditions prevail again. Unless the month of January changes the current cycle, this will go down as the least productive duck season I’ve ever experienced. I did enjoy a few good hunts in the corn over the holiday break, but locating a good, consistent corn field has been elusive. The goose hunting has been the best I’ve experienced for a season but this is the first year I’ve ever targeted them and I’ve had the good fortune of being invited on some good hunts with friends. I’m looking forward to returning the favor to those friends when the ground I have access to picks back up. One highlight of a recent corn field hunt for ducks was the opportunity to harvest a primo drake pintail. I snapped a photo of him and have attached. We had a good hunt in the corn that day. The most disappointing aspect of the slow waterfowl hunting is the lack of good hunts that I’ve been able to get my boys out on. But, yesterday we had a fun and successful outing. I’ve attached some photos from the hunt. Several of the geese taken were really big honks that came in feet down right in the decoy spread.

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Sean Quail 2009 Dec 20
Dec 20, 2009

I got out recently for an upland hunt. I have been concentrating on the waterfowl more recently and ...more

knew I needed to get the dogs out for a hunt. Pheasants were the game plan, but it quickly turned into a quail hunt. It was truly an amazing day of dog work with lots of action in a short amount of time. The dogs did a lot of this on the hunt: (Pic’s attached) My partner had to ruin a perfectly good quail hunt by shooting one of these loud flushing, gaudy looking birds: (Pic attached) A close inspection revealed a battle ready veteran whose time and luck ran out: (Pic attached. It’s not often we concentrate on the quail, but this was one of those days and we chose to take what mother nature offered up. Here’s the un-tailgate shot with the stars of the hunt and a clear division of each hunters valley quail limits: (Pic attached) I think I’ve made the mistake of ignoring how much fun these birds can be in the past. Not anymore. They filled the void nicely and were the perfect option on a sunny, warm December day.

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S.D. Pheasants 2009 Dec
Dec 16, 2009

South Dakota pheasants. Pics taken by Sean's cousin during a hunting trip.

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Sean Geese 2009 Dec 06
Dec 6, 2009

I was fortunate to get an invite to share a pit with Craig Riche and his son Kyle and some of his fr ...more

iends/relatives. Like an idiot, I almost passed it up since my boys weren't able to go due to their friends staying overnight. I've been looking forward to the corn fields heating up and felt like today would be the day they had to hit the fields with the weather what it was. After 70 miles of driving and a duckless sky, I was thinking that invite was the way to go. At least the pit would be warm and out of the wind. Man, did it turn out to be so much more than a warm place to hang out. I have so much to learn about goose hunting and what a guy to learn from - Riche knows geese. But, not only does he know geese, but he knows how to have a good time while hunting them. The camaraderie in the pit was so laid back and fun, it was as if killing geese was secondary. That was just as big of a lesson as the tactics use to kill geese today. Enough of my gibberish, I'm going to try to hit the highlights with photos. This is Kyle Riche, Craig's 10 year old son that is way beyond his years in goose hunting and shooting skills: (Pic attached) Kyle was our bird dog as well, rushing from the blind to run down geese and bring them back. Here he is retrieving one when the sun peeked out: (Pic attached) One of the geese we shot had some unique speckling on his head: (Pic attached) We hunted over stuffers because they were the only decoys we could get to stay up with the 25+ mph northeast winds. Even then, frequent trips were made to fix fallen decoys. Craig went with a small spread, not by choice but because those were the best ones to keep standing up. He said he hadn't used them in about 3 years so that tells you how unique the weather was today. Here's the view of the spread from the pit: (Pic attached) We had another 10 year old in the pit, Bradley, that wasn't shooting but sure was taking in the fun and action. He helped Kyle with the retrieving chores and I snapped this shot of both of them: (Pic attached) I mentioned the fun in the blind - good food and good stories were passed around in between working flocks of geese. Here's the crew hanging in the pit: (Pic attached) It's pretty obvious Craig and Kyle have a great relationship. Here's a shot of father and son bonding in the pit: (Pic attached) Like father, like son here: (Pic attached) In between all the fun in the pit, we managed to enjoy a good goose shoot as well as evidenced here: (Pic attached) Here's the gang with the birds from the side: (Pic attached) And a shot from the front of the pit: (Pic attached)

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Sean Ducks 2009 Dec 05
Dec 5, 2009

Cody had the #5 pick at McNary Refuge for the Youth Hunt on Saturday and I had been watching the duc ...more

ks and a few geese hit the corn fields so I decided rather than having the boys standing the cold water for hours on end, we would do a field hunt in one of the pits. Well, it just didn’t work the way I had hoped it would and we blew a few opportunities at geese but the boys had a good time and we got to spend some quality time together. Setting up for an hour and a half and then doing it again to pack up was quite a chore since we were limited to 3 people on the hunt. Adults are not allowed to shoot on this hunt so it was all up to the boys. The ducks just never came to the field like I had seen them doing in days prior, but we did get a single mallard drake to come into the goose decoys and Kyle knocked out of there. Then we had 2 drakes come in with the duck decoys and Kyle shot one of those as well. Cody held off shooting because they were on Kyle’s side of the pit. He could have shot safely so we went over how to properly shoot at an overhead duck in the pit. I was glad to see him choose the safe option over killing the duck, though. The weather didn’t end up being anything like the forecast had predicted so we pulled the plug on the hunt at 11:30. Here’s a few pic’s of the boys from the hunt: Cody and Kyle chilling in the pit waiting for the birds to show up. It was rarely this calm as the 2 chattered up a storm the whole morning when I could keep them in the pit. Most of the time they were out of the pit playing sword fighting with corn stalks or wrestling in the corn. (Pic attached) Kyle with Drake #1: (Pic attached) And in case you couldn’t guess how many ducks Kyle shot, the picture will clear it up for you: (Pic attached) He was quite proud that he outshot his older brother on only his 3rd waterfowl outing with a gun. (Pic attached)

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Sean 2009 Dec 2 Ducks
Dec 2, 2009

Recent rumors got me a little concerned that there were no ducks in WA state so I decided to switch ...more

it up from upland to fowl so I went scouting on Tuesday and thought I saw enough birds to make a go of it on Wednesday. I knew my skills weren't good enough so I called in some heavy's and after about 10 phone calls, I got a couple high powered duck killers to feel sorry enough for me to accompany me today on the quest to prove there are indeed some ducks in this state. Well, the conditions changed overnight in a hurry and open water changed to thin ice. The morning hunt was painfully slow, but the first ducks to die for the cause were a mallard drake and hen. I figured the guys I got to accompany would be nothing but drake killers, but one of them knew there was a good reason to shoot hens. This was the reason (1647 series, I have one on my lanyard, if I remember correctly - Alberta): (Pic attached) So I learned a lesson on the first go. But, after 3 hours of pretty slow duck movement and only 4 ducks in the bag, I decided the rumors were right - there aren't any ducks and my quest to prove them wrong were doomed to failure. So we packed it up and almost had all the decoys put away when a few ducks started working our frozen pond. I felt I had made a hasty decision to give up from the vibes I was getting from my experienced partners so we reset the spread with substantially less decoys and went back to the quest. The next 3 hours were dramatically different from the first 3 and we had enough ducks flying to keep us interested. Something crazy happened that I had to pass along. We had a nice group of mallards decoy, not feet down action, but reasonably good range opportunity and we pulled up and each dropped a drake mallard. One needed a kill shot on the ice so I took care of that as I headed out to get the downed ducks. On my way out, the drake that I had folded like a tent got up and flew away like he had never been touched and proceeded to skirt the outside of the spreads of the other 2 setups on the pond and for some reason they didn't even shoot at him. He made a full circle of the pond and came right back at me while I was in the decoys and had to actually pump his wings to clear me and one of my partners ended his 2nd tour of the pond. Never seen that one in all my years of hunting these birds. We went from 4 ducks to this over that second 3 hour period: (Pic attached) To think we almost walked away from a great hunt just amazes me. Thank goodness I was hunting with some guys who knew better. I got to float my new GHG Pro Grade Widgeon decoys on this hunt for the first time. I really like these decoys and we took a couple of widgeon over them to break them in. Props to Duckwise for talking about this a few weeks ago. I had thought about picking up some different decoys other than mallards and his thread pushed me to actually making the purchase - thanks Stan. Here's a shot of a couple of the dozen I picked up (you can also see the open water we created in the ice which was crucial to our success): (Pic attached) Here's the 2 pro's I picked up to accompany me on the hunt for ducks: (Pic attached) Between Craig's outstanding calling and Tyler's finesse at handling a spinning wing decoy, they managed to pull in quite a few of the ducks that we had working the pond. They even let me blow my kazoo and didn't make any disparaging comments about my lack of skill. They were even patient with me when I had to knock some rust off of my shooting. The transition from upland to waterfowl is always a little tricky for me the first time I get out. Here's a couple more shots of my partners and me on the hunt. I'm going to get these photos autographed in case it's the last time they ever go with me again. (Pic’s attached) About the only thing I can say I can hang with these guys on is taking pictures. This was not a slam dunk kind of hunt by any means. There are some new birds in town for sure, but each duck looked us over hard before committing. The blind had to be brushed up and pulled in tight and we couldn't look up or move at all when the ducks were over the top in order to seal the deal. There might have been some new birds, but they had all played the game before. I felt real fortunate to have a couple of great partners to hunt with today and I learned a ton. I hope to do it again real soon.

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Sean 2009 Nov 26 Geese
Nov 26, 2009

My friend, Jack Wood was kind enough to invite me and my son, Cody on a goose hunt on a new piece of ...more

ground in the Basin on Thanksgiving day and it was a blast. It took awhile for the birds to start showing up with the fog this morning, but when they did they must have been hungry cause we worked a high percentage of what we saw into the dekes. The hide was awesome and the birds never knew what hit them when we actually did hit them. Our shooting as a group of 4 could have been better. We called the hunt early with 14 down and 2 sailors not only to get back to spend the rest of the day with the families, but because it was the right thing to do. Here's Cody with the 1st goose he shot this morning: (Pic attached) This was a dual father and son affair. Here's Jack with his son, Garrett and the geese: (Pic attached) And me and Cody: (Pic attached) The boys had a great time as did the dad's. With the slow action, Garrett fell asleep in the blind and we got to wake him up with a 4 gun salute. Here they are (Cody is 11 and Garrett is 8): (Pic attached) Here's me and Jack. Cody took this picture and as usual he did really well with the camera: (Pic attached) I wish I could say the rest of the weekend went as well, but it didn’t. I only scouted for geese on Friday and then Saturday I did a hunt in Whitman Co. for pheasants on some ground that had been good to us in the past, but my friend Don Benson got 2 roosters and I got skunked. I didn’t hunt Sunday.

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Sean 2009 Nov 25 Pheasants
Nov 25, 2009

We got an early release from work last Wednesday so I loaded up the dogs and headed out to see if I ...more

could get some roosters. The spot I chose has produced well for me this season, but it gets hunted frequently by others and with it being Thanksgiving I was concerned someone was going to hit it before I could get there. My concerns became reality when I was 100 yards into the hunt and I saw fresh boot prints and then not much further fresh shot shell casings. After an hour of not seeing 1 single bird, I decided my only chance to find birds was to head straight to the back end of the property in hopes they didn't walk that far and pushed some birds that direction. I finally got far enough back that the boot prints disappeared and finally Jock slammed on point and I flushed up a rooster that became the first one to add some weight to the bag. Not much later, we hit a spot that normally holds birds but are normally unapproachable. This time was no different, but there were more birds than typical as about a dozen pheasant with several roosters flushed too far for a shot. But, I had an idea where they were headed - the very end of the property. The dogs found them about where I thought they might end up and before I could get over the hill to the dogs, birds starting flushing. As I crested the hill, a rooster got up and went back to my left before I could get a shot but I made a mental note of the direction he headed. Then another rooster flushed in front of me and I dropped him and it was pretty amazing to watch him hit from the height he did - at least 100 feet from the top of the hill we were on to the creek bottom. After Rose brought him back, I headed back towards the other rooster that got away since we had reached the property line at that point. I had the dogs head up a canyon that I thought the rooster might have settled in based on the distance and the available cover. When Rose went on point, I thought, yes, we got him. When a covey of quail flushed as I got near, I held up shooting. After the dogs covered the top of the canyon without a find, I figured 2 roosters was going to be it for the day as we were about to get back in the already hunted zone. But, all of a sudden Junior went on point in some thick weeds that I thought the dogs had already covered. When I went into flush, I was expecting a quail but it turned out to be a rooster and I had to snap shoot this one as he was about to get around the corner on me within 25 yards. Good deal, right? Yes, except he fell stone dead on the only level ground surrounded by nothing by vertical dirt cliffs. The dogs scratched and clawed but could not get to the rooster. I tried for 10 minutes to no avail myself. Finally, a thought occurred that my female shorthair only weighed 40 lbs so maybe I could get under the shelf and throw her up onto it for the retrieve. The first attempt failed and she looked at me like I was trying to kill her, but she let me try again and this time it worked. When she landed on the shelf, I gave her the fetch command and she did just that and then slid down the cliff to get it to me. Here's some pictures of the sequence of events: Brush where rooster #3 was found (it's hard to tell, but this is pretty vertical stuff similar to chukar ground only with loose dirt instead of rock): (Pic attached) Here's the shelf where the rooster fell (it's the little bit of weeds in the middle of all the dirt): (Pic attached) Rose sliding down the hill with rooster while Jock greets her (I can't think of a more unique retrieve situation in all my years of hunting them): (Pic attached) Here's a shot of the days take on ring necks: (Pic attached) After the roosters were in the bag, we went after the quail that I didn't shoot at earlier and the dogs and I had a blast finding, pointing and shooting quail. I ended up with 5, but if I would have shot a little better and made a few tough ones, a limit could have been obtained on the speedsters. Here's a pic of nice male that was still pretty clean when the dogs brought him back: (Pic attached)
The rest of the pictures are of some of the pointing action. All 3 dogs got in on the action and there were a lot pointed birds. The hunt started slowly, but finished strong and I am a little more upbeat about the upland season now since I've actually seen a fair number of birds in the last few outings: (Pic’s attached)

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Sean Pheasants 2009 Nov 22
Nov 22, 2009

For whatever reason, we chose to punish ourselves yesterday by hunting pheasants in the non-stop rai ...more

n and wind in Whitman Co. The trip had already been planned and we held out hope the forecast was going to be wrong. We even had the discussion of turning back 30 minutes into the drive north, but nobody was willing to back down or should I say come to their senses.

We hit our destination and had made it far enough north to get into a 1/2 inch of really wet snow, 32 degrees and a 20+ mph wind. Not so bad until you start walking in waist high grass. We hit a new spot with no success, mostly because it was the wrong habitat for the weather.

We discussed the need to hit the areas that had produced in the past in rainy conditions - basically areas with trees for the pheasants to get out of the wind and rain. The plan worked and 2 1/2 hours later we had 8 roosters in the bag and should have had 2 more. I let the team down with poor shooting yesterday.

Pictures were not an option on dog work today and surprisingly there was a lot of it considering the conditions. Darin shot his limit over his wirehair, all over points - great day for him and his bird finder. I did snap a soggy pheasant photo and the end of the day and it was painful just to take the extra 5 minutes to do it: (Pic attached)

Yes, we did have 1 planter that ended up in the bag, but the rest were all wild birds.

Mick, these pictures were taken specifically for you. My hunt partners for the day (minus Darin who had to figure out to get a decent picture in the lowlight conditions) with our take: (Pic attached)

That was the wettest and coldest I have been in recent memory. 3 1/2 hours of pheasant hunting in non-stop rain and blowing wind soaked us to the bone. It never got over 35 degrees and the wind never blew less than 20 mph. I thought I had the right gear, but by the end of the day I began to wonder if anything I owned was truly waterproof. I've never been this cold and wet on a waterfowl hunt, but you know it was worth it. I should have been waterfowling today with the weather conditions being what they were, but it ended up working out alright after all. I was surprised by our decent success. Has anyone else ever done well on roosters in the cold, wet rain? I think it was a first for me.

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Sean Geese Pheasants 2009 Nov 21
Nov 21, 2009

Since Kyle had shot his 1st duck, he was wanting to go and try and get his first goose on Saturday. ...more

He had a #7 pick for that day, but my scouting on Saturday revealed very few geese using that area so we were fortunate to get an invite from Jack Wood and his son, Garrett. Garrett played on Kyle's baseball team last summer so they were able to hang out and have some fun together. The action took awhile to get going, in fact, Kyle fell asleep in his blind and I couldn't get him to wake up on the 1st group of geese that worked our spread.

We ended up having an exciting morning and the boys had a great time. Here is Kyle and Garrett with the geese taken on the first flock that came in: (Pic's attached) I couldn't decide which one I liked better so I inserted both. Kyle is adamant that he dropped the little one out of the 1st group so he may have got his 1st goose, but I'm hoping he gets the chance to drop one all on his own when nobody else is shooting.

Here's Kyle retrieving a goose as we yell at him to hurry back cause more are coming: (Pic attached)

Here he is with the geese he claims he shot on the day: (Pic attached) At this rate, I may never shoot another goose on a hunt with him. :)

It was a good time and we wrapped it up in time for me to get home and grab my pup, Jock to see if we could find some roosters on a new piece of ground I got access to hunt. I feel like I haven't run him on his own enough so I left the other 2 dogs at home so I wasn't tempted to run them, too. The area I hunted is more of a waterfowl area so I suspected the rooster population would be thin, but it was a chance to get him out on his own and to scout waterfowl at the same time. Jock came through about 20 minutes into the hunt with a nice point on a very young rooster: (Pic attached) I was able to drop the bird and Jock didn't see it fall (part of the learning process) so we headed over and after some searching on his part, he found the dead rooster (Pic attached) Here he is with his hard earned rooster that still had egg shell on it: (Pic attached)

We found some more pheasants in the next hour, but nothing allowed us to get into shotgun range so we packed it up and considered the outing a successful one.

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Sean Pheasants 2009 Nov 20
Nov 20, 2009

I took the day off from work last Friday and hooked up with Darin for a pheasant hunt locally. We s ...more

couted for geese first thing in the morning and then headed to our rooster spots. It was 63 degrees and very windy, not ideal conditions for pheasant hunting. This warm weather pattern is getting really old.

Some of you may remember the trouble I was having with my what I thought was my gun. The firing pin appeared to not be hitting the primer hard enough to ignite the shell. So I used Cody's Benelli on to start off the hunt even though I hate using guns that I'm not familiar with shooting. Sure enough, missed the 1st rooster of the day that Junior pointed in the thick stuff. I managed to kill the next one with it, but then I got the click on the 3rd rooster opportunity as the shell doesn't go off and I watch the bird fly away. So I have a good news/bad news situation - nothing wrong with my O/u, but now I have bad shells and I never know if the shell is going to go off. I guess I'll just have to take my chances with the ammo since you can't return it.

We actually ended up seeing more roosters (about 15) on this hunt in this area than I have all year. I think the birds are starting to get more concentrated so that helps the dogs pin them down with less area to have to hunt. We ended up getting 4 roosters and a couple of quail. The dogs did well considering the terrible conditions.

Here's some pictures:

Jock showing the veterans that he can find them, too: (Pic attached)

Nappy marked this rooster that fell on the other side of the river and then swam across and used his nose to find thim up on the bank and then brought it back to hand - nice work: (Pic attached)

Nappy is lovingly referred to as the burr-magnet as you can see in this picture: (Pic attached) I recently was given some information about taking care of his coat (process called stripping) that will help prevent the burr attachment issue and passed this on to Darin so hopefully he will be able to minimize it in the future.

Here's my birds on the day along with a couple of the dogs. Junior looks like he needs to relieve himself in the picture. He was beat and wanted in that kennel so bad and was probably pizzed that I was making him take those dang pictures again. (Pic attached)

Here's a pic of the rooster that Darin shot: (Pic attached) And a close-up of the spurs: (Pic attached) It was a nice bird and is in the freezer to go to my buddy, Tyler Ono.

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Sean Geese 2009 Nov 15
Nov 15, 2009

A good buddy and I decided to do a throwback hunt for ducks at a popular public area so we did the u ...more

sual early wakeup to hopefully beat the competition to our favorite blind - just like the old days. We pull into the boat launch and "relief", we're the 1st ones there. Optimism is high with a cool day of wind and rain in the forecast. Drop the boat in the water and start cranking on the motor - huh, seems to be taking longer than normal to fire. Multiple cranks later still no rumble of the motor. You guessed it, motor wouldn't start on my buddies boat and the battery wore down. My buddy asks me, "what's today?", I said, "Friday" and he says, "Friday the 13th".

So we headed home under a cloud of "Friday the 13th voodoo" and not being much of a superstitious guy, I decided to retool and do a pheasant hunt locally. Darin opted out so I was on my own with the dogs which with the numbers this year is just about the best plan anyway.

We hit a spot that I hadn't hunted yet this year and we got off to a good start when a rooster that normally would have flown across the river on me for some reason decided to try to come back over the top - bad decision for him. See - no problem on the Fri the 13th deal. We then hunted for at least another hour without seeing a rooster in shooting range and just very few birds overall. We did get into a covey of quail and I took a couple on the flush. The next opportunity for a rooster was a wild flush very close to me flying straight away - bad decision again.... except I heard the ominous click of the firing pin not hitting the primer hard enough and the rooster flew away without me being able to shoot. I bet the rooster thought Friday the 13th was a lucky day, but I had a fleeting thought about mine not being so good.

Not much later Rose & Juniors collars are screaming and I traversed through the jungle to find them on point. Before I could get there, a pheasant gets up and flys away and I can't tell what sex it is so I hold fire. Bummer, but wait, Rose never broke point so I keep going. As I get near her, a rooster flushes and cackles loudly echoing off the cluster of trees he is rapidly putting between him and me. This time the gun goes off since I switched barrels, but I miss and pull the trigger again, but no iginition again. Well, maybe this Friday the 13th stuff is for real as 2 roosters got away that should have been in the bag.

Awhile later, the dogs and I hit some nice tall grass that always holds birds, but are tough to get close enough to for a shot. I notice a pretty large dusting area with fresh sign that alerted me to the potential for pheasants and sure enough the dogs get birdy and a rooster tries to escape to my right. Funny, how much more you concentrate when you think you are limited to only 1 shot and it worked as the bird came crashing down. When Rose brought it back, I noticed it hard some weird looking spurs - they curved down instead of up and were fairly long. It's been an interesting year for spurs from a higher proportion of long ones to the triple-spurred Montana rooster. Here's what the spurs looked like: (Pic attached)

As soon as the 2nd bird was in my vest, the dogs continued pressing the action and pointed a hen. We ran into a ditch that in the past has held birds, but this year had been fruitless. Rose and Junior both stayed birdy until Rose stacked up above the ditch while Junior went on point in it. Superstition flew out the window as a rooster flushed and cackled sharply as the feeling of can't afford to miss again came over me. It worked out and the rooster fell from the air to finish up the hunt in about 3 hours. I saw a total of 7 roosters in that time on some prime land.

So the initial Friday the 13th duck hunt gone bust turned into a blessing in disguise.

One of (if not the) best goose hunts I've ever been on came together in rushed planning Friday evening. Don Moody and I had a private field lined up for the next morning and I was fairly pleased with the numbers that were in it. Eric Jones did some scouting as well and when I touched base with him to let him know I thought we could do pretty well in our field, he wanted no part of it after the number of birds he saw while he was out. He wanted to hunt a public land spot and I momentarily questioned his sanity but gave him the benefit of the doubt since The Man Who Loves Goats (Moody) raved about his goose killing prowess. So he talked me into changing plans and the 3 of us were set to go.

I had left a message for my buddy Darin when I found out Eric's dad wasn't going and he called me the next morning to see what the plan was and decided to go after a lot of pondering. I met Moody and transferred my gear to his rig and realized I had forgot my blind (idiot) so back home I went and then hooked up with Darin. It was a zoo of a start to the day, but I was hoping it was going to get better.

We managed to get set up at just about shooting time and shortly after a single goose gave us a look before landing in the disced corn stubble behind our blinds. We decided to pull some of our decoys that were in winter wheat in front of us and put them behind us to give them 2 options since we were in a finger between the two. Then a non-stop flight of geese began that wouldn't end for the next 3 hours. We started by pulling a single in and dumping it and then a flock gave us several passes before we decided backwinging over the top of the decoys wasn't going to happen with this group and I knocked one out of it. It ended up being the smallest goose I've ever shot and it had some unique characteristics that I would be interested in hearing what species it might be and why the coloring.

Here's a closeup of the body: (Pic attached)

The head: (Pic attached)

And the breast: (Pic attached)

Here's the size comparison with the other lesser's we shot on this day: (Pic attached)

We worked another nice flock of about 30 geese, but this time we got a pretty good finish from them and dumped 6. The next group the same thing - nice and close and 6 more down. I was pretty pumped at this point since I don't get in on good goose hunting for the most part and to have everthing fall into place was really cool. The flight slowed a little after that point, but we got another nice flock to come in and took the final 2 birds out of it to finish our hunt.

Here's a shot of our setup with the blinds open and our geese. The hide was good, the geese that gave us a hard look but never picked us out. High marks go to Eric for picking the spot. You can see the part of the spread that we had behind us: (Pic attached)

Here's my hunt partners on the day (Eric, Moody, Darin): (Pic attached)

My ugly mug was captured as well: (Pic attached)

This was the kind of hunts I was hoping for when Darin and I went in on 6 dozen GHG FFD Elite goose decoys a couple of weeks ago. We mixed 3.5 dozen of our decoys with HH's 3 dozen to put out a decent spread. Even so, we were only able to work a minuscle amount of the geese we saw today. I took a couple shots of my decoys. I like them and hope they hold up over time: (Pic's attached)

It was a true pleasure and joy to hook up with Eric and Moody. I look forward to doing it again. Hope everybody else is taking advantage of the new wave of geese that have showed up. That was a heck of a good time today.

I tried a goose hunt on Sunday morning, but it was a bust so we headed home early to spend some family time. How was everybody else's hunts this weekend?

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Sean Huns Quail 2009 Nov 08
Nov 8, 2009

After getting a promising report on some huns from a buddy (well, ex-buddy after this hunt) who was ...more

elk hunting in the Blues, I hooked up with Don Benson to go see if our dogs could find them. Long story, short we didn't. We ended up only finding 3 coveys total with one good sized covey flushing out of good shooting range, the other one holding nicely for the dogs but only had 5 birds and Don found one that didn't provide a shot opportunity. We found one nice covey of quail and the dogs were only able to pin down 1 rooster that I was able to take over a nice point by Junior. Very few pheasants were seen on the hunt and we were hunting some prime looking ground later in the day.

I have been having problems with my right knee and after 2 days of hunting and the traversing of some steep country on Sunday, my knee swelled up like a grapefruit. It's much better today, but an MRI later today will hopefully reveal the source of the problem.

Anyway, not a stellar day in the uplands on Sunday, but it's the risk you take hunting unproven ground and a bird that can be a ghose at times. I have a feeling the huns were in the vicinity but were probably in the wheat stubble while we were hunting the grass land and scab ground. I may give it another shot another time.

Here's some pic's I snapped that day: (Pic's attached)

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Sean Birds 2009 Nov 07
Nov 7, 2009

I returned to the spot I hunted on opening day for a solo hunt with the dogs. Though this is a priv ...more

ate land spot, it gets a lot of pressure so I didn't expect much. It turned out a little better than I expected and my pointer, Junior, decided it was his day to be the top dog in my kennel. He started the hunt off in fine fashion with a find in the really thick stuff where I've found birds in the past. When the hawk scream started on his collar, I had to sneak around the cover to see which direction he was pointing. As I shifted around to cut off the direction he was pointing, the rooster flushed behind me and I wheeled around and dropped him for the 1st rooster of the day. Here's a bad picture of him bringing him back to me: (Pic attached) and one of the bird itself: (Pic attached)

About 20 minutes later, the dogs all got birdy and a rooster wild flushed about 35 yards ahead and he tried to keep a tree between me and him, but I was able to find an opening and swung on him and fired. I watched in amazement as he flew off thinking the whole time "how in the heck is he still flying?". I watched him fight for altitude to clear the steep incline far ahead of us and then just as he left my field of vision he came back into it falling backwards out of the sky into an area that I knew was thickly vegetated. I knew it was going to be tough to find him since I couldn't see exactly where he fell dead, but I hoped my dogs were up to the challenge. When we got close to the spot where I guessed he fell, I told the dogs to hunt dead. About that time, a covey of quail began flushing in delayed lift offs but I held off to keep the dogs on task. A few minutes later, Rose showed up with a nice rooster in her mouth - thank goodness! Here's a couple pictures of the bird: (Pic's attached)

From that point on, we got into the quail and the dogs did great on finding and pointing them. I was in the mood to take pictures on this day. Here's a few shots of them in action: (Pic's attached)

I snapped a couple closeup's of my 2 shorthairs that I thought turned out decent: (Pic's attached)

After having fun with the quail, I decided to head out into the turnip patch to see if some roosters were hiding in the green stuff. Rose tracked and pointed and relocated a few times until she pinned a rooster. I flushed the bird and swung on it just knowing this was the bird to end the day on, but when I pulled the trigger nothing happened and I had to watch the rooster fly away safely. This was the 2nd time in the past couple of hunts where the firing pin didn't hit the primer hard enough to set it off and I wasn't too happy about it. Both times it was the top barrell so I switched to the lower barrell for my first shot and went off in search of another rooster. We found a few more roosters in the turnips but they both flushed wild out of range. An hour and a half after the lost opportunity and on my way back to the truck, the dogs went on point based on the multiple hawks screams coming from out of sight. As I crested a hill, I saw a rooster run out of a briar patch ahead of the dogs and when he saw me he flushed too far for a shot. The dogs moved on and Rose went on point again about 25 yards further. I didn't waste any time getting up there and just as I did a rooster flushed off of the edge of the creek and put a lot of brush between him and me. I felt confident I could make the shot and tracked him with the barrell and pulled as I got ahead of his beak and rooster #3 went down. Here's Rose bringing him back: (Pic attached) Another of just the bird and the gun that was headed to my friend the gunsmith. (Pic attached)

I had to snap a shot of Junior with the birds as he literally laid down to rest after the 3rd rooster was taken. He gave it his all that day and found more birds than the other dogs which is not a common occurrence with him. I was happy to see him have just a good day cause when he has a good day, I have a good day. (Pic attached)

Dog work for pointing dogs on this property is tough due to the thick vegetation that is more conducive to a brush busting lab or other flusher type, but all the dogs put in some great work this day. I saw a total of 9 roosters and about the same amount of hens which is way less than a normal year, but it was enough for a solo hunt and a satisfying day in the uplands. One last shot of the ones who deserve all the credit: (Pic attached

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Kyles 1st Duck 2009 Nov 06
Nov 6, 2009

Darin and I took Kyle out for his 1st duck hunt where he could actually shoot last weekend. With hi ...more

t a well known local public spot and the action was pretty slow, but Kyle was able to get his first duck and it was a pintail drake. He actually made a long, difficult shot on it (~ 40 yards). It took me several years to get a pintail drake and he got his as his first duck ever - pretty cool.

Here he is with a couple angles of the duck: (Pic's attached)

Darin brought his GWH along to retrieve the ducks for us and he did a great job. Here he is focused on the next retrieve and what he had to put up with having a 9 year old in the blind: (Pic attached)

Here's some action shots of him getting a couple of mallard drakes we shot (the water shots didn't turn out well): (Pic's attached)

It was a Friday afternoon hunt so we couldn't shoot geese, but I took a picture of a flock that we would have had a chance to shoot. They were locked on us for quite a ways and then lifted up as they got close. (Pic attached)

We had a good time and I look forward to getting Kyle out some more the rest of the season. He is a lot of fun to have in the blind in spite of his typical lack of patience for a 9 year old.

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Sean Pheasants 2009 Nov 01
Nov 1, 2009

Pretty tough weekend of upland bird hunting for Darin and me. With the weather breaking record high ...more

temp's in our area on Friday & Saturday, I didn't pursue the hunting with as much effort as normal. Between Kyle's postseason baseball and going straight into football, I had several projects that were lagging behind and the warm temp's allowed me to finish up some painting projects. Normally, I would have all projects completed before hunting season, but I don't seem to have as much drive this year for some reason.

Anyway, on to the hunts: Friday, Darin & I hit a public spot that has been good in the past (not last year, but prior years). Not so good this year. I opted to hunt the river bottoms while Darin hunted up high in the CRP. I saw only a handful of birds with no decent shot opportunities and Darin was into birds the whole time, but he and Nappy weren't able to pin them down so we both yielded the same results - 3 hours of hunting with no birds in the bag. So much for getting back early to get painting completed! I had lined up a backup spot that I was hoping to save for Sunday so we headed to it while the temps rose to 70 degrees with gusty winds - not ideal conditions for dogs. This was a private land spot near a main river and it held a few pheasant, not as many as past years, but enough to get a couple limits. Unfortunately, with the thick brush and windy conditions, the birds would get out without us hearing them and would put some distance between us before seen and it made for tough shots (I know it sounds like a lot of excuses and they are just that). To make a long story short, I was able to get 3 roosters and Darin got 1, but we lost 4 cripples in the process and hunted more of the property than I would have liked. It was a sad day of shooting on our parts and I hate to lose birds when there aren't that many in the first place. We decided to leave without Darin's limit due to the lost birds. Our dogs are normally awesome on crippled birds, but the heat and distance at which the birds fell stacked the odds against them. Here's a poor picture of Rose pointing a rooster that ended up getting away, note the thickness of the cover that was up to my eyeballs: (Pic attached) I can't figure out if my camera is going bad or if I'm just rusty at taking them so far this year.

I took Saturday off to try to complete my home projects - it was 67 degrees that day and I didn't have a spot lined up anyway. This is so unlike me to even be admitting that I took a day off during hunting season to do work.

When I was downloading the pictures from the weekend, I had a picture of the leg from a pheasant I shot in MT this year that I hadn't sent out, yet. I've taken a fair number of roosters over the years, but had never seen anything like this one - a triple-spurred rooster! (Pic attached)

On Sunday, Darin and I went back to the private property we hunted on Friday to cover the rest of the it. It was tough to say the least. Our hopes were up when we both got roosters within the 1st 20 minutes, but it dried up in a hurry after that. When I shot my rooster, my pointer Junior did something he's never done in the 5 1/2 years that I've hunted him - he marked the bird where it fell in the thick brush clear up the other side and swam across the river to get it. He found it and swam back across to deliver it to hand. Granted, he only had to swim about 10 yards, but I was amazed that he did it. For those that don't know this dog, he can't swim (at least he couldn't until that day). I think it helped that Rose wasn't around to see it fall and he knew it was his bird to get. But it was the highlight of the day for me. Like an idiot, I tried the sports mode on my camera to capture his retrieve and it turned out blurry. But you'll get the idea: (Pic attached). Darin shot his rooster moments after mine and I didn't get to see it, but he relayed another excellent retrieve story to me. His bird fell on the other side of the river and Rose saw it fall and swam across to get it and it had lodged in a tree. When she got to it, she half-climbed the tree to knock it out and brought it back. Great start - poor ending as we hunted the rest of the property with very few pheasant sightings. The most disturbing part is not seeing hens which I think is the crux of the problem on the low pheasant count this year. My theory is that very few hens survived the winter last season and though the ones that did probably had successful hatches, there just weren't that many left over to make up the loss with the hatch.

I've attached some more photos of the dogs on various points: (Pic's attached)

We stopped by to talk to a landowner that I've hunted for many years to see what the game plan was for this year and hoping we could hunt some of his property that day. This guy owns some prime land and I've enjoyed lots of success on his place in prior years. At first, he told me he wasn't going to allow any hunting this season due to the low bird numbers, but then he said we could come back in a couple of weeks. He's trying to spread out the pressure and is adamant there are just not any birds this year. This was a pretty alarming discussion and one I've never had with him before. He's always been fickle about giving permission, but I've never heard him say there were no birds. I tried to reassure him that there were indeed some birds, but agreed they were down. Nonetheless, this was not a fun conversation.

I've made a decision to change my mode of operation this year and am going to go after huns and chukar more with an occasional pheasant hunt. I've been getting lots of good reports on the huns so I'm going to take some risk and see if I can find them. I'm hoping for some weather so the waterfowl hunting starts to pick up as well.

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Sean Washington Upland 2009 Oct 17
Oct 17, 2009

Watshington State Upland Game Season Opener: Headed out in southeast WA, Walla Walla Co., on Saturd ...more

ay bright and early to get on some pheasants and quail in hopes that my buddy, Darin and I could find some roosters and quail before it was time to leave for my son, Kyle's football game at noon. I was a little concerned on the drive and while I waited for the sun to rise about the prospects after having hunted this spot on the quail opener and not seeing the numbers of birds that I have become accustomed to seeing.

The dogs were fired up and ready to go after having over a weeks worth of rest from a the last MT trip in which their time off was earned. Since we only had about 3 hours to hunt and this would be the only spot of the day, all the dogs were turned loose. Heading out with anticipation, I glanced towards the east and was treated to an above average sunrise over the Blues: (Pic attached)

When we hit the creek bottom where the birds are generally found, I noticed several pheasants flying out of the grass into the habitat strips into what appeared to be turnips. They had really grown up since the last time I had been there. There were enough birds that got out that I changed the hunt plans and decided to run the upper edge to cut them off while Darin pushed through with his dog in hopes that we would pin them in between. If nothing else, we would push them back into the creek bottom where we could do something with them. Before we headed into the turnips, I noticed a rooster had been flushed off the adjoining property and landed ahead of us in the creek bottom. Before long, my top dog, Rose had found him and was pointing down toward the creek. I had Darin come over to back me up and it was a good thing because with the uneven footing and a poor gun mount I missed him, but Darin didn't and Rooster #1 of the WA season was in the bag. The lighting conditions were too poor for my camera's capabilities so no picture.

So back to the turnips we went and I headed up the hill with my dogs. I was beginning to wonder where the birds might have gone when all 3 dogs locked up. Before I could get there, a rooster jumped up and flew almost at me, but ended up hooking left for a crossing angle and this time the shot was true. Here's Rose bringing him back and you can see the lighting conditions are still tough: (Pic attached) Just after I snapped the picture and Rose handed me the rooster and I still hadn't reloaded, a rooster jumped up right at my feet (he had been there the whole time through all the commotion) and he almost timed it perfectly for an escape, but I was able to recover and get a shot on him at the end of my gun range to knock him out of the air. Junior, my pointer, brought to hand and we were off to a good start.

Darin made it up to my location and we decided to cover the rest of the top section of turnips. Before long, Jock, my GSP pup was on point and Rose and Nappy backed. Judging from the picture, I would have to say this bird was in a tight situation: (Pic attached) Unfortunately, this bird didn't have the colors we needed to fire a shot and the hen flew off safely. After a few long wild flushing roosters in the turnips that didn't provide any shot opportunities we headed back to the creek bottom where we were able to finish up our limit of roosters just in time to get back home for Kyle's game.

I snapped several more photos of the dogs' finds (mostly Rose cause she's the one who finds most of them). Here she is on a rooster in the thick stuff: (Pic attached).

She has a quail nailed here: (Pic attached) And the retrieve on one of the few quail I managed to hit: (Pic attached) If we would have shot at all the quail and hit half of them, we could have limited on those as well, but I hold off on the quail until the roosters are in the bag. I really struggled on my shooting on the quail this day.

Jock got in on the act of pointing quail from time to time. I captured one of those moments: (Pic attached)

Rose retrieving the last rooster of the day: (Pic attached)

On the way back to the truck, the dogs were finding them again: (Pic attached) It was hard to pull them off.

We had a nice opening day hunt, but I felt the bird numbers were still below average for this area. I don't anticipate too many quick limit hunts like this one the rest of the season.

We were headed to Whitman Co. the next day and I had been getting mixed reports on bird #'s in that area. The only way to verify the truth was to put some dogs down and see what we could find. My next report will detail that hunt.

I headed for Whitman Co. on Sunday with Darin and our dogs on what is our traditional opening day hunt, but with kids and sports, tradition can sometimes get altered. I had mixed reports on the bird numbers in this area ranging from poor to pretty good. The only way to verify it was to put the dogs down and let them show us. We decided to hunt a large CRP field bordered by wheat stubble with soybeans planted in the bottom of the draws. The cover was outstanding - the best I've seen it on this farm. It was obvious the moisture had been friendly to this area over the spring and summer.

It was going to be a nice day to hunt with the temp's at 25 degrees to start warming to the low 50's. The first 1/2 hour produced only numerous sightings of deer without the dogs getting birdy at all. Finally, Rose went on point in the CRP facing the edge of wheat stubble in a place we had found roosters in prior years. Junior was oblivious to Rose's point and ended up in front of her and he immediately stacked up on the scent as well. We got lucky, the birds didn't flush out of gun range. As I got closer, a covey of huns (awesome - huns are my favorite) flushed on the edge of gun range and I picked one out and dropped it. Darin was facing directly into the rising sun and even though he was closer, he wasn't able to shoot. So a hun over a point to start the day, I'll take that.

The next hour was a fruitless search by some hard working dogs. The frost was melting and I would have thought scenting conditions would have been ideal. We moved off the hillsides where pheasants typically roost and headed to the grocery store in the form of Roundup-ready soybeans in the flats below the hillsides. Here's what the cover looked like: (Pic attached) I tried to capture the beans amongst the weeds and failed, but you get the idea - it's good cover for pheasants. We pushed through the 5 acres of soybeans with not a single bird found until we got to the very end and 3 roosters flushed long ahead of us. I had Darin go over the top where I was pretty sure that had dropped in quickly and I ran further up the draw in an effort to cut them off and then pinched back towards Darin. His GHW, Nappy, struck scent and the squeeze was on. As we got closer, a rooster flushed and went right at me so I elected to let him pass over and then took him on his flight going away. In the meantime, another rooster flushed in the ditch on the edge of gun range below Darin and he wasn't able to get him. We never found the other one - sneaky son of a guns!

That was it for that spot so we moved on to another area where Darin and I split up so I could run Jock alone for awhile (I have to do that more this season to get him further along in his development). Darin didn't see any birds and we had 2 roosters and 1 hen flush wild too far ahead for a shot through no fault of the dog. So we headed to the area that is generally the most productive on the farm - a creek bottom with flowing water and thick grass/brush. This spot didn't disappoint and we should have been able to finish the hunt right there, but a lost cripple and a few other missed opportunities and we walked out of there needing a couple more birds for Darin. Granted, there are some shooting obstacles to overcome in this spot with a barn and grain silos, etc. I call them ready-made excuses and we used them to the fullest. I recollect seeing a total of 8 roosters which is nothing in a good year, but would be the highlight of the day for bird numbers in one area on this day. The last pheasant I shot to fill my allotment for the day was sporting a dark turquoise ring when Junior delivered it: (Pic attached) This happens once or twice a year on this farm with a release site being about 2 miles down the road. Still amazes me that they can get that far away, but that indicates to me how much hunting pressure there must have been in that creek bottom to get that far away. I don't give these planters a lot of respect and always feel a little cheap when I shoot one, but for him to get that far away and still be alive is very surprising to me.

So off to the next spot which is further down the creek bottom and adjoins a public hunt location. I didn't have much confidence in this spot to produce because I was highly confident that it had been hunted several times that day and the prior day by trespassers from the public spot. I wish I had been wrong, but I wasn't and we only saw 1 rooster that appeared to be of the planter variety and he survived by flushing in front of Darin and heading straight for the landowners barn. This was not Darin's day to put it mildly, but he does an admirable job of taking it in stride. He and I split up shortly after to cover two different strips of CRP and while I was walking across the stubble to get to it, Junior slammed on point right in the stubble a hundred yards or so ahead. As I got closer and stopped to snap a photo, I could see a couple of heads sticking about 20 yards ahead of him - HUNS! Did I mention huns were my favorite? Rose was backing intently 20 yards behind him and the picture I took didn't do justice for the beauty of the sight: (Pic attached) Enough of the gooey stuff, it was time to see what I could do with the gun and a double was clearly on my mind as I made a wide loop to get out in front of Junior's nose. A huge covey of huns, I'm talking at least 20 of them erupted in flight and the first barrel struck gold, but I must not have swung hard enough on the second barrel to complete the true double. Oh well, there will be one more the next time I find them. Junior got to make the retrieve on a very nice find: (Pic attached)

After talking to the landowner for about an hour, we had time to hunt one more spot before making the drive back home. This spot had been very productive in the past so I was hoping we could find a couple of roosters for Darin to finish out. After an hour of searching with only one hen found, I sent Darin up a fence row that usually holds some pheasants and he flushed a rooster and knocked him down hard, but there wasn't a dog around when it went down. Well, the rooster still had legs on the search was on once we got the dogs over to the area. Rose found him with a snappy point and Darin walked into to get him, but the bird tried to half-fly and was quickly back down to the weedy ditch where he first fell and the chase was on again. He managed to get away from the near vicinity and Rose was back at the task of finding him. She looped well ahead of where we last some him and went on point in some thin grass. I didn't think there was any way he would have stopped in that location and as we got closer she left and ran up on the road to check ahead further. After not getting any scent, she came back to the spot and went back on point. As we got closer, I saw this: (Pic attached) Amazing how a bird with that much color can blend in. We put the squeeze on him and this time Nappy grabbed him as he attempted to get away again. Reason #46 to hunt with a dog. So we ended the day with 5 roosters and 2 huns. Not a bad day, but considering the miles we covered it doesn't bode well for a great season. It's going to be another tough pheasant season - the numbers just aren't there, but the dogs have to hunt so we'll keep plugging away.

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Sean Montana Upland Birds 2009 Sept 18
Sep 18, 2009

I spent last week in Montana chasing prairie birds with my good friend, Darin and our dogs. I though ...more

t maybe we took a turn south and ended up in AZ instead of MT with the record temps we endured while there. We ended up hunting most days till about 1:00 and then had to shut it down to spare the dogs from the heat. It was another enjoyable trip overall with some decent dog work and a few huns and sharpies falling to the gun. I'm going to try to post mostly pictures with hopefully some descriptive text along the way to hit the highlights of the trip. We were invited to stay at the farmer's extra house this year and it was so nice to be able to stay right in the area we do our hunting. It saved us 40 miles a day of extra driving and was very comfortable accomodations. This was the view every morning from the front porch as we packed up the truck to head out to hunt: (Pic attached). Rose, my GSP, got the trip going on the 1st morning with a nice find on a covey of huns in the mixed sage/CRP grass: (Pic attached) Some shots of the other dogs that worked their tails off to find birds for Darin and I to shoot; Junior, my English Pointer, did his typical on this trip: worked his butt off out of the gate and then broke down after 2 days with ripped pads and then had to take a day off in order to come back with a vengeance: (Pic attached) Jock, my GSP pup in his 2nd season now had a great trip and found a lot of birds while I concentrated on running him on his own to get him some confidence and independence: (Pic attached). Darin's GWH, Nappy, did a great job all week and made a lot of retrieves but lost some points with me when he tried to jump in the back of my new truck and scratched the tailgate when he was unsuccessful. He was forgiven as soon as he pointed the next bird: (Pic attached). Jock nailed a bird with a nice point in the CRP that I didn't expect to encounter on the trip especially on the 1st day; only the 3rd sage grouse I've ever taken and special to do it over my youngest dog: (Pic attached). There is a shot of Rose on point on what turned out to be a young rooster: (Pic attached). The pheasant hatch doesn't appear to be as strong as the prairie birds, but it's still early, hot and they are spread out. Not to mention, we are not hunting ideal pheasant habitat when chasing huns & sharpies. I'm concerned about the pheasant #'s for my return trip in 3 weeks, but hopefully it will all work out. I always try to capture the MT sunsets and here is how it looked the 1st day: (Pic attached). Though it was hot on this trip (96 degrees the last day), signs of fall were there if you looked for them: (Pic's attached). And I don't mean to offend anyone with these pictures, but rattlesnakes were part of the equation on this trip and I have evidence. Rattler #1 was harvested within minutes after Rose pointed a covey of huns and Darin and I both took one a piece on a long flush. With the retrieve action, we (and Rose) were all over the spot that the snake announced it's presence and I decided not to take any chances and dispatched it. Here's the grisly scene (shotguns are really lethal at close range): (Pic attached). Darin ran into the 2nd one with Nappy coming very near but the dog escaped a close call but the rattler wasn't so fortunate: (Pic attached). Here's Jock reminding the vet how to find and point single huns after the initial covey raise: (Pic attached). There is a section of scenic rocks that run above the MO river and I took the time to take some pictures this time since the heat of the day had taken over the hunt anyway: (Pic's attached). Lunch was at this scenic location after passing by the White Rocks (the shade was welcome): (Pic attached). Those pic's bring back memories I bet, Kulbeck. Wonder how many cheap MT beers were consumed in that location? Ok. Let's see if we can take this a different direction from the snakes. How about some more dog pic's? Jock finds a covey of huns hiding in the shade from the mid-morning heat: (Pic attached) Fortunately, I was able to put one down for him to retrieve: (Pic attached) Junior on a sharptail as the sun goes down: (Pic attached) Junior retrieving a hun: (Pic attached) Junior nails a covey of huns and Rose backs in anticipation of the flush: (Pic attached) You know, I didn't think I took enough pictures of the dogs on this trip, but I think it worked out alright after all. Rose got shorted a little bit and I'm guessing I only captured a very small portion of the action, but it was enough to provide good reminders of the trip someday when I can't do this anymore (hopefully that's a really long time from now). The second day sunset: (Pic attached) Jock points some sharptails and retrieves one: (Pic's attached) The next picture is of a weed that I ended up learning quite a bit about. (Pic attached) It's called Western Salsify or Goats-beard and it was a sharptail magnet. Every and I mean every sharptail had the green part of this plant in it's crop (along with wheat and hoppers). You could cruise through a CPR field and not find any sharpies and then hit a patch of this stuff and boom, dogs lock up and sharpies are found. The farmer was being told to spray the weed and get rid of it from his CRP fields. He was pretty interested to find out that the sharptails were using it so much. Jock and Nappy found a covey of huns on the edge of a pond and Darin and I both dropped one a piece out of the covey before they got too far in the wind. Nappy retrieved both of them at the same time which was neat, but I wanted Jock to make a water retrieve so it was kind of a mixed feeling situation for me. There were several ducks on the pond at the time we opened fire and they weren't too happy with us. (Pic attached) Another sunset over a pond that held several coveys of huns in it's proximity. Being near water to find huns was a big key on this trip. It took a couple of days to make the connection and when we did, it paid off. (Pic attached) Before I forget since I don't have a picture of the event, I need to tell about a once in a lifetime event that I witnessed on this trip. Darin and I were almost back to the house on our 4th day of the hunt (and before we started drinking) when this huge streak of bright light appeared in the north sky. A meteoroid was burning up in the atmosphere as it was falling out of the sky and it was a huge one. It broke in 2 and both pieces appeared to burn up before touching down, but it could have still made impact since it was so close to ground level when I last saw it. That beat any firework display I've ever seen and I counted myself lucky to witness such an amazing event. I promise I hadn't touched a drop of alcohol at that point. The next morning I decided it would be really cool to just walk out the front door of the house and go hunting right behind the house in the CRP field. It was a great decision as Junior found plenty of sharptails for me to shoot and in less than 20 minutes I was able to take my daily MT limit of 4. Here's Junior with the birds he found for me as the sun peaks over the east horizon: (Pic attached) The temps climbed to 96 degrees that last day ahead of an approaching cool front (of course it showed at the end of our trip) and there were some interesting weather conditions to photograph. Here's one we don't see often in WA: (Pic attached) At the peak of the heat that afternoon, we looked off to the west and saw a nasty dust storm heading our way. It went from no breeze and hot to 30+ mph winds laced with dust, but it felt good to have some air movement and start cooling things down. Here's what it looked like: (Pic attached). Rose found a covey of huns shortly after the wind hit and Darin and I were able to take a bird each from the group, but man did they get out of gun range in a hurry on the 2nd barrell. It was a good way to end the trip. I took a shot of the last sunset that lined up perfectly with the road we took to leave the property. I can't wait to go back again in a few weeks. (Pic attached). Sean

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Sean Doves 2009 Sept 4
Sep 4, 2009

The dove hunting ended up being about as good as I could have hoped over the last week. We ended up ...more

taking over 240 doves off the one good field I found from scouting and that was with a good mix of kids in the shooting. It was great breaking in some new kids to the sport and taking out some new friends and getting together again with old friends. The dogs got some tune up on their retrieving skills and in preparation for the upcoming trip to Montana for prairie birds (huns/sharptail grouse). My youngest son, Kyle, got to experience the joy and frustration of shooting (at) doves on the wing. He did really well for a new shooter. His brised shoulder is proof that he did a lot of shooting over the week. My older son, Cody, did really well on his shooting with his new 12 gauge and is really getting hooked on this hunting stuff. Here he shown with a hero shot with my pup, Jock. I got all the dogs out for some retrieving practice, but only snapped a couple of photos of Jock. Cody snapped a picture of me with Jock and our combined doves from that day. Cody is also getting pretty good at the picture taking. Maybe he can take over that duty from me and I can keep shooting in the future:)

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Sean Doves 2009 Sept 1
Sep 1, 2009

What a fun day Sept 1 provided. My youngest son and his friend both passed their Hunter Ed this summ ...more

er taking the same class after sharing a great baseball season together both in regular season and All-Star ball. I was fortunate to get to coach both of them all summer. After some pre-season scouting with my boys last weekend, I was fortunate to find probably one of the best fields for an opener in many years of dove hunting. I invited Craig Riche and his son Kyle to join us on what I hoped would be a memorable day for our two young 9 & 10 year old sons.
The field didn't disappoint; my 9 year old son, Kyle, was able to harvest his 1st dove after numerous attempts. The boys had a ball blasting almost non-stop at doves for a couple of hours while Craig and I played back up shooters. Here's what the boys were able to do before we cut the hunt short to get them back to school. The limit was not necessarily the quest for this outing, but it sure did amaze me at the progress he has made on his shooting ability in the last couple of years. Today was his 2nd day of middle school and the reality is he is making the transition from boy to man. It's a reality that really hit me today. Cody got a new Benelli 12 Gauge this summer so his little brother could take over his Beretta 20. The Benelli got his approval on live action today.

Second day: Headed back out to the field in the afternoon that produced well on the opener with my 2 boys, Kyle & Craig Riche and my good friend, Darin. My main goal was to work on my Kyle's shooting technique to see if we could get him hitting more birds this time out.it started clicking and shortly after getting into his 3rd box of shells, he knocked out dove #10. We were stoked to say the least that on only his 2nd ever hunt at the tender age of 9 that he was able to take a limit of one of the hardest game birds to hit. He actually fired a round straight in the air in youthful exuberance to celebrate his good fortune after shooting his last dove. My older son Cody had a tough start on the shooting as well, but pulled it together and was able to get all of his birds for the 2nd day in a row. Not to be outdone, Kyle Riche finished up with his limit of doves as well including a 50 yard shot that stoned a dove that was trying to escape after his 1st shot. Craig and I were a couple of pretty happy dads to say the least.
After cleaning 30 doves last night by myself, the next thing I need to teach them is how to clean them!

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Sean 2009 Turkey
Apr 15, 2009

Wed, April 15, 2009 A buddy and I headed out for the opener on Wednesday and had a successful open ...more

ing morning hunt. We scouted the evening prior to the opener and heard no gobbling at my A Spot and after a conversation with the landowner it was apparant the birds were not hanging around like there were a few weeks ago so I decided to go to Spot B without knowing where the birds had roosted. It was a decision I struggled with making, but it ended up being the right choice. The toms were not gobbling near as early as during the youth season, but after arriving and waiting for the tom's to make some noise, it finally happened. I had a good idea where they were at and we headed towards them at a good clip as the half moon and clear skies were allowing light to come on quickly. We got to a spot where we couldn't safely get any closer and set up. Darin was up first to do the shooting if we were fortunate enough to get one to come in to my calling. After several minutes of thunderous gobbling by not 1 but 2 toms, they finally flew down. Unfortunately, we had a lot of competition in the form of real hens. After several minutes of conversation with the hens and the gobblers, I made a bold decision to move in closer to the strutting zone since I was pretty sure the birds were not going to come our direction. We managed to get in tight without being detected and when I peered over the edge I spotted one of the toms in strut walking away from us. I gave a soft series of yelps to see if I could turn him back, but I knew there was another tom somewhere in the vicinity along with numerous hens. After I called, the strutting tom turned and started our way, but in the meantime a few hens popped up the hill to our right and a few seconds later a nice tom in full strut appeared. I gave Darin the go ahead to take the tom and gave a couple quick clucks to get him to pop his head up and then Darin lowered the boom on him. Turkey #1 down at 6:00 a.m. and I was stoked to see Darin get a nice long beard. So back to the truck we went for some picture taking.
After taking pictures of Darin's bird, it was my turn. I decided to cruise an old road and call aggressively to see if I could get a gobbler to respond. Not 100 yards from the truck, I got a lively response from a hen. The woods were pretty open and she sounded fairly close so I Darin and I sat down in a fence row overlooking the road with the intention to see if she might have a gobbler in tow and what her intentions might be. Well, her priority was to come hook up with us as fast as she could and after a few exchanges of yelps back and forth, a gobbler on the hill quite a ways past her decided it sounded like a fun conversation to him and he joined in and made his way to us just as fast as the hen. Well, as exciting as this was becoming, my decision to sit in the open with just a fence post behind me was becoming a concern as the hen closed the distance on a run. Sure enough, the hen runs up on the road and picks us out in a heartbeat and then alarm clucks and takes off flying up the hill to our left. As my heart sank, I stayed focused on the fact that I knew the tom was close behind and all I needed was to see him and to get a clear shot. To my surprise a turkey popped out on the road just to the left of where the hen had shown up, but it was a jake and he didn't pick us out. Come on, where's the tom? Instantly, the tom shows behind the jake and I tracked the glo sight to his head and pulled the trigger. The shot was true and the morning hunt went up another level of excitement. A quick glance at the watch showed 7:00 a.m. and the morning had exceeded my expectations for the day. My bird was much smaller than Darin's at 17 lbs with a 9" beard and .5" spurs. The spurs on my turkey were typical for a 2 year old WA bird which I would guess mine was. I would say Darin's bird was at least a 3 year old. It was a nice morning weather wise, a little chilly but really nice compared to the weather that area had been experiencing just the day before when they had 3 inches of snow. I wish I could say the success continued on in filling our next 2 tags, but it didn't. I had to run home to coach my younger son's baseball game for a showdown with the only other undefeated team in our league and I think the game may have topped the hunting as we won in the bottom of the last inning with 2 outs on a walk off grand slam by our clean up hitter. Truly a great day. But Thursday and Friday the turkeys kicked our tail so I'm still looking to get the 2nd bird. Would enjoy hearing how others did. Good luck out there.

Sat, April 25, 2009
Well, I tried a new place on Saturday when I couldn't get up north to hunt with Cody having a baseball game on Friday night and one on Saturday in which he was the starting pitcher. I had asked to hunt a place last winter after noticing lots of turkey sign and seeing birds on it. It's a property that I have hunted pheasants on for at least 10 years and it just started getting turkeys on it last year. I wasn't fired up about it as it's not a spot where it's conducive to running and gunning and working gobbling birds. So I took the Double Bull blind and set up in a fence row that is the property line between where I figured the birds roosted (not where I could hunt) and where I had permission to hunt. At first light I thought I heard a couple gobbles way off in the distance, but wasn't positive it was gobbling. I called sparingly with my box call to hopefully get the attention of some turkeys just in case there were any that could actually hear me. At 6:45, I peeked around the back of the blind and saw a hen coming my way. 3 hens popped out in the field I was in and headed straight to my DSD hen decoy that I had placed about 15 yards in front of my blind. One of the hens took offense to my decoy being on her turf and proceeded to fan out like a gobbler and circled it while purring aggressively. After a minute or so of this she proceeded to pop it with her wings and then jumped on its back and knocked it off the stake to the ground. She then stood over it and made sure it stayed down before she finally walked away. After about 45 minutes, those hens finally walked away enough where I could get back out and put my decoy back up. As I looked back behind me before getting out of the blind, I noticed a large group of turkeys in the field behind me about 300 yards away. A few gobblers were in full strut in this group so I quickly fixed the decoy and got back in the blind and started calling fairly loudly to hopefully get their attention. I'm not sure if it was my calling or they were going to come that direction anyway, but come my way they did. This time the birds all came through the fence in a different spot further away and several of them were toms, but the wind was blowing hard enough that their beards stayed tucked against their breasts and I couldn't get a good look at the length of their beards so I passed on the shot hoping they would come to the decoy. They didn't and instead took a line straight ahead that kept them too far for a shot. It turned out to be 6 mature toms and 3 hens. I checked behind me again and there were 3 more turkeys coming my way. They hit the same spot in the fence and this time I was able to make out the beard on the last way to come through. I opted not to make the same mistake this time and took the shot on the last gobbler. I knew it was a long shot, but figured it was about 45 yards. Fortunately, the tom went down like a rock and flopped once while the other 2 birds (1 longbeard and a jake) gobbled and approached my bird. They came after him like they do sometimes when another gobbler goes down and proceeded to give him a stare down while flaring their wings out, but ultimately decided to walk away quickly. So to my surprise my season ended at 7:40 last Saturday. I never dreamed I would see 8 toms and a jake on this property. The rest of the group stayed around strutting, fighting and gobbling for another hour and a half while I waited for them to move away. I didn't want to spook them since I planend to bring Cody the next day. I got to watch Cody pitch 2 scoreless innings later in his game to cap off a great day. The gobbler weighed 18.5#'s and had a 9" beard with 3/4" spurs. All the toms appeared to be about the same size. I took Cody back the next day and the boss hen came by again to beat up the decoy, but the gobblers never showed up for some reason. We'll try it again next weekend, hopefully. Sean

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Sean Turkey Hunting
Jan 15, 2008
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Sean Bird Hunting
Jan 15, 2008
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Sean Waterfowl Hunting
Jan 15, 2008
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Sean Game Hunting
Jan 15, 2008
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Sean Waterfowl 2008 Dec 23
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Sean Hunting 2009 Jan
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Sean Waterfowl 2008 Dec
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Cody 2009 Turkey Hunt
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Sean Montana 2008 Oct
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Sean Montana 2008 Nov
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Sean Jason Otto Photos
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Sean Hunting Log

Sean's Hunting Stats/Log for the years 2006/7, 2007/8, 2008/9. Clicking the 'get original uploaded ...more

photo' link under the med. sized pic will open the larger version of any pic, and let the stats be read.

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Sean Fishing
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Sean Wildlife Pics
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