Arizona Quail Hunting: Field to Table

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Gambel's Quail
Fistful of Birds

I planned to do a little bit of scouting for the 2016 javelina season, and on a whim I decided to bring the shotgun along just in case I found a covey of Gambel’s. After hiking up the first hill, I busted the first of 6 coveys for the day. With birds plentiful and very vocal, I didn’t spend a whole bunch of time glassing for pigs, and instead spent the rest of the morning chasing Gambel’s quail. By the end of the morning, my vest was heavy with a half dozen birds, and I headed for home.

After putting gear away and cleaning the birds, I deboned the breasts and legs and got out the fixings for quail nuggets. Within minutes, my little sidekick had pulled a chair over to the kitchen counter picking at the tasty fried morsels and honey mustard. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as completing the circle and taking game from the field to table.

Arizona Desert
Desert in the Winter
Fixings for fried quail
Fixings for quail nuggets
Someone loves quail nuggets
Someone loves quail nuggets

 

Arizona Quail Hunting: A day in the field

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Arizona Slam
Arizona Quail Slam

Mearns season opened here in Arizona and I headed south with a couple of buddies on our annual pilgrimage to hike the southern hills and see how the Mearns quail faired over the winter and summer. We had an action packed day with plenty of birds on the bag and an epic tailgate lunch. By the end of the day, all three of us had completed the Arizona quail slam with Mearns, Scaled and Gambel’s quail in the game vest. Arizona quail hunting at it’s finest.

Tacos
Kyle’s famous tailgate tacos for lunch
Mexican Coke
Cane sugar goodness
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call
Chase
Chase
Arizona Slam
Arizona Slam
Stanley Pint Glass
Mearns
Scalie
Arizona Scaled Quail
Pile of Arizona Quail
Pile of Arizona Quail

Top Ten Christmas Gifts for the Outdoorsman

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I had a conversation with a good friend the other day about gear that has stood the test of time. It prompted some further reflection and I thought it would be appropriate to put together a list of gifts for the outdoorsman.

WingWorks

1. New Upland Bird Hunting Vest – I get quite a few emails about bird hunting vests and generally it comes down to two: The WingWorks Upland Vest or the Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest. Both strap vests are made in America and bulletproof.

Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest
Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest

2. K-Pump 200 – Accept no substitute. There’s no pontoon boat pump out there better than the K-Pump 200.

K-200a
K-200

3. Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener – The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is a solid sharper and I always carry it in my big game kill kit.

4. Sage and Braker Bore Snake – The Sage and Braker Bore Snake is the perfect stocking stuffer for the active hunter or shooter on your list.

Sage and Braker Bore Snake
Sage and Braker Bore Snake

5. Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call – I just got my hands on my Jim Matthews Signature Quail Calls and haven’t posted a full review yet. But let me tell you that these beauties sound so good and I’m very impressed with the quality and sound. More to come on these calls.

Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call
Jim Matthews Signature Quail Call

6.  Stanley Brand – The Stanley name long been synonymous with quality and I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands on a number of their products. My favorite as of late has been the Stanley Vacuum Pint. Stanley products always make for a good gift.

Stanley Classic Vaccum Pint Glass
Stanley Classic Vaccum Pint Glass

7. Lowa Renegade LL – Nothing is more critical than a solid set of hunting boots and the Lowa Renegade LL (leather-lined) fit the bill.

Lowa Renegade LL
Lowa Renegade LL

8. Sierra Nets – Handmade by my good friend Greg Madrigal, a Sierra Net is a work of art. If you have a fly fisherman on your Christmas list, make his year and have Greg make him a net.

Sierra Nets by Greg Madrigal
Sierra Nets by Greg Madrigal

9. Mountainsmith Day TLS – This little lumbar pack goes with me on every fishing trip into the mountains. Can’t beat the Mountainsmith Day TLS for comfort, durability, and utility while fishing.

Mountainsmith Day TLS
Mountainsmith Day TLS

10. A new bamboo rod – Treat yourself. I recently commissioned my good friend and rod builder Mike Johnson, owner of Agua Fria Alchemy to build me a new bamboo rod and it is a dream to fish with. Do yourself a favor and put a bamboo rod under the tree for yourself.

Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo Fly Rod
Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo Fly Rod

 

Mule Deer, Chukar, and Good Friends

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Arizona Mule Deer
Arizona Mule Deer

My good friend, Austin, spent the better part of two weeks looking for a giant mule deer in northern Arizona in one of the premier mule deer units. I headed up the last weekend with my other buddy, David, to see if we could help out. Although we never found the big one that Austin was after, we spotted this old buck that was past his prime near the end of the hunt. After some consideration, Austin opted to pull the trigger and put his tag on this old warrior. We celebrated with tenderloins and libations, and woke late the next morning to start breaking camp.

On the long way out from camp, we set up a couple of unsuccessful coyote stands but our luck picked up when we busted a covey of chukar. We gave chase, and I was lucky enough to knock down my first Arizona chukar. I felt quite fortunate to put this trophy in the game bag and couldn’t have had a happier ending to the weekend.

Arizona Mule Deer
Teamwork
Processing
Processing
Arizona Chukar
A trophy of my own – Arizona Chukar

Rambling Review: Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

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Rambling Review: Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Why:

Although many times I’m looking for the lightest equipment for backpacking into the backcountry, there are plenty of times where I’m truck camping and space and weight are not an issue. When it comes to stoves, I have several compact camp stoves that are ideal for those backpacking trips where all that is needed is to boil water for dehydrated meals, but these compact stoves are limited in the amount of any real cooking. For my fishing and hunting trips, where I’m camping next to the truck, I’ve been using the Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame 2-Burner Propane Stove which has been a pretty solid stove for me.

Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

First impressions:

  • Dimensions – This stove measures 26.8″ x 6.6″ x 14.9″  and weighs in at 17.1 pounds.
  • Coleman’s HyperFlame burner technology cuts boil time in half compared to a standard burner at 3 m/sec. windspeed
  • The Coleman Hyper Fyrchampion Hyperflame stove boasts 12,000 BTU from each of the two burners
  • The Fyrechampion comes with two griddles, for use as a two-burner stove, griddle, or stove/griddle combo
  • Uses a standard 16.4-oz. propane cylinder
  • The Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove is covered by a 3-year limited warranty
Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Field Use:

After a couple months of use, the Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove has proven to be a great piece of gear for my truck camping trips. It’s seen several fishing and hunting overnight trips, as the two burner top really comes in handy when cooking up the main course and a side.

The removable griddles are an interesting touch on the stove, and to be honest, I was a bit skeptical if I would even use them and thought about leaving them when I first packed the stove for a trip. But the first time I cooked up scrambled eggs and toasted the tortillas on the griddles, I was sold. They are great for warming tortillas, cooking eggs and sausage, but unfortunately the the short sides of the griddles make them too short to contain bacon grease. Regardless, I’ve realized how nice the griddles are to have in the field.

One of the standout features on the Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove is how much heat this stove puts out. Between the Coleman Perfect Heat Technology and Perfect Flow Pressure Control System, this stove puts out high, steady heat, even at 9000′ in the White Mountains on a chilly fall morning. The recessed cook top, lowered burners, and high intensity flame make for a fairly wind resistant unit. Although high heat is a positive when talking about a stove, I have found it a bit difficult to find the sweet spot for low heat and simmering.  While  the stove is capable of putting out, it takes a bit of playing to find the lower end of the flame without causing the flame to snuff out.

Coleman Fryechampion Hyperflame Stove
Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove

Pros:

A solid stove for vehicle camping trips

Two 12,000 BTU burners 

Bulk propane tank compatible

3 year warranty

Wind resistant

Cons:

The griddle sides are a bit short. Perfect for everything but bacon.

Made in China

Prognosis:  The Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame 2-Burner Propane Stove is a solid stove and worth your consideration if you are in the camp stove market.

* 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, The Coleman Fyrechampion Hyperflame Stove was provided by Coleman for the purpose of 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 Quail Hunting: Gambel’s Quail

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Male Gambel's Quail
A hard earned bird to get the day started

I made it home late on Friday evening from the latest Pig Farm Ink BarFly, and morning came much earlier than I had anticipated. After hastily gathering gear, DJ and I made it into the field for an early morning of hunting Gambel’s quail. The desert was pretty quiet for the first couple hours and we opted to change up locations and look at a different piece of desert. The change paid off and we ended up flushing a couple large coveys onto a sprawling flat which gave us an hour or two of hunting singles.

I haven’t had this productive of a morning all season, and it was nice to see such a so many birds. The desert in this area was healthy from our frequent summer rains and there was plenty of undergrowth, feed and cover that has obviously helped this particular area. With a solid morning like this one in the books, I’m looking forward to getting out these next few months and putting more miles under my boots.

Gambel's quail hunting
Listening for that tell tale Gambel’s quail call
Female Gambel's Quail
DJ with a beautiful female Gambel’s
Male Gambel's
Male Gambel’s Quail
Gambel's Quail
A fine pile of Gambel’s after the morning hunt

Guest Post: Thanks to the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation

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DJ and Ranger 3This is a guest post by my good friend DJ Zor. This guy has tirelessly worked with Trout Unlimited and Arizona Game and Fish Department to get the Trout in the Classroom Program up and running here in Phoenix. DJ has also spearheaded several Pig Farm Ink Fly Tying Nights here in the Valley. Follow him on instagram and like the Arizona Pig Farm Ink Facebook Page

 

Thanks to the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation   –   by DJ Zor

 

ADOT
ADOT License Renewal

It’s that dreadful time of year in my house. License plate renewal time. Both of our cars are due in October so I get to bite the bullet just once a year. This year I’m doing things slightly different. I’m getting one of those fancy plates with a picture on it. Why? You might ask. Well, let me tell you. Recently the state council of Trout Unlimited received a generous grant from the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation to help us get Trout in the Classroom off the ground in 12 new schools this fall. The grant that was received funded a large portion of the equipment costs for starting these new schools in the program. So this year, and from now on, both my wife and I will be sporting AZSFWC plates on our vehicles.

The Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation is a group of conservationists, whose mission is to educate and inform sportsmen, wildlife conservation organizations throughout the state, and the public at large on important issues related to wildlife and wildlife habitat, and to provide, via grants or other sources, funding to conserve Arizona’s wildlife populations through habitat enhancement initiatives. The funding provided by AZSFWC largely comes from the license plate fund, and is provided to organizations for work in one of three categories: habitat, education or hunter/angler recruitment projects, and any 501(c)(3) organization in the state can apply for a grant to help with their project. So for me, now knowing exactly where this money is going, getting a conservation plate is a no brainer. It couldn’t be simpler either, just go to servicearizona.com to renew your vehicle and when given the option to select a plate, choose the one for conservation.

Trout in the Classroom would not be able to expand at the rate we are trying to without the help from the grant from the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation. We went from exposing about 300 Arizona students to cold water conservation and the Apache and Gila trout, to reaching close to 1,800 kids this year with plans to continue to expand for at least the next four years. What TIC does, is install an aquarium in a classroom where the kids get to raise rainbow trout from eggs to fry. TIC is a science- based, hands-on learning opportunity for kids to learn the trout life cycle, while learning about our native cold water species in Arizona, and their effects on the ecosystem. It’s also a great opportunity for students to be responsible for data gathering and recording, tank and water chemistry maintenance, and can be tied into any subject from science to art. Our goal is that this exposure will help encourage a lifelong respect for conservation of natural resources.

All that said, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere gratitude to anyone with a conservation license plate currently hanging off the back of their car or truck and to inform you of exactly where part of your donation is going.

** The fine print, the plate will cost you an extra $25 and the Az Motor Vehicle Division is going to skim $8 off the top, so each plate will net $17 to AZSFWC.

Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation
Select Arizona Conservation License Plate
Trout in the Classroom
Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation Money goes to fund educational opportunities for kids
Trout in the Classroom
DJ sharing his passion for trout
Trout Unlimited Trout in the Classroom
Trout in the Classroom

Arizona Quail Hunting: The Start of the 2015 Season

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Arizona Quail Country
Arizona Quail Country

For the first time since living in Arizona, I skipped the opening weekend of Arizona quail in favor of heading north to some cooler temperatures, grouse hunting and Apache trout. But in the weekends following, I laced up my boots and braved the heat to chase Gambel’s in the Sonoran desert.

The summer reports seem to be accurate as there seems to be a slight uptick in bird numbers. Regardless, it felt good to get out and work the washes and hills. The weight of a shotgun over my shoulder and a couple of birds in the vest was a welcome feeling after a long off season. Here’s hoping for many more quality mornings in the field chasing quail with buddies.

Gambel's quail
Gambel’s quail
Cholla
Cholla