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Trip to Missouri January 2021
Old 01-23-2021, 11:15 PM
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gitano gitano is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
Age: 71
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Default Trip to Missouri January 2021

Despite the travel constraints caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, my wife and I departed Alaska on Christmas day for, what we thought were, warmer climes. While technically warmer, for most of the trip, I remained colder than I had been in Alaska.

The trip got off to a rocky start. There was an 'incident' in the Anchorage airport. It was touch and go for a bit, but in the end, it came out "zero sum" - mostly. Then I had to call the sheriff on the tenant that lives in the upper floor we own in Utah. Again, it was 'tense' for a while but in the end it all worked out fine. Both stories are for another venue.

We had a good time visiting with our grandkids, (2-and-a-half, 4-and-a-half, and 6-and-a-half), and their parents. The 2-1/2 year-old grand-daughter is a real pistol! I got to spend a day roaming Antelope Island in the middle of The Great Salt Lake. Sue mountain-biked around while I 'chased' bison, mule deer, and coyotes with my camera.

On the 8th of January, I took off for Missouri to visit with sakorick and our mutual friend, John, and Sue made her way to North Carolina (via Seattle - ) to visit her brother. My primary intent was just to visit with Rick and John. I was not 'on a mission' for hunting or fishing. Nevertheless, I was able to get some ice-fishing, squirrel, and quail hunting in, and as an added bonus, some 'coon hunting too! I was there for 12 days, and it was a great time!

Since Rick is retired, John semi-retired, and I was on vacation, we were able to do pretty much as we pleased when we pleased. The first order of 'business' was ice-fishing. The local lakes and ponds around Rick and John's places had just enough ice to sustain 'comfortable' ice-fishing. The first day we caught 40-some-odd including largemouth bass, crappie and bluegills. Below are some pictures. We had a 'fish fry' the following Wednesday. It was, as usual, magnificent.

While we were out the second time fishing, we saw two coveys of quail, and spoke with some other fishermen that had seen an additional three. We decided to quail hunt the next day. Unfortunately, the weather got pretty bad - almost-freezing rain and a very stiff wind. We saw two coveys, but weren't able to get a shot at any of them. Still, it was good fun. I haven't been quail hunting since the late '70s.

Rick made available his Winchester model 43 chambered in .22 Hornet for me to squirrel hunt with. While we were sitting in his living room talking, I saw a squirrel running through the trees along the fenceline leading out to the highway. I 'got after it', but it got away from me nevertheless. However, a few minutes later, I saw it go "back the other way", and again got out after it. This time, I prevailed. It was a LONG 73-step shot, but the Hornet is capable of that and much more. All of the squirrels I shot this trip were HUGE!

After some more fishing and the quail hunting, I wandered the woods on John's place with the intent of shooting some squirrels. While there was plenty of sign in the snow, there were not plenty of them wandering the woods. That day at least. I did, however, get one. I shot it, (at about 35 yd), and it died over a small limb - STUCK THERE! It took me a good 5 minutes to shake it out of the tree. Another brute!

That evening, John said he knew where a 'coon 'den tree' was, and we could go and try to call some out of the tree. We sat and call until almost dark, and we were getting ready to give it up when John signaled to me that there was 'something' right behind me. I turned to look and just saw a squirrel's tail rounding the back side of a tree not 4 feet behind me. As I got to my feet, I knew that it would not come back around to my side of the tree, and if I circled, it would just keep the tree between me and it. I signaled for John to head around to the other side of the tree. Sure as shootin', it circled away from John and right to me. Because the the fading light was behind it, I could only see sort of an outline. I shot, and a RACOON fell out of the tree! A really NICE one at that! It was dead when it hit the ground, as the Hornet had removed the lower half of it's brain case. It was a very nice, prime 'coon! When I peeled it, I couldn't believe how fat it was. The only animals I have every seen with that much fat on them were black bears, and beavers! It weighed between 15 and 20 lb.

The next time John and I got out after 'coons, we set up our calling station wrong, anf got busted. We saw coons, but they saw us and weren't about to come out of their den. Nevertheless, while calling 'coons, I spotted some squirrels chasing about, and was able to shoot two more of them using Rick's Sako model P94s, chambered in .22 Long Rifle. I FELL IN LOVE with that rifle. John estimated the range at which I shot those two squirrels at 75 yards. I tried to talk Rick into giving me that rifle, but no luck. I'm on the hunt for one for myself. They are SWEET!

The second squirrel down below - the scraggly-looking one - fell into a creek at the bottom of a 'canyon'.

Here's a sequence of pictures John took of me retrieving the one that fell in a 'canyon'. It's deeper than it looks.

While foul weather has it's 'downs', it often brings spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
Three sunrises, and a sunset:

It was, as usual, a GREAT time! Visiting with dear friends is "the best". I have plans to head back in the spring for some spring snow goose hunting in Colorado with Hunterbug and some paddlefish (AKA "spoonbill", Polyodon spathula) fishing in Missouri with Rick and John.

Be nicer than necessary.
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