Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The day was done. We had hunted a good five hours and were heading back to the car. My friend called it quits, but I couldn't let it go...just one more bird, just one more shot, and so I took my dog, Lucky, down wind to hunt a fence row back to the car.Within five minutes, Lucky was on a scent and acting more like a hunter than he had all day. I took him away from the fence and we walked about 100 yards down wind then worked our way back up the fence line which ended at the top of a hill less than 30 feet from where the car was parked. If there was a bird here, I wanted it to run out of running room at the end of the fence line.The next few minutes nearly made the day. All of the elements were here: Lucky's spring in his step, his birdiness, his active hunting appearance...My adrenaline elevation and the heart-thumping anticipation of the ultimate flush of the rooster obviously skulking up the fence line in front of us. Lucky was not to be fooled this time, as the rooster only had two options: hold tight and have Lucky on top of him, or continue up the fence line (there would be no doubling back or crisscrossing of tracks.) The bird took the latter route with Lucky working scent behind the bird, and me hustling up the hill behind Lucky. It was a classic fence line hunt.Sure enough, at the top of the hill came the cacophonous cackle and flurry of wings of the flushing rooster. The bird launched in an easy going away and angling shot for me. My gun was shouldered early and I let the bird gain some distance. Then I pulled the trigger, and waited on the thunder, but instead of the roar of my new 20 gauge semi-automatic, all I heard was…'click'...as the pheasant sped to a distant field. I am told, this is sometimes a problem with new semi-autos…they need a break in period before they cycle the shells 100% of the time, especially when hunting light loads. Perhaps the day ended as it should have…the final bird of the day flushed further into the fields to find a harem of hens and repopulate the fields for next year's hunt...