Skyrose Pig and Quail Hunt

Jeff Ashlock and I returned to Skyrose this year in November after failing to close the deal in June. Jarod graciously invited us back to try again. This time, we had great success. Jeff took a nice black boar the first night. We spotted a group of pigs and managed to get within 110 yards. Jeff got on the sticks and patiently waited fifteen minutes for Jarod to sort out the best of the bunch. Finally, the big black boar approached us, following a brown sow. Jeff made a perfect shot when the sow finally cleared and dropped him in his tracks.

The next morning we scouted for pigs and found some in a grove of trees. Most of them moved off as we approached but as we got closer Jarod saw a spotted sow was still bedded in the grove. We managed to get within 20 yards. At one point she seemed to have spotted us but we froze and then she bedded down again. I knocked an arrow and put one just over her which got her to stand up. Luckily for us she didn’t move off and I was able to knock a second arrow and get a great shot. She ran a short distance and keeled right over. So great to have two successful pig hunts with no tracking at all which is pretty rare for bow hunting. It turns out my shot went right through the heart.

After taking my pig we headed up to some ridges to hunt quail. Jeff let me borrow his Browning Citori which felt a lot like my Special Sporting Clays gun. Jarod let Jeff use a pump .410 gauge. Climbing the rocky ridges and trying to flush wild quail from the brush was a bigger challenge than I anticipated. You have to react fast when you hear the thrum of their beating wings and often they are away before you can spot them. I was luck to get a couple shots when they flushed into the open giving me a nice passing shot. They were super hard to find without a dog. Jeff found both of mine for me and one was just lost in thick brush. You definitely should have a dog with you for this. It was a lot of fun and I was thrilled to take some wild quail. Investigating recipes now to try them out tonight.

Jeff took a great boar, was in the scope a long time until he finally cleared for his perfect shot.

Fremont Peak Park- My new favorite Suzuki DRZ400 Ride

The good parts start after a short fifteen minute ride. Taking the Echo Valley Canyon exit from 101 it takes you to San Juan Rd towards San Juan Bautista. It’s a fun winding road for the most part but the surface gets increasingly worse as you near San Juan Bautista. Parts seem less asphalt and more broken concrete with large treacherous potholes. That and you have to watch for fast cars in the middle of blind turns so you stay on the right as much as possible. It would be a lot nicer if people hadn’t dumped trash off several of the turns. At the point you near 156 at San Juan Bautista you can take the road back to Fremont Peak State Park.

This road is in much nicer condition and an absolute treasure to ride. The lower part is beautiful with full canopy of trees and both winding roads with fun elevation changes. Halfway you start a much tighter portion. You emerge into some fun ridge top roads with beautiful views. If you can do the ride during the week you rarely have to pass a car on the way up. That’s good because there aren’t many places to pass.

Coming down is much more scenic for the wonderful views but my GoPro battery crapped out so will add that here next!

My Annual Blacktail Hunt at the Diamond C

My annual blacktail hunt with Dylan Carr at the Diamond C ranch, a great time as always. I had decided to try and bow hunt this year and Dylan convinced me to try his new Ravin crossbow, which you can use in a PLM ranch. I agreed and John gave me the walk through when I arrived Friday. Was amazed, it put a bolt into the bullseye repeatedly at 50 yards.

So my first sit Friday I was confident it could get the job done. There was a big three point seen near there and hopes were high. I did see a lot of deer but none of the larger target bucks we identified. I sat again on Saturday night and still no luck. I have come to enjoy the solitude of sitting a blind and the excitement of possibility that comes with the setting sun. I saw turkeys, does, fawns, and many young bucks, just not the big ones we were looking for.

Sunday, we decided to go out on an early morning patrol, and as usual, a very lovely tall backward 3-point was soon sighted. In a very short time, I was handed a rifle, quickly set up on a hilltop, and made an easy shot to take another beautiful velvet buck.

Skyrose Pig Hunt 2022

Anticipating our annual pig hunt at the Skyrose Ranch next month, I realized I never posted last year! This has become such a fun tradition as we approach our third year. Last year it was Jeff Ashlock, Jeff Edman, and my brother Tim and I. Tim was observing this year, and I thought to try and take a giant boar with my bow.

First night out I sat a blind that was super close to a concrete water trough. Maybe a little too close. That evening a big black cow came in to drink, an owl perched on it for a bit, and one buck steered clear in the distance, but no pig sightings.

That evening, Jeff E and Jeff A took pigs with separate guides. They both made great shots and had easy recoveries.


The following day Jared and I headed out. I took my Cooper Backcountry .300 win mag this time, and we decided to stalk for a giant boar. I thought I would try the bow again in the evening. We spotted a few groups of pigs but no big boars. Eventually on our walk Jared spotted a group of pigs in the distance. We snuck closer and he identified one very big gray boar in the group. I think we got to just over 200 yards when I rested my rifle on his tripod and finally got the pig in my sights. My shot was good but we gave him a little time and then headed down to where we thought he might be. Of course I shot him right near the blind and probably had I been sitting in it that morning I would have taken him with my bow. We had a helluva time trying to find him but finally realized he had run towards us and was just down a small rise. Getting him back up the small rise was a bit of a chore with Jared on the hind legs, and me on the fore legs, and a one two three, take a few steps and rest. Unfortunately on one move his head was bouncing around and he broke one of the tips of his tusks off on my boot! Luckily the taxidermist restored him to his full glory and he’ll be hanging in the lodge now at the Skyrose Ranch in time for us to see him later next month.

USPSA Action Shooting at Chabot

Had so much fun doing action shooting. Such a shame the range closed down. Lots of great memories there. And of course fishing with my brother at Lake Chabot catching trout, catfish, and even bass.

USPSA Action Shooting Video Playlist
Competing in Production Class with a Glock 34 at Chabot Gun Range, Castro Valley, CA.

Salmon Fishing with Tim Browne, Mike & Owen Cleary

I’m invited to join Tim on his annual salmon fishing trip, this time with Mike and his son Owen Cleary. We all convene in Anderson Sunday night at the Gaia Hotel & Spa. Have a great dinner at the Woodside Grill. After dinner, we reminisce about our epic trip to Ireland with my old photo album.

The next morning we’re off to Corning to fish with Steve, a guide that works with Dave Jacobs. Owen lands the first salmon of the day and his first. I’m handed Steve’s rod after he gets a fish on and I land my first Striped Bass. Mike is next hooking up a big salmon. He fights it all the way to the boat and as it slowly emerges at the surface it somehow loses the hook and is gone. Some discussion follows that perhaps Steve should have netted that one. Am glad it didn’t happen to me. These guys are great fishermen and when they lose one it’s a tough break. If I lose one, well it’s pretty clear I screwed it up.

Day two is with Mike Bogue, Tim’s usual go-to guide. We meet Mike early in the shopping center lot across the freeway and follow him to put the boat in. We’re on the river by 6:30 am and off to the usual spot called the Barge Hole. There are already about 10 boats there. As usual, Mike gets us set up and it’s not long before Owen lands the first Salmon of day two. I think fish two is boated by Mike Cleary, another nice salmon. Soon Tim lands the largest so far.

We try a few other places. I commit my usual rookie mistakes. I forget to keep my thumb on the line, I get tangled with Owen’s line, I somehow get my line around the boat prop. (not sure how I keep getting invited back to these but am grateful for everyone’s patience). At one point I have a fish on and am fighting it to the boat but lose it before we ever see it. I ask Mike what I should have done differently. He pauses thoughtfully and replies “Hook it better”. I don’t think I even set the hook, just all of the sudden noticed I had a fish on and started reeling. DOH!

Towards the end of the day, Mike snaps his rod back and hands it to me. I proceed to reel in a really nice salmon to make it one for each of us. Mike takes the boat to a shady spot where he ties up and fillets our catch for us.

This was another amazing trip organized by Tim and a wonderful reunion with the Clearys. So much fun, I don’t think I’ve laughed that much in a long time!

Rider Share – AirBnB for Motorcycles

There is a new solution for renting motorcycles called Riders Share which enables owners to rent out their motorcycles. There is a fee along with chosen insurance coverage.

What a great idea. I had dreamed about some subscription-type service that would just let you try different bikes. So far I have rented a couple of Harley Davidson cruisers. First was a Street Bob which I was not that crazy about. Looks cool but the bars and steering dynamic didn’t instill a lot of confidence.

My second rental was the Fat Bob which has a more sportbike style front end, twin discs, and even better, an exposed knob to up the rear mono-shock pre-load. I bottomed out the Street Bob quite a few times on some of the more challenging back roads like Stage.

The experience of renting the two bikes was great. The site manages the scheduling, payment, and you check in with comprehensive photos to document the bike’s condition. Both renters let me leave my Suzuki DR350 with them so it could not have been more convenient.

It’s funny that getting to the rental and going home just makes me appreciate my ’97 DR even more. It still amazes me how fun this bike is. It can go as fast as most bikes on the roads I ride with that long travel DP suspension that just smooths out any road. I’ll keep trying lots of different bikes but will always have the DR!

July Blacktail Hunt -2021

My annual blacktail deer hunt at the Diamond C was fantastic as usual. We were looking for a nice 4×4 that was frequently near a public road and on the hit list to be taken before the B1 season started and the chances of him being poached would be almost certain.

The first day we went out in the evening and we actually caught a glimpse of the buck near a green cattle trough that he frequents. We could not get a great look at him and there was no great way to stalk him as shooting light quickly faded away into the night.

We were out early the next morning and shortly after dawn, we spotted four deer on a far hillside. Dylan quickly determined one was the buck we were after. I quickly got my bi-pod opened and tried to settle down prone for a 300 plus yard shot. We went through my typical inability to locate the right buck in my scope. I finally described the buck in my scope’s actions and got the confirmation. He was at 320 and I was shooting my Cooper Backcountry in .300 win mag.

My first shot was a good hit, right beneath the heart. The buck stayed on his feet though and moved to 380 yards. I was able to put another round into him and dropping him at that spot.

Holly quickly came up to us in the side-by-side 4 wheeler and soon we were on the hill looking for the buck. He was easily found and another amazing 4×4 blacktail. After having taken so many great bucks off this ranch, I still get so excited and this buck is certainly something special. So grateful for having stumbled into hunting the Diamond C in my early days and what’s now a 16-year relationship with the Carr family.