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SLAYER & FRIENDS HUNT THE HIGH DESERT

Went to the high desert yesterday to hunt with Jessi (Lefty) and to meet Ray later on in the morning. Jessi and I arrived early at 4:15 am to set up our kits and hike into the hunting area.

I was using the American Air Arms .357 Slayer and Jessi was using his .22 Cricket Bullpup. We hiked several hundred yards from the truck and waited for the sun to come up hoping to view the amber ears in the distance. We walked around for a bit and I spotted a Jackrabbit ears at 150+ yards but they soon disappeared behind the thick foliage of Joshua trees.

By this time it was close to 7:00 am and we packed up to go meet Ray and his collection of Marauders at another location. Spent a bit of time hanging out and shooting a few of the guns he brought including a .25 Prod conversion.

We all spread out about 40 yards apart and walked towards the North looking for some Jackrabbits moving through the trees, I soon spotted one at 65 yards and was able to take him with the Slayer. What a mess that .357 138 grain (John Cripe) made pellet made.

We continued our walk and I soon spotted some amber ears at 60 yards, took aim with the Slayer and THWACK, a 3′ long trail of blood. I had wondered why my aim was a bit off and soon noticed I had made the dumb mistake of loading the magazine backwards,not sure how other than just not paying attention.

By this time it was about 10:00 am and getting fairly hot, Jackrabbits by now were taking refuge in the shade and much harder to find. This desert is very unforgiving to animals and requires a lot of water to survive. Jessi came across a sheep that wasn’t so lucky!

I had already taken two Jackrabbits so I wanted to focus my energy on helping Ray make his first Jackrabbit kill. I manned the binoculars and picked a spot near where I had made a previous 200 yard kill,offering a good amount of sight and open fields.

Ray was eager to learn and followed close behind as I was able to stalk within 95 yards of what I thought was just one Jackrabbit. We got within range when I noticed one run away leaving one more in a still position to make a shot, Ray aimed his .25 Marauder and made a flawless head-shot at 95 yards. I was as excited as he was being able to witness his first Jackrabbit kill, that smile was well worth the whole day of the trip.

By this time it was approaching 3:00 pm and we were getting lots of sun and very exhausted from our hiking around in the heat.

Jessi was having great luck with the ground squirrels and by this time had killed 6, some as far as 100 yards away. We continued for about another hour when I spotted a small size Jackrabbit that left me with a good 100 yard shot to the head.

The day had ended and we were all left with great memories and may have learned a few things as well.

 

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EPIC TWO DAY HIGH DESERT HUNT

I set out with SteveO at 3:30 am Saturday morning to meet Jessi in the high So-Cal desert. We had my truck loaded with water, food and camping gear along with plenty of air and ammo. Our primary purpose was to finish filming a Jackrabbit hunting video and to test out some new pelletguns such as the MrodAir P12 and Cricket.

mrodair-p12

We arrived at our desert hunting area at 6:15 am and proceeded to air up the guns and walk a mile North to the “hotspot.”

The morning was quite warm with a good amount of wind blowing towards the South right into us. As I have hunted the desert quite a bit in wind, and I have found it to be somewhat of an advantage as the Jackrabbits and other creatures cannot hear you over the sound of wind. Within a few minutes of our slow walk we were spotting Jackrabbits moving back and fourth in the distance. Jessi and I hunted while SteveO filmed the action between the both of us, not easy at all. All three of us have been to this location so were quite familiar with the lay of the land and the usual spots the Jackrabbits hide.

We walked about a mile coming to a very large open field with scattered Joshua trees and small scrub bushes where I spotted a large Jack eating some grass out in the open. I was able to make a nice kill on him at 45 yards or so that was captured on video. (pic enclosed)

We continued and headed more North into a large loop back to the vehicles looking for a good flat location to camp. We found a very nice accessible area that was flat and had some Joshua trees to provide some protection from the wind. By this time it was about 10:30 am and in the mid 90’s, too hot to be wandering around so we set up a shade awning. We sat under the shade awning for a few hours to cool down, eat lunch and talk. I had already made a kill so I took my turn following Jessi and SteveO with the camera filming all the action they encountered.

 

The high desert is also home to a large amount of Golden Mantel Squirrels that were very tiny, fast and difficult to spot from a distance. Jessi must have taken quite a few, some as far as 60 yards with a few impressive head-shots.

We continued into the Sunset with quite a bit captured on film. All three of us were exhausted from hiking and carrying our guns all day.

 

The heat really takes a lot out of you and gallons of water is needed to survive this vast desert. The night came and we BBQ hotdogs and sausages along with the largest bag of chips I have ever seen.

 

I slept great and we all awoke around 6:30am to indications of an even hotter day only with no wind or breeze. SteveO did a little more filming as we set out to the usual spots hoping for one particular Jackrabbit that had been eluding us, all three of us missed, frustrating to say the least.

After about an hour I had the camera and was able to film SteveO hit one of the largest Jacks I have ever seen at 45yrds or so. These two guys made some very impressive shots, Jessie even attempted what I believe was 100 yards on a Jackrabbit shading himself under a Joshua tree. On our way back to camp we even spotted a good size Gopher Snake that was on his way crossing the trail, beautiful camo pattern it carried.

 

As we made our way back to camp we were all so exhausted as the heat really takes a toll on the body, while the sand just radiates even as the sun goes down. We all carried loads of water and I will say there is nothing better than a cooler full of ice waiting for you when you need it.

The next morning we packed up camp and moved on down the bumpy washed out road to another location that we thought might offer some opportunity . Together we had an amazing hunt, even had a very surprising encounter with two Coyotes. I had such a great time and am so grateful for the memories, laughter and some great food with friends.

 

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MEMORABLE JACKRABBIT HUNT

Went out early Saturday morning to jackrabbit hunt with my childhood friend Steve R. We arrived to the area about 5:30 and proceeded to hike to a pre-scouted area to wait for the sun to come up.
Steve had never been  Jackrabbit hunting before so I was excited for him to see what its like and to hopefully get the opportunity to harvest one.
The morning was not as cold as I had expected but still had some chill to it as we sat quietly amongst the Joshua trees. The sun started coming up so we walked slowly away from it hoping to see some Jacks moving in the distance. We walked approx. 1/2 mile when I spotted one moving off several hundred yards away,Steve got to see how fast they move and was excited I think at this point.We walked a bit more keeping about 45 yards between us both. I soon spotted another moving slowly through some ticketed area where I proceeded to stalk it.
Steve had not noticed I had one in my sights and ended up spooking it as he moved closer towards my position…I mind you was trying best I could to get his attention, everything but throwing rocks at him.
These Hares have giant ears for a reason and spook from just the slightest sound or movement so needless to say he was gone in a flash. We did a loop back to the vehicles to grab a snack and take a break from walking and toting our hunting rifles. At this point it was about 8:15 am and the sun was beginning to warm things up enough for not needing a jacket or face mask. We set out again and went in different directions where I soon spotted a medium size Jack at 120+yards out in a large open field up against a Joshua tree. I was confident in my shot as there was no wind and I had lots of recent practice under my belt to make such a shot. Held the gun 2mil-dots over and held my breath as I squeezed the trigger,THWAAAP with a perfect head-shot that dropped it like a rock. WOOOOOWEEE I yelled as Steve came running over to see what all the commotion was all about, I felt like I was on top of the world at this moment. Steve and I stood over my kill both in awe over the distance I shot it over.
Steve took some great photos and I thank him for his company this day. We continued after I took my kill back to the truck as I was now focused on trying to help him stalk his own kill. I was able to spot a few and get him within about 50 yards but they ended up getting spooked and were gone from range in a flash. The day ended with us seeing quite a few Hares and even got a small Golden Mantel squirrel at 25 yards.
It was a beautiful day out and I just felt blessed that I got to spend it with a friend. Hope you all enjoy the pics 8)
                                                                 

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THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

On Thursday July 14th Lindsey,Marley and I set out for the Eastern Sierra Mountain range where we had planned to go camping, fish and hunt for close to a week. Our first stop for a rest was Red Rock Canyon,one of the most desolate places in the desert. The temperature in my truck read a scorching 114 degrees,much to hot for us to camp in with no real adequate shade.

 

 

 

 

 

Mojave Desert

Red Rock Canyon

We had a nice snack and some cold drinks and set back out on the road where we headed further into the desert, couldn’t help but to look for Jackrabbit ears in the shade of the Joshua trees. The next major town we came to was Lone Pine where we made a stop for some lunch at a nearby fish hatchery,very beautiful place with nice views of the mountains. The scenery was starting to get less desert and more lush green countryside with even a few streams flowing through the fields on both sides of the highway. We continued for what seemed to be another hour until we came to a town called Big Pine where we pulled into a rest stop before heading up the steep narrow road into the Ancient Bristlecone forest. This area is quite a far drive up the mountain but is home to the “Methuselah” that is known to be the oldest living tree with the germination date being placed at 2832 BC. The area where these ancient trees grow is close to 9,800 ft and has quite the view with several nice foot paths,some being several miles long.

 

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

The views from the top of this mountain were unlike anything I have seen before,simply breathtaking in every way. We had thought about camping here but had decided to travel back down the mountain and find a location that was closer to some water and shade. It was so nice to not be in a hurry and to be able to drive slow and look at all the interesting things along the way. I did notice that the area did not have many animals as I’m guessing it was just to dry. Lindsey and I reached the bottom of the mountain taking a little time looking at Google Earth where we hoped to find a good out of the way place to camp for the night. By this time it was 4:00 and I was getting a bit tired of driving, anxious to settle in and possibly find a spot to fish. The area we drove to was very near the town of Bishop and nestled 16 miles into a nearby canyon.

Bishop CA

I had found a little dirt road turnoff that went for quite a ways paralleling the river,too had plenty of shade and room for a tent. Lindsey and I pulled into the perfect spot to camp and Marley couldn’t wait to get out to explore. We set up our tent and unloaded a few of our things to make the night a bit more like home. Marley couldn’t wait to explore and I couldn’t wait to set up my fishing reel and see if I could get us some dinner.We headed down to the river that was flowing pretty good for this time of year, runoff from the nearby glacier. After a few minutes finding a good pool to fish in I was able to pull out a small Trout,first one in a good many years for me. Being in places like this is the most relaxing thing I can do and always brings good memories of my father and I.

fishing

By this time it was well into the evening so Lindsey and I set up our chairs and enjoyed the spectacular sunset that almost set the sky on fire.

Sunset in Bishop

We all slept very well with the peaceful roar of the river in the background and the cool night breeze that swept through the canyon. The next morning we awoke and decided we would go for a little hike before it got to hot. The spot we were camping had a few trails that looked very inviting that climbed steep up into a rocky gorge. Lindsey loves geology and as a hobby enjoys looking for rocks and excavating them,this place was full of all sorts.

Found what looked to me to be an old well that someone turned into a plinking target,neat bunch of parts hanging from it.The sun was starting to come down on us pretty hard so we decided to head back to camp and hang by the river before we packed up and left.

Dana Webb Airgunner

Lindsey and I loaded up the truck and headed back down the long mountain road where we met the main highway continuing North up to Lake Crowley. This area gives a very wild west feel to it as far as the trees and rock outcroppings that are scattered throughout this magnificent land. We both were rubbernecking some spots that looked promising but we still ventured further to the lake that my friend had claimed to be a spectacular place to fish.As we got closer to the lakes entrance I could see that the water level had gone down a bit but still looked plentiful for some fishing. The man we encountered at the guard house greeted us and was most helpful with finding us  a good location to camp. I had stated that I was in need of a place as far away from people as possible as I have a phobia of camping next to strangers. He sent us to a really nice spot that overlooked the rivers inlet into the lake.

 

Crowley Lake

Crowley Lake

Lindsey and I set up our camp and soon headed down to the lake where I did a bit more fishing accompanied by Marley. Well Marley loves the water so I soon realized that fishing may be out of the question as she was having a good old time swimming around. We cooked a few steaks and potatoes that filled our stomachs as we enjoyed the crystal clear night sky. I knew that we were going to have to pack up early the next morning because the place we were camping had no shade and was going to be into the 100s again. The next morning we woke up at 8:00am  and slowly started packing the truck up with all our supplies to move on to our next spot. The lake was beautiful but honestly just to hot for us to really enjoy with no shade to shelter us. I had decided to backtrack and head back down near Big Pine area near a glacier where I had been told was beautiful and much cooler camping weather. As we drove another 45min back I noticed my truck was starting to have some vibration,was hoping to get into Bishop to check out the problem. Well not to long after that my transmission was gone,like it had gone into neutral. I ended up coasting onto the shoulder right next to a highway patrolman who was kind enough to call me a tow into Bishop. Today was Sunday and like most small towns everything was closed,we were stuck until Monday morning and most likely longer. :-  The towtruck driver gave us a recommendation to a motel we could stay at that would have no problem with us having a dog and too was very reasonable. We walked a few blocks carrying a few of our bags and some important things I didn’t want to leave in a strange place. I was a bit worried and somewhat embarrassed as this was the first big vacation I had taken my girlfriend on and now this happened. Lindsey was most supportive and handling the whole thing way better than I had anticipated. The next morning I talked to the automotive mechanic and he said indeed I needed a new transmission that would take 4 or 5 days to get to as he was busy. I decided to rent a car and get Lindsey and Marley home as we had already enjoyed a few good days of camping. We drove 300miles home and immediately put my truck on Craigslist and started looking for something new and more accommodating to camping and off-road driving. I spent a few days at home before returning the rental car to Bishop where SteveO was kind enough to pick me up with all the rest of my camping stuff. SteveO arrived and we loaded all my things into his new AWD Subaru where we had planned to finish off the trip with some hunting over the following day. The area we had chosen to camp was about 20 minutes out of town several miles down a rugged dirt road.