Monday, September 22, 2008


As Jackson and I had seen a few chukars on our backpacking trip from Pittsburgh Landing to Kirkwood Ranch I thought that would be a good place for an opening weekend hunt. So Ken and I headed out Friday morning and arrived a little before midday. It was very hot just as it was when Jack and I were there--100 degrees in the afternoon and still 90 at 6:00 pm. We tried scouting around some in the afternoon but it was just too hot, especially for the dogs. Swimming in the river was much nicer.

About 5:00 I decided to place a geocache while Ken fished for our supper. The spot I picked was only 1/3 mile from the parking lot but it necessitated an ascent of over 1,000 feet. It wasn’t too bad though, as it only took 35 minutes to get up there. It’s called simply Upper Pittsburgh Landing in case you want to look it up. Meanwhile Ken had a nice bass and trout for our supper.

We turned in after supper but it was too hot to sleep. At one point during the night I got up and just sat outside on the table enjoying the breeze. About 4:00 am the rain began and it really came down. Fortunately my reliable 40 year old blue canvas tent kept us nice and dry the whole trip. The rain eventually stopped but it threw us about an hour late in getting out to hunt.

The only birds we found were a very short ways from camp. They were running up the cliffs above us and the only way to make them fly was to shoot into them on the ground which I did. The shot at the one on the ground wasn’t a kill as is usually the case but one that flushed provided a shot as he was curving around the bluff. Unfortunately he just dropped one leg and fluttered on around the bluff out of sight. If it went down there was no way to know where. Pretty much the same scenario was repeated within 100 yards of the same spot. This time I killed the one on the ground as well as the one that flushed. The dogs each retrieved a bird so supper was assured. We hunted another couple of hours without so much as seeing a bird. Later in the afternoon we tried a spot a couple of miles down river because a camper said he had seen some huns in that area. We didn’t see a bird there either and as it was beginning to rain we headed back to camp.

The rain really set in so I rigged a tarp from the pickup to a bank and that served as our cooking and dining area. Ken served as chef and he did a good job on both the chukars and fish the night before. The rain had cooled things off so sleeping was much more comfortable but the rain really came down all night. It reminded me of a Scout trip with Milo into Moose creek. Except, unlike that trip, we stayed dry.

Fortunately, the rain stopped before daylight and I roused Ken out a little before 6:00 am. In the same spot as the previous morning we flushed a single chukar. However, he flew out from down below us and a boat moored across the river would have been right in the line of fire so we didn’t even shoot. That was the only bird we saw that morning. I’m afraid it’s going to be that kind of year.

The sun was out now so we broke camp about mid morning and headed back to town. In spite of the poor hunting we had a great time. However, if you seek seclusion, that’s not the place to be. The river was like highway 95 with all the jet boats and rafts.


Kathy said...

When Mike arrived home Sunday afternoon, I naturally inquired about the success of the trip. "Oh -- not good," he said. "Just enough for supper."

"Well, shall we eat them tonight?" I asked.

"No, our supper last night," Mike laughed. "We ate them already!" KW

Hallie said...

Whenever Dad goes camping there's at least an 80% chance of rain regardless of where he goes or what the local weather predicts.

I'll go camping with Ken if he'll find dinner and cook it too! :) What a sweet deal!