Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Memo from the Gods

To: Chad Love

From: The Gods

Date: 11-23-10

Subject: Re: Mallard of Discontent Blog Post 10-24-10 specifically, graf 1 lines 4-5 "Provided I have the opportunity to do so, the first two bucks and the first four does I see will be going in the freezer. No questions, no hesitation, no contemplation." (please see attached response below).

Dear Mr. Love,

In reference to your uttering of the above noted passage, we regret to inform you that pursuant to statutory requirements set down in the Immortal Deity Code (27th Edition), we must invoke Rule 3C of Section 42 of the IDC, "Quashing Rash and/or Overly Self-Confident Mortal Pronouncements" which clearly states (and we quote)...

                      "Announcing your plans is a good way to make the gods laugh"

We are now laughing at you. If you feel this decision has been made in error please contact our customer relations department by making a sacrifice at the alter of your choosing. We accept goats, pigs, chickens and most other domesticated beasts, but due to ongoing legal issues we unfortunately cannot accept virgins at this time.

Once your sacrificial request has been submitted it will be forwarded to our Consideration of Mortal Pleas Committee and a decision will be made within 90 days. If you do not hear from us in that period of time that means the original decision in your case has been confirmed and you have no further appeals. The laughter will continue. Please do not contact us, as incessant inquiries may incur a smiting penalty.

If however, the committee reverses the original decision in your case, the divine laughter will stop and the stated intentions set forth in your original rash and/or overly self-confident pronouncement may proceed without further interference. If this is the case you will be informed of said decision via mysterious old crone, spectral vision, talking animal or other appropriately god-like sign.

And please understand that we can process pleas only in the order in which they are received. This is our busy time of year and your patience and cooperation is much appreciated (incessant complaints may incur a smiting penalty).

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

The Gods

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things That Other People Say Don't Suck: Little Giant Food Bowls

I haven't done a "Things That Don't Suck" for a while, so I'm going to cheat and do a "Things That Other People Say Don't Suck," which is a category of items I've discovered through other bloggers' reviews, tried and found to be eminently non-sucky.

I have used stainless steel food bowls for years. They're indestructable, but if you've never had the pleasure of hearing the earth-shattering sound of steel pan on kennel concrete, courtesy of your dog jumping on and subsequently launching said food pan into the air, lucky you. It's in my top 10 all-time annoying sounds.

Enter the Little Giant Duraflex food bowl. I found out about this rubberized little gem through reading Scampwalker's excellent post on the best hunting gear or gadgets you never heard about.

So I went right out and bought four of the two-quart feed bowls. Two for the kennel and two for the truck. Total cost, ten bucks. I have to admit I was skeptical. My dogs can chew through Kryptonite. Last year for Christmas my in-laws bought me some "chew-proof" dog toys. The next day I scooped their pooped-out remains into the crap can, along with what was left of a granite headstone, an engine block from a '78 Chevy and a big pile of re-bar I had thrown into the kennels to keep the dogs occupied. So much for chew-proof.

But it's been a week of blessed silence, and the bowls are as new. Not a mark on them. And surviving a week with my dogs is about as strong an endorsement as I can give. Next up, just in time for winter, is the purchase of two of the Little Giant water buckets. I'm done with shattering regular plastic five-gallon buckets every time I go to break the dogs' ice.

And incidentally, if you have a good tip on a piece of gear, you might want to head over to Scampwalker's Eight More Miles blog. He's running a contest for the best gear tip, and giving away (giving away!) a schweeeet Boyt bird vest to the best entry.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Desperation is the Mother of Invention, Stupidity its Father.

What do two old rusty aluminum play arrows left by your son in the back of the truck, a rubber band and a bit of decoy cord scrounged from the floorboard have in common?

They can all come together to save your dumb ass when you realize you left the shooting sticks sitting on the workbench back at the house and the other side of that draw is way past offhand range. Your offhand range, anyway. ***

*** The author would like you to know that no deer were harmed in the creation of this blog post.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reluctant Hiatus...

Today I'm dragging the dog box out of the truck. Won't be needing it much for the next few days. Deer gun season opens tomorrow and while we have a sixteen day season on private land, for the next nine days the public hunting areas are closed to accommodate the army of deerslayers currently girding their blaze orange loins in preparation for the pending battle with their ungulate quarry.

So no bird or duck hunting for me unless I drive to Kansas. Which I might, depending on what and how many deer I shoot this weekend and how accusingly the dogs look at me over the next few days.

Tomorrow's sunrise will find me down on the farm having my "Screw the headgear and shoot the first thing I see and be done with it" philosophy sorely tested. I mean, it is just the first day, right? Maybe I should hold out just a little bit for a, uh...heavier buck. Yeah, that's it. Heavier buck. It's not horn hunting because heavier bucks have more meat, right?

We'll see. Last year I ate a tag waiting for a palpitation-inducing buck that was glimpsed only once and never seen again beyond memory. In all likelihood that particular buck's current physical address is someone else's wall, so that won't be happening again. I may, however, wait a few days, anyway. If I can't bird hunt I might as well be hunting something, right?

Besides, it gives me a chance to carry Sweetness, my beer budget Sako...

Now I am not generally a rifle loony and my personal firearms aesthetic runs strongly to walnut and blued steel, the older the better. But this is my one exception to that rule. She's a Tikka T3 Stainless Synthetic in 6.5x55, a configuration that's a bit hard to get here in the States. She's the only synthetic-stocked rifle I own, and damn it, I don't care if she does look like a cheap floosie, I love her.

Some guys don't care for them, (they're ugly, they've got a detachable mag, they're made of plastic, they're furrin') but I think the Tikka T3s are among the best bang-for-buck guns out there. They're cheap, they're well-made and they shoot insanely well.

Mine weighs in at seven pounds, eleven ounces with the scope, sling and four rounds of ammo and feels like about six pounds in the hand. It shoots MOA or better (sometimes much better) with pretty much anything you care to stuff down its throat (in fact it and a CZ 550 in the same caliber are the two most accurate rifles I own) and the bolt on a T3 feels like liquid ball bearings.

I paired it up with a Leupold FXIII 6x42 fixed-power scope (as close to perfection in a hunting scope as I am ever apt to experience) and the resulting package is my personal idea of the perfect deer/antelope gun. About the only thing I'd change, and I probably will this year, is add a set of aftermarket rings.

Two years ago Sweetness took a pretty nice buck where I'll be hunting tomorrow. Her positive juju wasn't enough to bring last year's bruiser up from the depths for me, but we'll see how it goes this weekend...  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Behold My Mighty Nice Clapstick...

It's been a rather hectic week since my last blog post; the start of quail season (no birds), the continuation of duck season (a few more birds, including the year's first greenhead and greenwing), getting ready for the deer gun opener in two days ("No horn porn and if it's brown it's down. Or gray. Or whatever" is this year's theme), the need to shoot a turkey before the fall season ends in a few days, a sick child, a sick wife, trying to get one story finished and sent off, travel for another F&S assignment, some news of pending work changes and the work involved in said changes, trying not to forget to clean the shower so as to avoid the weekly beating from the wife and seemingly dozens of other distractions, all of them blog-worthy.

But will I write about them? No, (at least not yet). So in lieu of all that I'll just make a dick joke instead...

Tuesday found me on the road on a story assignment, so I spent Tuesday night in ye old home town before continuing on the next morning. So naturally I hit all the used book stores searching for literary trash and treasure, as I always do when I find myself in a university town with a plethora of good used bookshops.

Most of them know me, or at least know who I am and what I generally look for, and as I walked into one particular shop owned by a sweet old marmishy-looking spinster, she jumped up and said (Verbatim. I am not making this up) "Hey, I bet you'd like a mighty nice clapstick, wouldn't you?"

I froze, taken aback at this most intimate and personal of questions, and it took me a second to realize she was talking about Peter Hathaway Capstick, famous churner of purple-prosed African hunting adventure of sometimes dubious authenticity.

"I don't see many Clapsticks any more, but this one's really nice and I thought of you," she said. I bit down, hard, on my lower lip to keep from laughing. The smartass in me longed, nay, ached, to reply "I used to have one of those, but penicillin cleared it up nicely."

But of course, I didn't. And though I have no idea why she got it in her head that it was "Clapstick" I didn't correct her for fear of offending. What else could I do?

So I came home with the Clapstick. Now my wife is gonna kill me...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's What's For Dinner...

The British blokes (I'm looking at you Suburban Bushwacker and Rabbit Stew ...) aren't the only ones who can break out a little air power.

You know what's magical? Rediscovering a simple, unadorned and largely forgotten joy that you thought you'd left behind years ago...

A little off-topic...

Apologies for the lack of any posts this week. I've been distracted with a multitude of issues both minor and mid-major that have prevented me from posting anything of depth, meaning or substance. So once again I'll just cop-out and post something stupid, off-topic (or at least as off-topic as I can get on this scattershot blog) and juvenile.

And I apologize, too, for those few readers (among the overall few) who live outside the somewhat myopic confines of the Big 12 football conference, because you just aren't going to get, nor will you care to get, this blog post. For that I apologize, and I promise I'll get back to the regular stuff forthwith.

But for all you Sooners and other Big 12 college football fans out there, this was just too damn tragically funny (if you're a Sooner) to pass up. Sometimes we have to laugh to keep from gnashing our teeth and wailing...

Original link is here via The Lost Ogle...


Sunday, November 7, 2010

2010 Duck Hunt #3: Morning Wood for Your Viewing Pleasure...

Yes, it's silly and a little crude, but I haven't shot a wood duck since starting the blog, so humor me...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First live bird contact

The other day I rigged up a half-assed bastard version of Scampwalker's pigeon pole from whatever scrap materials I could scrounge from around the house and planted it (with quail attached) in the vacant lot across from our house.

Obviously my pole is much shorter than his (don't worry, I'm used to it) and I cut the string length to about twelve feet, but it seemed to work reasonably well.

After setting two of them out I snapped Jenny into a check cord and brought her in downwind of them.

A nice solid point, and I'm pretty sure she was at least attempting to use her nose, as the quail had buried itself into the weeds about eight feet or so on the other side of the pole. But now I know why Scampwalker uses a ten-foot pole and a forty-foot lead attached to the bird, because when I walked in to flush the bird, it flew up 12 feet and then promptly bounced right back down on top of us. A few moments of sheer pandemonium ensued.

So lesson learned: give the bird enough altitude to at least give the illusion of escape.

So we then worked into the second pole. Another solid point. Another flush. More pandemonium. Much fun. Quail season starts in nine days. She has no idea what she's supposed to be doing. I have no idea how to effectively teach her what she's supposed to be doing, but I think we're going to have a lot of fun being clueless together.

Tis the season indeed...

Yesterday I received the first (of many, I'm sure) Black Friday e-mail ad of the season. This morning, while perusing Boingboing I spilled coffee all over myself laughing when I came across this Black Friday "coupon."

Think I'm going to try to redeem it at the nearest Cabela's. Hey man, half-off is half-off and I don't care who you gotta worship to get it...For someone in my income bracket, "half-price" is like the singing of the angels, or Pan, or whatever spectral vision, idol, flying spaghetti monster or cloven-hooved deity you may follow.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2010 Duck Hunt #2: At least we got wet...

No smashed vehicles greet me Sunday morning. No ducks greet me, either. No wind. No clouds. No fronts. No rain.No water. No cold. No ducks.

 Lifeless, still, unconvincing decoy spread further hampered by overeager, unconvincing calling.  A few small flights of gadwall buzz the pond. One straggler, a bit lower than the others, stays behind. A smart but simple retrieve brought quickly to hand. Just one, but it beats hell out of sitting in the truck all morning. It's a start, and if you can't be happy with that then I'd say you've got issues...

In honor of election day...

The two most useless machines in existence battle for supremacy. Take from this whatever metaphorical imagery you care to. These two particular world's most useless machines are (apparently) sparring over California's Prop 19, but I think the basic message is interchangeable with, oh, pretty much everything...

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Duck Hunt 1: Over before it started.

I noticed the car horn as I was tossing the decoy bag in the back of the truck. Three honks, a pause, three honks, a pause, three honks, a pause, from somewhere toward the road. Damned car alarms.

It was still honking as Tess and I pulled out of the driveway, and when I got down to the intersection I saw why. There was a truck with a very crumpled front end sitting in the middle of the road, hazard lights flashing, horn wailing. Inside the truck was a very upset lady who had swerved to avoid a deer (always a bad idea) and then smacked into one of the large native stone escarpements that adorn the entrance to the state park.

She was a bit shaken up, but unhurt. Her truck, however, was not. I managed to pop the hood and disconnect the lead to the horn, then called the sheriff's office. I had been on a pretty tight schedule to begin with, and now as the eastern sky started glowing a faint pink, I (reluctantly, but only on the inside) told her I'd stay with her until the state trooper got there. Who said chivalry (even reluctant, damn-there-goes-my-hunt chivalry) is dead?

So when the trooper got there twenty five minutes later, I said my goodbyes, waited until the trooper's car was out of sight, and then hit the gas. The primary destination was out. The back-up destination was closer, but with Oklahoma's Zone 2 opener still a week away, chances are the local lake would be covered up with metro area hunters.

Yep, it was. So this is how we spent our first duck hunt of the 2010 season...

Pure, unadulterated canine depression...