I’ve been living in Arizona long enough, and it was time to hunt coues deer. I was able to pick up a tag for one of the southern units and with a little help from my buddy Ed at Gameplanner Mapsand countless hours of the Jay Scott Podcast, I had a pretty good idea of where I needed to go and what I needed to do. Although I’ve spent a little time behind binoculars, I still never feel real confident about finding animals in the field, especially coues deer who are touted as some of the toughest creatures to find.
I snuck out of work on Thursday and was setting up camp mid afternoon. This allowed me a little bit of time to get out and glass the evening in hopes of turning up a buck before opening day. With no luck, I turned in for the night. The next morning found me on a high hill glassing some ridgelines, but I only saw one deer at first light and never saw it again.
Around mid day, I decided to switch up positions and get to another vantage point with better afternoon sun and shadows, but found another set of hunters there. Dismayed, I decided to work some lower country and work my way back into some different country. Within an hour I had picked up two does, and I watched them as they fed into some thicker brush. Confident they didn’t have a buck with them I repositioned myself to look at another hillside and I immediately found two small bucks feeding down the hill toward a canyon. I watched them for a few moments and knew that if I didn’t act, they would get into the bottom of the drainage and I would lose them. Grabbing my rifle and binos, I snuck down the hill into a managable 200 yard range, found the deer again in my binoculars and made a quick shot that dropped one of the small bucks where he stood.
I gathered my pack and tripod and hiked over to where the deer lay. I sat there looking at the deer incredulous at how fast everything had unfolded and said a quick prayer of thanks before beginning the work. With a heavy pack, I walked the mile back to my truck with a huge smile on my face. My good friend Kyle was there to greet me, as he had come down to help me out the next day. With the hunt complete, we enjoyed venison backstraps cooked over an open fire and talked about the upcoming Mearns quail season. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding hunt and am grateful for venison in the freezer.
“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks. Never think of taking a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk. But divert your attention by the objects surrounding you. Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1785.
This may be a stupid post to most people, but before my trip to Oregon, I was the guy googling “What to take on a out of state fly fishing trip.” Without finding anything specific, I sat down before my trip to Oregon this past summer and put together a list of the necessities so that I would not forget anything. This is my rough list of necessities for my trip to Oregon
Fishing gear – I had a good idea of the type of fishing I was going to be doing, and with a little help from my contact there, I was able to pack accordingly.
Security – While it’s not just for this trip alone but on a general level, it’s smart always be ready with an insurance plan that befits your active and outdoorsy lifestyle. AXA is a good choice where you’re going on local or international travels.
Clothing – We were planning on being on the river for 4 day and I would have access to a washing machine at the end of the trip.
Flip-flops (camp shoes)
boxers and socks
Miscellaneous – These items were easier to get/borrow once I was at my location.
After a scorcher of an Arizona quail hunting opener, I sat in the shade of the backyard enjoying the cool breeze. My little girl stood at my shoulder, listening and watching as I told her about my morning and showed her the pictures from my time in the field. She held the male Gambel’s in her small hands, examining his feathers, commenting about how soft it was, and asking about his topknot. I took my time and chose my words carefully as I explained why I went hunting and ultimately where our meat comes from.
Post skinning and cleaning, we breasted out several birds and prepared the fixings for quail nuggets. Dunk in eggs, roll in breading, and straight into the cast iron skillet. A few moments later, we were dipping fresh quail nuggets into honey mustard sauce. It was a fine way to start the weekend and the Arizona quail hunting season.
I spend a fair amount of my fishing time flicking flies on small creeks. Arizona has a good number of these small waters to choose from and the fish are usually quite opportunistic and willing to take a well presented fly. The Frye Creek Special is a super simple pattern that I always turn to if I need trick that picky fish holding in one of those deeper plunge pools. Plus, I’m always looking for a use for my Mearns quail feathers.
The days have been hot, and we don’t often look for a reason to head out into the blast furnace that is Phoenix in July. But, I take a certain satisfaction from stowing away clean gear, so we donned our swimsuits and headed out into the bright morning sunshine.
After washing down and giving them a gentle scrub to work off the dirt and mud, I had my assistant give it a thorough spray down with some 303 Aerospace protectant. Landeen turned me on to it when I first bought my boat, and it has kept the pontoons looking fantastic over time.
As with any water project with a two and half year old, the job took three times as long and ended in a water fight. My hope is that she learns two important lessons: put gear away clean and never miss out on a water fight.