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 Post subject: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:17 pm
Posts: 17
The three year old fox red Labrador was settling down after we had hiked about three miles of tractor trail in eight inches of snow. The snow had transformed the scenery. We were the third hunter and second dog to explore even part of the hard to reach Wisconsin public hunting ground- we could tell from the tacks.

We had spent three hours hiking in fresh snow with only one sniffing birdy moment from the dog. He had a lot of fun running crazy-dog in the snow until he burned off enough energy to work. I didn't mind, he just turned three last month. I was huffing and puffing because of my great big snow boots, tromping in the fresh white snow, and I am old and fat!

As we stomped homewards through the woods between the just barely frozen pond and the strip of woods that borders the snow covered corn field I was looking forward to getting back to the car. "Only 400 yards to go" I am thinking.

In the fall, the dog insists on taking a quick dip and drink in that pond every time we pass it but it was recently iced over and the middle looked none too thick. I kept the dog off the ice, I didn't want to deal with muddy wet dog or dog stuck in frozen pond especially while cold, tired, in the snow and with the sun starting to set.

The dog's nose went down and tail started doing a very special kind of wag. I call it "Bird Tail". Havoc- the dog's name is Havoc- likes to give deer, rabbit and field mice tracks a good sniff- but they don't set his tail wagging like windshield wipers in a hurricane as recent bird scent does. We've kicked up a few birds here. Suddenly I am not cold and tired anymore.

I stomp along another hundred yards and the dog bounds in to the deep snow in the woods, looking hard now. Suddenly a pheasant rooster flushes with that explosion of wings, cackling, and bumps in to a tree. He flies up the trunk of the tree, bumping clumsily in to tree branches about seven yards from me. This scares the crap out of me, it had been that special quiet in the woods only snow brings for hours, I was completely taken off guard.

The bird is struggling with the tree long enough for me to turn to face him. This isn't an unusual situation for where I hunt- the birds are often inside the edge of forest and tangle with trees before flying in to the prairie. I've learned to not shoot the tree in excitement, but I am looking at him and the bead of my new shotgun. *

The bird rockets out of the tree darned near over the top of me. It's like a high-house skeet shot except I probably could have just reached out and whacked the bird with the barrel of my shotgun. I take a shot in excitement. **

I tug on the forearm to cycle a new shell as I watch the bird fly over the edge of the pond. I look at the thin center of the pond and yes, it's okay to drop this bird. WHAT??? I tug and tug on the forearm! My shotgun has never failed to pump! Wait a minute... hold on.. it slowly dawns on my. My new shotgun is an automatic.

There I am- facing the tree to the left I knew I would not shoot at but was provided an exciting wildlife spectacle. My feet are planted in calf deep snow wearing massive snow boots with the completely wrong stance as I am twisting to the right trying to cycle the pump of an automatic shotgun after taking a shot in rookie excitement. Derp! At some point I get twisted far enough to let two more shots go, mostly because I was hoping for luck and having carried the gun all day I just wanted to let is sing.

The dog runs across the frozen pond like it's an ice highway, showing me where his bird went while I blush in embarrassment. At least I didn't fall down in the snow.

We tried to work our way over to where the bird landed far on the other side of the pond, but it's rough marsh brambles even in the dry autumn and pretty much impossible to get to with eight inches of snow on all the trees and underbrush, all trails obliterated in wet fluffy stuff with nice squishy pond water waiting underneath some of it.

I made sure the dog knew he was a very good dog and I trudged back to the car defeated and humiliated. The only consolation is I had taken frozen pheasant out of the freezer and pheasant/mushroom/wild rice stew would be waiting for us in the slow cooker when we got home.

So excited by a bird I tried to pump and automatic shotgun. If this sport was easy...

*Don't look at where the bird is coming from, look where he's going to be
**Settle down and don't panic shoot
***Take the time to get a proper stance
****Don't pump an automatic shotgun... or... be familiar with your gun




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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:53 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:36 pm
Posts: 1009
Location: Endless Mountains of PA
StinkeyPete,

Well you might consider going back to your pump gun for your next hunt, I could see this happening if the Semi-Auto did not rotate and you were use to using a pump gun, your muscle memory would automatically kick in and you would try to pump the gun for another shot. Unfortunately your dog did a lot of hard work and he had no reward for his effort.

Might be time to invest in a good SXS double gun!

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

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L.C. Smith Man
Pine Creek Grouse Dog Trainers
Charlton Heston NRA Speakers Bureau Member
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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:43 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:50 pm
Posts: 2570
Location: SE Ohio...where ruffed grouse were
Perhaps it would help to read Gene Hill.


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:59 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:17 pm
Posts: 17
Dave, if I had a nice double I would not be putting these heavy hitting Fiocci 1 3/8 oz shells in it and would hesitate taking it out to get covered in snow.

For fine weather walks with the dog when shooting is only a necessity for suicidal birds that insult the senses, I think I will refurbish my 1946 Ithaca pump gun. It's what my dad and grandpa carried, it has that silly roll engraving that intrigued me as a little boy. With a little work, I can get mine looking nicer than it does and treat myself to an actual recoil pad instead of a hard plate. I guess for me a pump gun is the "Classic America" pheasant gun and the walnut from 1946 may not be "presentation grade" in it's day but it's real pretty by today's standards.

I went to a Fabarm L4s Hunter.. which is 6 oz heavier than my 30" barrel Ithaca but has a recoil pad. It's got fancy changeable choke tubes! It's got at least 3 shots. The stock is 13 1/2" and fits me great! It's a semi auto and yes, it really does soak up recoil.. and it can take 3" shells if I ever wanted to shoot a duck. Maybe someday. It swings nice for me and is easier to get through tight spots.. most importantly it's at that price point where every bit of is is really nice yet I will take it out in horrible conditions and bust through brush with it, but not feel sick that my zipper or coat button seems to be putting some little scratches on the receiver, as seems to be happening. It's just about perfect for me, I just need to learn it.

So yeah, the wise thing would be to use my pump gun this week as the DNR is releasing some more pen raised birds for the holiday hunt... hahahaha. Where is the fun in that? I'll keep telling myself "just pull the trigger, just pull the trigger, just pull the trigger..." and hope for the best.

This spring I'll be taking the new gun for some skeet and trap clay busting.

Meanwhile, I am looking over what I can sell from the gun safe to get me towards an interesting double barrel. Probably a 686 Ultralight but you never know what may show up from some nice fella that doesn't know how much his Sterlingworth is worth or needs cash money in a big hurry.

I enjoyed your comments, they fit exactly. The dog did all the work then got cheated out of the best reward ever- getting to fetch his bird back to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 377
Location: Finger Lakes
Nice story, you write well and it kept me intrigued. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:05 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:36 pm
Posts: 1009
Location: Endless Mountains of PA
Stinkey Pete,

Nothing wrong with the 46 Ithaca Pump, lots of sportsmen hunt with them! The 16 gauges are sweet guns.
I have a few O/U guns for shooting Clays, not for shooting live birds however. Each to his own!
The 686 is a nice gun for shooting Clays, good luck with acquiring one.

Most of the time I am using RST & Poly SpredR's in my Classic American and German Best double guns, some times I do have the Fiocchi high grade shells under the 2nd trigger for shooting thru big Grape Vines and edges of Hemlock trees, depending on the time of year and the habitat thickness. The Fiocchi shells have never damaged my good guns.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

_________________
L.C. Smith Man
Pine Creek Grouse Dog Trainers
Charlton Heston NRA Speakers Bureau Member
NRA Life Member/NRA Instructor


Last edited by Pine Creek/Dave on Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:31 pm
Posts: 411
Location: phila
sorta along the same lines i ran into a situation that made me like my m37 pump more then a semi auto.
if its real cold out and harder to move i'd sometimes carry my m51.

but a few yrs ago while hunting pheasants with my dog,i basically hooked up with an older gentleman and his very young dog.i was nearing the end edge of an extremely thick field.
i mean almost vine like ,you couldn't move thru it , you had to more step over it .
then my dog locked up solid in front of me.
knowing the older gentleman was behind me i stepped one foot over and it flushed on a hard crossing shot to my left. my feet weren't in position ,not only that they were tangled and i couldn't move them.
mean while i drew up and was able to to get ahead of the bird ,but was running out of waist rotation fast... now or never , i pulled the trigger.
soon as the recoil hit me i knew i was going over backward
at that point i was only worried about keeping the barrel pointed skyward in a safe direction.
only to be laying in weeds looking up at the sky hearing laughter.

so what does this have to do with favoring a pump gun ?
well once i went over i was trying to control my barrel direction but,
there was no way for me to accidentally discharge another round...

in the end everyone was safe and we both had a good laugh ,he told me it was not the most graceful thing he has ever seen,but i managed to get enough of the bird that the dogs were all over it


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:21 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:36 pm
Posts: 1009
Location: Endless Mountains of PA
twisted oak,

Good story sir!

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

_________________
L.C. Smith Man
Pine Creek Grouse Dog Trainers
Charlton Heston NRA Speakers Bureau Member
NRA Life Member/NRA Instructor


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:38 pm 
Presentation Grade
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Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:50 pm
Posts: 575
Location: The wilds of rural central California
Great story!
My Lab used to give me the dirtiest looks for missing.

tp

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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:04 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:26 am
Posts: 600
Don’t let your dog cross a frozen pond, if the ice breaks in the middle, you may end up with a dead dog. If you go out to help, you may also end up dead. Stay off of the ice.


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:52 pm 
*Proud to be a*
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Thanks for the interesting story, Pete. And I'll second the "stay off the ice" advice from 58Perazzi.

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Semi-Auto Classifieds is ONLY for Complete Semi-Auto shotguns.
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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:02 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:19 pm
Posts: 274
The ice on the pond had me a bit worried to read on, I thought for sure the story was going to turn into one about losing a dog, glad it ended differently. Things like this happen to the best of us, this sport is certainly a humbling one. You have an entertaining way of writing, thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:41 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:08 pm
Posts: 1839
Location: Minnesota
I’ve had the opposite happed several time, after switching from a semi auto, to a pump.


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:15 am 
Tournament Grade
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:46 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Greenville, Anderson, SC
df wrote:
I’ve had the opposite happed several time, after switching from a semi auto, to a pump.

Exactly. I've passed up on some nice pump guns for that reason - forgetting to rack another round thinking of the semi I should have been using.

Great story though! Well written.

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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:31 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:11 am
Posts: 4425
Location: Western Tampa, FL
Great story. Thanks for the laugh.


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:17 pm
Posts: 17
The end of this story is a week or so later it had snowed even more white fluffy stuff.

As I trudge along, the dog starts to get all birdy then his ears suddenly perk up and he leaps like a snow leopard in to some berry vines bent over and covered with snow. A rooster erupts from a little snow cave in there.

I had in my mind two things "Get your feet right and just pull the trigger." Saying that to myself over and over for about an hour before the bird went up.

This may sound silly but having been surprised by birds going every which way from every unexpected place you can imagine, I have decided that you aim a shotgun with your hips. There is a lot more to that, but I think you know what I mean.

I got my hips set and watched the bird go down in a windy snowstorm. I honestly can't remember shouldering the gun. I guess it fits right. I didn't try to rack the forearm but then I only needed one shot.

The dog, seeing the bird go down in 10" of snow, is bounding like a fox red snow leopard through the drifts, maybe with a bit of red rocket mixed in. He POUNCED on that bird and grabbed it!

He came running back to show me he'd done such a good job! He had been waiting a couple of weeks to do his favorite thing in the world, bring back a crippled bird. He was so pleased, he looked at me, then TOOK OFF, doing a wide circle of about 50 yard radius, bounding through snow drifts, bird in mouth, showing pure joy and what a good dog he was. Dang it. But he brought his bird back, tail wagging furiously and give up his treasure and I could not be mad. That's just too much Labrador joy to be held in one dog and some needed to be run off!

With just a few days left in the season and snow really making things impractical, the dog seems to have forgiven me for my earlier incompetence. As a side note, my wife was very pleased to have me cook up my grilled pheasant breast in maple syrup and apple vinegar marinade, over wild rice and chopped apples with chopped apple garnish.

Not a bad end to a pretty much horrible year for everything but pheasant hunting!


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 Post subject: Re: Completely shamed today...
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:37 pm
Posts: 748
Location: Belcamp,MD
Great prose! I really enjoyed the read and the follow-up conversation.

We have all, most likely been in your shoes, but fail to admit it!

Thanks for the great read.




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