Friday, October 12, 2012

A Tough Opener For Arizona Quail Hunting

Quail Hunting Cowboy Style
The sun was still low in the sky and barely visible through the thin cloud cover when I parked the truck on the side of the road just in front of the gate blocking the entrance to an old gravel mine that backs up to the steep mountains on the west. The gate looks formidable but if you climb the dirt embankment and follow the low rock wall for fifty feet on either side you find out that it is little more than just a gate across the road. About a half a mile to the west Back down the rutty dirt road nestled into a rotting wood and wire structure, once used to sort and load cattle into a trucks, stands an ancient looking squeaky metal windmill that still pumps fresh ground water into a large metal cistern. The tank is just as old as the windmill and long ago became far more patch than original tank, but it still holds water. The mine and the windmill are situated at the back of a small relatively flat bottomed valley. Low steep mountains surround this little slice of desert heaven on three sides and create a well protected sanctuary for the Gamble's quail I am after.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The First Cast Of A New Fly Fisherman

I have always admired the classic image of the lone man in his wide brimmed hat standing knee deep in an isolated forest stream whipping out impossible lengths of line and skillfully playing fish after fish back to his net. I have always wanted to be a part of this idealistic vision of who the fly fisherman really is. I have pondered over countless paintings depicting the vibrant colors of wooded streams in the fall and photographs of giant rainbow trout with impossibly small feathered hooks in their mouths and day dreamed of being out there and doing that. Over the years this reason or that excuse has kept me from taking the necessary steps to learn how Fly fishing is done. To be honest I have been quite intimidated by the great deal of skill and knowledge involved in the sport. In my own twisted little thought process I felt that it was almost necessary to have a masters degree in entomology in order to know what fly patterns to throw when. Because of that, I have been content with the more mundane fishing techniques like the bait and wait method used for catfish or the plastic and rubber lures used for bass fishing. A few years ago I moved into a neighborhood that has a fair share of retirees from the north or east that live in southern Arizona during the winter months and fly fish for stocked rainbows in our small man made community lake. Watching them out fish everyone else ten to one, or better, peaked my interest in fly fishing again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Saga of the WesternField Shotgun Part Two: The Test

In "The Saga of the Westernfield Shotgun Part One" you heard all about coming across an old Mossberg made store brand shotgun. Well, here is part two of that story.

Saturday morning found me, my brother, a half dozen different guns, and a varied collection of targets bouncing along a one lane dirt road heading for some mountains off in the distance. We decided to take my truck over Tim's Jeep because it has AC. The trade off was the 4x4 capability of the Jeep, but the high was supposed to be around 108* F, and at 7:30 in the morning it was already in the high 80's or low 90's so the air conditioning won. with the warning from Tim that the road we were heading down had an extremely long stretch that was made primarily of sand. I figured as long as I was careful it wouldn't be a big deal.