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Versatile Hunter

2017 Outdoors Adventure Updates

Tue, October 31, 2017

This summer has been so busy for my family and I so I’ve admittedly been slacking on posting stories.  This is an attempt at catch up.  I’m also going to try my hand at selling ads for Jeff so if you own a business that’s outdoors-related you just might hear from me in the near future!

The summer dog training season was spent with members of the Spoon River NAVHDA Chapter as Training Director.  I get the honor of interacting with so many good people and good dogs.  Mostly folks that want to learn what the NAVHDA system of dog testing is all about and/or just some tips and ideas on how to train hunting dogs.  I was able to take my son (4 at the time) on a few outings and he absolutely loved carrying live and deceased birds, shooting his bb gun, and kayaking to set out live ducks for the search with other little ones.  The finish to this season was a Utility test (finished versatile dog) that I ran with my 2 ½ year old Drahthaar, Aldo in September.  He made me proud and scored a 202/204 Prize 1. 

A couple of snapping turtles ended up in my neighbor’s yard this year (females looking to lay eggs).  One of those turtles I captured and followed instructions on how to clean them up for the dinner plate.  We kept it in a tote, fed it hot dogs, and changed out its water each night.  My boy thought it was the coolest thing in the world until it snapped one of the dogs nose through the gate and took a pretty good chunk off.  I was reminded on how snappers are no joke and an animal worthy of respect.  As we were cleaning it, the anatomy of how its neck was attached via muscle and bone explained where its power comes from.  I followed a recipe from the MDC website for boiling and then deep frying and it turned out really well. 

My secret frog pond delivered a quick limit of “trophy” bull frogs once again but this time from a simple shoreline walk because of lack of water.  Last year I wrote about a new favorite way to gig via kayak and I was disappointed that I couldn’t do it again this year.

My son and I spent opening weekend morning of squirrel season walking the woods with our trusty Marlin 22. The annual squirrel day event on a local farm with friends (and now our sons and daughters) is always worth looking forward to.  Brooks gave me about 2 hours of his undivided attention and got first eyes on the one and only Fox Squirrel we harvested that morning.  We followed that hunt up by another a couple weeks later and we were successful once again with the side by side.  He made one heck of a retrieve into the dense honeysuckle and he really enjoys calling them and has even taught himself a pretty darn good mouth bark! 

Dove season found Brooks and I on an invite hunt to a private farm near Pekin with lots of good looking sunflowers.  The landowner brought his son along also and we spent a couple hours on a warm September afternoon swatting doves hovering over our Mojos.  Little man had a ball finding them and made some pretty good “shots” with his trusty Red Ryder. 

Shortly after that hunt I sustained a low back injury (herniated disc) that really put me down and out physically and mentally.  Having never been hurt to that degree previously in my life it had me thinking I wouldn’t be having much, if any, of a hunting season.  It also helped me reprioritize some of the more important things in life and things that perhaps we take most for granted (like being able to move around without pain)! I’ve been making a slow but steady recovery and so far avoided surgery.  Opening day of waterfowl season was a good one as compared to years past with decent numbers being shown on the aerial inventories and lots of ducks trading on public land along the Illinois. 

The report from north central Colorado from my friends out muzzleloader and archery elk hunting was a good one with signs of a slightly early rut and more water than last year keeping them on their feet more during shooting hours.  The group harvested a nice bull and a cow.  One of the hunters I hunted with last year spent this season hunting moose in State with a resident archery tag that took him many years to draw.  He harvested a doozy of a bull, which was yet another big game animal on his list of accomplishments with a bow. 

Next stop—ducks in the Dakotas!  The migration is turning out to be slightly ahead of last few years and we may just run into those swarms of mallards we so look forward to!