Monday, November 3, 2014

usbackroads destination-Snake River Bird Camp

Another year, another bird camp on the Snake River to further remove invasive bird species from the natural eco-system.

The pheasant season and deer season overlap by a couple of days.  And it appears the deer hunters decided to all head for the Snake River this year. When we turned the corner and looked at our camping area, we found a sea of RV's covering the landscape.  We ended camping in an overflow area for a couple of days.  And then as soon as deer season closed we pretty much had the entire area to ourselves for the next 12 days.

There is something about the Snake River landscape that makes it fun just to walk and hunt.  I guess since it in places resembles the Serengeti and I guess my genes still express a preference for the savanna like landscape.

We did use Paul's sled to access many of the riverfront hunting sites.  Last year we made a unsuccessful attempt at hunting pheasants directly from a boat.  This year we focused on walking. Several of these walks turned into a long hike while carrying a gun.  For Bugaboo and the German Shorthairs the walks turn into long runs.  Which usually calls for a short nap for both dog and hunter.

Bugaboo flushed several huns right out of the boat on this "walk". Huns must act different than other upland birds when Bugaboo "points" them. When he "points" instead of locking tight he gets into this slow motion waddle point.  It is rather funny when you see it and it always ends up with a flush of huns.

Then we walked several miles without seeing another bird.  On the way back Bugaboo found a "prize deer bone" and proudly carried it back almost all the way to the boat.  It was a pleasant walk back with my bird dog proudly carrying his "prize" instead of hunting birds.  I am sure that if a bird crossed Bugaboo's path the bone would have been dropped and hunting resumed immediately.

When Bugaboo hunts there is nothing else on his mind.  There were several spectacular points on this trip and one real impressive retrieve by Koda one of the German Shorthairs.  A pheasant flushed wild and Terry did hit the bird, but it turned into a runner.  Both Bugaboo and Kenya missed the pheasant as it quickly gave them the slip.  However, Koda was not fooled and followed the bird for almost a half mile before catching the bird and returning it to us.

Here is Bugaboo on the edge of a wheat food plot on point.  

The past couple of years with the Geezer hunt Bugaboo has started hunting for Terry.  Maybe it is because Terry has had more success hitting birds than me this year and Bugaboo recognized this fact.

Bird camp was different this year without the "boys".  Seems they had to remain in school rather than being home schooled on the river.  Therefore, no stories of monster sturgeon hooked and lost.  I caught one catfish and had a nibble on a shrimp by probably a steelhead.  Otherwise, the fishing turned into a zen experience staring at the bobbers bobbing in the wind created waves.

Kenai had ACL surgery so we were down one dog as he recovered from his surgery.  I am sure the pheasants appreciated having one less dog to keep chasing them.

The weather was warm and sunny for part of the time and warm and rainy for the other part.  In the middle there was a windstorm with 50 mph winds that turned around the tent trailer.  Fortunately, it did survive its third of fourth windstorm on the Snake River.

I missed the windstorm since I hurried back for Ian's wedding reception at Camas.  Now when I got married somebody told me to wear comfortable shoes for the reception since I would be standing most of the time.  I suppose that includes dancing.  Now Ian took this to a whole nother level.

Yes, those are White's boots !  I suppose they were the most comfortable shoes Ian owns.  Being on the Entiat Initial Attack crew will do that for you.

One of the more interesting sights this year was watching six sets of ears swimming the Snake River.
Total distance the deer swam was about a 1/3 mile as measured by Google Earth.  I wish I was that good a swimmer.  They calmly got out of the water and shook like dogs before continuing their journey up slope.  We did notice the habitat they were leaving was much better than the habitat on where they were going.  They must have had their reasons.

For Bugaboo it was all about pointing pheasants.  I did have one good day hunting pheasants in a wheat food plot.  After shooting three birds I headed for the truck and Ian's wedding reception.  Just before Bugaboo and I arrived at the truck he went on point.  I put the gun away and grabbed the camera and walked over to catch the flush on digital media.  Here is the photo.  Not the best.  It is almost easier to shoot them with a gun rather than a camera.

In Bugaboo mind it was a short hunting trip.  He kept jumping into Paul's boat or the truck to make sure he would not miss a hunting opportunity. Once he got home.....well it was time to relax and kick back.

Hunt hard....sleep hard.