Another First for Brett

My son-in-law, Brett has had several firsts during the last few hunting seasons. First duck, first deer and now first gobbler.

It was the day before Easter when Rob and I took Brett up to the ranch to see if we could find him a mature tom turkey. We were lucky.

As we entered our property we could see a gobbler strutting for hens a couple hundred yards from the road.

After a careful approach and thoughtful setup, the bird came to Rob’s calling and Brett knocked him down.

“He came in so easy that I figured you’d tell me I couldn’t shoot him,” said Brett, comparing the turkey hunt to other hunts where we wouldn’t make it easy for him.

In this case we couldn’t pass up the big tom as he strutted in front of the jake decoy only 25 yards away.

Brett Kelly with his first gobbler.

Brett Kelly with his first gobbler.

Another Day at the Ranch

Yesterday was a good day at the ranch.

The day got off on a good note when I spotted a group of tule elk bulls feeding along the side of highway 84. I did you U-turn and snapped a few photos.

Not often does one see tule elk along a major highway.

Not often does one see tule elk along a major highway.

Here they are again.

Here they are again.

Impressive animals.

Arriving about 8 AM, the first item on the agenda was a whipsnake survey. Unfortunately I found only a western fence liizard for my efforts, but did snap a couple more photos.

Basking in the morning sun, every rock had either a meadow lark, horned lark or some other bird on top of it.

Basking in the morning sun, every rock had either a meadow lark, horned lark or some other bird on top of it.

A morning dove perched on the dead limbs of a blue oak.

Morning doves are sleek.

Morning doves are sleek.

It has been a good year for some wildflowers.

The Mariposa lily is a plant that has done well this season.

The mariposa lily is a plant that has done well this season.

We had a crew of eager helpers

We had a crew of eager helpers.

This larvae has almost no dorsal fin, shrinking gills and muscle development in his legs. We expect that he will leave the pond within a few days to a couple weeks.

This larvae has almost no dorsal fin, shrinking gills and muscle development in his legs. We expect that he will leave the pond within a few days to a couple weeks.

On the way home, a bobcat walked across the road in front of me. I snapped a photo before he went out of site. I think I’ve photographed him before.

Took this photo from about 100 yards.

Took this photo from about 100 yards.

Pumped About Next Fall

Set up some great hunts for next fall. With the day approachingĀ  when I’ll no longer be able to climb mountains and ride horses, I look forward to the fall with impatience.

Last hunting season wore me down, especially the eight day hunt in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. But now my enthusiasm is renewed and I’m ready for another go-round. One of the keys is to keep climbing my local hill on a regular basis.

This is the area where I missed a big buck last Novermber.

This is the area where I missed a big buck last Novermber.

I’ll be back in the BOB again next November, hunting with Montana Safaris and looking for the big wilderness buck that has eluded me the last two years.

I’ve put in for a Shiras moose tag in Idaho and if I get drawn, I’ll be packing into the Lolo Wilderness during September. That’s the time when the moose will be rutting, it’s also archery deer and elk season. If I get drawn, I’ll also be looking to hunt deer with my bow and I’ll also be looking into whether I can purchase an elk tag as well. May have to go for two weeks.

I paid $4,500 for a Nevada landowner tag the year I shot this buck. It's still my biggest muley buck.

I paid $4,500 for a Nevada landowner tag the year I shot this buck. It’s still my biggest muley buck.

However, just in case I don’t get drawn, I’ve got a back-up plan to hunt mountain goats with Kiff Covert in BC. If that happens it will be with rifle and I’ll also have a deer tag in case we come upon a worthy mule deer.

The usual smorgasbord of draw tags has also been applied for in Nevada and California. That is another unknown, but something good could happen and if it does, I’ll be hunting closer to home as well.

Who knows what the duck season will be bring this year, but whatever it is, I plan to be there. Even bought a new O/U shotgun. Can’t wait to test it out on the pond.

At the end of the month, the schedule will begin to clarify and my excitement continue to build. Anticipation is one of the key elements why hunting is such a great pastime.

California Tiger Salamander Larvae Stages

Here are some photos of California tiger salamander (CTS) larvae in various stages of development.

Click on photo to get a close up view.

This 60 mm larvae has legs, but they are useless.

This 60 mm larvae has legs, but they are useless.

This larvae has complete long gills, weak legs and is not showing signs of morphing into an adult.

This larvae has complete long gills, weak legs and is not showing signs of morphing into an adult.

This larvae is about ready to leave the pond. It is taking on adult coloration, has strong legs and it's gills are gone. It cannot swim well at this point and is breathing air.

This larvae is about ready to leave the pond. It is taking on adult coloration, has strong legs and it’s gills are gone. It cannot swim as well at this point and is breathing air.

This metamorph was found on top of a ridge on a gravel road, about 150 yards directly up a steep hill from the nearest possible breeding site.

The above salamander morphed into an adult shortly before this photo was taken. It still has some of the coloration of the larvae.