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Thrill of the Chase

Mon, November 19, 2012


Beautiful contrails over Belva Deere WMA in Iowa.

First day of a 3-day pheasant hunting trip in southeast Iowa.  Sunny weather, beautiful cover, 3 springers working well and we’re 5 minutes out of the truck.  Dogs start getting birdy in a weedy corner.  We move together and let the dogs work it out.  Suddenly, a rooster erupts less than 20’ from me, towers above Mr. Drysdale then heads out.  I let him get a little distance then drop him with one shot.

OK, shooting story over.  That was all the shooting we did the entire trip. We hunted areas we had hunted in the past and found birds.  Not like NW Iowa but 4.5 hours closer to home.  This year, the cover looked great, no spent shells or boot prints from previous hunters, we found lots of milo, soybeans and standing corn.  Kudos to Iowa DNR for good habitat management. However, the pheasants just aren’t there. 

We met a farmer near Hayesville Bend who said there were only 2 roosters in the entire 537-acre area (it felt like he had given them nicknames.)

So, was the trip a bust? Not at all.  Mr. Drysdale and his dad Terry were great companions.  Mr. D’s new dog Maggie is the fastest, most agile springer I’ve ever seen.  It was like watching a pinball machine as she bounced through the cover.  My 13-year-old Lily managed to hunt the whole time. Definitely, slower but still committed to finding birds.

We probably punched out about 20 hens and saw 3 other roosters who flushed wild.  The funniest was on the second day when we stopped for a breather, chatted for five minutes while Lil piddled around then watched a rooster flush 30 yards away who had been there the whole time. Nobody was in position for a shot.

We saw several deer, jumped a coyote, ate some good food, solved several world problems and just enjoyed having the chance to work great looking cover with the prospect of finding birds any minute now.

So far this season, I have fired a grand total of 3 shots in 6 hunts. I may not make it through the top layer of a box of #5’s.