Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Break Part III

They next day we got up and headed out for the day my twin boys had been waiting for, squirrel hunting with their 22’s. The excitement they had was interesting to witness they don’t typically get too excited about going out to hunt anything but this was different. As we drove down the dirt road toward Winslow AZ. Looking for a good spot we finally saw a small canyon with heavy stands of pine trees in it. I wondered if we would really see any squirrels at all not knowing the area that well. As the boys loaded clips to put in the 22’s I heard a squirrel calling just below us, then saw him scamper across a log. From that moment on it was four hours of nonstop hunting, stalking, shooting and a few squirrels put in the game bag. Everyone took plenty of shots, everyone got a squirrel, and we all had a great time.

If you want to get your kids out on a hunt that is fun, has plenty of challenge mixed with great odds of success, you may want to try out squirrel hunting.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Break Part II

Canyon Creek
On day two of our campout we decided to head over to Canyon Creek to try our fishing luck there. The reports that I had received from several people had said fishing was tough with the water flowing low and crystal clear. As we drove into the canyon I wondered why I hadn’t made the trip before, it is not your typical rim canyon with narrow walls and tight fishing quarters, and it was opened with a creek running slow down the center off the valley. There are several open meadows throughout the canyon definitely a place I will revisit.

Canyon Creek Riffle

OW Ranch

The Start of Fall in Rim Country
We unloaded all the fishing gear and rigged up poles to fish. My twin boys were not as excited to fish and took off just to explore the canyon and see what was around. My oldest and I made our plans and hit the river. The reports I had received proved true and fishing was extremely difficult. I saw only three small trout the whole morning and recived zero intrest in any flies that I sent their way. After a while we called it quits and fish some where else. I found Canyon creek to be challenging, I haven’t been shut down like that in a long time, not sure if it was the day I was there or the season. I will be back next spring and would like to head out with someone who has fished it to learn a little more. Overall we had a good second day in the mountains.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Break Part I

Small but Feisty
With school out for fall break, it seemed only logical to head to rim country with my kids for a few days of camping, fishing, and hunting. We left mid-day and headed up to Payson to start with a little bit of fishing. We started with Tonto Creek just east of town. This is a heavily fished creek due to easy access and that it’s heavily stocked all summer long. We had the stream mostly to ourselves seeing only two other people fishing. The fishing was slow with only a few small bows feeding. All of these fish where caught in the shallow riffles.

More of the Same

Small Frye


We had a good time and my oldest boy caught the most fish by far. The pheasant tail nymph continued to be the fly for Tonto creek. The big pools where the stocked fish hang out were all empty making it tough on my younger kids, but they still had fun. After an afternoon of fishing we headed to camp for some food and relaxation around the fire. That night we fell asleep to the sounds of coyotes howling and elk calling.
(to be continued)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tonto Quail

Desert Canyon at Sunrise
It has been awhile since the last post due to a packed fall break. So I am going to start with quail hunting on Saturday the 8th. After the previous weekends shut out we went to a completely different location, one of the nice things about Tonto forest is there are thousands of good places to hunt quail. We picked a canyon off the side of a busy dirt road at sunrise and started to hear quail calling right out of the car. A few hundred yards later the first quail flushed, I mounted the gun, took a shot, and the bird went down. My friend Josh yelled great shot; nope he's running on the ground. After a 10 min search through the cholla, we lost that bird. This left me wondering if I was in for a repeat of last week’s hunt. We moved on up the canyon and heard several more quail, but never saw any of them. After looping around the backside and coming down another canyon we split up to cover more ground. I continued to hear birds and jumped two more both of which I missed.
The Prickly Stuff

After an hour of this I hooked up with Josh to plan what are next move would be. He had ended the streak by getting the first bird of the season, and this showed some promise. We talked, planned and then set out through some flatter country. We both felt that the quail were holding very tight in the cactus and we needed to slow down and take our time. After a short walk we thought we heard one move in some brush, we moved around the brush for 30 to 40 seconds when the bird finally got nervous enough to make a break for it, 2nd quail down. We tried this again only 40 yards from there and bird up, shot bird down. This time I wasted no effort in racing in on the downed bird and actually found this one on the ground. Finally I felt the relief of getting the season started.

First Quail of the Year
We did this for another half hour but the sun was really starting to get hot. We managed to get one more bird out of the morning, but we have figured this area out for the early season. A lot of the birds where in small coveys and were holding very tight. Good luck to all who head out to hunt.
Quail Country

Mornings Harvest

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

0-1 Quail Opener

Only Picture from Quail Hunt
 The quail season opened up this weekend, and it started out with a big goose egg. At first light we hit one of my favorite spots, always a productive location. I should have known it would be a rough morning, when after just one picture the camera flashed low battery unable to process picture. So putting the camera aside I continued hunting the washes with my boys, and Josh and his son. We put in almost two hours of hiking without seeing a single bird. This is a wash that typically we are able to find three or four large coveys. After several miles we jumped a rooster and a hen, I knocked the rooster down, but missed the hen. When I went to retrieve the rooster all I found was a long line of feathers and no bird. That was all the action we had for the opener slow start to the season. This weekend I will have the camera charged, and I will find some birds.