Saturday, December 13, 2008

Calm Before The Storm

12/12/08 While a major winter storm forecasted altered my plans to take a hunting trip east this weekend, Dad and I sneaked out for a day of bird chasing. We had decided to hunt some remote parcels, coverts that might be difficult to access once the snow begins to drift on the prairie.
The day started out poorly, as we had a rancher (or rancher's hired man), slam a door in our face, when we were just trying to get his take on a public land boundary, near his ranch. We didn't want to take any chances with a crackpot like that, so we vowed to come back another day. As a result, no Christmas card for him and our Hun plan changed to a pheasant one. (It also made me log on to the PLWA website and make a donation when I got home. These guys are an outspoken group that does a lot of good work. Check them out.)
The birds and the dog work saved the day. There is some sentiment from a few birddoggers that pheasants are the devil and can ruin pointing dogs with their propensity to run. Sure, they love to run-especially in December, on ground that has been hunted by many. But, the birds can't run forever. Dad and I shot 5 roosters, over points. The shooting is the easy part, sort of a necessary evil to reward the dogs for scenting, pointing, relocating, pointing, relocating........I am amazed at how dogs can handle Huns, ruffed grouse, blue grouse, pheasants, sage grouse, sharptail and woodcock, all in a span of three months. They all reside in slightly different habitats and respond differently to dogs and hunters.
And yes, the storm came. Hope those birds find cover.

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