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Pheasants and presents...

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I was lucky enough to get out this Saturday morning. What a great day for bird hunting. The weather was 34 degrees with a little sun and a 15 mph breeze out of the northwest. My brother couldn't go with me but he was thinking ditches with cattails in them would be the ticket. Normally I'd hunt "big cover" but I was thinking exactly the same thing as he was and decided today would be a great day to hunt ditches choked with cattails on the bottom. But, first things first. Before hunting the ditch I had in mind I went to the land owner's farm place and dropped off a couple of birds I had cleaned and frozen from a previous hunt.

After saying thank you for the privilege, I headed over to the ditch and loaded up the gun put the bell on the dog and turned the "white wonder" loose. The cool thing about these types of ditches is often times the cattails form sort of a tunnel right down the middle. Dixie knows this ditch hunting gig and headed right to the bottom and started working her way through the tunnel. It didn't take long and we had our first bird pointed. Usually the birds do one of three things in a ditch like this: 1) They run like mad and eventually flush wild. 2) They move out of the cattails and up the ditch bank and sit tight hoping we'll pass them by. 3) They sit tight in the cattails in the bottom of the ditch (usually happens after a good snow). In this case we had a hen that had moved out of the cattails and half way up the opposite ditch bank hoping we'd pass her by. It's always interesting to watch a dog work scent in the bottom of a ditch because the scent tends to swirl and eddy. Sometimes the dog isn't sure of where the bird is because of this. Dixie ended up pointing this hen with her nose almost straight up. After flushing the bird we continued on our way with Dixie making a few "young dog" mistakes as well as doing some good things. As we moved along I could tell by the cadence of her bell that she was making game. Not long after the bell stopped. Upon my approach a rooster flushed. One shot and one rooster in the bag. After recovering the bird from the plowing we jumped back in the ditch and continued on our way. Looking up, I noticed we were approaching a spot that has brush, cattails and tall grass. In other words a perfect spot for a few birds to hole up. I could hear Dixie working about 60 yards ahead when suddenly her bell stopped. As I cleared a rise in the field Dixie decided to take liberties and flush the bird on her own. &^%#$%$. A nice rooster came boiling up out of the grass. After chewing her out for her transgression we started moving again. It wasn't 10 seconds and another rooster flushed wild straight across the ditch from me. Bang! Bang! !#[email protected]#$!!! The gun jammed. The bird flew off unscathed. Reload and keep moving. Five steps later another rooster launches itself from the top of the bank on my side. One shot and we're done for the day. I glance at my wrist watch and only 25 minutes had passed. Not too bad for a half hour of work. Definitely fun but way too short.

Now we could either walk across the plowing to the truck or I could have the "white wonder" hunt her way back to the truck by retracing our steps. I knew that there would be at least a couple birds we missed and I wanted to give Dixie a chance to do things right so I decided to take the scenic route back. It wasn't long before Dixie was making game and had a hen pointed. After the flush and some praise we continued on our way hoping to find a rooster to pin. It wasn't long and our wish came true. Dixie wasn't sure where bird was but after some careful work she had it located. I moved down the bank and through the neck high cattails and the rooster exploded out of the edge of the 'tails. More praise and we're on our way back to the truck.

Here's a pic of our efforts for the morning. The birds are really getting big now and had plenty of fat on them so they seem to be eating well. Also, don't forget to pay the landowners a visit and bring a gift to thank them for the privilege of hunting their ground.


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nice story/hunt...wish we'd have had that kind of success yesterday. Lets just say we did A LOT of walking and very little shooting.

Had our 2 year old golden out for her first real pheasant hunt and she did good though! Go figure she flushed about 15 hens at our feet but the only roosters we could find jumped up ahead of us at about 70 yards. Gorgeous day to be out however and the young dog is showing some promise so that is pretty exciting. Now I'm wishing I had brought her to SD along with my buddie's dog. We're gonna get out at least once more before close and also try a game farm sometime soon as well.

Happy Hunting.


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Good story and pic. I was able to sneek out a couple of times over the weekend also. Monday we hit a couple of sections of public land near Princeton. Saw a few flush wild on the other side of the swamp, too far to tell hen from rooster. We did get one hen to flush from point with some good dog work.

I was able to get out for a while yesterday afternoon. We hit some cattails around a shallow lake. There were not a lot of birds around but did get some to flush, mostly hens but did find 3 roosters. I missed 1 due to rushing my shots. My falt and a bummer after a nice point from the dog. Next rooster I get w/ 1 shot. The third I didn't get a shot off due to not following my dog close enough. I should learn that she knows where they are better then me. Oh Well, it was a great hunt and the weather was awesome. I will be out again before the end of the year, its just so much fun with a good pointer!

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Went out for the last hunt of the season around Morris/Chokio today. We must have seen 200 birds over the course of the day. About 190 of them were 100 yards away, but it was really cool. They would get up one after another for 30 seconds straight. We ended up getting our limit, but worked pretty hard in the river bottoms and sloughs for them. Time to get the guns cleaned up and put away for the year. This was a pretty remarkable year when thinking about the pheasant hunt.

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Been trying to get out to Kansas the last 2 weekends but keep getting hit by blizzards. The highway is closed again between here and there and probably will stay that way thru Sunday. At least the season runs till the end of January.

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Went out this a.m. for the last time. My one year old golden flushed 14 hens. No roosters. Would have been fun to shoot a couple more, but I has been an excellent season. This mild weather will definately help for a good crop of birds next year.

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