Monthly Archives: January 2011

Snow Day, Good Judge

Monday’s long-awaited “Snow Day” went well. Hank and I took an hour or so to just cruise back roads in western Reno County, mainly just looking at the countryside after spending the night in a friends small house in Sylvia.

One of four rooster pheasants taken in less than an hour of hunting on Snow Day.

After a breath-taking ride that almost had us in a ditch deeper than some canyons we left the parked truck at about 10 a.m.

We were back by 11 a.m. with a limit of rooster pheasants we’d flushed, shot and fetched from a friend’s CRP field.

It was one of the best pheasant hunts I’d had in years. Then again it was one of the first times we’d enjoyed a “Snow Day” in several years, too.

Poachers need to take note of what’s happening in Oberlin to several Wisconsin men and a Kansas accomplice.

They’re accused of shooting about a dozen trophy bucks in northwest Kansas illegally.

Click HERE to read more details.

Judge Bremer isn’t messing around and is hitting the guys pretty hard in their wallets and the formal sentencing hasn’t even begun.

That’s great to see when so many rural Kansas judges are going lenient on poachers under the “we have too many deer, anyway” idea.

Snow Day!

We’ve  been waiting for this all winter, the first real snow of the year.

Time to play…er….I mean work?

I did some deer hunting in eastern Stafford County last night, did well and then spent the night at a friend’s little house in Sylvia. (We call it John’s Quack Shack because we gather there during duck seasons.)

Anyway, Hank and I are out on patrol looking for some winter photography.

If a pheasant happens to flush while we’re stretching our legs, that’s fine, too.

Wow, finally a snow day. Amazing how a few inches of snow will melt a few years of maturity off a hunter and his dog.

The sickening addiction of antlers

Somebody smarter than me please offer an explanation. Please!

In the name of deer antlers we have people doing some amazingly stupid things. I mean reeeallly stupid.

People who would never shop-lift a candy bar risk felony charges trying to sneak an illegally-taken trophy deer home to another state.

Guys who would never walk across a stranger’s lawn think nothing of driving a truck across a farmer’s wet wheat field – his means of making a living – in the middle  of the night to  illegally use a spotlight to shoot the deer under a set of big antlers.

Folks who put a few tablespoons of after-dinner mashed potatoes in the ‘frig because they don’t want to waste food leave 200 pounds of prime venison to rot as they run off with just the head and horns. Wow.

I just don’t get it.

Life-long friendships end every year because some buddy used another’s stand or cheated another out of a coveted lease. For antlers?

Long careers in law enforcement get toasted when a guy who tickets those who drive a little fast breaks a wide variety of serious wildlife laws to shoot a big buck.

Want more examples? Click HERE to read some comments recently made by Wildlife and Parks game wardens about cases they’ve made.

Read it and weep at what normally sane people will do for antlers. Please, read it.

Antlers are the 21st century version of what gold was in the mid-19th century. Once some people hear about them they’re off trying to hit the Motherlode at any costs.

Marriages hit the rocks.

People who can’t afford to put their kids through college spend thousands on leases and the latest and greatest equipment.

Antlers – you know, those things nature made so male animals can joust one another for the right to breed a doe.

Now they’re things some people covet more than money.

Some men will do dumber things for antlers than they will for sex. (And we know what that’s been like for a few thousand years.)

They’re just antlers, things nature intended to fall to the ground in late winter and offer  needed food and vitamins to rodents.

To think, such stupidity for things that were intended to end up as rat poop.

Don’t get me wrong, please. I know there are millions of American hunters who still hunt for the right reasons – a chance to be outside with friends and family, enjoy the thrill of taking game and satisfaction of stocking their own freezer with super-healthy meat that’s well-earned.

We’re still in the majority but the numbers within the addicted minority appear to be growing.

I don’t understand. Please, somebody make sense of it for me.

Huge hail leads to Great Pelican Round-Up

All kinds of speculation surrounds the recent death of 1,000-plus blackbirds and starlings in Arkansas. Falling dead from the sky some theorize the birds were killed by a high-level lightening storm or hail. Others suspect poison.

Click HERE to read more about the event.

Such weather-related happenings have been documented in Kansas. The Great Pelican Round-Up of Western Kansas is a prime example.

A good friend was out checking his ranch in western Gove County after it was pounded by a storm with baseball-sized hail. As suspected, he found most of the vegetation flattened.

The rancher, who doesn’t want his name published, eventually saw a white blob in the distance. There, amid the land of antelope, prairie dogs, swift foxes and jackrabbits waddled an injured pelican.

He found about a dozen pelicans spread over an area about a mile long. Some were dead and had already been discovered and eaten by coyotes. The rancher figures the birds were flying as a flock when the hail hit, knocking them from the air.

A few waddled about with broken wings or bills. Some could fly but only a short distance.

Eventually some local cowboys lassoed the huge birds. It took a bit of wrestling to get the dangerous bills tied or taped shut. The birds calmed when they were stuffed into empty feed bags.

At  a game warden’s instructions they took the birds to Scott State Lake and released them.

“I’m pretty sure most of them went ahead and died,” said the rancher. “But I knew they’d have a better chance at the lake. I guess if I was a pelican I’d rather die on the water than in the middle of wide-open prairie, anyway.”

Sweat one hunt, shiver another

Welcome to Kansas.

Thursday Randy Scholfield and I hunted one of his family’s lakes for ducks and geese. I was putting out decoys in shirt-sleeves it was so warm at dawn.

Dressed in neoprene waders we were both sweating like we’d spent a hard hour at the gym by mid-morning. In fact, I sweated enough to feel the effects of dehydration.

And then came Friday morning.

Hank and I had to leave the house 15 minutes early to deal with icy roads as we headed towards Hutchinson. The temperature was 19 degrees when Bob Snyder, Andy Fanter and I were putting out decoys. And from then on the temps dropped and the wind increased.

Wind-chill included it was a 70 degree temperature shift in about 24 hours.

Welcome to Kansas in the winter time.

And it was worth every drop of sweat and shiver.

The hunt at Scholfield’s was made difficult by high winds from exactly the wrong direction and poor shooting. Still, Randy got four ducks and I dropped a big honker.

I missed a gimme shot on another goose as did Randy with the same flock. He also learned a shuffling hunter can’t cover nearly as much territory as can a flushing flock of geese.

Friday was classic duck hunting in the cold. Flocks of mallards and and pintails seemed to come out of nowhere, suddenly appearing over the decoys.

We ended the hunt with a classic limit of six pintail drakes and a dozen mallards.