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 Post subject: Our second season hunting pheasants
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:14 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:17 pm
Posts: 17

That's Havoc. He's just three years old, this is our second season hunting and he's my first dog. It's been amazing to watch him learn and grow and train in to a pheasant hunting creature. It's been such a joy to watch how his training and natural talents come together- he does things every time we go out that simply amaze me. There is nothing he would rather do than find a bird and flush it up. That's not true- he would rather do that and bring one back. Bring one back from an impossibly deep thicket he had to think about how to get in to, crawl in to, then use his nose to find his bird is better. And then swim in the creek after completing his job and getting his treat, because Labrador.

We're hunting stocked birds on a large public hunting ground in South Central Wisconsin. Some are quite wily, all of them are chased around quite a bit so they are often running in deep tangled cover. Weather, weather cycles, sunshine angles, time of day compared to weather yesterday, where the hunters are, where they are not, where the food is... it's not at all like anything I read about. We're learning lots. Sometimes we find 'em deep in wet tangled marsh, sometimes back deep in crazy tangled thickets with blackberry canes that make man and dog bleed, sometimes they are in impassable woods... no matter how rough, dog gets in there with relish. Sometimes we just walk along like Lords of England and shoot them along a tractor trail and say "tut tut old chap, fancy a spot of tea? Do be a good boy and fetch that bird for me now."

So much to learn.

Some weeks it seems like I invent new ways to miss birds. A few days ago I was wondering what time it was, had my gun under and arm and was fussing with my phone when the dog flushed a bird from the woods 100 yards from the car. Dog may have called me a dumb @... but we fell in to good luck later and brought two home.

Some weeks are frustrating missing missing missing easy shots! Day after day, presented with shots that are too hard, unexpected, hitting the barrel on a sapling as I swing, just plain screwing up, heavy gusting winds, mostly me screwing up...

Then stretches of shots I just don't think about... bird goes up, smooth swing, watch the bird fall. Easy peasy like I am actually good at it.

Today Havoc flushed one inside a forest edge. Bird went straight up and with some effort I was patient as he clattered in tree branches then broke clear to the open. I shot too soon and felt foolish. Missed my second shot.. settled down, took time to swing and follow through.. and ... third shot, a long shot but full choke, no. 4 shot and it just felt right. Bird crumpled to confirm it. Dog was amazing at retrieving today's bird out of a really dense nasty thicket. Dogs are amazing, you know?

Right now I am carrying an Ithaca Model 37 in nice shape, but not so nice I mind some scratches from blackberry brambles.. made in 1945-1946. Fixed full choke, nice wood and blued steel, light weight, smooth as butter, sentimental attachments to it. My dad had an Ithaca in 16 ga.

I am working on new recipes...

 Post subject: Re: Our second season hunting pheasants
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:19 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:45 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Oswego, ks
My suggestion would be to have that barrel opened up to a modified or light modified choke and you won't miss so many shots on birds and they will be more edible when you do shoot them

LC Smith fan

 Post subject: Re: Our second season hunting pheasants
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:26 am 
Limited Edition
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:24 pm
Posts: 476
Location: NC
Screw the gun, enjoy every minute you have with Havoc. His time is limited and to a degree so is yours. Missing a few birds is part of the game, if we hit them all it wouldn't be much challenge would it?? Havoc will learn to give you dirty looks when you miss and smile when you connect, enjoy him...

 Post subject: Re: Our second season hunting pheasants
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:28 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:47 pm
Posts: 514
Location: NW IL
I am jealous. Good looking dog. It sounds like you may be hunting areas close to where I used to live and hunt 20+ years ago. I had a great female yellow lab and was working three 12 hr days a week. I would hunt 4 days a week.

I wouldn't sweat the full choke. That is all we used for years and we killed lots of birds. #5 lead is my favorite shot size for pheasants. However, my go to load for my full choke 3" 20 ga is 1.25 ounces of lead #4's.

There are plenty of sportsman's clubs around the area. Do some target shooting in the summer. Shoot some clay targets. You may be choked a bit tight for skeet, but go have fun. Try shooting low gun to get you in shape for hunting season. If you want to shoot some Wednesday evening in SW WI drop me a line. Enjoy the season.

Hunters don't have to make excuses for shooting at birds that are too close.

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