We had a nice visit before the Friday night banquet.
MDF Livermore will be loaded with hunts and trips again this year. Here is a laundry list.
1.) 8-day pack in mule deer hunt in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness with Montana Safaris. Donated by Montana Safaris.
2.) Fishing and golf on the Fall River with Rob Lawson of Rob Lawson’s adventures.
3.) Unguided deer hunt for Sitka Blacktails with Kodiak Charters on Kodiak Island. http://www.kodiakcharters.com
4.) Seven -day hunt in Africa with Thormahlen & Cochran Safaris in South Africa or Namibia.
5.) Youth blacktail hunt near Livermore donated by the Holm Ranch.
6.) Five-day drop camp for two hunters or fishermen in the Emigrant Wilderness donated by Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.
7.) A four-rod, three day, two night one boat fishing trip on Lake Margaret near Burney, CA. Donated by Wilderness Unlimited.
8.) Baja Mexico Vacation: 6 nights/7days in a two bedroom Villa at Cerritos Surf Colony Resort. Donated by Cerritos Beach Resorts.
Here’s a link to our three-page banquet notice. It includes a sign-up form. flyer page 1
More info: flyer page 2
And a page for sign up. Should be enough instructions here to get it done, but if you need more info, call committee members, Ryan Heal or Randy Morrison. flyer page 3
The last day of the 2014/15 season started off well enough. I had the Mayberry marsh to myself and set up in a spot that had potential. With about a dozen duck and goose decoys spread about, I had a bit of a struggle getting set up in the optimum spot.
Cattails and tules complicate hunting at Mayberry. If you sit down against a wall of these tall plants, you can’t see anything until it’s right on you. That’s OK if you have the patience of Jobe and the desire to shoot only ducks that are landing.
As various ducks passed by me without getting a shot off, I moved several times until I finally commanded a good enough view of the area to see ducks coming.
By that time I was in a bit of a frustrated state. Then I proceeded to miss a couple decent opportunities at pintail and mallards.
Then I heard a honk, hoonka, hoooawnka…from the field to the north. I reached for my honker call, which I carry on my string of calls for this occasion.
Not finding it there, I realized that I’d taken it off to add an additional spec call and resigned myself to silence.
Then they appeared, two honkers flying very low and calling. Apparently they could see my three spec decoys because they were heading right at them.
I raised my gun to be ready to shoot and got my feet under me so I’d be able to stand. When the birds were about 150 yards out, they began to fade away from me towards the far side of the decoys.
It looked like they would pass out of range, so I resorted to the only option left – a mouth honk. It was fairly soft, but the two giant geese heard it and immediately turned right towards me. At 20 yards, I swung past the head of goose one and down he came. The I moved over to goose two with the same result.
Goose one was DOA, but goose two was a swimmer. I raised my gun and fired, but the pattern of shot around the bird convinced me that it was futile trying to kill this bird on the water.
I hollered, “Lo,” and looked over to see that she was already in pursuit.
Realizing that there was a channel between me and the bird, I turned towards my boat. Then the goose disappeared into a band of cattail with Lola in hot pursuit.
This was a little scary to me as I had no idea what would happen in a face off between this giant Canada and my dog – a dog that had never (as far as I can remember) retrieved a honker before.
I recall another day when a white-front goose had faced off with Lola while standing on dry ground. With wings spread and head erect, that goose had looked intimidating, but to my surprise, Lola ran right over that one. But, this honker was at least twice as large as any spec and Lola was in deep water and thick cattail.
Getting into my little 8-foot duck boat was a water rodeo. I could hear Lola barking and growling from the cattail and I didn’t like the sound of this confrontation.
Powered by my electric motor, it didn’t take me long to circle to the other side of the cattails from where I could hear Lola growling.
There she was, swimming with the goose’s neck in her mouth, all the while growling. I think the sound of her own growling may had helped her generate the courage to tackle the very large goose. She turned the goose over to me and I hoisted both of them aboard the little boat. Lola had the drowned-rat look.
Having her back in the boar was a relief. And, the two honkers turned the hunt around.
Looks like we’ll soon have some smoked honker breast.
You can tell which honker was Lola’s.
Note: If you read my previous post, you know that my cell phone later went swimiming with me. However it did take pictures, but it was two days later before it came fully back to life and not before I’d ordered a new phone from Verizon. Since it’s now working again, I guess I’ll send the new one back unused.
The last hunt of the season was over. My duck boat and decoy sled were in tow and the rope holding them was in my left hand.
My wading stick was in the boat instead of my right hand where I usually keep it.
I was riding a high. One more decoy to pick up and the 2014/15 duck season would be complete. One more step….whoops.
I had overlooked one thing. I was hunting a lake and forgot that maybe it might be a bit deeper over there. It wasn’t just that it was so deep, but also slippery on the bottom. That last step put my right foot on a slippery slope and down I went – swimming.
Wet from head to toe, I reached for the bottom and pushed myself to the surface – getting my feet under me.
1. “Now that was stupid!” was my first thought.
2. “Boy that water is sure salty was my second.”
3.”Wonder if it got my cell phone?” was my third.
4.”Just how salty was that water?”
The answers: 1. It sure was. 2. Yes it was salty. 3. Yes it did ruin my phone. 4. Better go to school.
Needless to say, I was eager to get back to my truck. That bag of clothes set aside specifically for this situation was a god send.
But, the taste of that salt water hung over me on the way home. How salty was it? Was that water as salty as the ocean?
This morning curiosity got the better of me and I set out to figure just how salty the water was. I now realize that this is the billion dollar question. My initial efforts to figure this out have produced more information than I’m able to process.
So let’s just say that this is fodder for some 2015 research. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with some meaningful answers. Just enough to clear the fog.
In the meantime I won’t be wading without my stick. And, I won’t be calling anybody until after I get a new phone or my current phone decides to start working.
Lighting struck twice on the last two weekends of duck season.
The last duck of the season for me was a green head that came in with several other mallards about noon on the last day of the season.
He was almost directly over my decoys and just in front of me when my shot hit him hard. I called to Lola and she retrieved the bird. I could see the sun glistening off the band as she carried it back to her perch in the cattails.
Last days are often eventful and this one was for sure.
The bird was banded near Tulelake in July 2014. It hatched in 2013 or earlier.
This is the second time I’ve ended the duck season with a banded mallard as the last bird taken.