Since I wasn't as fortunate as some of the bird hunters I know, I didn't get to hunt the opener on September 1st. But, thanks to an invite from Shoco Ranch, I was hunting Saturday morning in some of the most beautiful country around.
Shoco is located just outside of Augusta, along the Rocky Mountain Front.Shoco is an oasis amidst mostly dry cattle country, with good bird habitat along a gem of a little trout stream. The fourth-generation owner of the ranch, Sally Shortridge, now manages the ranch for birds and also releases pheasants and chukars. Not truly wild birds, but you wouldn't know as you never see a pen of caged birds on the place and they fly as strongly as any game bird I have hunted.
Sally was a good host, as we hunted over both her German shorthair and my setters. (Guess which dogs required an hour of combing and grooming that evening) The dog work was good, the shooting decent and we finished the evening at a campfire at one of the three rustic, secluded cabins along the creek.
The next day Laura and I decided to trade the shotguns for fly rods and did a little fishing. The early September day was prime hopper time and Laura landed her first brown on a Joe's hopper. The creek held good numbers of fish and there were more deep runs than we could get to in a weekend. I really couldn't think of a place I would rather have been.