Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Snake River Invasive Avian Species Project

usbackroads--Snake River Invasive Avian Species Project

Late October, means a return to the Snake River and our continuing efforts to remove non-native, invasive species of birds such as pheasants and Hungarian Partridges from the ecosystem.  Chukar partridge are safe due to the steep terrain they occupy.  We left them for all those 20 something bird hunters that still appreciate hiking on steep slopes.

We established camp at Little Goose Dam, but our favorite campspot was taken so we had to move a few hundred feet east to our campsite. 

After establishing camp we threw out our fishing lines hoping to hook at least ONE steelhead heading for Idaho and their ancestrial spawning grounds.  Well, I guess these days most of them were headed back to a fish hatchery.   

You fish for them with a BIG bobber leading to a jig and a marinated shrimp impaled on a barbless hook.  I was fishing with Terry's setup.  Well, actually I was watching his bobber when suddenly it started heading for Little Goose Dam leaving a little wake behind it.  I was reeling line when the steelhead surfaced.  It was at least 15 pounds and I am sure in future tellings it will continue to grow in size.   Just as I was to set the hook the line and the fish parted company.  It took two days to finally figure out that it was not the fishing line or a bad knot, but rather a chip and sharp fishing guide that cut the line.  So one fish hooked after ten years and it parted company after 10 seconds!

The pheasant population was down this year.  We suspect it had more to do with a wet and cold spring that killed the hatch rather than our previous years efforts.  However, we had Bugaboo in his third year and in his prime.

Fewer birds, but Bugaboo was able to find and point them.  The best thing about hunting is the hiking and watching Bugaboo work.  

And way back from roads there are treasures from times in the past.  Maybe one day I will have to drive my 2011 to a spot in the middle of somewhere and park it for the ages.  

By the end of the trip Bugaboo was hunting for both Terry and the Great Orange Pumpkin hunter.  Though he did show a preference for returning bird to the Great Orange Pumpkin hunter.  Here he is on point.  This was the last bird of the day.  There was plenty of time for the Great Orange Pumpkin hunter to move to the front of Bugaboo by 20 feet to get the bird to flush.

Bugaboo still did not want to voluntarily return his birds to me.  I even tried to trade a dog treat for a bird, but it was no sale in his eyes.  However, after I showed his the electronic controller he gave me the birds.  I never had to "make a connection" just showing him the charge controller was enough.

Bugaboo made some spectacular points.  Holding for five minutes while we caught up with him.  He also made some spectacular retrieves.  With a pointer it is always a problem that they point rather than retrieve the down bird.  This year Bugaboo seems to have made the distinction when to point and when to retrieve.

The formal count was 17 pheasants and four Hungarian partridges over a week of hunting.  The informal count was some beautiful points and retrieves by Bugaboo.  The 17 pound steelhead headed for Idaho.  A beautiful multi-point whitetail buck that flushed out a patch of brush.  Great views of the stars at night, but we missed the northern lights that were visible in the rest of the country.  

This year we will take the 5th wheel via the Snake River for its temporary waiting spot in Eugene.  Following Eugene, we will head back to the southwest and those sunny winter skies.


Serita Gates said...

Hey there ! I just read all of your posts and they are way informative and very entertaining. Thank You ! I figured you would know best, My family and I want to drive from San Deigo To Boise,Idaho In November for turkey day w my grandparents {who live in Wendell Idaho}. I do the same route as you 93 north out of vegas, through elly, wells, then jackpot, etc... On to Idaho. So I would like to know in your expirence will it be a SAFE trip. Or will I need to bring studded tires with me? I have a four door sedan not a truck? Id love to pickyour brain thank you for your time and yoru stories :) - Serita and Ray Gates of Poway, CA.

Vladimir Steblina said...

We might pass you on the road!! Right now the plan is to head south sometime this fall.

I don't think you need studs, but I would carry some chains. My guess, is that the worst winter weather would be wind and snow. I think a sedan would be fine.

Just make sure your chains fit before you leave. They are never fun to put on and trying to read the instructions in a blowing blizzard is definitely no fun.