You shot MY bird!

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.

Chasing Phez.

A Ditch CHicken from last year's successful trip.

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.

Des Moines hosts Pheasant Fest – with bird dog parade.

Cady, an English cocker spaniel owned by Curt Poquette, at the bird dog parade.

From comes news of the Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest. Sounds like a good event. There is some interesting details about habitat loss to crop production in there as well. Something to think about.

“The relationship a bird hunter has with that dog, it doesn’t exist in deer hunting or fishing,” he said. “It’s the partnership between man and a canine that is almost completely unique to bird hunting.”

About 400 vendors catering to upland hunters, sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists formed the core of the trade show. It also includes seminars and family events with everything from art to shotguns and tractors to puppies.

Pheasants from Public Land in Ohio

We headed to one of our state public hunting grounds yesterday and flushed a few birds. Three Quails, Two Pheasants, and a Woodcock. However woodcocks were out of season, quail are off limits due to lack of numbers, but we did take down two pheasants. Pictures are below.

Boo Is On Point for our first Pheasant of the day

First Bird, flushed from thick cover on the edge of a pond.

Close up of the first bird in hand.

Left to right: Boo, Pheasant, & Me