Friday, January 19, 2018

Joe Caton

Cooler weather reminds Joe to prep for hunting season

A conversation with Joe Caton
BHCN: Hello, Joe Caton.
Joe: Why, hello right back at you. How are you doing?
BHCN: I’m doing all right, just checking in on you.
Joe: I’m doing alright, also.
BHCN: That sounds good. Have you enjoyed this beautiful day?
Joe: Oh, absolutely this cooler weather is right up my alley. It’s perfect.
BHCN: What has this cooler weather enabled you to do that you would not have been able to do if the temperature were, say, in the mid-to-high 90s?
Joe: It has reminded me that hunting season in the high country isn’t that far off. So, I’ve been tuning up my elk rifle. I’m going to do some hunting up in the Beartooths when the season opens up in September. I’m rubbing my shoulder. I’m not used to the recoil, since I haven’t shot this rifle in a while – or I’m getting to be just too much of a softy or tender-shouldered to shoot these high-powered rifles.
BHCN: Which one of your rifles will you be using this year?
Joe: I’m going to use the .338 this year. I haven’t shot anything with it in the past, but I’ve done a lot of target practice with it. It’s very, very good. At 400 yards, I can easily keep my shots grouped on a dinner plate. 
BHCN: I’ve heard a lot of good things about the .338.
Joe: The recoil when you’re on a bench or sandbag rest is a lot different than when you shoot in an actual hunting situation. When you’re actually hunting, you take maybe one or two shots, but when shooting from the bench, you take a lot more and I now have a sore shoulder.
BHCN: The actual recoil is the same, whether you’re shooting from the bench at a paper target or when you’re in the field and shooting at a big bull elk. However, I’ve noticed that the pain from the recoil – whether it’s the first or the second shot – is more noticeable when shooting from the bench than when I’m shooting in an actual hunting situation. So, what do you think makes the pain more noticeable – the lack of adrenaline when bench shooting or are you holding your rifle differently in the field?
Joe: I think it’s both. I think you’re more interested in making the shot on the animal, plus you’re in a different posture when not on a bench rest with solid support. Anyway, I’m getting tuned up and I’m ready. 
BHCN: It sure sounds like it. Are you taking only the .338 this year?
Joe: I think so. I’m going to concentrate on taking an elk with that.
BHCN: What happens if you come across a really nice-sized muley buck?
Joe: Oh, no problem. If he’s within 100 to 200 yards, I can easily make a head or neck shot.
BHCN: That would be nice – and then the next day, bring down that big bull elk.
Joe: Absolutely. I’m getting ready to fill my winter’s supply of meat. I’ve got my meat grinder out and some sausage recipes I’m going over. I’m getting a jump on the season. When it gets here, I want to be ready. This cooler weather is reminding me it isn’t all that far away – middle of September in the high country is coming around here pretty quick.
BHCN: You’re right, the cooler weather does have an effect on your thinking. For you, it sets off memories and plans for hunting in the high country. I can remember the same effect on me, but it set off excitement that it was time for football. Have you been able to do any fishing this past week?
Joe: Yes, and I would say the river is down to somewhere around 5,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) – just guessing – and it’s very, very good fishing considering how warm the water is.
BHCN: Well, your guess is just about right on. The website says the river flow rate is currently 5,131 cfs.
Joe: They might be off 100 or so. 
BHCN: Did you say the water temperature has started to cool down, too?
Joe: No, the river is very, very warm. It is about as warm as I’ve ever seen it.
BHCN: I wonder why they’re leaving it so warm.
Joe: I don’t think they have much choice with the introduction of all this high, warm water. It’s my understanding they’ll quit off the top here, if they haven’t already, and once they start drawing off the bottom of Yellowtail – then, the cooler water will be coming into the river and that will be a real benefit. 
BHCN: Will this warmer water interfere with any upcoming spawns?
Joe: We’ll have the browns spawning here before too long, but I think we’ll be okay because we’ll have cooler temperatures and cooler water by that time. The water flow should be pretty steady. 
BHCN: Has the water cleared up some?
Joe: It is clearing. It’s a little mossy, but it’s not bad.
BHCN: You said you had been out fishing on your own this past week, is that correct?
Joe: Yes, and the fishing is quite good considering the water temperature. I like to get out just a soon as it’s light enough to fish. I’ve been doing some streamer fishing and working some Tricos, they’re a little surface fly, or dry fly. The streamers have been working really well for me.
BHCN: If you’re having good results with the streamers, does that tell you the fish are staying in the deeper, cooler water?
Joe: They’re active, going for the large food source because there are so many minnows in the river right now, and they’re keying on that.
BHCN: Did you say there are so many minnows in the river now?
Joe: Yeah, there are a lot of very small minnows and they could be gold-eye or carp or a mix of anything. There are more now than I’ve ever seen before and the trout, especially the bigger trout I like to go for, are keying in on the streamers.
BHCN: That sounds like a good fishing tip to end our talk on this week – lots of minnows in the river right now, so use streamers. Talk to you again next week, Joe.