Monday, October 19, 2009

Pheasant Hunt

I was contemplating returning to Klamath county in hopes of trying to fill my buck tag. After a dismal opening weekend plus a few extra days, I was eager to hunt the last couple days of the deer season. I finished what I needed to do at home and hit the road. I arrived late Sunday afternoon and got settled in to the cabin. Jet was anxious to get after some birds so we commenced to look for Pheasants before evening set in.

It didn't take us long before she scented her first bird and quickly flushed the colorful ring necked pheasant into the air. I followed up her flush with a resounding BOOM and dropped my first bird of the '09-'10 season. She made a fine retrieve as has become the norm. We continued walking the edges of the dikes and she worked hard covering both sides and top of the dike. Her otter tail held strong and steady parallel to the ground until she was on fresh scent. Then she began to wag quicker and quicker and eventually appearing as a helicopter blade circling ever faster just prior to flushing. It's at the circling portion of her scenting that really makes my heart speed up and start to skip a beat. Another flushed rooster jumps high into the air, cackling from being startled and flapping with all its might. I raise my gun to cheek and shoulder all the while keeping my eye on the pheasant. I swing my gun to meet the fast flying bird and continue a bit beyond to lead it and then squeeze the trigger. Another rooster for the freezer and a job well done by Jet as she delivers to hand.

She hasn't the pace of her youth, as seen by her graying muzzle although, she is wiser now and paces herself. From such humble beginnings we have become a well oiled team. Seldom do I need to reign her in or direct her to where the prospects look good. She knows the distance with which to work in relation to me and she has her own special areas she likes to cover. She has learned what to look for and when to back track. I too have learned to yield to her when she double backs. I have learned from my previous Labs also, that they usually know more than I do. So I wait and am often rewarded with a flushed pheasant. I have taken my share of dirty looks from my Labs over the years for not paying attention and respecting them and the job they were doing. As is often said about training dogs that it is seldom the dogs fault, and typically the owners fault. I have resembled that comment more often than not, and hopefully have learned a thing or two. Upland hunting is Jet's favorite pass time. Duck and goose hunting she enjoys, but I don't see the fire under her bum for that like I do for upland birds. We had a fine evening hunt and the following days were filled with more pheasants and even some waterfowl.

Last December on my birthday we were fortunate to get a limit of Wilson's Snipe. Jet had more scent than she knew what to do with. I must admit that there were a few hundred Snipe and she wasn't always staying within range of me. Not only that, but I had to mark the birds and go directly to them without taking my eye off that spot, for fear of losing the bird. I can't blame her for coming a bit undone and not staying focused. It is quite easy to get distracted when they keep flushing up unexpectedly. You can read the full story here, Hello Five -O.

The good news is that there are Snipe at Lowlands as I write this story. I am looking forward to more fast shooting and an energized over scented Jet. That's quite a package for sure. I will once again break out my Beretta Silver Snipe 20 gauge over under and the #8 steel shot. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. Those Snipe are very special birds and some of the finest table fare one can imagine.

There are few activities as fine as a fall Snipe hunt with a soft northern breeze and the smell of a marsh as the mud squishes under your boots. As the sun slides behind the horizon I make one more swing on a fast rising Snipe as they sound they're alarm call . . . scamp scamp scamp.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


Anonymous said...

Very nice post and a nice pheasant to go with it.

Jennifer Montero said...

I recognise that otter tail doing its impression of a heliocopter!! I had my little yellow lab out working today. I NEVER ceased to be amazed at how she finds those birds, and I have to tell her 'dad' about every one in detail when I get home.

And I completely agree about the 'trust your dog' statement. I'm embarassed about how many times I've tried to direct a dog to where I KNOW the bird's come down, only to have her run off at an angle, double back and pick it up. That's when she gives me the dirty look - and rightly so.

Sometimes she catches the scent of a pheasant and it's like she's been caught on a fly line - her head snaps back and her body just follows her nose. Love those labs!

Congrats on the first pheasant of the season. Looking forward to the snipe post. Happy shooting!


Live to Hunt.... said...

Way to go T! We went out and harvested our first two pheasants of the season yesterday as well. It was wonderful!

gary said...

Boy that brings back the good memories of when we lived in Vale and had good pheasant hunting. Idaho has a lot of hunting opportunities, but I haven't found the pheasant plentiful enough to hunt. Our leader was a yellow lab, loved to set and point but would not retrieve. She would go to the bird to make sure of our success, but would not bring it back, which made it interesting when the bird would drop on the other side of the Malheur river. Guess she figured if she was to get wet, I needed to get wet.

Never have done snipe hunting. Kind of wondered if there was enough meat there to eat, but you say its great table fare?

Enjoyed the read Terry, sounds like you really enjoyed it.

Terry Scoville said...

Thanks Rick.
Jen, so you've seen the helicopter tail too? It's really something to behold. I too am learning to let Jet do her thing and to stay out of her way. Things usually work out better when I do so.
LTH, glad you got your first Pheasants of the season, good job!
Gary, don't feel so bad that your Yellow Lab wouldn't get the birds. Jet was like that for her first 2 seasons pretty much. Tough being hunter and retriever, makes the hunter be much more selective with their shots. Hope you find some pheasants there in Idaho.

LarryB said...

What a great piece, again! :-) lb

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