Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Annual North Dakota Wild Chicken Hunt

Happy Weekend,
I hope yours is as peachy as can be.

A bit belated, but well worth the posting, here are some pictures and details of our annual hunting trip to North Dakota. Every year for opening day of Pheasant, we pack up and head east to meet up with our Colorado friends at the Stein's place north of Dickinson for bird hunting. I am the only lady invited, probably for good reason. Clearly, it is man bonding time including shooting, cocktailing and hunting, but the kicker is that we jammed 6 people and 8 dogs in a single wide trailer for four days of festivites, and really no privacy. But I love it, and the boys keep inviting me back, as the only lady with first right of refusal. I would be silly and stupid to give up my spot! Really all the boys, after they limit early, strategize and help me to bag a bird or two. This experience provides for belly laughs, multiple dog howl offs, plenty of Bloody Marys and whiskey. Oh goody, our annual red neck hunt, and it was such a blast.

Bella, our Brittany, is on injury reserve. She tore her shoulder muscle hunting and probably powered through it. She showed no signs of being lame or whimpering until we were in the truck and headed home. Bella cried and wined from the Steins to Glendive, MT....well I may have cried that long too. It was torture. Currently, she is on the mend after pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers. We start physical therapy next week and she is getting better, slowly. So as quickly as our bird hunting season began, it quickly quieted to a whisper until we get our star pointer back to racing form.

With great elation, I did limit one day on Pheasant and also shot a Hun that same day. 4 birds is the most I have bagged ever in a day with a total of 9 birds on our hunt. Thank goodness all the training, skeet shooting, and Fletcher hunting strategy has come to fruition. In past years I have nearly chewed through my plastic whistle in annoyance and angst, but not this year. My bird hunting zen has finally found a home, and with the help of Bella, all the Fletchers are having way more fun hunting. Shooting better doesn't hurt either. We ended up bring home two dozen Pheasants, 4 Sharptailed Grouse and a few Huns, a nice mixed bag of wild chicken.

Disclaimer: It may be quite possible that some of you as readers will find the below photos of our birds to be offensive or gross. But I would rather have it this way. We harvest birds that we have worked hard to find and hunt, it is just not that easy, for me at least. There is something very serious and wholesome in taking a critter's life to sustain yours. The Flethchers have seemingly built a lifestyle around this philosophy and take great pride in personally harvesting our meat, knowing where it came from, taking the time to process and freeze our game, to picking out the ideal recipe to compliment the game's wild and yummy flavor.

Thanks for reading and thinking a bit :)

Another good reason for fingerless gloves,
you can still shoot your gun.

The Steins' Place,
along the Knife River,
our hunting grounds.

Framed Crested Wheatgrass,
I think it looks like a fish skeleton,
an easy identification.

Home Sweet Home

Gary took these awesome sunset pics.

A Day's Harvest:
Eric w/ Hank and Sammy
Bella and I
and Gary...
Porter is in camo up front.

Hard workers:
Porter the GSP
with the Brittanies...
Remy, Cooper, Bella,
and Hank.

I love feathers, the colors,
and the patterns of Pheasants.

Sharptailed Grouse

More Pheasant Feathers

How you move a picnic table in
No Dak, eh?

L'nette Stein and Eric

Bella and I
(Gary took this)
I love this old house,
built of mud, straw and brick.

Asshole to belly button,
in the trailer.
Gary, Zach, Eric, Scooter,
and Andy

Bella and Porter

Puddin and Cooper


Bisquit of the Corn


Friday, October 15, 2010

10 YEARS on 10*10*10

Good Super Early Friday, Friends!

I am writing to you in pjs from our Bozeman Bungalow while listening to our very hurt puppy snore in her bed. Bella tore her shoulder muscle hunting and will be out for two weeks with NO activity, more on this to come. She is doing better but it is truly heart-wrenching to see her in this much pain.

And thanks for reading this blog, lots of you have told me that you do, and I appreciate it a bunch.

Last Sunday I celebrated my 10 year anniversary with NRCS. I can't believe how fast 10 years have flown by. Shortly after moving to Bozeman in 2000, I was hired by NRCS as a GIS digitizer developing digital soil surveys. Thank goodness that job lasted only 4 years, it was worse than watching white paint dry. While it was totally worth it to get my feet in the door, I have since been in my current postion for 6 years as a Cartographer on the Area Office staff here in Bozeman. To sum it up what that NRCS does....well, we spend your tax payer dollars that are allocated through the Farm Bill on conservation projects for private landowners. Yes, I am a bureaucrat and happy to be a civil servant, as well. My mixed bag of duties include office work, making maps, running GPSs, training to our Field Office Staffs, trouble shooting computers, geodata management, payments, field work, electric fence building, grazing plan maps, and everything in between. Clearly, it is never the same and includes so many duties, I love the variety. Bottom line, I am very grateful and do enjoy my work.

On the day of the photos below, we were in Musselshell and Golden Valley Counties near Round Up, Montana earlier this summer. We were out scouting for cultural resources from our ancestors and would re-route our proposed fences should we come to a site. We found a few chips from American Indians and several homestead sites from more recent years. It felt like it was just me, the grass, the plains, and the sky. Somedays, I can't believe I get paid to have so much fun. If my Grandpa Hawk was still alive and I told him I got paid for being on the lookout of FLS (funny looking rocks) he would crack up!

a chip

my ride

our new fancy GPS


an old well site

what do you suppose this is?

pottery shard from a crock

they even had turquoise glass back then

more glass shard

My Grandpa's little Bureaucrat,

Monday, October 4, 2010

From the Field to the Table

Hola la Gente,
I hope your Monday is going swell as can be.
Last weekend the husband, puppy and I went out for a walk in search of birds. It was 85 degrees and hot a heck, so we didn't have a lot of time. We did find one covey of Huns (aka Grey Partridge) and with the help of our pointing puppy, we bagged a threesome. One for me and two for Hubby. This was my first bird hunt of the year and my first shot proved to be a success. I thought that there was no safe shot I could take, as the birds rose and flew in front of Scott and Bella. Huns are incredibly tricky to hunt, and knowing this, I waited only a second more and one Hun pealed off to the right in front of me and I had time to make a safe and targeted shot.

Upon returning home we cleaned up up our goods and promptly made Hun Noodle Soup with vegetables from our friend's garden with egg noodles. Boy howdy, this was tasty soup. There is a very satisfying feeling putting your efforts and skills to work in a hunting dog, practicing your shooting skills, spending a wonderful day in the field with my family, and FINALLY bringing home food of which you know for certain where it was harvested. I think that is why the soup tasted even better.

Bella's post hunting swim

Huntress of the Prairie,