At the end of the day, as we walked back to the truck, a rooster flushed. Having played guide that day, I was the only one in our group who hadn’t gotten my limit. This one was mine. The rooster came down the draw towards and past me. I fired once, twice, then I fired my last shell. On the third shot the rooster folded.
When he served them up, the steaks looked pretty typical: browned on the outside, with a pink strip in the center, just how I like ‘em. I wasn’t prepared for how it would taste. I couldn’t believe it. I finally had to ask, “What are we eating?”
I took a little time out to enjoy the moment. Euphoria, 12,000 feet above it all, alone with my dogs. Life is good.
I’m not sure how either one of us made it down that slope without a broken ankle, nor who was more excited, me or the dog, but after retrieving the bird we both sat down for a good twenty minutes to catch our breath, admire the bird’s beautiful plumage, and enjoy what I’ll always remember as a perfect moment.
I would like to invite you to think about making your own adventures in the backcountry, though not all at once, I might add, because there is nothing better than feeling that you are fishing an untouched lake or moving in on an elk bugle that actually came from an elk.
Newer research has shown an additional factor: water and air temperatures play a big part in fish survival. Fish, especially cold-water fish like trout, are more likely to die when they are caught and brought up into warm summer waters.
As the day progressed, it didn’t seem to matter if you were fishing from a tube/kayak or from the shore, everyone was catching several golden trout and brook trout.
All of the sudden we found ourselves surround by turkeys! As a couple of hens ran off, we heard the thunderous GOBBLE-GOBBLE of the tom wondering why the hens were leaving him. We watched as he strutted by just out of range and fed up over the hill. We quietly slipped out and set up in this draw again the next time out.
They’re unlike any other of Utah’s birds. These tiny birds range from 2¾ to 4 inches tall and have some of the highest metabolisms in the world, with heart rates around 1,250 beats per minute. At night, their hearts slow to between 50 and 180 beats per minute, which enables them to tolerate some below-freezing temperatures.
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.
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.