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.
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.
In addition to the adventure of the experience, it’s been a goal of mine to harvest every species of upland game I manage in the Upland Game Program. Going into the 2013 season, I had one species left: the elusive white-tailed ptarmigan. The hunt was on!
I love fishing the streams and lakes in Utah because of the diversity of trout species. Until a few years ago, I was completely content fishing for trout, but I began to realize that there were many other cool and warm water fish species in Utah.
I snuck away from the group to go fishing on a small stream. Not knowing what to expect, I grabbed a little fly from my tackle box, needle nose pliers and my fishing pole. I threw the little beadhead nymph into the stream and immediately felt the strong vibration of a small fish.
Thanks to the web cams in the nest box, we’ve been able to watch (in high def!) this year’s lone peregrine falcon chick grow from a tiny fluffball into an almost-adult predator preparing for life outside the box. But what’s even better than seeing falcon action in high definition? Seeing it right in front of you!
Next cast… score! You know what I mean if you’ve ever seen someone holding a fishing pole get a bite that bends the pole. I still remember their lower lip bites and looks of concentration and wonder as they worked to reel in that big fish.
There is something about spring ice-off fishing that I can’t quite describe. The aggressive fish, the methodical rhythm of casting and the wide variety of angling opportunities — in short, it’s just awesome.
For about a half hour, Phil and I were treated to a non-stop photo opp as Calvin yanked trout through the ice. Most of these trout ranged from 14–16 inches. Except for one Bear Lake cutthroat, all of the fish were splake. All of the fish were well proportioned. Not fat, not skinny. Just right.