We had driven a long way and were many hours from civilization. I stood surveying the campsite where we had camped in years past. And suddenly it dawned on me. I had forgotten my tent.
I could see it in my minds eye, that lonely tubular tent bag, sitting all along on my garage floor like a lost child. And while it sat there with so much wasted potential 6 hours away, I stood, in my campsite with a dumb look on my face, feeling foolish and knowing that I could be paying a serious price should the wind pick up and/or the weather turn. Pride wouldn’t let me snuggle into a one man tent with my hunting buddy. So I rolled my sleeping bag out on my inflatable pad and borrowed the Tyvek ground sheet for the one tent that was brought on the hunting trip. I tried to think positive thoughts.
After an 8 mile scouting hike, a shot of bourbon, and an ambian, I snuggled in to my sleeping bag and closed my eyes. I slept like a baby under that Tyvek sheet.
We got lucky and killed two turkeys opening day and were on our way home by 2 pm. It was a good turkey season.
We fished Pyramid Lake hard for three days in a cruel cocktail of rain, snow, and biting cold. It wasn’t a particularly good trip as far as the fishing was concerned. In fact is was arguably one of the slowest three days of fishing I’d ever seen. But I’ll never complain about being able to fish with a good buddy and I certainly will never take a fishing trip for granted. Life is forever picking up speed, and I cherish the moments where I’m outdoors, especially when at Pyramid Lake. Until next time, I’ll keep tying flies and thinking about that big red fish swimming in the frigid waters and some day, it’ll be my turn to catch a monster.
As I stare out my new wood shutters, I remind myself that I’ve been wanting a hunting dog ever since I was a boy. That longing has grown infinitely stronger over the past years as I’ve hunted the desert birds solo. Friends have been kind enough to invite me along and hunt behind their pups, and I relished every opportunity to watch their dogs work. The timing finally worked out and one of my hunting buddies contacted me about a 6 month old female GSP needing a hunting home. After some consideration, my wife said yes and we welcomed Sunny girl into our home.
The first week was a bit wild as everyone adjusted to each other, but Sunny, Jojo and I met up with my good friend Kyle and his 8 month old GSP, Riggs, for a little bit of field work. It was Jojo’s first “hunting trip” and our first time watching Sunny work in the open desert. She ran her heart out and then wound up pointing a couple of planted pigeons. It was a promising start, and I can’t thank Kyle enough for showing us the ropes. We’ve got lots of work ahead and we have our hearts set on hunting season.
Rambling Review – Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener
Last week we talked about how I love themotorized window shades orange county ca. Now I want to talk about something new. It is no secret, I’ve always struggled to get a hair-popping edge on my blades and broadheads. I’ve been fortunate to check out a couple of Work Sharps sharpening products and share my thoughts on them here and here. As a leader in the sharpening world, Work Sharp is dedicated to creating quality tools with quality components and continually fine tune their lineup of sharpeners. I’ve had the pleasure of using the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpenerover the past year and I’ve been really impressed with this tool.
Simplicity – All Work Sharp products are engineered for ease of use and the Combo Knife Sharpener is no exception. It is an electronic unit that rotates a flexible abrasive belt. There are angled grooves to guide the knife across the rotating belt which makes for an idiot proof edge. The built in ceramic honing rod has angle guides as well to finish off the sharpening process.
Made in the USA – All Work Sharp products are manufactured in Souther Oregon
I unboxed the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener the night it arrived. After flipping through the directions, I plugged it in, and was sharpening the kitchen knives. Five passes per side and then straight to the ceramic honing rod, and the knives were as sharp as the day we got them. The Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener is very intuitive and exceptionally easy to use. It takes no time at all for me to work through the block of kitchen knives, my everyday carry, and hunting knives. Fixed blade broadheads were no a problem for the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener either.
The Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener retails for $60.00 and replacement abrasive belts are 3 for $8.00.
Ease of use
Fixed guides are perfect for beginners like me. More experienced guys may want the option to vary the edge angle.
Prognosis:The Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener is a winner. If you struggle putting an edge on a blade like me, the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpeneris the sharpener for you.
the review at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.
There is nothing quite like watching dogs work the grassy hills of Southern Arizona in search of Mearns quail. So when my good buddy Pat from Border to Border Outfittersinvited me down for opening weekend to watch his team of GSPs work, how could I say no. Alex Landeen grilling venison sausages and pheasant for dinner was an added bonus.
We found birds and did a fair bit of shooting. I’ve had the pleasure to watch Pat’s dogs work Mearns several times and it never gets old. There is nothing prettier than a dog on a rock solid point with a covey of Mearns quail flushing in front of them. More importantly, I got to spend time in the field with old friends and make new ones. With life constantly picking up speed, I relish every step I get to take in chasing quail in this state.
Pat runs Border to Border Outfitters and you can hunt birds with him from Minnesota all the way to Arizona and everywhere in between. Check him out at Border to Border Outfitters.
It is only now that I realize, I’ve worked myself into a real corner. I try to blame my wife, but with what little I know about the birds and the bees, I’m pretty sure I had a hand in it. All three of my children were born on the opening days of Arizona’s bird seasons. My son was born on the first day of September on the dove opener. My youngest was born at the beginning of October which makes it extremely tough to get out to chase Gambels at the beginning of quail season. And my oldest started it all off by entering the world at the beginning of December which means her birthday party is usually on the weekend that Mearns season starts.
All this means that my hunting season openers are postponed this year. This worked out in my favor when I finally grabbed my shotgun and vest to chase Gambel’s quail. It’s been unseasonably warm here in the desert as the normally cooler weather was late in showing up. I found a morning to break away and scratched out a trio of birds.
Life has been moving extremely fast since the birth of our third child. I haven’t had much time to devote to the outdoors but I’m loving every minute with my family. These photos have been sitting here, waiting to get posted for a while. I was able to get out for a day trip to the White Mountains and visit an old favorite piece of water with a good friend. I took my bamboo rod and a box full of hoppers and was rewarded with a few nice trout to my net. Can’t ask for much more than that.
After a couple of hours, we had a big pile of Eurasian Collared Doves sitting on the tailgate. This non-native invasive species of dove has flourished here in the desert of Arizona (and around the rest of the country for that matter), and subsequently there is an unlimited daily bag and possession limit combined with a year round season. With the shooting over and all of our shells picked up, I stood looking at the mound of birds and knew that the real work was about to begin. Plucking a tailgate full of doves is no small task. So, I took my pile of doves home and enlisted the help of my kids, who are always interested in knowing what I brought home for dinner.
With the doves plucked, cleaned and safely in the freezer, I saved a bakers dozen for a recipe that I’d been wanting to try for a while – Dove Pot Pie. I had found this recipe on the Field and Stream website and saved it for just such a time. Long story short, it was a pretty involved recipe but turned out fantastic. The whole family loved it and my wife went back for seconds.
I revel in the moments when I can include my kids in the food preparation process and show them where our food comes from. Plucking and cleaning birds is just the start. I’m already looking forward to wandering through the desert, forest, and streams with them.