As the alarm went off, I remember thinking just five more minutes! But, I could hear the commotion of the hunting party layering on the camouflage. I honestly don’t think Dakota slept that night.
I felt the solid hit and pull of a fish after setting the hook. I played him with my reel and he was large enough to take some line as he made his runs in his effort to escape. Within a few minutes, I had him to the boat. After a quick photo op, I released him. I felt great — I’d just landed my first fish of the season.
Research data also shows there are numerous reasons for the decline in kestrel numbers, but they can all be summed up by one word: civilization.
As the buck charged, I realized there were five little spears headed right for me. I was standing right between those antlers and the door! I made some timely comments at the top of my lungs as I quickly jumped from the trailer.
About five minutes later, Gauge’s tail helicoptered again. A lone chukar flushed in front of me, headed straight away; I pulled my gun up and shot once just as the bird was about to disappear behind the ridgeline. The bird crumbled in midair and fell out of sight.
Joshua put his hands over his ears and motioned to Isaiah to do the same as I set the hair trigger on my 50-caliber muzzleloader. Within seconds after the smoke cleared, the animal stopped running and it was over. The boys were beside themselves. The look on their faces was one of excitement and sheer joy.
I was so anxious and excited sitting in my little blind, I could barely contain myself. Anytime a bird came anywhere close, my heart would race and I’d start wiggling. Rich and Chad used different calls to attract the birds. You could see birds change directions in flight in response to the calls. Very fun to watch.
To me, the most satisfying thing about the Waterfowl Slam is that every dollar raised from this program is going towards creating or enhancing waterfowl habitat in Utah. So far we have raised over $10,000 that will go directly back into habitat projects around the state!
The day was gorgeous, the weather was great, the scenery was interesting and colorful and there were plenty of deer for us to watch through binoculars. Fortunately, it’s a big area and we were able to find some wildlife close enough to photograph.
I, meanwhile, popped away at the birds with my little single shot Savage. Miss after miss followed. “Man,” I said to myself, “these ducks are hard to hit!” Finally, a big drake mallard flew straight at me. I shot, and it fell. What a thrill!
For those who enjoy an upland game hunting challenge, don’t mind braving the elements and prefer to avoid crowds, late-season forest grouse hunting may be something to consider.
The day was amazingly perfect. At one point, the wind picked up and aspen leaves fell in the stream where about a dozen browns came to hang out. It was magical. This trip was a reminder that I need to get out and fly fish more: I could use the practice and the fresh air.