Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pete has gone over to the Dark Side

I just finished three days of great chukar and partridge hunting in northeast Nevada.  The dogs did very well and we found about a covey per hour of intense hiking.  One sequence stands out in my mind ...

Ryan's pointer Storm went on point 500' above us, up a steep slope, on the far side of 50' tall rock outcropping.  (thanks, Garmin).  So we suck it up, gain the altitude, and start to actually climb over and around the rock to ambush the birds.  Storm has great manners and all goes well.  Ryan generally goes over the top, I manage to find my way around about half way up the rock on the left side.  We get most of the way around the pile and the birds finally spook, flushing from high on my right down the valley to my left, 35 to 50 yards out.  Tough shots, but for the first time in my life I tripled on chukar.  Storm did a great job on the retrieves; one of the birds had bounced 50 yards down the slope, but all were dead when he picked them up.

I doubled on another covey and finished that day with a Nevada limit, also my first ever.

 But now I am firmly on the Dark Side.  I really enjoy shooting my vintage 16ga SxS's but using those guns I probably would not have put even one bird in the bag.  Last year I purchased a Benelli Ultra Lite 12ga semi-auto; it weighs only 6lbs and swings like a game gun.  It also handles heavy loads:  my first two rounds are 1-3/8oz of nickel plated #7 at 1350fps, and my last round is a Praire Storm #6.  For the trip I shot over 50% and many of the shots would have been passed if swinging the 16's.  And the Benelli has a nice sling which makes it much easier to scramble around in the nasty places where chukar hang out.

The SxS's are not for sale; they are the perfect guns for most of my hunts in Arizona and Montana and California and Oregon.  But on those big Nevada slopes I'll be swinging the Benelli.  Apologies to Obi Wan.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Re-homing L.J.

I have mixed feelings about this, but I am offering L.J. to a good hunting home for a modest price. He is a friendly young setter that wants to please, but will not be a field trial dog.

L.J. has been trained by John McIltrot at Seranoa kennels in Broadview, Montana  and is 'green broke', handles, comes when called. L.J. is strong in Johnny Crockett, Sunrise, and See Johnny Run. He does not run big or run off. He is not quite two years old.

I can't keep them all and need to find L.J. a home. If interested, e-mail me at mikespies45 (at)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Can you find the 'doodle?


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

In New Hampshire

I'm vacationing in New Hampshire with my wife Dianne and she let me spend a couple days hunting grouse and woodcock.  Lots of fun.  The lodge keeps a blog, here is their post from yesterday.

tall timbers blog

Friday, October 21, 2016

New pup on the team

Buddy - Audubon Americus X Sunrise's Last Hope

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mapping applications and the iPad

I've travelled to many western states hunting upland birds and have used mapping applications extensively for several years.  My opinions:

OnX Hunt has great data.  The base maps are good and the ownership data is tremendously useful.  It all works well when you are online, either with LTE or with wifi.  However, the off line map feature is awful.  It is very difficult to select the data for download, the download process is horribly inefficient, and I've seen the saved data go strangely corrupt in the field.  I still use it but would prefer an alternative.

Montana Hunting 2016 is far stronger - but is only available for Montana.  I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to use public land or block management land in Montana.

There are other mapping apps with only forest service information but I've not tried that route.  The private land ownership overlay is key to bird hunters.

I expect that apps will improve over time.  Apps plus an iPad are definitely the way to go hunting public land in the western states.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Competition in the dove field

Pete and I had a great time on the opener in Imperial County, California. The weather was very warm (112 degrees F) by one o'clock on the 31st when we were scouting locations. The opener was a bit cooler with a slight breeze. We did well enough to return on Saturday to try for a few more birds.

During the Saturday shoot Pete downed a whitewing in heavy brush. Going to retrieve his bird he was warned off by the buzzing of a rattlesnake. Not long after we found this four foot long rattler swallowing a whitewing dove. This is likely the same bird Pete downed a little earlier. Be careful out there...