Hogs at Tejon Ranch!

7 01 2013

Last month I enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to participate in a guided hunt for wild hogs at Tejon Ranch in the Angeles Mountains.  (That’s the range between the Great Central Valley of California and the Los Angeles Basin.  It divides the Valley from Southern California.)

The ranch is an enormous holding that resulted from the combination over the years of three Spanish land grants.  Today they run the premier hunting club in all of California, offering elk, mule deer, hogs, varmints, and upland birds.

Our hunt was scheduled for parts of three days, arriving on a Tuesday afternoon and leaving on Thursday afternoon.  We stayed in a very comfortable lodge — a house with three large bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, and a very comfortable den with a massive stone fireplace.  All our meals were provided and cooked for us.  I carried a Remington 700 in .270 caliber.  BY California law, we were required to use non-lead ammunition, so I loaded Federal Premium Vital-Shok TSX in 130 grain (Barnes).

Our guide, Stephen, has been on the ranch all his life.  His father and grandfather both work there as well.  Stephen knew the ranch like the back of his hand.  Given that the ranch is 280,000 acres, that’s quite a statement!  He was incredibly knowledgeable about the habits and locations of the pigs.

On the first evening, we saw only one boar that was in shooting range.  I hurried the shot and missed.  I went back to the cabin disappointed, and dtermined not to make the same mistake again.  The next morning we set out before daylight, and just a minute or so from the cabin ran accross a herd of pigs crossing a grassy hillside.  Unfortunately, it was too dark to take a shot.  After about an hour and a half of searching for another herd, we finally spotted some on a hillside about a mile away, accross a small valley.  We drove the truck around the edges of the valley on the sides of hills, until we finally came close enough that we thought we should dismount and stalk.

The herd moved accross the top of the hill, which was grassy on our side, and into a wooded area on the other side.  With Stephen in the lead, we stalked the herd, searching for a boar worth taking, and trying to get in range.  We spotted the lead boar, who was following closely behind a large sow.  He was too busy to know we were there, and we maneuvered into position for about a 75 yard shot.  He stopped, quartering away, and I took the shot.  It was practically perfect, entering the rib cage on the right, punching through the heart and out the other side, shattering his left front leg.  He fell dead 20 feet from where I hit him.  The hillside was very steep, so I made the choice to roll him down hill about 400 yards to the road instead of trying to drg him up to where we came from.  Stephen field dressed the hog like a pro in just a few minutes — we figured he weighed about 240 pounds – and we were off to find more pigs!

About an hour later, just as we reached the top of another hill, we spotted a small herd of pigs grazing about 50 yards away.  I jumped out of the truck and immeditely set up the shooting sticks.  A small sow, about 100 pounds I guessed, was facing directly toward us, looking in our direction, standing perfectly still.  I shot her right through the snout a couple of inches below the eyes, and the bullet went straight through to her heart.  She dropped right where she was.

We spent the rest of the day looking for pigs for my hunt partner, Dave.  He took a shot around midday at a very large boar, but it didn’t go down.  We found some blood — not much — but never found the pig, unfortunately, even though we searched for a long time.  There was no blood trail to follow.  Later that day, just before sundown, he killed a very large sow with a clean shot of about 125 yards.  She was beautiful, fat meat pig and I know he wasn’t disappointed.

I had the skull cleaned by Whitebone Creations, and it looks great.  It’s on the credenza behind my desk at the office.

Skull from 240 pound boar taken at Tejon Ranch, ember 2012.

Skull from 240 pound boar taken at Tejon Ranch, ember 2012.





At such a critical time, our president will be chosen by the most confused (or gutless) voters

28 08 2012

For many years I have mused and wondered about who the “independent” voter really is.  These uncommitted voters — uncommitted to any political party — will change their vote from Democrat to Republican and back, apparently, based on the situation.  I have never been able to understand that.  How can anyone not fall firmly on one side or the other when the two parties present such starkly different vision for our country?

Now I have some insights.  This post by Daniel Foster provides an intimate look into the minds of these “independents,”  and it’s not pretty.  Baiscally they are a bunch of confused people, unable to settle on a real understanding of good, bad, right wrong, left or right, because they either don’t really understand how to think critically, or because they are so concerned about seeming “extreme” that they attempt to split the middle on everything they think about.  Tyhe internal inconsistencies would be enough to drive me off a cliff, but apparently these folks don’t think about it hard enough to notice.

Anyway, if you thought the president would be chosen by one party or another, by people with clear, sincere convictions, you were wrong.  The president will be chosen by the most gutless — or most confused, depending on how you look at it — voters in the country.





Mulies

22 09 2010

This Saturday is opening day in Zone D8.  This is the zone around our cabin, and it’s not a terribly great zone to hunt.  But it is my “home” zone.  When I don’t have enough preference points to draw a premium zone, this is where we hunt.

We’ll be up there with my friend Nick and his two boys and daughter.  I’ll have my son Will with me.  It should be a good time.

My one concern at this point is the fire burning in Kings Canyon, which has spread now to be fairly close to where I intended to hunt.  I am hoping that the forest service has not closed the area.  The website seems to indicate that it’s still open.

I’ll be going for a bear this year as well.  I’ve identified some high meadows that I intend to stake out.  We’ll see how it goes.





Today is a Good Day for Liberty!

28 06 2010

Today the US Supreme Court issued its ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, and affirmatively established the 2nd Amendment as a fundamental right incorporated to the states through the 14th Amendment.

Read the full ruling here.

Over the next few weeks I will be surveying and commenting on the fallout, which promises to be substantial.  For now, I would direct you to this early commentary by Ilya Shapiro on Akin Gump’s SCOTUS Blog.  Shapiro correctly points out that the Court arrived at the right conclusion, but took the wrong path.  It would have been preferrable for the Court to rule on the basis of the Privileges and Immunities clause, but they wimped out and ruled on the Due Process clause.  Only Justice Thomas, in his concurring opinion, made the case for the obvious.

Nonetheless, today the right to keep and bear arms was affirmed as fundamental to our established notion of a free and ordered society.  Today is a good day for liberty!





The Case Against Gun Bans Makes Itself

21 05 2010

It always amazes me that liberals don’t realize when they are making the case against gun bans, like the one in Chicago, which is about to fall when the Supreme Court rules on the case this session.

This story from FoX News appears to be about Mayor Daley’s exasperation with a reporter, who apparently wasn’t willing to swallow the Chicago admonistration’s arguments uncritically.  He kept asking if the gun ban had actually been effective.  Imagine!  Such rudeness!

Daley’s pressecretary then tries to present a tragic case to support the gun ban.  Trouble is, the details of the story work against the gun ban argument.   From the Foxnews.com story:

Thomas Wortham IV, a 30-year-old Chicago police officer who recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, was shot and killed Thursday when several people approached him outside his family’s home and tried to steal his new motorcycle, authorities said.

Wortham IV’s father — a retired Chicago police officer — came to his son’s aid and shot two of the attackers, killing one of them late Wednesday, police said. Retired police officers are allowed to keep guns.

 

First of all, my sympathies are with the family of Officer Wortham.  He did not deserve to be killed by a gang of scumbags with guns.   However, please notice what happened.  His father, a retired policeman, came to his aid WITH A GUN!  He managed to injure one of the s***heads and kill another.  Good for him.

Ask yourself if those criminals expected to face a gun while they robbed Wortham of his motorcycle.  I’ll gurantee you they didn’t, because in Chicago OWNING A HANDGUN IS ILLEGAL!  That means criminals can be nearly 100% certain that they face unarmed victims.

Now ask yourself if those same criminals would have been so bold if they had a reasonable expectation that their victim and other people in the vicinity were armed.  My guess is they would not have attempted the crime at all.  Criminals attempt crimes because they expect to get away with it.  If they expected to get their asses shot off they wouldn’t try it at all.  Wortham’s father, under Chicago law, was allowed to do what every law abiding citizen in Chicago ought to have the right to do — defend himself, his family and his property, with a firearm if necessary.  I guarantee that crime rates would fall if the ban were lifted and a “must-issue” concealed carry law was implemented.

Our prayers are with the Wortham family.  And our prayers are with the Supreme Court.





Canoeing the Desert Stretches of the Colorado

17 05 2010

This past week I had the opportunity to spend three days with my son Will and his Royal Rangers outfit (Outpost 248) on the Colorado’s desert stretches between California, Arizona, and Nevada.  Truly nothing beats spending time with Will in the outdoors, and when we get to do it under the big sky of the Southwestern deserts it defies description.

The first paddle was 17 miles from Moabi Regional Park to Castle Rock.  We explored some great canyons and wonderfully incongruous marshes.  The river carries a massive amount of water through the Mojave Desert, and along the way supports more life than we ever imagined.

Will preparing for early morning launch on Day On

Heading for the Canyons in the Morning

The river often widens into flat, sandy marshes that attract an incredible variety of birds and wildlife.  Will and I saw countless dove and quail, redwing blackbirds, and large carp swimming under us.

Desert skies really have no match for bigness and blueness

Navigating narrow passages between cliffs and tules

Days 2 and 3 we paddled another 25 total miles starting upstream from the town of Needles, CA.  There were no canyons, but miles and miles of desert riparian habitat, populated by vast numbers of birds.  The night of Day 2 we spent on the banks of the river as guests of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and listened to a deafeningly loud chorus of birds, led by mourning doves, that sang the sun down.  In the morning, the avian chorus sang it up again.

Launching for Day 3 to the sound of an avian chorus





The Deer Zone Conundrum

17 05 2010

As I do every year, I am cogitating, vacillating, and generally deliberating which deer zone to hunt this year.  I have become disenchated with zone D8, which is where my cabin is located, because it is overrun with hunters on opening weekend, because the buck/doe ratios have climbed into the twenties after several years of low fawn survival, and because the mulies are basically nocturnal from so much pressure.  Success rates are very low.

So this year I am considering applying for premium zones.  Specifically I am considering X3a, X3b, and X5a in northeastern California, in the Modoc plateau area.  Success rates are high, 4x4s or better are around 30% of the take, but only a few permits are awarded in the drawings.  Zone X1, east of Shasta, would be a great backup plan, but somewhere upwards of 2000 tags are usually awarded, so it could be crowded.  Nonetheless, success rates are typically much better than in D8.  I’ll probably ask for an X zone for my first choice, and D8 for second or third.  That way I’m probably going to end up in D8, which I know well, but have a chance for something better.

I’ll probably take bear hunting much more seriously this year as well.  I have some pretty good ideas where to hunt them in D8, and they are probably more plentiful further north.

It always amazes me how early and how acutely hunting fever strikes!








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