The focus this year is hunting western public land. Vast sections of BLM land, national grasslands, and state hunter walk-in access provide abundant opportunities. So far, we have found tolerable pressure, encountering few other hunters, and bird numbers have been acceptable. I hope you enjoy these pictures from our October hunts. If you are interested, these hunting spots are all about 125 miles southeast of Houston. Hope we see you there! 🙂Continue reading
Tag Archives: Pheasant Hunting
This is Henry at one week on 1/5/2021. Born Xander at the great Deutsch Kurzhaar (GSP) breeder Vom Gansehimmel in North Dakota. It has been a great pleasure to watch him grow from a mischievous puppy to a legitimate bird dog (but still full of mischief!).
Undoubtedly, one of the great joys is to see your dog grow into what he was bred and born to do. I hope you enjoy these pictures of a transformed dog on his first wild bird hunts.Continue reading
No, not the crop but a Small Munsterlander pointer named Milo. This beautiful boy presented himself in fine form on a perfect Saturday morning. Milo is a bit over a year old and has all the ingredients of an outstanding bird dog!
Last year, our guide called to say that the bird counts were down and the hunting might not be so good. We went anyway and had a terrific hunt! This year the guide called again and said “hey, seriously, this year is going to suck” and advised that we skip again but we still went. After all, these bird hunts are much more than hunting birds. . . right? You know . . . camaraderie, communing with nature, getting away from accountability for a while, riding in pickup trucks with shotguns, hunting-camp cuisine, etc. We were pushing our luck! This year, we were rewarded with a dastardly cold hunt and the lowest bird count in our 20 years of chasing roosters. All part of the game though. The great hunts are appreciated because of the tough times endured. This was definitely not the worst and we are glad we went. Everyone is looking forward to a future of more birds and less frostbite! Of course, bird dog Tex has no idea what I am whining about. He had a terrific time!
The forecast was that this hunt would suck. Because of a drought and tough winter and summer, the bird counts were down by 60%. We discovered this when the outfitter, Cannonball Company, called to ask if we wanted to skip the year and try again in 2018! I must say the folks at Cannonball are first rate. They made sure we knew what kind of hunt to expect and were ready to accommodate if we chose to do something else. Half of our usual hunting party did just that and spent the weekend on the couch at home. Before the hunt, the weather outlook predicted highs in the mid-30s with high winds. There was ample reason to skip this hunt!
Despite the dismal predictions, the 5 hunters who chose to make the hunt were treated to one of our best hunts yet. The hunting was certainly more challenging but, out of a possible 45 bird limit, the group harvested 41 birds. We could have nailed the other four had we wanted to. 🙂 The weather on day one was cold and windy. The other two days the wind died down and we had near perfect sunny days in the 40s and 50s. Having to work for our birds kept us in the field longer than usual and we all enjoyed that, especially the dogs. You never know what is going to happen on a hunt and this year persistence and a bit of blind faith paid us handsome dividends.
What a difference a year makes . . . .
Our annual North Dakota pheasant hunt last year, sub-zero temps and blowing snow. Not so fun!
This year was sipping beer in short sleeved shirts! Much more fun!!
Historically, we have pretty decent weather on our hunts but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Our North Dakota hunt was at the apex of an epic winter blast from Canada. Only one of the four days had high temps that flirted with double digits. On that day we traded a few degrees for 30 – 40 mph wind and blowing snow. Despite the brutal cold we still had a great hunt. We took our limit of birds each day, no worry of the dogs overheating (only worrying about them freezing to death) and because we were ready and well dressed, we were over all pretty comfortable.
There was some trepidation at getting out of the warm truck and braving the elements.
The bird counts were way up over last year but so was the temperature. We had terrific weather with blue skies and temps pushing into the low 80’s. The unseasonably warm weather was great for the hunters, but pretty hard on the dogs. We had to keep a close watch on them to be sure they did not overheat.
This year we enjoyed 2 great hunts in the Dakotas. This 2nd hunt is our standing hunt with Cannonball Company out of Regent, North Dakota. We always have a terrific time with these fine folks.
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.
A great old truck with great old hunters!
Here are some more pictures from our hunt in North Dakota.
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.
Sitting with the other detritus of long gone lives on a North Dakota farm is this lonely pick up truck.
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.
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.
North Dakota is our state of choice for pheasant hunting. The wonderfully desolate landscape is dotted with remnants of past lives – abandoned homesteads, equipment and my favorite . . . old school houses.
Smooth, clean kill. Maybe letting that bird get out another 10 yards would not have been a bad thing.
The group shot – smiling hunters, bristling with arms and standing behind a pile of dead animals often results in a common, uninspired picture. But occasionally things work out as with this pic from the 2007 pheasant season. This was taken by the farmer, not much posing or photographic technique other than point and shoot. Pure luck.