Friday, March 30, 2012

Tonto Friday 3/30/12

Snow on the Desert Peaks
It has been awhile since I have put anything up on the blog, duck hunting ended awhile back and that was the last thing. I have been very busy working on a lot of things in the mean time, mostly work, but the day dreaming has occurred from time to time. With summer and fishing on the rim country just around the corner it is time to get back to writing. So I think one of the goals for this summer is going to be to catch a carp on a fly. While I have shot a lot of these fish with the bow and arrow, I have not caught to many on a rod and reel and zero on the fly. I found this video on fly fishing for carp and thought I would share it. This video is found over on and has some great footage of catching carp.

Other things that have been going on, like a lot of flyfishing fanatics, the tying bench has been busy stocking up for the summer time. Several weeks ago I was approched about tying some flies for a painting exhibt by Spokane artist Christina Deubel. She wanted some photos of flies that I, and several other tiers had tied, and then she would paint them for a art show. Below is a few of the pictures I sent her.
Arizona Small Stream Flies
The Chosen Fly & Its Painted Twin

Lastly, some of the work I have been doing is on a website that I have been creating with a friend. While it deals more with city life information, than with the great outdoors, there is still some outdoors stuff that we are including. Follow this link ( ) to check out one of my entries about Hawes Loop hiking and mountain biking. Thanks for stopping by and with fishing season here, look for more frequent posts again.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tonto Friday 1/27/12

It's Friday again, another week has come and gone. Most parts of the country are seeing the 2011-2012 waterfowl season come to it's conclusion. Within the next few weeks I will post a round up of this years season for me, it was a great one. Tonight I put a couple of videos up. This one is from First Light Gear big ole goose going down. I found these guys on twitter pay them a visit.

The next one totaly unrealated to hunting but still something falling out of the air. The 2012 winter X games started last night and this crash by Colten Moore is one reason I am continuesly drawn to these extreme sports. Can you say "Fly like an Eagle!"

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Desert Sky

This week I had the good fortune to go out and hunt for ducks on three different days. Both Tuesday and Friday afternoons I headed out to do some jump shooting along the river. Then on Saturday morning I spent a few hours sitting over a popular duck hole. Both evening hunts were very successful I got some great photos of the sun setting and of the cliffs overlooking the river at twilight. It didn’t hurt that there were plenty of widgeons trading up and down the river. Saturday, they were all gone and I was left sitting with my thoughts as the desert came to life. A favorite song of mine kept playing through my head, “desert sky, dream beneath the desert sky” from U2, the song is called In God’s Country. Looking around at where I was, I realized I was in the middle of God’s country. As I meet more and more people through this blog, each one of them has their own individual traits and outlooks on the outdoors. Some are great writers, others phenomenal photographers, some paint or guide. Hunting, fishing, hiking and camping we all try to put down how we feel about our time spent in God’s country. I hope to get to know more people this year and share my perspective on the locations and activities I enjoy. Thank you in advance for sharing yours.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tonto Friday 1/20/12

 Another weekend has come and that leaves us with one week left in the duck hunting season. I am going to try to hit it hard here at the end of the season. I have already made it out two extra times this week and put 10 widgeons on the table. As the season draws to and end plans for the next season are being made. Fishing, followed by some turkey hunting, followed by some fishing?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tonto Gear Box OtterBox

Sunset (taken with well protected camera)
A few weeks ago I purchased a new phone, a smart phone to be precise. My plan was to use it to help me stay in touch with my blog more, keep up on emails and look cool. With my old phone I had sent a tweet or two from the field. My new phone has the ability to tweet take video and shoot higher pixel photos than my point and shoot camera. While this is cool to have with you, I hunt ducks. Any duck hunter will tell you how hard the environment where ducks live is on gear, mud, muck, water or all three combined. With the cost of replacing a smart phone running in the $$$, you better protect it. Enter the water proof Otter Box.

The Otter Box
Reasons I Use the Otter Box
What is the Otter Box? It is a waterproof box that comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. The lid on each box has a seal that makes it waterproof. The design of the box makes it pretty much crush proof; protect anything fragile inside of it. I purchased the smallest one they had to hold my car key, phone, wallet and spare cash for any emergency, (such as if I fell in the water and needed a hot breakfast). I also picked the clear box so I can identify the contents inside. Out in the field it has been great, because I have already dunked it when crossing the river at a spot in the dark and missed the shallow section. Also it keeps contents dry until I clean my hands to text or take photos while out hunting. 
Reasons You Might Not Like the Otter Box
If you find the bulk and extra weight of the box to much, and have no problem buying new phones and cameras, this is probably not a product for you. Another problem I have heard of is the lip where the closure fasteners breaking off, but so far I’ve had no issues.

Get one
If you carry an expensive phone or camera around water, i.e. all fly fishers and duck hunters; the cost of keeping you expensive valuables safe is worth the peace of mind.
I would recommend this product to everyone who needs to protect there gear from the elements anywhere outdoors. Also they make a fantastic line of phone cases.

More Info: OtterBox

To Purchase: 2000-Clear

Follow on Twitter: @otterbox

The Following review of "Otter Box” is the sole opinion of Tonto Rambling and given to help inform others about this product. It was purchased for the purpose of using it in the field.  I will try and give an unbiased and honest opinion of all products reviewed. I have received no compensation for this review and I am not associated with Otter Box.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two Birds , One Stone

Josh Loaded up with Ducks
Another weekend has come and as stated in my last post, I got up early Saturday morning and headed out to quench my addiction. Without much change in the weather the prognosis for a better hunt had not changed. I approached the day almost like I was headed to work, but as the saying goes “the worst day in the field, beats the best day at the office” so off I went. My hunting partner Josh informed me Friday that he had a lot of back pain and was limited in activity, read between the lines “I won’t be hauling my half of the decoys”. Not a problem we have cut way back on the amount of decoys we set up at this time of year.

Almost a Full Bag

Desert Rivers

More Ducks
 After setteling in on the river and waiting for the light to shine, we sat silently, without seeing a lot of birds moving. Most mornings I am fairly patient person, but today I only lasted 40 minutes before I decided to get up and go jump shooting. I informed Josh of this and took off hiking across the island were we had set up. When I came out on the other side I jumped a dozen birds and dropped a nice drake gadwall. I thought not bad for a three minute walk, I’ll keep going. So down the river I went to the next hole, after a 15 minute stalk I was close enough to make a move on about 50 birds. Two shots, two birds, and a third decided to fly right at me. Nerves kicked in because I have been known to miss an easy shot or three at close range, and this was shaping up to be my first triple in years. Last week’s bad luck was gone and I sent the widgeon tumbling into the desert narrowly missing a patch of prickly pear cactus. It’s moments like this that keep me chasing ducks through the river bottom for three months out of the year. 

Luck has Changed this Week
Spurred on by my success, I headed further down the river and spent the next three hours walking two loops around the island to produce only one more duck. When I got to where Josh had stayed the whole morning he enlightened me on the great shot that he took on a pair of high flying shovelers, the first ones that he’s ever harvested. Counting birds we found we had eight in the bag, so we decided to head up river and check one more popular spot for birds on the way back to the car. We walked up to the area and saw a few ducks just loafing so we started to sneak in on them. With the vegetation dried out and dead now, one can only be so quite. Knowing the birds would be ready to flush when we got near the edge we prepared for the moment. As I cleared the cattails about twice as many birds as I thought got up off the water. I had a long shot at the closest group and tried to pick out a drake and shot. The bird hit the water and started to swim towards the deep end of the run. I took my eyes off of him and started calling at the other ducks as they usually will fly by again and offer a passing shot. Josh was instead focused on the bird down saying you hit two, I didn’t believe it but sure enough, two birds had dropped from the initial flight. As I gathered up the two birds both were drake widgeons, but the bonus bird was a big beautiful drake, lots of color, full plumage, definitely the best duck I have shot in years. What a polar opposite end to the previous week, seven birds 5 widgeons, a gadwall, and a canvasback. No wonder duck hunters fly fishers, and archers get so addicted to chasing their quarry, the rewards are both great and personal to each one of us.  


Two Birds, One Stone

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tonto Friday 1/13/12

Still not sure where I want to go with the Friday night posts? I want to let you know what caught my eye on the internet this week and then share it with you. So like last week here is another trailer for some duck hunting.

We are half way through the month of January, next Friday is the 20th. That is the last day to put in for the elk draw in AZ, and then have Fish and Game follow up if there are mistakes on your application. Final deadline for draw is February 14th. If you haven’t thought about hunting elk in AZ, check this video by Darr Colburn of a public land bull.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tonto Gear Box Glacier Gloves

I have lived in the Arizona desert for 22 years now, and the summers are hot i.e. 110 degrees. This baking has thinned my blood out and I get cold easy. After years of setting decoys out and then picking them back up, all with bare hands to keep my gloves dry, my cold threshold was breached. I started looking for a pair of gloves that could get wet, yet still function as a good glove. I started browsing stores for gloves around February of last year, and keep my eyes open for gloves I liked, this lead me to Glacier Gloves.

Reasons I Use Glacier Gloves
The first time I tried some on at the store, the fit was great with a warm fleece liner covered by neoprene. The ability to move my fingers made the glove comfortable, and the shape kept the blood flowing to the fingers. After purchasing a pair and using them out hunting, I was very impressed with the warmth they provide and the tasks I could perform with them on. Picking up decoys, wrapping anchor cords and shooting a shotgun are all tasks that can be performed now with warm hands. Also the ability to keep hands warm when wet due to the neoprene is a plus, I have been known to get unexpectedly wet at times. After two months use the durability of the gloves has been good, no holes or punctures yet. The river bottom I use them in still has much of the surrounding desert plant life growing, cactus, cactus and thorn bushes. Water proof gear has to have some amount of toughness to with stand this terrain.

Reasons You Might Not Like Glacier Gloves
If you wear a thick winter parka (I don’t) the cuffs that come up over the sleeves might be tight, they fit snug on me with a jacket. And I don’t need the Velcro strap over the cuff for same reason.

I purchased my gloves in November of 2011, and have used them on every duck hunting trip sense then. I would recommend these gloves to anyone who wants their hands to stay warm when spending time around the water.

More Info:  Glacier Glove

To Purchase:  Glacier Gloves Hunting Glove

Follow on twitter: @glacierglove

The Following review of "Glacier Gloves” is the sole opinion of Tonto Rambling and given to help inform others about this product. It was purchased for the purpose of using it in the field.  I will try and give an unbiased and honest opinion of all products reviewed. I have received no compensation for this review and I am not associated with Glacier Gloves.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I'm Addicted

5:00 am the alarm goes into overdrive as I pry my eyes open. Just 5 hours ago I was still up talking to my oldest son, it seems way too early. I pack the car full of gear in a fog, still trying to wake up, hoping I wouldn't forget anything. Reports from a friend said a lot of widgeons had moved onto the river and this was my first crack at them. At the river I load up, and find I have no extra batteries and the head lamp is becoming dimmer. Hoping the light will last I head off to the river once again. I finally reach the river bottom take off the pack and get out the blind bag and stool and go to set up decoys when the head lamp gives off its last ray of light and dies. I get the decoys set up by the moonlight, but I can't see on shore to get anything I need. Finally I find the camera in the dark and use the flash to find the last items.

Camera Flash Flashlight
With 20 minutes till shooting light I sit down on the stool and begin to wait. The wait is short as a dozen plus ducks buzz the hole, circle, then put down in front of me. I can't see them but I hear what's going on. Suddenly from downriver the resident beaver slaps his tail and the nervous birds are gone in a flash. Another ten minutes pass and a pair of widgeons hit the deck, only 5 more minutes till shooting light and I will jump shoot these birds. From downriver a quarter mile the thunderous boom of shots ring out, I can't see crap but birds fly everywhere, I wonder what can they see to shoot at? Shooting light arrives and there is not a duck in sight anywhere. Once again more shooting from down river but no birds anywhere to indicate ducks are flying. After 90 minutes pass by I decide to go walk to do some jump shooting. This pays off, I shoot a Gadwall drake in first spot, then drop another upriver from that.

Ducks like to loaf here

As I go to retrieve the second bird in waist deep water, I am 5 feet from the bird when I find myself looking up at the sky with just my face and left forearm holding my gun above the surface of the water. I hate big slippery rocks! At first the cold steals the air out of me and I am speechless, but as I resurface move to shallow water my sentiments are vocalized at the underwater rock. A trip to shore to dump water out of the waders and wring out the clothes before hiking back to the car adds insult to injury. I have had many great days waterfowling this year, and today wasn't one of them. As I drove home cold and damp, I thought to myself if the rest of the season is going to be like this, I'm done for this year. I will end with all the good memories and wait for next year, but as I think it, I know it’s a lie I'll be back as soon as possible, "I'm addicted and I can't control it".

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tonto Friday Likes

I thought I would change up some of the things on my blog for this year so I'm bringing some of the stories and videos that I like from the Internet each week. This week I found the official trailer to Habitat Flats Fuel the Fire. Now I will have to purchase the full length DVD. Enjoy.

Purchase here: Habitat Flats Fuel the Fire

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids

Back at the beginning of October I received a copy of "Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids: A Guide to Getting Your Kids Active in the Great Outdoors (Fox Chapel Publishing, September 1, 2011)" The book was sent to me through the Gear Review Opportunity at the Outdoor Blogger Network. I started reading it that week and found the writing styles of the author enjoyable. Unfortunately, work picked up about the same time, and reading time has been at a premium around my house. With the holiday break here I was finally able to get serious about reading this book. My apologies to the author, Eugene Buchanan, and Fox Chapel Publishing, for the delay in the review.
Having read most of the book in the last two weeks and can say, it is a good and easy read. I was raised in a family that spent many a weekend in the outdoors. I have tried to do the same with my four kids. Reading about the adventures Eugene had as a child growing up, brought back many of the memories from my own childhood. Also, some of the things that he has done with his children, I have experienced firsthand with my own children. He does however, have a great way of sharing a wealth of knowledge that he has gained in his time outdoors with his brood.
Things that I really enjoyed while reading this book is the activities covered, phases of childhood, and tips on products and techniques. The books chapters cove singular topics like bicycling, camping, climbing, fishing, and several more. This allows the reader to reference those topics as needed. It also keeps each activity focused and centralized. As you read through each of these sections he covers taking small toddlers with you outdoors; all the way to participating with your kids at your side. Some of his insights into this are great, including yearly bike and skiing trips around childern. Also the topic of coping with personal time afield, such as banking time with your spouse for some solo time afield, or planning your activities to bring children along. As he covers each of these areas he talks about specific gear that he has found helpful in making it easier on you and your children. An example of this is in the biking section he mentions both Striders and Burley’s in transitioning your kids to full bike riding. If you are a new parent and want to get your children involved in the outdoors with you, Eugene has many great and insightful tips to get you started down that path.
The book does not have anything I really disliked about it. If there is any flaw in the book, it’s that a lot of the activities require substantial bankroll to fund a family of more than one or two kids. As a father of four some insights into how to lower the budget and still enjoy would have been a nice addition.
Would I recommend purchasing this book, or telling a friend to buy it, absolutely. I have already purchased and given a copy to a friend who was expecting their first child. It is well written and the cartoon pictures are good for a laugh.
For more information contact: Fox Chapel Publishing
To purchase this book online: Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids
The Outdoor Blogger Link: Outdoor Blogger Network

The Following review of "Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids: A Guide to Getting Your Kids Active in the Great Outdoors” is the sole opinion of Tonto Rambling and given to help inform others about this product. It was received free of charge for the purpose of reviewing it.  I will try and give an unbiased and honest opinion of all products reviewed. I have received no compensation for this review and I am not associated with Fox Chapel Publishing.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2012, a year with great expectations. This last year has been a roller coaster ride with some big ups and a few big downs. One of the big ups was starting this blog back in May. I have learned a lot about writing, photography, storytelling, and blogging in general during that time. I have made some plans and set some goals to change up some things on Tonto Rambling, but rather than share them with you I will let you come back to the blog and find them as they occur. I wish everyone who reads this a great 2012 may your game strap be full, your lines tight, and your spirit free.