Started out the New Year with my Brother and a couple of long-time Friends from Califon, doing something that I had not done since 1991…..Rabbit Hunting! Geez come to think of it, I had not hunted with these guys easily in twenty five years or more.
So when I was leaving Mom`s on Christmas eve, saying good-bye and all, I shook my Brother`s hand and he asked, “Hey bud, if you don`t have any plans on New Year`s Day, Hanky, Pete and me are going rabbit hunting and we wanted to know if you wanted to come along?”
“Well hell, I have plans now! Sure I would love too” I replied, “Just text me what time we`re meeting”
Let me enlighten you a bit, as to whom these fellas are and why they`re special to me. First off, there aren`t very many folks around these parts anymore, that are actually from Califon. But the four of us, Pete Samski, Hank Stillwell, Keith Beam and of course, myself, are true Califon Natives as we all grew up here. As a matter of fact, both Hanky and Pete, being a little older than me and my Brother, played softball and also were members of the Califon Fire company and hunted with our Dad. So that`s why this rabbit hunt was special for me anyways……..to be able to hunt once again, with these gentlemen that also hunted with our Dad. Both of them know what it was like in Califon, in days gone by……a time when hunting was more of a mainstream activity in town.
So we met up at 9am and finally got to the spot around 9:30….when we got there Keith asked, “Well what are the teams?” Pete said, “Ahhhhh I guess I`ll take Kenny….. can you shoot? he asked busting my chops!
I replied laughing, “Hell yea Pete….. I got three shells in the gun!” and Hanky said, “Hey that might get expensive if you miss a lot!” and we all laughed as we trekked down the dirt lane to begin our hunt.
We took turns driving different patches for each other, in other words, Pete and me drove a patch for Keith and Hanky then vice-versa. The first patch I heard Hanky say “Ohhh…there goes one!” then shortly after that I saw Keith put his gun up……. but never shot. When we got to the end of the brush patch they both said they had seen a few rabbits……. but neither shot! I chimed up and said, “Did you guys come here to hunt or what? Keith give me your gun”…… as I pulled my phone out of my pocket I said, “Here shoot some pictures with this, since you don`t want to shoot your gun!” haha! And we all laughed like hell.
They drove the next brush patch for us……. nothing. No bunnies. So we were up again to drive. As I kicked around in a patch of rhododendrons a rabbit tore from the cover as I quickly fired off two shots……missed. Moments later, Pete fired off a round…..missed. Then in less than a minute, he kicked up another one…..and missed. Keith and Hanky were laughing like hell, “Now that shooting is going to cost you boys some money!”
I said, “Damn….. I swore I rolled that rabbit!”…..”I just need to settle down a bit” as we all laughed.
Over the next few hours, we laughed and joked and just had a really great time……..
To be able to hunt with the three of these guys again was a true Califon camaraderie indeed.
And I did settle down, as you can see….
Someone once said, “It`s more fun to think of the future than dwell on the past”……
Ya know what I think?
I don`t believe that person grew up in a town as magical as Califon with these kinds of Friends way back when. As for this politically correct world that we live in nowadays,…….well…….
“Do forgive my evil ways……
Sometimes I have a real hankerin` for the past with true old Friends and some fine rabbit stew”
NJ Quail hunting down in Greenwood Forrest, deep down in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey is something that I do indeed enjoy with my good friend Curt Ryder each small-game hunting season. Last Saturday we ventured down into the Pine Barrens to have a go at those tasty NJ Quail.
I met up with Curt at our usual spot at 4:30am as it`s about a two hour drive to our destination in Greenwood Forrest. Loaded up my old Browning 20-gauge shotgun, gave Jake a pat on the head as I jumped in his truck and we were on our way.
The terrain is quite different down there compared to what we`re use to when hunting in up in north Jersey. Much flatter, sand rather than dirt, and I don`t ever remember getting a tick on me while down there either.
As we headed to the fields right before sunrise, Jake was fired up and ready to go as usual!
With the action hot and heavy, it wasn`t long before Curt scored his first Quail on that very cool morning(see his breath?) –
I certainly heated up the barrel on my `ol 1959 Belgium Browning 20 gauge that day as there was plenty of shooting!
Here is the video I shot of our NJ Quail Hunting Adventure down in the Pine Barrens;
It was a great morning hunting as we ended up with our limit of Quail.
Till next time….
A great morning hunting with a great friend…….. It doesn`t get any better.
I`m 51 years old & I still get as excited about the first day of NJ Small Game Hunting Season as much as when I was nine years old & Dad let me actually hunt with him carrying my trusty single-shot .410 shotgun on that Opening Day long ago.
(Yes yes……. I know…….. legally you can`t be a licensed hunter in NJ until you are ten years old……… All I can say is that things were very different back then. Hell I`d been walking alongside my Dad rabbit hunting since I was six years old. Nowadays you wouldn`t think about
letting a kid hunt without having a NJ Hunting License………yea……. like I said folks, it was just a different time way back when)
So on Saturday I met my best friend Curt Ryder & his dog “Jake” at our usual meeting place,… the Quick Check on 46.When Curt pulled into the Quick Check, I grabbed my gun & hunting gear & as I jumped in his truck he joked sayin`, “Geez………. What the hell is goin` on here???
Ken Beam is actually on time! For that matter he`s even early!“…… ha! ha!
Our Hunting destination was about a little over an hour away.
We planned on hunting the Walpack Cemetary as we usually do very well there on Opening Day of Small Game Hunting. The weather was perfect. It was a nice, cool, sunny Autumn morning to hunt.Curt had this new GPS-tracking collar on Jake & it was really pretty exciting because it actually tells you how far away he is & and when he`s on “point”! As you walk towards the dog, it shows your getting closer on the GPS screen.
By 11am we each had our limit of two Pheasants. It was definitely a great morning to start the NJ Small Game Hunting Season of 2014!