Monday, December 1, 2014

LAST PHEASANTS OF 2014

Happy Dogs

We got out one last time to chase pheasants for this year. I believe there is one more week left for the Utah late season pheasant hunt and it ends on December 7.

We got out early and had one bird come up right off the bat. I believe Chief, my Llew, was working it and it came up. The bird didn’t fly too far so we chased after it hoping for a reflush. When we approached the area we thought it landed Hazel, my Pudelpointer, instantly got birdy, tracked the bird and pushed it up about 50 yards out from us. I took a long shot that I probably shouldn't of taken but I felt like I hit it and the bird rocked on my shot. It sailed into some cover near the edge of a lake. We followed it and my brother’s dog Oakley located it. It was stuck right on the shoreline. It wasn’t able to fly and the dogs scooped it up rather quickly.

We didn’t see a whole lot more the rest of the morning. My nephew Michael and I got into a couple roosters later around noon. One bird flushed wild while Chief was working it. It flew and landed in a patch of cover right next to a road. Michael and I hustled over to the road and with my dogs at heal we walked to the place where we believed the bird was. I released the dogs and they ran right over and both dogs went on point. The bird held for a long time. It was a lot of fun to watch. I should of taken a photo. Finally the bird broke and Michael and I both shot it at the same instant. It landed in the lake which only looked like it was a few inches deep but when the dogs left shore the mud and sediment in this spot was up to the dogs shoulders. Chief got to the bird and picked it up and struggled back to shore with it. It was a tough retrieve and I was very proud of him for sticking with it and getting that bird back to shore. It took a lot out of him. It was his best retrieve of the year so far. The bird was not much to look at after the double hit and the muddy retrieve but the dog work was good and we didn’t lose it so we were happy with how it ended.

Chief's Mud Retrieve. Bad Photo. Doesn't Show How Muddy He Was. Notice His Tail.
Soon after I was able to shoot one more. That was all the action we had for the day. Personally, I’m done with the pheasant hunting this year. It's been fun but It’s time to hit the chukar hills. I’m looking forward to it. I hope my body is ready.

Muddy Rooster

Monday, November 24, 2014

LATE SEASON UTAH PHEASANTS

A Muddy, Water Retrieved Pheasant. Nice find by Chief my Setter
I had a decent regular Pheasant season and was able to bag a few birds. Most were planters but I believe a couple were wild or were planters that had managed to eek out a living for a few weeks before the dogs and I came along. 

Hazel Working It

Last weekend my brother and wanted to try some new areas and traveled to a spot that was open for the late season hunt. We had some success. Again I think most of the roosters we bagged were planters. We encountered a lot of wind so when the birds took off they were into the wind quick so we had to get on them quick or they'd be gone. We saw some decent dog work and had some good shots to limit out.


Shawn's Dogs: Oakley and Sage. Mother and Daughter with Shawn's Trophy Bird. 

The Nasty Tailgate Shot. 2 limits! Hazel with the PhotoBomb.

Last Bird Of The Day. Cool perspective.

It was a nice day in a beautiful area. It was great to get the dogs out and watch them work. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

UTAH PHEASANT HUNT CONTINUED

Chief on Point
 I got up early this past Saturday with the plan to pheasant hunt for a couple hours in the morning and then head up to the mountains for a grouse hunt. It ended up being a very warm day. It is so dry this year. It's the second year in a row that it has been noticeably dry. Places where there has been ground water in the past are completely barren. Hopefully we have a good wet winter to combat this drought.

But the action we had that morning was enough to keep me down in the valley so I never left to go and chase grouse. We worked very hard and covered a lot of ground for the few birds we got. Both of my dogs were sore and tired and are not doing much the day after other than laying in the sun.

All though it wasn't the most productive day we still had a good time and saw some good dog work. My brother and nephew joined me with their 2 shorthairs. Together we have a good team of dogs and it's fun to watch them all work together. We also ran into some more Quail but no one could connect with those little buzz bombs. They are sure fun though. I wish we could get some more huntable populations in this area.

The Pack
The highlight of the day for me was when Hazel and I became separated from the rest of the group.
We were walking the top of a dike and she became all birdy. I could see the bird running then disappearing in the cover along the dike. Hazel ran up ahead of the bird and cut it off then came back towards me and relocated it and pointed it. The bird tried to run again away from us in a perpendicular line but had to cross some open ground. The bird stopped right at the edge of the cover. I could see it again and I believe the rooster saw me and knew that it was busted. It held for about 10 seconds and then decided to flush. I was able to knock it down. Hazel was on it and as she picked it up I yelled "Who's a good girl!' She stood there with that bird in her mouth, wagging her entire body and responded with a victory growl back to me. "ROOaaaWWrrOOWWW",  it was totally a Scooby Doo moment. It was almost like she was saying "Did you see that? I'm such a BadA$$" Sometimes with Hazel it's like owning a Wookie-dog and I never learned it's language. She's a hoot and so vocal. I thinks it's so cool and she cracks me up.

Bird Hazel Pointed And Retrieved For Me





Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 UTAH PHEASANT HUNT OPENER


For the first time in a decade I was unable to get out for the opening day of the Utah Pheasant hunt. I had been struggling with a virus that laid me up for a few days last week and Saturday morning I was still having issues. Sunday morning I couldn't contain myself and I was going hunting. Sickness be damned, I was going. I woke up to a perpetual downpour but was not going to be daunted. I grabbed my jacket, put on my upland chaps, grabbed a beater shotgun and went for it. 

Shaking off the rain
We arrived to our destination and the rain had subsided for the moment. I got myself ready and put the collars on the dogs and out we went. The first area we went into both dogs were excited but both were in control and hunting well. Within 5 minutes Hazel, my Pudelpointer, was on point. As I approached I could see the bird hiding in a thicket. It was a rooster and he was soaked and did not want to fly. Hazel held the bird well but eventually the bird bolted and I was able to drop it with my first shot. When Hazel brought it to hand it was obvious that this was a Utah DWR planter bird. Thin feathers and the tell-tell soft area on the beak where they keep blinders on them proved it. Oh well, it was a bird in the bag. The dogs were stoked.

That was pretty much the highlight of the day. It rained  all morning. Hazel had 2 more nice points on pheasants. One was in the tall fragmites. I had lost her for a few minutes and that's very unlike Hazel. I knew she was somewhere pointing a bird.  As I looked for her she held point until the rooster flushed. It was a nice fat bird with a long tail. Not a planter. It was at the edge of my range for a shot and if I wounded it, it would of been a tough  long,  retrieve in the fragmites so I didn't fire. I was glad to see how long Hazel held that bird. The other pheasant she pointed was a hen.

Hazel also pointed a small covey of california quail. When the first bird went up I was surprised, I was expecting a pheasant and had never seen quail in this area. By the time I got my wits back the rest of the covey was going up and was gone. I never got a shot. We tried to relocate them but they had flushed onto some private property that I couldn't access. It was a good day for Hazel.

Chief my Llewellin had 2 points on hens and one on a mean-eyed feral cat. The relationship quickly went south and got ugly. Hazel wanted some of the action but I called them both off the poor thing. It's been a while since they had been in a cat fight and both dogs were fired up afterwards. It was actually pretty funny and no one got hurt. 

After about 4 hours of slogging around in the rain I felt like we had had a good time and the dog work was good for the situation so I headed for home. Overall it was enjoyable. We saw 6 pheasants, 2 roosters (1 planter) and 4 hens plus a small covey of California Quail. Pretty productive in my opinion.

Hazel and her poor dumb bird that I'm grateful for
Even though we had a good time, I really wish the state would spend more money on securing more habitat or find ways to improve the pheasant and quail habitat we have rather than dump truck a bunch of pen raised birds into the wma's the day before the hunt every year. It's fun to shoot birds but I would rather shoot less and have more opportunities on wild birds. That is why I hunt. There is nothing cooler than bagging and old, wiley rooster. They are a prize. A little predator control and habitat management could go a long way. There are still a lot of rural areas in this state that could be awesome. Utah once had some good pheasant hunting.

A $10 upland stamp or a pheasant stamp could pay for a lot of habitat improvement. The state could buy some Surrogators® from Wildlife Management Technologies and build some healthy populations. Or use the money to buy some access to land or better yet acquire land and lease it back to farmers and give them strict guidelines on how to plant, leave shelter and food for wildlife and allow good ethical hunters access. I know most hunters would have no problem paying for it and once we got results the state could keep the program going to acquire more land and habitat. I would gladly pay much more for my license if the hunting was better and I'm sure others would too if given the opportunity. There's got to be a better way. It's just one hunters opinion and I'm full of ideas and (other stuff) I'm sure it's more difficult than I could imagine. I would love to see the DWR get more aggressive and think more outside the box. I'm personally not impressed with the Grand Slam Program and will be surprised if it's a success. There's my rant. Pheasant stamp yo! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

UTAH GROUSE HUNT CONTINUED

CHIEF
I was able to get out for a few hours this weekend and chase grouse. I'm happy to say that my brother and his Shorthairs were able to join us for an afternoon. On the way into the mountains we came across a big male dusky grouse that was walking right along the side of the road. We stopped and he flushed but only flew 100 feet or so into some nearby cover. We decided to see if we could get a shot on him. We left the dogs in the crates and loaded our shotguns. As soon as we left the truck and started for him the bird flushed across the road and down a steep embankment of pines. We didn't even shoot. I don't know why it is but whenever I come across grouse in the road and try to take an "easy bird" it never seems to work out. Either the birds somehow find a way to flush where I don't get a shot, or I just flat out miss or I lose the bird completely. It's weird how it never seems to work out. 

We eventually made it up to one of  my favorite spots. We hunted hard but didn't see many birds and the few we did see were not presenting any shots or were flushed out of range. My brother had to get to an event that evening so we had to cut the hunt a little short. It didn't matter, by the time we had to go we were pooped and most of the dogs were hot and tired and starting to slow down. We headed back to the truck with nothing to show for our efforts.

Chief, my Llewellin Setter wasn't done and kept ranging wide and hunting hard. While the rest of us were trudging up the last hill to get to the truck he still had his head into the wind and was hunting hard. My brother was up ahead of me and I was huffing and puffing to catch up. When I did catch up I said something and Shawn replied with, "Your dogs on point." as calm as if he was telling me the time. I turned around and 50 yards out, below and to the right of me Chief was standing on point about 15 feet from a small tree. I had inadvertently turned off his beeper so we're not sure how long he had been on point.

We approached and got in position, the bird held and Chief didn't budge even with us and the other dogs encroaching on him. He handled this bird like an old pro. The bird flushed and presented an easy straight-away shot but my brother and I both missed with our first shots. I wasn't going to let this opportunity slip so I gritted my teeth and focused for my second barrel and knocked it down. It would of been tragic if that bird got away with the way Chief held it and how well the bird held. It's was perfect and that one bird made the whole day. Chief's never-quit drive and attitude once again came through for us. I am so proud of him and what he brings to each hunt every time we go out. He's a good dog and is just getting better with each time in the field and new experience. I love that dog and I'm so glad I have him.

End Of The Day Bird.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

SATURDAY GROUSE HUNT


I was able to take the dogs out for a few hours yesterday. The morning started out great with a group of 3 birds right off the side of the road. Hazel had the first point and find of the day and I complimented by missing with both barrels. We had to work for a while to find our next birds but again Hazel pointed 2 young grouse on a brushy hillside and I managed to knock one down. There was a tree in front of Hazel and I had to wait until the birds flew past it before I could get a shot. There was that moment of uncertainty whether or not I'd even had a shot. But luckily one of the birds flights went a little wide to the left and I was able to get a bead on it and make the kill.

Chief on point with Hazel backing. Chief was starting to break-down when I took this shot. Note the low tail. He move another 15 feet or so up on the bird then pointed again. The bird flushed about 20 feet in front and above him in the brush giving me no shot. Nice work from both dogs.
Chief had a nice point on a single but the bird busted out of some high cover that didn't give me any kind of shot. (see above)

The One That Didn't Get Away
Overall it was good day afield even though it was short lived. It was a very warm day and the temperature rose into the 80s. We were in the truck headed home by noon. I actually became ill half way through the hunt and struggled to get back to the truck. Either I caught a virus or ate something that didn't agree with me or came down with heat-stroke. Whatever it was it sucked, but I'm feeling much better today.

I believe the weather is about to turn or at least I hope it is and we are going to get some cooler temperatures going forward. We will then be moving into the thick stuff and hopefully get into some ruffed grouse. I can't wait.

Some good news that I just heard and read about is the Chukars are doing well and numbers are up. With last summer's mild weather there was a good survival rate for this spring's chicks. Hopefully we can get the numbers back up to where we were in 2006. We should expect a good hunt this year.

For more info check out the DWR site: Utah Chukar Numbers Are On The Rise

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAZEL

Cedarwood's WitchHazel at 8 weeks old back in 2007
Hazel The Day After I Brought Her Home with Her New Surrogate Mom - Zoe the BullMastiff.  Zoe was stoked. :)

She's been a strong retriever from day-1

Today is our pudelpointer Hazel's 7th birthday. It's hard to believe that much time has flown since we got her. She's been awesome since the day I brought her home. I'm not saying she's perfect or the best hunting dog ever but when it's all working with Hazel it's as good as it gets. Her personality makes up for any faults she has. She's loves hunting and not just finding birds, I believe she likes the interaction between us humans and with the other dogs as much as the hunting.

Hazel's 1st Grouse. 
Have you ever had your bird dog give you a joy-growl when it's retrieving a bird to hand or angrily bark at you to release her from a WHOA-command if the other dogs point is unproductive. I have and love the attitude and personality


she brings to every hunt or every romp in the yard. She's the best retriever I've ever owned. She loves water and will wear your arm out with a tennis ball. She's good with the kids and is a perfect family dog. She's awesome and I love her.


She's sold me on this breed. I can't imagine not having a pudelpointer in my life. Hopefully I can get another one with her attitude, spunk and loyalty.

Hazel, The Day Before Her 7th Birthday covered in mud and stickers. Doing What She Loves Most.





Monday, September 15, 2014

DUSKY BLUES OR BLUE DUSKY... UTAH GROUSE HUNT CONTINUED


Hazel and I enjoying another day afield
I was blessed with another day of chasing grouse across the Utah mountain-tops. I can't get enough of this. So far it's been a fun yea and this years hatch seems to have been a good one, at least for the Blues in the area's I've hunted.

I invited my friend Jeff to come along and I believe I've sold him on how fun hunting grouse with dogs can be. He was surprised at what strong fliers the grouse are and the distances they can travel after they flush. We had a blast and it was nice to get to know him better. He's a great guy and we had a good time hunting and just B.S.ing about work, life, family and such. We put on a lot of miles but I think he'd agree that in the end it was all well worth it. 

We bagged a few and missed a few but overall it was a very enjoyable, relaxing day in the woods. We saw some deer elk and a couple moose. One moose was quite impressive. I love seeing those big, majestic animals and appreciate the sheer size of them.  Moose are just cool.... from a distance.

Another Bird in the Bag
The dogs did well. That's becoming the norm. They have their moments but both dogs are talented. I used to worry about what others thought of my dogs and get embarrassed when they screwed up. It doesn't seem to happen much now days. Maybe after all these years of hunting I just don't care anymore. At this point they are what they are just like I am what I am. With a better trainer I know they both could be amazing but I do what I can do and hunt them as much as I can. Chief busted a covey of blues right off the bat but he soon recovered, he calmed down and gave us some great points and good opportunities on the singles from the initial flush. Hazel batted cleanup and did all the closer work and handled most of the retrieving duties for the day. She even backed Chief a couple of times (rare and not a natural ability for her, she's a bird-thief at heart).

I love starting the year on grouse. Blues are perfect for dusting out the upland hunting cobwebs. Start the season out on Blues and once the weather gets colder move to habitat that holds Ruffed Grouse and before you know it it's Chukar season and Pheasant season for a couple weeks and then back to Chukars to finish the year. If your lucky you have opportunities to hit some other species intermittently throughout the different seasons. It's a good progression and it makes sense throughout the year.

The only downer we had was at the very end of the day when we were just coming up on the truck. Chief found a dead elk or deer and decided to perfume himself with the musk. His white hide was yellow with funk and he smelled like death. In my truck I had some horse mane conditioner that I use to aid in sticker removal so I dowsed him with it and dumped the rest of the drinking water we had over him and gave him a scrub with another rinse. Then I drove to a pond and made him go for a swim. He smelled much better but he wasn't happy with me. It's all good though, I think all is forgiven from both sides. It's a given…. dogs will always behave like dogs. 

Tired Boy
That night I had Chief up on the bench and was picking stickers out of his fur. He was so tired that he kept dozing off even while he was sitting up. I'd be brushing and working on him and I'd see his eyes start to shut and then he'd start to rock forward. I thought I might have to catch him so he didn't fall over. It was funny but at the same time I admire that boy. He gave everything he had in him that day. He worked for every covey, every single, every point, every cast. He ran and ran and ran with his nose high. The next day I was cleaning out my game vest in the back yard and had his full attention as I scraped out the feathers and sprayed out the blood. I went back inside and hung up my vest in the garage. He had noticed the vest in my hand when I went inside. He laid down on the lawn and started to howl and whine. I believe he thought I was going hunting again and he didn't want me to leave him behind. There is so much will to hunt in that dog. I had to go out and love on him to calm him down. He can't wait to go hunting again and I can't wait to take him. I love to watch him run and hunt. It's a sight to behold.

Jeff with a nice mature Dusky (blue) Grouse
 Best of luck to everyone in the chase.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

EVENING GROUSE HUNT



I was able to get out for a couple hours tonight to chase some grouse. I got a late start so by the time we got up the mountain to the area I wanted to hunt there was only about an hour and half until shooting hours were over.

We made our way down into the area and when we walked in to the oak trees Chief got all birdy and up popped a nice mature male blue grouse.  He flew away from me but then made a wide arching right to left crossing shot and I was just able to get a bead on him and down he went. It was a pretty good shot if I may say so.

As soon as I shot Hazel came bounding into the area leaping right past me about 4 feet in the air. It made me laugh, she looked like a deer. She was stoked! I called "dead bird" and both dogs were in pursuit. Then... nothing.  ?  They hunted dead for a few minutes but soon both dogs were over-heated and needed a break. I watered them and we looked again, still no bird. I started to wonder if I really hit it. Then I started looking. No feathers, no sign that a bird had fallen anywhere that I could see. Still we looked to no avail.  Damnit I hate losing birds, at that point I was starting to second guess if I had even hit it.

It was getting late and I wanted to try one more spot so I called the dogs and left. Leaving just didn't feel right. We hunted the other spot for about 20 minutes and got up 2 more birds but I didn't have shots on either of them. It was starting to get dark and we were about 40 minutes from the truck so I decided to head back.

Along the way that original bird really started to nag me. I never like the idea of leaving a wounded bird behind. I replayed it over and over in my mind. It sure looked and felt like I had hit it. I decided to go back and work the area again. We didn't have much day light left when we returned to the spot and I replayed it in my mind and sent the dogs to hunt dead again and still nothing. I circled the area where I thought it had fallen twice more with the dogs and still no bird. I then widened my circle and tried again. Just when I was about to give up I realized that I hadn't seen Hazel for a minute. I quietly called out to her... "Hazel?" She let out a little whine. She was just 20 feet from where I stood rock solid on point. All I could see of her was her fuzzy brown tail sticking up above the cover. I took a step towards her and up pops that grouse with an obviously broken wing. It comes back down and by this time both dogs are chasing it. It attempts to fly again and Hazel leap up and nabs it in the air by the tail and brings it down and then delivers it to hand. It had glided or ran a little outside of where I thought it was. The dogs had worked that area before but I think it was just too hot and they weren't catching it's scent. But we got it. Yep,  we eventually got it and I couldn't of been happier.

What I'm most excited about so far this season is Hazel is back on her game. I was worried about her. For whatever reason she was deferring too much to Chief last season. Not terrible but she just wasn't acting like herself. This season she's behaving more like herself or the old (pull your hair out but keep on your toes because she could do something amazing at any second) Hazel. I missed that fire she always had. So far she's looking like her old aggressive bird finding self and I love it.

Above is the terrible picture that I took right as the sun went down.  There was hardly any light left so it's awfully grainy. I'm so glad I went back to look again. It was a good lesson to never give up and to trust the dogs and make sure to give them every chance to do their job. They were pretty happy about it to.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2014 UTAH UPLAND SEASON OPENER

Typical cover we were finding blue grouse in that morning. I felt like I was sharptail hunting in Montana.

Forest Grouse season opened on Labor Day this year and my brother, nephew and myself were able to get out that morning.

We made it out to one of our favorite grouse hunting spots right after sunrise and the air was crisp, cool and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We knew this was going to be a short hunt because the forecast was telling us that the temperature would be up around 80 degrees and that was just too hot to be running dogs or fat middle aged hunters for very long.

The morning started off slow with only one flush with no shot. But within an hour I heard my nephew's shotgun and my brother's voice over the radio saying, "Get down here. They are in the grass!" I thought that meant in the edges of the meadows between the stands of aspen and pine but he meant out in the big open areas.

The blue grouse were in the open feasting on grasshoppers. Once the action started we were pretty much into them most of the morning.

Hazel working it!

We saw some good points, we shot pretty well and we didn't lose a single bird.
The dog work was pretty good for the opening morning. Every dog had his or her moments to shine. We were all very proud, hot and tired at the end of the day.

The scouting I have done locally put up a few birds but nothing like this area. They had a really good hatch this year. Every bird we bagged was young but all of them were strong flyers.  I was surprised at some of the shots they presented. But then again I rarely see them in the open like that. They aren't the fastest flyers so they are a good bird to start the year with. They also make great birds for the dogs to start the year on. Early season Blues are not the most challenging game bird. But they are fun. The birds held for points really well and were widely spread out. The points is what made it fun.

Hazel did awesome and found some tough retrieves and had some good finds. One particular gorgeous point comes to mind where she was up on a rock looking down into some brush and rock solid. I should of taken a photo. She was just beautiful. I can't believe she's already 7 years old. It doesn't seem that long ago that I brought a little brown fur ball home from Idaho.

Chief had some good points and found a cripple that I didn't think we'd ever find. That dog is so fun to hunt with. Monday he was like an old pro. He was under control, poised and did his job with style. He had so much fun I swear he's still smiling about it.

Chief and Hazel are more content today than I've seen them all summer. Very relaxed and calm. It say's a lot about how these dogs work both physically and mentally. They need to hunt, it's in their bones.

Shawn's shorthairs also did really well and had some gorgeous points and good finds.

We had our limits by 11:00 am which was perfect because it was already too hot and the dogs were starting to break down from the heat. We walked back to the truck with guns unloaded and 12 birds in the bag.
That is a rarity in my world.
Great memories.


The nasty tailgate shot. Chief can't get enough. 


Friday, May 16, 2014

CABELA'S MEINDL DENALI HUNTING BOOTS - RESOLED

My 2008 Meindl Denali's With A New Tread

After this past season I felt it was time to retire my trusty old hunting boots and start shopping for something new. I reviewed my pair of Denali Hunting Boots a couple years ago and they have continued to wear well and have done better than I ever could have expected. I wore these boots for 6 1/2 years and have covered countless miles and climbed, I don't know how many mountains and hills. I've worn these in the desert to deep snow to swampy bogs. These were/are my hunting, hiking, camping boots and they have performed stellar. I can highly recommend them.

Initial review:
http://uplandutah.blogspot.com/2011/01/cabela-denali-hunting-boots-with-fit-iq.html

Before this past season started the soles on my boots were gone. They were very thin and the tread was starting to peel back in several places. The soles weren't coming off they were just worn to the point that there was not tread left. What little tread was left was barely holding together. The timing last fall was horrible and there was no way I could justify to myself let alone my wife a new $300 pair of boots.  I told myself, "One more year and you can treat myself to a new pair."

The boots performed well enough but with the lack of sole my feet would hurt after long hikes especially after Chukar hunting. The season came and went and I cursed them on many occasions as I limped up the driveway after a long hunt into my house. Finally, the season ended and I put the old boots away and started my quest for my next pair.

I was planning on just buying a new pair of Denali's from Cabelas but wanted to hunt around and see what else was available. After some searching and reading a ton of reviews and trying several pairs on I had it narrowed down to either a new pair of Denali's or a Pair of Lowa GTX Hi's (SWEEEEET BOOTS, someday I will have a pair). I was trying hard to justify the extra 65$ for the Lowa's when I came across a screaming deal for a pair of Lowa Extreme Hunter's on Sierra Trading Post. With a coupon I purchased them for less than $200 retail on these boots is well over $400. They weren't exactly what I was looking for but it was too good of a deal to pass up. I jumped and I love them.

They are super nice boots but they aren't the perfect boot for what I do or what I need out of a hunting boot. There is a couple problems (This is my opinion, at this time for what I like in a boot, you may think very differently, I may think differently after a season using them) with them. This is not at all a knock on these boots, they are very well built and well designed, they are just different than what I've become accustomed to.

These are hard-core boots that are designed for extreme hunting at high elevations while carrying heavy loads. Think mountain goats and sheep hunting. So... I'm certain they will perform well for whatever a bird hunter can throw at them. Some of the terrain I chase chukars in can be comparable to sheep hunting. I'm in some rough, steep country so they most likely will be stellar and I just don't know it yet. I'm sure I will love them and get many years of hard use out of them.

1. They are 10" tall. That's 1 inch taller than my Denali's. Not sure if this is a bad thing but the little I've worn them they do feel a little binding around my calves. It's not bad but you can tell they are there. I'm sure after some getting used to and with some break-in time they will feel better.

2. They are insulated. Insulation can be nice in January but I don't need it in September. It's only 200 grams so I'm sure I can deal with it. It may be nice on those cold mornings climbing a chukar hill or those frosty morning pheasant hunts. Time will tell.

3. They are a little heavy 4.5 lbs per pair. That is nearly a pound more than my other boots. It will take some getting used to.

Other than that I'm completely stoked. Like I said they are super-nice, gore-tex® lined and have a ton of other bells and whistles.

New Boots! Lowa Extreme Hunters - 10" tall , 200 gram PrimaLoft Insulation, Gore-Tex,Vibram Soles. etc. etc. 

Still Awesome!
So back to my old Denali's. After receiving my new boots I found myself looking for a cheaper, lighter boot for summer hiking and early season hunting. The more I looked I realized I'm not going to find what I'm looking for at the price I want to spend. So I pulled out the old Denali's and cleaned them up thinking that maybe I could get just one more summer and early season out of them.

I have to admit I didn't take very good care of them this past season. Normally I take very good care of my gear. That's how I get 6+ seasons out of a pair of boots. All season I figured they were going to be shelved after this year so why bother. After many hunts they were put away muddy and wet. After a good initial scrubbing I oiled them up and then water-proofed them again. I decided the only real major problem with them was that the soles were worn. The leather for the most part was still good. I do have some minor cracking over the toe box and the stitching was coming loose in a couple spots. Nothing that would mess up the integrity of the boot though.

So off to the local cobbler I went. After some haggling and some patience I just received back my resoled boots and I'm so damn happy with how they turned out. I put some new laces on them and slipped them on and it was like hanging out with an old friend. I'm grinning ear to ear. It's like getting 2 pairs of boots for the price of 1. I'm excited to see how the new soles will wear and much longer they will last me. Looking back I should of resoled them 2 years ago. I'm planning on wearing the new Lowa's most of next season and use these as backups but I wouldn't be surprised to find myself just wearing these old boots most days. Time will tell.

Update 12/3/14
So my prediction was right. These are still my go to boots. I've worn my Lowa's once. They are good but I haven't felt like I needed the insulation on most days. The resole has breathed new life into these boots and I'm really enjoying them again. Wore them throughout the grouse hunt and pheasant hunt. Last week I was wading in 3-4" of water for more than a few steps several times and had no leaks. I will admit earlier in the year I wore the waterproof treatment off and during a wet rainy day they leaked slightly. Still they are great boots. I'd totally buy these Meindl Denali's again.




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WINTER 2014


I haven't had the time to dedicate any time to the blog but I wanted to share a few pics from the last few months. 

It was a good winter. We didn't kill a lot of birds but we had a good time chasing them. My dogs had some good days and some not as good days but we were able to chase Chukars, Pheasants and Huns over the last couple months. 

We'll probably get a few canned hunts in over the next month or so.  We have a couple pups my hunting buddies are bringing along. 

My Brother's Shorthair pup Oakley with her first wild chukar

Chief pointing Valley Quail
Idaho Pheasant
My Friend Bobby with a Big Idaho Rooster

Utah Chukar In the hand

Hazel Pointing Chukar in Utah
Chief Backing Hazels Point Above
Hazels Bird. This was another amazing retrieve.

A very tired and very sore Hazel.

Thanks for looking.