oldfatslow

Tu tene eum procul; Ego curram ob auxilium!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Layout

Got in a couple of hunts with my
buddy, Mike T.  My motor is in the
shop - yet again - this time with an
oil leak.

Mike has an airboat and a favorite
hunting spot.  It's not all that secret
because a lot of other hunters were
out there, but it could get a lot more
crowded if more folks knew about
it.

We were hunting out of layout boats
that Mike brings along in the airboat.
It's a lot less strenuous than a lot of
the hunting I do.

The first time we went out, we both
limited.  Saturday, we went out again
and there were a lot fewer ducks flying
than on the previous Tuesday and not
just reduced by the twelve we took.

Still we managed to drop 8.  One
of which gotten eaten by a gator.  I
went through a lot of shells, but most
of them were trying to break up
some cripples.  It's tough to hit
one when both you and the duck
are at water level.

And it was all ringers, all the
time.

ofs

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

E-Ticket Ride

So last Saturday's hunt was another
skunk.  I wore the Jones hat (never has
been on a successful hunt and it kept
up the tradition). 

I hunted solo and decided to head
back to one of my favorite spots:
Big Bend. 

At the launching ramp, There were
two other guys launching and they
were the only other hunters there.
We joked a bit about the lack of
ducks and made sure we wouldn't
be setting up on each other in the
miles of marsh. They kindly let me
launch  first and guided me down
the steep, blind ramp. 

Heading down river at full speed
and trying to steer the mud motor,
work the GPS, and shine the Qbeam
may have been a bit much.  I didn't
have the usual weight in the front
of the boat of another body and
ended up swinging very wide on
a hairpin turn in the river. The
boat went flying up into the
reeds and stopped dead.  Mr.
Inertia kicked in and I went
flying out of the boat.  No
harm to boat or driver, but
I took the rest of the drive a
little slower once I pushed the
boat back in the river.

I got up to Big Bend and zigzagged
across the hole to encourage any
gators to leave.  The Q-Beam
illuminated two sets of beady
red eyes.  Neither pair was wide
set enough to cause great alarm.
I actually motored up to one of
the little lizards.  It sank down
right as the boat got to it and
then popped back up in the
same place after I motored away.
Stupid lizard.

I put the decoys out and then
proceeded to set up the blind.
As I was setting up palmetto
fans around the boat, I hit
a hole and tripped.  I got
completely soaked - including
mask and gloves.  It wouldn't
have been so bad if the temp-
erature wasn't just below 50
and the wind blowing 15-20
mph.

Thankfully, I had a thermos
of coffee and drank that dry.
I was well camoed up - none
of the herons, sandpipers,
ibis, hawks, kingfishers, eagles,
starlings, or vultures spotted me. 
But, there were no ducks to be seen.
I heard some blackbellies 20
minutes before shooting time,
but they were long gone by
dawn.  Shooting from other
hunters in the distance was
very sporadic and not repeated.
The only ducks I saw were a
pair of mottles that I kicked up
half way back to the ramp after
I gave up. 

Even a cold, soggy, birdless
day on the marsh is so much
more than anything else.  It's
worth it.

ofs

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

African Queening It

Opening day for this season came
warm and clear.  The heavy summer
rains have ceased and the St. Johns
River has fallen 1.5 feet below the
78 year median level.  Many of my
favorite hunting spots have either
become too overgrown or too
shallow to hunt. Scouting the days
before did not reveal a whole lot
of ducks.  

Navy boy was home on leave
for the opener and he, LT, and
I headed out to one spot 3.5
miles or so downriver that
has historically been deep
enough and productive
enough.

The start was uneventful.
We peeked in at one spot
named Fog Hunt that was
completely dry ground and
headed on to Big Bend and
found it to be mid thigh deep.
I put out teal and coot decoys
and a Mojo teal while the boys
set up the palmettos and boat
blind.

15 minutes before shooting
time several groups of black
bellied whistling ducks came
over - some within easy
shooting range.  Visibility was
good enough to have shot a
few, but we did not want to
risk careers by getting ticketed
for shooting early.  There was
someone a bit farther down
the flight line that didn't have
the same scruples and unloaded
on the black bellies shortly
after we watched them pass
by.

For a long time that morning
we sat idle and observed fish
jumping in the pond and shore
birds flying all around us.  We
were well camoed up - even a
wary hawk didn't see us until
it was a few feet from the blind.
Our Thermocell kept the
mosquitoes off especially after
I actually got it lit.

Late in the morning, we were
suddenly surprised by a flock
of "black" ducks in the decoys.
We didn't hear or see them come
in, but they were right around
the landing zone.  I had a hard
time processing what they were
with what my expectations
were in that most puddle ducky
of puddle duck habitats.

We all opened up and knocked
two down.  I fired the new pump
three times and didn't even know
it.  I was still cycling and trying
to shoot as the flock rose up
right over my head.  I was
surprised to see the odd
bills of spoonies and even
more surprised to find that
we retrieved two nice, drake
ringers.  I've never shot, seen,
or heard of ringers up there.

We decided to go shoot some
snipe and tore down the blind
and picked up the decoys.  I
fired up the engine and almost
immediately, it seized up.  I
knew it was serious when I
called my mechanic and he
basically said, "It's serious."
There was no one near us.
The only boat we had seen
all day had cut in upriver of
us, and was long gone.

At first we tried walking on
the bank and pulling the boat.
That worked until we hit head
high para grass and could only
take 6 inch steps.  We then
got in the swift current of the
narrow (35 feet) river and tried
hugging the edge and pulling.
The edge was steep, slippery,
and marked by gator holes that
we didn't fancy dangling our
feet in front of.

Finally, LT exerted his leadership
and came up with the idea
of two of us sitting on the side
of the boat and grabbing para
grass and pulling us ahead
one arm length at a time.
Navy boy sat in the bow
paddling to keep us nosed
into the shoreline.  We did
that for several hours before
a couple of guys came by
and offered us a tow.  It
was good they showed up
when they did, our arms
were getting worked over
and at least once, LT saw
a snake.

My mechanic now has the
boat and is fixing the shaft.

 ---------------------------------
Navy boy and I decided to
walk on for a Tuesday hunt
at the local WMA.  He partied
up with Ducktales who has
been a stalwart duck hunter
for our family, while I partied
up with old friend Hookupandgo
and his boss Tony.  Navy boy
had the better spot and tore up.
He ended up with a limit that
included a drake pinner, drake
mottled, and four blue wing
teal.  I eked out a solo blue
wing.

 

 ---------------------------------
I went back yesterday when Tony
called up and said he was the first
in the walkin line and would I be
interested in joining him and his
son.  No hesitation there.

We got one of the wading spots
and got some good G2 from
Duckmanjr and headed off.  All
in all, the wade wasn't bad.  No
para grass and shallow water.  The
mud was a bit of a challenge, but
I didn't do too badly.  Tony and
his son hunted near shore and I
moved almost all the way across
the impoundment.

I had to run and gun to find where
the ducks wanted to be, but the
biggest problem I had was me.
I'm just not a good shot and the
new gun is taking some getting
used to.  I could have had several
limits, but managed to scare quite
a few ducks.  I did scratch out
a drake ringer, drake bwt, and my
second ever hen buffy.  Not the most
prized of ducks, but I was proud
that I got it.  Really a good day.

 Here's what a hen bufflehead
looks like.





"Bucephala-albeola-010" by Mdf - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

ofs

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Snipe Selfies

Saturday is opening day.  The fact
that the river is so low that I can snipe
hunt in an indicator of how bad the
opener may be.  I've seen no teal,
limited feed, and dried up ponds. 
On top of that, the days haven't dropped
below 80 yet.

At least the new shotgun is working
for me.  I'm still getting used to
working the pump on a deluxe
12 gauge instead of the souped
up youth model 20 I've used the
last couple of years.

I'd post pictures, but the only one
hunting/scouting has been me.  

ofs

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

They Never Forgive and They Never Forget

Rousas John Rushdoony from a 1973 lecture
called "The Sabbath" from his series on The
Doctrine of Salvation.

------------------------begin here--------------------
"When man denies God, however, he denies the
transcendental, supernatural power of God, but
he doesn't deny an ultimate power in the universe.
Every philosophy has a concept of ultimate power.
So, when he denies the ultimate power is in God
because he says, 'There is no God,' he must then
locate power somewhere in the world. When he
says it is Man, it ultimately devolves on the
collective Man and of the State and increasingly
on the instruments of man - the Machine. It is
very interesting on how man who made the
machine now sees it as a threat to himself. There
was a prophetic novel written on that subject
about 175/80 years ago entitled Frankenstein
And the author saw the threat of the Machine. 
Man without God making his own creation -
the Machine - and the Machine proving to be
greater than man. Why this threat?  Some of
the top men in cybernetics have actually said
that machines - computerized machines - may
take over civilization and govern Man in the
future and make Man their slaves. This is not
only stated by science fiction writers, but by
professors at Harvard and elsewhere.  It's
ridiculous, but they seriously believe this. Why? 
When God made His creation, He gave it a
sabbath, a rest.  Man needs that rest.  When
Man made his creation, the Machine, his creation
needs no rest. It can work around the clock.  It
is a continuous power.  It works automatically.
And, it begins to terrify Man. It is continual
power. And, Man feels that somehow it is a
threat to him. It is power that somehow is greater
than himself because he no longer sees himself
as in the image of God.  As God's lord over the earth. 

A very interesting statement not too long ago
in a major publication commented on the world
of machines and Man's fear of machines and
computers and especially of these computerized
data banks. And the writer, Arthur R. Miller
comments, 'Some people feel emasculated
when private information about them is
disclosed or exchanged even though the data
are accurate and they do not suffer any career
or social damage, correctly or incorrectly. 
They think in terms of having been embarrassed
or demeaned by having been denuded of
something that hitherto was theirs alone. 
This concern for the record will be reinforced
by the popular conception of the computer
as the unforgetting and unforgiving watchdog
of society's information managers.  As one
observer has remarked, "The possibility of a
fresh start is becoming increasingly difficult.
The Christian concept of redemption is
incomprehensible to the computer."'

Very interesting point is it not?  If man has no
God, there is no forgiveness of sins from God
for him. And if he has created the Machine
 and is fearful of the Machine and now the
Machine becomes a data bank which stores
all his sins, every fact about him, where is
the forgiveness of sin? 

In some cases known to me, some veterans
have found that everything that they ever
did while in the Armed Forces is now part
of the record.  That every time they went
to the doctor for any kind of shot, any kind
of ailment, and some things they never
wanted to be any part of any record are now
part of a government data bank.  And there
is no forgiveness of sins with a data bank. 
And for the humanist, this is a terrifying
thing.  And this is why it is  the humanists
are so afraid themselves of the data banks
they are creating.  Because they want to
wipe out their past so often and cannot do it. 

Having no God above to give them forgiveness
of sins, they want to destroy the past and it
accumulates there constantly, unceasingly,
every time there is any written record. 

You recall in Huxley's Brave New World
 he had his Predestinators.  Much worse
now for people the predestinators are
computers.  The sabbath is gone for the
humanist and he cannot find rest, despite
leisure - more leisure time than ever
before.  But because salvation and rest
and work are inseparable intertwined,
when one goes, the other[s] go. "

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Ballad of James Monk

My mom told me that her mom would sing a lullaby to her children about the first murder in Clearfield County, PA.  I think these are the lyrics, but I've never found a tune.  

Come all ye good people,
Who now have to view
This sad and shameful death,
I have brought myself unto;
I pray you all take warning
By my unhappy fate,
And shun vice and folly
Before it is too late.

Chorus- Alas, I am undone.

In the county of Centre
I drew my first breath,
And in that same county
I meet my shameful death;
Had I obeyed the counsel
My parents gave to me,
I would not have to suffer
Upon this shameful tree.

I hope you will remember .
James Monks is my name,
This day I confess
To my sorrow and shame,
That I shot Reuben Giles,
Whom I never saw before,
And left his body weltering
In its purple gore.

I hunted in Clearfield
In Eighteen-Seventeen
Around the head of Stump Creek
Where I had often been,
And while on my way homeward,
On Anderson Creek hill,
I stopped to drink and gamble,
Like many men do still.

I left the stone tavern
In anger at two men
For cheating me in gambling,
At least I thought so then,
And walked off in the twilight
With evil thoughts astir,
And soon I met a stranger
Who said, "Good evening. sir."

Just after I passed him,
The thought occurred to me
To kill him for his money,
There is no one here to see;
And, without further thinking.
As if from hell inspired,
I turned-took down my rifle-
And in a moment fired.

I now caught his horse
And tied him to a tree,
Then hastened to my victim,
Who faintly said to me,
“My friend, you have killed me.”
But all I would reply
Was quickly to go to him
Resolved that he must die.

The devil so possessed me,
Before he was quite dead,
With my tom'hawk I gave him
Two blows upon the head;
Then dragged him off a distance,
And stripped him of his cloth "
And like a savage left him
To wild beasts exposed.

In trying on his shoes,
I found they were too small,
I cut them in the instep,
And let my penknife fall;
This knife and an old song book,
Left here as by design,
And with his ball-pierced clothing,
Betrayed this deed of mine.

His horse and saddle bags,
They now became my prey,
His watch and pocketbook,
I also took away,
Then covered up his body
With leaves and rotten wood
Some distance from the roadside,
Where once a tree had stood.

I threw his hat away
Before I rode a mile,
Then rode on toward Karthaus,
Pursuers to beguile,
And early the next morning
I viewed my bloody store,
And thought I could conceal
This, my gun, forevermore.

I hid his bloody shirt
In the trunk of a tree,
But this too was found
And produced against me;
To show that private murder
Would never be concealed,
A dog told the secret,
And the whole was revealed.

I tried to plead "Not guilty,"
My lawyers did their best,
But proof on proof appeared,
And guilt rankled in my breast;
His bones too were produced
And presented at my trial,
And this last shocking proof
Would admit of no denial.

One more thing I'll mention
Before I'm done with time;
Some blamed Andrew Allison
For this, my cruel crime;
But since I am to suffer,
To tell a lie, I scorn,
He's innocent as the infant
Or the child yet unborn.

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Friday, February 06, 2015

Yute Hunt

I took a young man and his father out
to the Youth Waterfowl Hunt this year.
Unfortunately, I didn't get him a reservation
at the WMA so we had to head out
on the St. Johns.

We all went out Friday and scouted a
good 10 miles of river.  We saw a few
mottles and one group of 8 ducks that
I wasn't sure the species.  But they
were way down river and I didn't
think we wanted to get up at 0230
and brave the sandbars to get to
the spot.  Instead, I fell back on
Fog Hunt.  That's an area that
has history of being productive
in both prior years and this
year.  We also had a skunk
there this year.

After the scout, we came home
and cut palmettos.  I also gave
them some cold weather gear,
face masks, and gloves.  Since I
was the only one going in the
water, I was the only one with
waders.

The water, habitat, and weather
were perfect.  I put 6 bwt and
one mottle out as decoys.  For
motion I put the mojo teal and
three pinners on the jerk string.

It was dead at sunup.  There weren't
even many shore birds around. No one
else was out on the marsh.  We heard
no boats or shooting.  We did hear
a distant hen mottled duck.  I hit
her with the drake mallard call.
That went on all morning.

I commented that mottled ducks
sometimes fly around 0800.  Sure
enough at 0804, the calling finally
paid off and a pair of mottles swung
out wide in front of us and came
straight into the decoys.  The young
man got off a couple of shots with
the pump, but the ducks were awfully
close and he may have nipped one
of them.

I was amazed that they went behind
us and then back up to the far end of
our pond and landed.  I intended to
sit still in case the one was hit and just
took time to succumb to the wounds.

Oddly, a third modu showed up and
they all took off.  The original two
flew one way and the singleton another.
I wailed on the hen mallard call and it
turned and followed the same track
back across the dekes that the first
pair did.  I felt so bad that both shots
missed that bird too.  With some
experience, that young man would
have had a trophy bird.  They were
big old ducks.

In the boat:
 
 photo IMG_1743_zpsea556b86.jpg

View behind us:
 photo IMG_1745_zpsc99db405.jpg

View of the decoys:
 photo IMG_1744_zps9b0d9fda.jpg

Action shot:
 photo IMG_1748_zps1ee78d36.jpg


I was very proud of the young man
for listening, sitting still,
taking the shots, and cycling the
gun.  He did great.  I just wish I
could have put him on more ducks.

His dad did yeoman's work with the
jerk string.  We topped the day off
with a good breakfast at IHOP.

ofs

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No Whimpering, This Season Went Out with a BANG!

The last hunt of the season proved to be a
winner for the Clan.  LT hit on a draw to
Broadmoor WMA.  We were 8th pick and
figured to get a good wade spot.  We
would have tried the Broadmoor Reservoir,
but my little truck can't launch and pull out
the boat from the unimproved launching
ramps.

LT went up and scouted one Thursday
by driving around.  The next Thursday
he took his bike and got behind areas
that looked unhuntable.  What he saw
was amazing.  The primo spot was
covered up in ducks - specifically
pintails.

We figured that the reservoir was so
hot during the season that the early
picks would choose there.  We also
learned that the draw order was wrong
on the FWC web site and that we were
actually pick 5.  We figured that we
were set.

We brought along one of my Army
Medic son's buddies who lives locally
and had been a 240 gunner in Trashcanistan.
He'd hunted on the St. Johns River with
us once where we couldn't make the
retrieve on a mottled duck that he
shot.  We needed to make it up to him.

The word was out that guys were
parked in the walk in line from
the previous Wednesday.  At the
check station, I didn't see a familiar
face.  There were a lot of hunters
there, but it wasn't as packed as I
would have expected.  Maybe, it
was because the forecast that morning
was for 30mph gusts, driving rain,
and lightening.  Maybe, folks were
just tired of getting up so early that
late in the season.

When pick time came, we waited
anxiously.  The first four spots
chose wading over the reservoir.
We were quite surprised when
the best spot was still available for
us.  It pays to have LT scout.

As soon as we had our draw, we
drove out there.  I brought the works:
palmettos, decoys (teal, pinners, modus,
ringers, and coots), sleds, walking sticks,
stools, ammo bags, and guns.  We had to
walk along the whole south edge
of the impoundment, but didn't have
to head too far up the levee when we
turned north on the east edge.

We used our Qbeams to spot a reed
island that looked like good cover.
We faced north, but the wind was
from the west - and hard.  There
was an occasional flash of lightening,
but it wasn't close and I've hunted
in far scarier conditions.  [Although
there's nothing quite like holding a
big old lightening rod and being the
tallest thing in the marsh for a long
ways.]

LT was on our left side facing into
the wind and rain.  I took the right
and put the 240 gunner on the
center seat.

When shooting time came, ducks
were everywhere.  They came through
our spread with the wind at mach
speed.  When they headed into the
wind, they practically stopped dead.
It didn't matter, my shot string was
all over two counties and I had to
lead the birds by a time zone.  I
had one fulvous directly overhead
facing the gale.  I fired three shots
and didn't even phase him.  That
wind was strong.

Our 240 gunner, shot lights out
which wasn't bad for a guy who
used to rifled bullets and not a
scatter gun.  He was limited in
less than an hour with two hen
pinners, 1 green wing teal, and
three blue wing teal - one of
which was a beautiful wall mount
drake.  He ribbed us about our
great experience and poor shooting
skills.  We spent a good deal of
the morning laughing. 

LT and I rotated to the center
seat and scratched out our limits.
ofs:  2 ringers, 1 modu, three bwt;
LT:  1 hen pinner, 1 modu, 1 ringer, 3 bwt.

Retrieves were hard, but 240 did awesome
work for a couple of mine.  

We were tired and sore when we headed in,
but we did better than anyone else we
saw.  The guys in the reservoir were
reduced to shooting coots and the guys
in the impoundment just north of us
didn't get a duck (and there were
plenty to be had).

 photo IMG_1736_zpsd441af11.jpg
 photo IMG_1733_zpse0af30b9.jpg
We ended the season with 38 ducks - a vast
improvement over last year, but still sad.  We
started and ended with LT and me limiting.
It was a fun season overall.

ofs

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