Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Predator Hunting

I won't get into the reasons why it is important for us to predator hunt. We hunt predators for numerous reasons that I find to be good. When I say predator, I mean Coyote, Fox, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, and Bear. Right now I want to talk a little about hunting the Coyote.

There are several ways to hunt a Coyote. The most popular means of hunting them is how we do it in NM; with predator calls. These are calls that are designed, when used correctly, to mimic the prey of the predator you are calling. Below is an example of my dad using a predator call mimicking a rabbit.

This is not always the most effective way, however, to hunt Coyotes. This requires a skill caller, good timing, and a lot of hard work. This is especially true in the Gila, where we were hunting Coyotes during this holiday break. As you can see in the pictures, this is not forgiving land to be chasing a Coyote in his own element.

When we went to Kansas, I was introduced to a new way of hunting Coyotes. This method includes a fast truck, flat and rock less terrain, and a steady hand shooting. I think this looks more entertaining. And on top of that, there is not so much walking around in the snow. (If you need a little direction in interrepreting the pictures below, that is a white truck on the right and the black dot to the left is a coyote running away.)

So what do you think? Would you rather be in Kansas and do as the Kansans do? Or Chase my dad around the mountains in the snow? There is no wrong answer. I will just say that both are good and effective. Both serve their purposes. And I will continue to practice both methods when given the opportunity.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Birdhunting Kansas

It is really easy to get stressed out with school and work, and for me this climaxes in November. This year, I found the answer to my problem. Take a week off and do absolutely nothing.

A while back we got the idea to go on a pheasant hunt in Garden City, Kansas. My dad has some friends out that way with some great farmland for hunting. So about a month ago we put the final touches on making it happen over this Thanksgiving break.

Billy (dad), Ty (brother), Mike (brother-in-law), Jerry, Ryan, and I met up in Garden City at the Drees Farm on Saturday ready for a great week of hunting. We hunted three full days and saw a lot of country.

This was a new experience for us westerners that are accustomed to hunting in the mountains. I now know why they call them flat-landers. You can see for miles, but if it weren't for the curve of the earth, I am pretty sure you could see forever. And not only is it flat but I only counted about a dozen trees in the whole county. Of course those were planted in some guys yard.

We hunted uncut milo fields the first day. This was tricky since a pheasant can run faster then he can fly. You can walk and walk all day, but they only fly when they run out of cover. So when you are walking a section, you walk a mile, but the birds don't fly until you have chased them to the last hundred yards or so.

Needless to say, we walked at least ten miles a day. But who hasn't gone hunting with my dad and not worn out his hunting boots?

Then next day we went out with a friend of the Drees. We hunted a little milo, some corn, and a lot of CRP. CRP stands for Crop Reduction Program. Basically the government pays the farmers to not grow crops on certain parts of their farms to prevent over harvesting of the land. Well, a CRP field is a field of native grass and tumble weeds.

We also learned the technique of jumping pits. Around some of the farms you will find old dirt tanks that are dry and overgrown with grass and weeds. Well the pheasants really like to hang out in these pits. We would surround the pit, and send Ty and boomer in to jump the birds out.

The last day was the best day for hunting. Duane and Daryl were kind enough to leave the last field of milo in forty yard strips for us. This keeps the birds from escaping laterally. That way they all run to the end and fly rather then just run around.

We were able to hunt the same strips of milo a couple of times and still have a lot of birds flushing.

All in all it was a great hunt. We got a lot of birds, saw some huge deer, and had some good times with friends. I hope this can happen again. Maybe I can talk my dad into taking me deer hunting there next year. We'll see.

I want to thank Duane, Daryl, Steve, Wayne, and everyone else that made this trip a success.

By the way, I plan on writing about coyote hunting Kansas-style and how to exit a moving truck. So keep an eye out for more from this trip.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gila Wilderness Elk Hunt

Man, I wish I were in New Mexico during this time of year. The one thing that I have missed the most the past six years since I got kicked out of the coup is best portrayed in the pictures below. It is rifle elk season right now and my dad and little brother have been right there in the action.

These pictures are of this most recent hunt which was obviously successful. Thanks to Bud Gabriel, this hunt has been well documented with very high quality photos.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

American Fork Canyon In HD

I finally got a chance to get out and get some fresh air. Dan the man and myself decided to take a ride up AF Canyon to see the scenery in Fall colors. If you ever find yourself in Utah in the Fall, I recommend you take this drive. I am no photographer, and the lighting isn't great, but here is a sampling of the view.

Alaska '09

Seriously, school is the outdoorsman's worst enemy. I can honestly say that I have not been able to get out one time in the last month. But I just wanted to update a little from my top five list of places I would want to visit. I have recently purchased round trip tickets to Juneau, Alaska. That is right, my number 1 place that I want to visit, will come off the list in May of 2009. I will spare the details of the trip for when I actually go, but here is a quick run down of the plan. We will boat out to an island and stay a few days on a beach cabin. I hope to be able to fish and crab a little bit. Then the second half of the week we will hike up the mountain and stay in a mountain top cabin for the remainder of the trip. I am guaranteeing great pictures and great stories, so stay tuned.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer is Done

Well I sit here today at my desk thinking about the last four months. I like to go through my pictures from time to time and remember the good times. But this morning as I was going through my files I realized that my summer is officially over today. I start up with classes tomorrow and my free time will be very limited.

At the same time, just because summer is over doesn't mean that the outdoors season is over. Sure there may not be much more fishing, rock climbing, or hiking, but I will find a way to get outside.

It'll be like last year when we decided to go bouldering at Triassic near Price, UT. We knew there was snow, but still got out our tents and sleeping bags and hiked in near some pretty good bouldering problems. We woke up the next morning to a fresh 8" of snow on top of the foot and a half that was already there. That was probably the most fun I've had on a bouldering trip.

And I am sure that we will repeat Cabin Fever again this winter. Last year we spent a long weekend at a cabin at Panguitch Lake. Snow mobiles, sleds, and a lot of friends make a good combination for fun. We'll be looking to break the record for the longest sled ride ever.

With fall setting in, I just have to pack away my fishing pole and get ready for the hunts. Unfortunately I didn't draw a single tag for New Mexico, but I still get out with friends that have tags. And there is always the Thanksgiving quail hunt that has become somewhat of a tradition in our family. I'll be sure to shoot plenty of clays and maybe be able to out shoot my brother Ty this year.

So just because this is the last day of summer, and I am stuck inside during a thunderstorm, doesn't mean it is a sad day. What are you going to do to get out this fall and winter?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day Hike

This past Saturday I found myself sitting on the couch watching TV at nine in the morning. I realized that this was the first time in a long time that I had an entire day without a single thing planned to do. Lately I have been running crazy trying to get as much fun crammed into this summer as I can. So what would do with my "free" day? I could have easily sat there and watched SportsCenter all day long. I could have found a good book to read. I could have done the dishes. Instead I decided to go on a hike.

I am lucky enough to be close to some very cool hiking locations. There are a few peaks along the Wasatch front that are popular destinations for the day hiker. Starting in the north you have Mount Timponogos, Squaw Peak, Y Mountain, Spanish Fork Peak, and Mount Nebo. I had only been to the top of Spanish Fork Peak, twice actually, so I decided that I would hike to the top of Y Mountain.

I want to start by saying that I recommend this hike to anyone that likes the outdoors. The trailhead is right here in Provo, as you first must hike to the Y. The trail then heads out from the southern point of the Y and heads around the intimidating bluffs that over-look the town. I had figured on two hours to get to the top and an hour and a half back. If you go on this hike in the middle of the day I suggest taking plenty of water. If I were to do the hike again I would want to leave early in the morning. The sun just beats down on the south slopes in the afternoon.

It took us about three hours to get up to the top. We weren't in any kind of hurry though. I bet at a good steady pace it can easily be done in two to two and a half hours. Most of that time you will be hiking uphill, so be prepared for a workout. All of that work however, is paid off in the end with some very awesome views.

From the top you can see all of Utah County from American Fork to Payson. You can also see the other popular peaks along the front. But the real view is off of the back side of the peak. You get a firsthand look as some of the roughest mountains around. I consider myself an adventurous person, but i would think twice before taking off across some of those ridges.

All in all, the hike was a success. We were back within six hours of leaving, and that was with plenty of resting and sightseeing. No one got hurt and I didn't waste the day away in my apartment.