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Jeff
JEFF
IDLEMAN

Cockleburs

Why They Call it Hunting

Mon, November 14, 2011

Two days hunting, fired one shot and missed.  Had a great time with friends and am amazed that Lil, the 12 year old wonder dog, is still going strong – so far. 

Lil

I treasure the fall days I get to spend with friends, following dogs, exploring new cover and occasionally shooting at pheasants.  It’s not about the shooting, it’s more about sharing the enjoyment of finding good cover, matching wits with the birds, watching the dogs in action and, most of all, sharing these times with others who enjoy the same things.

I’m a blue collar, wild bird hunter.  I don’t own any land, no put and take places (unless dog training), always scrambling to find a place to hunt and respect those who give me access to their land for our fall jaunts.  Wild game is a finite resource that gets drawn down every hunting season.  I realize that and accept it.  Other people will hunt the same fields I hunt and a rooster in December can be a rare prize.  I always admire the birds we see and try to treat them with respect. 

Last Saturday we had high hopes as we went back to a field that had been great for the opener.  We knew that other hunters had permission for the same land but we had good dogs, good strategy and expected to find at least a few birds.  The Prairie Fox had us all deployed according to his proven strategies and we worked the cover essentially the same way we had before.  A couple of hens got up wild and a determined push through the extra nasty brush and briars only flushed a single rooster who sailed away saluted but unscathed. 

We were a little puzzled but these things happen.  However, as we were standing on a bridge at the end of the field, we looked down into the water and noticed 4 roosters on the rocks in shallow water.  There were also three deer that had just had the hindquarters and backstraps cut out and then dumped.  The pheasants looked to be in remarkably good shape so Mr. D. went down and took a closer look.  Two of the roosters had been breasted and two of them were uncleaned and not damaged.  They had probably been shot the day before.  It was disappointing that there are people who shoot wild pheasants and then just throw them away.  I also don’t understand why you would throw them in the water.  Leave them where the critters can get them easily.

Sunday, we went to a long ditch that had been productive in the past and walked into the teeth of a booming gale.  It wasn’t cold but the wind kept getting stronger and stronger.  My neighbor recorded gusts of 43 mph on his little doo hickey.  We hunted good looking cover with corn stalks on the edges and only saw two roosters at long range.  We figured out this mystery when we saw a big field of standing corn at the end of the main ditch.  Must be the only standing corn in a 50 mile radius.  That’s where the birds were.

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