Sunday, February 23, 2014


Ragweed, kochia, grass, creasote bush, or elm, all take second seat to juniper, which fills the eyes with tears and the air with sneezes come this time of year in the Southwest.

That isn't dust, it's pollen knocked loose by a thrown stone and a small portion of what that tree is producing right not. The occasional 70 degree day in February doesn't come without a price.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another season gone

Last weekend marked the end of quail season here, which is pretty much all she wrote until spring turkey and then the long slow spell (hunting-wise) before dove and grouse in September.

We didn't take much advantage of our opportunities, work again interfering with life. This was a surprisingly decent quail year and, if it will just rain or snow a bit in the next couple of months and we get a normal monsoon in the summer, next year might be pretty good. That said, my folks and sister came out for an early 76th weekend for Dad and only bumped three coveys in two days and a whole lot of miles. The first of those was gratifyingly large, well over 20 birds, but took off down a thirty mile an hour tailwind and flew way, way out there. We pursued nonetheless but never found them.

The second day of our hunt, the weather went from 70 degrees with a thirty mile an hour wind to 28 degrees and overcast, all day long. One of the coveys we ran into flushed at 200 yards and flew another six, then flushed wild a second time and just about went out of sight. Late season, tough hunting.

A month ago, back around the end of duck season, A and I headed north up to our old stomping grounds on the Rio Bravo and got together with friend Matt for a weekend of duck hunting.  The first day didn't go real well, as we hadn't been out scouting. We found a spot in the dark where a half dozen mallards were roosting in a nook of the current, but ducks passing over once light came were few  and not interested in our spot. The flood last September took out a lot of  sediment and the river isn't as spread out as it has been in other years, making it a little harder to find a setup. Our second day, we had a much better place and had ducks trying to land as we were putting out the decoys.

It wasn't perfect, though, and several big bunches of mallards gave us hard looks and circled, but wouldn't commit. A pair of widgeon tried to land in the dekes- those we just flat missed. At the end of the day, we had a few birds and quite a bit of fun.

 So, now the big game proclamation is out and the deadline to apply for next fall's hunts is fast approaching. Time to sit down with a calendar, a map, and the odds from last year's draw to try to figure out how to get the best out of a little time afield and maybe put some meat in the freezer.