Sunday, August 3, 2014

Flies, Sighs, Byes and Whys

My ghost writer has returned from his Tibetan journey.  The trek in the Himalays proved fruitless. Turns out the Dali Lama was not at his home in Takster. He was, in fact, at either the Starbucks on Rodeo Drive or doing a book signing at the Barnes & Noble on Grove Drive.

Another unexcused absence.


Summer on the Reef has provided its usual mix of world class fly fishing. Nymph fishing was silly good through mid-June. Many 80+ fish days. To the net not just hookups. Mid to late June was vexed by increased water flows. This old man appreciated the assist of faster water but the accompanying colder water temps quashed the hatches.

The August Trico hatch has begun and has the big-uns looking skyward for a tasty morsel. There are hoppers along the bank, but not sure they will ever be offered on the entree menu. If they do, dry fly fishing is as good as it gets.


I thank the Lord every day I get to live and work in his magnificent canvas of Wyoming. For 10 months of the year, I spend most of my days on or near the North Platte River. Whether it is rising trout along with stream side pronghorns framed by mountains and high desert prairie or the majesty of mallards and Canada geese against the piercing blue of unpolluted skies. My days are filled with sighs.

Pathfinder Ranch
Dumbell Ranch


Life is filled with goodbyes. The loss of friends, loves, family and old dogs can be the lowest of lows. The worst of goodbyes.

However the word is good - byes. Some goodbyes are in fact "good" byes. When you are 7 years old, the maturation process can be painfully slow. Long before sprouting hair on the land down under; longer before knowing whether you are truly truly right handed or left handed; even longer before the voice change; eons before the need  for your first Gillette Fusion Pro-Glide now with Flex ball; long before you ever get your iPhone 12 XTS; you celebrate the loss of your baby teeth. There is something so demeaning about baby teeth. The name alone is condescending.  You may act like a baby from time to time but having baby teeth is such a belittling stage of life.

Brayden "B"
But then it happens! The hand of the Tooth Fairy and her "flush with cash minions" (you can't give up Santa, the Easter Bunny and the head fairy in the same year) reach out and plucks the wobbly useless chopper from your jaw. The ultimate right of passage would be to have the celestial vibes align and cause the removal of both front toothusses within hours of each other. The fraternal twins exiting the oral womb and never having to leave the delivery room between extractions.

Chompers "B" gone!

A manly good bye.


Why do bad things happen to good people? I guess it is called life. My beloved, dear  friend, Dr. Lynn Wilcox from Salt Lake City, is battling cancer. Here is a man who spent his entire adult life healing the sick. He truly lives a Godly life. He talks it and walks it. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy with encouraging success. The tumor has been reduced in size but the battle rages on.

Dr Lynn Wilcox
An indication of just how serious Lynn is about the fight and his recovery, he fly fished with me in late June, is planning a fly fishing trip in late August and is coming to hunt with me for a week in December. All the while administering his own chemotherapy.

Please keep Lynn in your prayers. I pray the Heavenly Healer will heal the healer.

God bless you Lynn.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I am back home in Torrington, after completeing a very challenging spring snow goose season. The 'winter that never ends' continued through most of March.

This was the most erratic migration I have seen in my 19 years of the spring snow goose season. By the end of February, we had opened enough water on our ponds with ice eaters to attract the birds if they came. Then the first week of March brought 5-10 below zero temps and the ponds were locked tight again with 5 inches of ice. The bitter weather forced us to cancel the first ten days of hunts.

Rescheduling everyone was like solving Rubik's cube in the dark. Difficult but we got it done thanks to a group of amazing clients. Simply the best!

After 4 days of dark to dark adjusting  ice eaters, breaking ice with spud bars, ripping waders, setting decoys coupled with near total exhaustion, we hosted our first hunters on the 6th of March. We had steady hunting for the next two weeks with our hunters taking nearly 1,100 geese. Friday, March 14th was our big day with 12 hunters killing 127 geese at three differnt locations. I had a group of five hunters take 75 geese that day!

The Unicorn

In snow goose hunting you live for the magical days when the sky is filled with skeins of geese from horizon to horizon. One of nature's true spectacles. You also learn to look for rare birds in the flocks of decoying birds.

Snow geese take a long time to descend from their cruising altitude to shooting range over the decoys. This gives the hunter (and guide) time to look for the rarest of the rare, the holy grail of snow geese, the Unicorn.

The Unicorn does not have black wing tips like other snow geese. It is not an albino. The primary feathers are white not black. If you consider the population of lesser snow geese is around 15 million and I have seen one Unicorn in 19 years of hunting snow geese, rare doesn’t describe it. It is mystical.

The only way I can describe the Unicorn is having a halo around it in the air. It is very visible in a flock of black wing tipped birds. I saw my second Unicorn on March 14th..  I first spotted when it was at 500 yards sailing above Barber’s pond. It was in a flock of 400 decoying birds. I pointed it out to the five hunters (Paul Minar's group) I had in the blind that day. They said it stuck out like Kate Upton at the Walmart in Tchula, MS.

The 400 came to 20 yards out and 15 feet over the decoys with the Unicorn in the front row. When the first shots rang out one goose fell.  It appeared the Unicorn was hit simultaneously with the blast of five guns. After the cheering subsided they managed to drop another 10 from the flock. I now have my Unicorn.

The Unicorn (rt)
Front Row, Unicorn
 Second Row, 74 friends of the Unicorn
Third Row, left to right - Molly, Paul Minar, Cloud  and Hooligans.
Not pictured - Kate Upton

Next is the white mallard for Todd Norsten and the white Canada for Lynn Wilcox! Can’t wait for the 2014-2015 season.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


On February 2nd, the town council of Punxsutawney, PA, gathered for their traditional bring the rodent out festival. Lore has it that if the rat, named Phil (the amount of alcohol consumed to come up with "Phil" is undetermined. Suffice to say it was copious) doesn't see his shadow it will be an early spring. If the rat bastard sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. The dude came out of his hole on Gobbler's Knob wearing sunglasses.

Not to be outdone, the Marxist, socialist, copycat, Sandinista loving mayor of New York City decided to have a ceremony of his own in Central Park across from the original Gobbler's Knob, Trump Towers in Central Park West. The New York groundhog was trotted out and Mayor De blasio immediately dropped him on his head. Would that could be the other way around.

The NYC  impostor "Phil" not only saw his shadow, the stars in his rat fink head were complete with dancing shadows. New York City deserves everything it gets. The Mayor will bankrupt the city and the city is having the worst winter since the Whyos Gang ruled the lower east side. (The real reason they are having bad weather is the myopic twits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art don't have a Norsten in their collection)

I am living in the reflected light of rat shine. The winter that never ends.  It's like Bill Murray is living in my decoy trailer. I am in Fairbury now moving ice eaters in our ponds to have some open water for the white horde. When this snow goose migration happens it is going to be epic.  We will start hunters March 8th.

If anyone should see that damn groundhog run over him. I never want him to see daylight again,

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WyoBraska Waterfowl Recap 2013-2014

Mallards and Canada Geese
February 17th marked the end of the 2013-2014 waterfowl season. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to my clients for their support of and interest in WyoBraska Waterfowl.  I am truly blessed to have developed strong business and personal relationships with them over the past fifteen years.  Yes, we started hunting the North Platte Valley fifteen years ago.

The quality of our hunting continues to improve. I never like to post harvest numbers because I feel providing a memorable hunting experience is much more than the number of birds you kill.  Appreciating the majesty of  a sky filled with flocks of mallards and Canadas, the sunrises and sunsets, marveling at the enthusiasm of well-trained retrievers and hunting in magnificent locations is the essence of being a true waterfowl sportsman.
While 2012-2013 was a record year for WyoBraska Waterfowl, the 2013-2014 season has established a new benchmark. This was the third season in a row with record harvest numbers.  Our hunters harvested 22% more mallards this year than last year’s record number. Our Canada goose harvest was also a record with a 12% increase over last year’s record total.

Ultimately Mother Nature has the most control over the three most important variables: waterfowl numbers, the migration and the weather. My commitment to you is to strive to provide memorable hunting experiences year after year. I will continue to manage my properties wisely to ensure they are not over pressured. I promise we will continue to use only top quality decoys and equipment. I am always looking for other properties, but only if they can offer the same quality hunting you have come to expect from WyoBraska Waterfowl.

2014 Snow Geese

We have added another excellent location to our offerings in Fairbury. I am in Fairbury now getting blinds and decoys ready for our first hunters the end of next week. We are using ice eaters on our ponds to create open water for the geese. We have seen a few flocks of scout geese the last couple of days. These flocks are made up of older adult birds who push the envelope in a drive to reach the nesting grounds in the Arctic. They are the ultimate frequent flyer.

The retriever squad for this spring is Molly and Tommie.  They are coming off a stellar mallard and goose season.. Me be a proud Papa! Dani and AZ have earned well deserved retirement from the snow geese.

Tom Harpstreith Memorial Youth Hunt

The 4th annual youth hunt was  held on January 26th.  We hosted 48 young hunters to a day in the field. The hunt was a huge success with lots of prizes for the kids. The goose calling contest featured our first "mouth caller". No call, just his voice and he was very good. The best part? The mouth caller was Tom's oldest grandson, Owen, 9 years old. The hunt had drawing for two shotguns and guess who won a gun? Owen! You think Tom had a hand in that? No doubt in my mind.

To all my waterfowl friends - Go North and Prosper.

Friday, December 27, 2013


I am terribly sorry, I have been unable to get my sorry-assed ghost rider out of the pit.  I mean literally! We got him in but extraction has been an  an issue. No fear, he has food and water and a couple of days a week I send hunters join him so that his social skills (albeit limited) do not totally erode.

Hunting has been very good so far this season. However, I know I am ready to get my butt kicked. It can't be good every day or so they say.

The videos are raw footage shot by my non de plume. The video editing capabilities are a challenge in the pit so please bear with us.

This video is of my 2 year old lab, Tommie.  She has made the starting line-up this year.  She still has graduate work to complete her degree but her enthusiasm makes up for occassional lapses in technique. She does five flawless retrieves here.  Hunters got a limit of big Canadas by 10:00 AM at Location X.

This video is from a magical day at Location X. Limits of geese and mallards in 40 mph wind. We needed one drake for a limit and he was culled from amixed  flock of geese and mallards.


Monday, November 11, 2013


The Lord continues to smile upon WyoBraska Waterfowl.  The first hunters of the year were scheduled for Nov 6th and 7th. The first wave of mallards arived on Tuesday, Nov 5th. Naw.. I wasn't worried a bit. 

Shelley and Brian Kadison
Beverly Hills, CA
Retriever - Molly
On the 5th, the skies were filled with a major migration of lesser Canada geese.  I assumed some mallards were moving with them and shor nuff they were. I have had hunters every day since the 6th and they have taken limits every day.

Spencer, Tate, Benson Holmes
Sandy, UT
Retriever - Molly
 Had a great moring today.  Worked several big bunches of 30-75 birds that we did not shoot into. I don't need to educate that many birds this early in the season.  We were still done by 7:15!

Tate, Benson and Spencer Holmes
Salndy, UT/
Retriever -Tommie
Of course I can't guarantee what is going to happen in the future, but it is looking good right now.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know..I know…

Bill Withers

We sincerely appreciate your understanding regarding the lack of posts to this blog.  We want everyone to know my ghost writer has escaped unharmed from the domestic terrorist group.  He or she (in no way does this imply my ghost writer has gender identity issues) was kidnapped during a bus tour of the Bakken Formation oil fields near Williston, ND.  His/her escape was facilitated by his/her captors leaving a door unlocked while they were attending a pro-abortion, anti- high capacity magazine, pro-amnesty, anti-Keystone XL pipeline, save the wolves, students for the legalization of marijuana, great hot springs of the west, free education for all, any drone will do, free Doritos for life (splinter group of the students for legalization of marijuana), Norsten for MOMA, save the whales (not to be confused with Mrs. Hussein’s Let’s Move initiative, Occupy Williston, workers of the world unite, love that, protect women’s reproductive rights in third world countries, global warming, day against police brutality, PETA, actions against globalization, international day of farmers’ struggles, international media democracy day, pro Saudi women’s drivers’ education, and eat more chicken day rally.

Thank God he/she is safe.

Summer 2013

This summer on the Grey Reef was the most consistent fly fishing in my ten years of guiding for the North Platte Lodge. Fifty fish to the net days were common place and there were numerous seventy five to one hundred fish days as well. Lots of 20+ inch rainbows. In fact there were many more days of 20+ than without.  Late summer into the fall the big Brown Trout made an appearance. 25+ inch fish were a weekly occurrence.  It was the best of times.

Even JJ can catch 'em
Grey Reef Rainbow


Waterfowl in North America continue to be near 25 year highs. This year’s fall flight forecast is only slightly below last year’s record count of 48 million birds. Now we need Mother Nature to cooperate and give us a more normal transition from fall into winter.  A steady migration should give WyoBraska Waterfowl another stellar season.

I observed the first signs of the migration in the last week. Sand Hill cranes and snow geese are doing their high altitude fly overs. The early migrators blue wing teal, pintails, gadwall and shovelers have been frequenting the Henry Lake during October.  This week the visitors are green wing teal, wigeon and mallards. While working on the pit at the lake Saturday evening, we had a flock of 200 lesser Canada geese stop for the night.  The migration has begun!

The past two weeks have been spent preparing the river and lake blinds for the season.  The goose pits will be readied the middle of this month.

River Blind
It is going to be a very busy season.  I have hunters every day starting November 6th through February 10th with the exception of December 23, 24 and Christmas Day.  I am gratified by the support of my clients but I am looking forward to those three days!

Thinking the pro marijuana issue may have had something to do with the unlocked door.