Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Grateful Dead Mule Deer, Green Pheasants, and other hunting tales from the Snake River

usbackroads destination--Grateful Dead Mule Deer, Green Pheasants, and other hunting tales from the Snake River.

The annual trip to reduce the number of invasive upland bird species in the Snake River region of Washington State was definitely different this year.  Rain and lots of it for eastern Washington was the order of the day for the two week period.  Fortunately, it rained mostly at night and we did not have to wear rain gear during our hunting outings.  We did end up spending one afternoon in camp rather than hunt in the rain.

Now those familiar with the Grateful Dead know that the band "mascot" is a happy smiling skelton.  Well, while hunting up a draw we found a Grateful Dead mule deer.  Yes, a happy go-lucky mule deer with a great smiling skull.   Here is the photo.  Bugaboo is appearing to be asking "Jerry is that you??".

We were driving across eastern Washington in 1995 when the radio announced with the teaser than an aging rock star had died of a drug overdose.  Susie looked at the radio saying "Oh, please let it be David Crosby".  Well, Jerry's time on earth was limited due to his choices.  He left a legacy in rock music, country, folk, blues, bluegrass and everything in between.   Yes, there was the Grateful Dead.  But there was also the Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way for bluegrass, the Legions of Mary, and his music with Merle Saunders and the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

He left plenty of music for people to continue to enjoy for years to come.  Unfortunately, all the new stuff stopped in 1995.

Meanwhile David Crosby is still around and has passed on his genetic material.  Scientists are convinced that if David Crosby lived a normal lifestyle his life expectancy  would by 150 years.

The other hunting tale was at the wildlife mitigation sites managed by the Corp. The first flush of pheasants revealed a very dark bird with a red head.  Hunting pheasants is a sexiest pastime.  The males are shot and the hens are given a pass.  So a dark green bird with a red head can cause instant confusion, but only male birds cackle as they fly.  AND only dead stupid green pheasants cackle when they fly.

Bugaboo had no doubt.  The birds were a pleasant surprise and look like a great color for fly patterns. So I caped a couple of birds and hopefully, will be tying some great fishing flies for next spring.

Bugaboo hunted well this fall, but he was a little disappointed at the lack of birds.  Or maybe he was just concerned that there was not enough room in mouth for his tongue.

Paul brought along his kids and dogs.   His kids are just approaching hunting age so they tagged along for several days.  They were put to good use as "beaters".  Not quite an English or mid-west pheasant hunt, but moving in that direction.

Hunting all day long is hard work.  It does not matter if your 12 or 62.  However, it is much easier to find a place to rest when you are 12.

Paul also brought his three German Shorthair Pointers.  These small dogs (well, small compared to Bugaboo) have lots of energy.  I call them the German vacumn cleaning company for how well they cover the ground.  There might be a pheasant in there, but I doubt it.

We continued to fish for the elusive steelhead.  I think we hooked a couple but none came close enough to confirm that they were steelhead.   We did catch a couple of longnose suckers that are also native to eastern Siberia.  More significantly we caught a couple of catfish.  You need TWO sets of good pliers to skin catfish.

Other fishermen took pity on our dismal record for catching steelhead and donated a couple of steelhead for dinner.  Those and the catfish furnished a great dinner for one night and the pheasants for another night.

The best part about bird hunting is watching the dogs work and the walking.  It is much more enjoyable strolling with a shotgun than a golf club.

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