One big snow with a good coating of ice hit in early January. This followed by some unseasonably warm weather which melted most of it. Then came the severe cold and severe wind chills. If you live in Iowa or Nebraska, once a year you are going to get it.
It is no problem. You just have to dress a little warmer and be prepared for some biting winds and cold temps. Having said all that, the phone rang and it was my good friend John. He wanted head up to Arlington, Nebraska and hunt some pheasants. We hunt at the Little Creek Game Bird Farm owned by Dalvin and Betty Scheer, (402 478-4450). These are two of the nicest people I have ever met. I always recommend their business to pheasant hunters who do not want to stomp around all day long on local farms without seeing anything. This year the price was $75.00 for three roosters or for six hens. Dalvin also raises chuckers. They are a great bird to hunt. With a big breast, they make excellent dining.
Checking ammunition, it was discovered that there was no ammo to go pheasant hunting. All of my rounds were for ducks and geese. I made a quick trip to the Bass Pro store. One of their sales people made a recommendation that proved to be outstanding. I now recommend these shells.
We waited until the temperature was above 10 degrees and then headed to the farm. The sun came out and that provided some additional warmth. Dalvin had sold out of all his birds except for six roosters. John and I bought them to be placed out in one of their fields.
We always have coffee and visit in their game room before we hit the fields. This also gives us more time for the sun to warm things up a little.
In the field by 2 PM, we started working our way along a creek that goes through the farm. With heavy weed patches on each side, the bird will hunker down in a tall stand of grass. With the cold, they will hold tight. This is where John’s chocolate lab Junior comes into his own. He is an excellent upland game bird dog. He works quickly back and forth not more than twenty feet in front of us. If Junior gets out a little too far, John just whistles and he comes right back working back and forth. We watch his tail. When he gets on a scent, the tail really starts to wag. When he goes on point he may stand dead still, but eventually that tail really starts to move.
The first two birds jumped and were hit, but not knocked down. Flying across the creek, they flew into a weed patch. We marked the spot knowing we would walk back up the opposite side on our way back. The next two birds were dropped with Junior moving into the retreive mode. he picked one up immediately. The second went down into the creek that was frozen with a coating of snow over the top of the ice. This made for easy tracking. We sent the dog down to grab him.
Walking further, Junior kept moving back and forth and locked up on a bird that jumped immediately. The shot was a little long, but the new shells proved their effectiveness and it was harvested. Shortly after that, we each totally missed a couple of birds. What was really interesting was they flew back to the pen where they were raised.
Crossing to the south side of the creek, we picked up the other two birds that were crippled, thanks to the dog finding them. Each one flew, but was dispatched within short order. We had picked up our birds plus one that Dalvan had put out the day before for a group of hunters that did not get all of theirs.
What made this a successful hunt was the dog. Without Junior working the field, we never would have flushed the birds we did, and never would have found all the ones we knocked down.
|The harvest for the day with Junior on point in the background. I wonder what he is looking at.|