Tag Archives: Bird Hunting

South Dakota Pheasant

Tex and I took advantage of an invite to the opening weekend in South Dakota. We had the pleasure of joining a terrific group of guys from Michigan on their annual pheasant hunt. Some of these fellows have been hunting together for 30 plus years and a number of these guys have grown up making the annual pilgrimage to Pierre for the big hunt. We enjoyed a classic wild bird hunt of the best sort.

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A great old truck with great old hunters!

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Texas Dove 2013

This year we had the great fortune to hunt the opening day of the Texas dove season.
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Snake Avoidance Training

The only thing worse on a hunt than a snake-bit dog would be a face full of #6 shot. This morning Tex attended a “snake avoidance” event. We hope to hunt in Arizona soon and that state is chock full of Rattlesnakes. This training may save Tex’s life someday. DSC_1542 This is a Bullsnake. Looks like a Rattlesnake, acts like a Rattlesnake, smells like a Rattlesnake but his bite is harmless. The perfect surrogate to train a dog to stay away. Continue reading

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Texas Turkey

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Rio Grande tom taken with a .223 sporting rifle.

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Mouthful of Chukar

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6 month old Roux – Pretty Dog!

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Hunting at The Bluffs, Colorado – Part 2

Here are the rest of the pictures from our hunt at The Bluffs. Be sure to check out “Part 1” as well.

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The small Shorthair is a 6 month old bitch named Roux (pronounced [roo]). This is one of the puppies from the earlier post “Cajun-German Shorthaired Pointer Pups Available” where you can see her as a newborn pup. This was her first time hunting and she was astoundingly good!

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Hunting at The Bluffs, Colorado – Part 1

About an hour east of Denver, The Bluffs is one of the Colorado’s premier hunting preserves. Birds are not ordered and planted for hunts but instead the club manages and augments sustainable populations of game birds such as Pheasants, Quail, Chukar and Hungarian Partridge. The limited membership hunt on 4,000 acres for birds that seem for the most part pretty wild. I think this is as close as you can get to a wild bird hunt without going on a wild bird hunt. We recently spent a full day hunting The Bluffs and here are the pictures. To keep this from being too big I have split this into two posts so be sure to check out “Part 2“.

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More Shots from Pheasant Country

Here are some more pictures from our hunt in North Dakota.

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Why Bird Hunters Carry Pliers.

If on a nice walk in the woods . . .

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North Dakota Roosters

Hunting North Dakota in the middle of November can be a weather crap shoot. The week before we arrived the highs were in the teens with half a foot of snow on the ground but we lucked out with absolutely perfect weather. We had the blue skies behind this handsome rooster, highs in the upper 40’s and calm wind with an occasional light breeze for our four day hunt. There were plenty of birds but, as you would expect, the hunting is more challenging on these later hunts than what you find in October.  This hunt was a perfect introduction for Tex to wild birds. Each day he improved exponentially and by the last day he was working the wind and reliably sticking birds with solid points. At nine months old we are delighted with his performance.

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Colorado Dove 2012

Here in Colorado the drought is in full bloom and heat records seem to be set daily. It has been a tough summer for the birds.  Dove hunting in Colorado is rarely spectacular but this year our one day dove hunt was notably slow. My guess is that there were about half the birds as compared to the year before. No one took a limit but of course the hunters the day before were limited out and done by 9:30am, we were told. Maybe so as that was opening day.

Even though the hunting was poor, we had a great time. The birds arrived in ones and twos all morning, the weather was perfect and this was Tex’s first hunt. Tex had two Labs and another GSP to hunt and play with. There is no doubt that he had a terrific time and was exhausted at the end of the morning.

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Beautiful Colorado Sage

The two day Colorado Sage Grouse season is almost upon us. Last year we were skunked but with the 2012 drought in full swing and the dwindling bird numbers, I am sure we will all limit by brunch. We are OK with the poor odds, it is great to get the dogs out and hunt after a long hot summer. Not to mention that we have a new puppy to break in! Here are some of the better pictures from past seasons.

Sage, and lots of it. We love the desolate, lonely places of the bird hunt.

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Tex on Birds

Yesterday was a big day for Tex. Not quite 6 months old we put him on live birds for the first time. By nature Tex is a very sweet, mellow dog and we love him in the house but you wonder what will happen when he has feathers in his face. Will he have interest, not to mention intensity and an enthusiasm to hunt? Is he going to get it and fulfill his bird dog destiny, or is he going to lay in the shade under the truck and lick his balls?

Not to worry, Tex gets it. Within 45 minutes he went from mildly curious to a bird dog with fire in his eyes. With guidance from our trainer, John Augustine of Nickel Creek Gun Dogs, we had a tremendously successful day. Tex learned what a game bird is, what they smell like and how they taste. To see the light come on, to see the instinct kick in, to see your puppy perform is an incredible experience. I think I am tearing up.

Tex worked the field well, he picked up scent and worked it to the bird. He pointed and held point well and we were able to shoot over him with no ill effect. You always worry about gun shyness, but happily there was none of that. He did pretty good on the retrieve as well. Being his first time, none of this was flawless or executed consistently but the skills are certainly there. Most importantly he was into it and we have the opportunity to develop a terrific gun dog and also have a wonderful pal back at the ranch.

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First Point

Tex is 4 months old today!

Tex makes his first points on a Chukar wing.

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Remembering Texas Quail

There was no Texas quail hunt this year for us. A 100 year drought, a new job and the bird dog up and dying kept us home. Here are a few pictures of the good old days.

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Old North Dakota Farm Truck

Sitting with the other detritus of long gone lives on a North Dakota farm is this lonely pick up truck.

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Colorado GSP

We lost bird dog Rio last November and now the search is on for a new puppy. This morning we shot at some Chukars with Rio’s half-sister, Matrix. You sure can tell they are related, the resemblance is amazing. The hope is to have a pup by the beginning of summer.

We love those white & liver pointers.

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Wild Cocks

Now, THAT title should get some hits!  “Cock” is such a funny word. Nothing wrong with it in the right context but it sits precariously on the edge between OK and absolutely not OK. Use it in the wrong company, with the wrong inflection or add a sucker to it and my friend you have crossed the line. That said, here are a bunch of cocks we have seen  in the field.

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Pheasant Hunting in Regent, ND

Regent, North Dakota is a favorite pheasant hunting destination. We hunt with Cannonball Company who always does a terrific job. Pheasant numbers were down this year, as they are everywhere, but there were plenty of birds to go around.

Here is an amazing pheasant sculpture just outside of town. These are huge, the cock’s legs are probably 12 feet tall.

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High Country Ptarmigan

After a skunk on Sage Grouse in North Park we headed for the high country to see if we could redeem ourselves on Ptarmigan. I had never hunted them before and wasn’t sure what to expect.

The country where these birds live is magnificent and ruggedly beautiful. Well above the tree line, the vistas and views are breathtaking.  Had we not seen any birds, the hike alone would have been worth the effort.

This is a different kind of hunt. Most upland game birds stay well concealed in the bush and when you get close (and sometimes when you aren’t close at all) they flush providing an opportunity to exercise your finely tuned wing shooting skills. Not these guys. They sit out in the open and watch you approach with only casual interest. You can look at the covey and count them, pick out the one you want, take a picture and then push into them to get them to fly. Some will take off, which is fun, but others will just run a bit and then sit and watch.

Ptarmigan are beautiful and delicate creatures. They are much smaller than I expected. Their bodies are about the size of a large dove but their thick coat of down and feathers make them look larger. In hand they are incredibly soft and feel almost mushy. I don’t think they put out much scent or at least scent that dogs associate with game birds. Bird dog Rio never really lock up on them and the points we did get were sight points, I think. We had 10 or so right in front of us and she paid them little mind, she was off looking for something else. Possibly the altitude has something to do with that or maybe I had a defective dog.

We had a good time hiking at the top of the world but the hunting was not as challenging as hoped. Possibly if we hadn’t found birds in the first 30 minutes and had hiked all day I would have a different story.  The biggest challenge on this hunt was to not scar an expensive shotgun as we negotiated some very rough terrain while operating on 25% less oxygen. We lucked out with perfect weather (a week later all this was under a foot of snow) and it was certainly great to be out there. Ptarmigan have been added to the annual hunt calendar.

These birds are perfectly camouflaged for their world. If they didn’t move it would be easy to miss them.

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