A-Zone Opener

We had a very good time on the opener and we bagged two bucks while doing it. We also ended up with a bonus pig, a nice-sized boar – weighing in at about 250 pounds.

Here are some success photos.

Son-in-law Brett got his buck Saturday morning

IMG_7034 Brett's buck

We spotted Brett’s buck about 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. From about 430 yards, Brett watched for a while before deciding that he was the right deer. Seeing there was a good path to about 200 yards, Brett decided to go for it while the buck remained bedded.

The 200-yard shot hit the buck in the heart. His reflexes carried him in a 20 yard circle before he fell. Turns out their were four other bucks with him.

The cocktail-hour boar met it’s demise about an hour before sunset on Saturday night. It ran into some steep country where it almost was lost, but the crew finally located him in a crevice about 100 yards from where he was shot.

Due to darkness, there we no photos taken at the sight of the kill, but here he is hanging in camp.

IMG_7041 butchering the boar after dark

Joe’s buck was even further in the rough. He arrived in camp in pieces. Here’s a shot of his head and antlers. A nice 3×3 with eye guards.

IMG_7036 Joe DiDonato's buck

My fused ankle held up well. I stayed away from slopes, but managed to get around pretty well.

 

 

Ankle Fusion Progress

If you read my blog periodically, you’re probably aware of the fact that I had my right ankle fused on June 3. The ordeal that followed has been a challenge for Linda and I. During the first six weeks following surgery, I was essentially helpless and had to rely on her for most of my needs.

I can probably never do enough to repay her nor can I convince her that I understand what she has done for me. That’s they way it is sometimes under extreme conditions.

On July 15, the surgeon X-Rayed the ankle and declared that new bone had replaced 80 percent of the joint. Instead of a joint, I now have a solid bone connection between my leg bone and the ankle. The is an additional joint below the ankle that still provide opportunity for some bending.

With the good news, I was granted permission by my surgeon to begin walking on the boot which doubles as a sort of improved cast. Here it is.

boot IMG_6968

The boot straps tight around the leg and ankle. It is designed to hold your foot in place while allowing enough use of the foot to facilitate healing.

I’ve now been walking on the foot for almost two weeks. At first I used a cane for added balance. Currently, I’m only using the cane at times when I’ve walked on the foot quite a bit and it begins to get sore.

No pain. Sometimes soreness, but that is part of the healing process. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be out of the boot on August 26. The bone growth should be 100% at that time. In time for Labor Day weekend.

I’ve noticed a loss of muscle in my right leg which is to be expected. As I’m walking now, the muscles are coming  back slowly, but noticeably. Not sure where the improvement will end as without movement in my ankle, there will be something lost.

I’m on track for fishing in September and hunting in October/November.

 

 

 

Dreaming of the Big One

It’s been 32 days since my ankle surgery and if all goes well, I’ll be up and about in a couple weeks. Have to see what the Doc says on July 15.

Therefore I’ve decided that it’s time to start dreaming. I’m going to start by reviewing the successes of the last few years.

In 2016, I purchased an OZ tag and hunted primarily in Devil’s garden – M9. No success there, but I did manage to kill a buck during the Doyle muzzleloader hunt, M3.

IMG_3106 2016 Doyle buck

This 2016 M3 buck is my favorite California buck. He has lots of mass and huge eye guards.

Here are some other photos from recent years.

 

 

Doesn’t hurt to dream. That’s half the fun. I’ll probably revisit these places and add a couple more in 2019.

Update On Ankle Surgery

 

castIMG_6934

Sitting in my recliner with foot up. New cast.

Ankle now fused. Done arthroscopically. Minimum surgical intrusion.

If all goes as planned, I’ll be able to put weight on it in four more weeks – about July 15th.

Hardly any pain, but some misery is involved. Taking a pill occasionally. Hard on my¬† wife as she’s the caregiver and you’re pretty useless when on crutches.

Should be good for hunting with my Open Zone tag. And, I think my brother and I will purchase a pontoon boat which will make fishing a big easier during the final month of my recovery.

The fused ankle should allow me to hunt ducks this winter without a limp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Epiphany

For a couple years I worked on a project in support of the Mule Deer Foundation’s National Endowment Fund.
The concept was that the event would be a social affair, a discussion about conservation and also a fundraiser.
Because it was immensely successful relative to other people’s expectations, many people are interested in doing it again. I wasn’t surprised as one of the goals of the program was to create a template for additional events.
Along the way, I came to grips with the fact this was God’s work – a very emotional thing that I believed to be worthwhile. Others stepped in to encourage me and lighten the load.
Guided by instinct, the event came together piece by piece. I did not know what I was doing, but what I did turned out to be perfect. That’s hard to explain.
So, when it was over and after some rest, I proceeded to try to figure out how to tell somebody else how to do it. Social event, conservation event, fundraising event. That was what I knew.
The name of the event, “A Conversation in the Vineyards…..Immerse Yourself in Conservation,” was appropriate.
What I had a hard time with was how to generate the emotion that would lead to the intended result….supporting MDF.
Finally I realized that the emotion was created by conflict – conflict between people and wildlife. The conflict is embedded in our past and future. It is unavoidable. Unsolvable problems lead to strong emotions in people and they are motivated to take them on even if they seem to be headed into inevitable failure.
My understanding of the event and what took place was an epiphany.
Epiphany is a word my mother used to use. She would sometimes tell me that I’d had an epiphany. I accepted that as some type of awakening. However, I wanted to use the word today, so I looked it up to make sure I knew the correct definition.
Epiphany: a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being. Or, a moment in a story when a character achieves realization, awareness or a feeling of knowledge, after which events are seen through the prism of this new light.
Wow. Good job Mom. Either way, that’s all right by me.

Tri-Colored Black Bird

The tri-colored blackbird is a species that is in decline. Lack of habitat is the basis for most declines. I’ve heard that there are ongoing efforts to reverse the trend, but I don’t know if they are effective.

Here’s a link: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/tricolored-blackbird

On a few occasions I’ve had a chance to photograph them. Here are two photos of tri-colored and another photo of a red-winged blackbird. They are very similar in appearance.

Here is a red-winged black bird.

blackbird 6 CCSF pond 6-7-12

Open Zone 2019

While I was hunting deer in 2018, I spent quite a bit of time wondering what I could be doing differently.

The more I hunted, the more I realized how many places I had yet to go and I began to think about purchasing the OZ tag again.

Yep, I did it.

Now I’m really fired up.