The light was getting low and after a day consisting of nothing but miles of walking I had still yet to shoot one last rooster for the season. As the day came to an end a group of good friends and I were working a large field of milo and seeing pheasants flush sporadically with limited success. Tired of tromping through heavy cover, I called my dog and headed out into the surrounding grass on my own. There was only time for just one good walk back to the truck and after being skunked all day and being as it was my last day of wild bird season for the year I really wanted the opportunity for just one more rooster. So I walked and watched my dog, a lot of pheasant sign was around but my dog’s nose was not acting like any pheasants were in the immediate area. Then I heard the riveting sound of a cackling rooster getting ready to go to bed, he was not far away and I thought I had the sound pinpointed. So up the bluff I went. As I closed the distance my dog’s nose started up and her speed and intensity quickened. The opportunity was upon us. The wind kicked up ever so slightly and my dog’s nose went high as she slammed into a point. I could see the pressured rooster running away before he took flight. My shot rang true and one last rooster fell from the sky.
After three solid months of hunting, walking and shooting, bird season on the eastern plains will come to an end this Tuesday. I think it is time as my boots have worn thin, my dog is cut up and tired and something funny seems to right be going on with my right knee. It was one heck of a season to remember though, the populations of quail in Kansas seemed to be flourishing as we found coveys on countless walk in hunting properties. The pheasant numbers seemed to suffer in Kansas but flourished with another record year in eastern Colorado.
Fortunately for the wing shooter, hunting preserves on the eastern plains will be able to remain open until the end of March. Preserves are great because they extend the natural hunting season and allow more time to work with the dogs. Also, preserves are a great place to introduce both new and young people to the sport, in a setting that is a little more controlled and less physically demanding than hunting wild birds on public land. I for one will be out for the next couple of months, working with my dog and on my shooting for the matter!
For more information on how to extend your bird season don’t hesitate to send me an email. Also please check out our affiliate and Colorado’s Finest Wing shooting Preserve: The Bluffs. www.huntthebluffs.com
Tight Lines and Good Shooting,
The Flyfisher Group