Monday, August 30, 2010

More lion scat

Here is a video that I found on YouTube that some may find interesting. It shows the use of a trained dog in a study to search for mountain lion scat for DNA testing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I had in mind taking Bear out for some exercise today, and a little 1 on 1 without Chigger along. I’ll be doing that a lot this year, just taking 1 dog out at a time. Bear is the older and more settled dog, while Chigger still has a lot of pup in him. When I take them out together Chigger has play on his mind more than anything else, and he really doesn’t learn much that way. Without another dog to occupy his attention, Chigger pays more attention to me, and I might be able to actually teach him something. Anyway, today was Bear’s turn, and I think he really enjoys being away from that rambunctious pup for awhile.

I got off to a false start this morning. I started up the road that leads to the mountain behind my house, and as soon as I left the pavement I found that the road had been freshly graded. A little farther along and there was a really big sign that proclaimed the road was closed to all but emergency vehicles. This land is owned by a large timber company. I suspect they are about to start a logging operation, and there will be logging trucks running up and down the road. Nothing for it but to turn around and go somewhere else.

My next choice was a piece of BLM, or publicly owned land, a short drive away. By now it was starting to get beyond warm, but I put Bear out in front of the truck to let him stretch his legs. A couple of miles up the road, and he had about all he wanted, so I picked him up and continued up the hill to a spot where I wanted to set up a calling stand. I parked out on a ridge, and from there it is a short walk to the spot I had in mind.

A short distance from the truck I found there had been a fire, probably started by lightning. It was so recent that there were still hoses left laying on the ground by the fire crew.


Only a small area had burned, and I was soon past it. The spot where I call from hadn’t burned at all. By now it was really getting hot, but we found a good shady spot, and I set up with the camera on a tripod and Bear laying next to me. I have called fox from here several times, quite a few deer, and seen lion scratch marks; but have never called a lion from this spot. As hot as it was by now I had little hope of calling anything in, but stranger things have happened, so I played with an open reed call for about 20 minutes.

As I expected, I didn’t see anything but a couple of blue jays. As I usually do after finishing an unproductive call here, I took a little walk around the area looking for any fresh or old sign. I found some; not fresh, but proof that the cats had been here. I shot a short piece of video showing what I found.

Monday, August 16, 2010

For Grimbo

Predator calls

In answer to a request from the other side of the pond. This is a photo of some of the various types of mouth blown predator calls that I commonly carry in my pack. Some closed reed, some open reed. Some made of plastic, some of wood, and one made from deer antler. These are all commonly available in this country.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2nd camp, 2010

My second camp this year was a little cooler than the first, thank you very much, but not as enjoyable in some respects. There is more than a little of the hermit in me, and I enjoyed the solitude of my first camp. This time there were far to many people and to much activity for my liking. The dogs had to be kept tied much of the time. There are public corrals and an outhouse at this camp, but more conveniences means more people, and there really was no place else to camp nearby. There were a few times when I seriously considered packing up and going someplace else if it hadn’t been so much trouble; then things would quiet down as people either packed up and headed up the trail or went home. I had peace and quiet for awhile, at least for the time being.

Fishing? Well yeah, kind of, considering there was no chance to fish at all at my first camp. It was an eye opener for me though. I have been geared up for fishing the high country lakes or many years now, and it has been a long time since I fly fished a creek. I spent considerable time learning all over again. I used the same rod, reel, and line that I used back then, but to my dismay I found that I couldn‘t see the fly much of the time, and unless the light was fairly good I couldn’t even see the line. The old eyes aren’t as good as they used to be. For a short time I rigged up a spinning rod with a small Panther Martin spinner, and caught a trout on the first cast. I kept fooling round and soon hung up on the rocks and lost the spinner. The only practical way to fish a creek like this is with a fly. Spinners would have to be very small and light, like a tiny Colorado spinner, and then count on losing many of them. I caught enough trout to keep me interested, and to fry up with bacon and eggs for breakfast, but the truth is I lost more than I caught.

No excuses, but I was really limited to only 4 pools where I could fish. On the first evening I was there, before I even started to fish, a party of local people came in off the trail. A couple of teenage boys grabbed their rods and headed for the creek while their parents unloaded and unsaddled their mules. Those young fellows could scramble over the rocks where I couldn’t or wouldn’t attempt to go, and reach places I couldn’t. They caught several fish in the short time they were there. A few days later a neighbor of mine brought his family up for a one night campout and some fishing. Again, 2 teenage boys. Those kids not only scrambled over the rocks, but waded right down the middle of the creek. They did quite good, where I had been able to catch only an occasional fish. Ah to be young again! By the time I left that camp and headed for home, that section of creek had been pretty well fished out.

Shacklefored Creek

Once in awhile I would saddle Sis and take a short ride up the creek, prospecting for other likely places to fish. I see some changes I need to make. I have a couple of pack rods that break down into 4 pieces and fit in medal cases to carry them; but with these old eyes it takes me forever to rig one up and tie a fly on the line. I need one of the small telescoping rods that fold up to little more than a foot long. That way I can carry one all rigged up and ready to go. Then I could ride up a creek to a likely looking spot, fish for a little while, then fold the rod up and ride on to the next spot. Also, I have another fly reel here at home, loaded with a different color line that is easier to see. That should help a lot. It’s a learning process.


There were things besides fishing that occupied some of my time. As I said, people would come and go at this camp, and at least I knew some of them. A couple of commercial packers made some trips, packing people to the high country lakes. Cattle belonging to a local ranch also graze these mountains. One day the packers came into camp with a tale to tell. A dead cow was laying in a spot far to close to the trail, and 3 or 4 bears were feeding on it. One of the packers got a dandy picture of a bear, taken with a simple cell phone camera; the bear standing with its front feet on a log and looking right at the packer. The packer had a pistol with him, and he fired a shot into the log. The bear just stood there, and none of them ran off. They weren’t about to leave that carcass! From then on we tried to warn all back packers we possibly could to beware of those bears.

Later I was told that a troupe of Boy Scouts were camped somewhere along the Pacific Crest Trail, and an adult in the party had suffered a heart attack. A Wilderness Ranger who I have known for years happened to be nearby. She had a Forest Service radio with her and was able to call out. A CHP helicopter was flown in and the man was airlifted out.

On one of those rare occasions when no one else was in camp, and the dogs were sound asleep, I was flaked out in the shade and reading a magazine. I happened to look up, and there was a dandy buck standing about 20 feet from me. Of course he saw me, but didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Naturally my camera was in the truck! The deer calmly walked up the road to the hitching rack I had been using for Sis, and trying to act as nonchalant as possible, I tiptoed over to the truck for the camera. I had to crop a large section of the photo out, and enlarge the important part, so it may not be as sharp as I would have liked; but here is the result. This fellow better smarten up pretty quick. Archery deer season opens a week from Saturday!

deer,blacktail deer