Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A truly miserable dog

Here's Rosie, looking very unhappy with her new footgeat. But she got used to them quickly and the Lewis boots did the trick - no foot problems.

Report from the field

Reba, Jane and Jared (he's the one with the gun)
Jared checked in reporting tough conditions and just a few birds on an outing to NE California for chukars. Wind, snow, cold, and running birds.
It has been my experience that chukars are jumpy and easily spooked when the barometric pressure drops. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A worthwhile book

With a painter's eye and a writers pen, Russell Chatham dissects the sporting life from a very personal point of view. Little escapes comment as he ranges across lessons on life, old friends, places gone to rot, food, death, sex, art, sportsmanship and sport in the outdoors.

Included in this collection is one of my favorite pieces, which first appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal in the seventies, I think. The Great Duck Misunderstanding – a story that is pure Chatham. And since I love eating ducks it has remained in my mind for over 35 years. It is good to find it here in this collection.

Chatham grew up in the California of my youth, now sadly gone. Having fled to Montana in the seventies, he has the benefit of some distance now. “In an odd way,” he says, “ it's a curse to have been born and raised in one of the most sublime places on earth. I've been around the world and have never seen another place of such sensuous, languid character, or where the climate is so benign.”

In Pumping Irony Chatham mourns and quietly rages over what is now gone – striped bass fishing in California – which is clearly an indicator of the abundant and free California he knew in his youth. And he was right about the future of this state over 40 years ago.

Read this book.

PS: Russ Chatham has written a number of books and is a celebrated painter. One of his first was a little gem in paperback published in 1977 by the San Francisco Examiner, Striped Bass on the Fly - A Guide to California Waters. The pencil illustrations, observations and specific information are priceless, if dated.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Now THAT was good

My wife is visiting our daughter this weekend so I cooked up a dinner just for me. I tried a few new things and it all came out quite well.

Start with 2 Oregon chukar and 2 San Diego quail, plucked, with backbones removed. Soak for 2 hours in brine, 1 quart water with 1/2 cup salt, 2 tbs sage and 2 tbs white pepper.

Then, the side dish. Coarsely dice 1 onion and 1 red bell pepper. Cook in olive oil until onions are somewhat brown. Cut the kernels from 2 ears of corn, microwave the kernels for 3 minutes, then add to the onions and peppers. Add 1/2 cup canned drained black beans. Add 1/2 cup Goya "Sofrito" tomato cooking base. Add a bit of water and let it all cook for 5 minutes.

Finally, rinse the birds, tie the legs, season with a lot of ground black pepper, and grill until still pink in the middle. Baste the skin side with butter as the birds finish cooking.

I've never brined whole game birds before and this was simply outstanding. Definitely will do this with most grilled birds in the future. Even the legs were tender and very tasty.

Game warden murdered

Reported by Carl Bergen...
David L. Grove, a 31 year old Penna Wildlife Consevation Officer was shot and killed by a convicted felon who did not want to go back to prison. The felon was night hunting and was in possession of a firearm. The suspect was also wounded and in custody with charges of homicide, weapons and game offenses, along with other charges. It has been 95 years since a Pennsylvania Game Warden has been killed in the line of duty.  More news here

Friday, November 12, 2010

One tired puppy

Mike and I joined forces for nearly two weeks in Oregon, then I headed south and spent a final couple of days in the Mojave hunting chukar with my friend Bruce. After a couple weeks of daily work on wild birds my Setter Rosie was handling pretty well; in about 3 hours one morning she gave us nearly a dozen points on a half dozen covies. Exciting stuff. But I could tell it was time to go home from this picture ...
Bruce and I spent that afternoon annoying the ducks in a nearby marsh. The water was generally shallow, the bottom was generally hard, and I the rubber boots I was wearing had been adequate. Then I killed a mallard that fell into a "new" pond. First steps were fine, then I sank to mid-thigh in an invisible soft spot. With Bruce laughing in the background on the shore I lost my balance, fell to my left, and with a gargled "aaaargh" found myself horizontal, right arm clutching my gun above the water. Bruce says that if he had captured the video it would have a million hits on YouTube in the first 24 hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

AFTCA Guidelines

Guidelines to Field Trial Procedure and Judicial Practice is a pocket-sized reference book distributed by the Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America (AFTCA). This book contains a wealth of information including descriptions of the All Age and Shooting Dog Standards; what is expected of the Field Trial Marshall and Reporter; minimum qualifications for, and the expectations of, a Judge. And a lot of questions and answers to many issues and situations that a field trialer will run into, from the advertisement of the trial through the running of dogs. The book can be found at http://www.aftca.org/, and is reasonably priced at $3.95 a copy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Works as advertised

When Pete and I were in Oregon we did take a day to fish. The rod I recently bought from High Sierra Rod Co. (the 8' 3" 5 wt. 'Penta' cane rod) was really lovely to fish with. We threw some big October Caddis dries and were rewarded with some decent fish. Just after this photo was taken I slipped and dunked my digital camera. I was able to rescue some of my photos. This proves that my luck was not all bad.