Delta Goose Hunt

Last weekend found me back in my old haunts. Webb Tract.

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Forgot to take any photos while hunting so Rob snapped one at the Ferry. The three specs I shot were old birds and large.

Brother, Rob, and I returned to the site of our first duck club where we still find very good hunting for ducks, geese and pheasant.

It was approximately 40 years ago that we saw an advertisement in the Sportsman’s Corner of the SF Chronicle Sporting Green. Saturday was not unlike many trips to Webb. In Byron there was a sense that fog could be forming.

On Cyprus Road, just shy of Bethel Island, fog was visible. On Jersey Island Road, the fog thickened and by False River, visibility was down to about 100 yards.

But, it didn’t last long. By the time I’d driven across the island, watched geese, unloaded my gear, changed clothes and had a bite to eat, the fog was on its way out. Didn’t matter. I was happy to be surrounded by thousands of geese and ducks knowing that something good was about to happen.

Rob showed up shortly after me and we took turns hauling decoys out to our respective blinds. He chose a water blind with the idea of hunting sprig and I chose a semi-dry field in search of specs.

The goose hunt was good with some minor exceptions. Once ready in the blind, with my decoys exactly the way I like them, it wasn’t 15 minutes before I heard specs calling from my left. They came into sight about 150 yards out in the dwindling fog. Right away they spotted the white-front goose shell decoys I’d placed along the edge of the field.

I called softly, they were close and turned away towards the decoys. Slowing, they put their feet down and helicoptered downward. This was too good.

When about 10 feet over the decoys, they came to their senses and flared off the plastic birds. I called again and they turned towards me flying low, about 30 feet in the air. They were about to pass less than 30 yards from me when I stood and fired….whoops….I mean almost fired. My semi-auto clicked. Yes, a mechanical malfunction.

There were better moments to follow and despite more malfunctions, I did manage to bring down a spec before the afternoon was over and also bagged a couple in the morning. Both hunts were exciting and three specs is enough to motivate me to go back again before the season is out.

On Sunday, three more small groups of specs worked the decoys and call – passing by in range. I managed to bring two more birds. Lola made great recoveries on all three birds. By recovery I mean she chased them down and held them at bay. She might have retrieved them, but at 12 I’m giving her a break from heavy loads.

Without her I might have lost any of the three birds that went down as they were all very lively.

I’ve got an appointment to get my shotgun professionally cleaned on Friday.

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This adventurous great blue heron was floating False River towards the ocean on a boat made of water hyacinth. Photographed him from the Ferry on the way home.

December 29 at the Kerry Club

The barbecue on Friday night was great. Had my son-in-law Brett with me as a guest.

The sunrise was nice.

Not many ducks. Came in with three green-wing teal and a shoveler.

Lots of time to take photos. Here are a few.

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The sun came up bright-hot.

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Lola came in with the first teal.

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There were lots of swallows, but not lots of ducks.

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This swallow was very close.

 

That was about it. Stayed too long. Kept thinking something good would happen.

Brett got a few ZZZZs in the blind.

Gobbler Flock

After finishing my hike this morning, I pulled out of the parking lot and ran smack into a large flock of turkey’s. I pulled my binoculars out and examined the group. They were all gobblers and many of them were very old with long beards.

I had only my cell phone for picture taking so I did the best I could. Most of them are in this photo.

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I counted at least 24 gobblers in this flock.

Ranch Road Oct 6, 2018

In no particular order. Yesterday’s photos.

 

A Week At the Lake House

The Lake House has been appropriately broken in by our family group. It was chaotic.

The house is designed for about four people, but can hold six. Eight is too much and that’s what we attempted to do on our first week at the house.

Linda and I decided we needed to spend a week at the house by ourselves – a’ la carte. Not sure what we expected to find out. That’s why we did it.

For me it was an easy week of checking off projects, fishing and relaxing. For Linda, it was a struggle. We came out OK, but the last couple days got testy. Our disagreements grew more frequent, but they never reached the level of a full-out argument.

Right off the bat I had a successful transfer of various equipment from the Bay Area to Almanor. The lawn mower, unused at home, made a quick adjustment to the high country.

On work-day one, Tuesday, we got the heater and AC checked out. Everything appeared to be in order, so that was a big relief. We also verified that the thermostat has a WiFi interface that will work nicely once we get our system implemented.

The wooden swing which had sat in our side yard, at home for several years, fit in nicely to the lake front and we enjoyed the up close view of the lake while sitting in the shade of one of our big yellow pines.

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A group of deer passed through during the early hours and stopped next to the new swing as if to say, “What is this?”

On day two, Wednesday, a major milestone was accomplished when we got our internet connection with Digital Path, a company out of Chico. So far, we are impressed with their service. Now we plan to hook up a couple Aps that will allow us to monitor the situation while we’re away – including the aforementioned thermostat.

On day three, Thursday, I managed to hit the creek and catch my first trout of the trip, a fourteen-inch brown. Only one, but that was a start.

In the afternoon, I spent time surveying a vacant lot in Hamilton Branch – property owned by my father. With the help of one of the neighbors, one corner was clearly extablished.  That’s progress.

The lot needs to be cleared to meet the county fire standards. Since it’s nearly an acre in size and is overgrown with brush, the project will take a while.

On day four,  Friday, I hit the creek early again and broke off a nice rainbow.

I had spent most of my time fishing from one location and there were a lot of fish in front of me. I cast to fish much of the time, but after a while, I began to cast randomly as the fish I could see seemed to be impossible to catch.

One fish in particular spent most of its time right in front of me and it was quite large. I can’t say how many times I thought about that fish, but it never moved. Eventually, I forgot about it.

Then one of my random casts landed in front of the big fish. I was amazed when it suddenly turned and swallowed my fly. My strike indicator went down an I pulled up in disbelief. The big rainbow was on.

This turned out to be the largest trout of the year, a nice rainbow. The fish pealed out a bunch of line, which ended up working in my favor. The big trout tired itself out running up and down the creek and never threatened to break my 5X tippet, which was vulnerable.

In the end, I pulled the fish up against the shore and a friendly gentleman held it there so I could get a photo before releasing the fish.

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This was definitely the fish of the year. Not sure exactly how big he was, but he was definitely big enough.

After catching the best fish of the summer, I packed up and headed home not needing to fish any more that day.

At home, I was hoping to resolve some WiFi issues with my handyman.

The WiFi installation was painless. Not only that, but we laid the groundwork for installation of other Aps that will make living in two homes easier. It was a good day.

Later, I got in a fairly long hike, burning up some calories.

Saturday morning I returned to the creek, looking for another fish, but the best I could do was a small rainbow. In general, fishing was slow the entire trip, except for one special moment.

Another trip to the lot resulted in some valuable discussions with the neighbors and I became satisfied that I knew all the corner locations. This accomplished a major goal for the trip.

During my drive home, I noticed smoke on the horizon to the west of Chester – looked like an uncontrolled fire. After arriving home, Linda and I heard airplanes overhead. Four Cal Fire planes were circling overhead in preparation for picking up water to fight the fire.

I photographed them in action.

Sunday fishing was enjoyable, but unremarkable, except that there were hundreds of trout in the estuary – few of them doing anything. I didn’t see a single fish caught.

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to pull our dock up away from the lake where it will remain until spring. I hooked the dock up to my truck using 100 feet of cable. After failing on my first attempt, I revised the system a bit and managed to pull the dock out like a train. It was a sight to see.

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With the lake level dropping rapidly, I concluded that it was time to pull the dock for this season.

Sunday evening Linda and I enjoyed a nice dinner out at Plumas Pines. We were ready to go home. (I could have stayed.)

It was a fruitful and enjoyable week. The Lake House is a success.

Looks like I won’t be back until November when the Devil’s Garden and Bass Hill muzzleloader seasons open. That should be interesting.

 

 

Last Weekend A-Zone Deer

Headed to the ranch this morning, but not to hunt.

Needed to pick up a lawn mower and an ATV. Also decided it was time to shoot my  muzzleloader.

Did all that, and managed to take photos along the way.

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Took this photo through my windshield, so the quality isn’t great, but there are about eleven pigs in the photo. They ran across the road in front of me. Two are mature sows, the rest are piglet.

 

Three bobcats crossed the road in front of me, but not of them slowed down for a photo.

Managed to fire the muzzleloader. That’s the first step towards hunting Devil’s Garden come November.