hunting

Bagged a Mallard Drake

| January 11, 2020
mallard drake
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Bagged a Mallard Drake. While its not a big deal to a lot of waterfowl hunters who do it all the time, I’ve never made much of an effort to hunt migratory birds before. I’ve spent a few good days scouting, 6 mornings and one evening setting up, hours observing and learning about weather influence, proper decoy placement, and passed on a lot of diver ducks, waiting for a Mallard, Teal, other dabbling duck, or a goose.

After an unsuccessful morning hunt, and a solid day of working, I returned to the field for an evening hunt. I set up my mallard decoys just right for the wind conditions. A lone Mallard spotted the landing zone of my decoys, dropped in like a cruise missile, then flared to land. I took my shot and folded him right at the edge of some frozen ice.

I was rewarded for my patience(something I have very little of) and my persistence. I had bagged my target bird, a Mallard Drake, and no longer felt bad about passing on a bunch of diver ducks.

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Green Teal Duck Hunt

| December 9, 2019
Green Teal Hen and Drake
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Its been a while since I had a chance to get out and do any successful wing shooting. So when I harvested a couple Green Teal ducks the other day, I was pretty happy.

After a late start on an overcast morning. I set up a short camouflage blind against a background of tall sage brush, and lazily tossed 6 Hard Core Brands Mallard Decoys into some shallow water in front of it. I used a blind similar to the Ameristep 4-Spur Blind and it was just way too short. I ended up doing a bunch of crouching.

Reflection on Lake

Two ducks down, on a lake with cool reflections.

A small group of ducks eventually made a mistake, and flew in over the dekes. I doubt they were enticed by my shitty calling.

I usually shoot upland birds, Dove, quail, grouse and chukar, and don’t have a ton of migratory bird hunting experience. It’s probably the reason I didn’t gauge my shooting distance too well, and thought the rather small Teal were twice as far and twice as big. I waited longer than I had too and folded 2 birds.

The birds fell into about 6 inches of water, and a friends young lab, after a significant amount of coercing, retrieved the ducks. The commotion on the side of the lake, pushed the ducks off, so we called it good for the day.

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Legal Lead Ammo

| July 5, 2019
lead free 22
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

The California statewide ban on lead ammo is now in effect.  Sure condors and other critters will continue to choke on old wheel balancing weights, trash, and lead fishing weights, but that’s because the lead free movement isn’t really about the environment, its about gun control.

In California, I can hunt a variety of small game using Crosman .22 cal 14.3g lead hunting pellets 500 pellets runs $6.28 on Amazon or 1.256 cents per pellet.  However, it is now illegal for me to use lead 36g 22lr ammo to hunt anything. If it sounds stupid, its because it is.

lead free 22

So what gives? Certainly its not environmental concerns driving this type of legislation, or we’d see more effective legislation protecting the environment holistically.  In addition to the statewide lead hunting ammo ban, background checks for ammo purchases are now a thing.  The government will most definitely be keeping tabs on your ammo sales.

I went through a background check at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and bought 2 boxes of lead free CCI COPPER-22 ammo for my 22lr. *At 8.99 for each 50 round box, that’s 17.98 cents per round, a stark contrast from my average 3.5 cent lead 22lr rounds.  The process was made more simple for me, because I had given them my patronage and bought firearms through them, before they got on the anti 2a political band wagon.  I did not have to pay 19 dollars for the background check, which would have made the purchase of 20 dollars worth of ammo twice as expensive, and a deal breaker.

The combined legislation effectively increases ammo costs more than 4 fold, decreases the availability of ammo as there are way less lead free options, adds a burden of background checks, and effectively taxes the law abiding citizen a $20 fee to legally purchase ammo.

The laws do nothing to curtail gun violence, they arguably do nothing or next to nothing for wildlife, and they encourage legal gun owners to break the law and buy ammo where its less restrictive and less burdensome.

The laws do seem to do one thing, and that is to help pacify an anti-gun voter base, that keeps our legislatures at the helm of an otherwise great state. But its never enough for them.

For more on the BS about lead, read for yourself here http://www.huntfortruth.org/myths/

*I also want to be clear, that I am not criticizing CCI, they are producing a product to satisfy California’s small game hunters. It is understandably more expensive than lead.

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Dove Season

| October 4, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

The Idaho dove season started at the beginning of September, and the area of Idaho I am currently living in is a magnet for the Collared dove, with tons of grit, grain fields, corn fields, and water sources. Collared doves have been sweeping across America for more than a handful of years now, displacing the native Mourning Dove population.

Benelli Dove Hunt

This season I initially I did some pass shooting, but after a little arts and crafts from dollar store materials, I have a flapping decoy that is bringing in the action a little closer, for a little more fun.

My harvest ratio of Collared to Mourning dove is about 8 to 1, which isn’t that inspiring for the Mourning dove population, and really presents how much of a threat Collared doves are to Mourning Doves. The only positive side of harvesting a Collared dove is that they are almost 2 times larger than a Mourning dove, and are not part of the dove season. They can be taken anytime. Double check your local rules and regulations though, some other rules may apply.

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Pyramex I-Force Slim Safety Goggle

| January 28, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I bought the Pyramex I-Force Slim safety goggles because I hunt and work a lot in cold weather. Nothing is worse than a fogging lens or moving goggles, when you are using a saw, grinder, or looking down a scope or sights at quarry.

I saw the I-Force Slim goggles on Amazon and liked the features of they offered. 99% protection against harmful UV rays, vented foam padding, a wrap around design, and strap options to keep in place. Additionally the ‘slim’ fits narrower faces, while ‘sport’ fits larger faces.

After using these hunting and working for about a year, I figured I should say something about them. Specifically, how much I like them. They work, they are cheap, and they stay in place. I couldn’t expect a whole lot more or less, they just get the job done, and I am able to clearly see gun sights, optics, and my work when working in the cold. I also don’t worry about scratching them or beating them up, because of the cost of about 20 bucks. Less or more, depending on lens coating/color options.

Here is the link to safety goggles on amazon, Pyramex I-Force Slim Safety Goggle

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Afternoon Grouse Hunting With Video

| October 26, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I took a break from web work to see if I couldn’t bag a grouse and maybe clear my mind. I’ve been pretty distracted lately. I lost my dog and best friend to cancer a couple of days ago, and its sort of the thing dominating my head space. Anyway, I usually take my 10/22 to shoot grouse. It’s more challenging than the shotgun and you don’t have to pick out any shot. But today, after the first couple fruitless miles of walking, I decided I didn’t need a challenge, I just needed to bag something and feel good about it.

I even managed to turn on and start recording on the action cam, a knock off go pro called a Wespire for the fraction of the price. It was clipped onto the front chest strap of my backpack. Its a decent camera, although it was aimed poorly. Its still a good test of quality, and its kind of fun to share the environment I was in to hunt grouse.

I Wish I had mounted the camera a little better so that it was pointed directly at where I was pointing my shotgun, but its still a good example of the quality of the video that can be taken by the GoPro clone.

I used #8 lead, in my 12g Benelli Montefeltro, with an improved cylinder choke. Worked well for a ~30 yard shot, but really should have used #5 or #6.

I ultimately walked about 8.25 miles over about 2 hours, spent about 5 dollars in gas, driving time for the round trip is about an hour, and I got one grouse that dressed out at 10.4 oz. Considering an organic, free range, hormone, and antibiotic free, boneless skinless chicken breast can cost anywhere from 4.99 to 12.99, I did just okay.

Its more about getting out, seeing and experiencing nature, getting a little exercise, and clearing my mind for a bit. Hunting is a good experience even if you aren’t able to bag your target game. I was happy to have something to bring home.

The Wespire 1080p camera worked great, and at a fraction the cost of a Go Pro. Its currently unavailable on Amazon, but I think the next step up might be the SJ7000. It has a higher resolution and frame rate for slow motion action.

Grouse Hunt America

If you have any problems with the video, It can be seen on youtube: https://youtu.be/72_D1Lt5ges

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Elk Hunting, Meat, and Idiots

| October 18, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Elk 2016 Back Strap

I’ve been out elk hunting with my girlfriend. She has a few tags to fill, and so I’ve been supporting her effort to do that. It’s the reason that its been a while since I posted anything.

She filled her elk tag, as you can see from the feature photo of two beautiful backstraps. We butchered it, and we’ve been busy processing, grinding, sausage making, etc.

Elk hunting can be a little time consuming if you aren’t as fortunate as some. And by some, I mean those who just so happen to run into a bunch of elk whilst cruising on an atv, 200 yards from where they dragged their massive camper trailer. We weren’t as fortunate. We put in 5 days and a few nights, averaging between 8.5 and 10 miles on foot, much of it in snowshoes, and a few cold tent camping nights down to 15 degrees before my girlfriend tagged out 7 days into the season. Here is a picture of a nice pond with a beaver dam, as well as a road that was blocked by trees that went down under heavy snow fall and high winds during our hunt.

beaver damn elk hunt

down trees on snow covered road

The elk hunting pressure of rifle season is outrageous. Guides must be instructing knit wits to shoot at anything that moves, at any distance. I can’t imagine any other reason for hearing so many consecutive shots, firing so frequently, when nobody is harvesting an animal.

It’s obvious to me that if it takes more than three shots to take an animal, let alone continue to miss one, that the shot is unethical, and you probably shouldn’t have taken the first one to begin with.

Even if someone did hit an animal after three rounds, what are the chances the shot is going to be well placed. Its more likely the shooter will injure the animal, or the shooter isn’t going to track a wounded animal. Shooting 500 yards across a meadow, because that is how far an ATV could take a hunter, doesn’t make me confident that the hunter will chase a wounded animal a few thousand yards off of a two track and up any sort of elevations through dense tree fall and snow.

I won’t say much more about it, besides how unethical it is, and to those folks or the folks who profit off of that kind of guiding, eat a bag of Richards.

My girlfriend took her elk at 190 yards with a single shot to vitals, and the elk dropped within 20 yards. We are thankful for the meat, a successful hunt, and no predator encounters in bear and wolf country. She didn’t get the bull she wanted, but we have a freezer full of ethically harvested meat.

I’ll post up about all the great things we’ve been doing with the meat, and tools we’ve been using to process the meat soon. As of right now we have put the rebuilt kitchen aid mixer with meat grinder attachment and a Hakka Sausage Stuffer (7Lb/3L) to use.

Also as far as hunting elk is concerned, we had a lot of good action with the Mac Daddy Elk Grunt Bugle. The external reed is easy to use, and we got a bull to get within 100 yards in thick trees under heavy hunting pressure. Unfortunately, no good shot presented itself. The trees were so thick it would have required a bull come in to about 40 yards, but for all the hunting pressure, I can still vouch for the effectiveness of the Mac Daddy.

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Can you hunt with lead 22lr in California?

| September 1, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Can you hunt with lead 22lr in California? As of August 2016 the answer is Yes.

 

There is a lot of confusion, and regurgitation, about non-lead ammo that I’ve heard when I’ve talked with other shooters, hunters, and especially sporting good store employees in Southern California.

 

lead-22lr

Generally, folks don’t know that the lead ammo restrictions apply to the taking of small game with shotguns, taking of non-game, big game, and depredation shooting. However, 22lr and airguns over .177 are exempt from these rules until phase 3 of the statewide nonlead ammo implementation in 2019. The one other exceptions are Condor Boundaries, Eco Reserves and Wildlife Areas. You can find those here: California Area Maps

 

Unlike the sheeple, I read all the CA hunting rules, then read them again, then read the lead requirements, then read those again. As I understood the rules, it is completely legal to use 22lr lead ammo, as well as lead pellet gun ammo over .177, to take small game. LA County has its own pistol and rifle 22lr rule, but lead airgun pellets are still allowed.

 

To verify this, I contacted California Department of Fish and Wildlife via email and amazingly got a prompt, same day, response.

 

You are correct that the non-lead shot requirement is only for shotgun at this time. Phase two of the no-lead ammunition implementation states: nonlead shot will be required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds, and any wildlife for depredation purposes. Since a 22 is not a shotgun, this would not apply. You are correct that you must use non-lead ammunition in Condor Country, State Wildlife Areas, & Ecological Reserves.

-California Department of Fish and Wildlife, South Coast – Region 5

 

So enjoy the bunny hunting with your lead 22lr and lead airgun ammo while you can. Hope this helps clarify the misinformation floating around.

 

Lastly, a disclaimer. The information I’ve posted is what I could gather and confirm for myself. Your county or city may have its own ordinances and laws. I’m not responsible if you get in trouble by not being equally diligent and knowing the laws to abide by. Blah blah blah, don’t be an idiot.

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