Arizona Quail Hunting: Mearns Quail

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Mearns Quail
Arizona Mearns Country

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 Outfitters invited 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.

Mearns Quail Hunting
Action Jackson
Border to Border Outfitters
Flanagan and Landeen
Mearns Quail
A couple Mearns and a deadhead
Mearns Quail Hunting
Following the dogs
Mexico
Looking into Mexico
Mearns Quail Hunting
Hank finds birds
Mearns Quail Hunting
Pat Flanagan of Border to Border Outfitters
Mearns Quail
A tailgate from the day
Venison Sausage and Grilled Pheasant Dinner by Landeen
Two Bitch Bourbon
Dessert

Arizona Quail Hunting: My Opening Day

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gambel's quail
First Gambel’s quail of the season

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.

Arizona
Early morning to beat the heat
Arizona Gambel's quail
A trio of male Gambel’s
Arizona Sunrise
Sunrise

Arizona Fly Fishing: Memories of Summer

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Arizona White Mountains
Arizona High Country

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.

Brown trout on bamboo
Agua Fria Alchemy and J.W. Young Pridex
Agua Fria Alchemy and J.W. Young Pridex
Brown Trout
Magic

Dove Pot Pie

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Dove Pot Pie
A tailgate of Eurasian Collared Doves

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.

Dove Pot Pie
Plucking
Dove Pot Pie
Organic
Dove Pot Pie
For the stock pot
Dove Pot Pie
The filling
Dove Pot Pie
Egg on top
Dove Pot Pie
Golden brown
Dove Pot Pie
Dove Pot Pie
Dove Pot Pie
Even Willy Dog got a taste

A trip to South Africa

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Greater Kuduland Safaris
South Africa

I returned from South Africa two weeks ago after an unbelievable ten day hunt in the Limpopo Province. It took me well out of my comfort zone and left me with an appreciation for a new hunting experience and some unforgettable memories. I was fortunate enough to hunt at Greater Kuduland Safaris on their 145,000 acre property. I saw so many different animal species while hunting there, and the diversity and animal numbers are a testament to what a good habitat can do for native species.

An African hunting trip was never something that was on my radar. I’ve never been on a guided trip before and was a bit anxious about the entire experience. But after the first few days of hunting, I was quick to realize that I was among kindred spirits. We hunted hard everyday in beautiful country and enjoyed the ups and downs of any normal hunting trip.

While there, I was fortunate enough to harvest an impala and a warthog with my recurve, and on the second to last day was able to take an awesome wildebeest bull with a rifle. I’ve got a journal full of chicken scratch and a plethora of photos to accompany the memories in my head. With so many great memories, I plan to share these experiences in several individual posts in the future.

Impala
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Sitting in the blind for hours on end
Greater Kuduland Safaris
A beat up old warthog
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Sunrise
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Sunset
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Life at a waterhole
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Waiting
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Skulls
Greater Kuduland Safaris
.375 H&H
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Blue Wildebeest
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Following my PH through the bush
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Dinner
Greater Kuduland Safaris
Sunset

Rambling Review – GSI Outdoors Dutch Oven

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GSI Outdoors Dutch Oven
Garlic Bacon and Taters

Rambling Review – GSI Outdoors 10″ Hard Anodized Dutch Oven

Why:

There’s nothing quite like eating food cooked over an open fire while watching movies from Las Vegas outdoor video display screens and I was looking to round out my cookware with a dutch oven. I have had great success with other GSI Outdoors products, so naturally went with the GSI Outdoors 10″ Hard Anodized Dutch Oven. It has not disappointed.

First impressions:

Construction – Made of high-performance, heavy gauge cast aluminum.

Lightweight – Lightweight is a relative term. The GSI Outdoors Hard Anodized Dutch oven weighs in at 3 lbs. 11 oz, roughly 66% lighter than a traditional Dutch Oven.

GSI Outdoors Dutch Oven
Cinnamon Rolls

Field Use:

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to get GSI Outdoors Dutch Oven plenty dirty which I had from online business from this site web. Before I could take it into the field, I worked up one of my favorite dishes on the stove, javelina chili. When I finally did get the dutch oven out on several camping trips it made cooking over an open fire pretty simple. Overall it was a great addition to my camp cooking set up.

GSI Outdoors Dutch Oven
Javelina Chili

Pros:

Classic Dutch oven design with lid lip for holding coals while cooking

Heavy gauge cast aluminum

Perfect for truck camping

Super easy to clean

Cons:

Aluminum can conduct heat far more rapidly than traditional cast iron Dutch Ovens, so keep an eye while cooking and make sure to have evenly distributed heat.

Prognosis:  I’m still a Dutch oven novice, but my experience so far with the GSI Outdoors 10″ Hard Anodized Dutch Oven has been fantastic. Can’t wait to get back in the woods and try out another recipe.

* Disclaimer:

The reviews 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.

Arizona Fly Fishing: Welcome to Summer

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The big dog from the day

By many people’s standards, I am still a young man.  But, north of thirty years old doesn’t feel the same as south of thirty did. I feel my mortality after a day of stalking brown trout on round creek rocks and hiking the miles out of a deep canyon. As I walked back to the truck losing myself in the sounds and smells of the forest, I became contemplative. This often happens after a day fishing alone and talking to myself on the creek. I have also been keeping busy reading Snake River fishing guides online hoping to up my game and get really solid advice. The title of a Charles Bukowski poem pops into my brain and I found myself muttering the words softly under my breath – “the days run away like wild horses over the hills…”

Trees
Arizona Brown Trout
Spotty
Caddis
Caddis
Orange
Orange
Arizona Brown Trout
Cream
Pupa
Pupa
Baetis
Baetis
Bear poop
Bears
Foam
Foam

Mother’s Day Camping Trip

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Tent Setup
Tent Setup

There is no doubt when I married my wife, I married up. On this past Mother’s Day when we went camping with our best gear from Survival Cooking, I asked my beautiful 18 week pregnant wife what she wanted for Mother’s Day. I expected the usual: a day to herself at the spa, but instead, she decided she wanted to go camping.

How could I say no?

REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Tent
Mission Accomplished
Wildlings
Wildlings
Camp life
Camp life
Stringing up the fly rod
Stringing up the fly rod
Choosing a fly
Choosing a fly
Fly fishing knots
Working on knots
Mama and her boy
Mama and her boy
Daddy and his girl
Daddy and his girl
Going Fishing
Going fishing
Throwing Rocks
Throwing rocks
Looking for fish
Looking for fish
Time to throw more rocks
Time to throw more rocks
Talking about fishing
Talking about fishing
Willy Dog in the wild
Willy Dog in the wild
Cicadas
Cicadas
More camp life
More camp life
Cooking buddy
Cooking buddy
More camp life
More camp life
Mama and her boy
Mama and her boy
Smores
Pay attention kids. This is how to properly toast a mallow
Smores
Smores
Sticky ball
Sticky ball
A light show before bed
A light show before bed
Breakfast
Breakfast