Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wyoming Waterfowl

Known for its elk, deer, and antilope,many big game hunters find their Mecca in the Wyoming peaks. While everyone is in the mountains, I stick to the hayfields and river bottoms in pursuit of Canadian Geese, the big game of waterfowl. Bird numbers are low, but the number of hunters are less; there is never a need to distinguish between the honks and quacks of birds and skilled hunters. Thousands of acres of hay and stream bottom with no hunting pressure makes flight patterns sporatic and difficult to predict. Even when a flock of honkers has landed in the same corner of hayfield four evenings in a row I've been stood up several times as I waited watching the huge Wyoming sky for movement till well after dark. Through years of experimentation I have found one tried and true way to guarantee a few honkers in the bag. You need to be with someone who is on their very first goose hunt... without fail I come away with a couple geese. These are stories of three hunts and the lucky first time waterfowlers.

From scouting, two of my best friends had earned their hunters safety cards. One weekend in October when we were sixteen we had a bye in our football schedule. My dad and a few of his friends with me and my two friends headed to the family ranch in Wyoming. When we arrived well after dark, honking from around the valley promised success in the be cont...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hunters are insomniacs

Training day started at 5:30 AM.  At my grandpa's cattle ranch in Wyoming it's easy to beat the sun out of bed; why is it so hard to wake up early when I'm anywhere else?  Something about knowing that you might see a moose as you head out to catch a huge brooke trout on the stream behind the house haunts my sleep.  Maybe it's because I can hear a goose honk from a mile away even if I'm indoors.  The opportunity to experience the unpopulated outdoors has its way of making sleep much less valuable.  Knowing that there where eleven sleeping laboradors in a dogpile in the shed next door just added to my insomnia. I couldn't resist pulling out a dozen of my ranch decoys to teach the puppies about their heritage.


Well, I guess I am going to do this whole blog thing.  Thankfully my wife takes care of all of the current events in our family life so I can blog about important things like labrador puppies and goose decoys made out of plywood.  I grew up in a decent sized city, but my heart belonged in the country, out in some agricultural field chasing pheasants and ducks.  My wife grew up in a large city in Southern California; she's the type of girl that cries when she sees roadkill.  Things have changed since we got married; when I'm driving through the sage brush I find myself swirving away from the rabbits that cross the road.  

My soft-hearted wife is a photographer; on some weekends her equipment is just laying around, so I decided I might as well take it to the beautiful places that we visit in the outdoors.  So for all of you animal lovers, Look What I Shot, doesn't neccessarily mean I killed it! However, I make no promises, when I say I shoot with a Canon, it could be a camera, or it could be a 10 gauge!