We headed for the hills this Saturday in search of Grouse. I’m new to the world of Grouse, and most other bird related activities, but I’m taking it all in and learning as much as possible. Pics below.
So this may seem obvious to most, but it was a learning experience for me. When cleaning birds, make sure they are completely dead before leaving them on the floor in your kitchen. How do I know this? I learned it the hard way this weekend.
Based on my last two excursions with my “new to me” 4-year-old skinny as a whip setter Nick, I wasn’t convinced that he was capable of preforming the duties he was assigned, e.g. pointing and retrieving upland game. So I set out this Saturday for hunting a preserve with the expressed intent of purchasing and planting birds for him to point.
We accomplished that goal, and did it with style. He honored the other Setter on a few birds, he pointed planted birds and birds that were released on the wing and allowed to settle in wherever. All-in-all I would call it a huge success, and I ended with a nice bag of Chukars to take home. What a great and admirable bird, tough and flighty even when raised in a pen.
It was bit nippy out and getting dark so I decided to clean the birds in my kitchen in stead of the usual garage workbench routine.
I put my vest full of birds on the floor and went about the business of rendering them into edible bits.
When all of a sudden the dog shows up at my feet with his ears perked staring at the bird bag. Move along I told him, all dead, nothing to see here.
As you might expect, Nick knows more about this stuff than I do, and right then a bird jumps out the bag, runs across the kitchen floor into the living room leaving a streak of white poop on the carpet as it went. The bird was follwed by a clambering parade of me, the dog and my five year old son scrambling after it in a cloud of knees and elbows.
We cornered it on its way to the bedroom before it left us anymore presents on the carpet and I quickly ended it’s short career as family pet. CHUK-that.
The day after the pheasant opener this year I headed up to a tolerable spot for such things. Its big enough that even on busy bird hunting day like the day after the opener, you have a few fields to yourself.
Driving along in the pre-dawn haze nearing my destination I noticed a dog with a beeper collar on running along the road. I slowed down to a near crawl and he darted right out in front of me. I slammed on my brakes and nearly threw my dog for a loop in the back. I avoided calamity, but only barely. I looked out my passenger’s side window to the adjacent grass field. The owner gave me a thank you wave. I chuckled and thought yeah, mine would probably do the same thing, your welcome.
After searching for a spot a bit, we found a likely looking pull off without a truck in it. The dog was visibly excited, if not down right loony, to get out there and track some birds. As soon as I set foot out of the Jeep I heard a rooster cackle in the field across the road. So thats right where we headed.
We hunted that entire field and found nothing. We had some hot spots, some likely looking almost points, some birdy looking turns, but nothing to write home about. We hunted back across to the thicket next to the road and headed towards the car to get some water and rest. We were no more than 50 yards from the road and I heard gun shots right on the road not too far away. What the?
I step out onto the road and there’s a couple of guys parked on the side it. I leashed the dog up and slowly made my way over to them. They told me they were driving down the road and a rooster ran right out of the thicket. They pulled over, got out of their truck and shot it. They shot my bird, those bastards.
Then he says, “are you the guy in that Jeep parked back up there?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Oh, well your the one that my dog ran out in front of earlier. Thanks for not running over him,” he said with and air of apology. “Oh and sorry we shot your bird.”
Not a problem, Thats the way it goes I suppose.
But I am a taxpayer, and it was MY bird.
So today is opening day for Pheasants in Ohio. I didn’t plan very well and couldn’t take today off to go chase them on opening day. So it will have to wait until tomorrow. This year I have a new, to me, Setter named Nick, and we will see how he does on Pheasants. My plan is to go hunt the thickets for woodcock and hopefully not play out the missing dog scenario that we had a few weeks ago, and with any luck it will be the places that the majority of the folks out hunting the grasslands will avoid, and will find some roosters hiding out from the madness. That’s pretty much how it went last year.
According to the Rapid City Journal the always bombastic Ted Nugent might be in hot water again, this time in South Dakota. Apparently it is unclear if his license was suspended in California earlier this year for supposedly…
…hunting deer in a baited area and failing to get an authorized signature on a deer tag. Other misdemeanor charges were dropped in a plea bargain with prosecutors there.
I don’t understand how it could be so hard to figure out that his license was suspended or revoked. It either was or wasn’t. It shouldn’t require an “investigation.” Probably just a phone call? But “investigation” sounds so much more interesting and news worthy.
Now I understand that we have laws and rules that need to followed, and they exist for a reason. But one of my complaints about our system is that it makes it SO complex to participate in these activities that it discourages people from participating. Hammering people for technicalities like these just seems ridiculous and when it makes headlines like this, it gives people the wrong impression, that the game wardens are out there waiting for you to slip up so they can bust. Ph wait a lot of times they are.
Not only that, but I’m not sure why you even need a lisence to hunt on a preserve that is private property with pen raised birds at your own expense? If you want to shoot someone’s pet birds out in the fields they own you shouldn’t have to pay the state for a license to do that.
I understand that license fees generate revenue for habitat, access and all that stuff. I get that, and its totally necessary, and I support it fully. If you are going make use of those elements and hunt on public land and shoot wild birds or released birds, raised by the state, then yeah you should be required to have a license. But if I own a bunch of land and raise a bunch of birds and want to charge people to come hunt them, what does that have to do with the state? I just don’t get it.
Now mind you, I’m not standing up for old Uncle Ted. If you’ve broken the law you need to own up to it, as he did and face the consequences. And if your license is suspended or revoked you need to pay attention to where you can and can’t hunt, its part of the deal.
But I do think that this sends a message to the general public that if someone as informed about the issues and dedicated to the sport as he is, can flub up like this, then maybe they could too. SO maybe he doing a diservice to the community by being an idiot? Yah think?
Then again, maybe most people will just think he is a yahoo and move on with life? You make the call! Why am I even devoting time to this stupidity anyway… who knows?
Yesterday I went in search of Woodcock at what is said to be a good place to find them Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Now mind you, I had number of things working against me. Todays’ media would seieze this opportunity to use a favorite buzzword, “perfect storm” but I hate that phrase and think its overused, so I’ll just say that I had a few things working against me.
1. I took my 5 year old son. Caveat Emptor right? He actually kept up pretty well and except for one fall where he skinned his knee on a log, he didn’t whine once. That by itself, is a WIN! His official capacity was billed as “photographer” and he fulfilled his duties without exception.
2 . I got there later than I wanted to, so it was dry and windy. Not good scenting conditions for the dog.
3 . This is only my second “hunt” with my new “to me” dog Nick. For first hunt with Nick, see Dove post a few weeks back.
4. The place is north of a GIANT chicken poop farm, and the winds were not working in my favor.
After an hour or so of pounding around in the woods we decided to head to the truck for lunch, but apparently Nick didn’t want to so he stayed out. Where he was I will never know, hopefully not on point, because I gave him a couple good jolts with the E-collar to remind him to catch up, but he didn’t oblige.
After a phone call to a friend and some fretting at the car, I decided we needed to go back where we last saw him. On the way I remembered his enthusiasm for all things that go bang, and let off a couple of shots with my firearm.
As you might expect my 12 Gauge Dog whistle worked like a charm and he was at my feet in a minute.
I then leashed him up and we healed back to the car.
I probably did everything wrong, and we have a lot of work to do Nick and I. But the only way to learn is to get out there and do it right?
One bright spot is, I finally put my Android phone with My Tracks GPS mapping software to work. You can see EXACTLY where I hunted on the public Google map over here. I’m generally against detailed information disclosure of this sort but if ain’t a honey hole, then telling you where it is won’t really matter right? So there you have it.
The collage above shows the placement of the chicken poop factory due south. PEEEE-yew, burning nostrils, I’m sure it smelled heavenly to the dog though 🙂
I will post some photos of our hunt, from the eyes of a child later tonight.
This morning I was made aware of a new boat that has given me paddle lust. The Diablo Paddlesports hybrid Sit-on-top stand-up-paddle boat. After successfully launching my home-built Wee Lassie I thought my next boat would have oar locks and be of the drifty dory type hull. But this whole stand-up-paddle situation looks mighty tempting especially for its usefulness in the salt, which my pretty little Wee Lassie will thankfully never see.
From the looks of the photo above one of the founders of Diablo Paddlesports runs shorthairs, which are cool, but not as cool as Setters, sorry guys.
And I heard this morning that Earl Scruggs has been hospitalized. We hope its nothing serious, get well soon EARL!
UPDATE 2:45 p.m. – We have learned from the Scruggs family that Earl’s hospitalization is not a cause for great concern, and that he is feeling much better.