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#2144096 - 02/25/11 01:52 PM Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside.
Sniper John Online   happy

gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16309
Loc: North Texas
This was kind of a spur of the moment trip. Mulie_Mike knew I was needing a cape to have an Aoudad remount done. He had one that was not being mounted, caped it, packed it out, and froze it for me. Arrangements were made for me to meet with one of his guides in Lajitas this week. So to make a road trip out of it, I loaded up Blaze, survival gear, and left a few days early for a fandango in Big Bend country.

I stayed at Black Gap WMA and camped right on the river at one of the fish camps.
Blaze being bored while I set up camp.



I had not been to the Big Bend since I was a kid. My Dad and I had driven the jeep trails, hiked some, and did a Canoe trip on the Rio Grande before. Not having been there since I was young, I spent a lot more time just exploring rather than hunting.

The scenery was spectacular. What a beautiful place to hunt. I did a lot of driving around on the area's roads. Though I did see quail from the road a couple times on the first day, I did not hunt them yet. They were skittish and would fly at sight of the truck. Of the few from a half dozen hunters or hunter groups still on the area Sunday afternoon, reports ranged from no birds to one large group of hunters well outfitted with several dogs and specialized vehicles having taken quite a few collectively.





A popular way to hunt there seems to be to drive the roads, look for birds, and try to bust the covies. I imagine most hunt this way. Being the last week of season and having been hunted hard. Birds were flushing or running at the sound or sight of a vehicle I found.



I prefer to hunt with the dog anyway. So I concentrated on water. Here is one of the "Guzzlers" for collecting rain water.





Birds were also using this windmill, but it was impossible to get close enough to those late season birds to flush on that thick flat ground They would run like chickens through the brush.



Blaze cooling off.



Everything sticks, pokes, scratches, or bites here.








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#2144100 - 02/25/11 01:53 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: Sniper John]
Sniper John Online   happy

gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16309
Loc: North Texas
Some places the cholla cactus was thick. I think I heard someone call this type S.O.B. Cactus once. It attracts to man and beast like
a magnet and stays with you.



Ouch!



Exploring an old adobe ranch house.







And an old Car. Can you identify the make and model for me???
The little mountain in the background is across the river in Mexico.





For the fun of it. I picked a mountain to climb.



Looking down on that sandbar, there are some little dots.



Zoomed in, they are Javelinas.






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#2144103 - 02/25/11 01:54 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: Sniper John]
Sniper John Online   happy

gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16309
Loc: North Texas
I also took a hike following the river as best I could between the difficult terrain and bamboo.



Blaze pointing something. Probably a Javelina as they were around.



Things you see while hunting. We ran up on this one eyed feral Steer. It bowed up to Blaze like it was going to chase her, so we backed off and moved on.




Evidence of hunters before us.



Back at camp.

This was the river at camp. It was cold at night and hot during the day, so this was a nice place to cool off in the afternoon. My first night it sounded like horses crossing the river at 3:00 am and Blaze freaked out a few minutes later. I never did figure out what all the noise was. I slept with my pistol the next two nights and kept my tent open so Blaze could play watchdog. She launched on camp intruders "animals" about 5 times the second night. I got used to it and never woke up from any of it the third night.



Blaze patiently waiting on pancakes and bacon breakfast.



The afternoons were in the high 80s to low 90s every day. It was too hot for man or dog to hunt that kind of country. So I found other things to do.

Nap in the shade of the bamboo while fishing. And there are all the catfish a man could want to catch. I got to where I just did not bait my hook for fear of having to wake up to take a fish off.



Another day I climbed to a rock shelter for a long afternoon nap in the cool shade. Blaze enjoyed it and stood guard over me.






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#2144105 - 02/25/11 01:54 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: Sniper John]
Sniper John Online   happy

gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16309
Loc: North Texas
Then I drove to the end of the ranch road to see what was there. A closed barricaded bridge to Mexico and the ghost town of La Linda Coahuila including this hilltop church on the other side.





Back to hunting. Yes, I did actually do some hunting too.

Beautiful country to have the opportunity to hunt in.



You can see a guzzler in the background. I did run a covie onto this hillside and got 5 points out of Blaze across the hill. She was so tired and hot she was not very stylish. She would just stand over the bird panting and look at me. The first point I thought she had been stuck in the leg with a cactus and did not know she was pointing. I about had a heart attack when I walked over thinking I was going to pull some cholla out of her leg. Boy was I surprised with a bird flushed in my face. I was tired and hot too. shells were flying out of my gun each time, but, I only hit two birds out of the 5 points/flushes on this hill.



Blaze and I.



How about some bird pictures.

I had the Auto 5 on this hunt. I wanted firepower, so no over under this time.



And a nice mature bird. If I had ever wanted to have one mounted, this would have been a good one. Hmmm, I wonder why they call them Scaled Quail?



I had one bird that Blaze just flat out refused to retrieve. It was up a steep hill, so I was frustrated and kept sending her back. I finally gave in, made the climb, and found out why. I don't blame her, I would not have stuck my face in there either.



I think Blaze will need a better pair of Dog Boots next time.






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#2144106 - 02/25/11 01:54 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: Sniper John]
Sniper John Online   happy

gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16309
Loc: North Texas
The last day I left early and made a drive over to Elephant Mountain WMA. I did not have much time to hunt so I did a one time drive through and picked the most scenic spot I could find for a walkabout.







Right off, we met up with a momma Javelina and young.





Gratuitus Windmill picture for my wife. She loves windmills.



And last a sunset picture from behind Mulie_Mike's hunting lodge on the Rio Grande at Lajitas.
Bats where already flying all around and you can see a lone duck on the river below.



Mike's guide, forum member "darrack" invited me eat dinner with the Aoudad hunters. One of which is also a THF member, but sorry I forgot the name already. Getting to take a shower at the house was nice too considering I had just gone three nights without one. The other guide Pablo showed from El Paso with the frozen Aoudad Cape later and I hit the road home. A big public thank you to Mike and his guides for the hospitality and to Mike for saving that Aoudad cape for me. And also a big thank you to forum member Scoutdog who answered my post in the upland forum. He helped me a bunch though a pm dialog in filling me in on what I needed to bring and what I might expect when I got there.

I was soon pulled over by a border patrol truck just after I left Lajitas. I had a retirement ceremony for a brother firefighter to attend on Thursday, so had to hit the road at 2:30 am so I could make it in time. A black dusty truck in the early hours must have looked suspicious. I got a laugh when they searched my trunk and looked in my big cooler. I saw the border patrol guy carefully knock on the lids keeping his distance both times. Looking as if he was expecting a jack in the box to pop out! I was later followed by another border patrol truck for several miles before reaching a checkpoint. I guess watching to make sure I did not drop someone or something off first. They were just doing their job, very friendly, and especially liked Blaze.

I can't wait to go back. I will probably pick a cooler time of year and a year with better bird counts, but to be honest, it is not about the birds to me, so I could easily find an excuse to make this fandango again anytime.


_________________________

"Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. Oh! The places you'll go!" ~ Dr. Seuss

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#2144146 - 02/25/11 02:12 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: Sniper John]
Brandon123 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/24/07
Posts: 2099
Loc: Stephenville, TX
WOW...great pics and awesome story!


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#2144149 - 02/25/11 02:12 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: Sniper John]
catchin' Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 1738
Loc: Cy-Fair by way of Corpus
Great pictures and Great read.

I always like seeing Blaze.

_________________________
Life is Good Today.

I never dreamed of being a father....now I can't imagine being anything else.

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#2144161 - 02/25/11 02:18 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: Sniper John]
cmc Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 5252
Loc: Graham to Arlington
Very nice. I remember when I was a kid we had driven in to that country during the night and when I woke the next morning I was thinking nothing could or would live here. Man was I wrong. Love the pics.

_________________________
http://cafesandcampfires.com/

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#2144178 - 02/25/11 02:27 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: catchin']
Bonehead Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 1920
Loc: Garland, Texas
flehan Always a pleasure reading your posts and love the pics every time John! Blaze looks to be back in all her glory as well!
I'm jealous every time I open one of your posts and kick myself for not getting out there and exploring the way you do.
Thanks for letting me enjoy the trip through your posts and please keep up the great work!

_________________________
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind."..Dr.Suess

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#2144185 - 02/25/11 02:32 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: cmc]
CCBIRDDOGMAN Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/16/07
Posts: 9296
Loc: CEDAR CREEK LAKE
Looks like a good time. Great pictures.

_________________________

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#2144211 - 02/25/11 02:43 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
SR025 Online   shocked
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/01/10
Posts: 5320
Loc: DFW
coolpics thanks for sharing, looks like yall had a blast!

_________________________

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#2144227 - 02/25/11 02:48 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
JRPurvis Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 12/21/10
Posts: 248
Loc: Lockhart, TX
I've hunted and stayed at both places, and enjoyed myself there. It's a great piece of Texas. I couldn't live there, but wouldn't mind going back again to hunt and view wildlife. Your pictures are are far better quality than anything I ever took, however.

_________________________
Deer quality is not measured by antler size

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#2144239 - 02/25/11 02:56 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
HardWired Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/25/07
Posts: 1464
Loc: Corpus Christi
Great pictures and story!


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#2144291 - 02/25/11 03:19 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: HardWired]
BigD1836 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 247
Loc: Houston
Very cool, thanks for sharing.


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#2144299 - 02/25/11 03:21 PM Re: Black Gap Fandango, Warning: Long picture essay inside. [Re: HardWired]
Buggs Offline


Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 1755
Loc: Odessa
Man that looks like fun and great country to explore. Great story and pictures. How many days did Blaze sleep when he got home?


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