Friday, January 22, 2010

Pheasants.

I’m not sure if I should call this my first pheasant hunt or not. See, I went a couple of times… 28 years ago! … never since. I got a call from my buddy Ned that he was going out for his birthday and wanted to know if I wanted to join him. DUH, you had to ask? OK, now to make sure I have everything… field vest, orange hat, small game license, box of #5 pheasant loads (Winchester) for my Khan O/U 20 gage (don’t laugh, you’ll see why in a minute…) and my cameras. For this trip, I was going to try out the Epic clip on video camera and see how it works.

This was going to be a “paid” hunt. At BT Joe’s is not like hunting ground animals behind a fence, it’s more of a pay for a bird and hope it stays in the fields your allowed to hunt, type hunt. The owner drives out to the fields we’ll be hunting and while we’re in the club house, he places birds throughout the field. They are now free birds. They can stay, run or fly away…and some do. The benefit to us, as the hunters, is that anything in the field is fair game (birds, that is). Even if we only bought 20 birds, if we flush 40 and drop 30….we keep them all, no extra cost. Even if we flush quail or chukars.

So, after a round of introductions for the 5 hunters and the owner (Bruce Tobias) and a round of Happy Birthday’s to Ned, we gather the dogs and head to the fields. Needless to say, I’m just to darn happy for my own good! All the hunters are full of good advice and the walk out is spent listening and learning…every time you go out is an opportunity to learn.

The dogs are a little too excited and full of energy…I think they just about knocked me down half a dozen times! In fact, they’re so excited that when we get to the start of the field one of the dogs starts hunting and just plain refuses to turn back on command….yikes. It just happens that it’s Ned’s dog, Bentley….loves to hunt! So Ned loads up quick and jogs out to Bentley (while getting a little irritated…) who promptly flushes a nice hen, which Ned promptly drops to the ground. Happy Birthday Ned!

Now that the game is on, the rest of us get loaded up and spread out. I’m walking next to Mike V. and his camera, who just so happens to own a couple of the dogs working for us. While we’re walking he’s helping me to learn how to read the dogs as they work the field. When he say’s “get up there” cause the dog changes attitude….get up there! I no sooner got to the dog when she pushed the bird and BLAM! My first pheasant ever! Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to have a big $$ gun to hunt birds with! Not only that but after knocking down 3 birds with 4 shots (missed the last one, changed to my left hand cause my right arm was getting tired…didn’t practice left handed enough) those guys were all over checking out my little $200 Khan O/U. Later in the afternoon, Sal (one of Mike V’s dogs) flushed a beautiful rooster right in front of me. It exploded flying to my right.
It just so happened that since I had switch to my left hand (ambidextrous) he was flying in a good line for a shot. Unfortunately, I haven’t been practicing left handed wing shooting and my shot was just a tad bit behind him….ever see a pheasant with no tail feathers? Seriously, just like a knife he had absolutely no feathers on his tail. I couldn’t follow up with my second barrel because he flew between me and the end hunter… who missed 2 shots at him. Got to watch the tailless bird fly high over the woods…and keep going. Good thing they grow back.


By the end of the day, everyone had dropped some birds. Out of 20 birds bought (a mix of hen and rooster pheasants), we’ve bagged 16, plus a nice little red quail who thought she could out fly the birthday boy. One of the birds I dropped was a real nice looking black pheasant. The neck colors that are normally a bronze/brown color were black with gold highlights. If the dogs didn’t decide to get all competitive about who got to carry it, it wouldn’t be missing a huge chuck of neck/breast feathers and I would have got it mounted…oh well, just means I have to get out there and try it again! Darn!

We headed back to the club house were Bruce had the grill going and was getting a round of potatoes and steaks ready for our plates! Yum! While he was working on the grill, Ned and Pete got going and breasted out all the birds. I tried to get in there but was told he was in the grove…just keep the birds coming. All in all an excellent way to spend a nice 30 degree day outside. The Epic cam lasted about 30 minutes on regular AAA batteries which created a 30 minute recording. I’ll be posting some of the video later…as soon as I figure out what is good and what just makes you dizzy watching me walk…

1 comment:

Matt Woodbury said...

Man, I am JEALOUS! I love me some pheasant!